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VERY UNUSUAL INDEED - Julius Squeezer, the Colombian red tail boa constrictor owned by the Jim Johns family of 1910 Hermosa Drive, was named the most unusual pet in the 1976 Eddy County Pet Show. The Johns children, from left, Brian, 3, Heather, 8, and Jamey, 5, are shown holding the snake, which measures almost seven feet long and weighs about eight pounds. Johns said the non-poisonous snake makes a good pet once it gets used to its owners because it doesn’t bark and never needs to be taken for a walk. However, feeding Julius is sometimes a problem since all it eats is live mice. The Johnses try to feed Julius every two to three weeks, but the snake once went for eight months without food when it was lost in the science laboratory at Artesia High School, where Johns formerly taught. Julius turned up, Johns said, in a desk drawer on the last day of the 1974-75 school year. The Johns family bought Julius in California about eight years ago. (Daily Press 1976 File Photo)

VERY UNUSUAL INDEED – Julius Squeezer, the Colombian red tail boa constrictor owned by the Jim Johns family of 1910 Hermosa Drive, was named the most unusual pet in the 1976 Eddy County Pet Show. The Johns children, from left, Brian, 3, Heather, 8, and Jamey, 5, are shown holding the snake, which measures almost seven feet long and weighs about eight pounds. Johns said the non-poisonous snake makes a good pet once it gets used to its owners because it doesn’t bark and never needs to be taken for a walk. However, feeding Julius is sometimes a problem since all it eats is live mice. The Johnses try to feed Julius every two to three weeks, but the snake once went for eight months without food when it was lost in the science laboratory at Artesia High School, where Johns formerly taught. Julius turned up, Johns said, in a desk drawer on the last day of the 1974-75 school year. The Johns family bought Julius in California about eight years ago. (Daily Press 1976 File Photo)

Looking back 40, 30 and 20 years ago, the following are excerpts from the Artesia Daily Press from Aug. 14-20.

40 years ago
Aug. 14‐20, 1976

If it wasn’t a record-setting auction, it came near to it Saturday as buyers purchased 82 head of livestock sold as a conclusion to the Eddy County Junior Livestock Auction, paying some $49,063 for the steers, lambs, capons, rabbits and hogs which went through the sale ring.

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Artesia’s First Baptist Church was organized Jan. 24, 1904, eight years before New Mexico became a state, with 13 charter members. That meager membership has grown to about 1,800, easily making the Artesia church one of the 10 largest Baptist churches in New Mexico.

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Construction workers are this week erecting roof supports on the new Artesia Fire Station, located at Seventh Street and Mahone Drive. Fire department spokesmen say the project is progressing steadily and that the new facility should be ready for occupancy in December. City officials say they are anticipating the facility will be presentable to Artesians as a Christmas present.

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As reported in the Pinon News: Jake Van Winkle reports he is working for the U.S. Forest Service, and they sent him with other employees to the Guadalupe National Forest near Queen to work the past week and he really enjoyed it as he saw a lot of country that he had not seen. Also, he reported, he and his family recently went to Paduccah, Texas, and visited Mr. and Mrs. Charles “Wad” Lesley on their vacation. Jake and “Wad” worked together on the Breedlove ranch about four years ago.

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Construction of the city’s newest beautification project, Eagle Draw Roadside Park, at the intersection of West Main Street and Mahone Drive has been completed and the city parks department is now maintaining the recently landscaped lawn area incorporated in the project. The roadside park, constructed under Artesia’s Community Development Program at a cost of $38,102, was designed for the convenience of passing motorists and is complete with a sprinkler system, picnic area, and swing set and sandbox for children.

30 years ago
Aug. 14‐20, 1986

The 1986 Eddy County Fair Queen is Becky Barley, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Barley of Hope. Becky, 17, is a senior at Artesia High School and a member of the Chaparral 4H Club of Hope. She is a member of the Artesia High School chorus and serves as librarian/historian for the group. She won the fair’s cake contest and shows dairy cattle, and a garment she sewed won her a scholarship to college. When she’s not too busy, she helps out around her father’s dairy in Hope.

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Artesia resident Martha Parker began work on her county fair exhibits last winter. Her efforts culminated in winning the Homemaker Award in the 1986 Eddy County Fair, the most prestigious award in the homemaking division.

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Sales during the 1986 Eddy County Junior Livestock Auction Saturday reached a total of $87,875, a decrease of $5,247 from sales in last year’s show. Costs to buyers, packer bids, non-sale and add-ons for individuals were included in the total. A total of 102 steers, hogs, rabbits, broilers and lambs were shown and sold to the highest bidders.

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As reported in the Pinon News: The new Weed school principal, Mr. Bannie Graves, and his wife have moved southeast of Weed about six miles to the Reed farm and cattle ranch. Mrs. Graves plans to be a teacher in the Weed School, too. Ms. Deon Campbell bought the dick Tyrone house in Sacramento and moved in recently. She plans to teach at the Weed school this year. Mrs. Stockoles of Mayhill taught at Weed the past year. She and her husband moved out of the area last spring. Mrs. Myril Smith retired last spring after having taught at Weed many years. Mrs. Daina Coupland of Pinon had taught a few years at Weed. She quit this year so there have been several changes in the school for the year.

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Tuesday, the first day of the 1986-87 school year, will be historic both for Artesia High School and veteran English teacher and newly named assistant principal Carolyn Abell. The day not only will mark Abell’s first in-school day as assistant principal, it also will be the first time ever the school has had a woman in the position.

20 years ago
Aug. 14‐20, 1996

Construction of the Artesia Senior Citizens’ MealSite Administration/ Cafeteria Building, located at 13th Street and Gilchrist Avenue, should be complete by the end of the year, according to Artesia MealSite Director Darlene Allen.

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As reported in the Pinon News: Friday, H.A. Stringfield came to the ranch and left after lunch to move some cattle. He had not been gone long when it began raining rather heavily. When he was late getting home, Mrs. Holcomb became worried, afraid he might have been caught in Pinon Draw or was stuck in the mud. Just as she was starting to get help and go hunt him, he came in. He had to leave his trailer, it was so slick the pickup would spin, so he had to leave his trailer, but made it on to the ranch house. He was rather late and left immediately to go on to Alamogordo.

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A tree uprooted by wind or struck by lightning fell on the home at 1803 S. 16th St. Friday, according to new owner Mike Donaldson. Much of the Artesia area received about 1.4 inches of rain during the storm.

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