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 kwilson@cnjonline.com ’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 kwilson@cnjonline.com 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 jlucero@pntonline.com 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. […]

Community honors retiring legislator Crook

Staff photo: Aubry Buzek
From left, Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview and Rep. George Dodge, D-Santa Rosa, listen as retiring Rep. Anna Crook reflects on her 20 years as District 64 representative. Crook was honored at the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce legislative breakfast Thursday morning.

By Aubry Buzek Staff writer abuzek@cnjonline.com Some might consider a stink bomb or whoopee cushion an inappropriate diversion while bills are being debated on the legislative floor. State Rep. Anna Crook, R-Clovis, didn’t  play by that rule. At the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce’s legislative breakfast Thursday, guests and attendants shared lighthearted stories of the […]

Church helps families affected by incarceration

Staff photo: Aubry Buzek
Vivian Lake and other volunteers at The Living Word Church of God wrapped presents for more than 100 children with incarcerated parents Thursday. The volunteers purchased presents for the Clovis children, but the gifts are presented as if their parents bought them.

By Aubry Buzek STAFF WRITER abuzek@cnjonline.com Children with parents in jail may struggle a little more during the holiday season. One local church is trying to help. The Living Word Church of God is hosting a Prison Fellowship Angel Tree party at 6 p.m. today. The program provides gifts and a holiday celebration for Clovis […]

Suspect found innocent of first-degree murder in Portales shooting

Staff photo: Joshua Lucero
Erik Pina, right, stands with his lawyer, Randall Harris, Tuesday afternoon as Judge Stephen Quinn reads the jury’s verdict during Pina’s trial for the 2011 shooting death of Jose Montoya. The jury found Pina not guilty of first-degree murder, but convicted him of eight other charges, including aggravated burglary, armed robbery, and possession of stolen property.

By Joshua Lucero Staff photo jlucero@pntonline.com After a day of deliberations, a Roosevelt County jury on Tuesday found Erik Pina innocent of first-degree murder in connection with the 2011 shooting death of Jose Montoya. Pina, 19, was convicted of eight other charges in connection with the crime, including armed robbery, conspiracy to commit burglary, aggravated […]

Rico Sena sentenced to 10 years in stabbing

Staff photo: Tony Bullocks
Rico Sena is led away by Curry County deputies after being sentenced on Tuesday for voluntary manslaughter by District Judge Stephen Quinn.

By Aubry Buzek Staff writer abuzek@cnjonline.com Veronica Menzie described her baby brother Devin Saiz as a comedy character from the movie “Shrek.” “… The effervescent, lively and comical donkey,” Menzie said. “There was never a moment in which Devin wasn’t making someone smile or laugh.” On March 30, 2013, Rico Sena stabbed and killed Devin […]

In tribute: Mortgage loan officer friend to many

Zala Smith

By Kevin Wilson Staff writer kwilson@cnjonline.com Zala Smith was a hometown girl born on the Fourth of July who took pride in helping people find homes and in making Clovis a better place to live. Smith, a longtime mortgage loan officer and member of numerous local boards and committees, died Saturday of complications from liver […]

Pages past — Dec. 10


On this date … 1964: New Mexico State Police Officers Joe Cotton of Clovis and David Kingsberry of Portales were the top shooters in a district competition held east of Clovis. Cotton scored the maximum 100 points in the marksmanship contest; Kingsberry scored 99.2 1959: Quail hunters who killed six tame geese on the Olan […]

Southwest Cheese takes Best of Show in parade

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson
A brightly-lit semi carrying various John Deere tractors moves through the traffic.

Staff report Southwest Cheese is the Best in Show winner of Clovis’ annual Christmas Lights Parade. Clovis MainStreet Executive Director Lisa Pellegrino-Spear said an estimated 6,000 people turned out Saturday for the parade. That’s about 1,000 more than last year’s crowd estimate. Pellegrino-Spear said the parade featured about 50 participants, including floats, marching groups and […]

Day trips: Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway

Courtesy photo
Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway offers day-use and camping facilities, hiking, wildlife watching, horseback riding, mountain-biking, boating on a no-wake lake, fishing, swimming and guided tours.

Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway outside Quitaque, Texas, is a longer drive than Palo Duro Canyon, but includes similar spectacular views, and offers the state’s official buffalo herd. What’s there: The park offers day-use and camping facilities, hiking, wildlife watching, horseback riding, mountain-biking, boating on a no-wake lake, fishing, swimming and guided tours. Almost […]

A good day to remember Port Beasley

Port Beasley

By David Stevens Editor dstevens@cnjonline.com Port Beasley claimed he was “the scaredest man there.” He probably wasn’t, but this is his story. He had just finished breakfast on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when hundreds of planes began to fly into Pearl Harbor. “Bullets hit about three feet away from us,” Beasley told a […]

Parade goes smoothly

Joshua Lucero: Staff photo
From left, Adilene Trillo, Analiya Trillo, and Imari Rodriguez rush to grab candy Friday night during the 28th annual Christmas Jubilee Light Parade in Portales. The three girls were most excited to see Mr. and Mrs. Claus during the parade.

By Joshua Lucero jlucero@pntonline.com Candy, lights, and Santa Claus were a few of the reasons for Portales residents to line the streets Friday night. The 28th annual Christmas Jubilee Light Parade made its way from the Portales Recreation Center to the town square with more than 40 floats in tow. Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce […]

Suspect in slaying initially said he was hired

Matthew Jennings

By Robin Fornoff Projects Editor rfornoff@cnjonline.com The man accused of killing 23-year-old Ariel Ulibarri first told police he was hired by someone, but later changed his story and said he did it out of rage, according to Clovis Police Chief Steve Sanders. Sanders said a criminal complaint filed in Magistrate Court Wednesday charging Matthew Jennings, […]

Woman arrested in dealership fires

Courtesy  photo: Elizabeth Brown
Clovis teacher Elizabeth Brown snapped this shot Wednesday morning of police arresting arson suspect Angela Madrid on 17th near Thornton moments after she allgedly started a fire at Greene Acres Park.

By Aubry Buzek Staff writer abuzek@cnjonline.com The woman accused of setting fires at two car dealerships, a house and a city park told police she did it because something bad was going to happen with fire, according to court records. Angelica Madrid, 40, told a Clovis detective “we needed to evacuate the town …” because […]

New families finalized on adoption day

Staff photo: Aubry Buzek
The Ninth Judicial Court celebrated National Adoption Day Wednesday by finalizing the adoptions of seven families and holding a ceremonial balloon release. Harmony Rose Smith and her sister Carnation were adopted by their parents Joe and Denise Smith.

By Aubry Buzek Staff writer abuzek@cnjonline.com Tears are not out of place in a district court room, but on Wednesday they were tears of joy as district judges united families from Curry and Roosevelt counties. “We are here to celebrate families, children and adoptions,” said Ben Cross, the 9th Judicial District Court staff attorney. “Adoption […]

Police: Suspect confessed to killing Ariel Ulibarri

Matthew Jennings

Staff report Ariel Ulibarri did not know her alleged killer, her sister said Tuesday. Police say Matthew P. Jennings, 25, of Clovis on Tuesday confessed to the Nov. 9 slaying of Ulibarri at the Goodwin Lake walking trail. Jennings was being held on charges not related to the stabbing death early Tuesday evening, but officials […]

Owner says family’s ‘whole lives’ invested in paper recycling business

Staff photo: Aubry Buzek
A Clovis Fire Department crew checked the Paper Recycling Depot for smoldering Monday morning after the department fought a major fire at the structure the night before.

By Aubry Buzek Staff writer abuzek@cnjonline.com Frank Lasky and his children have been part of the Clovis business community for 19 years. They did a job they said no one else wanted, at one point processing more than 100 tons of recycled paper per month. On Sunday their business burned. “I built this business with […]

Call open for parade entries

File photo
Clovis’ Christmas Lights Parade is Saturday and the theme is Candy Land Christmas, according to a release from the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce.

Staff report Clovis’ Christmas Lights Parade is Saturday and the theme is Candy Land Christmas, according to a release from the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber release was a call for entries in the annual night-time celebration of the holiday. The parade is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. There is no entry […]

Clovis paper recycling center burns

Officials said the fire was reported about 5:30 p.m.

By Aubry Buzek Staff writer abuzek@cnjonline.com Clovis firefighters on Sunday night were battling a blaze at the Paper Recycling Depot on Curry Avenue, south of Mabry Drive. Firefighter Joel Gershon said the business’ owner reported the fire about 5:30 p.m. While the outside of the building was contained, Gershon said firefighters as of 6:45 p.m. […]