Year in review: Fires, deaths, courtroom dramas keep police busy

File photo
Ariel Ulibarri was slain early on Nov. 9 at Goodwin Lake Trails.

Staff report The stabbing death of a young mother in a city park topped the list of violent crimes in eastern New Mexico in 2014. But the year also kept police busy with a daring daylight bank robbery, a string of fires and multiple courtroom dramas. A few highlights: DA changes Ninth Judicial District Attorney […]

Plenty to do to start new year

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Curry County Home Economist Glenda Belcher talks about painting techniques at a do-it-yourself workshop at the 2014 New Mexico Ag Expo at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds. The expo features seminars, demonstrations, and food from agriculture vendors.

By Joshua Lucero Portales and Clovis are kicking off the new year with activities and events for all ages in January and February. Oasis State Park will be hosting a public hike as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative Jan. 1, according to the Oasis website. The hike is open to […]

Residents share holiday meal

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson
Volunteer Malaki Henry, 11, portions out butter for Christmas lunch plates Thursday at the Lighthouse Mission. Malaki was one of an estimated three dozen volunteers.

By Kevin Wilson STAFF WRITER There was no snow to be found on the streets and driveways of Clovis, but it was Christmas all the same down on L Casillas Boulevard on Thursday afternoon. A volunteer opens the door at the Lighthouse Mission, and greets the new attendee with a “Merry Christmas” before a […]

Extreme holiday spirit

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson
Roger Hepler of Clovis with a small Santa Claus figurine he plans to gift to a friend.

By Kevin Wilson STAFF WRITER Some people collect baseball cards. Some collect music, be it eight-track, cassette, CD or vinyl. Still, others collect Christmas. A pair of Clovis couples on the city’s northwest area decorate their homes inside and out. For Troy and Tonia Gilliard, the lawn at their home on John Doe is […]

Buffalo soldiers such as Clovis’ Ira Pottard deserve recognition

Tony Bullocks: Staff photo
ra Pottard waves to the crowd during the Veterans Day Parade of  2013.

By Kitsana Dounglomchan Local columnist Clovis’ Ira Pottard is one of the last living buffalo soldiers. He was 19 when he was drafted into the famed all-black cavalry unit in 1942. “You didn’t think much about being drafted,” he said. “You got a letter from the president saying, ‘Congratulations you’re in the Army.’” I spoke […]

Q&A: EPCOG director talks needs and changes

Sandy Chancey

Sandy Chancey is executive director of Eastern Plains Council of Governments. We asked her about changes in the association of county and municipal governments that includes public entities in Curry, De Baca, Quay and Roosevelt counties. Question: How has EPCOG’s role changed over the past two or three years? Chancey: EPCOG’s role has changed considerably. […]

Keys to city not in short supply

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson
A key to the city award from 2000, awarded to then-city employee Sandy Chancey. The award has since gone to more than four dozen, ranging from lifelong residents to visiting rodeo queens.

By Kevin Wilson Staff writer In Clovis, as with nearly every other city that handles the process, the key to the city is a statement that you’ve done a great thing and you’re always welcome here. Statistically speaking, you’re either a Miss Rodeo visiting for Pioneer Days, a high-ranking official about to leave Cannon […]

Cops give back during annual shopping spree

Staff photo: Tony Bullocks
Texico Police Chief Doug Bowman exchanges a high-five with Daniel Rodriguez, 5, of Clovis after locating a bow and arrow set during Monday morning’s annual Cops and Kids Christmas at Walmart.

By Aubry Buzek Staff writer Texico Chief of Police Doug Bowman was sent on an important assignment early Monday morning. He and his partners, 5-year-old Daniel Rodriguez and 13-year-old Johana Rodriguez, were hunting for the perfect Christmas presents. “What kinds of toys do you like?” Bowman asked the boy. “Airplanes,” Daniel said quietly. “Well, […]

Texico New Mexico Visitors Center unstaffed since September

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson
The New Mexico Visitors Center near Texico has been closed since September due to staffing issues.

By Kevin Wilson Staff writer Welcome to New Mexico. Keep on driving. That’s the message some travelers seem to have taken over the last four months, as the Texico New Mexico Visitors Center has been locked up and unstaffed since September. The building, about two miles west of the Texas-New Mexico border, is advertised […]

Santa’s Elks

Kevin Wilson: Staff photo
Fred Lybarger of Clovis staples a cotton “snow blanket” to a trailer Thursday in his driveway in Clovis. The trailer was set up as a sleigh to help deliver gifts to a needy family for Christmas.

By Kevin Wilson For one down-on-its-luck family in Portales, Santa Claus is coming to town. Santa’s sleigh, which is set for a Saturday night delivery, is lined with reindeer, pulled by a truck and powered by Elks. The Clovis-Portales Elks Lodge No. 1244, which has membership through the area of more than 400, is […]

Rare crane bolsters refuge crowd


By Aubry Buzek Staff writer Last month, the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge received a special guest from Russia. His name is Vladimir, he stands taller than everyone around him, and he might stay until February. Just to be clear, Vladimir, or Waldo, depending on who you ask, is a Eurasian common crane and he […]

Zoo display draws big crowd

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson
Sarah Rodriquez of Clovis takes a photo of her daughter, 9-year-old Reyna Rodriquez, in a Santa cutout during Christmas Nites at the Zoo at Hillcrest Park.

By Kevin Wilson Staff writer If the crowd were any indication, the night time was the right time to be at the Hillcrest Park Zoo. Hundreds packed the zoo on Wednesday, the second night of the city’s annual Christmas Nites at the Zoo event. The zoo will open again from 6 p.m. to 8 […]

Dream of community garden coming to life

Staff photo: Aubry Buzek
Molly, a retired military working dog, guards the field that C.J. Pierce is planning to turn into “Nano’s Farm and Community Garden” in the spring.

By Aubry Buzek Staff writer Starting a community garden is a lifelong dream for C.J. Pierce. Before her mother passed away, she told her daughter to follow that dream. Now Pierce has 10 acres of land and is putting her plan into action. Pierce is planning to start a community garden this spring called […]

Man settles with Roosevelt County over arrest

Abdoulaye Sarr of Portales recently settled a federal lawsuit against Roosevelt County and state police after being falsely accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

By Robin Fornoff Projects Editor Roosevelt County officials have quietly settled a federal lawsuit for malicious prosecution and false imprisonment filed by a Portales man who claims he was arrested for no reason. Abdoulaye Sarr, 58, was a student at Eastern New Mexico University when arrested in Portales three years ago and accused of […]

Clovis man sentenced to 19 years in sex case

Daniel Bayless

Staff report Daniel Bayless, 51, of Clovis, was sentenced to 19 years in prison Monday for conviction of sexually penetrating a 10-year-old girl, according to a press release from District Attorney Andrea Reeb. Bayless was sentenced by District Judge Fred Van Soelen to a mandatory 18 years plus another year for being an habitual offender […]

Candlelight vigil to honor slaying victim

Staff photo: Aubry Buzek
A memorial cross stands at Goodwin Lake Trails for Ariel Ulibarri, the young mother who was found stabbed to death in the park on Nov. 9.

By Aubry Buzek Staff writer Kim Trujillo said she did not know Ariel Ulibarri, but she has come to know her through the memories of her friends and family. “She was a beautiful human being. She was amazing. She always had a smile on her face,” Trujillo said. To honor Ulibarri, who was stabbed […]

Mobile homes belonging to Tucumcari slaying victims burn

Staff photo: Steve Hansen
The site of the November 2012 slayings of Sue Day and her daughter Sherry Folts burned to the ground early Monday.

By Steve Hansen Staff writer The site of the November 2012 slayings of Sue Day and her daughter Sherry Folts burned to the ground early Monday. The abandoned mobile homes where the victims and their slayer Tony Day lived were leveled by a fire that started in a corner of one of the mobile […]

Zoo gearing up for Christmas Nites

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson
A decorative bow hangs on the cage of Sooner, the Hillcrest Park Zoo’s Bengal tiger. A tree next to Sooner’s cage is also adorned with ornaments for this week’s Christmas Nites at the Zoo. The event is expected to draw more than 1,500 people over the four nights.

By Kevin Wilson Staff writer ’Twas the week before Christmas For Hillcrest Park’s zoo The statues were tasseled Gold, silver, pink, blue The lighting was hung On the fences with care With knowledge that hundreds Would soon visit there For zoo staff, the eighth annual Christmas Nites at the Zoo feels far from poetic. […]

Realtor Gayla Brumfield sells Colonial Real Estate

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson
Holly Stockstill, left, has purchased Colonial Real Estate from Gayla Brumfield, who was owner since 1985. Brumfield will remain in the agency, and will focus on commercial real estate.

By Kevin Wilson Staff writer Holly Stockstill just wanted to do some marketing work, and never had grand plans to take over Colonial Real Estate when she joined the firm about nine years ago. She didn’t even have plans until a random day at the office with owner Gayla Brumfield. “One day I was […]

Theft prevention

Joshua Lucero: Staff illustration
Local law enforcement agencies are urging residents to keep valuables and gifts out of sight while they perform their holiday shopping this Christmas season. Hiding valuables and locking doors help to limit the opportunities thieves have to steal from vehicles and homes.

By Joshua Lucero The holiday season is here and police are reminding area residents to be aware of holiday thieves. Portales Police Department Detective Charlie Smart said the December shopping season usually sees an increase in theft in the area. Smart said thefts often occur in vehicles that have valuable items visible through windows. […]