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Articles written by David Stevens


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  • Pages past, May 22: Glider training school opens near Clovis

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated May 21, 2024

    On this date ... 1941: Law officers across eastern New Mexico and west Texas were patrolling highways in search of a lone bandit who robbed the First National Bank in Levelland, Texas. The man got away with $20,533, officials said, locking employees in the bank’s vault. Witnesses said the robber had two pistols and escaped in a Ford pickup. A nearby farmer’s son confessed to the robbery a few days later and all but $78 was found, most of it buried under a seed bin on his fam...

  • Family: Lifelong friends were heroes

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated May 18, 2024

    Heroes. Not victims. That’s how Laura Robinson hopes the community will remember her daughter Harley Cisneros and lifelong friend Taryn Allen. Cisneros and Allen, both 23 of Texico, were killed May 3 at Ned Houk Park by a man police say they did not know. Alek Collins, 26, of Houston is charged with two counts of murder, abuse of a child and kidnapping in connection with the violence, which left Sofia Mae Cisneros, 5, critically injured and Eleia Maria Torres, 10 months, missi...

  • Pages past, May 19: Buffalo hunter takes own life

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated May 18, 2024

    On this date ... 1903: Famed buffalo hunter George Causey, suffering from chronic pain after being thrown by a mustang a year earlier, shot himself in the head with a pistol at his home near Kenna. The Handbook of Texas reports Causey was responsible for killing 40,000 buffalo from 1874 to 1882, including the last herd on the Llano Estacado, near Seminole, Texas. The village of Causey in Roosevelt County is named for brothers George and John Causey because their lives...

  • Pages past, May 15: Clovis population on the rise

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated May 15, 2024

    On this date ... 1946: The Christian Science Reading Room, at 105 W. Fourth in Clovis, was open daily from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. except Sundays and holidays. The First Church of Christ Scientist was inviting the public, and especially service men, to use the reading room “where the Bible, and all authorized Christian Science literature may be read, borrowed or purchased.” 1950: Portales police had arrested a man who claimed he molested a 7-year-old girl in a city park. But off...

  • Cisneros family attorney: 5-year-old progressing

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated May 14, 2024

    The 5-year-old girl shot and critically injured May 3 at Ned Houk Park has made “significant progress” over the past few days, an attorney representing her family said. “The family is asking for continued prayers for her recovery,” said Matt Chandler, speaking on behalf of the family of Harley Cisneros. Cisneros and her friend, Taryn Allen, both 23 of Texico, were found dead in the park from gunshot wounds. Cisneros’ oldest daughter, unnamed at the family’s request, was also shot and taken to a Lubbock hospital, authorities...

  • Pages past, May 12: That ol' car was hard to start

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated May 11, 2024

    On this date ... 1911: Homer Jones did not shoot his business partner at Taiban as authorities had alleged. Jones’ innocence was declared by Edward Gardner, the man Jones was alleged to have shot. Police arrested Jones because his boot tracks were found near the scene of Gardner’s shooting. But when Gardner recovered from his wound enough to talk to authorities, he told them he and Jones were the best of friends and had never had a cross word. Gardner said Jones’ arrest was ...

  • Homicide timeline traces murder suspect's travels

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated May 11, 2024

    Law enforcement authorities early Monday arrested a man accused of shooting and killing two 23-year-old Texico women, shooting a 5-year-old in the head and kidnapping a 10-month old baby on May 3 at Ned Houk Park. The News has pieced together a timeline of events based on public documents and police interviews: May 1-2 Alek Collins, 26, of Manvel, Texas, drives a rented vehicle – a maroon Honda sedan -- from the Allen, Texas, area through the Texas Panhandle, arriving in C...

  • Arrest affidavit details links to homicide suspect

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated May 10, 2024

    The man arrested Monday for killing two Texico women had called the FBI last October and threatened to “murder a bunch of children” if they didn’t help find his missing daughter. The FBI made contact with Alek Isaiah Collins and he was placed in a mental facility at that time. Collins told agents he “does not want to kill people” but felt the threat was the only way “in getting the FBI to assist him.” The information is included in an affidavit for arrest warrant filed in 9th... Full story

  • Pages past, May 8: Clovis Commission: No bikes on sidewalks

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated May 7, 2024

    On this date ... 1941: Clovis city commissioners reminded residents that bicycles were not allowed on sidewalks. The fine for violating the city ordinance was $1 to $10 and commissioners warned violators would be hauled into court. 1942: A Bovina farmer had witnessed the enlistment of three of his sons into the U.S. Coast Guard. Earl Bates and J. R. Bates of Clovis and R. L. Bates of Friona had enlisted in Amarillo after resigning from their civilian jobs. Earl was a teacher i...

  • Homicide suspect arrested in Abilene

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated May 7, 2024

    The missing baby whose mother was shot to death at Ned Houk Park on Friday was located Monday morning in Abilene, Texas, and a suspect was taken into custody. Eleia Maria Torres, 10 months old, was “taken to a local area hospital as a precautionary measure,” police said in a news release. Abilene Police spokesman Rick Tomlin said the suspect is Alek Isaiah Collins, 26, who is from Manvel, Texas, a Houston suburb. “He has no ties to any of the people in the homicides or the i... Full story

  • Two women slain at Ned Houk Park

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated May 7, 2024

    Two Texico women were found dead at Ned Houk Park on Friday afternoon, a 5-year-old girl found with them was being treated for critical injuries and authorities were looking for a 10-month-old girl believed to have been with the victims. Police said they believe the women's killer abducted the infant but said they had no suspects on Saturday morning. Police Lt. Steven Wright in a news release identified the deceased women as Samantha Cisneros, 23, and Taryn Allen, 23. New Mexi... Full story

  • Pages past - May 5

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated May 4, 2024

    On this date ... 1941: “Old Sol” burst through to give the region its first sunshine in 14 days, the Clovis News-Journal reported. Spring rains began April 22 and this was the first cloudless morning since, according to the newspaper. The year’s rainfall total was at 8.31 inches — just 2 inches shy of the total for all of 1940. 1945: White Auto Store held its grand opening at 115 SW State St. in Portales. J.B. Morrow was owner/manager of the auto parts and home applian...

  • Pages past, May 1: Maggie named railroad president

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated Apr 30, 2024

    On this date ... 1941: J.J. Steele, co-owner of the Hart Ranch southwest of Melrose, had sold about 800 2-year-old steers to a buyer in Dexter, Kan. The purchase price was reported at $60,000. 1955: Portales Valley Mills workers discovered the company safe had been cracked the night before while three employees worked in an adjoining warehouse. Employees noticed a strange car in the parking lot, but hadn’t noticed anything out of place. The thieves took $70. 1957: Ernest M...

  • Pages past, April 28: Kid escapes jail and kills two

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated Apr 27, 2024

    On this date ... 1881: Billy the Kid escaped from the Lincoln County jail, where he was being held and awaiting execution for the 1878 shooting death of Sheriff William Brady. The website aboutbillythekid.com reports the Kid saw his opportunity to get away about noon. One of his guards had taken other prisoners to lunch at a nearby hotel. The Kid convinced his only remaining guard to let him visit the outhouse. While details vary about what happened next, all agree the Kid...

  • Pages past, April 24: Tornado-like winds strike region

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated Apr 23, 2024

    On this date ... 1946: Margaret Moore, who lived at 323 Prince St., was preparing to celebrate her 25th year as a registered nurse in Clovis. The Clovis News-Journal reported “Maggie” had worn out 240 uniforms in her career. Nursing had kept her so busy that she “never had time for courtship and marriage,” reporter Kathryn Bomar wrote. 1950: Clovis Police Chief George Ray was dismissed by the Clovis City Commission. The action came in the wake of dismissal of a radio operato...

  • Pages past, April 21: 4 dozen cookies for $1 at Herb's

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated Apr 20, 2024

    On this date ... 1951: Two Clovis teenagers had suffered broken legs when they were hit by a taxi cab while crossing West Grand at Rencher Street. Joe Lujan and Robert Lucero told police they thought they could easily cross before the car — three-quarters of a block away — reached them. The taxi driver said he was traveling 25 mph. He was cited for out-of-date vehicle inspections. 1955: Roosevelt County Sheriff P. F. Turner reported three dogs killed 30 chickens in a hen hou...

  • Pages past, April 17: Three-bean salad blamed for two fatals

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated Apr 16, 2024

    On this date ... 1951: A Hereford family was asking Clovis-area residents to be on the lookout for their cocker spaniel named Blondie, last seen headed in the direction of home from Fort Sumner. Blondie and her family were visiting Fort Sumner when the dog “decided she didn’t like it” and started east, the Clovis News-Journal reported. 1956: Law officers were on the lookout for 15 prized bantam chickens stolen from a locked chicken house at 1312 E. 10th in Clovis. The victi...

  • Fire destroys peanut plant

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated Apr 16, 2024

    The fire that destroyed the Portales Hampton Farms peanut processing plant on Monday was initially reported as “a fire outside of the building that is not large at this time.” Minutes later, with sustained winds near 40 mph and gusts near 60 mph, Portales firefighters found “fire in several different areas of the commercial structure and outside the building,” according to a Portales Fire Department news release. It took five hours, 27 fire trucks and 34 firefighters from six... Full story

  • Pages past, April 14: 'Black Sunday' strikes across region

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated Apr 13, 2024

    On this date ... 1935: “Black Sunday” brought what’s still considered the worst dust storm in High Plains history. “A mountain of blackness swept across the High Plains and instantly turned a warm, sunny afternoon into a horrible blackness that was darker than the darkest night,” the National Weather Service reports on its website. “Winds in the (Texas) Panhandle reached upward of 60 mph and, for at least a brief time, the blackness was so complete that one could not see the...

  • Pages past, April 10: Portales says no to alcohol

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated Apr 9, 2024

    On this date ... 1945: Ted Thomas, who spent a lot of time working in the Rogers area before joining the military, was back in the United States at a West Coast hospital, The Portales Daily News reported. Thomas was “being treated for his nerves,” the newspaper reported after surviving the Bataan Death March and subsequent imprisonment. 1951: Pioneer Air Lines at the Clovis airport reported sustained winds at 35 mph and gusts to 45 mph. High temperatures were in the 40s. “An...

  • Pages past, April 7: Basketball star talks about pros

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated Apr 6, 2024

    On this date ... 1918: Bailey County school teacher Evelyn Monts, 23, was shot to death outside her home north of Muleshoe by a man who’d asked her to marry him. John Teal was not arrested and brought to trial until 1936, but confessed to killing Monts and received an eight-year prison sentence, according to multiple newspaper accounts. Some newspapers reported Monts had declined Teal’s marriage proposal, and that led to her slaying. Teal testified he had planned to div...

  • Publisher's journal: Crime statistics can be confusing

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated Apr 6, 2024

    If there’s anything I know for sure, it’s that crime in Clovis is on many minds. I read on Facebook that local crime is spiraling out of control. Mostly it’s Joe Biden’s fault. But the anecdotal evidence shared on social media does not match up with the statistics, which suggest crime may be dropping … dramatically. Consider: In 2013, Clovis police recorded 2,646 arrests. That number has been steadily decreasing since. In 2023, CPD recorded 1,061 arrests – a 150% drop. Jail...

  • Publisher's journal: Now a few words from our readers

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated Apr 2, 2024

    An anonymous reader sent a letter last week reprimanding the newspaper because it “refuses to publish” an important story. “There is a big cover up,” the letter read. Our reader is referencing a lawsuit settled in February by the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department. The lawsuit alleged improper handling of a 2020 case in which a Clovis child was placed in her father’s home after her mother died. The father, Juan Lerma, subsequently killed the child, Samantha Ru...

  • Pages past, April 3: 'City slicking' was serious crime

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated Apr 2, 2024

    On this date ... 1932: A man accused of “city slicking” had been arrested in Hot Springs, Ark., after a Clovis cafe owner reported he’d been tricked out of $95. George Johnson of Clovis told police the stranger had approached him with a story claiming he had found $1,500 worth of gold dust in Alaska. The stranger wanted to send the gold to a mint in San Francisco where it could be converted into gold coin. But the man did not have the money to pay for shipping. Johnson told...

  • Portales city manager placed on leave

    David Stevens, The Staff of The News|Updated Apr 2, 2024

    Portales City Manager Sarah Austin has been placed on paid administrative leave, and her future with the city is expected to be determined in a special meeting on Tuesday. Austin, reached at her home, said Mayor Mike Miller presented her with a letter about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday stating she has been placed on paid leave until the end of her contract. "I asked him why and he wouldn't tell me," Austin said. "I am beyond devastated. I love this community. I thought I was doing a...

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