By Gary Mitchell
Ernie Kos was struggling with a dilemma for the Labor Day holiday. But it was a pleasant dilemma.
“I was torn between going to the lake or to the mountains,” said the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce executive director. “The mountains won out when we checked with the weather man and found out it wouldn’t be too hot.”
Kos said she had a specific purpose in mind for this holiday weekend.
“We’re looking for major rest and relaxation,” she said. “And we should be able to find it more in the mountains. We’re looking for a nice place to rest and recuperate from a fun-filled, but intense, summer.”
Clovis city manager Raymond Mondragon said he and his family had similar reasons for escaping this weekend to Ute Lake.
“I’m headed for the lake for rest and relaxation with the family, my grandchildren and my daughter,” he said. “We’re planning to barbecue, relax and have a good time there.”
The time away during a holiday excursion also offers the chance for calm reflection, Mondragon said.
“Going to the lake relaxes me and gives me the opportunity to think,” he said. “It’s been a busy year. There have been a lot of growth issues, trying to determine what we need to be doing to make Clovis a better place to live.”
Kos and Mondragon will be joining multitudes of people looking to celebrate the waning days of summer before hitting the books at school or digging in at work as the fall season begins.
With more people and vehicles on the road, area law enforcement officials say they will be on the alert to keep everyone safe this weekend.
“We’re going to have extra guys out running traffic safety,” said Undersheriff Doug Bowman of the Curry County Sheriff’s Office. “What I do is I put overtime on the board, and if a guy signs up for it, they go. Sometimes there are three or four extra guys out there at certain times in the day. We cover what we can. Drivers need to be careful: buckle up, don’t drink and drive. We’ll be watching them.”
New Mexico State Patrol Lt. Rick Durham said state officers will be out in force to help with the traffic situation.
“As on any holiday weekend, we will be watching closely for speed and other violations that contribute to traffic collisions,” he said. “We do have overtime authorized this weekend, and we will have extra enforcement. We just ask people to watch out for the other drivers, wear their seatbelts, and for goodness sake, buckle up their children.”
Sgt. Chris Kinley of the Clovis Police Department said the city will have additional traffic officers out primarily during the afternoon and evening of Labor Day.
“Mainly during Labor Day weekend, we’ve had increased incidences of drunk driving and alcohol-related fatalities,” he said. “More people are driving so we step up enforcement actions to make sure everyone stays safe. It will be going through the afternoon hours until 3 and 4 in the morning.”