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Articles written by Ron Warnick


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  • Report: Officer's alleged killer threatened others

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Jun 11, 2024

    The man charged with killing New Mexico State Police Patrolman Justin Hare in March threatened healthcare workers while he was being treated for injuries after his capture. Jaremy Smith, 33, of South Carolina, also threatened a former girlfriend and a travel companion before Hare was killed. And he is accused of entering an empty ranch house near Newkirk, where he ate food and stole ammunition, cash and a pickup truck before being shot and apprehended by police in Albuquerque...

  • Quay sheriff fatally shoots man brandishing firearm

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated May 18, 2024

    The Quay County sheriff fatally shot a rural Tucumcari man who was brandishing a firearm at healthcare personnel and law enforcement officers last week. Sheriff Dennis Garcia volunteered the information about his involvement during a phone interview two days after the shooting of Aubrey James Osteen, 77. The shooting happened at Osteen’s home on Quay Road 49 about a dozen miles south of Tucumcari. “Because I was involved, I feel the I need to be transparent about it,” Garcia said in a phone interview with the Quay County Sun....

  • Slain police officer honored at vigil

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Mar 23, 2024

    TUCUMCARI - An estimated 500 people shared memories Wednesday evening as they mourned the slain New Mexico State Police officer shot to death March 15 about 15 miles west of Tucumcari. The vigil drew Justin Hare's family, friends and fellow officers from as far away as Hobbs. The suspect, Jaremy Smith of South Carolina, was captured in Albuquerque last weekend after a shootout with police. Officials said late last week he is under police guard at a hospital. Smith also...

  • Police: Slain officer shot by man he was trying to help

    Ron Warnick, Quay County Sun|Updated Mar 16, 2024

    TUCUMCARI -- The New Mexico State Police officer slain near Tucumari on Friday was responding to a request to help a motorist with a flat tire. Justin Hare parked behind the disabled vehicle, NMSP Chief Troy Weisler said, and was shot moments later. "The suspect exited his vehicle and approached Officer Hare's passenger side window," Weisler said in a videotaped message released Saturday. "A short conversation ensued about repairing his tire, and Officer Hare offered to give... Full story

  • Tucumcari judge retires early

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Feb 6, 2024

    Tenth Judicial District Judge Albert J. Mitchell Jr. retired effective Friday, about one month earlier than his previously announced retirement date. Barry Massey, public information officer for New Mexico Courts, stated in an email Monday the New Mexico Supreme Court has designated other judges to help in the interim until a new judge likely is appointed by the governor and takes office later this year. “In order to assist with handling cases during the vacancy, the Supreme Court has appointed retired District Judge James W...

  • District Judge 'Scooter' Mitchell retiring

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Feb 3, 2024

    TUCUMCARI - On Feb. 29, Judge Albert J. Mitchell Jr., the only jurist in the sprawling 10th Judicial District, will hang up his robe for the final time after 15 years on the bench. Mitchell sent a one-page letter on Jan. 10 to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Shannon Bacon, stating he would resign effective March 1. "I am privileged to work with fine people in the Tenth Judicial District, as well as my judicial colleagues statewide,"...

  • Cats, Lady Cats capture third-place tourney tilts

    Ron Warnick|Updated Dec 19, 2023

    RIO RANCHO – After sustaining their first loss of the season in Friday’s semifinals, Clovis High’s girls came back to defeat host Rio Rancho 58-52 on Saturday for third place in the Mel Otero Invitational. The Lady Wildcats (6-1) fired out to a 21-10 lead at the quarter and held off a late rally which saw the Rams (7-2) pull to within four points in the final stanza. “It was a good win for us,” CHS girls coach Jeff Reed said. “They’re a good team. We had two wins this weekend over teams that will definitely be in contention...

  • Dispensary aims to bring life back to Glenrio

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Sep 23, 2023

    GLENRIO - In this border town in far eastern Quay County, a sign for a long-closed spot along Route 66 once proclaimed it as the "First Motel in Texas" and "Last Motel in Texas." With the opening last week of Glenrio Smoke Stop, it can credibly claim to be the first and last marijuana dispensary in New Mexico. It also serves as potentially a competitor to the dozen or so similar shops that have opened in Tucumcari since last year. The Glenrio Smoke Stop sits just a few yards w...

  • Mesalands won't consider merger 'at this time'

    Ron Warnick, the Staff of The News|Updated Sep 5, 2023

    TUCUMCARI -- Mesalands Community College stated in a letter to a state senator the financially troubled college was not “at this time” considering the option of becoming a branch of a four-year university. State Sen. George Munoz, D-Gallup, in late July wrote letters to Mesalands, Eastern New Mexico University and New Mexico State University, urging Mesalands to consider a partnership or make the Tucumcari college a branch campus of one of the universities. He requested a response by Aug. 28. Last month, Mesalands board of...

  • 'Substantial' oil, gas strike predicted

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Aug 29, 2023

    Tommy Wallace is hopeful his ranch in southern Quay County sits amid a substantial field of oil, natural gas and helium that could produce dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of well-paying jobs. Wallace said in a phone interview last week that Louisiana-based Moran-Lavaca is “pretty sure” a substantial amount of helium exists on his property off Norton Road and at a recently drilled spot near Grady. He said he learned about the strike about six months ago. The Grady area well is on property owned by Elmer White, White con...

  • State senator urges college partnership

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Aug 12, 2023

    A state senator is urging Eastern New Mexico University and financially troubled Mesalands Community College to consider a partnership or make the Tucumcari school a branch campus of ENMU. One area lawmaker said he would oppose such a partnership or merger of Mesalands. The presidents of both educational institutions said they are open-minded to Sen. George Munoz’s proposal. Munoz, D-Gallup, in late July wrote separate letters to the ENMU board of regents and the Mesalands board of trustees. The Quay County Sun obtained t...

  • Dog attack victim died from blood loss

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated May 30, 2023

    TUCUMCARI -- A jogger encountered the pack of five dogs shortly before they fatally mauled a Tucumcari man in February, and two men approached the bloody scene when the victim still was alive. That’s according to a state police report, which also showed the victim died of blood loss after the attack. The 21-page report was issued by New Mexico State Police agent Eric Fouratt. The Quay County Sun obtained the report last week through a public-records request submitted shortly after the Feb. 1 attack near 11th Street and G...

  • Two charged in Tucumcari fatal dog attack

    Ron Warnick The Staff of The News|Updated Feb 9, 2023

    TUCUMCARI -- Two Tucumcari people were criminally charged in the death of another resident who was attacked and killed last week by a pack of dogs. Mary Olimpia Montoya, 50, and her son Kristopher Jaquaris Morris, 27, both of the 400 block of West High Street, were charged with involuntary manslaughter (reckless) and a dangerous dog (death of a person). They were booked into the Quay County Detention Center on Wednesday after warrants were issued for their arrests. They were...

  • Tucumcari dog attack 'never should have happened'

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Feb 7, 2023

    TUCUMCARI -- An animal rescue worker said a pack of dogs had been roaming Tucumcari for weeks prior to the dog attack that killed a man last Wednesday. City officials said they were unaware of such a report, though City Manager Paula Chacon said police officers had picked up three roaming dogs near the Tucumcari Recreation Center prior to the attack. New Mexico State Police said Stanley Hartt, 64, was attacked and killed by five mixed-breed dogs as he was walking down 11th...

  • Judge allows Tucumcari racino case to proceed

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Feb 4, 2023

    An Albuquerque district judge last week rejected arguments by the New Mexico Racing Commission to dismiss a lawsuit by Coronado Partners, setting up a legal showdown this spring whether to issue a sixth and final license to build a horse-racing track and casino in Tucumcari. District Judge Nancy Franchini’s three-page ruling on Jan. 23 to deny a motion to dismiss and allow the lawsuit to proceed was expected. Franchini had signaled during a telephone hearing in December she would allow the appeal by Coronado to contest the c...

  • Tucumcari man dies in dog attack

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Feb 4, 2023

    TUCUMCARI -- A pack of roaming dogs attacked and killed a Tucumcari man as he was walking near Mesalands Community College on Wednesday night, police said. Five mixed-breed dogs attacked Stanley Hartt, 64, as he was walking down 11th Street near Gamble Avenue, according to a news release from New Mexico State Police, which is investigating. Hartt was pronounced dead at the scene by the Office of Medical Examiner. NMSP will give its final report to the district attorney’s office for the possible filing of charges. A state p...

  • Dog recovered after two years missing

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Jan 24, 2023

    An Albuquerque woman recovered her dog Saturday after it went missing almost two years ago, thanks to a microchip implanted in the animal and a Quay County sheriff's deputy who picked it up west of Tucumcari. Felicia Chavez was reunited with Fasa, a 4-year-old neutered bull mastiff weighing between 60 and 70 pounds, in the office of the Paws & Claws Animal Rescue of Quay County. The dog wagged its tail and licked her face as she knelt with the animal. Chavez also showed how...

  • Judge signals she'll grant appeal of racino decision

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Dec 20, 2022

    An Albuquerque district judge indicated during a hearing last week she would grant an appeal by Coronado Partners to contest the New Mexico Racing Commission’s rejection of an application to build a horse-racing track and casino in Tucumcari. District Judge Nancy Franchini said during a telephone hearing Dec. 13 she was dissatisfied with the arguments of the commission’s lawyer, Richard Bustamante, to dismiss Coronado Partners’ initial lawsuit with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled. “I think it’s a valid appeal,...

  • Quay takes steps toward new hospital

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Jun 21, 2022

    TUCUMCARI — The Quay County commission on June 13 took several significant steps to building a new hospital to replace aging Trigg Memorial Hospital, including unanimously approving a nearly $1 million design service fee with an Arizona architectural firm. The $981,718.94 design service fee with Stantec Architecture in Phoenix, which has designed 19 other rural hospitals, covers architectural, structural, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, landscaping, civil engineering and heliport designs. Mike Williams, a healthcare p...

  • Racing commission defers action on Coronado proposal

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Jun 21, 2022

    The New Mexico Racing Commission apparently will decide later whether to approve or reject Coronado Partners’ application for a sixth license that would allow it to build a horse-racing track and casino in Tucumcari. The commission discussed the application and two other items during a closed executive session during its regular meeting Thursday, but it took no action when open session resumed. Albuquerque judge Nancy Franchini on June 3, granting Coronado’s writ of mandamus request to compel the commission to perform its...

  • Commission ordered to act

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Jun 11, 2022

    An Albuquerque judge ordered the New Mexico Racing Commission to act within 90 days on whether to accept or reject Coronado Partners’ request for a racing license so it could build a track and casino in Tucumcari. District Court Judge Nancy Franchini in a ruling issued June 3 affirmed Logan attorney and Coronado Partners principal Warren Frost’s request for a writ of mandamus against the commission. A writ of mandamus asks a court to compel another entity to perform its official duties. Franchini rejected arguments from com...

  • Melrose girls advance to title game

    Ron Warnick, The Eastern New Mexico News|Updated Mar 12, 2022

    BERNALILLO – The Melrose girls basketball team looked as if it was in trouble during the first half Friday, but it wore down To'hajiilee, outscoring the Lady Warriors by 20 points in the second half en route to a 50-35 victory. That moves Melrose into the Class A girls championship against Fort Sumner/House Saturday morning. Game time is 10 a.m. Also Saturday, Elida's boys play Magdalena at 6 p.m. for the Class A title. Elida beat Mesilla Valley Christian, 86-69, in the semifi...

  • Teachers may get raises as soon as April

    Ron Warnick, The Staff of The News|Updated Mar 1, 2022

    LOGAN - New Mexico's top education chief said many teachers in the state likely will see a pay raise as soon as April. New Mexico Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus provided details about forthcoming pay increases for teachers and school staff during a so-called "listening tour" Friday in the boardroom of Logan Municipal Schools. Steinhaus held similar sessions last week in Bloomfield, Taos and Roswell, and was scheduled to hold more this week in Truth or Consequences, Los...

  • Better than 'Hoosiers'

    Ron Warnick, Staff writer|Updated Dec 28, 2021

    The 1986 hit movie "Hoosiers" depicted a small-school Indiana basketball team that improbably won the state championship, defeating bigger-enrollment schools along the way. Forrest in southern Quay County can boast a real-life version of "Hoosiers," except the Pirates won the state title twice in the early 1930s and might have done it a third time if misfortune hadn't struck. Forrest's state title treks might sound like the stuff of fiction. However, tangible evidence of...

  • Tucumcari man faces eight felony charges

    Ron Warnick, Staff writer|Updated Nov 16, 2021

    TUCUMCARI — A Tucumcari man faces eight felony criminal charges after he was accused of shooting at city police officers Thursday following an attempted traffic stop. Records show the man ordered the driver to keep evading police while children were inside the vehicle. No one was hurt during the confrontation and subsequent arrest. According to online court documents, Lawrence P. Rivas, 26, faces these felony charges: • First-degree kidnapping; • Abuse of a child not resulting in death or great bodily harm; • Two counts...

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