Ariel goes to Washington

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By Brooke Finch Staff photo bfinch@cnjonline.com People are about three times more likely to be struck by lightning than to compete in the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, according to Time magazine. This was the statistic Ariel Kokoricha, now a two-time national bee competitor, heard at the opening events held Monday before the […]

Roller world owners retiring

Courtesy photo: Ron Johnson
Skaters at Roller World celebrate at a New Year’s Eve party in 1989. The 36-year-old business was recently sold to new owners.

By Brooke Finch Staff writer bfinch@cnjonline.com The new owners of Roller World have some big shoes — or in this case, skates — to fill. After 36 years, former Roller World owners Ron and Teresa Johnson have left the skating rink business at 1721 Wallace St. With their kids grown and a 7-month-old granddaughter to […]

Something to brag about

Ariel Kokoricha, left, and Christina Benitscheck

By Brooke Finch Staff report bfinch@cnjonline.com Christina Benitscheck never gets tired of confirming the correct spelling of her name. “I think that’s how I became such a good speller … having to spell out my name all those years,” she said, laughing. Benitscheck is one of the best spellers in eastern New Mexico history,  as […]

Clovis grads step into future

Staff photo: Tony Bullocks
Members of the Clovis High School class of 2016 await the start of commencement Friday night at the Curry County Events Center.

By Douglas Clark Staff Writer dclark@cnjonline.com Focus upon the past, present, future and challenges took center stage before a near capacity crowd at Friday’s 2016 Clovis High School graduation ceremony at the Curry County Events Center. About 420 seniors made up the graduating class. Four student speakers offered thoughts in looking back, surveying today’s landscape, […]

Cannon air show making return

Staff photo: Tony Bullocks
The Thunderbirds performed at Cannon Air Force Base in 2014 and are scheduled to highlight the 2016 air show next weekend.

Staff report Look up in the sky next weekend and you’ll see: • aerial vehicles without people on board; • planes with some of the more gifted pilots in the world at the controls. Cannon Air Force Base’s 2016 air show, its first since 2014, opens its gates at 9 a.m. on Saturday and next […]

ENMU, CCC host Kids’ College

File photo
The Kids’ College program will be offered at Eastern New Mexico University and Clovis Community College starting June 6, and both will last for six weeks. Classes and activities offered will include swimming, science projects and other physical activities, according to Ciara Gilliland, coordinator of dual enrollment and continuing education at ENMU.

By Eamon Scarbrough STAFF WRITER escarbrough@pntonline.com Area children will once again have the opportunity to be occupied with activities, both educational and recreational, as Kids’ College comes to local college campuses. Eastern New Mexico University in Portales will hold its Kids’ College from June 6-July 29 with participants 6-12 years old. Children will be able […]

Forecast brightening for residents, farmers

Staff photo: Tony Bullocks
Clovis’ rainfall is expected to clear up next week, while local farmers hope for more.

By Brooke Finch Staff writer bfinch@cnjonline.com After several days of gloomy weather, Clovis residents can expect to see their days brighten up soon — and for that matter, so can local farmers. According to the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, the Clovis area has had anywhere from a half inch to one inch of precipitation […]

Faith: Less-known Christian holiday coming up

Staff photo: Brooke Finch
Bonita Knox, the pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, lights a candle to commemorate the upcoming Trinity Sunday holiday.

By Brooke Finch Staff writer bfinch@cnjonline.com Some Christians say it’s as important as Easter or Christmas. Others don’t give it any attention at all. Trinity Sunday is approaching this weekend, but not all Christian denominations will recognize it. Despite their common belief in the Holy Trinity, many Christians do not observe — or hardly know […]

Local name joins those on national police memorial

Courtesy photo: Dolores Ledezma
Medals and memorabilia surround Clovis Police Officer Rudy Ledezma’s photo. Ledezma’s name was added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial last week.

By Brooke Finch Staff writer bfinch@cnjonline.com This year’s National Police Week in Washington, D.C. hit home for Clovis officers and residents when a local name was added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial last week. On May 28, 1995, Clovis Police Officer Rodolfo “Rudy” Ledezma, then 42, was on patrol attempting to conduct a […]

Q&A: Air Force secretary talks Cannon, diversity

Staff photo: Tony Bullocks
Deborah Lee James, 57, is the 23rd secretary of the Air Force.

U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James visited Cannon Air Force Base on Tuesday. She agreed to a short interview before an aerial tour of the facilities. Q: Can you tell us about your mission here? What do you want to see? What have you seen already? James: Well this is my first trip to […]

Gust sends carport flying

Staff photo: Ryan Galloway
A wind gust on Monday sent a carport flying through the neighborhood in the 600 block of Norris Street.

Staff report By eastern New Mexico standards, Monday’s winds were mild, with gusts reaching only 25 mph. But one gust was all it took to relocate a carport from 600 Norris St. to 620 Norris in east Clovis. Tod Garrett said the carport skipped over his grandmother’s house at 604 Norris, damaging only a branch […]

CCC graduate shares story of perseverance

Staff photo: Tony Bullocks
Clovis Community College student Lisa Costa drew a standing ovation for her speech.

By Douglas Clark Staff Writer dclark@cnjonline.com During a commencement ceremony in which the work ethic, due diligence and persistence of dozens of Clovis Community College graduates was celebrated at the Clovis Civic Center, one journey seemed to stand out. Lisa Costa received a pair of associate’s degrees after enduring a trio of life-altering events. “About […]

Faith: Students planning summer mission trips

Courtesy photo: Dag Sewell
Eastern New Mexico University’s Baptist Student Union Christian Challenge team members interact with other students at a dessert giveaway event held on campus. Five members will serve as student missionaries this summer.

By Brooke Finch Staff writer bfinch@cnjonline.com Students from Eastern New Mexico University and Clovis Community College are preparing to spend their summers traveling around the world. But these are no ordinary summer trips. Four ENMU students and one CCC student were selected to serve as missionaries both in New Mexico and internationally this summer. As […]

Official: Alley trash a ‘personal responsibility’

Staff photo: Brooke Finch
A mattress and other large trash items lie beside a dumpster in one of the alleys along West Fifth Street.

By Brooke Finch Staff writer bfinch@cnjonline.com With the abundance of garbage found around city alley bins, citizens of Clovis might disagree that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But city workers say the solution lies in residents’ hands. “It’s really a personal responsibility,” Clovis’ Public Works Director Clint Bunch said about the overflow of […]

For some, summer isn’t a vacation

Courtesy photo: Jude Smith
From left, Texas Tech Biology Intern Adrian Escobar, South Plains College Maintenance Intern Chris Morales, and Youth Conservation Corps member Shade DeSautell watch as member Jesse Waggoner learns how to perform CPR. The group is part of the student employment program of the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge.

By Brooke Finch STAFF WRITER bfinch@cnjonline.com With high school graduations right around the corner, plus college semesters coming to an end, summer break is on the horizon. But rather than take a vacation, many area students are planning to stay hard at work this summer. “Some trends I’ve seen have been more and more students […]

Triumph shared at Relay for Life

Staff photo: Tony Bullocks
Yolanda Romero of Clovis prepares to sing the National Anthem as the Cannon Air Force Base color guard presents the colors at Friday night’s start to the 2016 Relay For Life at Ned Houk Park.

By Brooke Finch Staff writer bfinch@cnjonline.com David Martinez is a voice for cancer victims — yet he can’t physically speak. James “JD” Chilcott usually requires a back brace just to get around, but he left it at home to participate in a relay that lasted more than 12 hours. These are just a couple of […]

Celebrating moms

Staff photo: Brooke Finch
Lacey Field, top, helps her daughter Haycie down the slide at Hillcrest Park. Meanwhile, Carisima Pyle guides, from bottom, daughter Lexie, nephew Holden and daughter Laikyn safely off the slide.

By Brooke Finch Staff writer bfinch@cnjonline.com An innocent frolic on the Hillcrest Park playground took a turn for the worse when Laikyn Pyle, 3, fell down on the pavement, bursting into tears. Carisima Pyle quickly rushed over to dust her daughter off without missing a beat — all while holding her other daughter, one-year-old Lexie […]

Local student granted appointment to West Point

Staff photo: Douglas Clark 
Clovis High School senior William Uhrig Jr. said he reports to West Point on June 27.

By Douglas Clark Staff Writer dclark@cnjonline.com William Uhrig Jr. has always wanted to serve in the military. And last month, the Clovis High School senior received news that takes that goal to another level — he has been granted an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. “Ever since I was a […]

Fight with officer captured on video

PPD video clip
The above photo shows a clip of Anthony Ortega rushing at officer Nicholas Laurenz during an April 11 incident, in which Laurenz was shot with his own gun.

By Alisa Boswell Managing editor aboswell@pntonline.com Police body cameras failed to capture the shooting of a Portales police officer on April 11, but audio is heard of Officer Nicholas Laurenz and criminal suspect Anthony Ortega gasping and grunting as they fight one another. Video footage from three Portales police officers’ cameras was released Friday following […]

Locals unite for day of prayer

Staff photo: Brooke Finch
The Clovis High School choir performs the national anthem during the Cannon Air Force Base Honor Guard’s posting of the colors at this year’s National Day of Prayer event.

By Brooke Finch Staff writer bfinch@cnjonline.com No matter the religious background, citizens across the nation united on Thursday with one thing in common — prayer. The 65th annual National Day of Prayer brought individuals together for uplifting services and events throughout the country. On a local level, Clovis’ National Day of Prayer observance drew a […]