Serving the High Plains

Articles from the August 26, 2020 edition


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  • Expo carries on

    Ron Warnick, QCS Senior Writer|Aug 26, 2020

    Save for exhibitors and volunteers wearing masks, the annual Junior Livestock Show on Saturday night at the Quay County Fairgrounds appeared normal compared to previous editions - much to the relief of organizers. Quay County Fair board Chairman Justin Knight acknowledged after the sale he was grateful for a routine auction after the county's annual livestock shows were scaled down, then postponed, because of the COVID-19 pandemic that directly affected a board member a day before the...

  • Second COVID-19 death reported in Quay County

    Staff report|Aug 26, 2020

    Quay County reported its second death from coronavirus, according to a daily report Friday from the New Mexico Department of Health. The agency stated the death was a man in his 80s who had underlying conditions. The man's identity was not listed. The county's first death from COVID-19 occurred in April, when Tucumcari rancher Paul Quintana, 76, died in Florida after contracting it on a cruise ship. Also, two Tucumcari businesses were referred this week to the state's COVID rapid-response teams. One was Tucumcari Federal Savings and Loan...

  • Many museums can reopen Saturday under new health order

    Staff report|Aug 26, 2020

    New Mexico's governor announced Thursday that museums with static displays can reopen Saturday for the first time in more than five months at 25% capacity under an amended health order. The state's education chief also announced criteria that would allow schools to partially reopen to in-person classes after Labor Day. However, Quay County and other counties in southeast New Mexico currently would not meet those benchmarks because their per-capita cases of COVID-19 and test positivity rates for the virus are too high. Gov. Michelle Lujan...

  • New health order to allow dining inside restaurants Saturday

    Staff report|Aug 26, 2020

    New Mexico’s governor announced in a news release Wednesday morning she would relax COVID-19 restrictions for restaurants, churches and breweries effective Saturday. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she would announce during a briefing Thursday an amended emergency health order that would contain these changes: — Houses of worship may operate at 40% of maximum occupancy of any enclosed building, an increase from 25%, in accordance with COVID-safe practices. Houses of worship may, as before, conduct services outdoors or provide services thr...

  • Court rejects challenge on indoor-dining ban

    Staff report|Aug 26, 2020

    The New Mexico Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon unanimously rejected a temporary restraining order from an Eddy County judge that sought to stop enforcement of the state’s indoor-dining ban for restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Justices deliberated for less than an hour before issuing the ruling from the bench. Three Democratic justices joined with the lone Republican and presiding justice, Judith Nakamura, on the decision. Justice Michael Vigil, a Democrat, recused himself from the case. The high court primarily ruled on similar g...

  • Rancher tapped for MCC board

    Ron Warnick, QCS Senior Writer|Aug 26, 2020

    Tom Sidwell, co-owner of the JX Ranch south of Tucumcari, was tapped last week to serve on the Mesalands Community College board of directors. Board Chairman Jim Streetman announced the appointment after a 20-minute closed session during the board's regular meeting Aug. 18. Sidwell takes over for Craig Currell, who died last month after an extended illness. The board unanimously approved Sidwell's appointment. "He should be a really good asset for our board," Streetman said after the vote....

  • Initial enrollment down at Tucumcari Elementary

    Ron Warnick, QCS Senior Writer|Aug 26, 2020

    Initial enrollment last week at Tucumcari Elementary School saw an 11% drop compared to last spring while enrollments at the middle and high schools were stable or slightly higher, according to numbers presented by their respective principals during a regular school board meeting last week. Principals also reported on how well students and staff were adjusting to COVID-19 restrictions after the first official day of school last Monday. Students in prekindergarten through third grade and special education were allowed to take in-person classes...

  • Internet, radio top wishlist

    Ron Warnick, QCS Senior Writer|Aug 26, 2020

    Improving internet broadband infrastructure and emergency radio coverage prompted the most discussion Monday during the Quay County Commission’s public hearing for its proposed infrastructure/capital improvement plan. The final wish list would be submitted to the state after the commission’s next meeting Sept. 14. It gives the New Mexico Legislature an outline on how to award capital-outlay funds during the next session. County emergency management coordinator Daniel Zamora said he thinks he can improve the county’s radio coverage for first res...

  • Quay cases highest per capita last week

    Staff report|Aug 26, 2020

    Quay County saw the highest per-capita number of coronavirus cases in New Mexico during the past week, according to a website that tracks such data. Quay County’s rate Monday was 24.2 cases per 100,000 people, according to COVID Act Now. Lea County was for second with 22.9. COVID Act Now consists of technologists, epidemiologists, health experts and public policy leaders who partner with Georgetown and Stanford universities. Quay County also had a positive test rate of 10.8%, well above the state average of under 3%. The website grades the c...

  • Housing authority receives $11,000 from HUD

    Staff report|Aug 26, 2020

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded more than $2.1 million from CARES Act funds to housing authorities in New Mexico, including more than $11,000 to the Tucumcari Housing Authority. The grant is funded by the $850 million provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act for administrative and other expenses incurred by public housing authorities to implement key programs such as the Housing Choice Voucher program and Tenant Based Rental Assistance, according to a joint news release from U.S....

  • Calendar - Aug. 26

    Aug 26, 2020

    Note: Events subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. • 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. For more, go to naravisacowboygathering.com • Sept. 26 — Altrusa International COVID Cash Drawing. This year’s reverse raffle will be conducted via a Facebook live event. Tickets are $100 for the chance to take home the grand prize of $15,000. Additional cash prizes will be awarded throughout the eveni...

  • Menus - Aug. 26

    Aug 26, 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. Two area schools are using a hybrid model of online and in-person teaching for elementary grades. Tucumcari Senior Center Wednesday — Sloppy joe, parsley potatoes, mixed vegetables, chocolate pudding. Thursday — Baked pork chop, mashed potatoes and gravy, green peas, bis...

  • Pages past - Aug. 26

    Aug 26, 2020

    On this date ... 1970: A tornado came through the San Jon area, starting very close to the A.E. Roberts home. Though no buildings were damaged, all but two telephone polls during a one-mile stretch north of town will have to be replaced. The twister also uprooted trees. • The Tucumcari Rattlers football team held its first scrimmage of the year against Fort Sumner. Running the Power-I formation were center Randy Smith, quarterback Mickey Gares, fullback Steven Birckett and tailback Walter Hines. • The Odeon Theatre in Tucumcari was scr...

  • Love of neighbor has biblical context

    Gordan Runyan, Religion columnist|Aug 26, 2020

    Dad delights the family by bringing home a new board game. Excitement grows as it’s unwrapped. There’s a stack of special cards, some dice, and a strangely decorated spinner wheel. The board is unfolded and Dad puts pieces on some of the spaces. “But, Dad,” says one observant child, “We don’t know how to play this game.” Dad waves a hand. “Don’t worry about that. We’re just going to have fun and play fair.” “Well ... are you going to tell us the rules?” He says, dismissively, “Who needs rules? L...

  • Best to keep politics out of retirement funds

    Albuquerque Journal|Aug 26, 2020

    There’s good reason why New Mexico Educational Retirement Board policies don’t give staff the authority to pick and choose stocks from market-determined index funds. Index mutual funds are generally considered ideal core portfolio holdings for retirement accounts. They provide broad market exposure, allowing investors to buy all of the S&P 500 companies at the low cost an index fund offers, rather than picking out individual stocks. They’ve been safe investments over the long term for the 60,000 active members and 50,000 retirees inves...

  • Hope Republicans rethink strategy

    Steve Hansen, QCS correspondent|Aug 26, 2020

    In their convention last week, the Democratic Party strongly signaled a return to American politics as usual. At least one party has gone back to the “big tent” concept, which tries to unite occasionally fractious divisions behind a single candidate, who then works to appease all factions in some way. If Joe Biden wins the election in November, which to me is not assured despite the chorus of mainstream media polling that shows Biden way ahead, I hope the Republicans will rethink their strategy. I would hope they would abandon their cur...

  • Hoping to save state's 'gig' workers

    Michael Reagan, Syndicated columnist|Aug 26, 2020

    I know you’ve been busy binging the exciting coverage of the Democrat National Convention. But have you heard the latest bit of horrible news from the once golden state of California? I don’t mean the 367 wildfires that are out of control and charring the hills of Northern California. Or the heat wave and the rolling blackouts caused by the high electricity demand for air conditioning. I’m talking about the possible disappearance from California of the popular ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft. Both companies were planning to completely shut...

  • Fire, explosions rock asphalt plant

    Ron Warnick, QCS Senior Writer|Aug 26, 2020

    A fire with explosions last week that rocked an asphalt plant at Versatile Construction Co. on Tucumcari's north side caused alarm but no injuries. The fire billowed thick, black smoke high into the air that could be seen for miles around in the region. According to a news release Thursday from Fire Chief Doug Hogan, the fire was reported at 2:01 p.m. Aug. 18 at Versatile's asphalt plant at 800 W. Maple Ave. Firefighters who arrived two minutes later saw the entire plane engulfed with heavy...

  • Business feature: Garden hoping for certification

    Ron Warnick, QCS Senior Writer|Aug 26, 2020

    Genesis Gardens Homestead on Tucumcari's north side has been growing green chile peppers for customers for nearly 20 years. Soon, Genesis Gardens' crop is all but assured it would earn the coveted New Mexico Certified Chile designation. Genesis co-owner Sally Baker said a member of the New Mexico Chile Association will visit her farm in the next week or two before it earns the certification. "They just have to see our fields and make sure we're compliant with the health rules, which we are,"...

  • Researchers consider water conservation

    Darrel Pehr, New Mexico State University|Aug 26, 2020

    TUCUMCARI - In the semiarid climate of northeastern New Mexico, farmers and ranchers have no guarantee of water for their crops or livestock. In the Tucumcari area, dry weather patterns can mean little or no rain for fields, and inadequate rain to replenish reservoirs that feed farmers' irrigation canals. Water conservation is a priority not only in this part of the state, but across New Mexico where water seldom is plentiful. Such extremes are the kinds of challenges that researchers at New...

  • Police blotter - Aug. 26

    Aug 26, 2020

    These calls were made to the Tucumcari-Quay Regional Emergency Communications Center from Aug. 17 to Aug. 23: Monday • 7:29 a.m.: Theft in 600 block of South Fourth Street, Tucumcari. • 8:17 a.m.: Arrest warrant in 100 block of East Main Street, Tucumcari. • 11:36 a.m.: Threat in 3700 block of East Tucumcari Boulevard, Tucumcari. • 4:36 p.m.: Property damage in 1900 block of South Mountain Road, Tucumcari. • 5:29 p.m.: Arrest warrant in 1200 block of East Tucumcari Boulevard, Tucumcari. • 7:33 p.m.: Fight in 400 block of East Tucumcari Boulevar...

  • Jail log - Aug. 26

    Aug 26, 2020

    These individuals were booked into the Quay County Detention Center from Aug. 17 to Aug. 22: • Pete John Apodaca, 42, Tucumcari, criminal damage to property (under $1,000). • Billy Jack Baca, 41, Tucumcari, failure to appear at time and place state in citation. • Vincent Jimenez, 57, Clayton, contempt of court. • Jonathan Kurowski, 29, no address listed, possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon, receiving stolen property (dispose; over $20,000) and concealing identity. • Porfirio Paul Martinez, 38, Tucumcari, contempt of court....

  • Cowboys push for Trump support

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Aug 26, 2020

    CLOVIS - Hundreds of political conservatives gathered in Clovis on Saturday, focused on turning New Mexico into a more conservative state. Representatives from various groups, most prominently Cowboys for Trump and Bikers for Trump, dealt with near-triple-digit heat to attend what was called the High Plains Freedom Ride to push for the re-election of President Donald Trump and push back against Democrats who hold every statewide and federal office in New Mexico. A planned rally drew national...

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