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Articles written by Betty Williamson


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  • Summer is often the season of reunions

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Jun 15, 2024

    ’Tis the season for reunions … families, classes, schools, whole communities. When summertime rolls around, we seem to have a predisposition to gather with those with whom we share a commonality, whether it’s blood relatives or folks who happened to be living in the same school district as we did as young whippersnappers. I come from a small and widely scattered family, so our family reunions have been few and far between, but like about 200 others in this area, I’m fresh o...

  • ENMU's Golden Library hosting summer events

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Jun 8, 2024

    The Eastern New Mexico University campus feels quiet this time of year with spring graduation in the rearview mirror and many students opting for online summer classes. Two community-minded librarians have decided that makes it the perfect time to lure local residents into Golden Library and the Golden Student Success Center and onto the beautifully manicured campus for some weekly free events. I met up with Hollie Bellinger and Alex Engels last week on the main floor of the G...

  • Andy Mason making summer return for concert in Portales

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Jun 1, 2024

    If they give out prizes at the summer reading programs at public libraries across our region this year for the person who came the farthest to be there, Andy Mason is lined up to take home a suitcase full of them. As the crow flies, from where Mason makes his home these days in Les Martys, France, to eastern New Mexico is a little over 5,300 miles. What brings this singer/songwriter with long Portales ties back to the area? He is spending his 20th consecutive summer...

  • Lillie Mae Wright: 'fairy godmother grandmother'

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated May 25, 2024

    As I poke around in the dusty corners of local history, it's not uncommon to come across someone I wish had met. Such is the case with Lillie Mae Wright. Lillie Mae Wright was born in Comanche, Texas, but she spent most of her hundred years of life in Portales after she and her husband, Robert Durward Wright, moved there sometime in the 1920s. It was in her role as a mother that she is most remembered in Roosevelt County, because Lillie Mae may have been the only double Gold...

  • Stories of good people don't always make the news

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated May 18, 2024

    I had a gentle reminder recently that really hit home with me. I’m sharing it here because I thought it might hit home with you, too. A couple I know went through a scary situation in our area two weeks ago. I’m going to omit names and specific details. Suffice it to say the woman was unexpectedly assaulted in a place where she often walks and where it never occurred to her to feel unsafe. Fortunately she was not critically injured and an arrest was made within hours. A few...

  • Portales High students putting on production of Grease

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated May 11, 2024

    Tassel and mortarboard season is upon us. You’ll be able to see them in almost any direction you look for the next month. Clovis Community College and Eastern New Mexico University both conferred degrees recently, and our area high schools are celebrating seniors in ceremonies all month long. There’s one more place you can see mortarboards next weekend that you might not be expecting: on nine “dropouts” – “Beauty School Dropouts,” to be exact – in the Portales High School prod...

  • Motorcyclists make a dream come true

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated May 4, 2024

    Pure, unadulterated joy ... it can show up in the most unlikely of places. This time it was at the Portales cemetery on the last Friday of April. A fair-sized crowd had gathered for a bittersweet military memorial service for Homer Mitchell, a World War II veteran who had died in 1944, but whose remains had only recently been identified and returned to his hometown. Some of Mitchell's extended family members there that day included brothers David and Bob Tanner (their...

  • Braveheart Storytellers: A million things to like

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Apr 27, 2024

    I spent an hour that went way too fast earlier this month with a troupe of pint-sized storytellers and their mentor, retired teacher Lynette Harris. When the time was up, I didn't want to leave. I don't think they did either. Our setting was a classroom in the Arts Academy at Bella Vista, a Clovis elementary school. For an hour or so every week, Harris collects her five first-grade storytellers from their regular classrooms and whisks them away for a session filled with...

  • WWII veteran coming home to Portales

    Betty Williamson, Correspondent|Updated Apr 23, 2024

    When Patsy Acuff of Clovis was growing up, she remembers there was always a trunk in the back of her grandmother's closet in Portales - a trunk that she, her siblings, and their cousins were taught to never touch or talk about. The trunk contained the belongings left behind when Homer Mitchell left Portales in 1943 to join the United States Army. Mitchell - who was Acuff's uncle and the son of Gussie and Roy Mitchell of Portales - was killed in action in Pachten Forest near...

  • Love of music sparks career

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Apr 20, 2024

    When young Ashley Prewett was growing as part of the third generation to live on his family's farm west of Pep (a tiny community in southern Roosevelt County), "I was all about baseball, basketball, and hunting," he said. But by the time he graduated from Dora High School in 2002 - president of the 13-member senior class - he was quite literally singing a different tune. In the 2002 yearbook, there's a photo of Prewett assisting the Dora School music teacher Ginger Tull by...

  • An eclipse brings out the best in us

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Apr 13, 2024

    We Americans are increasingly skilled at finding things that divide us, but last Monday legions of us found a common interest … even if only for a few minutes. The experts estimated that about 32 million residents of the continental United States lived in the path of that well-publicized total solar eclipse that spread like a beauty queen’s sash from Texas all the way to Maine. Untold millions more of us — present company included — made a pilgrimage to the path in hopes o...

  • Words of wisdom can turn up in unexpected places

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Apr 6, 2024

    Words of wisdom can turn up in the most unexpected places, and sometimes from people who have already left us. That happened to me on a couple of occasions recently. The first was a little over a week ago at the memorial service for Leroy Thomas, a retired pastor, tireless community servant, and the longtime owner of the Print Shop in Portales. He died March 24 at the age of 89. He and Gaynelle, his wife of more than 72 years, were steadfast supporters of every good cause you...

  • Nothing like a donation you can work for

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Mar 23, 2024

    Some of my most dismal high school memories are of those dreaded ventures around Portales attempting to sell yearbook ads. Even as a teenager, it felt to me like we were asking for something we probably didn’t deserve, and even then I knew that every business we walked into was being visited by kids from every other school with requests like ours. That may be part of why I loved hearing about an experience Leslie Creighton had with a student who came into her family’s Por...

  • We're going to miss you, Santa

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Mar 16, 2024

    But for one missing college credit back in 1967, it's quite possible that Don Criss would have never met his wife, settled in eastern New Mexico, helped create and establish our local public television station, and become a beloved member of this community. On top of that, more than 40 years of children in Portales and surrounding areas would have missed out on a Santa Claus who welcomed them with open arms, and kept their parents groaning with the corniest collection of...

  • Participating in Fifty-Plus Olympics hard bargain to beat

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Mar 9, 2024

    As bargains go, it’s hard to beat the one being offered this month by the folks who volunteer with Clovis Area Fifty-Plus Olympics. For a $20 bill (or two $10s, a fistful of $5s, or any combination of your choice) anyone who is age 50 and older can register, participate in up to 10 different sports (many with multiple events), nosh on drinks and snacks, and even attend the end of season awards banquet in May. On top of that, for first timers that $20 also covers a t-shirt e...

  • Towering giant always kind, encouraging

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Mar 2, 2024

    Wayne Moore may be best remembered as the coach who led the Eastern New Mexico University women's basketball team for 22 seasons - from the fall of 1980 to the spring of 2002 - amassing an impressive 318-259 overall record. But for those of us who grew up in Roosevelt County in my era, he's also well-remembered as a towering gentle giant of a coach who oversaw the boys' teams at Melrose High School - but who also never failed to offer an encouraging word to any kid who needed...

  • Lots of reasons to want to live near a university coming up this weekend

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Feb 24, 2024

    I’ve always said I would never want to live in a community without a college or a university. The coming weekend provides several reasons why, with a “triple play” of fine arts offerings at Eastern New Mexico University: a heartwarming play, a beloved musical, and an afternoon symphony complete with a visiting conductor. First the play. The ENMU Theatre kicks things off Thursday evening with a one-act show called “Native Gardens.” Written by Karen Zacarías and directed b...

  • Angel Ministries help folks feel extra special

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Feb 17, 2024

    After 31 years of providing services for individuals with developmental disabilities, Konnie Kanmore has learned that sometimes it’s the smallest gestures that make the largest impacts. Kanmore is executive director of Absolutely You, a Portales-based organization with branches in Hobbs and Roswell, with a mission of providing “community, support, and assistance residentially and vocationally to individuals with developmental disabilities.” Kanmore contacted me recently askin...

  • I'm the Queen of Clean when travel is on the horizon

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Feb 10, 2024

    I love to travel. I think most of us do. Until recently, however, I thought I was the only one who absolutely, positively despises the days leading up to a planned getaway. When I pencil in an adventure on the calendar weeks or months in advance, it seems like the best of ideas. But as the departure date grows closer, so does the dread. I know it’s irrational, yet without fail I find myself hoping that my plans will be canceled. Perhaps I’ll break a leg. Maybe the airline wil...

  • Donating blood chance to save human lives

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Feb 3, 2024

    With about an hour of time — much of it spent reclining, sipping a drink, and eating a snack — each of us has the power to save (get this) up to three human lives. And yet the American Red Cross says only 3% of us Americans donate blood in a typical year. Prior to last month, I was among the 97% who had not donated — well, at least not in a very long time. After my last two tries were failed attempts — once in 2001 and again in 2009 — I had decided that donating blood was...

  • Let's eat for a good cause -- pancakes to chili on menu

    Betty Williamson, Correspondent|Updated Jan 27, 2024

    On this last Sunday of January, I invite you to open whatever you use for a calendar and jot down some dates because we have several great eating opportunities — many of them for good causes — heading our way. The first takes place today at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Bovina — their annual German sausage dinner. The church is located at 409 S. Third St. in Bovina, and they’ll be dishing up sausage, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, homemade sauerkraut and more from...

  • Sometimes in life it's the little warm and cozy things that matter

    Betty Williamson, The Staff of The News|Updated Jan 20, 2024

    As much as I love crisp cotton sheets dried on a clothesline, when the mercury dips as low as it did last week, the dryer becomes the source of comfort and luxury in my house. I’m old enough to remember before we got the first magical box that transformed soggy laundry into cozy cushions of warmth in only 30 or 40 minutes. Fortunately, I was too young (and therefore too short) to draw much clothesline duty back then. I remember my mother’s red and aching hands, chapped fro...

  • Five dollars' worth of sorry may be priceless

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Jan 13, 2024

    In the late teens or early 1920s, when my dad was still a kid, his family’s home burned to the ground. That home wasn’t much more than a shack, but it held everything he, his parents, and his siblings owned. Homesteaders’ makeshift dwellings dotted our area fairly thickly at the time, so a number of folks came to their support. The one my dad remembered best showed up with five dollars. “A lot of people are going to tell you that they’re sorry this happened,” my dad remembe...

  • Going to commit myself to good turns in new year

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Jan 6, 2024

    I had lunch last month with a fairly large group of family members and friends at a not-inexpensive restaurant in Santa Fe. Collectively, we represented seven or eight households, and most of us had gathered with the idea of picking up our own checks. When we got ready to gather up and leave, however, we learned that one of our group had furtively managed to collect the tab and treat us all. When confronted, our generous benefactor brushed it off, saying, “I try to do a g...

  • Hoping we can take time to be awestruck in new year

    Betty Williamson, Local columnist|Updated Dec 30, 2023

    I headed out for an evening walk not too long ago, enjoying one of the last beautiful twilights of 2023. In front of me — to the north — the sky was turning from blue to silver, with nary a cloud in sight. The sun was barely below the horizon over my left shoulder, and I was moving along at a good clip to keep ahead of the chill that was setting in. I was maybe a quarter mile from the house when the universe nudged me to turn around and look back. Behind me, the southern sky...

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