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Mitchell Johnson, Artesia’s ace shot put man, gave the Bulldogs a first place in the iron ball competition Saturday in Lubbock with a throw of 49’9”, tying his toss which won the state 3A title last season. (Daily Press 1977 File Photo)

Looking back 40, 30 and 20 years ago, the following are excerpts from the Artesia Daily Press from March 5-11.

40 years ago
March 5-11, 1977

Travelers were generally being advised to stay home Saturday as a moisture-laden snow continued to fall over the southeast section of the state. The snow, which began to fall about sunup Saturday, accumulated in amounts ranging up to an unofficial nine inches in some locations, with reports on road conditions indicating the most severe weather was in areas west of Hope and around Loco Hills. In Artesia, the Southeast Branch Experimental Station south of the city reported an accumulation of three-and-a-half inches of snow Saturday afternoon, and melting snow was continuing to fall.

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Bob Aslinger, president of the Artesia Businessmen’s Association, presented engraved plaques to Imogene Berryman and Herm Williams during the annual Artesia Chamber of Commerce banquet, recognizing them respectively for selection as Employee and Merchant of the Year. Berryman is a clerk at H&J Food Basket, and Williams operates Anne’s Home Service. The awards were presented before a record crowd of 265 persons.

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As reported in the Pinon News: It was reported here that Ted Bonnell of Alamogordo bought the Pinon ranch, former David Gentry and Van Welch ranch, and that Leon Hamm plans to stay on the ranch and work for Bonnell. Several persons have remarked they are very happy that the Hamm family will remain in the area as they are well liked.

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Gov. Jerry Apodaca appears to be lining up behind Lt. Gov. Robert Ferguson as the Democratic Party’s nominee for governor in 1978 but won’t exactly say so. Apodaca offered some thinly-veiled support for Ferguson, an Artesia Democrat, during a testimonial dinner given in the lieutenant governor’s honor. “I am not endorsing you, but I think it’s very clear who I am not for,” Apodaca told Ferguson before a group of some 350 persons attending the $50-a-plate dinner. Ferguson has said he is considering a bid for the governor’s chair in 1978 but has not officially announced his candidacy. He told the gathering at the Santa Fe Hilton the turnout encouraged him to continue in public service. “You convinced me, now I’ve got to convince the majority of the people of New Mexico,” he said.

30 years ago
March 5-11, 1987

For the first time since 1931, Mrs. J.W. “Minnie” Lewis this week rode in a covered wagon. She was born in 1893 in Western Grove, Ark., and took her first ride in a covered wagon in 1911 when her family moved to western Oklahoma. The last time she rode in a covered wagon was in 1931 when she and her husband moved back to Artesia. “It’s been a long time,” she said. “It’s good to ride in them.” Artesia wagonmaster Vernon Lamen took Lewis on her wagon ride this week. The wagon is specially equipped with rubber tires for a smooth ride and is pulled by two mules, A Boy Named Sue and Terry.

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The Chamber of Commerce and Artesia Business Association announced the 1986 Artesia Businessperson of the Year and Employee of the Year during their annual banquet. Bob Ferguson was named 1986 Businessperson of the Year. Ferguson has operated Bob Ferguson Inc. in Artesia since 1959. Jean Lain, employee of Kmart since 1980, was chosen as the 1986 Employee of the Year.

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Former Artesia High School basketball star Brent Thompson is back in his old stomping grounds, this time as a student teacher. Thompson is completing the requirements for a teaching certificate from Eastern New Mexico University. If you ever talk with Thompson, you’ll have a hard time figuring out whether he wants to be a teacher/coach or a coach/teacher. He’s interested in both. Like most people who teach, Thompson has heard himself called “Brent” or “Mr. Thompson.” He has yet to hear “Hey, you,” but admits the term “Coach” has a nice ring to it.

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The Artesia Bulldogs did what you can’t afford to do against the Portales Rams — get behind early. The Rams, known for their deliberate, look-for-the-good-shot-and-then-drill-that-sucker style of play, did just that in pinning a 53-47 loss on the Bulldogs. The loss in the regular-season finale for both teams gave Coach Jim Wilburn’s Bulldogs an 8-15 season mark and 2-8 district record.

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Five Artesia High School students recently received a certificate naming them New Mexico ACT Scholars. The students were chosen for the honor because each scored higher than 26 on an ACT test taken last year and has a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. The students are John Ross Null, Jenny Bordman, Danny Salmon, Clint McClure and Julie Hebert.

20 years ago
March 5-11, 1997

Making up Artesia High School’s 1977 state champion girls’ basketball team were head coach Ronnie Null and assistant coach Jeanne Sategna, Mecca Davis, Gina Gomez, Dana Lee, Gogie Moreno, Maria Gomez, Starla Ewan, Susan Starkey, Jacklyn Cole, Cheryl Heathington, Kelle Standard, Kim Smith, Kelley Guy, and managers Leslie Harris and Beverly Sweatt. The Bulldogs went 17-2 that year, with two games with Carlsbad never played because the canceling of all athletic contests between the two high schools was still in effect following a brouhaha after the 1975 Artesia-Carlsbad football game. Members of the ‘77 Bulldog squad will be honored on the 20th anniversary of their Class 3A state basketball title — the only girls’ hoops state title Artesia has won.

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Artesia nipped El Paso Eastwood 12-11 Saturday morning to move into Saturday afternoon’s championship game of the Riverside Softball Tournament in El Paso. The Bulldogs play the winner of Saturday morning’s Ysleta-Hanks contest for the title. Brienne Green singled home Kara Aston with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat the Troopers. Artesia had walloped El Paso Coronado 29-1 and El Paso Montwood 24-0 in its first two tournament games. Green’s game-winner climaxed a battle that saw the ‘Dogs come back from deficits three times.

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First National Bank’s Rance Miles congratulated employee Roy Lawson for working 16 years without a sick day. Lawson received $500 and a day off.

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As reported in the Pinon News: Mr. and Mrs. Olen from Arizona have moved into the Fred Gage house here in Pinon over the past few days. The Pinon people are glad to have new neighbors.

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Artesia High School’s varsity basketball players celebrated winning their second straight 4-AAA district title in the wake of Saturday’s 76-50 victory over Lovington at the high school main gym. The win gives the Bulldogs an overall 20-4 record to take to this week’s state tournament in Albuquerque. Artesia was unbeaten at home this season.

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