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ARTESIANS CELEBRATE THE FOURTH - Bennie Mason drives a team of donkeys pulling his wagon during Artesia’s Fourth of July parade on Main Street. Dozens of entries in the parade ranged from a substantial showing of fire trucks to flatbeds covered by parade riders, customized cars, and even a group of mothers pushing their strollers. (Daily Press 1996 File Photo)

ARTESIANS CELEBRATE THE FOURTH – Bennie Mason drives a team of donkeys pulling his wagon during Artesia’s Fourth of July parade on Main Street. Dozens of entries in the parade ranged from a substantial showing of fire trucks to flatbeds covered by parade riders, customized cars, and even a group of mothers pushing their strollers. (Daily Press 1996 File Photo)

Looking back 40, 30 and 20 years ago, the following are excerpts from the Artesia Daily Press from July 3-9.

40 years ago
July 3‐9, 1976

Last week’s close of the 1976 Artesia Little League season saw the team from Anne’s atop the standings with an impressive record of 16-2. The team came from behind to overturn their closest foes, Atoka (15-3), for this year’s title. Team members are Dara Clark, Greg Bratcher, Phillip Funk, Robert Guinan, Mike Sherman, Kevin Wilbanks, Taggart Guinan, Bill Brown, Scott Bannister, Brian Gurley, Danny Lain and Joel Goss. The team is coached by Don Bannister and Alton Bratcher.

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Construction workers on a project to improve Artesia’s water lines were treated to a unique way to beat the heat Wednesday afternoon at the intersection of First Street and Dallas Avenue when an inoperable water valve forced them to go swimming in order to complete a new line connection.

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As reported in the Pinon News: Mrs. Agnes Green, long time resident of the Weed area, said she now lives in Highrolls with her son, Charles, and little son. She said she stays quite busy keeping house and raising a garden and enjoys it all very much.

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Artesia High School’s 1976-77 varsity cheerleaders, Kathey Miner, Lauri Champion, Rhonda Mooney, head cheerleader Connie Kuykendall, Lynda Durham and Diana Fowler, will be among 45 squads from schools around New Mexico attending the annual high school cheerleading clinic next week at the University of New Mexico.

30 years ago
July 3‐9, 1986

After more than 50 years as a Roman Catholic priest and 12 years at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Artesia, Father Charles Zengel is going to take life a little easier. Father Zengel, 74, will leave Artesia July 18 and take up residence at the Holy Cross Retreat House in Mesilla Park, south of Las Cruces. He took time from his packing to talk about his years in the priesthood, “These people have become more friends and families than they are just parishioners,” he said. “I’m going to miss them.”

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As reported in the Pinon News: It was reported here that the Loring Reeves and Charley Mulcock farms were under water from hill to hill Tuesday of last week. They live on the Lower Penasco River, north and a little west of Dunken. It was reported Loring lost his corn crop.

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The Fourth of July celebration in Artesia Friday was an unqualified success. In fact, said parade chairman Bob Runyan, the word success isn’t adequate to describe the day’s festivities. “The results were better than any of the committees’ expectation,” Runyan said. “Both sides of the street were lined along the whole (parade) route and thousands kept coming and going at the park. The participation and cooperation was extraordinary.” Opal Rhyne, chairman of the Heritage Day Committee, said, “I’ve had 30 telephone calls over the weekend asking (the Heritage Day committee) to do it again next year.”

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With a call to “fall in,” the dedication of the city’s recently acquired Bataan 40mm anti-aircraft gun was opened by emcee Leonard Witcher beneath sunny skies at Baish Park.

20 years ago
July 3‐9, 1996

Mayor Ernest Thompson has decided against seeking reelection in 18 months, ending more than 25 years leading the city. “I’m starting my 25th year. I’ve got a year-and-a-half to go, and that’s final,” said Thompson, 84. Thompson has run successfully for the seat seven times. He won one two-year term and six four-year terms.

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A display of fireworks lit up the north end of Roberts Park Thursday night as the finale to a daylong celebration that included a parade, sporting events, and entertainment at the park. Mike Deans and his Pyro Team put on an impressive show of fireworks for more than an hour.

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Marcos Morillon led a field of runners at the start of a 5K run Thursday morning at Roberts Park, the first event of a day-long Fourth of July celebration in Artesia. Morillon, an All-American junior college cross country runner, former track state champion distance runner, and 1994 graduate of Artesia High School, turned in the fastest time at 16.10. Second place among men was Pedro Munoz, 18.32, with Fred Trujillo in third at 19.09. Top woman runner was Wendy Butcher, 21.09, followed by Jessica Sanchez, 22.59, and Jessica Geeslin, 28.46.

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As reported in the Pinon News: Mrs. Fay Walker was on television last week, and a number of the local people tried to get to hear and see her, but very few did get to see her as they did not get the right station or have the right time. She was speaking for the forest service on the closure of Lincoln National Forest because of the dry weather and fire danger. It is hoped there is now enough moisture and that it will continue so there will not be so much danger.

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