Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Two Churches Fight in Roswell

From God Discussion:

Members of two different churches in Roswell, New Mexico, are fighting over who interprets scriptures correctly.

Armed with signs, Bibles, and a camera, members of Old Paths Baptist Church showed up in front of the Church on the Move on November 28 to proclaim that Church on the Move's members were headed to hell.

This weekend, KOB Eyewitness News released a video of the ensuing shouting match and physical fights. Associate Pastor Savino Sanchez, 63, of the Church on the Move was taken to the ground by members of Old Paths Baptist Church. Three members of Old Paths Baptist Church, including their leader, street preacher Jeremy De Los Santos, were charged for the incident. Members of Old Paths had been in at least two other incidents around the city just a day earlier.

"They may not like our method, they may think or method is too confrontational, nevertheless its our right to preach in public," proclaimed De Los Santos.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Hobbs Grinch

Holiday Grinch Turns Himself In
By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

HOBBS, N.M. - Hobbs Police got an early Christmas present on Thursday afternoon.

A man they said stole cans from a little girl and then cashed them in for money turned himself in but he said he's innocent and wants people to hear his side of the story.

"I came to turn myself in man, I'm getting charged with a crime I didn't do," Roque Castillo said.

He's known as 'the Grinch' who stole Christmas, but 28-year-old Roque Castillo says he's innocent and the only reason he turned himself in Friday is to begin the process of clearing his name.

"Guess my name's Grinch, guess it fell at the right time at Christmas," he said. "But I ain't guilty. I'm not going to plead guilty to a crime I didn't do."

Hobbs Police said Castillo stole cans from a little girl who was saving them to earn money for Christmas presents.

Then they said he brought the cans to a local metal shop for the money, but Castillo said he was just doing a favor.

He said a friend brought him the cans and asked Castillo to cash them in for him because he didn't have an ID.

"I was at the house with my kids that day, getting ready for Christmas," Castillo said. "I just did it for a friend, I was trying to help him out because it's Christmas time."

Castillo is no stranger to the law but he said those days are behind him.

"You think I'd take something stolen over there with my ID?" he said. "C'mon on man, let's be real, I am a criminal. I live right now, you know I got kids. I don't do nothing wrong anymore."

Friends and family of Castillo held signs in support of their 'Grinch' as he made his way to the police department. Castillo's mother, Janie, said it's all a big misunderstanding and his tattoo just happened to make good timing for all the headlines.

"They're playing off the whole grinch thing because it fell around Christmas. You know the Grinch who stole Christmas," Janie said. "My son didn't steal Christmas. He's got two little girls and he wouldn't do that."

The family said they've got an attorney and their next step is legal action for what they call slander in the newspaper.

And as for Castillo, he said he hasn't heard from the friend since.

"Ever since then, I ain't seen him," he said.

Castillo did bail out of jail on a $529 bond.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dr. Arafiles Arrested

Winkler Post photo.
From the Odessa American:
KERMIT The ongoing saga of the whistle-blowing Winkler County nurses took a turn for the karmic Tuesday with the arrest of Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles on charges of retaliation and misuse of official information. Both are third-degree felonies.

(Ironically, one of these charges is the same as what the Kermit nurses were originally charged with. - DK)

Agents with the Texas Attorney General's Office presented the arrest warrant to Arafiles in Odessa and he agreed to come with them to Winkler County where 109th District Judge James Rex magistrated him, office spokesman Thomas Kelley said. Arafiles left the Winkler County Jail on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond and had his passport revoked. (Arafiles is a native of the Philippines).

Arafiles' arrest results from the criminal investigation of nurses Anne Mitchell and Vicki Galle.

They were fired from Winkler County Memorial Hospital and were indicted and arrested by local authorities in 2009 in connection with misuse of official information after they sent an anonymous letter to the Texas Medical Board with examples of 10 patients they believed Arafiles had not properly treated.

Arafiles’ criminal charges come from the Texas Attorney General’s Office. In the arrest warrant affidavit, Arafiles is accused of giving patient information to Winkler County Sheriff Robert Roberts, Arafiles’ friend and also a patient, so that Roberts could investigate the source of the anonymous accusations against him. After determining the patients themselves hadn’t made the complaints, Roberts identified Galle and Mitchell as the whistleblowers, setting into motion all future events that brought national attention to the small community.

But prosecutors dismissed the case against Galle, and Mitchell was acquitted by jury in February. In August, the pair received $750,000 after Winkler County settled a federal civil suit against many of the officials involved.

The affidavit said Arafiles disclosed the information to Roberts to stop what he characterized as harassment against him, but that wouldn’t be considered a proper governmental purpose, especially against certified nurses with a duty to report harmful medical practices. The affidavit also said Arafiles’ inquiries should have been directed to the Texas Medical Board, not a local law-enforcement officer.

Hospital Board member John Walton said he thought the whole matter was through when the civil suit was settled, but the hospital continues to struggle after the resignation of administrator Stan Wiley in October and continues to need another doctor after one that came in left to work in Odessa.

“What it’s done is made people not trust the hospital,” Walton said.

(No kidding! - DK)

CLICK HERE to see CBS7's story on the arrest.  (He runs from the camera. - DK)

CLICK HERE to read the arrest affidavit.

CLICK HERE to read the Texas Medical Board's civil complaint against Arafiles.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

(Repost) To Touch an Angel by Paul Crume

Merry Christmas everybody! I posted Paul Crume's 1967 masterpiece three years ago and illustrated it with some rather spooky angel images. This year I thought I would repost it, with pictures we took at Odessa's Starbright Village. This may be a hare-brained idea, but you be the judge.

 You can see the
Dallas Morning News animated version here and read more about the author here.
View the Starbright Village tree-lighting ceremony here.

Liz and Robert.
"A man wrote me not long ago and asked me what I thought of the theory of angels. I immediately told him that I am highly in favor of angels. As a matter of fact, I am scared to death of them.

Any adult human being with half sense, and some with more, knows that there are angels.

If he has ever spent any period in loneliness, when the senses are forced in upon themselves, he has felt the wind from their beating wings and been overwhelmed with the sudden realization of the endless and gigantic dark that exists outside the little candle flame of human knowledge.
He has prayed, not in the sense that he asked for something, but that he yielded himself.

Angels live daily at our very elbows, and so do demons, and most men at one time or another in their lives have yielded themselves to both and have lived to rejoice and rue their impulses. 
But the man who has once felt the beat of an angel's wing finds it easy to rejoice at the universe and at his fellow man.

It does not happen to any man often, and too many of us dismiss it when it happens.

I remember a time in my final days in college when the chinaberry trees were abloom and the air was sweet with spring blossoms and I stood still on the street, suddenly struck with the feeling of something that was an enormous promise and yet was no tangible promise at all.

And there was another night in a small boat when the moon was full and the distant headlands were dark but beautiful and we were lonely.

The pull of a nameless emotion was so strong that it filled the atmosphere. The small boy within me cried.

Psychiatrists will say that the angel in all this was really within me, not outside, but it makes no difference.

There are angels inside us and angels outside, and the one inside is usually the quickest choked.

Francis Thompson said it better. He was a late 19th-century English poet who would put the current crop of hippies to shame.

He was on pot all his life. His pad was always mean and was sometimes a park bench.

He was a mental case and tubercular besides.

He carried a fishing creel into which he dropped the poetry that was later to become immortal.

"The angels keep their ancient places," wrote Francis Thompson in protest. "Turn but a stone, and start a wing."

He was lonely enough to be the constant associate of angels.

There is an angel close to you this day. Merry Christmas, and I wish you well."

Fallen Officers' Memorial.

egalliV thgirbratS.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas in Liz's Room!

 Two recurring themes this year:  Snowmen and Snoopy.

This banner has little blue twinkling lights.  Very festive.

 We still have the quasi-legal pinecone.

 Most of the Snoopy items make music.  This one drums to the "Linus and Lucy" tune.

I had never seen a Charlie Brown Nativity before.  We found it at Mardel.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Breen Machine and Other Links

We saw this man and his vehicle passing through Notrees on his way to Kermit.  We were headed east and he was heading west.  He's on a 30,000-mile trek in his CyclOcar, trying to set a world's record.  Read his blog post about his Notrees/Kermit adventure.  He even stopped at the Huddle House.

  • Also, Kermit is one of the safest cities in the U.S. according to, who have never lied to me before because I've never heard of them.  (Scroll down after jump.)
  • The military's secret plot to hire or recruit bloggers!
  • The Church of Ireland's official blog mentions the KISD choir and their (then-upcoming) visit.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Does Al Gore Know?

From  Wi-Fi Killing Trees?

WiFi may bring with it all of the good things in life — fun, entertainment and more — but it may be bringing about a miniature environmental apocalypse along with it: the death of the trees around you.

The surprising finding comes from the city of Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands, which noticed that its trees were starting to mutagenically sprout strange growths and other abnormalities otherwise not usually seen in arborology.

To figure out what was behind the strange outbreak, Aplhen aan den Rijn commissioned a study half a decade ago from a researcher at Wageningen University. He found that over 70% of the trees today in the urban areas of the Netherlands exhibited strange tree growth, while only ten percent did five years ago.

It’s not entirely certain what is causing the outbreak, but there’s some pretty strong correlation suggesting that the rise of WiFi is to blame. As part of his study, the researcher exposed twenty ash trees to various radiation sources for three months; those placed closest to a WiFi router quickly developed a “lead-like” shine on their leaves that was caused by the death of the upper and lower epidermis of the leaves, and eventually kill off parts of the leaves entirely.

It’s not just trees: the researcher also discovered that WiFi could inhibit the growth of corn. Is the death of the plants around you enough to make you shackle yourself to a Cat-5 again?

Read more at Antennebureau

Monday, November 22, 2010

Biggest Moth in the World?

More news from slightly north of me:
From Fox News:
HOBBS, N.M. – The discovery of what could be a complete mammoth skeleton in Lea County has local archeologists excited.

The New Mexico Natural History Museum Foundation will hold a special event at the Western Heritage Museum next week during which Executive Director Calvin Smith will announce the historic find.

"It is a major discovery," Smith told the Hobbs News-Sun. "We usually find pieces and parts, but if this is a complete skeleton, it is very important."

So far, amateur archaeologists have unearthed a femur, tibia, fibula and a carpal.

Smith helped excavate more than 20 mammoths at a dig site near Waco, Texas, and has found the remains of five mammoths in Lea County, but this could be the first complete skeleton.

"It is a significant find and one that deserves a lot of attention," he said. "If we are on the bottom of it, we are through, if we are on the top of it, we have another year's work."

How important it could be for Lea County is yet to be seen, but the potential is huge, Smith said.

"When I was at Baylor, I heard about the mammoths found out in (the Waco) ravine," he said. "There were five found. My first trip I found three more eroding out of the bank. We ended up with 23 mammoths and they are building a $4 million building over the site and it is being approved to become part of the National Parks system.

"I am not saying this is what will happen, but it is certainly a possibility."

The mammoth was discovered last year by Lea County resident Delbert Sanderson, who saw the femur bone fossil sticking up out of the middle of a two-track road in the desert.

Sanderson was visiting the area to explore a different archaeological find he first noticed as a teenager more than 50 years ago.

"There was this bone running all the way across the road," he said. "I dug at it with my pocket knife and pried a piece out."

Sanderson took the fossil fragment to Smith, who immediately knew what he was seeing.

The announcement of the find was delayed for several reasons, one being worries about thieves. Another was getting permission to keep the fossils in Lea County from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, which has authority over all fossil finds in the state.

Smith petitioned the museum for permission to keep the bones local for an exhibit at the Western Heritage Museum and was granted a loan of fossils previously found in the area that are currently in the state museum's collection.

Smith will be using the fossils to create an exhibit on the Guadalupe Reef, as many of the fossils are of extinct sea animals that lived in a small sea covering what is now southeast New Mexico.

Other mammoth fossils found in Lea County include pieces of a skeleton found south of Jal in the 1940s or 1950s and a piece of tusk found during excavations for building foundations at the Urenco USA site, Smith said.

There are rumors an intact skull has been found in Lea County and, if true, Smith believes the find could be one of the greatest for the area.

"I would like to know more if someone does know of a significant find like that," he said.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

No Longer Lost

A touching story from a few miles north of me:
From KQRE and other places:
By Levi Hill

HOBBS, N.M. — Hidden among the prairie grass and mesquite bushes a few miles east of Jal, an old barbed-wire fence and wooden cross were the only evidence four nameless children lost their lives at that spot more than a century ago.

On Oct. 25, 103 years after the children were laid to rest, the names and faces almost lost to history have been returned to Violet, William, Newton and Earl Sparks.

For their nephews, Jack and Frank Sparks, the story began on March 16, 1957.

According to the Sparks family’s oral histories and research by local historian David Minton, that was the day the four children’s mother, Effie Sparks, broke down crying and told a niece she had four children buried somewhere in New Mexico or Texas but had no idea where.

The revelation set Effie’s grandchildren, Frank and Jack, on a quest that would take them more than 50 years.

“It means closure in a sense,” said Jack Sparks, looking across the site where his uncles and aunt were buried. “Our great hope is when we walk through those pearly gates, those children are going to meet us there. If they know what we did now, they are certainly rejoicing. In the hereafter we will certainly be able to share the story.”

The brothers, along with Frank’s son, Joe Bill Sparks, and family members Bobbie Sparks and Marc Bradberry placed a four-foot headstone to honor their long-lost relatives.

Minton, who has placed headstones on unmarked graves across Lea County for years, joined the family in cleaning up the site.

“To me, it is just a great thing that these children are no longer lost to history,” Minton said. “They have been found and remembered.”

The search for his long-buried relatives drew Jack Sparks into the Lea County Assessor’s Office one day in 2008 in search of records on the homestead his grandfather, James Monroe Sparks, claimed near Nadine in 1902.

It was perhaps fate that Sparks told one of the staff the story of the Sparks family just as David Minton walked into the office. The words, “lost graves” sparked Minton’s curiosity and the two began to talk.

It came to Minton’s mind — a Jal resident had told him years ago about an unmarked grave east of the small town that was the final resting place of four children who died of scarlet fever on their way to the doctor.

The story fit with what Spark’s father, Cecil, had told him and a search began.

“It was just so lucky I had walked in the door when he had said that,” Minton said. “It never would have happened otherwise.”

As the story goes, and as Minton writes it, it was 1907 and all six of the Sparks children — Cecil, Violet, William, Newton, Earl and infant Eva Mae — became ill with either diphtheria or scarlet fever.

The family loaded them into a wagon and started for Midland, the closest and best medical help at the time. A rider was sent ahead to get medicine and meet the family on the trail, but along the way four of the children died.

They were buried, and the wagon, bedding and items taken for the trip were burned to prevent the spread of the disease.

James and Effie Sparks returned to Nadine with their surviving children, Cecil and Eva Mae, where they lived until about 1915, when the family returned to Coke County, Texas, along with two new children, Relia and Vera, who had been born in Nadine.

Minton, with the help of Jal area ranchers who still remembered the story passed down from their fathers, found the family grave.

It is unknown who put the barbed-wire fence or a more recent pipe-fence around the site and the marker, a wooden cross tied with barbed-wire, was also added by some unknown Samaritan.

Around the site, pieces of crockery and shards of glass bottles aged by the sun until they have turned purple are still evident. A single nut and bolt, possibly from the burned wagon, was found not far from the grave.

The headstone reads, “In memory of four children lost to scarlet fever in 1907 along this trail trying to get to a doctor.”

On the other side are lyrics from a song Effie Sparks was believed to have sung to her children as they lay dying — “Dear mother, put my little shoes away.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Robert in Uniform

 October 29 was the last home game of the year, and the junior high band (including Robert) got to march with the high school band for the very first time!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Red Ribbon Week/Fall Festival/Spook Parade

(Photo from KISD website.)  Liz wore this costume for Red Ribbon Week.  She's supposed to be a hippie chick, but some thought she looked like Ozzy.

You won't be able to sleep tonight until you check out all 32 pictures of Red Ribbon Week on KISD's site.

Spelling is important:  This student's priceless drawing of a "h*** storm" actually got hung in the hall.  (Click image to make it biggerer.)

For the Fall Festival, Liz hosted the dance party.  Behold the twin skeletons of John Travolta.

Gift bouquet from fellow teacher.

(From the KISD website.)

Liz dressed as a jester for Halloween, but some of her kids were reminded of this fellow.  Now, how do you suppose they knew about that?

Liz hung this cute sign on her projector as a gentle reminder to the techs and administrators.  (Click image to enlargerate.)

Be sure to see all 87 of Kermit Elementary's pictures of the Fall Festival.

Kokomo (aka Koko) didn't care much for the alien costume.

Robert doesn't care much for holding the dog.

Examine all 104 (and still growing) of the Winkler Post's photos of the Spook Parade.

The M-I-B and his alien captive.
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