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THE CHICKEN DANCE… YEP, STILL ANNOYING – Members of the Artesia High School student body do “The Chicken Dance” prior to a boys’ basketball game against Portales in the AHS boys’ gym. Well, some were dancing… others were just watching and wishing it would stop. (Daily Press 1997 File Photo)

Looking back 40, 30 and 20 years ago, the following are excerpts from the Artesia Daily Press from Feb. 26 – March 4.

40 years ago
Feb. 26 – March 4, 1977

Sgt. Carrol Shipman of the Artesia Police Department installed one of three burglar-proof meter fine collection boxes recently purchased by the city. The special mailbox-type slots on the boxes, located in front of the police department on the south side of First National Bank and in front of Ray’s Drug, prevent entry by any means except the key.

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As reported in the Pinon News: The Weed girls’ basketball team went to Portales the past weekend to play for the state championship. They beat Cathedral Thursday, and Reserve Friday, then lost the finals to Cloudcroft Saturday. A number of persons from this and the Weed areas went for the games. Those from Pinon to attend Saturday’s game were: Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Gage, Fred and Herby Gage and Mr. and Mrs. Nickey Gage and children.

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Artesians who didn’t avail themselves of the state’s mail-in vehicle registration plan this year found long lines of people in the same situation at the Artesia Motor Vehicle Department. Deadline for registering vehicles is March 2, and a fine is levied against persons not meeting that deadline. City Clerk Harold Naylor estimated that approximately 1,000 North Eddy County residents still had not registered their vehicles for 1977.

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Eddy County sheriff’s deputies Claud Johnson, Joe Gonzales and Harry Barney surveyed the remains of a $1,075 jukebox which was stolen from the El Rio Café in Artesia in a burglary Feb. 10. Gonzales found the music machine scattered across a pasture south of Jaycee Park on 26th Street. The machine’s records and stereo speakers had been removed. Deputies are continuing their investigation into the burglary, which also netted thieves a commercial coffee maker. Officers speculated the jukebox was dismantled by thieves and then dumped at the isolated site once saleable parts had been removed.

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Michelle McPherson placed high in several categories in the Office Education Association contests held Saturday at Artesia High School. McPherson placed first in Stenography II, first in Shorthand II, and fourth in Extemporaneous Verbal II. Artesians competed with students from Carlsbad, Dexter, Hondo, Jal and Lake Arthur. Marcella Montano is the OEA sponsor for Artesia.

30 years ago
Feb. 26 – March 4, 1987

Boaters, fishermen and water skiers still will be able to use Lake McMillan this summer in spite of Brantley Dam’s construction. Officials say the only problem will be getting there. Project director Larry King said the only access roads to the lake are from the east side. But once there, visitors will find the lake open to fishermen, boaters and recreational users as in the past.

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Artesia High School baseball coach Karl Mahan has swapped the beef for the rabbits this year. The coach of the power-laden, hard-hitting, big-inning team last year that won the 4-AAA district title and wound up hosting the Class 3A state tournament, Mahan this year thinks things definitely are gonna have to be quicker. Bolstering this year’s club is a group of five players, including four seniors, who saw considerable varsity action last season. The seniors are pitcher Adam Chavarria, outfielder Clay Faulkenberry, outfielder Shane Smith, and infielder Onesimo Ruiz, while the junior is infielder Clay Foster.

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They say you can’t take it with you, but area rancher Preston Means disagrees. “They say we take nothing with us when we die. That’s not right, we take our memories,” he said. In his desire to preserve his memories of a lifetime as a New Mexico rancher, Means wrote the collection of stories, “Thoughts and Memories of a Guadalupe Mountain Rancher.” “I didn’t have any intention of getting them published when I wrote them,” Means said. “I got overruled.”

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The revenge was sweet but there was a mild taint to it. The Artesia Bulldogs repaid the NMMI Colts for an earlier-in-the-season 58-42 loss with a rambunctious 87-58 pounding Tuesday at the high school boys’ gym. The victory upped the season record of Coach Jim Wilburn’s Artesia team to 8-14 and district mark to 2-7, while NMMI fell to 6-15 and 1-8, respectively. The revenge was the sweet part. The taint was that the Colts were missing the services of two players who had combined for 41 points in the first game.

20 years ago
Feb. 26 – March 4, 1997

Mike Casabonne says he’ll concentrate on helping a top-notch school system get even better when he takes his seat on the Artesia Board of Education March 10. Casabonne was elected to the District 1 seat on the board in the Feb. 4 election. “I think we have a pretty good school system now,” he said. He feels the current board of education is doing a good job.

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As reported in the Pinon News: Mr. and Mrs. Dave Jones, who live in the little town of Alto, near Ruidoso, visited with Mrs. Mary Ann Anderson on the telephone Thursday morning and reported he has been in a very poor health for quite some time, but hopes to be better in the near future. They lived down the canyon about a mile a few years ago and attended the little Perk Canyon Church of Christ on the Anderson’s place with them and became very close friends. Mrs. Anderson was so happy to hear from them.

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Students in Artesia elementary schools were able to wait for the bus in their respective cafeterias on Tuesday, avoiding the wintry weather for as long as possible. A blast of snow, rain and freezing drizzle delayed the start of school for two hours both Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

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“Dante’s Peak” and “Absolute Power” were the featured films of the week at Cinema Twin, while “Mars Attacks,” “Ghosts of Mississippi” and “Gridlocked” were the featured films at Fiesta Drive-In in Carlsbad.

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