July 28

On this date …

1976: Clovis had scheduled its first school for DWI offenders.

The eight-hour session was to be held at the Clovis Chamber of Commerce.

A recent law allowed, but did not require, judges who invoke DWI penalties to consider the class as part of sentencing.

Officials expected 15 to 18 people would take the class.

1966: Residents of the Triangle Addition in southwest Clovis complained to the city commission about rattlesnakes in their neighborhood.

Residents said at least two rattlers had been found in recent days, identifying weed-infested vacant lots as their favorite hiding places.

City officials said there were 31 vacant lots in the area. Mayor Ted Waldhauser asked City Manager Marvin Hass to contact the lot owners “in person,” and ask them to clean up, the Clovis News-Journal reported.

1951: A pioneer railroad conductor died in the Clovis hospital.

Samuel L. Sutter, 69, of 1216 Main, had fallen ill the same afternoon.

He came to New Mexico in 1900 to work for the Santa Fe Railway at Las Vegas. He went to work on the Belen cutoff when construction started in 1906 and made his permanent home in Clovis in 1910.

He worked 48 years for the Santa Fe until his retirement as a conductor in 1948.

July 27

On this date …

1976: The Federal Power Commission nearly tripled the amount producers were allowed to charge for natural gas.

The action meant consumers could expect to see their bills increase an average of $15.60 per year.

1971: A researcher with the Environmental Improvement Agency in Santa Fe was studying mosquito breeding habits — and ways to control them — in eastern New Mexico.

Ted Wolff, an environmental scientist, said water remaining in one location for five days or more was a potential breeding ground, even in drought conditions.

He set traps to catch adult mosquitos for study.

1941: A Clovis couple away from home were relieved to learn a fire started by lightning caused limited damage to their house on East Grand Avenue.

Officials said the bolt of lightning entered the home over electric light lines, setting fire to curtains, then spreading to bed coverings.

But while the window sill was badly scorched, the fire did not spread beyond the bed “apparently because oxygen in the room had been consumed,” the Clovis News-Journal reported.

July 26

On this date …

1976: Ronald Reagan announced Sen. Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania would be his running mate if he won the Republican presidential nomination.

Reagan lost the nomination to Gerald Ford, but became president in 1980, selecting George H. W. Bush as his running mate.

Schweiker, who said he was surprised to be named Reagan’s running mate in 1976 since he’d never even met the man, became Reagan’s secretary of health and human services from 1981 to 1983.

1961: The mother of a Clovis woman arrived safely at Clovis Municipal Airport after an unplanned stop in Cuba.

Mrs. William Conn, who lived in Miami, was among 37 people on a plane hijacked at gunpoint and flown to Havana.

She told a reporter she had no idea the plane had been hijacked until it arrived in Havana and an announcement was made that “We’re landing in Havana, Cuba, at gunpoint. Be calm, we’ll probably be leaving in about 15 minutes.”

She said passengers were held for 29 hours, but “They treated us like royalty. They were a real congenial bunch.”

The gunman remained in Cuba and Premier Fidel Castro kept the $3.5 million airplane, United Press International reported.

UPI reported the passengers returned home with straw hats, boxes of cigars and bottles of rum purchased at the Havana airport. They were put up in a hotel for two nights.
Conn was on her way to visit her daughter, Myrtice Conn, when her plane was hijacked.

July 24

On this date …

1971: Mariachi music filled the air at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds.

The community was celebrating its third annual Fiesta de Portales.

Manuelito and Gabriel Cordova were among the younger performers. They lived at 1108 N. Abilene in Portales.

1961: Lynn Berry, 7, and his brother Glenn, 3, were pictured on the front page of the Clovis News-Journal with a prized possession — the boys caught a frog as big as a dinner plate.

Lynn Berry, who still lives in Clovis, said they found the creature while playing on their grandfather’s farm four miles west of Portales.

1956: New Mexico Gov. John Simms was in Clovis to speak to Kiwanis Club members about juvenile crime.

Simms said the state would be increasing spending at the Springer Industrial School for Boys as the population increased.

He said the facility averaged about 255 juvenile inmates, but authorities were expecting that number to soar beyond 400 by 1965. Some were estimating more than 700 boys could be in the facility by the middle of the decade.

July 23

On this date …

1966: Hillcrest Park was a regular gathering for teenagers in search of food and entertainment.

The Challenge to Youth program held several “Hootennany” events during the summer, complete with hot dogs and musical entertainment.

The crowd, which usually featured more than 100 youth, enjoyed singing along to “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore,” and “How Great Thou Art,” the Clovis News-Journal reported.

1961: Plans were announced for construction of a new Silver Grill restaurant in Clovis.

The popular eatery at Sixth and Main was destroyed by fire in May.

The new Silver Grill was to be located at 600 N. Pile St. Plans called for a cafeteria, a coffee shop, a counter and two large private dining rooms, including one equipped to seat 120 people.

It was open by 1963, and remained until about 1970 when it was replaced by the LaVilla Restaurant and Steakhouse.

LaVilla was succeeded by the Shogun Japanese Steakhouse, which opened in 1995 and remains today.

1951: Melrose received its first significant rainfall of the year with up to .35 of an inch in places.

The county had received moisture in recent months, but showers had always missed Melrose, according to the Clovis News-Journal.

July 22

On this date …

1976: The Clovis Fire Department had statistics that showed one in 10 calls for service involved fire outside the city limits.

Fire outside the city limits caused an estimated $34,000 in property damages in 1975, the Clovis News-Journal reported.

1946: Four Roosevelt County residents had been honored with Selective Service medals.

Embry Wall of Elida and F. D. Golden, J. B. Priddy and M. G. Hunt of Portales all volunteered with the local Selective Service board of directors.

1941: Four juveniles confessed to stealing 18 cartons of cigarettes and other tobacco products from a pickup parked in Clovis.

Curry County Sheriff Bill Collins said the boys had been released to the custody of their parents and “reliable persons,” and that A.B. Fleming of Ruth would be reimbursed for the stolen merchandise.

July 21

On this date …

1976: Plans for city and county officials to consider costs related to a new hospital hit a snag just as their meeting started. Clovis’ assistant district attorney warned they could be in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Act.

Assistant DA Bill Bonem told Curry County commissioners they would be in violation of the Act if they made any decisions because they had not notified the public about the meeting.

Officials discussed issues, but made no decisions.

1971: The Chicano Youth Association in Portales had asked state and federal officials to withhold funding from Portales schools because of alleged misuse of taxpayer dollars.

The group wrote a letter to officials with the U.S. Office of Education and the state Education Department alleging funds set aside to hire minority personnel were being used in the general fund.

The action was one in a series of complaints related to alleged racial discrimination in Portales public schools.

The district was ordered by a federal court in 1974 to “design an educational plan that addressed the needs of minority students.”

1946: Clovis swimming pool Manager Vernon Frame announced the pool would be closed the next day for maintenance and improvements.

The pool, located at Hillcrest Park, was slated to receive a new low-diving board.

A new slide had been ordered, but had not yet arrived.

July 20

On this date …

1971: Most of eastern New Mexico awoke to a soaking, gentle rain.

John C. White of Hollene, 24 miles northeast of Clovis, said he recorded about 2 inches of rain.
Jerry Lofton, also of the Hollene area, said he received 1.6 inches.

Clovis and Portales each reported about a half inch of moisture.

Pierce Cantrell, weather observer in Portales, said most of the drizzle was coming “straight down without winds or hail,” the Clovis News-Journal reported.

1966: An earth tremor that rattled windows and moved chairs was felt across most of the Texas Panhandle, as close to eastern New Mexico as Hereford and Dimmitt.
Seismograph experts at Texas Tech University said the small earthquake was recorded at 3:05 a.m.
No injuries were reported.

1951: A Las Vegas, New Mexico, teenager had been found strangled in a barn on his uncle’s ranch near Forrest in Quay County.

Family members said Billy Ralph Elliott, 14, liked to catch birds in the barn and may have fallen from a rafter and become entangled in a length of chain.

The death was ruled accidental after an inquest.

July 19

On this date …

1976: About 300 motorcycle riders had ridden together from Albuquerque to Santa Fe in protest of a new law requiring they wear helmets.

About half of the protesters rode without helmets and received citations from police.

The state’s helmet law has since been modified. Today, helmets are required only for riders 17 and younger.

1971: The Ralston Purina Co. announced plans to begin construction of a livestock and poultry feed manufacturing facility off of West Brady in Clovis.

Jobs were expected for about 20 people.

Gov. Bruce King was among dignitaries on hand for the October 1972 grand opening of the first Purina plant in New Mexico. King received a checkerboard shirt and hat, plus a pig, from company officials.

1946: Portales officials said a local canning company was able to operate without interruption despite the loss of a city water well for two days.

Thousands of pounds of green beans were processed as a result, The Associated Press reported.

The credit went to city residents who voluntarily refrained from watering their lawns.

A new pump had been installed and Portales city leaders said the water supply was “back to normal.”

July 17

On this date …

1961: A deposit bag containing about $7,000 in cash and checks was “either lost or stolen,” Clovis police said.

An employee of Wayne Wallace Motor Co. told police the money was either grabbed from under her arm or picked up when she laid it down in a store.

The employee said she had stopped at a clothing store on her way to the bank and was looking at shoes when she realized the bag with the money was missing.

1951: Hall of Fame baseball player Ty Cobb died at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

He was 74.

Cobb led the American League in batting average 12 times in his 24-year Major League career.

He hit over .400 three times and batted .300 or better 23 times.

He also stole 897 bases in his career, including 96 in 1915.

In the past year, doctors said Cobb had been admitted to the hospital four times. He suffered from heart problems and diabetes.

1951: U.S. Sen. Dennis Chavez and U.S. Rep. John Dempsey announced the Clovis Air Base would be reactivated on Sept. 1.

The base had closed after World War II but reopened after local businessmen known as the Committee of Fifty lobbied Chavez and other lawmakers.

The base was to become home to jet fighters and bomber planes and be used for “both training and general tactical purposes,” according to Washington officials.

The base name was changed to Cannon Air Force Base in 1957.