Residents know how to spend the holiday

Kamron Canchola, 5, of Clovis, takes a swing at a junk car during a car bash Sunday at the Smoke on the Water celebration at Greene Acres Park. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Darrell Todd Maurina: CNJ Staff Writer

Whether relaxing with friends, visiting out-of-state relatives, working in public safety jobs, or working to keep a business open to serve the public, Clovis residents contacted Monday afternoon said they enjoyed their Independence Day holiday weekend.

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For Weldon Killough, gifted and talented counselor at Clovis High School, July 4 has more than one meaning.

“I was born on the Fourth of July, so I guess that makes me a Yankee Doodle Dandy,” Killough laughed while chatting with friends at the Chaparral Country Club golf course on Monday.

Killough spent his afternoon in a golf tournament with fellow residents of the subdivision, but on July 4 his wife put on a traditional Independence Day cookout for 16 friends with hamburgers, smoked sausage, cookies and ice cream as a birthday party. Killough said he spent the evening with about 60 friends at a private fireworks display hosted by another Clovis resident.

“I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie of playing golf with my friends,” Killough said. “Golf is my avocation and I enjoy not only the competition but also the social aspects.”

“I just wish I’d played better,” Killough said.

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Joining Killough on the golf course was 9th Judicial District Judge Teddy Hartley, who said he was glad he didn’t get called even once over the weekend to sign a search warrant.

That legal calm won’t last, Hartley said.

“We’ll see (today) what kind of trouble some people had on the Fourth of July,” Hartley said. “I had a nice relaxing weekend, I enjoyed the Fourth, but I need to go find out what my docket is like so I know what’s coming.”

Hartley said the highlight of the weekend for him was the Tops in Blue concert by the Air Force and Sunday night’s Smoke on the Water fireworks presentation — plus not being called away for a law enforcement emergency.

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While most Clovis residents enjoyed a Monday without work due to the July 4 holiday falling on a Sunday, Lt. Ronald Banister of the Clovis Fire Department sat at his desk Monday afternoon writing reports and waiting for fire calls.

“It’s really just another weekend for us,” Banister said. “We sometimes are a little more busy on Fourth of July weekend, but so far things have been calm except for ambulance calls.”

After 29 years in the department, Banister said he has the highest seniority on his shift and could take any days he wanted off as a holiday. By deciding to work Monday, the father of nine was able to spend July 4 with his wife and children, but the family spent July 5 alone as they have done many other holidays during his career.

“They went swimming and came to the shindig (musical entertainment) at Joe’s Boot Shop,” Banister said.

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Some public safety officers did get to take the day off. Eric Mendoza, an instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia who lives in Clovis, spent part of Monday afternoon with friends at the Java Loft coffee shop in the Master’s Christian Center.

“It’s always good to take time with family and friends, and cleaning up storage,” Mendoza said.

To serve the customers, Java Loft coffee server Cindy Eastland had to work both Sunday and Monday and missed the first time her husband, an Air Force sergeant, had been home on Independence Day in two years. Eastland said the coffee shop closed early Sunday due to lack of customers but had been doing a brisk business otherwise.

“Everybody was closed due to the fireworks; everybody was closed except for us,” Eastland said. “I enjoy serving the public, but I didn’t enjoy being away from my family when they are off and I have to work.”

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Brandi Arnold took advantage of the holiday to drive to Colorado Springs to visit her father-in-law, a welder working for the Air Force Academy. Arnold said her husband’s work as a state police officer makes it difficult to plan vacations and they used the opportunity to visit Colorado together. The couple returned Monday evening to their Clovis home.

“We don’t get to travel very often, and any chance we get we want to use,” Arnold said. “It’s beautiful weather up there, upper 70s, lower 80s, and they had a nice rainfall.”

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Clovis car dealer Gary Hamilton also returned to Clovis recently, but he said he much prefers Clovis to the places he visited in Los Angeles.

“I enjoy the qualities of Clovis; things are wonderful here,” Hamilton said. “I just got back from a vacation in California and it’s good to be back home.”

Hamilton said what he likes about Clovis is its small-town atmosphere and family values, and said those values are also why he values July 4 as a patriotic holiday.

“We’re just glad we live here in the United States,” Hamilton said.