Serving the High Plains

Articles from the July 15, 2020 edition


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  • County fair is canceled

    Staff report|Jul 15, 2020

    The Quay County Fair in Tucumcari has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic and will be replaced with a stripped-down, livestock-only Quay County Expo for FFA and 4-H members at the usual time in mid-August. Justin Knight, president of the fair board, said in an emailed statement Sunday the board voted unanimously July 6 to cancel the fair. “This decision was a difficult one but considering the current situation and the mandates from the state government we felt that this was the best decision,” he wrote. “Our kids work hard on th...

  • State Supreme Court halts order allowing restaurants to reopen

    Staff report|Jul 15, 2020

    From staff report A few hours after an Eddy County judge Monday morning issued a restraining order allowing restaurants and breweries to reopen, the state Supreme Court stepped in to disallow it. The state's high court granted the governor's request for a stay of the order Monday afternoon, putting restaurants and breweries back to being open only for takeout orders or delivery and 50% capacity on patio seating. Justices said both parties would need to submit their arguments next week. An Eddy County judge Monday morning issued the temporary...

  • Two more COVID-19 cases reported Monday in county

    Staff report|Jul 15, 2020

    Two more confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported Monday in Quay County, bringing the total to 24 overall since the pandemic began. They were the 16th and 17th cases in the county in 25 days. The New Mexico Department of Health reported the latest cases were age 20 to 29 and age 40 to 49. One was female; one was male. Both were reported in the Tucumcari ZIP code. Twenty of the coronavirus cases in the county remained active through Monday. Three have been deemed as recovered from the virus, and one death was reported in April. More than 960...

  • Restraining order restores indoor dining at restaurants

    Staff report|Jul 15, 2020

    An Eddy County judge late Monday morning issued a restraining order against the New Mexico governor's amended health order, allowing restaurants and breweries to reopen to indoor dining at 50% capacity for 10 days. Fifth District Court Judge Raymond Romero stated in his order the state had not responded to the request by an 11 a.m. Monday deadline after the initial request July 15. As a result, the health order reverted to the previous version that allowed restaurants and breweries to be partially open to indoor service. Todd Duplantis, who...

  • Three more COVID-19 cases reported in Quay County

    Staff report|Jul 15, 2020

    Three more confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported Friday in Quay County, bringing the total to 22 overall since the pandemic began. They were the 13th, 14th and 15th cases in the county in 22 days after weeks of no activity. The New Mexico Department of Health reported the latest cases were two people age 10 to 19 and one person age 30 to 39. Two were females; one was male. All were reported in the Tucumcari ZIP code. Eighteen of the coronavirus cases in the county remained active through Friday. Three have been deemed as recovered from the...

  • More charges against former Roosevelt County deputy

    Staff report|Jul 15, 2020

    Criminal allegations against a former Roosevelt County sheriff’s deputy are increasing. Chris McCasland, 34, of Portales was arrested Wednesday on stolen property charges connected to his time working as a police officer in Angel Fire. On Thursday, charges of burglary and unlawful taking of a motor vehicle were also filed, again in connection with his time in Angel Fire. District Attorney Andrea Reeb said McCasland turned himself in to Tucumcari authorities for a second time Friday after Thursday’s charges were filed. She expected him to tur...

  • Former Roosevelt County deputy arrested in Quay County

    Staff report|Jul 15, 2020

    A Roosevelt County sheriff’s deputy with Tucumcari ties was fired Monday and arrested Wednesday in Quay County after being accused of receiving stolen property. Roosevelt County Sheriff Malin Parker on Wednesday also issued a news release in which he named Chris McCasland, 34, as a suspect in the theft of $8,000 from the sheriff’s evidence room. The $8,000 was reported missing in January 2019. McCasland has not been charged with the missing cash. State police arrested him Wednesday morning on charges he stole a television set and other items fo...

  • Two more cases of COVID-19 reported in county

    Staff report|Jul 15, 2020

    Two more confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported Wednesday in Quay County, bringing the total to 19 overall since the pandemic began. They were the 11th and 12th cases in the county in 20 days after weeks of no activity. Two males – one age 10 to 19 and the other age 70 to 79 – made up the latest cases. Both were part of the Tucumcari ZIP code. Fifteen of the coronavirus cases in the county remained active through Wednesday. Three have been deemed as recovered from the virus, and one death was reported in April. More than 790 people in Qua...

  • NMAA releases modified sports schedules for coming year

    Staff report|Jul 15, 2020

    The New Mexico Activities Association on Wednesday released its amended sports calendar for the coming school year. As previously expected, almost all sports will have condensed seasons. Cross country and golf will begin their seasons first in mid-September, with volleyball starting in early October. Basketball season begins Jan. 4 and football season Feb. 22. Wrestling season won’t begin until early April. Baseball and softball seasons will be largely unchanged. Tentative dates for the start of the official season and state championship e...

  • Another COVID-19 case reported in Quay County

    Staff report|Jul 15, 2020

    One new case of coronavirus was reported Tuesday in Quay County, bringing the total to 17 overall. It was the 10th case in the county in 19 days after weeks of no activity. According to data on the New Mexico Department of Health website, the latest case is a female age 30 to 39 from the Tucumcari ZIP code. Thirteen of the coronavirus cases in the county remained active Tuesday. Three have been deemed as recovered from the virus, and one death was reported in April. More than 750 people in Quay County have been tested for the virus. A total of...

  • Graduation held in heat

    Ron Warnick|Jul 15, 2020

    SAN JON - Graduation for San Jon High School's three seniors was moved outdoors as a drive-up ceremony due to coronavirus restrictions, but the more immediate risk Saturday seemed to be sunstroke and heat exhaustion. Temperatures that day were forecast at 109 degrees, and the thermometer stood at 104 less than a half-hour before the ceremony at the San Jon Community Center's parking lot. About 10 minutes before the event, a cloud from an approaching storm obscured the broiling sun, bringing a...

  • Governor renews restaurant restrictions

    Ron Warnick|Jul 15, 2020

    Restaurateurs in Tucumcari and other parts of Quay County felt a bad sense of deja vu when the governor re-imposed a ban on indoor dining effective Monday, citing a steep rise in coronavirus cases. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Thursday during a briefing that restaurants and breweries would be banned from offering indoor dining and limited to carryout or delivery of meals. It was a repeat of the restrictions imposed in mid-March through early June. Restaurants with outside or patio seating are limited to 50% occupancy for diners. Todd D...

  • Calendar - July 15

    Jul 15, 2020

    Note: Events subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. • Aug. 12-15 — Quay County Expo. Young exhibitors from across the county and beyond will gather to show livestock. The carnival was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Stay tuned at https://quayextension.nmsu.edu/quay-county-fair.html as more details become available. Quay County fairgrounds, Tucumcari. • Sept. 25-27 — Nara Visa Cowboy Gathering. Hear cowboy poetry and songs in the Nara Visa Community Center. Activities also include a chuckwagon steak dinner, cowboy church and more...

  • Menus - July 15

    Jul 15, 2020

    The Tucumcari Senior Center and Logan Senior Center remain closed to the public indefinitely but will deliver meals to those who qualify. Those interested in meal deliveries should call the Tucumcari facility at 461-2307 and the Logan facility at 487-2287 for more information. Tucumcari Senior Center Wednesday — Lasagna, honey glazed carrots, garlic bread, oatmeal cookie. Thursday — Pork ribs, corn, broccoli, wheat bread, fruit cup. Friday — Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, sautéed zucchini, whole-wheat bread, orange. Monday...

  • In trying times, major on the majors

    Gordan Runyan|Jul 15, 2020

    At the risk of ruining the illusion, I’m going to break the fourth wall and share a secret. It’s my own secret, but I’m not alone in it. That is, just because I’m serving as a pastor, that doesn’t do anything to fill me with special powers or some kind of mutant intellect. Sure, I do my best to study, as the Bible says, to show myself approved. You’re also supposed to do that, though. I strive to pay attention to the world around me, and compare what I see to what the Scripture says I ought to s...

  • Quay COVID-19 confirmations jump

    Staff report|Jul 15, 2020

    After weeks of inactivity, Quay County experienced a sudden burst of COVID-19 confirmations with nine cases in 17 days. The latest were two confirmed cases of coronavirus on Sunday, both within the Tucumcari ZIP code. It was the fifth day of the last six at least one case in the county had been reported. The latest cases were individuals age 40 to 49 and 50 to 59. One was female, the other male. Last week also saw the first reported cases in the San Jon and Logan ZIP codes, though a New Mexico Department of Health official said the Logan cases...

  • Interim city manager term extended

    Steve Hansen|Jul 15, 2020

    Mark Martinez will be Tucumcari’s interim city manager for another 90 days, the city commission decided Thursday. An extension of Martinez’s contract received unanimous approval from the commission. Martinez again will be paid $19,000 for the 90-day period that began Friday, which is 15% higher than his regular salary as assistant city manager, according to the contract approved Thursday. At a work session before Thursday’s regular commission meeting, Commissioners noted the commission has set aside July 17 to interview candidates to becom...

  • Tax board optimistic about revenue

    Ron Warnick|Jul 15, 2020

    Tucumcari’s revenue from motel taxes in the just-completed fiscal year was only about $8,900 less than projections, giving optimism to the city’s Lodgers Tax Advisory Board the coronavirus pandemic’s effects won’t be as severe as predicted. City Finance Director Rachelle Arias said the city completed its fiscal year with $583,328 in motel taxes, compared to the projected total of $592,238. May motel-tax collections totaled $39,385, which was 31% below the projection of $55,503. But the Lodgers Tax Board’s executive fund and promotion...

  • Commissioners considering holding meetings via Zoom

    Ron Warnick|Jul 15, 2020

    COVID-19 wasn’t on the agenda of Monday’s Quay County Commission meeting, but it took up much of the commissioners’ discussion time during an otherwise routine session. All county officers at the meeting wore masks for the first time since the pandemic began in early March. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced earlier this month she would aggressively enforce the state’s mask mandate, including $100 fines for those who don’t wear them in public. Commission Chairman Franklin McCasland said in light of a recent spike in coronavirus cases, he...

  • Measures must account for both sides of ledger

    Albuquerque Journal|Jul 15, 2020

    If only it were that simple. There is no question Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s tough measures to combat COVID-19 have kept New Mexico’s death toll relatively low — although we collectively mourn the tragedy of more than 500 lives lost to the virus. There is no question the measures have helped keep the state’s hospitals operating well within their capacity for treating COVID patients. That was a key goal of measures taken since March to “flatten the curve.” And there is no question that continuing an aggressive lockdown in which bars and se...

  • Free speech belongs to all speakers

    Steve Hansen|Jul 15, 2020

    Let’s cancel “cancel culture,” the idea that discussion that offends should not be allowed if offended parties must be exposed to it. Cancel culture cancels free speech, the freedom on which all other freedoms is based. Let’s say Tucker Carlson and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth can call each other traitors. Let’s say Congressional representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Devin Nunes can voice whatever unreasonable, fleeting half-thoughts support their blind-sided biases. Let’s say pop musician Kanye West can run for president based on whims th...

  • Protesters should study history

    Michael Reagan|Jul 15, 2020

    The other day I mentioned to my son Cameron something I heard the great economist Thomas Sowell say. Sowell had reminded the Black Lives Matter protesters who were indiscriminately toppling statues and defacing monuments around the country that a lot of white people were instrumental in ending slavery. Not just Ulysses Grant, Abraham Lincoln and the hundreds of thousands of Northern soldiers who died in the Civil War, but also many abolitionists who were fighting to end slavery long before the shooting started. “That’s funny,” Cameron said,...

  • Governor signs loan, body camera bills into law

    Staff report|Jul 15, 2020

    New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed two bills into law last week that offers low-interest loans for businesses affected by COVID-19 and requiring all police officers to wear body cameras. The bills had advanced through a June special session of the New Mexico Legislature. The Small Business Recovery Act of 2020 allocates $400 million from the state’s Severance Tax Permanent Fund for loans to businesses and nonprofit groups and $50 million in loans to small governments affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Eligible businesses and n...

  • Tucumcari resident publishes book of poetry, short stories

    Ron Warnick|Jul 15, 2020

    Though Tucumcari resident Levi Mericle had amassed hundreds of poems and short stories in 15 years of writing, he hadn't planned on self-publishing a book of his work. He didn't need to. A publishing company in India liked what it read and offered do it for him. The result is Mericle's first book, "The Autobiography of a Broken Kid," published in late June by Cyberwit.net. It's a collection of selected poems and flash fiction, which are short stories of 400 up to 800 words. Mericle also his...

  • Pages past - July 15

    Jul 15, 2020

    On this date ... 1970: Northeast New Mexico ranchers, plagued by caterpillars and weary of drawn-out court battles, have begun spraying more than 250,000 acres of grassland with the residual pesticide toxaphene. Toxaphene spray, feared by Texas officials to seep into the Canadian River and contaminate water supplies to 11 West Texas communities, already have been dumped by airplanes on more than 60,000 acres, it was learned today. n Seven beautifully tooled saddles, each valued at $400, are awaiting the top participants at the New Mexico State...

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