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Looking Back: Artesia bids goodbye to Main Street rec center in 1978

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Looking back 40, 30 and 20 years ago, the following are excerpts from the Artesia Daily Press from Feb. 5-11.

40 Years Ago
Feb. 5-11, 1978

Artesia’s city elections next month probably will be about the same as those held every two years over the past 22 years. Those years, like 1978, have been marked by several uncontested elections, low voter turnout, and usually seeing the same person running for office, though some of the names appear on the ballots several years apart. It all boils down to the fact that Artesia appears somewhat apathetic towards voting in elections in which there are only one or two races going on.


As reported in the Pinon News: Another ranch in the area has been reported to have sold. Horace Griggs’ ranch was sold recently to the son of Mr. and Mrs. Johnnie Cutler, west of Sacramento. Their son reportedly lives in Illinois. Mrs. Billy Joe Brooks remarked recently that the next 10 to 15 years would see many changes in the Pinon area, as the ranchers are getting old and many of those that have children were not interested in ranches. They have moved away and made homes and are making a living, so do not wish to move back to the area and many of them do not care for ranching.


“The Lincoln Conspiracy” was the featured film this week at Landsun Theater and “The Chicken Chronicles” and “Sidewinder” were the featured films at Hermosa Drive-In.


Artesia Bulldog girls’ coach Ronnie Null is glad to know that he has Kellye Guy for another year after this one. She has become one of the regular Bulldogs who came off the bench in key situations and keeps things rolling like they have in the 16 games Artesia has won this season. Null and Company will be going after No. 17 tonight against the Lovington Wildcats in the last game of the regular season. After that comes the district tournament, the next step in the Bulldogs’ drive to defend their Class 3A state girls’ basketball title.


The daily hands of dominos and the pool matches at the Artesia Recreation Center on Main Street will soon be only memories to those people who patronized the business. The building which houses the tables has been bought by Don and Jo Threewit from A.N. Buck. The Threewits plan to take ownership of the building March 1, remodel it, and open up an art gallery. Buck is going to retire.


Two members of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church were arrested by Artesia Police Tuesday at 7:22 p.m. and were charged with soliciting within the city limits without a permit. The “Moon Children,” referring to themselves as members of the Youth Guidance Program, admitted to police the youth program was a front for the Moon organization. Chief of Police Bobby Bishop told the Daily Press this is the fourth such incident with the “Moonies” soliciting in Artesia without a permit.

30 Years Ago
Feb. 5-11, 1988

Since word of his attempt to keep a horse on his Artesia property first started to spread, George Bradford has received moral support from people as far away as Anchorage, Alaska. Among the latest to become interested in Bradford’s cause are the students in Scott Clark’s fifth-grade class at Mora Avenue Elementary School in Las Vegas, N.M. “We think the City of Artesia should be humane enough to make special exceptions for the disabled,” the petition states. “In particular, we think this elderly blind man should be able to keep his horse and his independence.” “We don’t have any expectations, I don’t think,” Clark said by telephone earlier this week. “We were just hoping to make a little bit of difference.”


As reported in the Pinon News: Junior Stephens, the Union Gas Company’s delivery man for this area, brought propane to the Basil Holcomb home Friday about noon. He was en route to the M.M. Havens ranch, the Bill Gage ranch in the Pinon area, then to Dunken to refill his truck tank and then go to the Watt’s ranch on Cuevo, before returning to his home south of Weed.


Though some are finding new reasons for cautious optimism, most agree that Artesia’s construction industry has reached its lowest ebb in years. One only has to look at the value of construction permits granted by the city in 1987 to see the reality of the situation. Since 1984, at the tail end of the oil boom period, total construction permit values have decreased 74 percent. “It’s disastrous,” real estate appraiser Marion Johnson said. “In 1987, home values declined … (up to) 18 percent. Residential construction is dead … There has been a 43-percent drop in gross (real estate) sales … residential rentals have definitely fallen …
It’s just real, real bad right now.”


Mary Rodriguez congratulated her son, Larry, on his selection as a member of a United States youth soccer team that will tour Denmark and Sweden this summer, competing in tournaments.

20 Years Ago
Feb. 5-11, 1998

A water tank now installed in Hope will hold 200,000 gallons for the village. The tank was constructed during January and recently completed. It is behind the community center. Its cost, more than $250,000, was funded by local, state and federal sources.


Coming from two weeks of major injuries and illnesses, the Artesia High School swim team showed they could hold their own with the best in a meet at NMMI last Saturday. Four new records were set at the meet. The girls’ 200 freestyle record was broken by Erin Grayson in her heat, and then Joyce Smith broke Grayson’s record with a time of 2:32.68. Grayson broke her 500 freestyle record for the third straight meet by four seconds. The girls’ 400 freestyle relay team of Jennifer Barker, Taryn Walker, Smith and Abby Anderson set a new record of five seconds with a 4:32.00. The meet “went very well for us,” said coach Shelley Ebarb. “We’re moving up the ranks every year in team standings.”


The winners of the free 1998 local Bassmaster Casting Kids Competition presented by Zebco and Kmart at the Artesia Kmart on Jan. 24 were Thomas Crumrine, 12, of Artesia, and Jamie Ruddick, 9, of Artesia.


Zia Intermediate School sixth-grader Christina Jarrel and seventh-graders Clayton Garthwaite and Debbie VanDerVeen, wrote poems in classes taught by Peggy Osborne (sixth grade) and Sue Kiser (seventh grade), which were chosen for publication. Their work was recognized for High Merit by the Rocky Mountain States Young Poets Contest, sponsored by Creative Communication of Smithfield, Utah. Last year, the company awarded $3,000 in grants to schools whose poets showed “exceptionally high merit.”


The Artesia FFA chapter Greenhands won the state Greenhand parliamentary procedure contest on Jan. 26. The winning Greenhand team members are Kim Gardner, Amanda Posey, Brooke Bell, Sarah Hazelbaker, Kolbyn Joy, Lance Conklin, Ty Prude and Danny Brown. This year is the first since 1968 that Artesia FFA’s Greenhands have won the state contest.


As reported in the Pinon News: Mrs. Shannon Mateer has learned the driving of the mail in the Mayhill, Weed, Pinon and Dunken areas, and is very successful and is well liked.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking Back is compiled by Daily Press Community Living Editor Teresa Lemon.)

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