Serving the High Plains

Editorial: Week's news spotlight region, deserve reflection

Several times a year there are news weeks like this past one. They are filled with multiple news events of a magnitude that few people associate with this sparsely populated area of New Mexico. And they deserve a moment's reflection:

  • A notorious child killer was finally recaptured Thursday after four years on the run. Now we hear he might also be an assassin for a Mexican drug cartel. Edward Salas was the last of eight prisoners to be recaptured from a mass breakout from Curry County's jail in August 2008.

When returned to New Mexico in the coming weeks or months, Salas should begin serving his life plus 56-year prison sentence for aiding in the murder of Carlos Perez on Sept. 5, 2005. The boy died one day before his 11th birthday following a petty dispute at school between brothers of Salas and Perez.

As this sad story unfolds, we must not forget the innocent victim, Carlos, and his family. If he had not been gunned down by Salas and his cowardly accomplices, he would be 18 today.

  • Tucumcari made headlines twice in one week, once after a young, stranded hunter was safely rescued from not-so-high Tucumcari Mountain. Rescue teams and the passerby who reported seeing the boy stuck on a rocky outcrop are to be commended for their quick and caring actions.

We may soon remember another victim of suspected violence. On Friday, New Mexico State Police reported they found the suspected remains of Kimberly Draman, 53, of Tucumcari. She has been missing since Sept. 13.

Convicted sex offender and purported meth user Frank Keller, 45, was the last person known to have seen her. He was driving her car when he was arrested soon after her disappearance and remains jailed on a drug charge in Las Vegas, Nev.

  • Near Portales, shock waves continue to rock Sunland Inc., after three recall announcements involving some 240 peanut products produced there. The recalls, dating to 2010, announced by the Food and Drug Administration have been linked to 35 salmonella illnesses in 19 states; most victims are children under the age of 10.

Sunland has been an economic linchpin of Roosevelt County since area peanut growers started it in 1988. It turns renowned Valencia peanuts into a variety of peanut butters and other products.

Company officials have started the critical, painstaking and necessary process to correcting production issues that resulted in the salmonella cases. They involved Trader Joe's Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter and other products produced for several national grocery chains.

Sunland, which employed about 140 people a few years ago, is among Roosevelt County's top employers. The region's agricultural and food-processing areas are 20 percent of the county's economic base, reports the Roosevelt Economic Development Corp.

  • A $1.65 billion industrial revenue bond request to build Tres Amigas electrical generation plant north of Clovis has been filed with the city. If built, the plant would connect America's three major power grids. Chase Gentry, executive director for Clovis Industrial Development Corp., and others believe the three-phase development project not only would provide 104 permanent jobs but could spark new alternative energy operations across the region.

Several steps remain before city commissioners vote on the IRB option.

But with the many wind and solar and bio-energy developments springing up along with oil, gas and uranium projects, it is clear eastern New Mexico and west Texas are sure to remain in the center of this energy expansion for decades to come.

Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the Clovis Media Inc. editorial board, which includes Publisher Ray Sullivan and Editor David Stevens.

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