Customers will decide economic growth

From the Editor’s Desk

Not everyone is thrilled with the region’s recent economic growth. Some longtime residents are concerned that newcomers will mean dramatic and unpleasant change.
Mom-and-pop businesses, they fear, will be driven out by the likes of Lowe’s, Hobby Lobby, Hastings and other chain stores that have opened in Clovis in recent weeks.
They’re concerned that our dwindling water supply will disappear faster because of the influx of big businesses that include dairies and a proposed cheese-processing plant.
And they worry that traffic and crime and unpleasant smells will all increase.
They’re right in one sense, of course. If Clovis continues to grow, it will experience negatives it’s never seen before.
A story on Page 1 of our newspaper today gives a few examples of individuals concerned about the changing climate.
Supporters of the economic growth contend the positives — jobs for our children, more options for entertainment, competitive retail prices, etc. — far outweigh any negatives, which are sometimes blown out of proportion.
But if the growth continues, it will take longer to get across town. We will have to stop leaving our cars running in the parking lots. And we will be a lot less likely to know everybody we’re standing in line with at the grocery store.
And there’s nothing anyone can do about it, right?
Not right.
For those who continue to call the newspaper and complain about big business taking over Clovis, take heart. The average citizens still have control of their own destiny.
If we don’t want chain stores in our community, there is something we can do about it: We don’t have to shop there.
If we don’t want a big cheese factory halfway between Clovis and Portales, we can refuse to apply for jobs there and we can lobby community leaders to refuse taxpayer support.
Chase Gentry, executive director of Clovis Industrial Development Corp., said it best:
“Ultimately it’s the customer who decides.”
This customer sorta likes having another book store in town and my kids’ Christmas stockings will be a little more full this year, thanks to that Dollar Tree. But I understand those concerned about losing Clovis’ small-town atmosphere. And I think we’re all opposed to bad smells, and to bad traffic.
Our newspaper will try to remember all concerns as we continue to report on a booming economy.

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Cecilia Carpenter of Clovis e-mailed the newspaper several weeks ago and asked for information about a grave site she noticed along U.S. Highway 60-84 about 35 miles west of Clovis, just east of Tolar.
We put her in touch with Curry County Historian Don McAlavy, who writes a column for our paper. McAlavy provided this story from the 18-month-old boy’s mother, who said the death occurred in 1907.
“We transported our things by wagon to our homestead about two miles southwest of House,” Mozella Trotter said in a 1961 interview. “We floored a half dug-out for our first home in sparsely settled New Mexico. We all had colds. The snow and ice were just breaking up. Loral was sick, poor child. We finally got a doctor, who said it was bronchial pneumonia. Loral died Feb. 16, 1907.
“We wanted to bury him in a cemetery. We took the baby by wagon to a place near Tolar where they said a cemetery was to be established. The grave was dug after we got there, but there was a delay as someone living nearby objected. Later they got an injunction against a cemetery at that spot, but we had buried poor little Loral. After a funeral service by a kindly minister we went back to our homestead. The rains came just right that year and we made a good garden, but our hearts weren’t in it.”
Trotter expressed “undying thanks” to a boy named Danny Smith who kept weeds pulled from around the grave and to a minister who erected an early marker that read “Little Sister.”
“He didn’t know,” Trotter said in the 1961 interview. “They didn’t know. Bless them. But it was my baby boy. I remember as if it was yesterday.”

From the Editor’s Desk is a weekly memo to CNJ readers. David Stevens can be reached at 763-6991, extension 310, or by e-mail:
david_stevens@link.freedom.com