Serving the High Plains

Articles written by Ron Warnick


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  • Middle school building may be torn down

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Apr 17, 2024

    Four possible updates to Tucumcari Public Schools' five-year facilities master plan would lead to the tearing down of its middle school due to stagnant enrollment and underused buildings. TPS held a community meeting last Monday in the Mesa Cafeteria to discuss possible options for the district. About 30 people - many of them district employees or administrators - attended. Susan Miller, a senior director of strategic consulting for Ohio-based Woolpert, led the meeting. She said her company was...

  • Tucumcari school board interviews 3 for superintendent

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Apr 17, 2024

    The Tucumcari Public Schools board interviewed three candidates for superintendent on Friday, though a decision on who to hire probably won’t happen for another 10 days or so. The board interviewed current Tucumcari Middle School principal Lendall Borden, Santa Fe Public Schools assistant superintendent for instruction and school support Carl Marano and Explore Academy of Albuquerque assistant principal Anthony Branch for the position. A fourth candidate scheduled to be interviewed, Lovington Municipal Schools principal Steve Barron, dropped o...

  • Chief: New vehicle policy would be 'hardship'

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Apr 17, 2024

    The Tucumcari City Commission approved a first reading to an update to its personnel policy, but not without hearing about its possible repercussions to the police force. During a work session last Tuesday, Police Chief Patti Lopez said the policy contains a measure that requires employees to reside within 10 miles of the city to take home city vehicles. Lopez said her department already has lost an officer who resides in Logan 25 miles away, and another Logan officer said he would quit if the policy took effect. “The minute it goes into effect...

  • Lady Ratters win 2 of 3 home games

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Apr 17, 2024

    Tucumcari's softball team won two of three home games last week, including a 12-2 non-district victory over Mora in five innings Friday. The Lady Rattlers won the game by the mercy rule with seven runs in the fifth inning, including an RBI single by Amaya Roybal to cap off the rally. Tucumcari (6-3) amassed 11 hits against the Rangerettes (5-4), including two doubles and two RBI by Alexis Ramirez. Harley McKinney scored three runs and drove in another. "We had little bit more energy today, hit t...

  • Arch Hurley board allocates 2 inches

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Apr 17, 2024

    The Arch Hurley Conservancy District board of directors unanimously voted last Tuesday to allocate 2 inches of water per acre for area farmers for the coming growing season. On a day it rained during the board’s meeting, members were reluctant to allocate more water to its irrigation canals due to meager inflow to Conchas Lake so far this year. District manager Franklin McCasland reported the lake’s elevation that morning at 4,172.19 feet, which was about one-third of a foot higher than the previous month. He reported the lake received 2,3...

  • San Jon schools warns of 'very tight' budget

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Apr 17, 2024

    SAN JON — The business manager for San Jon Municipal Schools said during a board work session Thursday she anticipated “a very, very tight budget” for the 2024-2025 school year. Superintendent Alan Umholtz agreed with the assessment from Stormi Sena. He said the state government is slated to provide additional money only for mandated 3% raises for teachers. But Umholtz also said the district is fiscally hampered by a 31% increase in risk insurance and a 15% increase in medical insurance. He attributed the risk insurance hikes to more injur...

  • Lodgers tax board recommends $160K

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Apr 10, 2024

    The Tucumcari Lodgers Tax Advisory Board last week recommended almost $160,000 in assistance to varying events and projects for the 2024-2025 fiscal year. The recommendations are scheduled to go this week to the city commission, which can approve, modify or reject them. A total of $117,087.29 in promotional funds from lodgers tax revenue would be used for varying projects, and another $42,300 in executive funds of lodgers taxes also would be spent. The board approved these aid recommendations: — Fired Up festival, $10,200; — Rattler Reu...

  • Logan rebounds with Questa, Gateway wins

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Apr 10, 2024

    LOGAN - Longhorns coach Kyle Griffiths said pitching is his team's strength and that his players needed to shore up their defense after a recent doubleheader loss at Gateway Christian. Logan (4-2) appeared to do both well - at least for now - during 24-0 and 30-2 non-district victories over visiting Questa on Thursday. In the opener, Brock Burns and Diego Sanchez combined on a five-inning no-hitter against the Wildcats (1-5). They walked three and struck out 10. In the nightcap, Logan pitchers...

  • Sandia Prep tops Tucumcari in windy games

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Apr 10, 2024

    Yes, the Tucumcari baseball team did host district foe Sandia Prep on Saturday afternoon despite the wind. It was clear early in the first game the Sundevils weren't used to playing in such chilly, blustery weather. But they adjusted and swept the doubleheader by scores of 19-6 and 14-7. Sandia Prep, winners of six of eight, improved to 7-7 overall and 2-1 in district play. Tucumcari fell to 3-8, 0-3. Wind gusts on Saturday consistently measured more than 50 mph at Tucumcari Municipal Airport...

  • County OKs pact with wireless regulator

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Apr 10, 2024

    Quay County commissioners on Monday approved a contract with Wireless Tower Solutions to regulate wireless communications facilities. Chief training and technology officer Dean Williamson, appearing by videoconference during the meeting, said he anticipates the company would develop a county ordinance for cellular facilities within two months. Wireless Tower Solutions is based in South Carolina and has an office in Albuquerque. The contract comes at no cost to the county. Wireless Tower Solutions earns its revenue through application and...

  • City manager wants to emphasize infrastructure in plan

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Apr 10, 2024

    An update to the City of Tucumcari's comprehensive plan took shape during a second hearing at the convention center, but the city manager insisted on one particular thing to emphasize. Late in the hearing Wednesday, city manager Paula Chacon implored that improving Tucumcari's infrastructure, especially on the city's west side, had to be high priority within the 20-year plan. Chacon said without improvements to the city's aging infrastructure, it would be more difficult to draw new businesses an...

  • City manager withdraws resignation

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Apr 3, 2024

    The attorney for Tucumcari city manager Paula Chacon stated in a letter to the city commission written on her behalf that she would rescind her earlier offer to resign. The letter accused Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Lopez of harassment, a hostile work environment and a conflict of interest. Copies of the letter were distributed to the commission before its regular meeting Thursday. During the public comment portion of the meeting, eight people — including several city department heads — voiced their support for Chacon, prompting applause from the cro...

  • Tucumcari superintendent applicants ID'd

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Apr 3, 2024

    Two applicants for the Tucumcari Public Schools superintendent position were criminally charged years ago but not convicted. Several more have been named in lawsuits against their respective school districts, and two resigned under pressure from their boards. Eight people have applied for the position to replace Aaron McKinney, who retired on Jan. 1 after 18 years at the helm. At least two of the applicants have strong links to Tucumcari, including one who is a TPS administrator. The Quay County Sun examined the applications through an open-rec...

  • Final respects to fallen officer

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Apr 3, 2024

    Though the funeral was more than 160 miles away, Jeri Herrera of Tucumcari stood as she watched a livestream of law enforcement officers carrying away the cremains of fallen New Mexico State Police officer Justin Hare of Logan. An estimated 2,000 people attended Hare's funeral Wednesday at Legacy Church-Central Campus in Albuquerque. At least another 800 people, such as Herrera, watched online. Legacy Church in Tucumcari offered to show the livestream on one of its large video screens. About 15...

  • EDC extends contact of interim director

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Apr 3, 2024

    The board for the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corporation on Wednesday extended the contract of its interim director through December as it tries to straighten out its books and nonprofit status in the meantime. Kristine Olsen, interim director for the EDC and placeholder director of the Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce, will be paid $20 an hour, plus a $4 service fee. Her hours are capped at 80 per month. Olsen had been budgeted at 20 hours per week, but she asked for 80 a month. She said there were some weeks where she...

  • District attorney chosen as judge

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Mar 27, 2024

    Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham chose current District Attorney Timothy Rose to be the new judge in the 10th Judicial District, starting next month. Rose is replacing Albert “Scooter” Mitchell Jr., who retired in February after 15 years on the bench. The 10th Judicial District covers Quay, Harding and De Baca counties. Rose will be sworn in by 9th District Judge Donna Mowrer during a public ceremony at the Quay County Courthouse in Tucumcari at 1:30 p.m. April 1. Rose, who sat for an interview Sunday in a side room of the district attorney’s office...

  • 'He was a good man'

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Mar 27, 2024

    An estimated 500 people on Wednesday evening shared memories and mourned a slain New Mexico State Police officer from Logan. The vigil drew officers from as far away as Hobbs paying their respects to NMSP patrolman Justin Hare, who was gunned down on March 15 west of Tucumcari while stopping to assist a motorist with a flat tire. The suspect, Jaremy Smith of South Carolina, was captured in Albuquerque two days later after being shot by police during a foot pursuit. Federal charges were filed...

  • County OKs resolution against Mimbres Peak plan

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Mar 27, 2024

    The Quay County Commission on Monday unanimously approved a resolution supporting Luna Count in its opposition to a proposed Mimbres Peak National Monument. The commission heard the proposal from Commissioner Jerri Rush at an earlier meeting but tabled action because commission Chairman Robert Lopez was absent due to an illness. Rush said the federal government wants to designate over 245,000 acres near Deming. Rush said ranchers who have been in the area for generations would lose grazing privileges on what currently is U.S. Bureau of Land...

  • Rattlers can't hold lead against Dons

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Mar 27, 2024

    There's no avoiding the ugly truth: The Tucumcari baseball team blew a late three-run lead during a 20-15 non-district home loss last Tuesday against West Las Vegas. However, the Rattlers program had some good takeaways from the game. The fact the Rattlers made the Dons battle for the win was noteworthy in itself. The rebuilding THS baseball program hadn't been competitive against West Las Vegas in years. In their last half-dozen games against the Dons, the Rattlers lost nearly all of them by...

  • State police officer mourned

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Mar 20, 2024

    The suspect was caught after a two-day manhunt, but many residents in Quay County and the law enforcement community still were grieving a New Mexico State Police officer from Logan who was shot and killed Friday morning west of Tucumcari. NMSP patrolman Justin Hare, 35, a member of the force since 2018, was shot fatally on Interstate 40 when he stopped to help the driver of a disabled vehicle. The suspect, Jaremy Alexander Smith, 33, of South Carolina was apprehended in Albuquerque on Sunday mor...

  • Five-day week dominates TPS board meeting

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Mar 20, 2024

    The prospect of Tucumcari Public Schools going from a four-days-a-week of instruction to five days in the next school year dominated discussion at the board’s meeting last Monday — including having to submit two different budgets and school calendars for those schedules. Interim superintendent Dave Johnson said TPS likely would go from about 157 days of instruction to 185 or 187 in the 2024-2025 school year, based on a new plan by the state’s Public Education Department. Johnson said it remained uncertain whether the 180-day plan would inclu...

  • Vixens vex Lady Longhorns in final

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Mar 20, 2024

    By Ron Warnick QCS senior writer [email protected] ALBUQUERQUE - It stings for a team to lose to district rival after winning the two previous matchups. It especially stings when the loss occurs in the state championship game. That's what happened to the Logan girls basketball team Saturday at The Pit at the University of New Mexico. District nemesis Fort Sumner-House dominated most of the game and cruised to a 54-36 victory for the Vixens' second Class 1A title in three years. The...

  • No. 1 Steers survive Longhorns' rally

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Mar 20, 2024

    RIO RANCHO – Despite being down by 20 points, the fifth-seeded Logan boys basketball team mounted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter and gave a big scare to No. 1 Magdalena during a 58-54 Longhorns loss in the Class 1A semifinals. The Steers (30-1), which made nine 3-point shots during the contest Thursday at the Rio Rancho Events Center, surged to a 48-28 lead late in the third period and still commanded a 53-36 advantage with 4 1/2 minutes remaining. The Longhorns switched to a f...

  • Accreditor puts MCC on probation

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Mar 20, 2024

    The Higher Learning Commission placed Mesalands Community College on probation as expected, but the college’s president again expressed optimism its finances would be above water by the end of the fiscal year in late June. The HLC awards accreditation to educational institutions in nearly 20 states. Mesalands interim president Allen Moss said HLC signaled months ago the college would be placed on probation. That designation was made official by certified mail on March 5, with the HLC board stating the college was “out of compliance” for its a...

  • PED imposes new instruction rule

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Mar 13, 2024

    The New Mexico Public Education Department on Thursday imposed a minimum of 180 instructional days for public schools in the 2024-2025 school year despite widespread opposition — including from all four superintendents of Quay County’s schools. The new rule, which takes effect July 1, means many rural schools will have to set a five-day school week instead of the usual four. The PED would allow exemptions, but only if they show substantial growth in reading proficiency during the current school year. Public Education Secretary Arsenio Rom...

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