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A Century of News: 100 Years of the News-Bulletin

A Century of News: 100 Years of the News-Bulletin

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Published by VCNews-Bulletin
The Valencia County News-Bulletin presents its 100th anniversary keepsake edition. Included is a detailed history of the paper, various profiles and a decade by decade breakdown of notable news and local figures. Published by the Valencia County News-Bulletin (Number Nine Media, Inc.). For information, please call (505) 864-4472.
The Valencia County News-Bulletin presents its 100th anniversary keepsake edition. Included is a detailed history of the paper, various profiles and a decade by decade breakdown of notable news and local figures. Published by the Valencia County News-Bulletin (Number Nine Media, Inc.). For information, please call (505) 864-4472.

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10/23/2012

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A Century of News

VALENCIA COUNTY

News-Bulletin

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Congratulations to the Valencia County News-Bulletin on 100 Years of Serving Valencia County from The Village of Los Lunas
A COMMUNITY READY TO HELP BUSINESSES GROW Bring Your Business to Los Lunas and Watch It Grow!

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Celebrating 100 years of news

By Clara GarCia

News-Bulletin Editor cgarcia@news-bulletin.com

or 100 years, the NewsBulletin has aimed to build a tradition of excellence, independence and fairness. Our duty has been clear: It is to serve the public with skill and character, and to exercise First Amendment freedoms with vigor and responsibility. In this special section celebrating our 100th anniversary, we take you through a century of news and the people who brought it to you. Within these pages are stories of the men and women who have diligently worked to chronicle the happenings of the county, of its people and of its history. From the beginning when Saturnino Baca published the first issue of El Hispano Americano in the garage of his home on Main Street and Bernard to today, the NewsBulletin has been a newspaper that has been the “heart of the community,” a sentiment shared by former reporter and editor Lil Lou Gillett, the daughter of Carter Waid, a longtime owner, publisher and editor of the paper. Inside these pages, readers will look back to stories about war heros who lost their lives in battle, the society scene in the county, infamous criminals and cold cases awaiting solution. There are stories of heartbreak and resilience, advertisements of local business trying to sell their services or wares. Freedom makes a place for excellence and our first priority for the past century and for the future has been to present a faithful and accurate picture of the life of our community and its people. This has required

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The News-BulletiN sTaff includes, from left, sandra Nadeau, Jennifer armijo, Billie Turnbow, Jeana Lucero, Brent Ruffner, Monica hicks, Dana Bowley, Tiffini Porter, Jason Brooks, Clara Garcia, Julia Dendinger, Melissa Montoya, Mario Orozco, Dave Puddu, Isaiah Baca, Mike Mendoza, Rita Garcia, Mario Lara, Rick Gonzales, angela esquibel, Nicole Lujan, Ruben Garcia, Deborah fox and Darleen aragon. Not pictured is angie Zamora.

the News-Bulletin to detail the coverage of local events, institutions and people’s activities. Warts and problems are at the core of news, but they are not all of the news. Even against the tide of modern life, people and institutions make progress. We have been generous in coverage of achievement; our pages reflect the grit, devotion and durability of the human spirit. While exposure of wrongdoing is a proper function and on occasion a required function of newspapers, it is not the main purpose. Problems are

shaped more often by circumstance than by venality. Corruption and conflicts of interest, in most communities, have little to do with the important things that are not working. Most of our communities’ failures are rooted in complex problems. A great newspaper is distinguished by the balance, fairness and authority of its reporting. Such a newspaper searches as hard for strengths and accomplishment as for weakness and failure. In the first article printed in El Hispano Americano, which eventual-

ly became the News-Bulletin, Baca wrote that the newspaper was not started “to serve any faction; to punish enemies nor reward friends to the detriment of the people’s interest.” This philosophy still holds true today, and we, the News-Bulletin staff, are honored to have had a part in sharing the news with this community for the past 100 years. Because of limited space, we were not able to fit in all the stories we developed for this section. Look for more personal profiles and history in future editions of the News-Bulletin.

A Century of News

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Our history, our lineage
Other newspapers published in Valencia County
While it is usually fairly easy to determine the date a newspaper first began publishing, it is not always so easy to determine when it ceased publication, thus the ????s. 1878-1882: Laguna Indian Pueblo, Laguna (Spanish-language weekly) 1883-????: Valencia County Vindicator, Los Lunas (English and Spanish) 1888-????: Valencia County Tribune, Los Lunas 1888-????: Valencia County Vindicator, Los Lunas (apparently a revival of the earlier paper) 1891-1894: Cronica de Valencia, Los Lunas (moved to Albuquerque in 1894 and renamed Bandera Americana) 1903-????: New Mexico American, Los Lunas 1904-1906: Estrella de Nuevo, Los Lunas (moved to Valencia County from Albuquerque, then returned after two years) 1908-1912: Belen Tribune, Belen 1929-1937: Grants Review, Grants 1929-1938: Valencia County Review, location unknown 1936-1938: Fence Lake Promoter, Fence Lake 1936-????: The Independent of Valencia County (later, Valencia County Independent), site unknown 1940-2010: Grants Beacon, Grants ????-1957: Uranium City News, Grants (absorbed by the Grants Beacon in 1957, which became the Grants Daily Beacon, now the Cibola County Beacon) 1962-1962: Grants-Milan News 1963-1964: Valencia Valley News, location unknown 1964-1977: Valencia County News, Los Lunas 1970-????: Uranium Empire Reporter, Grants

n addition to the News-Bulletin and its ancestor newspapers, Valencia County — including the western portion before it split off to become Cibola County — has been home to at least 19 other newspapers since 1878, although it appears only one called Belen home. Below is a timeline tracing the NewsBulletin from its roots, followed by a list of the known newspapers that have been published in the county.

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Valencia County News-Bulletin
1910: Saturnino Baca launches El Hispano Americano 1912: Baca launches Belen News 1916: El Hispano Americano becomes a section within the Belen News 1946: Baca family sells the Belen News to Edwin J. Lewis 1946: George Perkins launches the Belen Bulletin 1947: Lewis and Perkins merge their papers to form the Belen News-Bulletin 1954: Perkins partner, Carter Waid, becomes sole owner of the NewsBulletin and de-emphasizes the word Belen in the nameplate, which becomes just The News-Bulletin. 1976: The News-Bulletin was sold to Modern Press of Albuquerque, publisher of the Valencia County News in Los Lunas. Modern Press was headed by Edwin J. Lewis, who had originally purchased the Belen News from Elfego Baca in 1946. The News-Bulletin and the Valencia County News were merged Dec. 16, 1976. 1977: The first edition of the year, Jan. 3, debuts the nameplate Valencia County News-Bulletin. 1993-1994: The Villager, Belen (a brief split of the News-Bulletin into two newspapers, with The Villager covering the northern part of the county)

the ValeNcia couNty News-BulletiN has evolved from the el hispano americano, which was first published on June 11, 1910 — 100 years ago. This is a photo of the first edition put out by owner saturnino Baca. The first newspapers were printed in Baca's garage in his Belen home. Baca's son, elfego, ran the paper until 1946.

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Publishers and editors
Ed Otero

Publishers

G.E. Gorospe, 1988 Walt Green, 1989 Keith Green, 1990

Baca and Howland Saturnino Baca with son, Herman Baca Elfego G. Baca, 1920 George Perkins, 1946 Carter Waid, 1947 Howard Barman, 1961 William Worley, 1965 Carter Waid, 1967 T.E. Lewis, 1979 Gary Neal, 1981
A.G. Romero, editor and director, 1916

Sammy Lopez, 1992 Alan Turner, 1992 Sammy Lopez, 1992 Jim Wood, 1993 Molly Dillon, 1994 Chris Baker, 1995 Mike Coggins, 2000 Dan Simon, 2000 David B. Puddu, 2001
Bonnie Gladwell, 1968 John Soper, 1970 Lil Lou Waid Gillett, 1971 Sandy Schauer, 1974 Craig Watts, 1974 Al Faustino, 1976 Don Burge, 1977 Howard Kercheval, editor and manager, 1977 Janette Baughman, 1981 Ellen Syvertson, 1983 Gary Herron, 1987 Darrell J. Pehr, 1989 Dana L. Bowley, 1992 E. David Grenham, 1994 Sandy Battin, Nov. 1995 Clara Garcia, July, 2009

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Editors

T. Meza y Salinas, editor and director, 1916 Dennis Chavez, 1916 Elfego G. Baca, 1920 Carter Waid, 1946 George Pittman III Ruth Lewis, 1947 Manuel Randolph (Randy) Morris, 1954 George Dennis, 1956 Charles Mittlestadt, 1958 Milt Loewe, 1959 Darrel Freeman, 1961 Howard Barman Curt Klein Jr., 1966 Bob Drummond, 1967

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History’s first draft

wise author once wrote that “newspapers are the first draft of history.” Truer words were never spoken. Historians use many sources in researching the past, but they are especially fortunate if they have access to a good, reliable local newspaper that can reveal the past in great detail from a firsthand, first-person point of view. This means that historians who write about Valencia County’s past are indeed fortunate to have the Valencia County NewsRichard Bulletin as a priMelzer mary source of information about events that occurred in our community over the last 100 years. Few newspapers in the state have enjoyed such a successful run, as described in Sandy Battin’s June 12th front-page history of the News-Bulletin. Many members of the Valencia County Historical Society have contributed to La Historia del Rio Abajo since the News-Bulletin began running the series about Valencia County history in 1998. Without exception, these authors have relied on old issues of the News-Bulletin as major sources of the events they describe. For example, in reading the newspaper for October and November 1918, we learn that the Spanish flu epidemic was so devastating in Valencia County that all public gatherings were banned. Schools, churches, courts and many stores were closed to reduce the likeli-

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valencia county historical society

Photo courtesy of the Baca family

eLfeGO BaCa, the long-time owner, publisher and editor of the Belen News participated in many community events such as the ’49ers parade in Belen. The horse-drawn carriage carried Baca and his children through the parade in 1936. The Baca family, beginning with elfego's father, saturnino, founded el hispano americano, which later became the Belen News and finally the Valencia county News-Bulletin. hood of spreading the deadly disease. But little could stop the flu; four times as many New Mexicans died of the flu than were killed in World War I, which had just ended that fall. Back issues of the News-Bulletin also tell us a great deal about everyday life in Valencia County from one generation to the next. Where else can we learn what businesses were open, what prices they charged, what issues were debated, what problems we faced and what progress was made on everything from education to public health? On a lighter side, where else can we readily learn what holidays people celebrated, what teams won state championships and what movies people went to see at local movie theaters? Even the classified ads can tell us much about what life was like in the county, as with this rather humorous help wanted ad that appeared in the News-Bulletin in the late 1940s: CASHIER WANTED We have a job for a neat, pleasant girl who can count and make change. Experience unnecessary but should be high school graduate. We can’t use a girl who is not dependable, who chews gum or repairs her makeup in public. Oñate Theater It’s as though historians paint pic-

See history, Page 9

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A Century of News

News-Bulletin file

ThIs MasTheaD, also known as the publication box, is from July 11, 1960. Carter Waid and his wife, Martha, are listed as the publishers. subscriptions for a year cost $4.50 and a single copy was 10 cents

History: continued from page 8
tures with their words, adding another colorful detail or dimension with every fact they learn or story they read in their local newspaper. The News-Bulletin has also been valuable to Valencia County history through its many efforts to preserve the past. In some cases history-conscious editors such as Carter Waid and Sandy Battin have helped preserve valuable old buildings that seemed doomed to destruction. In 1983, for example, the newspaper won a New Mexico Press Association Public Service Award for its efforts to successfully save Belen’s Harvey House, which, coincidentally, shares the newspaper’s “birth year,” 1910. The newspaper has run history features for years, from the old “Remember When” photo section to “Days Gone By,” “La Historia del Rio Abajo” and the popular new series, “A Century of News from the NewsBulletin Archives.” And the News-Bulletin has helped preserve history by faithfully announcing and promoting historical events, be they at the Los Lunas Heritage and Arts Museum, the Valencia County Historical Society’s Harvey House Museum or elsewhere. The Harvey House’s centennial celebration is just the most recent example. The celebration has been a huge success, drawing nearly a thousand visitors in the month of June, largely

because the News-Bulletin has done so much to publicize the historical society’s centennial lecture series and new Harvey House display. In 1996, the historical society gave former editor Sandy Battin the coveted Red Brick Award for the “tremendously positive and accurate press” she had provided for the society and its museum over the years. Several years ago, I was discussing local history with editor Battin. Of all the interesting things she said about local history, the comment I remember most — and which motivates me to this day — was that “Valencia County loves its history.” Its history is the source of its values, its identity and its pride. Appreciating this, the News-Bulletin has done a remarkable job in providing what its readers crave. The NewsBulletin has recorded our history, preserved our history, described our history and announced our historical events. Our community — and its historians — could not ask for more from a biweekly local newspaper now celebrating its grand 100th anniversary. (Copies of the Valencia County News-Bulletin — originally called the Belen News — dating back to 1913 are available on microfilm at the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus library.)

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Baca family memories
designed several of the buildings in Belen. And he was an educator, a hands-on superintendent, traveling by horse to each little school to visit and make sure that lessons were being presented. Castillo remembers her mother describing how, as a child, she recalled those impressive visits. But he was not a talkative person. “He was a very quiet individual,” George remembers. “I don’t remember interacting with him very much.” Pauline remembers family gatherings at the home of Saturnino and his wife, Dora. “They had a long porch that had a big chair at the end. He sat there in that big chair. I remember that about him,” she said. But while the family talked, he mainly listened. Saturnino ran the newspaper for about a decade before Elfego took it over in 1920. To his children, Elfego was everything a father should be; to his community, he was what an editor should be. He was kind, with twinkly eyes and a keen sense of humor. “He was very literate,” George recalls. “He could spell every word in English or Spanish. We kids would try to find a word that he couldn’t spell, but we never could.” The News office employed “a total of five or six,” Elfego said. “We had Florencio Peralta there, … Alfredo Chavez was the first one who did the Linotype. … Joe Gabaldon and Camilio Aragon were also two of the workers.” The other one-bedroom apartment upstairs from the newspaper was usually occupied by the chef from the Harvey House, which is also celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

By Sandy Battin

Special to the News-Bulletin hey came into this world with the lullaby of a printing press sounding in their ears. The two oldest children of Elfego and Florela Baca were raised up one flight of wooden stairs in an apartment above the family business, El Hispano Americano and The Belen News. If ink may be said to flow in the blood of some families, it certainly did theirs. Young Elfego George Baca — they called him Sonny back then, George now — began his printing career early. At age 8, he remembers operating the letter press, creating stationery for this local business, forms for some other. He’d also help fold copies of The Belen News as they came off the press, getting them ready for delivery to the post office. If the other Elfego Baca down in Socorro — the one they made the Disney film about — was better known, George’s father, Elfego, was, by all accounts, a better man. A second generation newspaper man, Elfego had considered going into the law, but then thought better of it. His father, Saturnino, had founded El Hispano Americano in 1910, right before New Mexico had become a state. Belen needed a newspaper with integrity. Two years later, he had expanded to publish The Belen News, printed in English. Nino, an elegant and educated man, believed in the power of the written word. As superintendent of the county schools, he believed in education, too. He began his newspaper on a handoperated press in his garage; it quickly became the glue that helped hold the community together. Ask George — or his younger sisters, Pauline Baca Garcia and Norena

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saTuRNINO BaCa founded el hispano americano in 1910, two years before New Mexico became a state. he started the newspaper in the garage of his Belen home. Baca later became superintendent of the county schools. Baca Castillo — how their grandfather happened to possess a press in his garage at Main and Bernard or what he thought about his deliverance of the news and they can’t tell you. Their oldest sister, Evangeline Baca Gallegos of Bosque Farms, is ailing and was unable to be interviewed. Saturnino was a formal man in that more formal day, one of the county’s foremost men of letters. George and Pauline say, in those days before a university education was common, people were largely self-educated. And Saturnino was that. He was considered a lawyer, with his library of law books and statutes; he was regarded as an architect, having

See Bacas, Page 11

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Photos courtesy of the Baca family

saTuRNINO BaCa and his wife, Dora, had a total of 19 children — nine lived. Pictured with Nino and Dora are herman, Mary, eddie and elfego.

eLfeGO BaCa wrote editorials in the Belen News about the issues that affected the citizens. after he sold the newspaper in the ’40s, he became county sheriff, Belen police chief and was a member of the Belen Board of education.

Bacas: continued from page 10
For part of Elfego’s tenure, Ignacio Baca — related to the family through marriage — was a partner and business manager of The News. Later, he went on to other business and Elfego ran the paper on his own. The workers were a close-knit group, and they knew everyone in town. It was a busy place, with people coming in and out, bringing in their news and ordering services from the print shop they also ran. The News office was even the place that Belenites would come to pick up the license plates for their cars. In those days, most newspapers took a political stance with one or the other party. “My dad was a staunch Republican,” Pauline said. But, still, Elfego believed in being fair and he covered news about events involving the local Democratic party, too. The News was everyone’s hometown newspaper. He would chide the “city dads” as he called town fathers — the town council — about issues ranging from streetlights to potholes. He wrote editorials attempting to explain to readers why he was obliged to print the news if one of their rela-

tives was arrested; he spoke out on world events, writing in an elegant and logical way. He was ahead of his time in supporting civil rights for all and he worried, after World War II, about the effects of what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder. Back then, most people didn’t even acknowledge such a thing. The newspaper office, which had moved a bit north on Main Street by the mid-1930s, could be a noisy place. Pauline, who, with Norena, is really too young to remember the days when their family ran the newspaper, does recall the smell of the place, the distinctive newspaper perfume of paper and ink. And George remembers the presses themselves. “For pictures, they had these mats that were made out of cardboard, similar to the cardboard egg cartons are made out of, and the picture would be printed from it,” he said. “They had this little metal iron press and you’d put the picture in — the cardboard — and pieces of metal and tilt it over and they’d have hot lead and you’d pour it in. When it hardened,

See Bacas, Page 12

Bacas: continued from page 11
you’d cut one end off of it,” he said. “We had two Linotypes in case one broke, you would have the other.” After the paper was printed, the workers would break down the metal pages to melt them back down for reuse. “The summer I was 13-years old, I was breaking the lead up outside and the head of the sledgehammer flew off and the handle hit my left knee and busted some of the ligaments,” he said. He’d had the misfortune of suffering a similar injury to his right knee as well, ending any possibility for a football career with the Eagles. George helped in other ways, too. “When I was a little older, I went around as the one to solicit ads. I really did everything but the Linotype,” he said. Working with all that heavy equipment can be dangerous. George recalls “I had fun working there. Besides doing the job, we had a lot of fun. I was flying a little paper airplane once … and my little airplane got caught in the electrical lines.” As he prepared to step into the puddle of water on the floor to disengage it, Camilio Aragon “pulled me up and saved my life.” He laughs as he remembered that having a father who owned the newspaper meant he could get into just about any entertainment in town for free. “I’d go to the movies and tell them that I was the son of Elfego Baca, the newspaper owner, and they’d just let me in… They’d let me ride any ride. Circuses, I got in free. I don’t know if my father paid later or not,” he said. His sisters express laughing regret that they hadn’t been around at the time to also take advantage of the unexpected perk. George also recalls a time when his own actions appeared in the newspaper, much to his chagrin. Kids from his class at school had decided to take a picnic to the mesa and someone began lamenting that there was no dessert. One young woman volunteered that her father had a crop of watermelon just ripe for picking. They jumped in a truck, raided the garden and went back to the mesa for what George describes as “a watermelon feast.” “Thursday when the paper came out … there was a quarter-page ad offering a $25 reward for any information about whoever stole this girl’s father’s watermelons. And I stood there and I had to

GeORGe BaCa, along with his sisters, evangeline Gallegos, Pauline Garcia and Noreena Castillo, the grandchildren of saturnino Baca and children of elfego and florela Baca, share the stories of how the family founded the century-old newspaper.

See Bacas, Page 13

eLfeGO BaCa, right, stands in front of The Belen News office with two unidentified men. elfego, the owner of the newspaper from 1920 to 1947, was an outgoing man who , his children say, was honest and had a strong sense of responsibility to his readers.

fold all those newspapers” while looking at the ad, he said, and not being able to turn himself in not to implicate the daughter. As with most newspapermen, his father had occasional problems, too. George recalls that a headline reporting on a local rodeo — a story that his father didn’t proofread — announced that a cowboy had won the “raping contest” rather than the roping one. “I know he printed a correction on that one,” George said. While today’s newspaper reporter spends a good portion of his time covering events such as county commission or city council meetings at night, that wasn’t the case in those days. Meetings were held during the day, George said, so Elfego spent the evenings with his family. “He talked a lot about politics and government. He would counsel me, ‘don’t get involved in politics,’” George recalled. And he didn’t, becoming a social worker instead. “He felt strong about being honest, having integrity and being responsible.” During some of his years as editor of The News, Elfego served as county treasurer. Elfego was much more outgoing than his father; he was handsome and always nattily dressed, with his trademark bow tie and Western hat. As a teenager working on the railroad one summer, George learned something his father had never told him before. “They told me ‘your dad was the best baseball pitcher in New Mexico.’ He had a Model T Ford and he’d traveled around the state … back then, players could play on any team. He’d go to San Antonio and he used to stay in the first Hilton Hotel. … They said he could have made the pros.” George recalls being in and out of The News office every day. “The telephone we had was in the printing shop, so we had to make all our telephone calls from there,” he said. And the location of the shop on Main Street proved an additional bonus. “I started, at age 4, every time there was a carnival or fiesta … I would sell soda pops from the back porch of the printing shop.” By the time he graduated high school, he had a couple of thousand dollars saved, enough to get his education going. In 1947, Elfego decided to sell the newspaper and enter a new phase of life, working as county sheriff, state

Bacas: continued from page 12

Photos courtesy of the Baca family

eLfeGO BaCa sets off to deliver The Belen News in 1920 in his Model T. he later became county sheriff. liquor director and Belen police chief. Elfego Baca wasn’t interested in getting rich, they said. He was more concerned about honesty, responsibility and integrity. He never once raised the subscription rate for The News in all the years he owned it; it was always $2 a year. As sheriff and police chief, he tried to solve problems he encountered with counseling and reason. Men he arrested would stop by his home on South Third Street and thank him for helping them. As sheriff, one man famously bit him on the little finger, a painful and dangerous encounter reported in The News and other media. Even that man apologized to the dapper Baca, both in person and by letter from jail. Today, the Bacas don’t even really have a record of the work their father and grandfather poured so much work into for 37 years. “I had copies of the papers from all the years, in our garage when we lived on Third Street, where there was a storage area. When I went away to graduate school in Nebraska, they were there, but when I returned, they were all gone,” George said. All that is left is the memories — oh, those, and George still has a typewriter that his father used. It has already done its share of telling many stories under the skilled hands of a master.

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eLfeGO BaCa was known as a man of integrity. he owned and operated the Belen News from 1920 to 1947. This picture was taken when he was elected county sheriff.

Photos courtesy of the Baca family

DORa BaCa sits at her kitchen table with her son, herman, and husband, saturnino, reading the newspaper. The photo was taken in 1918.

VCNB’s Founding Family

DuRING The fIRsT year that elfego Baca took over The Belen News from his father, saturnino, in 1920, the longtime newspaper man would deliver the news from a donkey-drawn cart with help from paperboys.

eLfeGO BaCa owned and operated The Belen News for 27 years before he sold the newspaper to edwin Lewis. Baca's children remember their father always helping the community. They still have the typewriter he wrote many stories on.

It Began with four...
From four to four-hundred in Valencia County
M
ary & Mike Merrell, founded Ambercare in 1994. Suzette Pierce and Edward Candelaria were among the 1st employees at Ambercare 16 years ago. These four grew Ambercare with the help of a dedicated staff to care and provide services; including Nursing Care, Physical Therapy, Medical, Social and Home Health Aide Servies. Although Ambercare has expanded statewide, Valencia County is home, and home is where Ambercare’s heart is. Ambercare would like to thank the Valencia County New-Bulletin in partnership, assisting with publishing employment and campaign advertising to hire local staff & further business.

Congratulations on your 100th Birthday!
www.ambercare.com

420 Main St. Belen Call 861-0600 for more information

The Footsoldiers of Healthcare ®

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Carter Waid: Newspaperman
News-Bulletin, a weekly newspaper that was competing with The Belen News, which had been sold by Elfego Baca to Edwin J. Lewis. By April 1947, Waid, Perkins and Lewis joined forces and created the Belen News-Bulletin. Within seven years, Waid was the sole owner of the newspaper. While Bill was only 3-years old when the Waids moved to New Mexico in 1947, and only remembers the train depot in Amarillo, Lil Lou was a little older — an 8-year-old third-grader. “Honestly, I don’t remember too much about the town,” she said. “I do remember that in Lawton, we had not started writing in cursive. In New Mexico, they had started in the second grade. That was really tough because I had to develop my own cursive, which never turned out too good.” The Waid family first moved into a small duplex on Dalies Avenue, a block and a half from the newspaper at 208 N. Second St. Lil Lou remembers there was no washing machine and her mother would take their clothes to the laundry in a little red wagon. “Bill would ride on top of the clothes, and I would walk alongside my mother,” Lil Lou said. “We then moved to a house on Second Street, two blocks north of the paper,” she remembers. “We lived there until I was in the seventh grade. We moved back to Dalies, this time to a house. We lived there until I was out of college.” When the Waid children were young, they remember their father was very dedicated to the citizens of Belen and to the newspaper. Waid never stopped working. Reporters remember him returning from lunch with his pockets full of paper napkins with leads for stories scrawled on them, complete with telephone numbers for the people involved.

By Clara GarCia

News-Bulletin Editor cgarcia@news-bulletin.com hen Carter Waid first traveled to Belen more than 60 years ago to look into investing in a newspaper, he wasn’t sure the Hub City was where he wanted to work, much less live. It wasn’t love at first sight. “He told me when he went to look at the paper, he said there were only two paved streets in town,” said Lil Lou Gillett, Waid’s daughter and a former reporter, photographer and editor of the News-Bulletin. “He said, ‘This wasn’t going to work.’ Then, when he saw the sunset, he changed his mind. That’s when he decided he was going to stay.” Carter Waid, a legendary owner and publisher of the News-Bulletin, moved to Belen with his wife, Martha, and two children, Lil Lou and Bill. For decades, Waid gave his life to the newspaper and to Belen, serving as mayor from 1962-68. Waid’s journalism career began in Lawton, Okla., where he was a copy boy at the Lawton Constitution. He had received an associate’s degree from Cameron College. Beginning his career during the The Depression, Waid worked up to reporter, then city editor and finally managing editor. During World War II, Waid worked with the Office of War Information, first in Washington D.C., then in New York City, and finally in Europe — mostly in Luxembourg and Germany, his son, Bill, said. “He went to Germany just after he and my mother married,” said Bill, who is a psychologist in Wilmington, Del. “He served in Europe as an editor of an Army newspaper. Some of my favorite possessions are the pictures of him interviewing famous military officers and politicos. He was in Luxembourg until the end of the war.” When Waid returned home from the

W

Carter Waid bought into the Belen Bulletin in 1947, the same year the newspaper merged with the Belen News. In 1954, Waid became the sole owner of the newspaper that is known today as the Valencia county News-Bulletin. war, Bill said his father had the opportunity to either go back to work for the Lawton Constitution or take a job with the Baltimore Sun. According to the newspaperman’s son, he decided to return home where life was a little more quiet. “He told me there was too much traffic and too many people in Baltimore,” Bill said. “He loved the West.” Several years after returning to Oklahoma, Waid wanted to branch out; he wanted to build some equity in a newspaper that he could call his own. Even before the war, Waid had thought about trying to find a newspaper to buy, but when he returned, his efforts became more serious. Waid found and went into business with George Perkins, the owner of the

See Waid, Page 17

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Waid: continued from page 16
His evenings were spent covering meetings, and he was always on duty, listening for middle-of-the-night fire alarms and attending virtually every civic event in the county. “He was always covering meetings — school board or city council. His life was getting out the newspaper,” Bill said of his father. “He was very busy and very devoted. I can remember wishing he wasn’t going out another evening because he was out a lot. I just thought very highly of him. He was a pillar of the community and showed us how to live up to a certain standard.” Described by his children as a gregarious and well-dressed man, Waid was inducted into the New Mexico Press Association Hall of Fame in 1982. He loved what he did so much that he would do anything to make sure he put the paper out — even typing with only his two index fingers, his son said. “One of the funniest memories I have is the one-page pink extra he published in the newspaper,” Bill said. “It was in the mid-50s and there was a lot of hullabaloo at the school board about appointing a superintendent, something about the best candidate not being appointed. So my father printed a one-

page extra on pink paper to make sure everyone read it.” While Waid had given so much time writing, reporting, editing and publishing the News-Bulletin, he also gave back to his community through a number of civic organizations and boards. He was a member of the Belen Rotary Club, the chamber of commerce, the State Prison Board, the board of directors of the Los Lunas Hospital and Training School, a director of the New Mexico Press Association and a member of the board of directors of the New Mexico Boys Ranch. Martha was no different. When she wasn’t raising her family or keeping the newspaper's books, she took part in a number of community activities including as a member of the Pilot Club of Belen, the Alkali Anne Garden Club and as a member of the American Association of University Women. In 1963, Waid branched out into other media as well, founding KARS radio. Waid sold the News-Bulletin that same year, but returned to manage it in 1966, purchasing the paper again in 1970 and publishing it until his retirement in 1977. (At the time, he also owned an interest in the Cibola County

See Waid, Page18

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Waid: continued from page 17
Beacon and the Valley News in Espanola.) Bill said he wasn’t sure why his father sold the paper in 1963, saying he thought it was for financial reasons or because he was busy with the radio station. “But he regretted having sold it,” Bill said. “It was a mistake. He would ask me periodically before he retired if I wanted to come back and take it over.” Bill said after his father retired, his parents moved to Rio Communities and lived there until 1993, when they moved to Albuquerque. The couple lived in the Duke City for one year before moving back to Oklahoma. Carter Waid died seven months later; his wife, Martha passed away in September 1999. Even though Waid was a serious newspaper man and business owner, his children remember their father as a very compassionate man who always extended a helping hand to people. Bill recalls the time when FBI agents went to the newspaper looking for one of the Linotype operators. “They arrested him for writing bad checks under an assumed name,” Bill said. “(The man) served his time and when he came back to town, my father hired him back.” While Carter Waid was known in the community as the “newspaper man,” the News-Bulletin was a family business. Martha was a part-time bookkeeper, and the children also lent a helping hand when they could. Both Lil Lou and Bill started working at the paper when they were youngsters in grade school. Bill said his father thought his children should learn the business “from the ground up.” “I spend my summers working in the shop,” Bill remembers. “I remember I melted lead and poured it into molds. I helped with the Linotype machine. I had some thoughts about going into journalism, and when I went to UNM, I worked at the Daily Lobo during my sophomore and senior years. “We thought we knew it all, so I majored in Engish and got a minor is Spanish,” he said. “We thought we’d learn the journalism stuff on the job. I worked for my dad off and on, but after college, I went into the Peace Corps and served two years in Peru,

where I met my wife, Anna Magruder, who was another volunteer.” The two were married in Lima, Peru. After their service, the couple moved to Florida where Bill taught English and Spanish at a private school, and Anna got her master’s degree in teaching. Bill wanted a change and decided to move to the east coast, where he attended Rutger’s University in New Jersey and got a degree in psychology. After working at the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital and the University of Pennsylvania, Bill and his wife moved to Delaware where he has been in private practice for more than 25 years. While Bill didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps, his daughter did. Lil Lou remembers doing a lot of hand inserting as a young child, cleaning up the shop after press runs and sweeping up the office. She said she bought her first pair of cowboy boots with the money she earned — a whole 25-cents an hour. “When I was able to drive, I was able to deliver the paper to the houses that the paper boys neglected,” she said. “The first story I wrote was about a professional wrestling (exhibition) at the high school. I was about 12.” Lil Lou said she thought it was “pretty neat” having a dad who owned the newspaper. She thought the whole town was basically their backyard. “Everyone knew I was Carter Waid’s daughter,” she said. “I was very proud of that, and I still am.” Lil Lou continued working and writing for the newspaper while in high school, but she soon realized that her first love was sports. Because there were no organized sports teams for girls at that time, Lil Lou would participate in sport days — days when the girls were able to play other teams from around the region. She played basketball, softball, field hockey and other sports. Her love of athletics followed her to UNM, where she majored in physical education and minored in journalism. After she graduated, Lil Lou decided to take another path and took a job with the Camp Fire Girls as an assistant camp director. Her career was stifled when she was seriously injured in a car accident. “I was kind of on hold for a few

years,” she said. “After that, I worked at the Los Lunas Hospital and Training School doing public relations and some social work.” After political differences with the management, Lil Lou decided it was time to go back to the News-Bulletin in 1969 and help her father put out the news. She said her dad was very influential in what and how she reported. “He told me it was very important to be factual and to report what you actually saw and what was happening,” she said. “He taught me that an opinion only belongs in one place — on the opinion page.” Lil Lou, who won many awards for her writing and reporting much like her father, said she was very conscientious in double-checking her facts and getting both sides of the story. “My dad was a very strong supporter of the Open Meetings Act, and believed that government needed to be honest and open. But he didn’t believe that the public needed to know every whimsical detail of a person’s life. He believed in open government, but not invading the private lives of everyone in it.” Lil Lou said her dad was, and still is, a mentor. “I judge a newspaper by what he would have said about it,” she said. “He was a very honest person.” When Lil Lou began reporting full time, she said some of her favorite stories to cover were, not surprisingly, high school sports. But one story she says she’ll never forget was that of a 3-year-old boy who was kidnapped from his Belen home. “The family didn’t live too far from the railroad, and I think the child was missing for three days,” she remembers. “All the Albuquerque newspapers were in town covering the story and I practically lived in the family’s yard for three days. “Apparently, the child had been in his backyard and was taken by a hobo,” she said. “They found him in Clovis, unharmed. That was one of the more exciting stories that I covered.” Another story Lil Lou remembers is a big freeze in the valley. She said Rio Communities had just gotten started and a pipeline that carried natural gas to the east side of the river had frozen over.

“No one had heat, and those who had fireplaces would have everyone come over,” she said. “The people in Belen would conserve fuel so the people in Rio Communities would have enough.” One of the major changes Lil Lou recalls at the newspaper was when it stopped using the old Linotype machine and went to offset printing, a printing technique where the inked image is transferred, or offset, from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the newsprint. “It was a lot easier in terms of running pictures, and we could do a lot more action shots,” she said. While editor, Lil Lou married Les Gillett, the son of a Farmington doctor, who worked at First National Bank. In 1977, the same year her father sold the News-Bulletin for the second and last time, the couple had a son, Linque, who was born premature. Lil Lou said while she worked at the News-Bulletin on a part-time basis helping out with special editions, her husband was diagnosed with melanoma. The couple moved to the east mountains and Les died in October 1982. Lil Lou moved back to Lawton to be closer to family. “I never went back to work for a newspaper, but I wish I had,” she said. “But I had a little boy to raise and he had just lost his father. He was only 5, and he had a hard time accepting his father was gone. I needed to be around.” Today, Linque is an attorney in Oklahoma and has one son, Carter, named in honor of his grandfather. Lil Lou hasn’t been back to Belen for more than 10 years, and said she hasn’t been able to read the newspaper that she still holds dear to her heart. But she did say that she will always have fond memories of the “little newspaper.” “I thought it was the heart of the community,” she said. “It was there for everything. I think (the newspaper) was kind of the nerve center and it kept the history of the area. Everyone wanted to be in it. “I think a small town paper, and it may still be, recorded history of the area at the time,” she said. “I think it was very important to the people.”

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A Century of News

A Little r History... Auto Repai
has been part of Valencia e owner of Motor Car Mall Th and Mike Rouckus 48 years old County for a half century. in ess repairing automobiles counting started out in busin . It wasn’t do his best ever since 1983 and has continued to at the young age of 21. easy starting out in business e business partners at the tim Starting out Mike and two location literally build the first Rick & Marty Pobar had to to old local milk dairy rented out of a hay barn from an Later dlord Milledge Powell. them by good friend and lan ving Mike the sole owner. Rick & Marty moved on lea had d supported Mike since he The local people knew an every s; he knew practically grown up in Bosque Farm na didn’t have an office. Whe one around. Back then we estimate we had to use an stomer came in for a repair cu sk dust from an old metal de air blower to blow off the right in front of them. le to make it but the local s amazing that we were ab It’ ve for the good repairs we ha people kept coming back r Mall is a much different s put out. Today Motor Ca alway has d in Peralta. The business place, now presently locate able n shop with a very comfort evolved into a combinatio t only performs the finest office/waiting area that no t also has a full service collision repairs around bu handle the most complex mechanical division able to service manager for the repairs. John Parrish is the s been with Motor Car Mall mechanical division and ha e knowledge of automotive for 16 years. His extensiv d master technicians gives repairs and our ASE certifie sa air shops. The business ha us the edge over most rep rience from all of its combined automotive expe 5 years. employees of more than 12 come to know that if you cia County residents have Valen into otor Car Mall. If you come want it fixed right go to M air won’t be reaching for the Motor Car Mall today Mike best d his staff will give you the blower anymore but he an a behind all their work with service possible and stand written guarantee.

Mike Rouckus working on office of first location, in Bosque Farms 1984.

Mike Rouckus next to repair job in progress; 1984.

Photo of Mike today, in front of current location.

www.MotorCarMall.com 3548 Hwy. 47 • Peralta, NM 87042 • 565-0777

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Where we’ve been
and Baca streets. The building was owned by Nestor, Ignacio and Manuel Gallegos, who leased it to the NewsBulletin. The move reunited the newspaper and printing operations under one roof, with the newspaper entrance facing Baca Street and the print shop entrance facing Sixth. The Nov. 4, 1965, edition of the News-Bulletin featured a twopage photo spread documenting the move of the 13,000-pound press, which required a huge crane to lift onto a flatbed truck. The building now houses a custom motorcycle operation and auto repair shop. By the time Ken and Walt Green, owners of the Artesia Daily Press, purchased the News-Bulletin in 1988, the print shop had been sold. In 1989, the Greens contracted to have a new facility built for the News-Bulletin at 1837 Sosimo Padilla Blvd., including space for an offset press to begin printing the newspaper locally again. The Greens sold the newspaper to Raljon Corp., which completed the construction, and the new offices opened on Jan. 16, 1990. The News-Bulletin has not moved since then, but it has changed addresses — when the street name was returned to the original name of Camino del Llano, Also in 1989, growth in Los Lunas and Bosque Farms prompted management to open a satellite office at the Valencia “Y” to make it easier for residents on the north end of the county to bring in news items, place classified ads and conduct other business with the newspaper. The office was in the strip center on the east side of N.M. 47, at the end of the office row opposite BaskinRobbins. The satellite office was relocated to its present location at 501 Main St. SE in Los Lunas in June 2004.

By dana Bowley

News-Bulletin Staff Writer dabowley@news-bulletin.com he most reliable records indicate that in its 100-year history, the News-Bulletin has operated out of five locations around Belen, plus two satellite locations in Los Lunas. When Saturnino Baca started publishing El Hispano Americano in 1910, he did so from the garage of his home on the southeast corner at Main and Bernard streets, where he also ran a print shop (there is a laundry there now). In 1912 he added an Englishlanguage companion newspaper, The Belen News. Although Baca moved out of the business in the late 1920s, the newspaper operation didn’t move out of his home until a few years later. In September 1932, Baca’s son, Elfego, purchased the Gilbert building a few blocks away at what is approximately 115 S. Main St. today, and relocated the newspaper and printing business there. Gilbert’s Food Market before the News moved in, today the location is the site of several small businesses, with Elite Muscle at 115 S. Main. Some sources place the newspaper at 107 S. Main St., which would have been next door to the BeckerDalies Store (site of Wells-Fargo Bank today), but this appears to represent some confusion with another location of Gilbert’s Market and the lack or scarcity of addressing at the time. In 1946, the Bacas sold the operation to Edwin J. Lewis. The News remained on Main Street until early 1947 when it merged with the year-old Belen Bulletin to form the News-Bulletin. The newspapers’ operations were consolidated at the Bulletin’s office at 208 N. Second St. The print shop was relocated across the street at 201 N.

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Floela Baca and her infant son, George, stand in front of the Belen News, which was located in 1932 at 115 N. Main street. Second St. Later, publisher Carter Waid started up KARS Radio in the same building as the newspaper, and the radio station remains in that location today. Waid sold the newspaper in 1963, and in 1965 the owners moved into a newly constructed building at Sixth

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A Century of News

el hispaNo americaNo and the Belen News were published out of the garage of saturnino Baca’s house at Main and Bernard until 1932. This laundry sits on that site now.

the BeleN News published from the Gilbert building, 115 s. Main st., from 1932 to 1947. The site of Gilbert’s food Market prior to the newspaper’s occupancy, the structure has since been divided into several sections.

IN 1947, the Belen News and the one-year-old the Belen Bulletin merged to form the News-Bulletin, and operations were consolidated at the Bulletin’s office at 208 N. second st. Years later, owner Carter Waid started KaRs Radio in the same building, and the radio station continues to operate there.

IN 1965, the News-Bulletin and its printing operation moved into a new building at sixth and Baca owned by Nestor, Ignacio and Manuel Gallegos. The print shop entrance faced sixth street and the newspaper entrance faced Baca. It was at this site in 1977 that Valencia County was officially added to the NewsBulletin name. The building now houses a motorcycle shop.

the News-BulletiN moved into its current office at 1837 Camino del Llano (sosimo Padilla Boulevard at the time) in 1990, and over the past 20 years has experienced a lot of growth in several ways.

A Century of News

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1910 -1919
By Sandy Battin
Special to the News-Bulletin hile the first issue of El Hispano Americano rolled off the press in publisher Saturnino Baca’s garage on June 11, 1910, no actual copy is known to exist. The only way a physical copy of that historic issue exists is in a front-page story in the News-Bulletin in 1959, reporting the newspaper’s upcoming 50th anniversary. What happened to that copy no one knows. The print on that issue, although small, is still mostly legible. Here, probably in the words of Mr. Baca himself, is a copy of the first story on the front page of that edition 100 years ago: GOOD MORNING With the cheerful salutation, El Hispano Americano cordially greets all the good people of Belen and Valencia County. The El Hispano Americano has not been started to serve any faction; not to punish enemies nor reward friends to the detriment of the people’s interests. It is started strictly for (unreadable word) as a business proposition and will be run on business principles. We have long believed there was a fruitful need in Valencia County for a good Spanish American paper and El Hispano Americano will do its utmost to supply this field. Therefore, we cordially invite all, without regard to race, creed or political affiliation, to become our clients and our friends. We may not agree with some of you all the time, but El Hispano Americano will publish something of interest to you every week. Improvements will be made as rapidly as business will warrant. Come in and say “Good morning.” June 11, 1910 It is a surprisingly modern philosophy; it could be a greeting made by the publisher today. The NewsBulletin has always, and will continue, to welcome the input of all its readers. It has strived to provide factual, honest and fair reporting all through the decades. It has always promised to “publish something of interest to you every week.” It would be fascinating to be able to share what those initial issues were like, but the first ragged copy of The Belen News that exists is dated Feb. 3, 1916. The Belen News was started in 1912; El Hispano Americano was printed as part of The News by about late 1916. It is a typical paper of its era, with easier-to-read larger print than that first edition and most headlines

W

in all capital letters. The news is set out in six equal columns, with no story given a banner headline. That was the way most newspapers of the day were laid out. The reader scanned each and every column to find something of interest. In 1916, before most people had radios and before libraries had been founded in the county, small towns were, of necessity, sociable places. People made their own entertainment. They put on plays, organized clubs, held game nights in their homes — and they read newspapers column by column, especially for coverage of events they’d been involved in themselves. At the same time, their local newspaper could be their only window into the larger world. The Feb. 3, 1916, edition included news that Gov. McDonald had commuted the sentence of a man who was to be hung in Raton to 99 years in prison. The governor said the facts did not justify the execution in the murder case. There is also an account of a “tragic railway crossing accident” in which the publisher of the Deming Headlight lost his three daughters. In those days before press services, it was common for newspapers to share stories with one another; that was one of the ways people in Belen learned about what was happening to people in Las Cruces or Santa Fe. That the governor’s first name wasn’t included was typical. In early sports stories, for instance, players were identified by only their last names. It was assumed that, if you lived in the small town of Belen, you would know which Romero was a member of the high school football team. A modern reader might be a bit confused about the placement of stories. For instance, the story about the governor’s commutation of the sentence of the man charged with murder begins at the bottom of the first column and continues a bit farther down in the second column, with only a line separating it from a long story about an unnamed individual who found his own job and made his own way at the University of New Mexico. That 1916 edition also shows the first known obituary published in the News. It reads: DEATH OF MRS. BEATRIZ B. DE GARCIA The funeral of Mrs. Beatriz B. de Garcia, respected wife of Mr. Jose Garcia and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bernardino Baca, and Placida B. Baca, of this city,

See 1910-1919, Page 23

saturnino Baca
Founding father

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A Century of News

1910-1919: Continued from page 22
was held today from the Catholic Church. Deceased was 18 years old and was in the best of health up to the time she was attacked by Pneumonia. Mrs. de Garcia’s obituary was run at the top of the fifth column of the front page. Newspapers began accepting advertisements on their front pages — often controversially — again back in the 1980s and ‘90s. Reporters and some readers considered that sacrosanct territory — just the news, please, on Page 1. But historically, The Belen News, like most other newspapers of its era, sold front page ads as a matter of course. A onecolumn-by-three-inch ad for McBrayer’s Whiskey sits at the bottom of the sixth column in that 1916 edition. What we now call community newspapers — smaller publications that concentrate more on what is happening locally than the big dailies that aspire to cover the entire world — were immensely popular at the time in which Mr. Baca founded the Hispano-Americano. Stories that we wouldn’t expect to read nowadays were covered. We learn who traveled to Albuquerque — a long journey that could take most of the day in 1916 — and who was new in town. On that first available 1916 front page, at the very bottom of the last column, for instance, we read, with no headline, tucked under a report on a cattlemen’s convention in Albuquerque: Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ernest was a new arrival in Belen last Sunday night from Albuquerque. Mr. Ernest takes position at the store of Becker Mercantile Co. For the last two years he was the window decorator and dress goods salesman at the Golden Rule Dry Goods company of Albuquerque. In a day and age when the Becker store was one of the only places to shop in Belen, just about all readers would be making the acquaintance of Mr. Ernest. And they’d already have something to talk to him about — window dressing. A few months later, on Aug. 31, 1916, the News reports on other activities of local citizens: LOCAL ITEMS Mrs. N.E. Woolford left last week for her home in Virginia, where she will make an extended visit. Miss Gertrudes Espinosa, of Albuquerque, came down Tuesday to arrange for her position in the High School. She will teach Spanish and Domestic Science.

Mr. George Hoffman, our efficient and popular postmaster, is spending a few days in Santa Fe, on business. Edward LeBrun and Ray Dils were both hurt Tuesday in an accident, when the Ford they were driving turned over. Luckily the boys were not seriously injured.

Although there is no record of it in the existing editions, The Belen News once had an editor who went on to play a much bigger role in the history of New Mexico and the nation. The only record of his editorship appears in a small one-paragraph story that appeared in the Dec. 16, 1937 edition: FORMER NEWS EDITOR WRITES AGAIN Senator Dennis Chavez, former editor of the News, has returned to the fold by writing for the New Mexico Sentinel, a weekly paper published in Santa Fe. Senator Chavez abandoned his career as editor of the Belen News in 1916. Advertisements in the Belen News didn’t change often; the John Becker Company, obviously one of the newspapers biggest accounts, for months ran an ad for:

1910 -1919
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Church news was also popular in almost every edition; almost 100 percent of the population of Belen attended services at least once a week. In that first edition, prominently shown are: METHODIST CHURCH NOTES The attendance at the Methodist church swung back to the high water mark Sunday morning and evening. With the coming Sunday morning services it is hoped that there will be an even better attendance, for various reasons, among them the increased interest of the older people increases the interest of the younger people. Church notes were usually printed as submitted by members; the more a Methodist or a Catholic correspondent wrote, the more information about their congregation would be included. National news was printed without reference to a news service such as Associated Press. But Mr. Baca appears to have been a well read and highly informed man. In the March 2, 1916, edition, he gives the facts about an apparent attempt by a German general to kill the kaiser and reports that it was first printed in a French newspaper “but Not Vouched for By It.” Mr. Baca, a superintendent of the Valencia County schools, made every attempt to try to uplift and educate his readers. On March 9, 1916, he wrote: FOR DUMB ANIMALS You can make kindness a habit — if you want to. In human education it is, after all, the child that is the first consideration. To awaken and foster the principles of justice and kindness in the heart of a child is to render him a supreme service. The animals’s sphere in this comes as an inevitable consequence. We heard the other day of an excellent woman who said that if her dog was to have a place in the future home of the immortals, she didn’t want to go there. Doubtless some animals might feel the same way about their master.

The story of the Belen News is incomplete during that first decade. The bound volumes — huge newspaper-sized books of actual copies of the newspaper — skips from Dec. 21, 1916, to Dec. 25, 1919. That last date also tells a story; newspapering is a 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year job. On Christmas Day in that long-ago year, the paper came out on its regular schedule. Saturnino Baca was a hard worker who gave his readers the newspaper they’d paid for, even if he had to deliver his newspaper on Christmas Day.

A Century of News

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1920 - 1929
By Sandy Battin
Special to the News-Bulletin he ’20s were roaring. You could tell that with the first edition of The Belen News on Jan. 8, 1920. A story announces: SOCIETY GIRL AS STOWAWAY Peoria, Ill. — Playing the unique role of society girl stowaway, Miss Josephine Well, daughter of Joseph Well, prominent in legal and political circles here, gave the smart set a distinct shock when she related her extraordinary experience, following her arrival home from San Francisco. Stories of travel among the languorous islands of the southern Pacific ocean always have an appeal, but the interpolation of a society girl stowaway is something so far out of the ordinary that even the most captious and story surfeited globe trotter will probably give attention to the remarkable narrative of the Peoria maiden. But while runaway society girls, jazz bands and short skirts might have been making the news across the country, publisher Saturnino Baca of The Belen News was offering practical and prescient advice in a decade that would end in the Great Depression. THRIFTOGRAMS Nobody ever got rich tomorrow. Begin saving today. Savings crank up the prosperity engine. All the wealth in the world is what has been saved by some one. Savings beget more when they are invested; War Savings Stamps are the finest investment in the World. If the economy was booming in the big cities, times were still hard for rural New Mexico newspapers. Slowly, The Belen News began offering more and more legal advertising and fewer stories about local people and events. There were bankruptcy notices, probate court accountings, and, a little more frequently, signs that the times were changing: PUBLIC NOTICE Having my wife (a name is given) abandoned her duties as my wife and refused to live with me without any reason, I will not be responsible from this date on

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for no account or compromise whatever she may make in my name. Signed by her husband Feb. 8, 1920

There are stories about Armenian girls being saved from a harem and ads for hunger relief in the Near East. Change. It was in the air. Page after page of notices for delinquent taxes are printed; local residents who’d lived in the valley for centuries began losing their land because they hadn’t enough money to pay taxes. Sales were made from the courthouse steps. America’s dancing daughters — “it” girls and flappers — were cutting their hair short and going wild. At least that’s what their parents thought. And women were close to getting the vote. The Sept. 20, 1920, edition shows New Mexico among the list of states that had ratified the amendment for women suffrage. Some states had rejected it, including Delaware, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Maryland and Louisiana. Even the ads show the times are changing. Phonographs, powdered milk, and Jazz bands were being booked for the fiestas dance at Goebel Hall. And the movement to make a cleaner, safer nation is also evident. Mr. Baca prints numerous stories about efforts of the Red Cross to stamp out disease, fair deals for farmers and talk of the League of Nations. Still very much an agricultural community, Valencia County farmers get quite an education from The Belen News. They learn about insects and poultry — the chinch bug and the best breeds of geese in the Aug. 26, 1922, edition alone. There’s something for everyone. Mother’s Cook Book features recipes for sponge cake, nut loaf and Spanish potatoes, while the kids learn about everything from the principal salt-producing localities to the definition of liquid air in the “Who, What, How, Where, When?” feature. Saturnino Baca continues his efforts to help educate his readership. And photos begin appearing. On Nov. 4, 1920, there are photos of the mustachioed Carlos Baca, elected senator, Valencia County, and M.E. Baca, elected representative Valencia County. Comics began to make an appearance in about 1922. One, “R’member” featured images of childhood versus those of middle age, while “Fanny’s Generosity Is Wonderful” featured a bossy woman

elfego Baca

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Longtime publisher and editor

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and her hen-pecked husband who is about half her height. Sports also begins to appear in the paper, although at first it’s about the big-time teams, such as the Aug. 12, 1922, report that the manager of the Kansas City Blues, Otto Knabe, complaining about the “raw deal” he got his from club in being released from his contract. Since the days of Charles Dickens, fiction had played a role in the success of most newspapers. Like the movie serials that would come along during the decade, the stories would leave readers with cliff-hangers that would make their minds wander back to what was happening with the characters during the week between chapters. “The Cultivated Christmas Tree” thrilled in 1922. In 1923, the News featured “Captain Sazarac” by Charles Tenney Jackson, which was about the “picturesque days when young Creole bloods rallied around the fugitive pirate, Lafitte — he of Barataria Bay and Galveston Island — and planned the rescue of Napoleon, fretting his life away on bleak St. Helena.” But Saturnino Baca — or perhaps his son Elfego — had long wished to provide local news and he rededicated The Belen News to that purpose, to going back to his original mission. He wrote an open letter to his readers on April 21, 1923: TO THE PEOPLE OF BELEN AND VALENCIA COUNTY The Belen News, after a lapse of some three years — during which time it has been published strictly as a legal sheet — will make its bow to the public the coming week as a local newspaper. It will be the aim of the publishers to promote the best interests of the village, as well as the county and, incidentally, the state. Heretofore, its publication day has been on Saturday, but in order to better serve its advertisers, it will hereafter appear on Thursday evening of each week. This change, we think, will be appreciated by those who patronize its columns, and we trust we shall merit their use to a large extent. Mr. Godfrey A. Bryant, a practical printer and all-around newspaper man of many years’ experience, recently from California, tho formerly of the northwest, has been associated with the paper and will lend his efforts to its development, while Elfego G. Baca, native born and known by all, will attend to the Spanish department in a way that will be pleasing to readers. We will print an edition of 800 copies — gratuitously distributed until such time as our paid-subscription list equals a like number. The subscription price will be $2.00 a year, tho in order to build up the list as soon as possible, we will make a special price of $1.50 per year for next two months. Thereafter it will be $2.00 to all. Here’s hoping your interests will be served, your patronage merited, and a long-felt want more than supplied. Very truly, BACA & BRYANT Publishers Phone 96 Notice the spelling of the word “tho”? That too was a sign of the journalistic times. The Chicago Tribune had pioneered the concept of simplified spelling, encouraging newspapers to spell words as they sounded — similar to the way words were spelled in Spanish. That may have been a reason why the Bacas advocated that effort — it probably simply made sense to them. The men were proud of the newspaper they produced. They wrote on Oct. 4, 1923: THE LOCAL NEWSPAPER Stand by your town newspaper. If there is anything in your town worth talking about, ten chances to one your little town newspaper had a hand in putting it there, and if there exists any unsightly or unsavory nuisance, twenty chances to one it will stay there until your town editor sees it or smells it and wipes his pen on the town board’s breeches. If anybody beyond the walls of your burg ever learns that there is such a place as Belen, it will be through the town oracle. Every town gets its money’s worth through the village newspaper. It’s the wagon that carries all your goods to market. It ought to be kept in good repair. It will pay to grease it, paint it and keep its running gears in good shape and shelter. Stand by your local newspaper. It’s the guardian and defender of every interest, the forerunner and pioneer of every advance movement and the sturdy advocate of law and order. Elfego Baca also took to task the local town council and mayor — whom he often referred to as the “city dads” — about some problem, such as the streetlights. On Oct. 25, 1923, he wrote: AGAIN AND MORE We wish to again call the attention of our

city dads, or whoever else is responsible, to the condition of our local streets, not that we expect that it will result in any good, but simply to be “a-tellin’.” We will not specify any streets at present, but will take them up in their turn later. Also it will be well to remember that any pedestrian crossing the street should fall into one of the full grown holes, it would be a matter of some difficulty to extricate him and he might become so peeved and ungenerous as to bring suit against the city for maintaining such big game dead falls. A word to the wise is supposed to be sufficient.” The Belen News was adamant about fair treatment. Thoroughly ahead of his time, Mr. Baca wrote, on Aug. 12, 1926:

The United States is a country wherein all citizens are supposed to have an equal share in the government. We are according to the principles on which this nation was founded, equal partners in its government affairs. Any man or group of men who attempt to deny full civic rights to any citizen on account of race or creed, is committing a thoroughly unAmerican act, one that is subversive of the ideals of the country. Times change and so does newspaper personnel. As the 1920s ended and the nation faced its biggest crisis, the newspaper ownership was passed along to a new generation, one that had grown up in a family for whom education and newspapering seemed more a calling than a career:

NEWS SELLS HALF INTEREST Half interest in the printing press of the News was sold on Thursday to Ignacio C. Baca of this place. Mr. Baca is a graduate of Belen High School and until recently attended the University of New Mexico. The News will be edited by Elfego Baca and Ignacio Baca will be the business manager. The management intends to make some improvements in the plant in order to give the people of this county the best service possible, and asks the cooperation of the people as it is a hard task to publish a country paper. Sept. 15, 1927 Elfego was definitely his father’s son, raised in a newspaper office, a child of journalism.

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But The News also served a more local function. In it, the county also laughed about hometown events, bragged about its baseball and football teams, was shocked about the crimes committed by the Depression “hobos” passing through aimlessly, and found ways to help each other. And there was crime in those days, make no mistake about it. BECKER HOUSE ROBBED BY THREE BOYS Three boys were arrested here last Sunday for breaking into the house of L.C. Becker Sunday morning while Mrs. Becker was attending church. The boys broke in through a back window and stole a revolver, a pistol and other small articles, which the boys had in their possession when arrested. They came from Shawnee, Okla., St. Louis, and Chickasha, Okla. They stated that they were hungry and wanted something to eat while traveling through the country. Oct. 1, 1931 The big news as the ’30s began was not only the stock market crash, but the huge social experiment of Prohibition, the banning of the sale of alcoholic beverages. The nation began dividing itself into “wets” and “drys” — those who wanted alcohol to slosh freely and those who wanted the beer steins and wine glasses to gather dust. Historians say that what the noble experiment did, in the long run, was create a new class of criminals — gangsters, who made their living running rum and organizing gambling dens in their illegal “speakeasies.” The Belen News believed that, if laws were on the books, they should be taken seriously. On Aug. 14, 1930, it observed: Whether you’re a wet or dry you expect to see elected officials enforce the laws, or at least refrain from running booze, gambling or other rackets. State enforcement officials, regardless of political views, should make a determined effort to enforce not only the state prohibition law but all laws. Elfego Baca continued as editor and Ignacio C. Baca as general manager of the Belen News and El Hispano Americano, still printed in a single weekly edition together. In El Hispano Americano, Elfego is Redactor and Ignacio is Manejador. Elfego speculated about the worries of the world,

florela Baca and her son, George
Outside The Belen News office

o one was ever bored during the 1930s. Trouble washed over the country, blown from west to east with the massive wind storms of the Great Depression. The big cities were hurting from the collapse of the stock market in 1929, some unfortunate speculators throwing themselves from buildings as their fortunes evaporated and the man on the street finding himself selling apples there. Jobs were scarce, money was nonexistent and hope had flown somewhere else. The small towns in the nation’s midsection were drying up in the drought and choking to death on the dirt that rose from their fields and filtered into their homes and their lungs, choking off their crops, killing their cattle and smothering their dreams. You might be sobbing, you might be desperate, but you certainly weren’t bored. Tucked into our little piece of the American continent, things looked serious, times were hard, but life went on. Valencia County had never been rich in the first place, other than one or two figures at the top of the socioeconomic ladder. We had our “Millionario” and our wealthy families, but most people here had always worked hard to keep their heads above water. The Depression brought nothing new to them. Crops were smaller in Valencia County, too. The Dec. 25, 1930, edition reported that the alfalfa hay crop had been only half what it normally was. But at least there was a crop, not the case for Dust Bowl farms. John Becker’s First National Bank, perhaps because it was operated in conjunction with his store, didn’t fail the way so many other banks did. In the big cities — and in some smaller ones, too — there were runs on the banks when depositors suspected they didn’t have enough cash on hand. But people in Belen knew Mr. Becker and apparently trusted him. Whatever the case, Valencia County made its way through the Depression relatively unscathed — bruised and cautious, yes, but still with food on the table. The Belen News was by now a community institution, one that for $2 a year would tell you about the latest economic news, examine the big changes on the horizon with the election of President Franklin Roosevelt and his ambitious New Deal that struggled to put people back to work. This small link to the larger world even described suspicious events happening in Europe far, far away.

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proving just as prescient as his father. He wrote: WHAT IS TO BE DONE ABOUT THE UNEMPLOYMENT PROBLEMS? What steps should the national government take to solve the unemployment problem that is growing more acute every year? Improved industrial machinery is displacing human labor. It is certain to continue to do so as science and invention produce more and more labor-saving appliances and practices. What avenue of endeavor will this displaced human labor enter to secure a livelihood? They cannot go back into the land for agriculture is already overexpanded. It is idle to imagine that they can be left to shift for themselves as best they can. Hunger and poverty will never be long tolerated in this great, wealthy nation. A solution must be found. What will it be? Aug. 21, 1930 When he wasn’t worried, Elfego was trying to do something not only to educate the town he loved but to help its residents have fun. NEWS TO SPONSOR LEARN TO SWIM CONTEST A “Learn-to-Swim” campaign will be held under the auspices of the Belen News from July 20th to 26th at the Mesa View Swimming Pool. Competent instructors will conduct the classes which are scheduled for all ages, instructions being free. Jeff Smith and Med Sedillo, well known swimming teachers, will do the instructing. The course is one that has been effectively used throughout the United States. Six simple lessons have been developed. ... Simply register at the swimming pool and bring your suit and towel. If you do not have a suit, you can rent one at the pool. July 14, 1938 Despite troubles, the Local And Incidental column continued to report the comings and goings of home folks, who still managed to have fun. For instance, on Aug. 28, 1930, the News reported: Mrs. Tom Hewett and children returned home Friday after having spent the summer months in Ohio and N. Carolina. Sister Mary Lucia, and Sister Mary Emily, sisters of Loretto at El Paso, Texas, were in Belen this week visiting with the Ramon Baca family. Sister Mary Lucia is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ramon Baca of this place. Ernest Baca and Lena Baca returned to Belen Monday from Las Vegas, where they attended summer school. Mr. and Mrs. Pedro Castillo, of Albuquerque, spent Sunday and Monday visiting with the J. Felipe Castillo family. Mrs. L.L. Trombley entertained the young set of Belen with a 7:00 o’clock luncheon bridge Wednesday evening. Aug. 28, 1930 Page 2 began featuring News Review of Current Events, which gave tidbits from around the nation and world, each beginning with a single large capital letter rather than a headline. Photos appeared with them, often of exotic places and tribal cultures, with heavy emphasis on dictators, plucky girls, adventurous boys and royal families. Type was still set by hand and each piece came as a unit. Sometimes, that meant that a single line of type would be run upside down in a piece, such as this filler in the Sept. 4, 1930, edition. Other times, entire pages would accidentally be run upside down, necessitating arm action by readers. work to be done and ragged spots to work out before they can expect to have a strong running attack against a tight defense. Jack Jones, at quarter, played an excellent game. He mixed the plays in a way that the Hot Springs boys were kept guessing throughout the fray … Pablo Soto, the rabbit of the Eagles, skirted the ends for repeated long gains and turned many a good tackle for the Hot Springs boys into long gains for the Eagles. Fidel Baca, an excellent line smasher, crashed through tackles in way to make the defense dread to see him start through. Baca will also be hard to stop in an open field with a little more work on side-stepping and twisting. … Tibo Chavez is another of the Eagles’ Rabbits; he is a little light for a heavy team, but makes up for light weight in fight and speed plus a cool head. Ray Berry has plenty of speed and should develop into a valuable man before the end of the season. Oct. 2, 1930 People in Valencia County believed that charity started at home. They had their own way to help their neighbors:

Local sports reporting — with a big dose of rah-rah for the home team — began making an appearance: EAGLES MAKE GOOD START The Belen High School Eagles opened their 1930 football Campaign with an impressive 37-0 win over Hot Springs eleven last Saturday. The Hot Springs boys were clearly outclassed in every department of the same, but not a minute of the game passed that they were not fighting and were excellent sports in defeat. The Eagles offense showed up good at times and had plenty of power in plays that were executed properly, but as yet there is a lot of

FORMED A RELIEF ORGANIZATION Representatives from the various charitable organizations of Belen met Wednesday at the home of Mrs. John Becker, Jr. The Belen Relief Organization was organized and the following officers elected: Rev. U.S. Villars, President; Rev. Father Michael Scanlon, Vice-President; Mr. F.B. Calhoun, Secretary; C. Hendren, Treasurer. The president appointed E.H. Leupold, Mrs. John Becker Jr. and Carl Lindberg as a committee to form rules by which the organization may be completed to report at the next meeting of the organization. Sept. 17, 1931 With so many people wandering the countryside looking for a job or just food, the people wanted to help, but they didn’t think a free hand-out was good for the soul. TRANSIENTS MUST WORK TO EAT The city is posting signs at different places inviting the transients or knights of the road that they must work if they expect to eat and tenders them an invitation to the city hall. The

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signs posted read as follows: “Knights of the road, if you expect to eat you must work for it. Call at city hall.” Oct. 29, 1931 The covers of The News became darker and less appealing to the eye by 1935; there were no pictures or drawings on the front pages. Examinations for postal clerk and civil service jobs made front page news because so many people wanted to take them. Hundreds applied. Things didn’t always go perfectly for The Belen News. Sometimes, apparently, people complained, and Elfego tried to explain the newspaper’s function: THE BAD NEWS A newspaper contracts to give the readers the news. Filling the contract is a pleasant business when the news is pleasant, but a depressing business when news is bad. The newspaper does not make the news, however, and is not responsible for it. To blame the newspaper for printing bad news is no more sensible than blaming a mirror for reflecting ugliness or blaming a physician for the illness of his patient. If the News reports a crime committed by some member of your family, it does not by so doing take sides against him — any more than a mirror becomes a partisan when it reflects unpleasant truths. It had much rather report when some great accomplishment of his or some conspicuous proof of virtue. But it cannot manufacture facts. It can only record the truth. If a man who robs a bank falls out with us for reporting the incident, he does not thereby lessen his guilt. He might shoot us as proof of his resentment, but he would be a rogue still. The paper is not the one to blame. Hating the paper won’t change the facts. The way to keep from being called a thief in print is to refrain from stealing. Sept. 17, 1931 Some didn’t like that the News-Bulletin encouraged readers to express their own opinions in the newspaper. Elfego wrote that letters to the editor “are the views of citizens or readers who send them in, and we publish them because we are in the publishing business, even if they are contrary to our views.” The News expanded into other activities, becoming something of a full-service center for the community: AUTO LICENSE AT NEWS OFFICE The 1932 automobile and truck licenses for Valencia County are being sold at the Office of The Belen News. Applicants for license must present their last certificate before license is issued. No checks will be accepted in payment for licenses, as you must have cash when you apply. No extension of time will be given, the final date being December 31st. Get your license now and avoid the rush. Nov. 5, 1931 That may be why The News began to find a need for bigger quarters: NEWS PURCHASES GILBERT BUILDING The building formerly occupied by Gilbert & Sons on Main Street across from the Halama Enderstein Company has been purchased by The Belen News. We will move into our new quarters this week, where we will be more centrally located and have larger quarters to accommodate and give a better service to the public. Sept. 22, 1932 As with most stories and advertisements published during the 1930s, there was no address. Belen was small enough that you simply knew where every restaurant and clothing store that advertised was located. As the 1930s pressed on, The News was full of information basic to earning a living. A weekly column gave advice about poultry raising — and the myriad diseases and other disasters that could befoul the birds. It reported on home economics classes offered to girls and women so that they could can or dry vegetables from their gardens. There were agricultural associations and much reporting on cattle prices. One of the most talked about subscription campaigns for The Belen News involved area youngsters, who were competing for a minicar that looked and operated like those of their parents. Here’s what happened: A SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN Last Tuesday afternoon brought to a close a very successful campaign which put The Belen News to the front, and it secured what the publishers were after — circulations — yes, and a big circulation in Valencia county, as the News now circulates over the county like the good, wholesome sunshine of New Mexico. First prize in the contest, the Arrow Junior Auto, was won by Cresencio Pacheco Jr. of Peralta, N.M. The second highest in the contest was Leo Baca, of Belen. While the circulation of the News has been constantly increasing for the past months, we decided to put on this contest so that we could build up our circulation more rapidly in order to give our advertisers a medium that would merit their patronage and show outstanding results in all cases. One of the pleasing parts of the campaign was that there was no unplesantness at the close of the contest, and all were satisfied with the fairness in which it was run from start to finish. To the winner of the prize and all contestants — congratulations — you were all splendid workers. All contestants received a commission. Dec. 26, 1935

While Valencia County was largely a Republican stronghold, the voters still went for Franklin Roosevelt in the presidential race of 1936. The Democratic president scored 3,313 votes as opposed to Republican candidate Alf Landon, who scored 2,911, a difference of 402 votes, The Belen News reported on Nov. 12. By 1937, the look of the Belen News was lighter, with type that was just a bit larger and easier to read. It remained a six-column newspaper, but the headlines had gone from all capital letters to just capitals on the most important words. Some of the headlines were in boldface type and others weren’t, giving it a more streamlined look. Some local photos had begun to appear such as the photo in the Aug. 5, 1937, edition of the new Belen Women’s Club building where the Rotary club would also meet. That same building on Reinken has since been a community center, the public library and now the home of Amor Flowers. By 1937, El Hispano Americano had become a “Seccion Espanol” with fewer stories and the ads no longer printed in Spanish. Meanwhile, the war had begun in Europe and even far away from the coasts, people in Belen were getting that uneasy feeling about what was to happen next. A cartoon on the front page of The Belen News on Sept. 28, 1939, showed the big ocean standing between the war and American farmers busy at work plowing and picking apples. Business as Usual was the headline.

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THREE BELEN BOYS LEFT FOR TRAINING TUESDAY Three Belen boys left on the ten o’clock bus, Tuesday morning, November 19th, for Santa Fe, to enter the year’s training under the Selective Service Act. From Santa Fe, the boys will be sent to different military posts. Serafin Anaya of Belen was called according to his order number of 26, and Ernest Sais and Antonio B. Armijo of Belen both volunteered for their years service. The boys were accompanied to the bus depot in Los Lunas by the Valencia County Selective Service Board members. Nov. 21, 1940 It may have seemed that Belen was a small town far from the coasts, isolated from any potential enemies. But it was already a major rail center and, if a Japanese or German bomber could disrupt the nation’s rail service, it seemed likely they would try. Belen began taking its preparations seriously: BELEN IN A BLACKOUT PROGRAM The date of the state-wide blackout planned in conjunction with the national defense program has been set for the night of September 12. In response to a signal to be announced later all lights in the district are to be put out or concealed in such a manner that no gleam is visible. Airplane spotters will be placed around the area and will report the approach of enemy planes. The auxiliary fire and police forces will be on duty as though conditions called for such action. These actual warfare conditions are a precautionary measure that may result in great good. If the need ever arises, each unit in the local defense set-up will know its place; each airplane spotter will know what is expected of him and will be familiar with his methods for reporting untoward incidents. The police and the fire defense units will be able to prepare for their work without uncertainty or indecision as to how to proceed. Mayor Keeney, Chairman of the local Defense Committee, said today that the time has come when the people must realize that an actual danger exists. This is not a time for scoffing at these efforts to prepare for possible attack, he said, such action in some of the European countries have resulted in disaster, we must take this black-out seriously. It is imperative

ewspapers covered the 1940s with big, black, frightening headlines: WAR! Like others across the nation, Valencia County residents read in their hometown newspapers about how Germany pushed into Poland and Austria, how the English tried to contain the Nazis with reasonable talk and wound up with the Blitz. America was still in a mood to stay on its side of the Atlantic, safe, secure, watching the world go by. Some argued that, once Adolf Hitler conquered Europe, he would turn his eyes toward America. We need to stop him now, they said. Readers could probably see the writing on the wall. The Belen News reported the story as Valencia County, like other areas across the nation, began to prepare for a war that seemed almost inevitable. There were clues here and there: VALENCIA COUNTY DRAFT BOARD MAKES FIRST REPORT The Valencia County Draft Board held its first meeting last week at the office of the District Judge at the County Court House in Los Lunas with all the members present. The members of the board are: Donasiano D. Romero, Gillie Luna and Waite Kenney. List of registrants with serial numbers is posted at local Post Office. The serial number is for reference only. The order numbers will be selected in the National drawing at Washington, D.C., and will indicate the order in which persons will be called for selective service and training. Serial Nos. Number 1. Johnny S. Eaves, San Mateo, N.M. Number 2. Harold C. Gilman, Belen, N.M. Last Number: Alford Henry Wood, Belen, N.M. No. 2320. At the last meeting the board appointed M.J. Johnson (Lefty) as Clerk of the Board and Miss Dolores Romero as Clerk-Stenographer. Oct. 24, 1940 Already, local boys were signing on to do their patriotic duty, some being drafted and others volunteering:
sam hicks
War hero and former sports reporter

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that every individual in the area be informed of these plans and that they be prepared to do their part in blacking out this district, he concluded. TIME IS SHORT. Aug. 21, 1941 BELEN BLACKOUT ENTIRE SUCCESS The Santa Fe Passenger Train No. 2 came into Belen last Friday night in complete darkness except for a lone blue light that dimly lighted the dining car. The yard flood lights were out, lights that would be at all revealing in the shops had been doused and, from above, little evidence of the Belen yard activity was visible. The town was dark; the few cars passing along the highway seemed out of place with their bright lights showing Belen was doing her part in the statewide blackout. Sept. 18, 1941 The discussion and the preparation came to a halt on a December Sunday in 1941 when Japanese bombers crossed the Pacific and attacked Pearl Harbor. America, too, ready or not, was at war. Valencia County residents sat listening to their radios, shocked with the rest of the nation, as they heard news from faraway Pearl Harbor — a place some had never heard of — about America being attacked. They listened on the next day as the president spoke about “a day that will live in infamy” and learned that America was in another world war. The next edition of The News came out the following Thursday, Dec. 11, with a previously planned piece about “150 Voices in Xmas Pageant’ topping a story about local response to the attack. BELEN’S DEFENSES WELL ORGANIZED With air raids, bombings and attacks on the United States, the war that until last Sunday seemed comfortably far away has been brought home forcibly to each citizen of the United States. Stunned by this sudden attack, the average citizen, wanting to do all in his power for his country, turns this way and that not realizing that in each community in the United States there already exists a well developed organization, the National Council for Defense of their community. Belen’s committee, headed by Mayor Waite J. Kenney, has been quietly but efficiently working for months on the emergency that now confronts Belen. In a practice blackout a few months ago Belen’s Air Raid Squadron with the cooperation of the people of Belen received many plaudits from state officers for its excellent work. This squadron with Dr. E.G. Brentari as Chief Air Warden; Ramon Ortega, Demolition Squad Officer; Mrs. J.M. Slaten, Red Cross; J.R. Buckland, Fire Chief; and Louis Chavez, Police Department, and many volunteer workers are ready to go into action at a moment’s notice. A system of communication for local police and county officers has been worked out by Fay Guthrie, State Coordinator. Belen and surrounding territory has been into districts making it a simple matter to call into instant action all law officers. Mass meetings have been planned by the local council to make known to the people of Belen all the facilities available for civilian protection. Do your part in the Defense of America! Support and encourage and listen to your local defense council! Don’t be caught asleep! The same issue reports that local farmers were being urged to sell their scrap iron for the war effort and that a mass meeting on the American form of life was to be held, with Tibo Chavez, local attorney, speaking on the Bill of Rights; local merchant B.L. Markus speaking on defense bonds and stamps; and Filo Sedillo, former attorney general, on “The Solidarity of Belief That The Democratic Form of Life Will Prevail.” Edwin Leupold of the American Legion was to speak on “Organization vs. War Hysteria,” and Austin Lovett would talk about the “war against waste.” A Navy recruiter was to visit Belen on Dec. 15, The News said, to sign up volunteers. The lighting of the community Christmas tree was to have the theme “Patriotic Christmas Spirit.” The News asked folks to save their old magazines and newspapers for the Boy Scouts to pick up, one of the first drives that would become so familiar to folks on the home front. In the very next edition, Dec. 18, 1941, the first of the stories that would become so tragically familiar during the war years was printed: BELEN BOY KILLED WHILE IN ACTION Official notice was received this week by Mr. and Mrs. W.D. Houston that their son, William Daniel Houston Jr., died while in action of the U.S. Navy in the performance of his duty and in the service of his country. The official notice to his parents extended the sympathy of the department by the officer in charge. Due to U.S. regulations in preventing information to the enemy, we are not publishing the name of his ship or station. Young Houston was graduated from Belen high school. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on December 7th, 1939, being the only son of Mr. and Mrs. W.D. Houston. Beside the parents, two sisters survive, Mrs. Frank Hilburn of Canadian, Texas, and Mrs. Joe Davis of Belen. The News joins the many citizens of Belen in extending their sincerest sympathy to Mr. and Mrs. Houston in their great loss. Further down on that front page is another story typical of the time and the goodbyes that were being said:

JOINS U.S. MARINE CORPS Ted Chavez, son of Mr. and Mrs. Julian O. Chavez, 1004 South Third, was entertained by his family and friends Sunday when he passed through Albuquerque enroute to San Diego to enter the U.S. Training School. Mr. Chavez is a brother of Mrs. Arthur Gilbert. Chavez enlisted in the Marines Thursday and was sent to Denver where he passed entrance examinations. He was graduated from St. Mary’s high school in 1937 and was since been employed by the Albuquerque engineering department. Dec. 18, 1941 Even children were stricken by the enormity of the events of that month. In her letter to Santa printed on the front page of the Dec. 18, 1941, edition, Ida Velasquez, age 13, writes poignantly:

“I am very happy to let you know how sorry I feel for those poor children whose fathers and mothers were killed in the war. They are homeless and suffering from hunger. They need you now more than ever. But I think that you, dear Santa, and all boys

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and girls who have a father and mother will help them with something. I think that the best Christmas present we ever had was Christ, he has been so nice to us all this years and that’s why we should be happy on Christmas time ... Dear Santa, please try and help those poor children and please send me a little gift.” The war effort went into overdrive. In the Aug. 6, 1942, edition, the Belen post of the American Legion asked for old phonograph records to be recycled and the News revealed that: “Valencia County with a population of 20,245 has been assigned a quota of scrap steel and metal to be collected from July 1st to December 31st of 2,024,500 pounds, or in other words, 100 lbs. per person. “Citizens of this county are asked to cooperate with their county conservation board in this drive, in order to go over the top. This, we know, is a hard undertaking, but once we made up our minds to do it, it can be accomplished without very much effort.” Everything was rationed on the home front. People were encouraged to turn in their tires to be melted down and remade for military use. War ration books had been given and those entering the military were warned in the Nov. 19, 1942, edition that they must turn in their ration books when they left to prevent “improper distribution of rationed commodities.” Coffee rationing was announced in the Nov. 26, 1942, edition, with only those age 15 and up entitled to a share. The first ration stamp entitled a person to have one pound of coffee for a period of five weeks. People were encouraged to volunteer for the Red Cross, putting together “supply kits” with soap, cigarettes, razors, toothbrushes, playing cards and other items. They knitted socks and cut bandages. Christmas mail to those in the military came with restrictions on items that could be sent; Oct. 1 was a good time to mail, the News recommended. Small towns were no more isolated from the war than the big cities were. Boys from Fourth Street in Belen, Los Lentes in Los Lunas, Jarales Road down south, the Loop in Bosque Farms, signed up to serve their country. Your son, your nephew, your neighbor’s kid, your classmate, the boy who waited on you at the grocery store, even that nurse at the doctor’s office — they all were suddenly gone. They were in army khaki or navy blues the next time you saw them. The Belen News played its role too. It was difficult because the news wasn’t always good. War news meant that one beloved member of the community had died in Anzio, another on Midway Island. Valencia County’s National Guard members were caught in the tragedy of the Bataan Death March; other local boys were taken prisoner by the Germans. Little information was available and so the stories about local men who died in the war were necessarily brief. Often, the only source for a story was the families of the servicemen. PVT. IGNACIO CASTILLO IN JAP PRISON Mrs. Manuelita Castillo from Jarales received this week a card from her son, Pvt. Ignacio Castillo, stating he is in Japanese Prison Camp No. 2, in the Philippine Islands. He states his health is “good” and requests her to give his best regards to “everybody.” Sept. 16, 1943 The war news hit home for the Bulletin with this story: HICKS MISSING Staff Sgt. Samuel M. Hicks, son of Mrs. Ruth B. Hicks, 211 San Pasquale, Albuquerque, is reported missing on a raid over Europe. He was serving as a radio gunner on a B17. Staff Sgt. Hicks is a Belen High School graduate. While in school he took active part in school athletics, having starred in football and basketball. He also was Sports Reporter for the News for some time. Oct. 28, 1943 Heroics were often reported: GETS FIRST GERMAN TANK Cpl. Patrocinio Gabaldon, Los Lunas, was credit with knocking out the first German tank on Sicily in a letter … from Sgt. Joseph S. Farkas. The message in a V-mail letter was as follows: “It is with greatest pleasure and proudness that I inform you that Cpl. Patrocinio Gabaldon of Los Lunas was the first gunner of our battalion to knock out the first German tank on Sicily soil.” The letter was sent by Sgt. Farkas from “somewhere in Sicily.” Cpl. Gabaldon is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Salomon Gabaldon of Los Chavez and a brother of Justo Gabaldon of Belen. Aug. 26, 1943 And then, finally, the end was in sight and The News helped the city share information about how it would celebrate:

TOWN PLANS FOR V-DAY OBSERVANCE Whenever the news flash comes that the military victory in Europe has come, the fire siren will be sounded, as well as locomotive whistles in the Santa Fe yards. Be ready, two hours after this signal, to come to the City Park for a Community Service. Remember, 2 hours after the signal ... If the signal comes in after six in the afternoon, the Community Service will be held in the City Park at 10 the next morning. Should it come after six on Saturday night, the community service will be held at two on Sunday afternoon. After the Community Service, the people will immediately go to the various churches in the town for a special service and a session of prayer. ... All veterans of World War I as well as those who are in the various Armed Forces of this war — those having been discharged and those who are on furlough — are kindly requested to join in the procession, which will be led by the High School Band. Sept. 21, 1944 And then it was all over. The Aug. 30, 1945, edition shows a photo with the caption: “President Truman Announcing Surrender of Japs.” In the next edition, on Sept. 6, Elfego Baca, once again looking ahead, wrote:

“Behind us lie 3 1/2 years of deadly struggle in which, with God’s help, we have prevailed. So, today, we celebrate a victory. After the celebration, what lies ahead? For most of us, the outlook is a bright one. If we will simply use the brains, the will, the energy, the enterprise ... the materials and resources ... with which we won our war, we can’t fail to win the peace and

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to make this the richest, happiest land the world has known. For most of us the years ahead are bright with promise. But for others of us ... and, ironically enough, their part in bringing victory was a major one — the years to come must bear a different look. In America today are hundreds of thousands of injured men. Men with neatly pinned up sleeves and trousers. Blinded men. Men with clever iron hooks instead of hands. Worst of all, men with hurt and darkened minds. These men need our help. Helping them can cost a great deal of money. We can help them best by buying Victory Bonds. Sept. 4, 1945 Although World War II was the big story during the 1940s, other stories also were in the news. The war deaths weren’t the only ones being reported in The Belen News. One death was especially sad for the newspaper to report: FOUNDER OF NEWS DIES AFTER LONG ILLNESS Saturnino Baca, lifelong resident of Valencia County and founder of The Belen News and El Hispano Americano, died at his home here on Thursday, July 18th, after an illness of two years. Deceased founded the Belen papers in 1910, starting the first plant in the garage of his home. He was the first county school superintendent under statehood, serving in that capacity for eleven years, having previously taught in the county schools for several years. Mr. Baca is survived by his wife, six sons and three daughters. The sons are Major Herman Baca, Santa Fe; Elfego G., Eddie and Ernest Baca, Belen; Dennis Baca, Albuquerque; and Gilbert Baca, Washington, D.C. The daughters are Mrs. Joe E. Romero, Las Vegas; Mrs. Alex Read, Santa Fe; Miss Lena Baca, Belen. Rosary services were held Friday night at his home and Saturday night at the Romero Chapel, funeral services being conducted at the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Belen Saturday morning and again Sunday morning for the funeral. The Alianza Hispano Americana, of which he was a member, rendered services at the Chapel and grave. The six sons of deceased were active pallbearers with N.C. Romero of Belen Funeral Home in charge. July 25, 1940 Six months after its founder’s death, Elfego Baca was going it alone: PURCHASE INTEREST IN BELEN NEWS Elfego G. Baca, editor and publisher of the News and El Hispano-Americano for the past 20 years, has purchased the interest of Ignacio Baca, who has been part owner for the past 13 years. Ignacio Baca plans to enter the real estate and insurance business. Jan. 2, 1941 family. Two stories were included: GOOD-BYE It is with the greatest of pleasure that I take this means of introducing to the readers and customers of the Belen News its new owners, Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Lewis, formerly of Emporia, Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis see a great future and rapid growth for Belen and they expect to have the patent of the News progress with the town of the Belen and Valencia County and I recommend them highly to the citizens of our town and county. After introducing Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, I wish to thank the people of Belen and Valencia County for the splendid support and cooperation given me during the past twenty-seven years that I have published the paper. I have taken over my new duties as county sheriff, and in that capacity, I will try to serve faithfully and impartially at all times. Elfego G. Baca

The NeW CORTeZ TheaTRe opened in Belen in august 1946. In those days, theaters were often the only air conditioned buildings; movie-goers often took in a show just to cool off during the hot summer days. This ad appeared aug. 1, 1946. In many ways, Valencia County had grown from a rural farming community to an integral part of New Mexico’s economy. Many national advertisers began appearing in local newspapers such as the Bulletin — Camel cigarettes, Tomlinson hose, Mentholatum for colds, Sunbeam waffle irons and mixers, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. The modern era suddenly seemed to have arrived. Six years later, Elfego Baca had decided to take a different path. The Belen News, on Jan. 2, 1947, revealed plans that, for the first time, would take publication of the newspaper out of the hands of the Baca

HELLO To the people of this valley, greetings. Until we have the opportunity to meet you all individually, we take this means of saying hello, and of introducing ourselves. The new publisher and the new editor are partners in more than the project of getting out a newspaper. They are also married, both legally and happily. They are in the newspaper business because they grew up in Kansas, where people are born with an urge to publish a newspaper — an urge that is second only to their compulsion to eat, and because they know of no more interesting way of taking part in the life of their community. They did not settle in this valley because they were offered employment here, nor did they come here in search of health. Having seen, visited or lived in the five continents, Canada, Mexico and all but two of our own states and territories, they agreed that there in this valley they would find the greatest opportunity for living the more abundant life. The welcome you have already given them has proved them right. We believe that a newspaper is a public trust; that its advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interest of its readers, and that the test of good

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journalism is the measure of its public service. We believe you want that kind of newspaper and that’s the kind of paper we shall try to give you for the next fifty years. Ruth Lewis E.J. Lewis Six months earlier, a new newspaper had begun publication in town. The Belen Bulletin published its premier edition on July 4, 1946. In introducing themselves, the publishers wrote: PASS IT ON We, publishers of the Belen Bulletin, are doing our best to acquaint our newspaper with the public. We are delivering the first issue, as a free sample to homes throughout the city and due to the newsprint shortage we find that we are unable to print a paper to send out to every family in Valencia County. We ask each of you to pass your copy on to a friend or neighbor who may not have received one and enjoy the news of the week of Belen and the county. Copies of the Bulletin will be on sale each week at Buckland Drug Stores and the Cactus Drug Store. Within the next year, the owners of The Belen News and The Belen Bulletin had joined forces: NEWSPAPERS TO CONSOLIDATE Stressing their desire to provide Valencia County with an outstanding weekly newspaper, the publishers of the Belen Bulletin and the Belen News announced Thursday that their publications would be consolidated into one weekly newspaper, effective April 17. The first issue of the consolidated paper, to be known as “The News-Bulletin” of Belen, New Mexico, will appear Thursday, April 3. Co-publishers will be George W. Perkins and Carter M. Waid, present owners of the Bulletin, and E.J. Lewis, owner of the News. “The News-Bulletin” in addition to general coverage of local news will carry a four-page feature section provided by the Western Newspaper Union... While published in Belen, it is anticipated that the News-Bulletin will serve as the community paper for all of eastern Valencia county, including Los Lunas, the county seat, and the other settlements. The management contemplates providing local news from all those communities, including Bosque, Los Lentes, Jarales, Tome, Peralta, El Cerro, Valencia, Los Lunas and Bosque Farms. Circulation lists of both the News and Bulletin will be consolidated, providing advertisers with a much broader field of readers and customers than either paper has been able to offer heretofore. Offices will be maintained by the new publishing firm at both present locations, the News at 115 South Main and the Bulletin at 208 North Second. Equipment of the new newspapers will be combined into one mechanical plant of the Bulletin establishment on North Second. ...The new organization will consist of the following officials: Editor, Carter M. Waid Business Manager, E.J. Lewis. Plant Superintendent, George W. Perkins. Woman’s Editor, Mrs. Ruth Lewis ... No reduction in either paper’s personnel staff will be necessary as a result of the consolidation, the management pointed out. March 20, 1947 The new partnership didn’t go on forever. The July 24, 1947, edition reported that George Perkins had sold his interest to Edwin J. Lewis and Carter M. Waid, who would continue to print and edit the NewsBulletin. The business operated as a family, as it still does. It also had a sense of humor, even if it meant a delay in the paper:

ADOLFO SANCHEZ QUITS PRESS TO GREET STORK For the third time within a year, the presses could not roll Monday as scheduled at a Belen newspaper office ... all because a newcomer was joining the staff. The latest addition is an 8 pound, 2 ounce son born at 8:22 p.m. Monday to Mr. and Mrs. Adolfo Sanchez, 724 North Main, at the Belen hospital. Mother and son were reported doing nicely Tuesday while Papa Adolfo was back on the job feeding the press at the NewsBulletin. ... Previous press interferences can be blamed on Tommy Lewis, born last Dec. 31 to Publisher and Mrs. E. J. Lewis, and a daughter born almost exactly a year ago to Mr. and Mrs. Alfredo Chavez. Mr. Chavez was machine operator and general floor man for the News at the time. Feb. 24, 1948 The News continued to be a good citizen, to serve readers of every walk of life. It proudly announced:

Buckland Drugs ad from July 4, 1946 The News-Bulletin unveiled a new look with a story on Oct. 5, 1948. The paper measured 12 inches in width and 18 inches in length, compared to the previous 11-by15 inches. It became the familiar “little paper” — a tabloid — readers became familiar with for many years. A press was installed along with a “power-driven newspaper folder” and saw, requiring rearranging of the News-Bulletin shop at 208 N. Second Street.

FREE SUBSCRIPTIONS GIVEN TO NEWLYWEDS Just as June is the Bride’s own month, we’ve made the News-Bulletin the Bride’s own newspaper. Beginning June 1, the News-Bulletin will present as a wedding gift a year’s subscription free to every newly married couple who establish their residence in Valencia County. Our only requirement is that the newlyweds turn in a news story of this event to our news office at 208 North Second Street, including your mailing address for your newly founded home. ...Your home life will be made much more pleasant because the News-Bulletin brings you all the interesting home news about the places and the people you know. And the News-Bulletin can start a young couple off in a frugal manner because every week it brings you the money-saving opportunities our merchants have to offer. May 28, 1947

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By Sandy Battin

Special to the News-Bulletin

1950-1959
sad story of the first serviceman killed in action.

he 1950s were a time of optimism and fear. Optimism is born of America’s success in World War II, becoming the greatest power in the history of the world. But there was fear, too, that the atomic bomb — exploded first at White Sands a short distance away — could mean humanity’s end. The United States had taken upon itself to be what some called “the policeman of the world,” beginning the decade with the Korean Conflict and ending it with the first rumblings of the War in Vietnam. The News-Bulletin was again working to be a good journalistic citizen as the decade dawned, trying to help the members of the tight-knit county community keep track of the young men who were again marching off to war. On July 21, 1950, it asked for anyone “with a son, husband, brother, sister or friend in the armed forces, and particularly in Korea, or in neighboring Japan” to send in information so that the person’s picture and information could be published. The draft was still a likelihood for many young men. FIRST DRAFTEES REPORT AUG. 7 The war in Korea and the nation’s limited mobilization program is coming home directly in many ways to residents of Belen and Valencia county. Twenty-nine county Selective Service registrants have been ordered to report Monday, Aug. 7, eight of them for immediate induction and 21 for preliminary physical examinations. Relatives of two Belen families were reported missing in action in the Korea fighting. A familiar scene during the World War II years returned to Belen over the weekend. This was troops moving over the Santa Fe railway making brief visits in the Hub City. Belen’s National Guard unit was not among the third of the state’s Guard which Sunday was ordered to active duty effective Aug. 14, but the local Guardsmen will leave Aug. 12 for two weeks summer encampment at Fort Bliss. However, it was pointed out that the local Guard unit, Battery A, 120th AntiAircraft battalion, is the same type as most of those which were called. July 25, 1950
Carter Waid
Longtime owner, publisher and editor

T

LOS CHAVEZ BOY DIES IN KOREA A 17-year-old Los Chavez boy, who only nine months ago helped his dad on their farm, attended Belen High School and what he knew about war was mostly confined to history books today was dead — Valencia county’s first “supreme sacrifice” casualty of the Korean war. Private First Class Perfecto Garcia “died of wounds in Korea Oct. 11,” the War Department “regretfully” notified his father, Benjamin Garcia of Los Chavez, last Tuesday. The fatal wounds occurred almost exactly a month after he had been wounded slightly Sept. 12 and was out of action only 11 days. Details of Perfecto’s death will be contained in a letter to follow the telegram, the War Department advised the father. Relatives said most recent letters indicated that the youth was in North Korea, perhaps in the area of the North Korean capital. “He last wrote that there wasn’t much fighting at that time, just cleaning up,” a sister said. She surmised that he may have been a victim of snipers. Nov. 3, 1950 Would the war lead to atomic blasts exchanged with the nation’s enemies? It seemed a distinct possibility. The News-Bulletin offered front-page advice in several editions in the summer of 1950 about how to survive an atomic blast: “1. Try to get shielded. If you have time, get down in a basement or subway. Should you unexpectedly be caught out of doors, seek shelter alongside a building or jump in any handy ditch or gutter. 2. Drop flat on ground or floor. To keep from being tossed and to lessen the chances of being struck by falling and flying objects, flatten out at the base of a wall, or at the bottom of a bank. 3. Bury your face in your arms. ... Hide you eyes in the crook of your elbow.” National politics was as rough and ready as ever. Ads advocating positions on national issues began appearing On Oct. 13, 1950, an ad by the American Medical Association and the National Education Campaign asked: “Who Runs America? The Congress? The president? Or You and the Man Next Door?”

It wasn’t long until the News-Bulletin printed the

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It spoke out against compulsory health insurance. Other sorts of advertising were changing as well. For the first time, special advertising sections began appearing in the NewsBulletin, the first celebrating the annual fiestas at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church. Printed on green paper, the ads offered everything from “fountain treats” at The Sweet Spot to fiesta clothing at Culp Army Store to “ladies fall hats” for $3.95 at Becker-Dalies, which announced that fiestas was the time of “merriment, fun, gaiety, chivalry.” Business boomed in the 1950s. The chamber of commerce sponsored myriad “shop local” campaigns and many people, apparently, did. America was in love with the automobile, gas was 19 cents a gallon and Valencia County was full of car dealerships. There were, according to ads in the Bulletin, Castillo Motors, 401 S. Main, with Pontiacs that were “more powerful, more economical and wonderful to drive”; Garrison Motor Co., 300 N. Main, with “big-truck” rugged GMCs; Auge Sales & Service, 600 E. River Road, with its Dodges and their “thrilling power packed beauties for active Americans”; Belen Auto Co., 724 Dalies Ave., which advertised during the 1952 presidential election that “your Ford dealer will provide transportation to the polls”; Wood Motor Co., 422 Becker Ave.; H. Caldwell Motor Co., 322 N. Main., with exclusive Chevy features such as plate glass safety windows; Belen Willys Co, 831 N. Main, which offered Aero Willys with monthly payments as low as $67; the Fitzpatrick Motor Co., Dalies and Main, invited drivers to take a “15-second sit down test” on the new Ford trucks. And we loved to eat. Dinner or lunch was a treat. The Hub Lunch Cafe was open 24 hours a day featuring burgers, tacos and barbecue; Gil’s Bakery and Coffee Shop, 239 N. Main, boasted a birthday club and “special cakes for all occasions”; Kotch’s Cafe had a smorgasbord and served Japanese food along with Spanish; Rainbo Trading Post & Cafe was located just north of Peralta on N.M. 47, “if you like good biscuits or cornbread”; The Sweet Spot, 700 Dalies Ave., sold school supplies along with sandwiches and fountain drinks; Jacque’s Cafe, 629 N. Main, advertised “plate lunches” and short orders. Got indigestion after all that? Well, there were plenty of places to go. Buckland Pharmacy, 600 Dalies, would help with “quick relief of minor throat irritations”; Seery’s Drug-Sundries, 301 S. Main, offered guns and rifles for the hunter along with medications; Silva Drug offered 24-hour delivery of prescriptions except on Sundays. TV was still new, but hadn’t killed our social interaction yet. Wrestling matches, often promoted by the Belen Lions Club, were common. The Sept. 2, 1952, edition showed a tag team match between Al Williams and Juan Garcia and Nat Murphy and Elias Garcia. And there was a 10-round boxing grudge match featuring the Golden Terror vs. the Black Panther. In September, 1952, the Doc Savage Band was booked to play at a rodeo dance. There were fairs, fiestas, football games and concerts. By 1950, the subscription rate for the newspaper had risen to $3 — the first rise from the $2 a year established in the mid1910s by Saturnino Baca, the founder of the Bulletin. And, rather than receiving their newspaper through the mail, there were now going to be “paper boys.” On Saturdays, the paper boys knocked on doors, hoping that subscribers had enough change to pay for that month’s editions. In return for payment, subscribers received a receipt in the form of a tiny oblong blue glue-free stamp. The News-Bulletin was as optimistic about the future as the community was. The railroad expanded its yards in Belen, bringing more families to town in 1952 and new subdivisions such as those along Esperanza west of the new Jaramillo Elementary School were built. There was talk about a milk-processing plant being erected here in 1951 and, throughout the decade, national companies were exploring the back roads, sure there was oil buried beneath the sand. The tenor of the newspaper changed, with more substantive reporting of government, business and education. Crime was also up. Police conducted numerous gambling raids, and there were countless break-ins, many of them at local stores. And it seemed that there was more violence. On Oct. 7, 1952, it was reported that two State Prison Farm inmates who had escaped abducted a Los Lunas man, holding the point of a butcher knife to his throat for a 35-minute ride. He was robbed of his shoes, $10 and his car, although the 19-year-old relief railroad agent was unharmed except for a scratch on his throat. The fugitives were captured in Los Lunas. The Dec. 2, 1952, edition found four individuals — “three of them ‘teen-age’ juveniles” — charged with the theft of a car, stolen from a Belen doctor and crashed into a home on South Main. About $100 worth of narcotics and instruments were in the vehicle. On Oct. 16, 1955, police said there had been a rash of hubcap thefts.

SCHOOL BAND ROOM STRUCK BY WEEKEND VANDALISM Vandals broke into the public school band department here Friday night and did several hundred dollars worth of damage to various department. ... The recently acquired new sousaphones, large and expensive instruments, were removed from their stands and jammed on top of one another on the floor, Bill Jones, band director, said and these were damaged extensively. A french horn was removed from the room and carried a block west where it was left in an alley. A drum major’s cap was nearby. Clarinets were taken from the cases and strewn over the floor of the band room, some of these being damaged considerably. Oct. 31, 1955 On Dec. 21, 1959, a story on the front page says that a 12-year-old had admitted to 13 break-ins in the last few months, thefts ranged from 30 cents at the Belen laundry to a car from Caldwell Motor Co. On Dec. 28, 1959, two youths, ages 18 and 19, broke into the rectory at Our Lady of Belen Church and stole $1,000. “At the Masonic hall, an elaborate unscheduled party was held by a number of vandals Christmas night at the Masons’ expense.” Dishes and glasses were taken from drawers in the kitchen and broken. Linen and silverware, were likewise removed and scattered about. Meat, bread, chili sauce and beer bottles that had been brought in by the party celebrants were scattered on the floor ... “Profane words and phrases were written in chalk on the walls.” Teen vandals were again suspected in a break-in at Belen High School in December, 1955, at which ink was thrown in the hallway, acid used to damage facilities in the chemistry room and student records were strewn around. Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church had been burglarized four times since September, with religious items and money taken. The next edition reported that three youths celebrated their probation by stealing chickens from a local farmer and holding a picnic

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on the mesa. In the Dec. 23, 1955, edition, Assistant District Attorney Tibo Chavez said he would be cracking down on local gangs. The newspaper worried about these “teenagers” and the local town fathers, the chamber of commerce and businessmen worried in print about juvenile delinquency, the new catch phrase that was sweeping the nation along with Elvis and “Blackboard Jungle.” The latter two could be seen by any high school student playing at the Oñate or the Zia. A youth council was revived, according to the Oct. 10, 1956, edition, to “conduct research to develop facts on juvenile delinquency.” There were good kids, too. And the NewsBulletin reported on their progress on the football fields, in editions of Who’s Who, and their careers at universities. Publisher Carter Waid began another program that he continued through much of his tenure at the paper — he began hiring young people as reporters. Young Oswald Baca helped Waid take a poll in a political campaign, Gloria McKenzie wrote about big events at Belen High School. TWO BELEN HIGH SENIORS JOIN STAFF OF NEWS-BULLETIN AT END OF SCHOOL Two Belen high school Seniors, who received their diplomas only last Thursday night joined the staff of the News-Bulletin on the following day, Friday. Miss Doris Mendoza, recipient of the high school’s award as the outstanding journalism student, became a member of the NewsBulletin’s editorial staff. She was serve as a reporter, handling the Woman’s Page news and other general duties on the editorial side. ... The other high school graduate joining the News-Bulletin on a fulltime basis is Castulo Moya Jr., who became a fulltime member of the printing plant staff. Moya, as a high school student, has been associated with the News-Bulletin on a part-time basis for several years. May 16, 1950 The ingenuous Waid also began working to increase circulation in a series of clever campaigns. NEWS-BULLETIN HAS 2,800 SUBSCRIBERS A Belen housewife and mother of four children, Mrs. Dan Salazar, 818 Gilbert avenue, today was the owner of a new Ford Custom Tudor, the grand prize in a six-weeks goodwill subscription campaign sponsored by the Belen News-Bulletin. Mrs. Salazar led a large field of contestants in a sales contest which boosted the News-Bulletin’s circulation list to approximately 2,800. Almost 1,200 new subscribers were added to the News-Bulletin’s mailing list, making the total one of the largest for any weekly or semi-weekly in New Mexico. ... The winner spent a rugged six weeks, calling on prospects throughout the Middle Rio Grande Valley area from Isleta to Socorro. “It was hard work but worth it,” she declared. ... Ignacio Garcia, Los Lunas youth, through the assistance of his father, Damacio, came in for second place honors and second prize, cash amounting to $500. June 19, 1951 And probably one of the most popular contests ever run in the ’50s. WHO'S WHO CONTEST IS DUE TO START FRIDAY, JAN. 16 If you enjoy working with clues and/or get fun out of getting better acquainted with your friends and neighbors to say nothing of trying to win some money, the contest which starts in the News-Bulletin this Friday and appears each Friday thereafter is just your dish. You won’t need a gun or be willing to travel, this is strictly armchair detective work! In the Jan. 16 issue, there will be a page of ads under the heading, “Who’s Who in Valencia County.” If you read these ads carefully, you will find clues hidden in the ads — and these clues should be enough to enable you to identify some area personality. Any ad with a star in it is your fair warning that there is another ad of the sponsoring merchant elsewhere in the same issue of the paper — and if you want to find all the clues and thus try for the big jackpot, you’d better check the ad that the star tells you is there … because there may be clues hidden in that ad also! When you have established the identity of the Who’s Who and have counted every clue you can find throughout the paper, take your entry to the place of business of the merchant whose ad is featured on the page opposite the full page of ads. Your entry may be submitted on any piece of paper. There will be a contest box for you to drop it in. That’s all there is to it. If your entry is drawn and you have correctly identified the Who’s Who, you will receive $7.50. If your entry lists the correct number of clues appearing in the paper, you will receive a bonus of $22.50. Jan. 14, 1959 The News-Bulletin looked good, perhaps because it had installed a Goss Automatic Press in February, 1955.

“The 10-ton press ... is approximately 20 feet long, nine feet wide and six feet high at the tallest point. It operates automatically from a 620-pound roll of newsprint.”

Because newsprint had to be ordered, the only thing available was rolls of yellow, giving the News-Bulletin an interesting look for a short while. Other changes were coming. As of March 28, 1956, the News-Bulletin would begin offering a TV log in every edition for the three Albuquerque stations, Channels 4, 7 and 13. The masthead of the newspaper had evolved over the years. In its 50th year, it added drawings, showing everything from a dairy farm to a railroad locomotive to a truck, a tractor and a man milking with a church in the right-hand column. It announced Belen, with a heart, showing the paper’s 50th year, founded in 1910. A new column, “Ramblings Of the Hoods” — yep, “hoods” was apparently coined right here in our river city — began in 1950. It evolved into a number of columns such as “Along U.S. 15,” “Peralta Postscripts,” and others. Belenites had the most cosmopolitan sounding “Around Town,” but the information was still the same as ever — who was visiting whom, who had taken a trip, who was ailing. Another gossipy feature — one that can be seen today as classically ’50s — was “Did You See?” On Oct. 27, 1950, it asked if you’d seen “Mrs. O.M. Smith cleaning the windows of her only daughter, Mrs. Emmitt McGrath’s apartment in the Santa Fe Courts, only to find when she got through that she had been washing the neighbor’s windows ... Mr. and Mrs. Rodrigo Sanchez proudly announcing that they are grandparents again ... Harry Culver buying three friends a cold drink ... Mrs. Fannie Saavedra trying to serve coffee only to some people who wanted a full meal.” Friends and neighbors were sure to report if you’d done something silly, touching or unusual. It was a way of getting as many local names in the paper as possible.

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By Sandy Battin

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f America was in a go-go economic phase during the 1960s, so was Valencia County. The population was rising, new communities were springing up, Los Lunas was growing from a sleepy little village to an up-and-coming one. It was all supported by numbers; statistics were everywhere, from the 1960 census to the surveys that increasingly were being taken to study everything from the economic outlook to crime to which was the sunniest climate.

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He also said that Southern Union has confidence in the future of Belen, and he observed that the company will have spent more than $200,000 in this area in providing some 300 homes on Highway 47 with natural gas service this year. Sept. 30, 1963 Records at the county courthouse and city halls told the story: AREA HOME BUILDING BOOM HITS FAST PACE A year ago, the construction of new homes in the Belen and Los Lunas areas was at a leisurely pace. Today, building of homes in and around Belen and at several places north of here is at a fast pace. Next Sunday, Oct. 20, E.W. Freeman is scheduled to unveil a new subdivision of homes on the northwest side of Belen. He has 20 homes under construction. An open house will be held for the public to view the type of homes he offers to families who want a home of their own. West of the E.W. Freeman subdivision, the San Bar Construction Company is building pre-sold homes in Barboa Park. San Bar will soon have an open house to display their style and facilities of modern homes. Crawford & Thompson, a division of Las Lomas Corporation, Albuquerque, is shortly starting work on two houses in Peterbilt Addition, north of Belen and on U.S. 85. This firm recently built and sold an authentic adobe construction home of pueblo style in Peterbilt Park. … Eleven homes have been built and sold in the Edith Addition in West Belen by Austin Capps, developer and contractor. This addition has sidewalks, paved streets and curbing and all Belen city utilities. … New houses are going up in the Ben San and Gabaldon subdivisions on the west side, and where more than 20 homes have been built and sold. Oct. 14, 1963 A Welcome to Belen column was begun to let people know about the newcomers who were building homes in areas such as Rio Grande Estates (now Rio Communities). For instance, in the Oct. 10, 1963, edition, welcomes were given to: Mr. and Mrs. Ed Beadle, formerly of Sacramento, Calif., who are now living at the Douglas Apartments on Perizzite St. They plan to build a home later at the

CAN LAY CLAIM TO THE SUNSHINE CAPITAL TITLE The Mid-Rio Grande Valley can lay rightful claim to being the Sunshine Capital of the Southwest. This Fall, the sun has never failed to shine in a 24-hour period in the Belen and Albuquerque area. A copy of a recent sunshine map published by the Weather Bureau... for a 12-month period shows the mean percentage of possible sunshine for selected locations. (It) … shows the following percentage of mean percentage of possible sunshine: Albuquerque-Belen, 76 percent Miami Beach, 67 percent Los Angeles, 73 percent Phoenix, 85 percent Dec. 26, 1963 As the band would sing a couple of decades later, “the future was so bright, ya had to wear shades.” Invariably, every report of the growth of Valencia County was greeted optimistically by the chamber of commerce, public officials and the newspaper. Growth would mean jobs, a better life for local children, who wouldn’t have to move away to make a good living, folks said. RESIDENTIAL AREAS FROM ALBUQUERQUE TO BELEN A continuous development of residential areas reaching from Albuquerque to Belen and through the Los Lunas community in another ten years is predicted by a Southern Union Gas company division official. “We can see a residential development coming that will be continuous from Albuquerque to Belen,” said W.D. James, division manager of Southern Union. …

Joanne Chavez

Former News-Bulletin production manager

See 1960-1969, Page 38

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Rio Grande Estates. Mrs. Vivian Pate, formerly of Beardstown, Ill, who is now living at 509 N. 4th St. Having more people meant more political clout: VALENCIA VOTER REGISTRATION HITS NEW PEAK The voter registration totals in Valencia County have reached a new high figure. The last day to register for the general elections on Nov. 3 was Monday, Oct. 5, and at the close of business at 5 p.m., a total of 20,443 voters had been registered, County Clerk Patty Armijo said today. Oct. 8, 1964 But, along the edges, you could see that the increase in population might be bringing attendant problems with it. And as the big city just north of the county began to grow, Valencia County began to experience splash-over problems from it. Later in the decade, the problem appeared to be getting worse across America and the NewsBulletin attempted to survey the situation in its own backyard: DOPE IS A MINOR PROBLEM IN BELEN Every day one reads more stories: a boy who committed suicide while on an LSD trip; a young, heroin-addicted mother who killed her five-month-old baby; children of 12 or 13 years old being arrested for sniffing glue. The parent of a small town teenager reads these and other stories in the country’s newspapers about the wild “hippies” and juvenile delinquents who take “dope” for a “high” and thankfully heave a sigh and are grateful that they don’t live in one of those cities where drug addiction is steadily on the rise. These parents feel safe to believe that their town has no problem of this sort and the problem belongs to some far-off mother who one only hears about on television. Unfortunately, these unknowing parents don’t realize that even the smallest of towns has some sort of drug problem. Consider one middle sized New Mexico town. In that city, the local newspaper took a survey among the junior and senior high school students and concluded that about 15 percent of the students had experimented with drugs, including LSD. Can Belen possibly have a problem of this sort of this proportion? Can our teenagers possibly get this mystical evil? In setting out to answer these questions, it is best to go right to the place where the answer lies — the students and teachers of Belen High School. It seems that the consensus of a majority of the teachers and students is that Belen does not have as large a drug problem as many other schools in the nation. In fact, a large percentage of the students interviewed stated that they had never heard of any drug taking at all and, as one girl put it, “probably never will because the people in the group I hang around with don’t do that sort of thing and we really aren’t interested in it.” Almost every teacher stated that they themselves had never heard of any such problem, and, in the words of one teacher, “I don’t doubt that it is here in some proportion or another, but I, personally, have never heard anything about it.” Dec. 2, 1968 There was other bad news, too, that could be drawn from statistics: SURVEY SHOWS BELEN HAS MORE WRECKS Do residents of Valencia County lead safer or more hazardous lives than people in other localities? Are they more liable or less liable to meet with an accident of some sort — automobile or otherwise — in a given year? According to a government survey, just released, local people seem to be somewhat more accident-prone than the average. The general accident record locally is viewed alongside that of other communities. It is based upon data compiled by the U.S. Public Health Service ... According to the survey, there were 39 fatal accidents among Valencia County residents during the year ending Jan. 1, 1967, with motor vehicles responsible for 24 of them. And, for each fatal one, there were nearly 100 others that did not result in loss of life. Dec. 9, 1968 Even though small-town optimism was perhaps at its height here in the 1960s, outside events spread fear across the nation. The Cuban Missile Crisis threatened to wipe out the world as we knew it. A standoff between President Kennedy in Washington and Premier Khruschev in Moscow over missiles being installed in Cuba seemed to slow the clock, ticking the frightening seconds down to a showdown. And then the Russians blinked; the missiles were taken away. The fear was real. People kept talking about this being the first generation to experience the possibility of the annihilation of the human race. The first fall-out shelter permit for Belen was issued in September, 1961, to Sam J. Chavez for his 920 Gilbert Avenue home, the News-Bulletin reported. “Know What Kind of Foods You Need in a Survival Stockpile,” warned the newspaper in its Nov. 2, 1961, edition. County Home Agent Aubrey Notman recommended the basics of the food pyramid, noting that a survival stockpile could weigh 40 to 45 pounds per person, so a family of four would need 160 to 180 pounds of food. “Do you have this much food on hand all the time?” she asked. It seems now like just a blink of an eye between the time of the Cuban crisis and the one that exploded a couple of years later. Valencia County residents reacted in shock to the news about the handsome and popular young president that came to them just before the lunch hour on Nov. 23, 1963, from Dallas, Texas. The News-Bulletin tried to put the events of the day in local context with several front-page stories:

BELEN AND LOS LUNAS HONOR LATE PRESIDENT Businesses, schools and government officers were closed in Belen and Los Lunas Monday in a period of national mourning for the late President, John F. Kennedy. The post offices at Belen and Los Lunas were closed Monday. There was no postal delivery, Mails will be dispatched as on holidays. The two Belen Banks, the First National and Ranchers State, will be closed. … The Belen and Los Lunas Consolidated Schools were all closed in honor of the memory of the martyred president. ...All Valencia County offices, except that of the sheriff’s department, were closed in observance of the national day of mourning, proclaimed by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was administered the oath of office shortly after President Kennedy’s death. Nov. 25, 1963

PRESIDENT’S DEATH ‘GREAT LOSS TO THE FREE WORLD’ State Senator Tibo Chavez and Chief Assistant District Attorney Filo Sedillo, both of Belen, were personally acquainted with the late President John F. Kennedy. Senator Chavez had met President Kennedy and conferred with him on several occasions. At a State Democratic party convention at Santa Fe, they took part in discussions with other state leaders. When Senator Chavez was a delegate to the

1960-1969
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party’s national convention in 1960 at Los Angeles, he and other New Mexico Democrats met and gave their support to Mr. Kennedy for the presidential nomination. The State Senator said, “We in Valencia County were deeply hurt by the death of President John F. Kennedy.” Nov. 25, 1963 The War in Vietnam brought further heartbreak to people in Valencia County. Almost monthly, it seemed, during those long years, the death of a young man that most readers knew and admired was reported. There were real heroes among those brave warriors. LOS LUNAS SOLDIER DIES; HIS ACT SAVES SIX OTHERS A soldier from Los Lunas died Friday when he tossed himself over a Viet Cong grenade to shield six of his fellow GIs from the blast. For this act, Daniel Fernandez, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jose I. Fernandez, has been nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest tribute to a hero. Fernandez was on duty with a fire team (a seven-man unit) guarding the perimeter of an outpost about 30 miles from Saigon when he spotted the grenade fall into his position. He was alive when he was evacuated from the scene by Army helicopter. In Los Lunas, Mayor Howard C. Simpson has proposed that a permanent memorial be established in honor of the hero. The mayor pledges his personal efforts toward establishing the memorial. Fernandez’ s body is to arrive in Los Lunas Wednesday night or early Thursday with a full military escort, an Army spokesman said today. ... Fernandez was on his second stretch of duty in Viet Nam when he was killed. He was the recipient of the Purple Heart in March of 1965 and the Air Medal in May, 1965. Feb. 22, 1966 The Sept. 1, 1969, edition tells the story of Capt. John S. Wilson of Belen, who received six posthumous awards for his bravery in Vietnam. As he was about to enter, he saw many civilians without any protective gear and without any direction, Captain Wilson moved away from the bunker and began shouting instructions to the civilians in order to get them into the bunker in an orderly and expeditious manner. When it became apparent to him that the bunker could not accommodate everyone, he decided to stand in front of the entrance to the bunker in order to provide cover for the unprotected civilians. Only seconds later a rocket impacted less than ten feet from him. Captain Wilson was mortally wounded but the civilians escaped uninjured. At home, one of the biggest challenges was the persistent flooding that hit the city of Belen. The Aug. 14, 1967, edition reported a flood that washed out a bridge on U.S. 60 and a four-hour train delay because of flooding tracks. Then, the big one hit. WIND DRIVEN RAIN, HAIL FLOODS BELEN SUNDAY The bosque drain running through the center of Belen was reported opened by workmen about 8:00 o’clock this morning and started draining two to three feet of flood water from the south part of Belen. The ditch had filled with silt early last evening and had been closed most of the night. The damaging floods followed three inches of rain which fell here in about an hour Sunday afternoon, beginning about 3 o’clock. No loss of life or injuries was reported, but damage ran into the thousands perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars. Farm crops and gardens were hard hit. Hail and high winds caused considerable damage. Some streets and roads were washed out. Telephone service was interrupted south of Belen, municipal water service was out most of the night, but was restored on a restricted basis this morning. The heaviest flooding occurred south from Reinken Avenue and west of the Santa Fe railway tracks. Heaviest damage occurred on Baca, Gilbert, Didier, Dillon, Castillo and Bernard Avenue. ...Some 15 homes were evacuated. Three families slept overnight at the National Guard armory. One Belen man called KARS radio this morning asking for help in locating his wife. The Post office and the News-Bulletin newspaper corner at Sixth and Baca remained under two to three feet of water at 8:00 A.M. today. June 16, 1969 News-Bulletin staffers worked heroically to cover the story. The water was at ankle-depth inside the office and JoAnn Aragon Chavez, who other than Elfego Baca was the NewsBulletin’s longest employee, working on new electronic typesetting equipment, she had to hold her feet above the water as she worked because, when she lowered them, she would experience a nasty electrical shock. The paper appeared on time, the rotting carpets from the front office were ripped out and thrown away and folks with shovels and brooms cleared the several inches of dirt from the printing shop. The decade had been one of other excitement for the News-Bulletin. A new printing process began to update its look. On July 18, 1960, the newspaper was printed on a photooffset press, replacing the traditional “hot metal” or Linotype machines. Publisher Carter Waid said it would offer sharper pictures and pages in two or more colors. The installation was to be the first of its kind in New Mexico or Arizona, as part of the new Newspaper Printing Corporation established at 110 Gold SE in Albuquerque by Waid, publisher Lucien File of Socorro and Waid’s former NewsBulletin partner, Edwin J. Lewis. In the very next edition, the publisher began experimenting with color, printing the masthead — the name of the newspaper on Page 1 — in red. By Dec. 28 of that year, Carter and Martha Waid announced they’d sold controlling interest in the News-Bulletin to Howard Barman of Amita, La. Printing was to be returned to the local shop, with three former employees — Alfredo Chavez, Harry Reed and Amarante Moya — returning to print it. The Waids were busy establishing “Belen’s own radio station,” KARS. It went on the air on Oct. 9, 1961. It offered a program of country music with two hours of Spanish tunes daily...transmitted during the day only. The front page of the News-Bulletin was gray in 1961, but with a lot to read. There were 22 stories on the front page of the Aug. 21 edition. In 1965, Barman sold the paper to Belen Publishing Co. with William W. (Bill) Worley, former ad manager of the Grants Daily Beacon, as vice president. It moved into a new office at Baca and Sixth in Belen the next year, with the front door for the newspaper on Baca and the entrance to the commercial printing company on Sixth. Circulation had grown to 2,583 as of the end of a circulation contest on Aug. 15, 1960. In Nov. 30, 1964, the News-Bulletin announced it would give 100 King Korn trading stamps to every new yearly subscriber. Books of the stamps, most often given by grocery stores, could be traded in for prizes. And, during this time, a beloved nameplate was designed for the newspaper, one that showed a mountain, a train, a man on a tractor and a traditional adobe church. Valencia County — and the News-Bulletin — were proud of where they’d come from and excited about where they were going.

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report of the First New Mexico Bankshare Corporation entitled “1972 New Mexico Progress.” A breakdown of the motor vehicle registration shows 18,567 passenger vehicles; 9,861 trucks; 60 school buses; 12 commercial buses; two taxis; 1,381 travel trailers; 2,242 hauling trailers; and 272 motorcycles. ... More people were coming to the county: A percentage population change of plus 3.5 percent is shown for Valencia County, which is estimated with 40,900 population in 1971 and 41,900 in 1972. Births from April 1970 to June 1972 are numbered at 1,979 in Valencia County while deaths are approximately one-third this number at 630. Growth was still expected: 20,000 VISITORS ANTICIPATED BY HORIZON CORP. More than 20,000 visitors are anticipated at the Rio Communities east of Belen next year by the owner, Horizon Corporation. Horizon is projecting a 43 per cent increase in the number of visitors at the Rio properties next year over the 1971 total. .. (Officials) reported more than 7,000 persons visited the Rio properties the first six months this year. Aug. 2, 1971 The county also marked its 10,000th telephone installation. It was installed at the home of Mrs. Mary D. Kuhn of Belen, as reported in the Aug. 2, 1973, News-Bulletin. But our way of life was changing. For centuries, agriculture had been the mainstay of Valencia County, with its system of irrigation canals, many painstakingly dug by hand by earlier settlers. In the 1970s, houses sprouted ristras of red chile every fall, drying the culinary staple for another winter; it was a practice that by the 1990s had almost complete disappeared other than those hung as a decorator statement outside front doors. The statistics bore out individual observations: FEWER FARMS IN COUNTY ACCORDING TO LAST CENSUS Valencia County showed a total of 562 farms in the 1969 Census of Agriculture, according to figures released by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s

hange, change, change. That was the theme of the 1970s. Protests against the war in Vietnam, a president resigning office in shame, heiress Patty Hearst taken hostage, the oil crisis, the horror of the suicides in Jonestown, an American embassy being taken over in Iran. The nation often sat in stunned silence in front of television sets, trying to digest the changes. Valencia County residents were as concerned with world events as anyone else, but they were also witnessing plenty of changes on the home front. Some, frankly, were for the better, as folks read on Nov. 26, 1970, in the News-Bulletin: NUMBER OF VALENCIA CO. FAMILIES IN UPPER BRACKETS HAS INCREASED How well are Valencia County residents making out financially? What proportion of local families are not to be found in the upper income brackets? According to a nationwide survey, rising wages and salaries have carried most families in the area to higher position on the income ladder. Just where they stand, currently, is brought out in a copyrighted report issued by Sales Management, the marketing publication. ...In Valencia County, it finds, the level of earnings ... are relatively good. Some 64.4 percent of the households in the local area have disposable cash incomes, after taxes, of $5,000 or more in the past year. ...The Valencia County (cash income) breakdown gives the position of each group of local families on the income ladder. It lists 26.5 percent of them on the $5,000 to $8,000 rung, 15.9 percent at the $8,000 to $10,000 level and 22.0 percent above $10,000. The remainder are below $5,000. Despite the oil crisis — with long lines of cars lined up at gas stations all over the country — the individual lifestyle in Valencia County was better, if measured in terms of material gains: GAINS NOTED IN POPULATION, UTILITIES, MOTOR VEHICLES A total of 32,953 motor vehicles were registered to persons in Valencia county during the 1972 year, according to the annual business and economic

Lil Lou Waid Gillett
Former editor

See 1970-1979, Page 41

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Bureau of the Census. In the last previous Census of Agriculture (1964), the number of farms reported in the county was 688. Of the county’s total farms in 1969, 256 are reported as selling $2,500 or more of agricultural products in the year, as compared with 222 in 1964. The report also shows average farm size in the county was 4,414.8 acres, and average value of these farms (land and buildings) was $151,821. Jan. 20, 1972 The big story of the decade was the growth of Los Lunas, whose population had hovered way below the 1,000 mark for decades. The enrollment at Los Lunas High School had now exceeded that number. Now, with its location closer to Albuquerque and its beautiful setting along the Rio Grande, young families were beginning to take notice. Women’s liberation was an important — and controversial — subject of the day, too. Margaret Thatcher had become the first female leader of a major nation and, at home, more and more women were taking jobs outside their homes. MORE WOMEN WORK IN VALENCIA COUNTY In Valencia County, women have been entering the labor force in growing number in the last few yeas. At the present time, more of them are holding down jobs than ever before. According to the latest government figures, some 4,510 local women, out of approximately 13,820 over age 16, were employed or were seeking employment in the past year. The proportion, 32.6 percent, contrasts with the 20.6 percent that were in the local labor force back in 1960. Elsewhere in the United States, the proportion is over 39 percent. Aug. 9, 1976 Transportation had changed, too, and if that meant Los Lunas attracted more new residents, it appeared to have the opposite effect on Belen. Once upon a time, Belen’s Main Street was a thriving economic center: Becker-Dalies and Feil & Ellermeyer had just about anything you’d want to buy. There were many local clothing stores and pharmacies. With many auto dealers, Belen had the reputation as a place to buy a new car and people regularly came here from Albuquerque to shop. But then, it got easier for Belenites to drive to Albuquerque. It took less time, some said, to travel from the congested Northeast Heights to downtown than it did from Los Lunas. On Oct. 29, 1973, the News-Bulletin reported: ALBUQUERQUE TO BELEN TO TAKE ONLY 30 MINUTES VIA 1-25 It shouldn’t take you 40 or 45 minutes to drive into Albuquerque from Belen anymore. If you travel at speeds near the limit, 30 minutes will be your usual driving time. Because this Thursday, Nov. 1, the State Highway Department has scheduled the opening of the final, uncompleted stretch of I-25 between the two cities. The final 7.5 smile stretch of the interstate freeway between Highway 47 and Rio Bravo Boulevard will open to the public on Thursday. And drive to Albuquerque people did. More local residents found jobs there, and they began shopping there. And, in the end, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Local businesses began to close. Even the most historic weren’t immune: BELEN'S OLDEST STORE CLOSING AFTER A CENTURY Belen’s oldest commercial business, the 100-year-old plus Becker-Dalies Co. department store, is going out of business. Austin D. Lovett, president of the corporation announced today that he had sold the property, consisting of a large 2-story business building on main Street at the junction of Becker and Dalies Avenues, and 3.4 acres of land, to George Gabaldon ... a general contractor and developer, Lovett, now 70... The store dates back to 1873 when the late John Becker Sr. came to the Belen community as a partner with the Huning Bros. BeckerDalies and Huning are among the oldest retail businesses in the state. Mr. Becker bought their interest four years later and it became the John Becker Co., then in 1927 the name was changed to the Becker-Dalies Co.... Most of the merchandise sold to the store 100 years ago was freighted here in oxendrawn wagons over the Santa Fe Trail. Belen’s post office was located in the store for many years. In the early years, the company had a wine cellar and sold whiskey, saddle string, axle grease, kerosene lamps, clothing, hardware and Mother Hubbard dresses. A grocery department for many, many years was a major attraction to the general store. A flour mill was a major part of the company from 1884 until well into the 1900s. Over the years the company had a lumber yard, drug department, wool department (purchased on consignment for a Boston firm) and a casket department. ... The late Paul B. Dalies joined the company in 1889 at the age of 15, moving to Belen from Ripon, Wis. Nov. 15, 1976 Change was on the horizon for the NewsBulletin, too. It was starting to tackle in-depth reporting, taking on timely issues such as rape and child abuse. And it was winning awards from the New Mexico Press Association for its coverage. The decade started as Carter and Martha Waid were honored with a surprise 28th anniversary party at the First Baptist Church of Belen, according to the Nov. 23, 1970, edition. Carter Waid was a Valencia County phenomena. He seemed to be everywhere, he seemed to know everyone. His writing was no-nonsense, succinct. He was a facts man. Waid's daughter, Lil Lou Gillett was a reporter, photographer and eventually became editor of the News-Bulletin until 1977 when she had her son, Linque. But Waid had a sentimental side, writing tender stories about ailing children, lost history, including long congratulatory stories about local students’ achievements, always being sure to include the names of their proud parents. He saw his newspaper — his lifework — as the taut fiber that stitched together the crazy quilt of his community. Martha Waid, his wife, was a quieter person, less well known in town. But she’d always been his partner in the business. She’d kept the books, managed the office, dealt with employees. She was the behind-the-scenes safety net that allowed Carter to perform the high-wire act in the spotlight of community journalism. It must have been a tough decision for them when they announced that, effective Oct. 1, 1976, they’d sold the News-Bulletin to Modern Press of Albuquerque, publisher of the Valencia County News in Los Lunas — in essence, the competition. Waid was to continue indefinitely as manager of the newspaper. That announcement came in the Dec. 16, 1976, edition of the News-Bulletin. The merger would mean that the Belen-oriented NewsBulletin would begin serving the entire valley from Isleta to La Joya. And that was when the paper changed its name again, now officially becoming the Valencia County News-Bulletin. In 1977, the Waids announced their retirement. Longtime newsman Howard Kercheval was named manager of the News-Bulletin. Waid was to remain involved with the NewsBulletin on a part-time basis, and he planned on working on several projects that involved historical research, his other love. For the News-Bulletin and its readers, it was the end of an era.

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By Sandy Battin

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uring the 1980s, Valencia County began looking back at its heritage, surprised and concerned that its rapid growth might lead to the demise of some of its most cherished institutions, structures and cultural traditions. The historic and beautiful Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church was already a memory, having been torn down to make way for a more modern — more mundane, some would say — building that would hold more worshippers. That action seemed to open the eyes of many people. Nothing is forever — unless you get up off your comfortable seat and try to do something about it. Many Valencia County residents vowed that’s what they would do. Probably the first real challenge to that new movement was Belen’s Harvey House. The Santa Fe Railway cut a chugging, beloved track through the history of the county. Belen had even earned its nickname — the Hub City — half because of its location mid-section in the state and half because of those train wheels that seemed to define it. The railroad had provided jobs to local people; brought movie stars, presidents and royalty to the station for all to see; gave its employees tickets to Albuquerque or Los Angeles or Chicago, places that opened our eyes to the bigger world. Through it, we’d played a bigger role in World War II, watching as the troops rode through to their own destinations with history. And now there were rumblings that the Harvey House — a lovely building in its own merit — with its gentle arches, gorgeous woodwork and climbing ivy, was going to be demolished. BATTLE WAGES FOR HARVEY HOUSE A new battle is being waged to preserve the old Harvey House building located just north of the railroad depot in the Hub City. Boarded up at the present time, the building is a constant reminder of times past — times recalling the glory days of passenger service and stops in Belen for a delicious meal at the Harvey House. If the walls could only talk, what stories they would tell. Inside the old building, constructed sometime around 1910, one can almost hear the footsteps of the pretty, nattily-dressed Harvey Girls scurrying around, carrying large trays bearing meals for 75 cents. The historic building, termed “the last dinosaur “ by state representative Ron Gentry, is the subject of a

petition drive in Belen. Some 5,000 names have been collected in an attempt, possibly in vain, to preserve the building. The ATSF emphatically states that the building will be razed. “Our plans are to tear it down,” said Chuck Hanan, the Special Assistant in the Santa Fe’s Public Relations Department. Aug. 30, 1982 The railroad was adamant, but this time Belenites — including the News-Bulletin — were determined they’d put up a good fight. And they won. They contacted their congressmen, they dunned their city government, they petitioned and turned out for meetings. And they learned the lesson that, if supported by enough people, you can win. The Valencia County News-Bulletin, in 1983 won the New Mexico Press Association’s Public Service Award for its efforts to forestall demolition. In Los Lunas, plucky individuals stepped forward to save two of the most important buildings of the fast-growing village. And they turned them into restaurants with bona fide significance on the National Register of Historic Places. THE DOOR IS OPEN Area residents, who have anxiously awaited the opening of Luna Mansion in Los Lunas are now enjoying dinner in the supper club restaurant. A landmark in the county seat, the mansion was purchased about a year ago by Earl Whittemore and three partners, and much of the time since has been spent in research and work refurbishing the former home of the Lunas and Oteros. Open daily at 5 p.m., the restaurant features shishkabob, steaks, seafood and a salad bar. Tastefully decorated with accents of paintings, antiques and large reproductions of family snapshots, the restaurant has an upstairs bar and a seating capacity of 120 in the main floor dining rooms. July 24, 1978 A historical society seemed to be one way to ensure that Valencia County would save its past. When the Belen Pilot Club began talking about ways to preserve the county’s rich history, one of the ways it came up with was to help establish a historical society. Late in the 1970s, it announced it would hold a meeting to which everyone and anyone interested in history was invited. Those interested could take it

Berdie Tuttle

Former reporter who was the oldest reporter in the country

See 1980-1989, Page 43

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from there. One of the leading lights of that move was Carter Waid, longtime owner of the NewsBulletin. A man who loved history, he was a member of the committee that laid out the foundations of the society. And, in 1980, after retiring with a remark about working on a history project, Waid was set to help make yet another major contribution to the history of the county. Local residents took other actions to make sure the heroes who once lived among us would never be forgotten. They didn’t wait for government to take action; they did it themselves. JARALES MEMORIAL TO HONOR WAR DEAD Area residents hope to unveil a memorial to their war dead and a survivor next year at the Old Jarales School. The $20,000 project is being organized by Sam Cordova, a Jarales native who lives in Los Angeles; Ruperto Baldonado of Los Angeles; and his sister, Reina Pino of Jarales. The Cordova family is underwriting the project, which started six months ago at the grass roots level with a lot of help from friends and relatives. Luis Espinoza of Jarales is a Bataan Death March survivor who was a Prisoner of War during WWII. A visit with Espinoza, the only march survivor in Jarales, convinced Cordova that the servicemen should not be forgotten ...The dedication ceremonies have been set for May 26, when it is hoped that Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez, a native of Jarales working at the Pentagon, will address those in attendance. Aug. 18, 1985 Every year since, the southern Valencia County community has held a Memorial Day ceremony remembering its people’s contribution to the American cause. They have never forgotten, The News-Bulletin, meanwhile, entered the 1980s with a sad loss from its own history. ELFEGO BACA, NEWSMAN, FORMER SHERIFF, DIES Longtime Valencia County Republican leader Elfego Baca died Friday night. He was 81. Baca’s political career touched the state, county and city levels. He also served on the Belen School Board. His first public job was city treasurer in Belen. He took that job when he was 24 in 1924. He served in that position until 1934. He was elected to the Belen Board of education in 1938. He sat on that board for 12 years. Baca served as county treasurer from 194144. He was elected sheriff in 1947 and worked at that job until 1950. In 1951, Baca was appointed state liquor director, a position he held for four years. ...He also served as police chief in Belen for 10 years. The Baca family founded the first newspaper in Belen. Elfego’s father, Saturnino, started the Hispano Americano in 1910. The paper, which was to become the Belen News, is the forerunner of the News-Bulletin. Elfego went to work for his father at the newspaper in 1920. He became publisher of the News in 1921, a position he held until 1947 when the Baca interest was sold to Ed Lewis. July 27, 1981 If the county faced a potential loss of its history, it was also facing other crises. Some simply involved coping with growth. Los Lunas, especially, sometimes seemed to be bursting at the seams. Growth came in many forms. The new Valencia Campus of the University of New Mexico was opening its Tierra del Sol — Rio Communities — campus. Enrollment had grown from 320 students in the fall of 1981 to 938 in the spring of 1983. Located in the VIA Community Center, it offered a two-year program in several subjects. The News-Bulletin took an active role in reporting about other problems, many of them environmental and not as easy to change, brought by changing times. And crime too was becoming an issue. Burglary was on the rise and so was violent crime. While there were several brutal, tragic murders reported in the county during the 1980s, perhaps the most widely reported was the unsettling, unsolved case of Tara Calico, a pretty young University of New MexicoValencia Campus psychology student who disappeared one September day while riding her bicycle south of Rio Communities. It sticks in the mind because, even 20-some years later, it is still a mystery. No body has ever been found. No arrest has ever been made. No real witnesses have ever stepped forward. The added horror of a photograph of a bound-and-gagged girl who looks much like the student was found in a Florida parking lot. It has been the most written-about police case in News-Bulletin history. Adding to the mystery is the fact that the three-foot-high bound volume of the NewsBulletin that contains the original story of the disappearance has itself gone missing. This is the earliest story now available on the case. With former editor Dana Bowley’s and then longtime police reporter and current editor Clara Garcia’s coverage of the case, the NewsBulletin continued to try to help police find clues from the general public and to give readers — many of whom had known Calico personally — updates on the baffling event that still can send shivers up the spines of local parents. The 1980s were bringing many changes to the News-Bulletin itself as well. They brought a well-designed lay-out, better coverage and large, beautiful photographs by Lawrence Kaneshiro, who often seemed to be a one-man newspaper, serving not only as shutterbug-inchief, but also as printer, office handy man, circulation manager and sometimes writer. In 1992, former News-Bulletin owner and publisher Carter Waid was inducted into the New Mexico Press Association Hall of Fame. The News-Bulletin went through a rapid series of changes in ownership — the most in any decade — during the ’80s. The Meredith Corporation — publisher of Better Homes & Gardens — bought the paper from Modern Press Inc. of Albuquerque, it was announced on June 30, 1980. One benefit to readers was a subscription offered to the home magazine with every one purchased of the NewsBulletin. Gary Neal was named manager and Janette Baughman became editor and Donald Sandoval assistant editor later in 1980. Both had won numerous awards for the newspaper during their years with it. The Bulletin was sold to Harte-Hanks and, in turn to Worrell Enterprises during the middle of the decade. On April 6, 1988, ownership came back to New Mexico, when brothers Walt and Ken Green, owners of County Newspapers Inc., purchased the paper. The Greens owned the Deming Headlight and Ruidoso News and, with their father, Jim, the Artesia Daily Press. With the unrelated Keith Green, they also owned El DefensorChieftain in Socorro. The Socorro newspaper has been a sister to the News-Bulletin, sharing owners ever since. Finally, in 1989, the paper again changed hands, this time to Raljon Publishing Co., a subsidiary of Cooke Media Group, owned by Jack Kent Cooke, the storied owner of the Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Daily News, and then known as one of the wealthiest men in America. Under the Raljon ownership, the NewsBulletin built its 9,336-square-foot office building and printing plant in which it is still headquartered on Camino del Llano in Belen.

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here seemed to be a generational shift in the 1990s in Valencia County. Some of the county’s most respected leaders passed away. Issues that would be dealt with for years were raising their heads. People had really begun to worry about the future — there was more talk about the trash problem and the environmental health of the Rio Grande. They wondered whether there would be enough water for the people who seemed to be pouring in from everywhere. There were questions about air quality and musing about whether some system of public transportation — perhaps a train — would help. There was a drought going on for much of the mid1990s; at other times during the decade, there were problems with floods. Schools were overcrowded. The local hospital had closed and the county commission had begun talking about how it could bring health care back. The News-Bulletin was the meeting place for people of all views in the county. It had gone to a total market coverage plan in 1997, delivering the newspaper to almost very home in the county, spiking its circulation from just over 5,000 to 18,000 or more. There were more Noticias — news of art shows, club meetings and fundraisers — than ever before. The newspaper added a Page 2 Databox that provided the agendas to every governmental meeting scheduled in the county. It was the go-to source of Valencia County news and views. Life was booming. As it had from the beginning, the Bulletin wrote about individuals who'd made a difference and what they had meant to local folks. Four of the titans bowed out during the decade: FUNERAL FRIDAY FOR TIBO CHAVEZ District Judge Tibo J. Chavez — former lieutenant governor, state senator, folklorist and family man — died unexpectedly of cardiac pulmonary arrest Thursday in an Albuquerque hospital. One of the few men in New Mexico’s history who served in all three branches of state government, Chavez, 79, was also Belen’s first Eagle Scout. With a lifelong devotion to education, he served on the University of New Mexico Board of Regents and thoroughly enjoyed what son Tibo Chavez Jr. called the “roadshow” in which he went out to lecture on herbs and folk medicine ... A direct descendent of one of New Mexico’s earliest

T

settlers, Chavez was born in Belen in 1912. His father, Ignacio Chavez, was a farmer, businessman and county commissioner. Nov. 27, 1991 FUNERAL TUESDAY FOR MAYO BOUCHER Mayo T. Boucher, whose life took him from the cottonfields of Texas to the Legislature and judicial bench of New Mexico, died late Saturday in an Albuquerque hospital. The 74-year-old district court judge lost a battle with cancer, which had been diagnosed little more than a month earlier. Known among attorneys for his sense of fairness and knowledge of the law, he served as presiding judge of the district for 11 of his 12 years on the bench. He was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1957 and served through 1964, leaving to devote more time to his law practice. .... In Belen, he became an engineer for the Santa Fe Railway. But his wife, Mary, said he longed to return to law school... Transferring to a “hostling” job on the railroad, scheduling trains and engines, he worked nights and caught a train to Albuquerque daily to attend the University of New Mexico Law School. “He literally earned his law degree between trains,” Mary Boucher said. Oct. 27, 1992 GILLIE SANCEZ — JUDGE, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER — DIES AT 82 If you said “Gillie,” everyone in Valencia County knew who you meant. Gil Sanchez’s public service spanned decades during which Valencia County evolved from a rural-andrailroad economy into one of the fastest-growing areas in the state, but he approached public service with a quiet courtliness that harkened back to another era. ... Although he’d been ailing for several years, undergoing triple heart bypass surgery in 1991, and suffering a stroke earlier this year during an angioplasty operation, few expected the news: Gillie Sanchez was dead. He passed away quietly at his home in Belen at about 1 p.m. on a hot summer Thursday. He was 82. ...Gillie Sanchez had an impressive career from

Chris Baker

See 1990-1999, Page 45

Former publisher

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anyone’s viewpoint. He served as a member of the Belen Board of Education for 30 years, was a city councilor and became one of the first magistrates in New Mexico, winning election upon the creation of the new court in 1969 and continuing in that job for more than two decades. ... He was a businessman, too, owning and operating Gil’s Bakery in a red brick building at Main and Reinken, the busiest intersection in Belen. It was a gathering place for local politicos, for visiting candidates running for governor or U.S. Senator, for businessmen seeking a mid-afternoon cup of coffee and a little talk and for families for whom his doughnuts and pecan crisps were a Sundaymorning ritual. July 3-4, 1999 And former mayor and News-Bulletin publisher Carter Waid died at 83 in Oklahoma, it was reported in the Sept. 2, 1994, edition. The county jail was in horrible shape and officials were concerned that it was only a matter of time until something truly bad happened there. The inmates took part in a class action suit aimed at closing the jail, claiming the facility had deprived them of the constitutional rights and subjected them to cruel and unreasonable conditions. Voters weren’t convinced. A jail bond issue failed by 254 votes. The schools were growing, jobs were tightening up because of the closure of the Los Lunas Hospital and Training School. The village of Los Lunas also faced other challenges with its population explosion: MANAGING THE GROWTH Los Lunas saw a population boom in the 1980s, and now new signs of growth are popping up everywhere as people and businesses make Los Lunas their community. Opportunities abound, but leaders and citizens see the pressures of growth as urbanization looms in the distance. ... As of August 1993, building permits were obtained for 95 residential dwellings, amongst matching the 1992 total of 100 residential permits, according to Art Mondragon, Los Lunas community development director. Mondragon expects 40 to 50 more residential permits to come through... Oct. 7, 1993 And then what may be the most frightening news event in the history of the county occurred on a quiet weekend. PIPELINE EXPLOSION TERRIFIES NEIGHBORS Some residents of Jarales thought it was an earthquake; others feared a jet plane had crashed in a nearby field. When a natural gas transmission line over the Rio Grande exploded Saturday afternoon sending massive chunks of metal flying on both sides of the river, many of its neighbors admitted to being terrified. Several fled barefoot from their homes; others stood watching in awe. Even at midweek, as pipeline crews worked to repair the line, people were still stopping to try to catch of glimpse of what Officer Mike Rowe of the State Police described as a crater 20 feet deep and 75 to 100 feet across surrounded by a quarter of a square mile of burned bosque vegetation. People were still debating what had happened and whether someone had been firing shots in the area of the pipeline Saturday afternoon. Bernadette Molina of Lopez Road said she heard shots shortly before the explosion, but no cause has been found yet. ... The pipeline’s neighbors were grateful that there were no fatalities and few human injuries. Aug. 26, 1994 With so many issues needing to be covered, editors Darrell Pehr, Dana Bowley, David Grenham and Sandy Battin found numerous opportunities for in-depth and investigative reporting. The paper won many awards. Locals became a part of the NewsBulletin’s annual Locals edition on Oct. 28, 1995, naming its first Citizen of the Year. Because the people of Valencia County love history, another addition from those years has proven to be among the most popular feature ever. Dr. Richard Melzer, a history professor at the University of New MexicoValencia County, began writing “La Historia del Rio Abajo,” in 1998. In it, he — and, occasionally, others wrote. The column has run monthly, without fail, up through the present time. Staff members began writing columns, too. While reporters wrote about some controversial issues, the two columns that have — most inexplicably — generated the most angry responses were one on getting a bad haircut and another on trying to find a Mother’s Day card that wasn’t overly sentimental. New faces began appearing during the 1990s in the News-Bulletin’s two offices. Sammy Lopez, a county native who began his journalism career on the News-Bulletin, was in charge and went on to regional managership for Raljon, the newspaper’s owner. The company purchased land and built its new plant on Camino del Llano, moving in early in 1990. One experiment proved to be particularly unpopular with readers. The News-Bulletin became a once-a-week newspaper and its other edition was renamed Valencia County Villager. The idea had been to present news of particular interest to the northern part of the county. But readers protested that it further divided the county at a time when citizens were working hard to unite it. One of Chris Baker’s first actions when he was hired as publisher in 1995 was to combine the two editions into one under the familiar, historic name of Valencia County News-Bulletin. A second experiment proved to be among the most popular ever. In February, 1997, the News-Bulletin announced it would go to full market coverage, in essence delivering the newspaper at no charge to readers. The paper had by then been purchased by World West, a chain of newspapers owned by the Simons family of Lawrence, Kan. The family, with impeccable journalistic credentials, redesigned the newspaper so it would look better, introduced color photography on the Page 1 and trained reporters and editors so their skills would steadily improve. While the 1990s went out with worries about computer meltdown because of a date glitch — they called it Y2K — the county looked forward with hope to a new millennium. The News-Bulletin ended 1999 with a look to the future in its Locals edition in October and a nod to its past in its final December edition. Both were called “Millennium.” The latter presented a time capsule of life in Valencia County over the past 100 years. Timelines presented history both in New Mexico and around the world, news garnered from the News-Bulletin and “Voices,” which featured memories of a local resident who’d lived through each decade, beginning with Prospero Jaramillo of Rio Communities who remembered 1912 when New Mexico became a state. “I remember being in a big celebration. People were yelling and ... there was a lot of people shooting up into the air.” The last words, recalling the era 1990 to 1999, were from Veronica Benavidez, president of the student body at Belen High School. “From what I’ve heard from my grandmother, how far we’ve gone in her lifetime ... I just don’t know. It’ll be interesting to see what’s going to happen.”

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Special to the News-Bulletin ews, news everywhere. The decade of the 2000s was a busy one for the readers and the reporters of the News-Bulletin. So many issues, so many features, so much to report. The 2000s were, more than probably any decade since the 1940s, a decade where horrifying news on the national scene had necessitated extra coverage on the local level. The events of Sept. 11, 2001, set the stage for the manner in which national news would be reported; Valencia County residents grieved with the rest of the nation in the days, months and even years after terrorists crashed airliners filled with innocent Americans into the crowded World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon. People wanted to hear what their neighbors had to say; they wanted to be heard themselves, and the News-Bulletin was the go-to place for them. TERRORIST ATTACKS CAUSE SHOCK WAVES IN COUNTY Shock waves from the explosive destruction at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon Tuesday morning ripped through the hearts and minds of Valencia County residents. Along with the rest of America, Valencia County residents awoke to reports on their clock radios and morning television shows about one plane and then another deliberately flown into the 110-story New York landmarks. Then they heard that another aircraft had slammed into the Pentagon in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. With government offices closing early and parents taking their children out of school in order to be close during this time of despair, local residents took the news with the same grim, despairing disbelief as the rest of America. At the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Belen, a few shoppers stopped to watch the news reports on television. “Just like everybody else, I’m in shock,” said Laura Armstrong of Belen. “They said there were 10,000 people in the World Trade Center Towers. That’s the entire city of Belen.” ....A woman who asked not to be identified said she works at Kirtland Air Force Base. “They closed the base. We checked the buildings for security,” she said.

... Alone in her car in the store’s parking lot, one woman sat hunched over, listening to the radio with her hands held close to her heart, waiting to find out more. ... Polling places were open for county residents to vote on whether to approve a proposal to raise the sales tax by one-eighth of 1 percent, but County Manager James Fernandez said voting was light. Sept. 12, 2001 A year later, the News-Bulletin announced it would open its pages for local residents to write about their feelings on the first anniversary of the attack. On Sept. 11, 2002, a Peralta physician told of harvesting the organs of a person who died, but that they couldn’t be flown to people who needed them because all flights had been cancelled. Publisher Dave Puddu told about an agonizing wait to hear about the fates of family members who worked in the financial industry in New York City while, at the same time, trying to put out a newspaper with such momentous breaking news. The son of a local couple talked about working as a firefighter that day at the Pentagon. Another talked about being away from home in Las Vegas, Nev., when the tragedy occurred. Others spoke about people flocking to the blood bank. And they wrote poetry. They turned to the News-Bulletin as their hometown forum, the spot where they knew their opinions and thoughts would be welcome and would be read by others. And, indeed, the letters to the editor page in the News-Bulletin had quickly became one of the most widely read in the state. It was controversial; it was scintillating. People wrote about everything. Some were protesting a proposed bridge over the Rio Grande that would have run straight through some of the richest agricultural land in the valley and way too close to the most historic church in the county. Others were upset that the number of burglaries kept getting higher. And at least one simply spoke out against a fashion industry that couldn’t seem to produce a nice looking dress for women of a certain age. You name it, people wrote to give their opinion on it. When the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began, the News-Bulletin acted as a partner with its community in supporting the men and women in the military. It wrote about fathers and sons who’d been called together, about drives to collect snacks and personal care items for those on the front. To mark Veterans

Dave Puddu

See 2000-2010, Page 47

Current publisher

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Day on Nov. 20, 2007, it printed a front page containing only the photographs of 56 local men and women serving at that time in Iraq and Afghanistan. And on July 2, 2008, reporter Jackie Schlotfeldt wrote “Citizen Soldier: A Salute to the New Mexico National Guard,” a two-section series of articles and photos telling the stories of more locals being deployed. There were stories about young men and women who’d grown up in our midst and who were being laid to rest with military honors in yet another war. The first death brought local residents out on the street in front of a pilot’s parents’ karate studio, not knowing what to do but somehow wanting to share the sorrow. RESCUE MISSION TURNS TRAGIC TAMARA LONG-ARCHULETA DIES IN AFGHAN COPTER CRASH The war in the Middle East hit home Monday. One of Valencia County’s own lost her life over the weekend, fighting for her country in the desert of the Middle East. Tamara Long-Archuleta, a member of the 41st Expeditionary Combat Rescue Squadron, was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan when the HH-600 Pave-Hawk she was flying went down Sunday. She had been on a medical mission to pick up two Afghani children when the helicopter she was co-piloting was involved in an accident during refueling, her father, Richard Long, said. A special ceremony was held Monday afternoon outside Belen Goju Ruy karate school, which is owned and operated by Tamara’s parents, Richard and Cindy Long. LongArchuleta, who was the mother of a 3-year-old son, was 23. March 26, 2003 And there were too many others — Sgt. Joel Dahl, who the county grieved for as his wife waited to give birth to their first child in the days after his death, and Pvt. Henry Byrd III, whose father said the Army had never told him the full story about his death from heat exhaustion. The first presidential candidate to ever campaign in the county arrived in 2000 as George W. Bush visited Bosque Farms Elementary School. The Nov. 1-2, 2000, edition reported that “in the computer lab, the candidate and his wife, Laura, viewed computer presentations and toured the library.” The first decade of the 2000s brought many local issues to the fore. There was health care and the question about whether a publicly supported hospital should even be built in the county. It played out throughout the decade. It became increasingly controversial, with signs going up throughout the county both in support and opposed to the hospital. The News-Bulletin covered local farmers’ struggle to get water in spite of the silvery minnow, a small fish being protected for environmental reasons. It reported the latest news, editorialized that farmers were more important than fish and even wrote humorous columns about interviewing one of the critters. More tragic news came in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina smashed into the Gulf Coast; Valencia County folks were, typically, among the first to volunteer to help. Stories in the newspaper told of their experiences and traced the journey of at least one New Orleans resident who relocated here. And there was no dearth of purely local news either. COUNTY HOUSING PRICES UP, MARKET STEADY Looking for a home in Valencia County? You’ll probably be paying more than $100,000. According to the Southwest Multiple Listing Service, there were 748 homes sold in Valencia County in 2005 at an average sale price of $154,880. In 2004, 655 homes sold at an average of $133,504. These figures do not include new houses being sold by builders or homes sold directly by homeowners. There are still bargains available, especially if you’re willing to live a little farther from the freeways heading to Albuquerque. July 19, 2006 SECOND LOS LUNAS HIGH SCHOOL ON WAY The options are narrowing. In less than two weeks, the name of the Los Lunas School District’s second high school will be selected from a list of suggestions that is getting smaller by the day. Mario Zuniga, who is going to be the new high school’s principal, said that, after a slew of community meetings and student polls, the list of potential high school names is nearly finalized. After a final open community meeting on Monday night, the entire list will be posted on the school district’s Web site for online voting. However a high school is more than a name. Oct. 15, 2005. The school that would eventually become Valencia High School had other possible names: Enchantment, Manzano Vista, Sierra Vista, Tomé, Villa Linda and Zia. We had our lighter side, too. The NewsBulletin even found a way to make the local high school football rivalry more memorable every year. TIGERS CLAIM VCNB CHILE ROASTER “Where’s that chile roaster?” said Los Lunas quarterback Mark Delgado in the waning moments of last Friday night’s “Valencia Bowl,” the 50th game played between the Belen and Los Lunas high school football teams. The game was well in hand, and the Tigers were ready to hoist the Valencia County NewsBulletin Chile Roaster — a traveling trophy the newspaper put up as a prize to commemorate the long-running series between the county’s two public high school football teams. The trophy lists the results of every previous game in the series. ... Los Lunas has won the last five meetings between the two schools — the Tigers’ longest win streak in the series — but still has a long way to go to catch up to the Eagles. Belen leads the series 33-16-1. The game was billed as the “Valencia Bowl” for the first time. And an announced crowd of 3,726, believed to be the largest ever, came out to see who would claim the chile roaster trophy. Sept. 18, 2002
The newspaper itself went through changes during the decade. It was purchased by Number Nine Media Inc., a subsidiary of the Albuquerque Journal in June, 2001. Current publisher Dave Puddu, a longtime publisher who spend 14 years publishing community newspapers in Colorado, has been the guiding light during most of the decade, and, after Elfego Baca and Carter Waid, has been the longest serving publisher in the century of news. Puddu has been a leader in campaigning for more open government on the state level, leading legislative pushes in Santa Fe as well as on the national level. He served as president of the New Mexico Press Association, brought representatives of the attorney general’s office to the county for public forums to help local leaders understand better the state’s statutes on open meetings and records. The decade’s two editors, Sandy Battin and Clara Garcia, were both Belen High School University of New Mexico graduates who grew up in Valencia County and have family here. And, on the newspaper’s 100th anniversary, they and Puddu were excited to plan a special section telling all about the Valencia County News-Bulletin’s history and the people on the staff and in the community who have made it what it is.

2000-2010
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He said he kept the job for so long because he had the sweetest route, area businesses, easier than home delivery. “I only had to go to 10 or 11 stores,” he said, recalling trips to Piggly Wiggly, Jenny’s Drugs, Gil’s Bakery, Hendry’s No. 1 and No. 2. The route only took an hour — time is of the essence when paid by the paper, and he didn’t have to fold his papers. “The other guys were still out after two hours,” he said. Baca still owns a copy of the paper with his photograph, a tribute to the paper boys of Belen. He would eventually leave the paper, spend some time in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive and eventually operate the Belen Sears store until he retired after the company pulled his contract. Baca now travels with his wife, Ruth. Ruth said the two met in the eighth grade and have been married more than 40 years. They have three kids, all grown. The two recently returned from a cruise through the Panama Canal and are waiting for a new, bigger cruise ship to be launched.

Libby Baca hung around the NewsBulletin every day during his formative years. “They didn’t let me in the building, but I knew everyone there,” Baca said. “I would talk to them when they came out to smoke.” Baca moved to Belen with his mother following the death of his father. They lived in a home next to the old News-Bulletin office in Downtown Belen. Eventually, Baca came of age, 11, and Libby Baca got a job, Former paperboy paperboy. “I did it for five years,” Baca said. He said when he was allowed inside, he loved to watch the press and pressman. He recalls the typeface of old, when lead was used to print the paper, back before computers and modern printing presses with their aluminum plates.

Paperboy Libby Baca had the choicest route

By Julia M. dendinGer

Publisher Chris Baker remembers great people

News-Bulletin Staff Writer jdendinger@news-bulletin.com

The route only took an hour — time is of the essence when paid by the paper, and he didn't have to fold his papers. "The other guys were still out after two hours."
Libby baca Former paperboy

Former News-Bulletin publisher Chris Baker didn’t exactly mean to end up in Belen, but he is glad he did. “I started as a journalist, but went to the dark side of advertising many moons ago,” Baker said. ”I was working in Carlsbad when I talked to Sammy Lopez, the group manager for World Chris Baker West, and he Former publisher said he was looking for an ad director at a number of properties including Ruidoso, and a publisher and ad director at the paper in Belen. He hired me, and I asked him when I was going to start in Ruidoso as the ad director. Sammy said, ‘No you’ll be in Belen as the publisher. That was my first time as a publisher.” Baker held the position from 1995 to 2000. Describing that experience as crazy and fun, he said Belen was a beautiful place. “The people there, the staff, is one of the best I’ve ever worked with and still is,” he said. “I loved the opportunity at the time to help improve the paper. It was great and challenging.” Baker said when he came on board, former editor Sandy Battin was a

reporter at the time and doing the work of the editor so he quickly promoted her to editor. “We had a small budget, so we would go to auctions up in Albuquerque to buy office furniture and came back with these mismatched desks and chairs, but it got us through,” he said. Mismatched furniture aside, Baker implemented many of the special sections readers still enjoy today. “I started Locals; we did some specialty maps, the Festival of Trees, the Welcome to Valencia County Visitors’ Guide,” he said. “It got us into the black and we were able to hire an extra reporter. We also brought in more printing jobs for other publications.” Baker said he thought what really helped the News-Bulletin the most was promoting Battin as editor. “Everyone in the community loved her. Her patience, warmth and graciousness was unbelievable,” he said. “She would talk with people for hours about things and I would ask her why. She told me, ‘It’s important to them.’ Any success we did have at that time is because of Sandy — when people found out we had made her editor, their first response was, ‘What took you so long?’” He remembers the school boards as always being contentious and the county government having a rough go of it. “There was a storm that did heavy damage to the east side of the county, and I remember at a commission See Baker, Page 49

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Baker: continued from page 48
meeting this man stood up and said, ‘These people needed help before the storm,’” Baker said. “They were having a hard time.” But there were some good things too. “That was a time of lots of growth in Los Lunas. The Hunings were rocking and rolling and the Auge Boys were the talk of the town,” he said. “That was when the Isleta casino was built, and I remember the governor standing up and saying the highway would be ‘out of here soon.’” And documenting the ups and downs of the community is exactly what a community newspaper does, Baker said. Something that other news outlets don’t do very well, he said. Giving the example of his own community, Taos, where he is the publisher of the Taos News, Baker said there were two homicides over the weekend. “The Albuquerque TV stations are up here high-fiving each other on how they’re covering the community. The last time they were up here was the last murder we had,” he said. “They don’t cover our schools, council meetings, daily crime — just the sensationalized, blood and gore. “A community newspaper is at every damn meeting there ever was.

"There is a great chemistry between different groups of people here that really works. The richness of the valley is in the number of communities. This place is a great part of New Mexico."
chris baker Former publisher

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Just ask anybody who’s sat through an eight-hour commission meeting. “Without a community newspaper there is no fabric of the community, no democracy. Community papers tell people how things work and how they are put together.” But no matter how far north he goes, Baker said he will always remember the people in Valencia County as the warmest, kindest most outgoing people he’s ever met. “There is a great chemistry between the different groups of people here that really works,” he said. “The richness of the valley is in the number of communities. This place is a great part of New Mexico.”

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Blasts from our past
Kandy Cordova left newspaper for politics
By deBorah fox
News-Bulletin Staff Writer dfox@news-bulletin.com

JoAnne Chavez called newspaper home 30+ years
By Brent ruffner
News-Bulletin Staff Writer bruffner@news-bulletin.com

Belen JoAnne Chavez made her home at the News-Bulletin. Chavez, a 1967 Belen High School graduate, went on a job hunt and didn’t look back after she landed a job as a typesetter at the News-Bulletin office on Sixth Street and Baca Avenue. “I just went looking for a job,” Chavez said. “But once I got the job, I knew I Joanne Chavez was going to Former production stay.” manager Chavez worked at the paper more than 30 years and retired in 2000 after working in the business, circulation and production departments. She retired as the production manager of the newspaper. Chavez worked at the Belen office when Carter Waid, a former mayor of Belen, was publisher of the newspaper. She described Waid as a “sweet, kind man who never raised his voice and was easy to work for.” The Belen resident said she worked in a family-type atmosphere at the paper, and said her time at the paper was enjoyable. On a recent visit, she sat in a conference room filled with books of old

newspapers and couldn’t help but think of old times. “It brings back memories,” she said at the time of the visit. “It was a fun place to be, a fun place to work. We had a lot of amazing times.” One of those memorable times was Father’s Day in the summer of 1969. She said the newspaper got flooded after the Highline Canal broke and most of the staff had to deal with water issues in order to get the paper out to production on time. “The carpet was wet and muddy,” Chavez said. “I would get shocked every now and then. I had to pick up my feet from being in the water. “But we had to work around it. We had a paper to get out.” Chavez said there was a sense of pride in putting out the newspaper every week as well as special projects staffers worked on over the years. She said she misses putting the paper together, though technology has changed since she used a Linotype to typeset the newspaper’s copy. The former longtime employee said she still enjoys the company of current employees, but is enjoying retirement life. She spends most of her free time with her four grandchildren. Chavez said retiring from the paper was an adjustment, and often said she wishes she was still a part of the longtime business. But she said the News-Bulletin hasn’t lost its luster over the years. “I love it,” Chavez said. “I can’t wait every Wednesday and Saturday to see what’s in it.”

Belen Former County Clerk and State Rep. Kandy Cordova launched her career in politics after working as the business manager for the NewsBulletin in 1986. She started her career late in life, she said, after raising her four children, working for Beneficial Finance for 10 years and Kandy Cordova then starting Former business her own col- manager lection agency, after which she went to work for the News-Bulletin. “I was hired by Gary Neal,” Cordova said. “He was the publisher at that time.” Cordova did all the accounting for about two years for the newspaper. “Of course, we were still at the old Baca Street building, right across from the old Post Office,” Cordova said. “The newspaper was a big source of activity and information. They were good times; I really enjoyed working there, but I had always kind of wanted to run for office.” Cordova planned to run for county clerk, but she waited for the right

time. “Timing is everything in politics,” Cordova said. “I thought, when there’s no incumbent, I’ll run then, when it’s an open field.” Cordova and former NewsBulletin staff Sandy Shauer were friends. “Sandy was in advertising at the paper when I came on board. We palled around quite a bit. We were real close,” Cordova said, “In fact, she’s the one who had recommended me to Gary, so I went in for an interview. “We had a lot of good times. Gary was a fun boss: it was fun to be around him.” she said. “After we put the newspaper to bed, as they say, a bunch of us would go to the Mesa Motel and Restaurant for something to eat and drink and to talk newspaper,” Cordova said. She marvels at all the changes the newspaper has undergone since she worked here. “When I worked there, everything was hand-written and things like that. There was no Internet,” she said. “We ran our own printing press.” Cordova left the News-Bulletin to follow her dream to serve the community in politics, serving four years as the Valencia County Clerk and three terms as the District 7 state representative. Cordova is retired now, traveling around the states and Europe with her husband, Ismael “Smiley” Cordova.

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Blasts from our past
Green brothers bought newspaper as a step up
By deBorah fox
News-Bulletin Staff Writer dfox@news-bulletin.com Former News-Bulletin owner Walt Green has “ink in his blood.” His father owned both the Artesia and Deming newspapers, so Green literally grew up in the newspaper business. “I’ve done every job that there is at a newspaper,” Green said. “I started in the hot metal days when lead was melted for headlines.” Green was Walt Green raised in and for the newspa- Former owner per industry, an industry he’s been in for more than 30 years. “It’s pretty much all I’ve ever done,” Green said. “Back then, we hauled negatives to the printer.” The newspaper industry is nothing like it was; you don’t have the same kind of profit margin today, Green said. Walt and his brother, Ken, owned the News-Bulletin when it was located at Sixth and Baca in downtown Belen. “My brother, Ken, and I bought the News-Bulletin in 1988,” Green said. “Ken was more ambitious than I was. He thought buying the News-Bulletin would be a good idea. I went along with him because I had enjoyed working at the Deming Headlight and thought it would be fun to work at a newspaper in a larger market.” Green was brought up on the business end of the newspaper industry and earned his degree in business administration. “I came from a smaller community and market; I was the publisher in Deming. Coming to Belen and the larger Valencia County and selling advertising in the larger market was just great,” he said. At that time, the News-Bulletin had three reporters, an editor and three advertising representatives: two sales people in Belen and one in Los Lunas. They also sold advertising for the Kirtland Air Force Base newspaper called Focus. “We printed both newspapers in Albuquerque at Starline Printing,” Green said. “The editorial content of the Focus was provided by a guy with a contract at the base.” Green used to ride his bicycle to work before he moved to Rio Communities. “Belen was the best town I ever lived in,” he said. “I liked the people. I was in the Rotary Club. Everybody was friendly. I liked living in the country. Even in Rio Communities I could ride my bicycle and in five minutes I was out of town.” Green had three small children, two girls and a boy. “I always took my kids to the mesa west of Belen,” Green said. “We’d park somewhere and hike up. I rode a motorcycle (dirt bike) near the ‘B.’” He enjoyed being able to go to Albuquerque and feel anonymous. “Deming was a small town, and I Dyer aided T.S. Last in producing the newspaper’s sports section twice a week, doing everything from shooting and sorting photos to reporting, writing stories, computer page layout and copy editing. It was a time of many new concepts at the paper, and Dyer enjoyed being a part of a consistent editorial staff, which, for a time, experienced almost no turnover. “We were like a finely tuned machine,” says Dyer. “We had a nice mix of veterans who knew the area and history and younger reporters who benefited from that. That kind of momentum really helped the paper.” Using the same work ethic that made her a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection while a member of the University of Washington swim team, Dyer crafted features and sports and news pieces, and took the digital photos that went with those stories. This was a new trick in the digital era for the News-Bulletin staff. The staff had begun to create its annual Locals edition a few years before Dyer arrived, along with adjustments such as high school football. Dyer, like many sports reporters, was able to provide expertise on things she knew well, such as high school swimming, and occasionally wrote on lessfamiliar athletics, such as wrestling. Dyer won a handful of New Mexico Press Association awards and one national accolade, but the memories of the people she met while at the newspaper are her lasting memory of her years here. With reporters’ words in print so

Jessica Dyer still reporting on diverse topics
By JaSon w. BrookS
News-Bulletin Sports Editor jbrooks@news-bulletin.com Within the past few months, Jessica Dyer has been able to write about a number of different subject areas at her current position at the Albuquerque Journal North. Recently, she’s covered a bear attack at Philmont Scout Ranch, a police seizure of more than 8,000 marijuana plants, and Dennis Hopper’s Taos Jessica Dyer funeral that drew the likes Former reporter of Jack Nicholson and Val Kilmer. That’s the diverse array of topics Dyer deals with regularly now. Her time as reporter for the News-Bulletin helped prepare her for a wide spectrum of reporting, as she wrote about and photographed a plethora of features and hard-news subjects in her stint, which ran from September 2002 to December 2006. “I got there right about the time we were switching to digital photography,” says Dyer, who was a sports and general-assignment reporter. “There was a real commitment to getting better at digital photos, an effort to improve our pictures and take advantage of the technology, and I got experience with lots of different elements of the news business as well.”

See Dyer, Page 53

See Green, Page 53

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Dave Grenham, the easterner who loved Belen
By deBorah fox
News-Bulletin Staff Writer dfox@news-bulletin.com

On his first day as a reporter for the News-Bulletin in 1991, David Grenham wore a tie to work. “Buddy, you’re going to have to lose the tie,” said Editor Dana Bowley. Grenham fondly reminisces of the man who hired him. He had just moved to New Mexico from New England after interning at various newspapers in Boston where he graduated Dave Grenham college. Former editor “I was dreaming of living in New Mexico, so one day I hopped in a car with my girlfriend and moved to Socorro,” Grenham says. He was 22 years old. “It’s funny; I still have dreams about being on deadline at the NewsBulletin,” says Grenham. The first day on the job Grenham had to cover a county commissioner who was kicked in the groin by anoth-

er commissioner during a zoning dispute, Grenham said. “They met on the mesa to discuss it,” the reporter recalls. “I had to interview both of them. That was my first introduction to politics in Valencia County. As a new reporter it was kind of scarey,” he said. Another story he remembers was when the sheriff’s department allegedly “took over Belen” in a dispute about the appointment of a new fire chief. “It was funny because it made CNN,” Grenham said. “Anthony Ortega was the sheriff and there was some dispute. The lines were drawn, and somehow the sheriff’s department was called to try to settle it. Everybody was talking about it because it made it on CNN, but CNN exaggerated it.” The young journalist was full of spunk and gravitated to hard-core investigative-type stories, he said. “Every day I would stop in the sheriff’s office to view the log and find out what had happened during the night,” Grenham said. One day the sheriff confided to Grenham. “He told me there had been a body found. It was a woman’s body,” Grenham explained. “I got out my

notebook and began to take notes.” A detective and an under-sheriff and a few other guys were present as he scribbled his notes while the sheriff spoke. The sheriff told Grenham it was a very strange case. “The body was found in a dumpster behind the bank and the dumpster was filled with cornflakes,” the sheriff said. Grenham was scratching notes as he half-consciously asked the sheriff, “Cornflakes?” The sheriff gravely answered, “Yes, it was a serial killer,” and burst out laughing. “He got me good,” Grenham said. “Hook, line and sinker.” Bowley left the paper and went to the Albuquerque Tribune in July 1993. A few months later, Grenham was made editor of the News-Bulletin. “Sammy Lopez was the publisher at the time and he made me the editor,” Grenham said. “We did some exciting things at the paper,” Grenham said. “Sandy (Battin) was a great balancer, bringing her maturity, compassion and understanding of people and the local community to a young man from the east,” he said. “I was probably too young to be the editor. Sandy was the only one really keeping it together.”

“She wrote in the Neighbors section of the News-Bulletin,” Grenham remembers, “human interest stories that were extremely powerful and liked by the community. Thank God for Sandy Battin, she kept me sane,” Grenham said. “She was like a mother, sister, friend, confidante; she’s just a wonderful person.” As Los Lunas began to grow, tensions arose within the county. People who had lived on quiet streets soon had developers building new homes, giving them new neighbors and traffic. “There were growing pains,” Grenham said. “Suddenly in the fall there was a rash of homes struck by stray bullets. A woman said it was hunters down in the bosque. It had become a big deal, so I went out one fall morning at 5 a.m. to search for hunters. I found a hunter and interviewed him. I did a couple of stories about it. It was an old tradition hunting down there.” The thing the journalist remembers most about his time at the NewsBulletin is the people. “The people of Valencia County were incredibly generous,” Grenham said. Grenham works now works in Washington D.C. for a lobbying company.

was there long enough to feel like I was recognized by somebody anywhere I went. “It is now the same in Artesia. (Today, Green lives in Artesia and publishes the Artesia Daily News.) I enjoy it most of the time, but I still enjoy getting away once in a while.” In 1989, the brothers sold the News-Bulletin to Raljon Publishing. “Ralph and John (of Raljon Publishing) were the sons of Jack Kent Cooke, owner of the Los Angeles Daily News and the Washington Redskins at the time,” Green said. “I was running both papers (Deming and Belen),

Green: continued from page 52

Dyer: from page 52
often, along with a mugshot at the top of each column, News-Bulletin sports reporters are easily recognized in the community — even if they’re not carrying a large camera. Dyer says being recognized everywhere had its challenges, but the rapport she developed with people made it worth it. “I miss writing about people,” she says. “I made a lot of good acquaintances in Valencia County, people who still recognize me.”

when I was approached by a representative of the Los Angeles Daily News about selling.” The Green brothers ended up selling their newspapers in Belen, Deming, Ruidoso and Socorro. Also, his brother, who was 19 years older than Green, was interested in retiring at that time. “He and I both worked for about a year under the new owners,” Green said. “Ken was under a contract with Raljon, and I was considered an employee of the Los Angeles Daily News.” Ken Green died a few years ago.

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Blasts from our past
Lawrence Kaneshiro was jack of all trades
By Brent ruffner
News-Bulletin Staff Writer bruffner@news-bulletin.com Lawrence Kaneshiro jumped into the newspaper business at a time when the Valencia County News-Bulletin covered issues hundreds of miles away in what is now Cibola County. Kaneshiro, who started with the paper in 1977, first worked as a photographer for both news and sports, and covered events from Taos to Silver City. In the 1980s, Lawrence Kaneshiro he said he was Former employee on hand to see a NASA space shuttle landing at White Sands, where the program has a testing facility. White Sands was the program’s last alternative for shuttle landings, and the landing was the only one there. “We were camped out there for two days,” Kaneshiro said. “NASA set up an impromptu camp for the media, but we were (in an area) far away from the astronauts.” But Kaneshiro, who now is the city of Belen’s technology director, said he enjoyed covering everything from baseball to football, including the University of New Mexico Lobo games, and remembers when the paper used Linotype machines at Sixth Street and Baca Avenue. It was a time when then U.S. Rep. Bill Richardson regularly visited the paper and Street Talk, which has become a fixture of the newspaper, was treated as an afterthought. Kaneshiro also worked in circulation as well as the production department. He said the city had four to five car dealerships and a couple of grocery stores. “Working there was great,” Kaneshiro said of an era without computers. “Things were simpler.” The Rio Communities resident started with the News-Bulletin after his mother put in a call to publisher Carter Waid on a “whim,” and said he was intrigued by news ever since the assassination of President Kennedy. Kaneshiro took the News-Bulletin job before working for the Valencia County clerk and the city of Belen. As technology director for the city, he has implemented a computer network and oversees and maintains the city’s website. He said times were different, with staffers using film cameras instead of digital and typewriters instead of computers. But Kaneshiro said some news elements remained the same as today. He still talks about getting the “money” shot in news photography and said newspapers can give readers something other media can’t. “We got to do stuff that they couldn’t do in radio and television,” Kaneshiro said. “We could give details and show pictures and explain what happened.” The former News-Bulletin employee said he tried to use new technology

Gary Herron boosted newspaper’s sports coverage
By JaSon w. BrookS
News-Bulletin Sports Editor jbrooks@news-bulletin.com

The year 1979 was an important time in the pro careers of several legendary athletes, including Larry Bird, Joe Montana, John MacEnroe and Dale Earnhardt. It was also an important year for Gary Herron, as it’s the year he began his career at the News-Bulletin. Herron worked for the newspaper from November 1979 to Gary herron September Former sports reporter 1985, and again from May 1986 until the summer of 1988. He covered sports, among many other things, and played many roles on a staff that witnessed several world-changing events. Through those years, News-Bulletin staff members had many complicated and important events to cover locally. One of the most interesting situations involved the 1982-83 Belen High football team, which needed a lastminute ruling from the state board of education to get the Eagles into the playoffs. Without a thorough tiebreaker rule to break three-way ties, the Eagles wound up hosting Carlsbad in a Sunday afternoon playoff game, played on the same November after-

noon the NFL ended its hiatus after a two-month players strike. Though the Eagles lost to Carlsbad, it was one of many unique events Herron covered. “I believe I handled every challenge admirably,” said Herron, now the sports editor at the Rio Rancho Observer and a contributor to KQTM-FM “The Team.” Herron has gone from covering Belen High when it was bigger than Los Lunas in terms of athletics numbers to covering Rio Rancho High, a school whose 5,000-plus enrollment led to the construction of Sue Cleveland High, a new Class 5A school nearby. Herron dealt with some of the same challenges in the 1980s that still exist today. Many of these issues involve readers wanting more coverage of their school, area or part of the county. “I always tried to cover as much as I could, at least in the world of sports,” said Herron. “And I still remember to this day Los Lunas people saying I did too much on Belen sports, and Belen people saying I did too much on Los Lunas sports.” Herron is a bit of a traditionalist, and frequently calls out players and coaches for breaking old customs or habits or starting what he considers frivolous new ones. He has a favorite Beatles album (Revolver), and he has seen the importance of staff morale at a newspaper. “Possibly the most exciting development for the staff and its morale was hiring of Gary Neal as publisher, See herron, Page 55

See Kaneshiro, Page 55

54

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Local Sammy Lopez rose to be publisher
By Brent ruffner
News-Bulletin Staff Writer bruffner@news-bulletin.com Sammy Lopez had an investment in the Valencia County News-Bulletin. Lopez, a former Belen resident, started at the paper during his junior year at Belen High School in 1972 and was taken under the wing of Carter Waid, who was both editor and publisher of the newspaper. He did everything from advertising to photogsammy Lopez raphy. “I learned a Former publisher lot from him on many occasions,” Lopez said. “He taught me about the newspaper business, and I picked up lessons along the way.” Lopez had stints at newspapers such as the Deming Headlight and the De Baca County News in Fort Sumner, before returning to the News-Bulletin as regional publisher of eight newspapers in three states that included the Belen paper in 1990. That year, the paper moved into its current location on Camino del Llano. The new location was secured under the ownership of Jack Kent Cooke. Lopez said the paper did well under a period of change where Sandy Battin was promoted to editor and the presses were installed at the paper’s new location. “I was pretty excited to see my hometown paper move into the new
Karate-All Ages!

Herron: continued from page 54
a position he held until, I believe, the Greens (Ken and Walt) bought the paper in 1988,” said Herron. The former reporter and editor won numerous awards during his time at the paper. In addition to first- and second-place awards from the New Mexico Press Association, he nabbed the National Federation of Press Women top news photo award for 1985. There are a lot of key differences between the way things ran at the newspaper in the 1980s and the way it is today, he said. Technology has changed so much just in the past 10 years; the News-Bulletin was doing board paste-up layout as late as 2001, and had a photography darkroom until just a few years ago. “The biggest change had to be going from developing black and white film,” said Herron. “And literally doing paste-up on the pages to computer technology and digital photography.”

building,” Lopez said. “It was very exciting to participate in that.” Lopez went on to become publisher of the Carlsbad Current-Argus and the Las Cruces Sun News before taking over as publisher at the Daily Times in Farmington. Lopez is currently a publisher for Heartland Publications in Ohio. In 2008, he was awarded the William S. Dixon First Amendment Freedom Award by the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government and is a past president of the New Mexico Press Association. The longtime publisher said small newspapers like the News-Bulletin do well as long as they concentrate on the readership they serve. “Small papers are always concerned about the quality of copy,” Lopez said. “But they will be OK as long as there is plenty of local news and they have the dedication to get the job done. “I was fortunate to work with wonderful staff (at the News-Bulletin). They did a tremendous job. Over the years, the team put in the work and dedication to put out a newspaper every week. The team met that challenge.” He said papers such as the NewsBulletin are essential to their communities because they offer an insight that people might not get if they hadn’t gotten that day’s paper. “There’s no other way that people would get that information except maybe from their friends or neighbors,” Lopez said. “With the newspaper, they get all that information packaged up and they can take it with them anywhere. It’s the best value in town.”
Karate-All Ages!

GaRY heRRON remembers the days when the newspaper was doing board paste-up layout.

Kaneshiro: continued from page 54
once modems and faxes came into play. He said he used fax machines to send advertising logos to clients. During his stint in circulation, Kaneshiro said he developed software that helped print labels to ship the News-Bulletin to the paper’s mail subscribers.

But Kaneshiro said his move from editorial to the News-Bulletin’s production manager wasn’t easy. “It was a huge step from doing editorial, that’s for sure,” Kaneshiro said. “You go from producing copy to producing a newspaper.” In his time with the circulation department, Kaneshiro met his wife, Lisa, when she was an inserter for the paper.

He said his tenure with the NewsBulletin is one of his most memorable. “It was probably the best time of my life, the best job I have had,” Kaneshiro said. “I got to do a lot of things. “A lot of people do things for money, for fame. But I have always said you should be passionate about what you are doing. You should like what you do.” He said the News-Bulletin regularly practiced an essential method, which helps all newspapers be successful. “We all believed in what we did,” Kaneshiro said. “We did whatever we could to get the product out on time.”

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1 00
News-Bulletin

YEARS

1910-2010

Blasts from our past
Moorman believes in communities, newspapers
By newS-Bulletin Staff
Jane Moorman did two stints at the Valencia County News-Bulletin, once as a sports editor and again writing news. She remembers covering children’s sports and never watching pro-sports during the season because she didn’t want to expect the kids to play like professionals. The experience helped her appreciate the value of community and the Jane Moorman importance of Former reporter a newspaper in that community. “I think that the fact this paper has been around for 100 years says something about the community.” Moorman has seen the changes that have occurred in Valencia County, the reversal of fortune that has hit Belen and Los Lunas. “Belen used to be big,” she said. “Los Lunas used to be the village. Now it’s turned in the other direction.” She has left the newspaper business to work at New Mexico State University in the communication and marketing department. “I’ve always been a PR person,” She said. “I never liked controversy.” Though she has pulled up stakes and moved on to another career field, Moorman still recognizes the importance of a local paper. “In this day and age, having a local paper is really rare and unique,” Moorman said. “Even in a city (such as) Albuquerque, they don’t have the quality of coverage a local paper like the News-Bulletin gets. I think sometimes people forget.” She mentioned high school graduations as an example. Bigger cities won’t put the names of graduates in the paper. A newspaper, along with churches, post office and businesses comprise a community, she said. “I’ve worked in small towns and community papers,” she said. “The News-Bulletin was my third paper. I realized there are certain things that make a community and having a paper is one of those things. “When those things are lost, the concept of a community starts deteriorating. First you lose the paper. Then the schools get consolidated, you lose the church. It all dwindles away. The newspaper is the key component of making a town.” She said that Valencia County has a good sense of community. She enjoyed the rural atmosphere and the fact that neighbors all knew one another. She said that familiarity is important to the success of a paper; people won’t buy it if they don’t already have that sense of community. “There is a strong sense of community in the neighborhoods and little communities, Tomé-Adelino, Peralta, Bosque Farms. That’s another thing — cameras and paste-up layout boards were still being used. However, some of the challenges he faced in covering sports are ones that existed long before his time, and continue to this day. “The biggest challenge was keeping up with the kids and coaches,” says Last. “Even with the two high schools, before Valencia (High) opened, we were covering 12 different teams during the fall sports season alone. I did it single-handedly for several years, until we expanded our sports staff, much to my relief.” The schedule as a one-man crew was very demanding, often eating up many weeknights and Saturdays during any given week. Last is responsible for initiating the practice of getting Fridaynight football photos and stories into the Saturday’s paper, a first for the newspaper, along with starting one of the state’s first high school wrestling coaches polls. Those Friday nights involved developing film until digital cameras arrived, around 2002. The grind improved a bit with digital cameras, but that might have been countered by computerized page layout. That allowed Last and other page editors to control more of the layout, but it became more time-intensive. “At least I was doing something I liked,” says Last, a huge sports fan. “I used to say I couldn’t believe they paid me to watch kids play games and write about them.” Last has won numerous industry awards, and part of what may have aided him in his writing was making

T.S. Last brought county sports history to reporting
By JaSon w. BrookS
News-Bulletin Sports Editor jbrooks@news-bulletin.com Brett Favre has quarterbacked 40 come-from-behind wins in his NFL career. The team Favre played for most of his career, the Green Bay Packers, happens to be the favorite NFL team of former NewsBulletin Sports Editor T.S. Last, who had to engineer a “fourth-quarter comeback” of his own on many deadline occasions in his T.s. Last Former sports editor 11-year stint at the paper. After being hired in 1996, initially to cover news, Last moved over to the sports desk the following year, where he remained as sports editor until heading to Socorro in 2007. Now the general manager of the News-Bulletin’s sister paper, El Defensor Chieftain, Last points out some interesting challenges during his stint here, some of which were inherited, and others the paper chose to take on. “When I stop and think about it, the News-Bulletin went through a lot of changes during my 11 years there,” says Last. “Most of it had to do with changes in technology, but we also went through big changes with the increased circulation and a change in ownership.” Last began his career when film

See Last, Page 57

See Moorman Page 57

56

1 00
YEARS
1910-2010

A Century of News

Last: continued from page 56
use of the News-Bulletin’s vast archive. He also created a list of scores and records for high school teams, beginning in the late 1990s, along with a separate issue archive for the sports sections. “I’ve always been fascinated with history, so I was interested in what I found to be a rich history of sports in Valencia County,” he says. “And sports are so often framed in the context of history, so I’d find myself getting lost in the archives, looking up records and reading up on what happened in the past, which was time consuming, but an awful lot of fun. “That, and my frustration with not having easily accessible information on past records, led me to start documenting records for all sports, so my successors would have an easier time of it.” Last was a major player in most of the paper’s special projects. This included not only annual sections such as the Locals issue and other specials, along with helping cover breaking news such as fires, but also sports projects. He authored most of a state tournament program, created for a year when

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Belen High hosted the Class 4A wrestling championships, along with a special section commemorating the 50th Valencia Bowl football game between BHS and Los Lunas High School. “When we realized the 50th anniversary of the first Belen-Los Lunas football game was coming up, we started planning to do something special for it,” he says. “We decided to commemorate it by introducing a traveling trophy of some kind, and settled on a chile roaster.”

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Moorman: continued from page 56
the paper helps those communities maintain their identities,” she said. “That’s what I liked working in Valencia County, that strong sense of tradition. There are people living in those communities since their ancestors came to the area. That is something in this day and age being lost in our more mobile society. People don’t stay close to home.” She said a paper needs the community in which it exists. “A paper can’t exist on it’s own,” she said. “The community needs to support it, buy ads and read it.” The community must support it; that support in turn is good for business. “I grew up in a small town in Kansas, and learned the value of supporting your neighbor’s business so they can have a livelihood; that is something still there in Valencia County,” she said. “It might be easier not to own a business, but they have made that commitment to stay there and exist. It’s not easy being a businessman in a small community. There is that community pride there, people making that commitment.” Her father used to advertise with the local paper in that small Kansas town

“A paper can’t exist on it’s own. The community needs to support it, buy ads and read it.”
Jane moorman Former reporter

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where she grew up. “He had the only feed store in town, but he still advertised in every issue,” she said. “He knew he was the only game in town, but he had to support it.” Moorman said people are moving from the cities into rural areas such as Valencia County because they want that community, the good local schools and a better quality of life because they see the people in these small towns making a commitment to better their lives. “People are beginning to say, ‘Oh, I’d like to have that,’ moving out of the city, moving into a rural suburb, which brings new life into a community,” she said.

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1 00
News-Bulletin

YEARS

1910-2010

Blasts from our past
Editor Ellen Syvertson loved the action
By newS-Bulletin Staff
Ellen Syvertson was lucky enough to have two dreams come true. First, she became a journalist. Next, she took her savings and opened her own business, Flyer Press in Los Lunas, which is a direct mail advertising and printing firm. Syvertson began working at the Valencia County NewsBulletin in the 1970s as a reporter, back in the day when there were no computers to lay out a paper; ellen syvertson everything was Former editor done on huge machines and far more tedious. Everything was proofed using a blue pen. “In the ’70s it was pretty primitive,” Syvertson said. She kept a CB radio in her car because cell phones did not yet exist, but like reporters in the present, kept her ear on the police scanner day and night. Before her first stint here, she interned at the Albuquerque Journal, writing obituaries, features and news. She also worked at the New Mexico Daily Lobo, the student newspaper at the University of New Mexico. Syvertson worked in Belen before everyone had a camera on his or her phone, and she took crime scene photos for the Belen Police. Everyone on the editorial staff would meet at the Mesa Bar on Main Street for drinks following a shift. “The whole staff was at the bar at 5 p.m.,” she said. She would leave the News-Bulletin and work for the New Mexico Business Journal, but come back in the 1980s for a stint as the editor before hanging up her notebook for good to open her print shop. Though she is happy with her business, Syvertson said she loved working as a journalist, in particular, covering fires. She remembers a bosque fire where she went in and gazed in awe at the flames as they encircled her, eventually realizing that a quick exit was in order. She admits to being a hyper person, someone who loves action and hates it when it’s slow. “It was exciting,” she said. “I got to do things a normal person never gets to do.”

Darrell Pehr guided paper through time of change
By newS-Bulletin Staff
Darrell Pehr remembers the most exciting story while he was at the Valencia County News-Bulletin being the helicopter prison break. “They landed in the prison and picked up three guys and flew off,” Pehr said. “It generated quite a bit of a chase and quite a bit of drama. The pilot had been in one of the Rambo movies. That was something I hadn’t experienced before or since.” Pehr joined Darrell Pehr the NewsFormer editor Bulletin a few days after that incident and directed the follow-up coverage. He said the incident really set the tone for his stay. Pehr was editor from 1988-1991. He also remembers the Tara Calico case. Calico disappeared while riding her bicycle up N.M. 47. While Pehr was at the paper, a photograph, thought to be of Calico, showed up in Port St. Joe, Fla. “There were a lot more crime stories than I was used to,” Pehr said. Pehr said he worked for the paper during a period of change. The ownership changed hands, and the building on Camino Del Llano, where the paper now sits, was constructed. “The paper used to be in this rickety little building,” he said. “It was a mess. There were weeds growing inside the building. The new building was constructed specifically to be a newspaper. Not many buildings are like that.” He has since left the newspaper business to work for New Mexico State University. He started out as a science writer, and is now the director of news and the editor of the NMSU research magazine. Pehr would eventually leave Belen to work at papers in Artesia and Alamogordo, but he feels a connection to the town because his daughter was born here. “I had a good experience there and so did my wife. We have some very good friends there,” he said. “Belen is an interesting news town.”

“The paper used to be in this rickety little building. It was a mess. There were weeds growing inside the building. The new building was constructed specifically to be a newspaper.”
DarreL Pehr Former editor

“It was exciting. I got to do things a normal person never gets to do.”
eLLen syvertson Former editor

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1 00
YEARS
1910-2010

A Century of News

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News-Bulletin

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YEARS
1910-2010

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