Hometown Hero gets flight of lifetime

Staff photo: Tony Bullocks
Thunderbird pilot Maj. Scott Petz and hometown hero Ty Gonser are greeted Friday at Cannon Air Force Base by members of the Thunderbirds ground crew after a orientation flight.

By Kevin Wilson MANAGING EDITOR kwilson@cnjonline.com Ty Gonser didn’t expect any type of reward when he freed motorists from Winter Storm Goliath’s snow drifts. He just thought it was the right thing to do. The unassuming Clovis resident got his latest reward Friday morning, as the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds briefly freed him from gravity. […]

Former Zia student comes back as Thunderbird

Staff photo: Douglas Clark 
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Lead Solo pilot Capt. Nicholas Eberling receives a high-five from Kynlee Ulibarri, 3, of Clovis, after addressing a group at the Clovis-Carver Library on Friday.

By Douglas Clark Staff Writer dclark@cnjonline.com This weekend’s Cannon Air Force Base Air Show represents a homecoming of sorts for one of the Air Force’s Thunderbird pilots, who proudly sports Clovis ties and even worked as a volunteer during a previous Cannon show featuring the renown flight team. Air Force Capt. Nicholas Eberling attended Zia […]

Thunderbirds arrive at Cannon

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson
The Thunderbirds fly in formation upon their arrival at Cannon Air Force Base on Thursday afternoon.

By Kevin Wilson Managing editor kwilson@cnjonline.com One distinct sound. One distinct look. One distinct bond. The Thunderbirds, the most distinct of the Air Force’s many distinctions, made their arrival Thursday afternoon with a noise that pierced the calm skies above eastern New Mexico and left smoke trails on a day with little cloud cover as […]

Remembering the force behind St. James church

Courtesy photo
Ross Calvin, left, stands beside his 5-year-old grandson, Charles Calvin, in the doorway of St. James Episcopal Church in 1953.

By Brooke Finch Staff writer bfinch@cnjonline.com St. James Episcopal Church in Clovis was built almost 75 years ago. The man behind its construction may have been largely forgotten, but an admirer of his work is looking to bring back his memory. In “Ross Calvin: Interpreter of the American Southwest,” author Ron Hamm of Silver City […]

Purple pipe proliferation part of water reuse project

Staff photo: Tony Bullocks 
Purple pipe is being installed in several locations throughout Clovis as part of the city’s water reuse project, which is used to irrigate athletic fields and other green areas.

By Douglas Clark Staff writer dclark@cnjonline.com Motorists traveling south of Clovis Community College, particularly in the area of Sixth and Norris Streets or near Rierson Park, would be hard-pressed to miss the purple pipes. Clovis Public Works Director Clint Bunch said the effort is part of a city water reuse project undertaken roughly two years […]

Ariel falls short of finals

Courtesy photo: Oyin Kokoricha
Ariel Kokoricha flashes a smile onstage at the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee before correctly spelling her first word of the preliminaries, “dactylic.”

By Brooke Finch Staff writer bfinch@cnjonline.com Ariel Kokoricha just missed the finals, but she gave people something to buzz about at the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Wednesday. The Clovis Christian Schools eighth-grader and five-time local champ breezed through the two onstage rounds of preliminaries. Ariel, a two-time New Mexico representative, spelled “dactylic” (a form […]

Ariel starts bee preliminaries

Courtesy photo: Oyin Kokoricha
Ariel Kokoricha sits in the Scripps National Spelling Bee testing room as she gets ready to take the Preliminaries Test.

By Brooke Finch Staff writer bfinch@cnjonline.com The first day of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Ariel Kokoricha felt “sundry” emotions — an official bee word she came across on Tuesday. The word, according to the bee’s Preliminaries Test, means “more than one or two: miscellaneous, several.” Ariel and 284 other spellers attempted to identify the […]

Ariel goes to Washington


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 […]