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Articles written by Kevin Wilson


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  • COVID cases spiking locally, statewide

    Kevin Wilson - Staff Writer|Updated Jan 22, 2022

    Case counts for COVID-19 are spiking with the highly transmissible Omicron variant, and it’s difficult to not notice. Statewide, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced efforts to temporarily employ National Guard troops and state workers as substitute teachers and childcare workers. Locally, both Curry and Roosevelt counties only needed the first three weeks of January to report the highest number of new cases in any month since the pandemic began in March 2020. Portales schools closed on Friday due to a surge in cases. Kaye G...

  • New PED toolkit cuts quarantine time

    Kevin Wilson - Staff Writer|Updated Jan 15, 2022

    While the toolkit definitely has its drawbacks, the takeaway so far with Wednesday changes to the Public Education Department's COVID-19 mitigation toolbook is an optimistic one among area school leaders. The PED announced new guidance with the surge of the Omicron variant that mostly matches guidance provided Dec. 27 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and adopted for the general New Mexico population on Jan. 6. Quarantines are reduced from 10 days to five for students and staff who have been exposed to...

  • UPDATED: Curry County rebuffs OSHA guidelines ... for now

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Jan 13, 2022

    CLOVIS — In a 3-2 vote, the Curry County Commission declined to ratify county policy on COVID-19 requiring vaccination or weekly COVID-19 testing, put in place earlier this month in accordance with federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements. The commission planned a do-over, with one of the deciding voters saying he made a mistake following the three-hour meeting. A special meeting called for a new vote on the matter was canceled Thursday, pursuant to the Supreme Court ruling striking down the OSHA req...

  • Foxes slip past Buffs 72-70

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Jan 12, 2022

    TEXICO - A shooting flurry of 15 3-pointers put the Fort Sumner Foxes nearly within reach of the Eastern Plains Athletic Conference finish line Saturday night. A lot of rebounding, and one piece of well-timed defense, provided the final push. Joaquin Segura scored 26 points to lead all scorers, but made the play of the night deflecting a Melrose inbounds pass in the closing seconds to seal a 72-70 victory at Texico Sports Arena for the Foxes' third EPAC title in program...

  • Portales approves early out days

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Jan 12, 2022

    PORTALES - While school is back to in-person, Portales Schools Superintendent Johnnie Cain said it's certainly not back to normal with COVID-19 cases and quarantines continuing seemingly unabated among staff and students. Citing the time-consuming issue that scenario is creating, the school board approved a slate of eight early release days suggested by Cain to help teachers achieve professional development and create lesson plans. The early out days, with students released...

  • Logan girls earn repeat EPAC title

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Jan 12, 2022

    TEXICO - Two years, a pandemic and a change of venue. But the Logan Longhorns were back like they never left. The defending champions made it two straight titles in the Eastern Plains Athletic Conference girls bracket, using a series of timely runs to outlast top-seeded Fort Sumner 42-36 Saturday night at Texico Sports Arena. Kyra Conway had 19 points to lead all scorers, including five points in a 9-0 Logan run that bridged the third and fourth quarters and gave the...

  • Clovis officials pass pared-down sign ordinance

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Jan 8, 2022

    A process of more than two years, and a public back and forth during two months of Clovis City Commission meetings, was resolved Thursday in roughly 35 minutes with the commission voting 7-0 in favor of a pared-down sign ordinance. The ordinance approved Thursday grandfathered nearly every type of sign currently existing in the city, regardless of size, height or property setback, and removed any trigger mechanisms requiring compliance if the respective business changed hands. The only signs outlawed by the code, City...

  • Clovis to address sign code

    Kevin Wilson|Updated Jan 4, 2022

    CLOVIS - Clovis city officials are planning to address a new sign code in their Thursday meeting, and several of them spent Monday morning hearing many objections to the process from business owners. Feedback was varied during a one-hour, 40-minute meeting at the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce, with city officials saying they are receptive to easing some of the proposed code and business owners asking for a tabling of the ordinance to address more concerns. The...

  • Year in review: DA, chief retirements leave space at the top

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Jan 1, 2022

    There will be new people in charge in 2022 at the Clovis Police Department and Ninth Judicial District Attorney's office, with the retirement of Chief Doug Ford and the upcoming retirement of DA Andrea Reeb in March. Whoever takes over for them will have plenty on their plate, following a busy year in the justice system and various cases continued into 2022. Ford, whose last day with the department was Friday, retired after more than five years as chief and 24 in the department. “This decision was not an easy one,” Ford, a 1...

  • Year in review: 2021 was a year of transition for Clovis

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Dec 30, 2021

    CLOVIS - The 2022 Clovis municipal election will have one of the most loaded ballots in recent years, even with the mayor's race still two years down the road. A year of transition for the city, through commission actions and transitions, means voters will have a March 1 ballot with six races and four potential changes to the city's founding documents. Coming up in 2022, voters will be asked for up-or down votes on four changes to the charter: • Increase the signature r...

  • Year in review: Curry sees farewells in 2021

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Dec 28, 2021

    CLOVIS - It was a year of gains and losses, and Curry County was certainly part of that condition in 2021. James Ridling, the newest commissioner for the county, died Sept. 19 from complications with COVID-19, just over eight months after he succeeded term-limited Ben McDaniel in the District 2 seat. "Some people are nice, but he was a really, really great individual," Commission Chairman Robert Thornton said of Ridling, who defeated J. Albin Smith in the primary and ran...

  • Roosevelt adds cost of living increase for employees

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Dec 21, 2021

    PORTALES — Roosevelt County officials have acknowledged difficulties in hiring and keeping employees. Commissioners on Tuesday approved a series of measures they hope will curb some of those issues. The commission, by unanimous votes, added a cost of living increase for employees and agreed to pick up additional percentages of Public Employee Retirement Act contributions. County Manager Amber Hamilton said that PERA contributions are the biggest source of frustration for some of the entry-level employees. While it's a nice i...

  • School board adds eight more early-out days to calendar

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Dec 18, 2021

    CLOVIS - Amid regular staff shortages and a reduced pool of substitute teachers, the Clovis school board agreed Tuesday to add eight more early-out days to the second half of the district instructional calendar. Mitzi Estes, deputy superintendent of academic services and leadership, told the board at its regular meeting the district has 47 teaching openings with 21 at the elementary level. The extra duties the existing teacher slate is taking to cover those shortages, Estes...

  • Portales city manager's status undecided

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Dec 18, 2021

    PORTALES — After a nearly two-hour executive session Wednesday, the Portales City Council left hanging the status of City Manager Sarah Austin. During the executive session, Austin was called into the council's meeting room several times as discussion continued. Following Wednesday's council meeting, Mayor Ron Jackson would not to commit to whether more discussion would be needed before the council votes on Austin's contract. Austin's three-year contract, approved on June 8, includes a six-month probation period. Austin's s...

  • Water project price tag getting update

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Dec 18, 2021

    CLOVIS — The Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority has known for a few years their project will cost far more than the long-standing $500 million estimate. Early next year, they’ll have a better idea of just how much. The authority board agreed on Thursday for a $58,473.10 contract with CH2M/Jacobs Engineering to provide an updated price tag. The project — which involved creating a delivery system for potable water from the Ute Reservoir in Quay County to authority members in Curry and Roosevelt counties — was estimat...

  • Clovis commissioners deny zoning request by slim margin

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Dec 18, 2021

    CLOVIS — The Clovis City Commission by a unusually slim margin denied a rezoning request that would clear the way for up to three new four-plexes in the Sunset Acres Subdivision. The margin was unusual because the commission voted 5-3 in favor of the zone change. However, a 40% protest rate from adjacent property owners required the zone change meet a 75% vote for passage. In addition to the protest rate, the city’s planning and zoning commission recommended by a 4-3 to reject the zone change. Judy Morrow spoke on behalf of t...

  • Q&A: PRMC administrator talks COVID-19 and hospital issues

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Dec 18, 2021

    Plains Regional Medical Center Administrator Jorge Cruz talked to The News on Friday regarding the hospital’s current COVID-19 numbers, vaccination and the Omicron variant. As of Friday, PRMC had not recorded an Omicron case. Q: How many COVID-19 patients on average have been in the hospital so far in December? Cruz: Starting in mid-November, that was when we saw an increase. In December, we’re seeing 20 to 25 COVID patients in house (hospitalized), and that’s including the ICU as well. We’ve seen anywhere between four an...

  • Rice appointed as Clovis' interim police chief

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Dec 18, 2021

    CLOVIS — Deputy Police Chief Roy Rice will be elevated to the chief position on an interim basis beginning Jan. 1, according to a city of Clovis news release. Rice, who has been deputy chief since February, will replace Doug Ford, who plans to retire at the end of the year following five years at the top post. Ford was honored by the Clovis City Commission during its Thursday night meeting, as Ford came to the meeting to update the commission on its third time receiving renewed accreditation from the New Mexico Municipal L...

  • Parks committee OKs boxing club at Roy Walker

    Kevin Wilson, Staff writer|Updated Dec 14, 2021

    CLOVIS — The Clovis Parks, Recreation and Beautification Committee on Monday got in the corner of a group of longtime local boxers and their request to use Roy Walker Recreation Center. By a unanimous vote, the committee recommended letting the Sinner’s Den boxing organization operate the boxing facility in the center’s southwest corner. Elijio Sena and Earl Large Jr. of Clovis said they would likely operate the facility 5 p.m-8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Sinner’s Den, they said, has a field of 30 boxers and won a team tr...

  • Curry hires new attorney

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Dec 14, 2021

    CLOVIS - Dan Macke has made his legal career in Albuquerque, but he considers himself quite familiar with Curry County after more than 20 years of representing its various departments in court cases. He'll now be even more familiar with the county, as he was hired by commissioners Tuesday to be the new county attorney. He took over that day for Steve Doerr, who stepped down from the role. "I realize it's apparent I have big and local shoes to fill," Macke said of Doerr, whom...

  • Widner inducted into NMAA Hall of Fame

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Dec 11, 2021

    ALBUQUERQUE — Jamie Widner, speaking as a New Mexico Activities Association Hall of Fame inductee Wednesday, credited the Melrose community for putting him there. “Our little community has 700 people in it; it’s dynamic, it’s moving all the time,” Widner said. “I’m sure there’s more deserving people than me. I didn’t do a lot. I fought for the school, and I fought the state a lot when I was a superintendent.” Widner was one of three people inducted into the 2022 NMAA Hall of Fame class, which was introduced in a Wed...

  • Regents approve tuition, fee increase

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Dec 11, 2021

    PORTALES — Eastern New Mexico University regents begrudgingly accepted a tuition and fees increase for the 2022-23 academic year Friday, taking little solace in the fact they held off a larger hike request. By a 5-0 vote, regents approved a tuition increase of 3% and a fees increase of 4% in the meeting held a day before the college’s first indoor commencement in two years. During its November meeting, ENMU officials had floated 5% increases to both tuition and fees, which would have added $162 per semester for an ave...

  • ENMU celebrates graduates

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Dec 11, 2021

    PORTALES - Handshakes and hugs with congratulations mixed with thanks to the people who got them there as Eastern New Mexico University celebrated its latest crop of graduates Saturday at Greyhound Arena. Chancellor Patrice Caldwell congratulated the new graduates at the conclusion of a quick-moving 95-minute ceremony. Caldwell told the students the graduation was not only a dream come true for them, but for their family members long before and the university itself when it...

  • Commission takes first look at redistricting plans

    Kevin Wilson|Updated Dec 7, 2021

    PORTALES — Roosevelt County commissioners took a first look at redistricting that must be finished by the end of the year during Tuesday’s meeting. The commission plans to approve one of three plans on Dec. 21, after giving the public two weeks to look over how Districts 1-5 will change or not change. No decision was made by commissioners following the presentation from Brad Morrison of Research and Polling, which the county hired to provide three redistricting plan options. The News attended the meeting virtually. Mor...

  • CCC board approves gift and graduation

    Kevin Wilson, Editor|Updated Dec 4, 2021

    CLOVIS — In its last meeting of 2021, Clovis Community College trustees approved a fall graduation list and a sizable local gift that would be bolstered by matching state dollars. By a 5-0 vote, trustees approved a gift of $2 million to the college by the Bonner Family Foundation for the benefit of the college’s nursing program. For CCC to receive the donation, a match of $2 million would be required from the state. Discussions during the meeting and the agenda did not include specifics on how or when the state would pro...

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