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Monday, May 20, 2024

Fast away the old year passes: Artesians look back on 2023, offer hopes for the New Year

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2023 was a whirlwind of activity for City Departments and staff. This year we saw the completion of a new dog park, we made headway on multiple infrastructure projects that will enable our City to grow properly. We made incredible improvements investing funds to generate additional monies for our town, and we streamlined operations to make business easier for those wanting to accomplish great things in Artesia. Our team worked diligently to lay the groundwork to accomplish our goals and plan new projects, many of which will begin in the New Year.

I am grateful not only for the City staff but also for the vendors and contractors who work alongside us to ensure Artesia runs smoothly for our residents. We are fortunate to have a City Council who are willing to work hard to press forward and see our goals accomplished.

 So many contribute to the wins we have seen in 2023.

And if you have been pleased with the progress you have witnessed this year, you haven’t seen anything yet. Get ready for 2024! A new splash pad, plans for a new Recreation Center, Jaycee Park bathrooms, disc golf course and more! Our work is never done and there is no time to waste. Cheers to the end of a great year. And hang on to your hats, 2024 is going to blow you away!

— Mayor Jon Henry

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I ways look forward to the New Year with promise and anticipation. This past year was a blessing and I am grateful for our many friends and family. As we prepare for the New Year I am confident in the people of New Mexico and hopeful for their well being, that they are prosperous and that their loved ones are as well. God Bless New Mexico and our Nation.

— State Rep. Jim G. Townsend

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2023 was a year for the books. We started the year with more kids in our program than in the history of Artesia Football. I approached our AD and Superintendent about adding lockers to our locker room, and 16 lockers were added to our varsity side. We still had some sophomores sharing lockers.

Our offseason saw huge growths in the weight room as well as bonding our team together. The new track kept us off the turf for another summer, but we are blessed to have our practice field there at the Bowl. Summer saw great numbers again with the most consistent attendance we have seen. Our guys grew and competed again throughout the summer and were hungry for the season that awaited.

As the season began, we headed to Carlsbad, who had called us Tuesday saying they only had a small locker room available due to construction. That place was a mess. We warmed up and did our pregame in Artesia and showed up practically at game time. That was a first. It worked out, though, as we won the Eddy County rivalry 55-7.

We then played Hobbs at home, avenging the defeat from the previous season, 42-6. Back-to-back long trips to Belen and Deming left us 4-0. Then Cleveland came to town. The atmosphere just felt different this year. Our team played well, and for the first time in school history, we beat the Storm 36-34 in front of a great crowd. We then shut out our next two opponents, Lovington and Santa Teresa, 97-0.

We then headed to Roswell to open up district play. A huge crowd and great atmosphere are what we walked into. We just forgot we had to play football that night. It was our blip on the season, and we prayed for an opportunity for revenge. We then played back-to-back home games against Goddard and Mayfield, winning by a combined score of 97-21.

We ended up with the No. 2 seed and a bye. We opened up against a strong Los Alamos team, beating them 57-14. We then played a depleted Piedra Vista team who had lost a couple players the week before, defeating them 50-0. At last, our rematch was set; Roswell would be coming to Bulldog Bowl for the State Championship Game.

It was Thanksgiving Week, and we enjoyed the extra time off. Bulldog Bowl that day was rocking. Possibly the biggest crowd the Bowl has ever had as fans were three to four rows deep all the way around with standing room only. Roswell fans even leaked down onto the field to get a better view. The game was back and forth and saw us taking a 21-7 lead into halftime after a 91-yard touchdown pass and a big interception. The second half saw Roswell get within seven twice, but our guys rose to the occasion, getting some timely stops and big scores. The final was 35-21, and the ‘Dogs were on top again, winning the 32nd title and back-to-back championships.

We set out with goals, expectations and a vision of what ’23 would look like. We met most of those things and had a great year.

2024 will start with a lot of the same goals and expectations. It will be a new team with new players, plays, formations and concepts. It will be an offseason of finding and creating leaders. It will be challenging, but each year is. We look forward to continued growth and knowledge of the game and, more importantly, life. It’s always Great to be a Bulldog!!

— Bulldog head football coach Jeremy Maupin

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2023 has been a year of pride and accomplishment for Artesia MainStreet. We have seen our community actively engage in our downtown, and we couldn’t be more excited. It has been such a joy to watch businesses strengthen and entrepreneurship grow. We can’t wait to see what 2024 will bring!

— Artesia MainStreet Executive Director Morgan Fox

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From my perspective, 2023 was another great year for our thriving community to be a “City of Champions!”  My circle is not very big, but I see and value this community and its culture, as being led by God-fearing men and women in positions of leadership across our town including in political authority, in ownership of businesses, in our education administration system, and by the leaders of our churches.

My hope for 2024, and even beyond, is that we as a community will continue to allow common sense and Godly wisdom to guide us as we continue to thrive.

— Lady Bulldog head basketball coach Jeff Houghtaling

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No one will be surprised to hear that in this last year the good folks of Artesia, through partnerships with churches, non-profit organizations and businesses, not to mention private citizens, have raised huge sums of money to support the needs of those who have lost loved ones, seen tragedies strike homes and property, and been severely impacted by loss of income or major health issues. 

At the beginning of the school year, our churches got themselves organized through the efforts of prayer teams and can now be seen daily prayer walking in our schools. While the community of Artesia has always tried our very best to look after those who we know are facing difficult situations, in this last year Artesians joined together as a city on a hill that can’t be hidden and shone extremely bright! I am so thankful for the good folks of Artesia. 

— Pastor Ty Houghtaling, First Baptist Church

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I think this school year has been great. The teams have been very competitive, and the support from the community has been awesome. I am constantly reminded of how special this community is, and I cannot wait to see what happens next!

— Artesia Public Schools Athletic Director Brian Taylor

Brienne Green
Daily Press Editor

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