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FUTURE GAZEBO – Workmen were busy in Central Park building a foundation for a gazebo, or bandstand, in the park’s center area. The $2,000 project was recommended by the Artesia Beautification Committee and funded through the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation and the City of Artesia. (Daily Press 1977 File Photo)

Looking back 40, 30 and 20 years ago, the following are excerpts from the Artesia Daily Press from March 26 – April 1.

40 years ago
March 26 – April 1, 1977

As reported in the Pinon News: Dan Gage from Roswell spent the past weekend in Pinon. He seems to enjoy returning home quite often. Mrs. and Mrs. Basil Holcomb were visiting with Lewis Prude Means from Artesia, and he reported he had fifty two inches of snow at his cattle ranch near Corona, this past winter.

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Bulldog pitcher Tony Huerta, who led his team to a first-round Artesia Invitation baseball tournament win over Hobbs, was selected by tournament coaches as Most Valuable Player following Monday night’s championship game. Artesia’s efforts to defend its 1976 Invitational title were doused in five innings when the Alamogordo Tigers unleashed a powerful batting assault and combined it with a superb performance from the mound to claim the first-place trophy, 11-1

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“You have so much to be proud of, it’s almost unbelievable.” North Central Association evaluation team chairman William Loos thusly summed up the team’s findings during a two-and-a-half-day visit to Artesia High School. “You have made it worthwhile and easy for us,” Loos, who is principal of Carlsbad High School, told the Artesia High faculty, staff and administrators gathered for Wednesday afternoon’s “exit report,” which ended the team’s visit here. The evaluation is necessary every six years to maintain accreditation by the North Central Association. Loos said the Artesia community expects a high level of operation from the schools, and “we believe they get it.”

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As reported in Big Orange Country, by Patti Watson: The senior class met last week to decide on several items for this year’s Senior Banquet, scheduled to take place on April 23. The Class of ‘77 chose the following symbols: flower – violet; song – “Theme from Mahogany;” theme – “I’ve got this feeling today’s the day;” motto – “Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Do you know?” The Senior Banquet is held annually for all members of the senior class. This year, the banquet will be catered by the Petroleum Steakhouse.

30 years ago
March 26 – April 1, 1987

Bulldog seniors Cory McCarrell and Shane Smith, partners in battery, put a double whammy on the Tucumcari Rattlers Thursday as Artesia won the opening game in the 12th Annual Artesia Invitational baseball tournament. Catcher McCarrell knocked in four runs with a homer and triple, while pitcher Smith tossed a one-hitter and fanned 11 batters, leading the Bulldogs to a five-inning, 14-2 romp over the Rattlers.

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As reported in the Pinon News: The school spring break the week of March 15-22 was spent in many ways by the pupils, teachers and school officials. A number of the Pinon pupils helped work sheep on the ranches as it is shearing time. Mrs. Joann Stringfield, a teacher in the Alamogordo school system, spent the week cleaning and repairing one of her rent houses. Mrs. Shirley Rabon, a nurse in the schools, took a plane to Houston, Texas, to visit a brother, Pete Emmens, Diana Ham, a student in the Weed school, went with her sister, Mrs. Shannon Mateer, to Albuquerque to visit her father Billy Walker.

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A surprise snow and unusually low temperatures on March 29, a chilly 12 degrees, caused some local crop damage. Eddy County Agent Dan Liesner said it will be another day or two before he can give an accurate assessment of the damage to local alfalfa crops. Liesner said he expects the greatest damage to area fruit and pecan trees.

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One senior boy, one junior girl, and one sophomore girl grabbed most of the awards at Tuesday’s banquet honoring member of Artesia High School’s 1986-87 basketball teams. Scott Ford took home three boys’ awards, while junior Katrina Madrid and sophomore Marta Donaghe each won one outright and shared another at the banquet.

20 years ago
March 26 – April 1, 1997

The Artesia City Council approved a motion to keep the funding for the aerobics program at the Artesia Center from being cut after complaints from local businesses. Vice chairman of the Recreation Commission Bob Johnson said that several health clubs had complained that their business had suffered because of the aerobics program at the center. “We built the Artesia Center for all the people of Artesia. The program doesn’t interfere with anyone.” Councilor Floyd “Greek” Economides said, “We’re not going to deny these people and shut them down.”

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Robert Lee Norrell is retiring today from Central Valley Electric Cooperative. With 31 years of service under his toolbelt, he will be leaving a 47-year profession. Norrell and his wife, June, will retire to take up their love of fishing and camping, perhaps with some traveling thrown in.

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The Artesia Community Theatre participated in Theatre New Mexico’s statewide community theater competition in Hobbs. This year was the first time ACT has competed. They performed “The Scent of Honeysuckle.” Performing were Reginia Garner, Pam Dallas and Kathy Hay. Eugene Irby directed. They returned with an acknowledgment for Hay’s performance. She was honored with the Outstanding Characterization — Female. She played an old woman who is being forced to leave her home and move in with her daughter. She does not want to leave the only home she knows.

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As reported in the Pinon News: The new owners of the Mesa Verde Ranch have moved some cattle to the old Harbert place. The owners are Holly Halverson and Terry Kencannon. Mr. Kencannon came to the Stringfield ranch Thursday wanting to know where the valves in the Pinon Water Users Association were and was wanting to see String. He was not here so Mrs. Holcomb took him and showed him where it was.

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Artesia carved two more notches on its collective bat handles by taking a varsity softball double header from Lovington Saturday in Lovington. The Bulldogs’ 17-5 and 12-3 whitewashings of the Wildcats lifted the team to 9-3 on the season.

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