Serving the High Plains

Articles written by Steve Hansen


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  • Portales declares a water emergency

    Steve Hansen, The Staff of The News|Jul 5, 2023

    PORTALES — A Stage 3 emergency water emergency that went into effect Wednesday was properly declared by John DeSha, the city’s public utilities director, according to Portales city manager Sarah Austin. The Portales City Council did not declare the emergency, but two councilors reacted to it at a council meeting last Tuesday. Ward B Councilor Oscar Robinson said it is unfair to place restrictions on residents when the city will not fix leaks in its own water system. A water leak near his home has persisted for weeks, he said, and has not re...

  • Interim superintendent chosen in House

    Steve Hansen, The Staff of The News|Apr 5, 2023

    HOUSE — A former Farwell, Texas, high school principal and former superintendent of Chillicothe, Texas, schools has been chosen to be the interim superintendent of House Municipal Schools. Coby Norman, who retired as Farwell High School’s administrator on July 31, 2022, was hired at a special House Municipal School Board meeting on March 24. Norman said last week he retired after 32 years in education, of which 22 he was an administrator. Temporarily, Norman replaces Bonnie Lightfoot, whom the board placed on paid leave on March 14....

  • House superintendent put on paid leave

    Steve Hansen, The Staff of The News|Mar 22, 2023

    HOUSE - House Muncipal Schools Superintendent Bonnie Lightfoot was placed on paid administrative leave last Tuesday by the school board. Parents said the move was in response to the handling of an alleged threat made by a student, but school board members would not confirm. The unanimous vote to place Lightfoot on paid leave followed a 2 1/2-hour executive session. Lightfoot left the board's meeting room with board members but was not with them when they returned to the meeting room from the...

  • Grady incident 'not swept under rug'

    Steve Hansen, The Staff of The News|Dec 28, 2022

    GRADY – A schoolteacher who allegedly told students they would burn in "the embers of hell" for various behaviors remains on the job, Superintendent Keith Durham said last week. Durham declined to say whether any disciplinary action was taken against the teacher, but he assured concerned parents the matter was "not swept under the rug," which he repeated several times. "I wish I could tell you what we did, but I can't," he said during the Dec. 19 school board meeting in the board's meeting...

  • Fort Sumner woman pleads

    Steve Hansen, The Staff of The News|Aug 3, 2022

    CLOVIS - A Fort Sumner woman accused of killing her grandfather and hiding his remains in a toolbox in August 2020 pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Wednesday before Judge Benjamin Cross in a Clovis courtroom. Candy Jo Webb, 28, also pleaded guilty to charges of tampering with evidence and fraud. Cross accepted the plea agreement and called for a sentencing hearing in 30 days. Cross said the second-degree murder sentence could be as long 21 years in prison, plus court costs. Under the plea...

  • Audit of Roosevelt County ballots election conducted

    Steve Hansen, The Staff of The News|Jun 29, 2022

    PORTALES — About 20 people united by a mistrust in how voting machines record election results gathered last Wednesday morning in a basement hallway of the Roosevelt County Courthouse. Their mission was to scan copies of all 6,627 ballots cast by Roosevelt County voters in the 2020 election to be used for an unofficial audit of the 2020 election results. The ballots, obtained through the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act, were in plain cardboard boxes stacked to about shoulder height on one end of the hallway. Roosevelt County Clerk...

  • Clovis man puts together analog studio

    Steve Hansen, The Staff of The News|Jun 29, 2022

    CLOVIS - For Jay Fisher, cobbling together an analog recording studio is a labor of love, his own technical skills and nostalgia for the time when he could lay claim to being an extended member of the Norman and Vi Petty family, whose legendary studio became one of the birthplaces of rock 'n' roll. The Pettys had no children of their own, but since they were good friends with Jerry Fisher, Jay Fisher's dad, Jay Fisher, and his twin sisters Lynne and Lynda were often entertained as kids at the Pe...

  • Regional mental health facility receives wide support

    Steve Hansen, The Staff of The News|Jun 15, 2022

    The idea of a regional behavioral health facility for Curry, Roosevelt, Quay and De Baca counties seemed to have wide support among public officials, public safety first-responders and health professionals who gathered Thursday in Portales to hear a report on such a facility’s feasibility. James Corbett, principal of Initium Health, the Denver-based consulting firm that conducted the feasibility study, told the assembly in Portales’ Yam Theater that experience and insight from interviews and a work session in March demonstrated a behavioral...

  • WPA left its mark in eastern New Mexico

    Steve Hansen, The Staff of The News|Mar 16, 2022

    Somewhere in the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration between "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" in 1933 and "Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy," came the Works Progress Administration. Somewhere in the late years of the Great Depression, the WPA left its stamp on Tucumcari, quite literally, and not once but hundreds of times. Just about everywhere in town, pieces of sidewalk have the letters "WPA" and the date they were made engraved into the concrete. Nobody...

  • City to buy ambulance from Albuquerque group

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Sep 29, 2021

    The city of Tucumcari will buy a demonstration vehicle to replace an ambulance damaged in an accident on Sept. 13, using an emergency allocation from the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration. The city commission at its regular meeting Thursday approved the agreement with DFA, which will provide $254,663 to purchase the ambulance from the Siddon-Martin Emergency Group of Albuquerque, which is $1,000 less than the purchase price of $255,663. The city will cover the $1,000 difference, City Manager Mark Martinez told the commission...

  • Bidding Tucumcari fond farewell

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Sep 22, 2021

    As of last weekend, one of the words that up until recently identified me for this column is a lie. That word is “Tucumcari.” I have moved to Clovis with my wife for personal and professional reasons. Professionally, I will be doing steady part-time work for The Eastern New Mexico News, published by Clovis Media, which also publishes the Quay County Sun. By writing my weekly column, I’m taking a break from staring at boxes and stuff stacked up in staging areas, then hauling portions of that stuff, often heavy, closer to their final...

  • Water, wastewater projects top ICIP

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Sep 15, 2021

    Water and wastewater projects led Tucumcari’s annual Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP) for the years 2023 to 2027. The city commission approved the five-year plan at its regular meeting Thursday. Leading the list, as last year, was repairs to wastewater facilities on the east side of the city along Historic Route 66. The city hopes to fund $723,350 for the project in 2023. A total of $318,934 has been funded already, according to the ICIP document. The next priority was repairs and upgrades to wastewater systems for which the...

  • Best to follow your doctor's advice

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Sep 15, 2021

    Everybody knows that ivermectin, a horse de-worming medicine, should not be used by humans to fight COVID-19. That’s what everybody in the media has been saying. Even a shallow dive into the internet, however, reveals that ivermectin is still being tested for its effectiveness against the COVID-19 virus. In other words, many are wrongly assuming the drug has been found conclusively to be inappropriate for COVID-19 treatment. We don’t know whether or not it is effective. That seems to be the current bottom line. For that reason alone,...

  • Divisions weakening democracy

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Sep 8, 2021

    In three days, we will mark the 20th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center that killed more than 3,000 Americans who were peacefully going about their business. As the nation watched in horror, two airliners flown by suicide bombers deliberately crashed into the towers over Manhattan and we kept up with news accounts of massive, frantic rescue efforts for hours until both towers collapsed, sending dust and debris cascading over Manhattan. The attack launched the U.S. into a war on terror that since then has continued with varying...

  • Asphalt warranty earns city approval

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Sep 1, 2021

    A three-year warranty on asphalt work on downtown Tucumcari’s Second Street rebuilding project Thursday received the city commission’s approval. The warranty does not mean the city has closed out the contract with J&H Services of Albuquerque, the construction contractor, City Manager Mark Martinez said.. The contract will not be closed out, Martinez said, until all items on a punch list of tasks required on the project is completed and concrete work is corrected. Concrete work on a sidewalk area did not conform to design specifications,...

  • May be time to reconsider job design

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Sep 1, 2021

    Henry David Thoreau, one of America’s literary giants, once proposed that people should work one day a week and rest on the other six, instead of the work-six, rest-one arrangement commanded in the Holy Bible. Maybe Thoreau did not consider his prodigious reading and 2 million words of printed literature to be work, but his was not the output of a lazy man. A young former National Public Radio news producer named Cassady Rosenblum wrote an essay for the New York Times, however, which describes a world-wide movement called “lie flat,” in...

  • No correct decision in Afghanistan

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Aug 25, 2021

    It seems to be the consensus of Monday morning quarterbacks, whether Republicans or Democrats, that President Joe Biden’s decision early this year to pull out of Afghanistan before autumn was a huge blunder. The withdrawal led to a lightning-fast takeover by Aug. 16 of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, by the radically Muslim Taliban, a sworn U.S. enemy, as Afghanistan’s defenses evaporated like raindrops on a hot sidewalk. The Taliban’s advance was so fast, the U.S. was caught flat-footed in efforts to rescue stranded Americans or...

  • Tucumcari passes cannabis regulation ordinance

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Aug 18, 2021

    A new ordinance to regulate recreational cannabis- and marijuana-based businesses in Tucumcari got a go-ahead Thursday from the Tucumcari City Commission, but the new law is still a work in progress. Before it receives a final vote for approval from the commission, the ordinance must be published, then undergo a public hearing and final approval from the commission. The city has a deadline of Sept. 1 for final passage. Otherwise, the state’s recreational cannabis legalization law states, the city must abide by state standards. At a public...

  • Trump failed heir to Ronald Reagan

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Aug 18, 2021

    It was supposed to happen Friday the 13th, but Donald Trump is still not back in the White House. Joseph Biden is still the president without the immediate threat of being toppled, and Trump is still just a citizen still engaged in the whining and name-calling that endeared him to up to 70 million voters in the November election. Thank goodness 80 million of us voters decided we were fed up with the presumptions, the immaturity and incompetence of our 45th president. Mike Lindell, the My Pillow guy, was as wrong in his prediction of Trump’s...

  • Coronaviruses are not political

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Aug 11, 2021

    Recently, I have heard some thoughtful arguments against COVID-19 masks and the requirements to wear them. I respect the opinions I have heard, but I still think they are dangerously wrong in the face of a worldwide pandemic of a very contagious, too-often fatal and debilitating disease. As with previous pandemics, this one can only be gotten rid of by near-universal adoption of inconvenient preventive measures. I heard from some people that masks are useless because viruses can pass right through them. They say the viruses are so tiny that...

  • City approves final budget for 2022

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Aug 4, 2021

    The Tucumcari City Commission on July 27 approved a final budget for fiscal year 2022 that shows a deficit of about $417,000 and assigns spending cuts to city departments ranging from 2% to 7%. The commission chose the department-by-department spending-cut option after considering other choices, including one that would accommodate increasing the minimum wage to $11.50 per hour with pay raises of 2% to salaried employees and $1 per hour for hourly employees but made no other changes. That choice would have raised the deficit to more than...

  • Government has share of absurdity

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Aug 4, 2021

    I do not subscribe to the theory that the greatest oxymoronic phrase in existence is “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” In my history of covering governments as a journalist and observing them as a communications specialist — OK, PR guy — for a major electric utility, whose business health depends on legislation and regulation, I have dealt with many dedicated public servants in government in positions of responsibility. They take pride in their positions, as well as in their professionalism. They are why governments...

  • City approves renewal of joint powers agreement

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Jul 28, 2021

    The city of Tucumcari will uphold its part of the joint powers agreement that provides emergency communications service to Quay County and parts of Harding County. Under the agreement, city pays 45% of the cost, as does Quay County. Logan and San Jon pay the remaining 10%. The Tucumcari City Commission on Thursday approved renewal of the joint powers agreement. The commission also approved renewal of a permit that allows Plateau Communications to keep a tower on the city’s former landfill site to extend the range of broadband internet...

  • Pot legalization has rocky road ahead

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Jul 28, 2021

    There seems to be an element of the blind leading the blind in how state and local governments will regulate legalized recreational marijuana when the state starts issuing licenses to cannabis-based businesses on Sept. 1. City and county governments in Roosevelt and Curry counties have expressed confusion, especially because they face a choice of passing local laws while the state is still rustling up its own regulations on or before Sept. 1, or being subject to state regulations if they don’t come up with alternatives by that date. It’s...

  • Facing reality of virus saves lives

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Jul 21, 2021

    Last week Ron DeSantis, the fantasy-oriented governor of Florida, said Dr. Anthony Fauci should not be believed or heeded because he was not elected. Huh? It is still true, I think, that the last people we believe are politicians. You know, the elected ones. But now DeSantis, one of the most cynical panderers in our political world, says we should believe him, not our most preeminent contagious disease expert, because Fauci wasn’t elected. I tend to believe scientists like Fauci, Stephen Hawking, and Albert Einstein, even though they never...

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