June 29

On this date …

2006: Portales’ First Baptist Church, which had been without a pastor for 20 months, was about to welcome David McFadden to its pulpit.

McFadden had been preaching for 30 years, in Texas, Arizona and Oklahoma.

“I’m looking forward to making a home in the community, the wonderful things the church is already doing here and the bright future I will share with them,” he told the Portales News-Tribune.

1971: Area residents were circulating a petition asking a grand jury to investigate “past and present operation” of Mission Garden of Memories and Lawn Haven cemeteries.

Organizers wanted an investigation into “the fiscal affairs of both cemeteries and that if it is determined that trust funds have been misused or misappropriated that recommendations be made for institution of legal proceedings to rectify the situation and if applicable that indictments be returned in connection with criminal activity.”

The cemeteries were owned by a Colorado company.

A grand jury was convened, but did not return indictments in the case.

1966: A 3-year-old Clovis girl drowned in the swimming pool at the Silver Spur Motel on East Mabry Drive.

Martha Healy, who lived at 2920 Mandell Circle, was pronounced dead on arrival at Memorial Hospital where she was taken by Gold Star Ambulance.

The child’s mother was visiting friends at the motel when the child “apparently got away from her mother and was found in the pool,” the Clovis News-Journal reported.

1956: A 6-month old Clovis boy died in a house fire. Officials said they believed the fire had been caused by children playing with matches.

Fire Chief George Maddox said a 10-year-old boy, the oldest of nine children living in the home at 100 Lydia, had purchased a couple of boxes of matches. The boy told officials he put the matches in a suitcase but a 5-year-old boy took them out.

Maddox speculated the boys “got something afire, and then ran out of the house, forgetting about the 6-month old baby on one of the four beds,” the Clovis News-Journal reported.

Neither parent was home at the time of the incident, the newspaper reported.

The two-room home was gutted, and a neighbor’s house was also destroyed, officials said.

June 28

On this date …

1970: Clovis police said they had wrapped up a series of recent burglary cases involving vandalism and stolen bicycles with the arrests of two teenagers.

The 13-year-old boys were caught “pilfering several automobiles” at the Memorial Hospital parking lot, Patrolman Daryl Rice told the Clovis News-Journal.

Six stolen bicycles were recovered.

1961: A 2-year-old Roosevelt County girl remained hospitalized three weeks after she was bitten by a rattlesnake while her mother worked nearby on the family farm near Portales.

Doctors at first feared Rhonda Evans might die from the bite, but now were confident she would survive. Swelling in the calf of her leg where she was bitten had gone down, but her foot “is black and swollen,” United Press International reported.

The child kept telling her father, “It bit me. You better chop his head off, Daddy,” according to UPI.

She seldom complained, her mother said, except to say that her foot itches.

1951: More than 100 Rotarians, Rotary Anns and guests attended the annual Clovis Rotary Club’s annual ladies’ night banquet at the La Vista.

Those in attendance included W. H. Duckworth of Clovis, the incoming district governor of Rotary International, retiring Clovis Rotary Club President E. C. “Army” Armstrong and incoming President Henry Kossman.

Principal speaker was Rev. William James, new pastor at Clovis’ Presbyterian church who was also a new Rotarian.

“He presented an entertaining and humorous speech on ‘Being a preacher,’” the Clovis News-Journal reported.

June 26

On this date …

1976: W. D. “Doc” Gattis, a pioneer educator, died at his home in Clovis.

He was 85.

Gattis had come to eastern New Mexico in 1919 from Tennessee, and taught his first year in the Grady school system.

He moved to Clovis and began teaching at La Casita School a year later. He ultimately was La Casita principal for 39 years.

After retirement, Gattis served on the Clovis school board and was selected to the New Mexico Teacher’s Hall of Fame, the Clovis News-Journal reported.

1956: Clovis Cab Company claimed it had “safe, courteous drivers” who were radio dispatched for better public service.

The cab company — its phone number was 3443 — also rented cars by the hour, day, week or year.

1951: A local radio station manager was trying to “quiet the panicky people” of Clovis and Portales after apparently bogus reports were broadcast that a tornado might hit both communities.

W. M. McCreary, manager of the KENM radio station in Portales, said there had been unconfirmed reports of a tornado headed for the area, but Walker Air Force Base officials in Roswell said no one knew of any such storm.

McCreary said a rival radio station had reported the unconfirmed tornado, which had been reported by Roswell police to Clovis police.

While no tornado hit Clovis that day, Tucumcari saw the “end of a dying tornado,” but no damage was reported.

June 25

On this date …

1966: Portales police were investigating the apparent beating death of a 27-year-old city resident found on the floor of his garage.

A neighbor saw Robert Knight through a garage window and notified police. Knight was flown to Lubbock where he underwent brain surgery, but soon died from his injuries.

Police said Knight suffered multiple bruises and a concussion, but there were no immediate arrests and a medical spokesman said it would be days before an autopsy could provide additional information.

1961: More than 3 million bees swarmed U.S. 60 near Melrose after a truck carrying 200 hives overturned.

No one was reported seriously injured, but rescue workers reported the bees were swarming and “angry.”

Volunteer firefighters from Melrose were called to the scene and used high-pressure water hoses in an attempt to disperse the bees.

The bee’s owner, who was from Colorado, reported he’d been stung more than 100 times trying to “figure out some way to get them back into their hives.”

Firefighters and law enforcement officers also reported multiple bee stings as they worked to clear the wreckage in short-sleeved shirts.

June 24

On this date …

1976: An earthquake registering 3.0 to 3.5 on the Richter scale was reported about 10 miles northwest of Tucumcari.

The Associated Press reported the shaker was not felt in the city limits of Tucumcari, but did impact some at isolated ranches as far as 50 miles from the tremor.

No injuries or damage was reported.

1961: Area grain elevator operators were reporting a bumper wheat crop not seen since at least 1941.

Officials said dryland yields were averaging more than 30 bushels per acre, and 40 to 45 bushels in some areas.

Yields on irrigated crops were exceeding 50 bushels per acre.

Even better news for wheat farmers was that quality was “exceptional,” agriculture officials said.

Roads into Clovis, especially from the north, featured a steady stream of trucks on their way to and from elevators, the Clovis News-Journal reported.

1951: Polio had claimed the life of a 20-year-old Clovis mother.

Mrs. Edwin L. White, wife of the bookkeeper at radio station KICA, died at a hospital in Plainview.

“She was placed in an iron lung, but did not respond to artificial respiration,” the Clovis News-Journal reported.

She was the hospital’s first polio victim of the year.

White was survived by her husband, and by a 20-month-old son.

June 23

On this date …

2006: The region had plenty to celebrate with the recent announcement of a new mission for once-doomed Cannon Air Force Base, followed by an announcement of a new ethanol plant coming to Curry County — great news for an economy that had been decimated by the announcement a year earlier that Cannon would close as part of a nationwide downsizing of military installations.

Cannon would become home to the Air Force’s 16th Special Operations Wing, bringing thousands of personnel over the next five years.

The ethanol plant would employ 50, Gov. Bill Richardson announced, another indication job opportunities were returning to the region.

The week also included an inch of rain for most communities, and there were plenty of ways to celebrate, from the annual Badlands Motorcycle Rally to the annual Custom Classic softball tournament, and concerts by the Air Force’s Tops in Blue and the Bellamy Brothers, who were performing at Dairy Fest.

“When people reminisce years from now about what was the best single week of good news, the past seven days will rank near the top,” the Portales News-Tribune reported in an editorial.

1976: The U.S. Supreme Court had recently given local governments the authority to force their workers to live in town, curb overtime pay and decide against negotiating with police unions.

In Texas, Dallas and Austin had already moved for legislation demanding their city employees live in town, The Associated Press reported.

1951: Fire had destroyed large quantities of paper, fruits and sugar at a Campbell’s Dairy warehouse in Clovis.

Officials estimated damages at $10,000 to $15,000.

About seven tons of sugar was destroyed, but plant Manager Harold Murphy said the company could continue operations since it had a policy of storing supplies in several warehouses.

“About the only change the customer will notice, Murphy said, will be different pint ice cream cartons. Most of the company’s cartons of that size were lost,” the Clovis News-Journal reported.

June 22

On this date …

1971: Clovis Police Chief Ken Kingsbury was reorganizing the department.

Patrolman Bobby Harris had been promoted to sergeant. Sgt. Roger Bartosiewicz had been named chief of detectives.

Changes were brought on, in part, by the recent resignation of Detective Caleb Chandler and the upcoming retirement of Capt. Charles Witherspoon.

1961: The Texico-Farwell Rotary Club was chartered with an estimated 200 Rotarians from across the region on hand for the ceremonies.

Bob Tomlinson was installed as the first president of the Twin Cities club.

Gifts to the new club included a banner from Rotarians in Portales and a bell and gavel from Rotarians in Clovis.

1941: A Nevada man was in Curry County’s jail for the 17th consecutive day because he had no draft card on his person, the Clovis News-Journal reported.

Elmer Bogie claimed he was registered with the Fly, Nevada, draft board, but that he’d lost his card. Law officers said any man caught without a draft card would be jailed.

Bogie was released the next day after Clovis officials received confirmation that he was registered in Nevada.

“(He) could have saved himself a lot of trouble by getting a duplicate card,” said Curry County Draft Board Clerk Edmund Dalton.”

June 21

On this date …

2006: Eastern New Mexico residents were preparing for new neighbors — Special Operations Command personnel at Cannon Air Force Base.

“There will be more people and quieter airplanes, much quieter,” predicted Lt. Col. Toby Corey, chief of the AFSOC’s program integration branch at Hurlburt Field in Florida.

Cannon had been a victim of a national round of base closures a year earlier, but was awarded a new mission with AFSOC.

1971: U.S. Census figures showed Curry County was the second-fastest growing county in New Mexico during the 1960s.

Curry County’s population increased 20.6 percent during the decade, from 32,691 to 39,517, the Clovis News-Journal reported.

Only Sandoval County grew more, at 23.2 percent.

1956: Hilda Greenleaf, who lived at 3016 Sheldon in Clovis with her husband, Master Sgt. Dexter Greenleaf, was the winner of a “fully automatic gas range” given as the grand prize at the Southern Union Gas Company’s cooking school.

Greenleaf, from New Rochelle, New York, said she had been cooking on a second-hand stove purchased when they first moved to Clovis from Roswell in February.

Mrs. Eugene Duval was the other big winner of a door prize. She received $200 cash for a down payment on a Stagner and Son home.

Prize winners were drawn from a revolving barrel by two little girls — Paula Drake, 3, and Shirley Ann Teel, 5, who were chosen from the audience.

June 19

On this date …

1971: At least 88 people suffered food poisoning at a wedding party in the community hall at the Grand Avenue Homes on West Grand.

Memorial Hospital officials said none of the 94 treated were critically ill.

Almost five dozen were admitted to the hospital for treatment, including the groom, Johnny Chavez. His wife, Carolyn Garcia Chavez, was reported “slightly sick” but she was not admitted to the hospital, the Clovis News-Journal reported.

None of the victims died and the last of those admitted to the hospital were released three days later.

Officials said the cause of the illnesses was most likely tainted potato salad.

1956: An estimated 1,100 women attended the opening session of a three-day gas cooking school at Clovis’ Marshall Auditorium.

Southern Union Gas Co. hosted the annual school with “King of the Kitchen” Frank Decatur White “delighting the audience with his ready patter as well as with his flair for cookery,” the Clovis News-Journal reported.

1956: Eastern New Mexico University announced its summer enrollment was at 770.
The session was for eight weeks.

Almost 200 of those enrolled were doing graduate work.

1951: Clovis police, led by Chief John Droke, staged a surprise raid at the home of Ethel Jones, who lived just inside the city limits on the Portales highway.

Jones was charged with selling intoxicating liquor without a license and brought before Police Judge John Manning.

She pleaded guilty the same afternoon and paid a $300 fine.

June 18

On this date …

1961: The state’s traffic fatality went up by three after unrelated accidents near Taos, Grants and Chimayo.

United Press International reported the state’s traffic deaths totaled 142 for the year, but that was down from 174 on the same date a year earlier.

1956: Montgomery Ward was hosting a 10-day bicycle sale.

A 20-inch Hawthorne for boys or girls was $41.50. A 26-inch Hercules Tourist bike for boys or girls was $46.95.

The store would give $10 off the price if you had a bike to trade “regardless of condition,” according to a newspaper ad.

1946: Charles Fischer, advertising manager of the Clovis News-Journal, had been named president of the Clovis Lions Club.

New members of the Lions Club included Joe Dotlich, manager of the Clovis Pioneers baseball team.