Year in review: January 2007

A daily look at top news stories in January reported in the Clovis New Journal:

Jan. 1: A cigarette tax hike — from 41 cents to $1.41 per pack — went into effect in Texas. New Mexico’s rate stayed the same at 91 cents per pack. … Four babies were born at Plains Regional Medical Center, a “fairly slow” day, according to nurse Kalyn Pinedo. Parents of the first new year’s baby declined to be identified.

Jan. 2: Clovis’ Hank Baskett was a candidate for NFL Rookie of the Week. He caught seven passes for 177 yards in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 24-17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 31.

Jan. 3: Curry County commissioners selected Albin Smith as Commission chairman.

Jan. 4: Portales police were investigating the death of 6-year-old Lorenzo A. Cabral Jr., who was found dead in a bedroom at his home. … Hank Baskett was named NFL Rookie of the Week for the second time this season.

Jan. 5: Teresa Gilman, the 24-year-old mother of a Portales boy found dead in his home, was charged with killing him. An arrest affidavit claimed she may have believed her son was possessed by the devil.

Jan. 6: Elida won the Eastern Plains Athletic Conference boys’ basketball tournament for the first time since the tourney began in 1958. Elida’s girls also won, for the third time in six years.

Jan. 7: Clovis’ Hank Baskett caught one pass for 5 yards and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New York Giants, 23-20, in a wild-card playoff game.

Jan. 8: Clovis police were investigating the death of 36-year-old Emmett Salisbury, who was found in a secondhand store he operated. … Clovis High School teachers favored a seven-period schedule over the current six-period schedule and Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm announced the change would take place in the fall.

Jan. 9: Emmett Salisbury’s death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy determined he died from a gunshot wound to the chest. No arrests had been made.

Jan. 10: A Curry County Sheriff’s deputy discovered $100,000 worth of cocaine during a traffic stop east of Melrose. Two Albuquerque men were charged with trafficking.

Jan. 11: Dozens of area residents expressed health concerns related to a proposed ethanol plant. New Mexico Environment Department officials said they had no grounds to deny a permit for the facility, slated to be built just west of Clovis. … A memorial fund established for the family of an Air Force pilot killed in Iraq raised more than $30,000, family members said. Troy Gilbert died Nov. 27, 2006. His wife Ginger is a Clovis native. … Clovis High running back Brian Mead and center Brandon Ayers were named to The Associated Press Class 5A first-team all-state football team. … Police seized magic and witchcraft books from a Portales library in connection with the Jan. 4 slaying of a 6-year-old Portales boy. Officials said the boy’s mother had checked out the books.

Jan. 12: State Rep. Anna Crook, R-Clovis, was named 2006 Citizen of the Year by the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce.

Jan. 13: Eastern New Mexico residents awoke to snow and ice with temperatures in the 20s. Grady was without power through the weekend. … Clovis native Hank Baskett set up a touchdown with a 25-yard pass reception, but his Philadelphia Eagles fell to New Orleans, 27-24, in an NFL playoff game.

Jan. 14: Icy weather continued to limit travel. City ambulances could not transport patients out of town because the roads were “just too hazardous,” Fire Department Public Information Officer Karen Burns said.

Jan. 15: About 60 residents participated in the 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration, braving temperatures in the low 20s.

Jan. 16: Clovis Community College held its first day of classes for the spring semester.

Jan. 17: A district-court judge approved a plea agreement, sending Portales’ Jerry Fuller to prison for 127 years in connection with the March 2005 slayings of Odis and Doris Newman of Portales. … Construction began on a median divider on Prince Street between Commerce Way and 21st Street.

Jan. 18: About 300 airmen returned to Cannon Air Force Base after being deployed to Iraq.

Jan. 19: A 10-year-old girl abducted in Texhoma, Okla., was found safe at an Allsup’s convenience store on Clovis’ Mabry Drive. Marissa Graham told police she escaped from a purple van or SUV after the driver pulled over about 12:30 p.m. She was reunited with her parents that evening. No arrests were made. Police were looking for a white male, 35 to 40 years old.

Jan. 20: Ten inches of snow blanketed the region, the most in Clovis since March 2005. Motorists were reported stranded in drifts, but officials said the storm caused no serious injuries.

Jan. 21: An advertisement appeared in the Clovis News Journal urging area residents to “Stop the 9th grade shuffle.” The ad referenced a proposal to change Gattis Junior High into a freshman-only campus and urged taxpayers to attend a school board meeting and share their views.

Jan. 22: Ice and snow continued to plague the region, forcing school closings and delaying the start of a Clovis man’s murder trial.

Jan. 23: The Clovis Municipal Schools Board of Education approved a plan to convert Gattis Junior High into a ninth-grade center, effective in the fall. About a dozen parents urged board members to spend more time researching the proposal, but the board was unanimous in approving the change.

Jan. 24: George Winston, a “rural folk pianist,” performed at Marshall Junior High.

Jan. 25: City road crews filled potholes with sandbags, a temporary solution while moisture remained on the road from the previous weekend’s snow. City Manager Joe Thomas said even temporary asphalt could not be used to fill the holes until the roads were dry.

Jan. 26: The Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce was recognized by New Mexico Business Weekly as the third-fastest-growing Chamber in New Mexico.

Jan. 27: For the second weekend this month, police received dozens of vandalism reports in north Clovis. Officials said vehicles and homes were damaged by BB or pellet guns. Damage was estimated at $10,000.

Jan. 28: Officials at Cannon Air Force Base were preparing for an Air Force Special Operations Command team, which would be looking at issues related to AFSOC’s move to Cannon. Officials said 45-50 AFSOC team members would study Cannon’s infrastructure for about a week.

Jan. 29: Former Clovis City Manager Ray Mondragon was appointed chairman of the New Mexico Economic Development Partnership. The partnership works to attract business to the state, according to a press release from Gov. Bill Richardson’s office.

Jan. 30: A Clovis jury found Robert Macias, 31, guilty of murder in the January 2006 shooting death of Wilfred Salas Jr. Officials said Salas, 19, was killed as he drove his car on Merriwether Street.

Jan. 31: City officials confirmed they had settled a lawsuit involving a 2005 drowning death of a 3-year-old boy at Potter Pool. Officials initially declined to disclose the amount of the settlement, but later said the total was $448,500.