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ACT OF BRAVERY – Marine Lance Cpl. Thomas W. Austin, left, was presented a letter of commendation by Col W.H. Price for Austin’s help in apprehending a robbery suspect in Washington, D.C., recently. Austin was also commended by the Washington chief of police. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Austin of Artesia and a 1975 graduate of Artesia High School. (Daily Press 1977 File Photo)

Looking back 40, 30 and 20 years ago, the following are excerpts from the Artesia Daily Press from April 16-22.

40 years ago
April 16-22, 1977

Bulldog center fielder Junior Almager’s speed has enabled him to steal eight bases so far this season, helping his team to a 12-3 overall record.

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Artesia High School has elected Student Council officers for the 1977-78 school year. They are Jacklyn Cole, councilman at large; Rhonda Mooney, president; Janet Houghtaling, treasurer; Steve Messmer, vice president and student body president; Lynda Durham, assembly manager; Rosemary Martinez, secretary; Dianna Calvert, assembly manager; Donald Torres, councilman at large; and Dwight Menefee, parliamentarian.

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The student body at Artesia High School recently elected six girls to lead the cheers at varsity ballgames in 1977-78. The cheerleaders are Curcita Dansby, Lauri Champion, Lynda Durham, Priscilla Lovis, Delma DeHoyas and Melanie Clack.

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Seven Artesia Public Schools teachers and staff members were recognized for having completed 25 years of service in the local school system or for having reached retirement. They were: J.C. Waler, 25 years; George Kaiser, 25 years; Hazel Murdock, 25 years and retiring; Eleanor Smith, retiring; Wanda Lee, 25 years; Eloise Rice, 25 years; Wayne Thomas, retiring. They were among nearly 60 teachers and staff honored at the schools’ annual service awards presentation.

30 years ago
April 16-22, 1987

The Kmart Dustbusters finished up a 7-0 season by winning the U-8 division title in the season-ending tournaments sponsored by Artesia Youth Soccer last weekend. The squad is comprised of Sammy Pena, Joshua Olguin, Jacinta Hernandez, Amy Reyes, Jeffrey Molina, Chris Owens, Steven Orosco, Jeremy Taylor, Richard Flores, Becky Harrison, Jamie Reyes, Eric Molina, Christopher DePorto and Nathan Halsell, and coached by Rudy DeHoyos and Frank Molina.

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“Platoon” and “Outrageous Fortune” are the featured films of the week at Cinema Twin.

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Schoolchildren wore expressions of “shear” delight as they watched Artesia FFA member Bill Mike Hefner trim the wool from a lamb at the Eddy County Fairgrounds. The Artesia Future Farmers of America demonstrated agriculture-related activities to fourth-grade students Tuesday in their annual “Food for America” demonstration.

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As reported in the Pinon News: Mrs. Ethel Smith celebrated a birthday, Monday, April 6. Her daughter, Mrs. Lessie Porter, had her at her home for supper Monday evening. Mrs. Edith Atkins celebrated her 104th birthday, Wednesday, April 8. Her son, Charley Atkins, and wife, Erma, came from Alamogordo and helped Mr. and Mrs. Basil Holcomb, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Scott, and Mrs. Atkins’ niece, Mrs. Ethel Smith, celebrate her birthday by having dinner with her. Mrs. Atkins can stay up in a wheel chair fo a very short time, but was up long enough to eat lunch and see everyone and visit a little with each one.

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Betty Price of Artesia General Hospital received a check from Altrusa Club members Mary Boling and Barbara Sarwar. The club donated the money to be used toward the purchase of a Lifeline emergency response unit. The money was raised through the club’s annual smorgasbord.

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The Artesia Bulldogs solidified their hold on first place in the District 4-AAA baseball standings by sweeping a double header from the Goddard Rockets at Brainard Park. Artesia won the first game 6-0, then took the nightcap 6-3. The sweep upped Artesia’s district record to 4-0 and season mark to 10-6.

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Artesia High School sophomore Shelli Peyton won the high jump at last week’s Ruidoso Invitational, clearing 4’10”, and thus was tabbed Athlete of the Week by Coach Kenneth Parrish. Parrish said Peyton had 5-0 cleared on one leap but caught the bar on the way down.

20 years ago
April 16-22, 1997

Coach Cooper Henderson was honored as Citizen of the Year for 1997 during the Greater Artesia Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership Awards Banquet. Henderson and his family have lived in Artesia since 1989. He and his wife, Judy, have a son, Bryan, 14, and a daughter, Britni, 11. In the past eight seasons, Henderson has led the Artesia Bulldogs to four state championships.

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Artesia Girl Scouts who sold the most cookies in the year’s cookie sales are Megan Jonson, 158 boxes; Rosemary Bohaty, 276 boxes; Brandi Polk, 172 boxes; Heather Mobbley, 211 boxes; Amber Mobbley, 211 boxes; Sabrina Galindo, 275 boxes; Amanda Lara, 133 boxes; Amber Cannon, 362 boxes; Cynthia Huerta, 318 boxes; Jennifer Hummet, 338 boxes; Chelsea Stallings, 137 boxes; Samantha Herrera, 187 boxes; Amy Beardemphl, 206 boxes; and top cookie seller Elise Boneau, 1,018 boxes.

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Chairman of the local board of the Senior Olympics Frank Nolan presented third-place ribbons to the “Foxy Ladies” line dancing group. The line dancers are from the Artesia Senior Center. They took third with only a four-point spread between first and third places. Approximately 110 seniors participated this year in the local Senior Olympics, which encompasses Artesia, Carlsbad and Loving.

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As reported in the Pinon News: Mrs. Oza Holcomb fills her water storage tank in the winter when people do not use so much water, then she has it to help with her garden and fruit trees. She has been trying to get it filled since before Christmas, but she could not catch a time when there was water, as the tank had quit holding water. Then some leaks in the line, as well as the pump and electricity quit, but Wednesday she turned the water on and soon had a tank full. Everyone is now hoping they have all the major problems fixed. Mrs. Margaret Merritt has a line she has been using for several years with only a few minor problems, but it quit running Monday and she got Rick Kniepkamp to help her find the trouble. They dug up a lot of the line and Wednesday afternoon they got the water running and thought it was air locked. It seems like a number of the ranchers of this area are having air locks in their lines.

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Artesia Public Schools Superintendent Mike Phipps was voted Superintendent of the Year by the New Mexico Superintendents’ Association, selected by his peers at the spring conference. “I’m really proud of that because it recognizes Artesia and our board and our community and our students,” said Phipps, who felt the award was a result of the Artesia schools’ efforts in changing the state funding formula.

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