Year in Review: February 2007

A daily look at top news stories in February reported in the Clovis New Journal:
Feb. 1: Officials said a movie filmed largely in eastern New Mexico would be released in theaters in March. “Believe In Me” featured dozens of area residents as extras in the story of a small-town girls basketball team in the 1960s. Most of the filming took place in October 2004. … A martial-arts fighter was shot and killed in Tucumcari. A competitor said he killed Jason Pacheco in self-defense when they met outside a gym where a weigh-in was scheduled.
Feb. 2: Woody’s Jewelry in Portales was robbed. Police said the thief broke through the front door then ran out the back when a security alarm sounded, dropping most of the jewelry along the way.
Feb. 3: A local car wash operator reported 300 customers drove through to wash away a month’s worth of grit and grime as weekend temperatures hit the mid-50s — a welcome respite from snow and ice that headlined most of January.
Feb. 4: Former Curry County Sheriff Roger Hatcher was hospitalized with chest pains. He underwent treatment and was released a few days later.
Feb. 5: Eastern New Mexico University forward Elizabeth Richards was named Lone Star Conference South Player of the Week. The Texico native averaged 27.5 points and 15.5 rebounds in two games.
Feb. 6: Clovis school officials retired Hank Baskett’s No. 18 jersey. The day was also declared “Hank Baskett Day” in honor of the Philadelphia Eagles rookie receiver who grew up in Clovis. … City officials estimated they would spend more than $100,000 battling inclement weather during the winter, most of it related to snow removal.
Feb. 7: Clovis Community College officials announced their enrollment dropped 9.42 percent from the fall of 2005 to the fall of 2006. … Clovis High senior Priya Sharma was among 15,000 finalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Feb. 8: A Hawaiian-based airline in search of a federal subsidy to provide service to the Clovis area had launched a public relations campaign urging fiscal responsibility. Pacific Wings Airlines claimed it could provide service for about $966,000 less than competitor Great Lakes Aviation.
Feb. 9: A rail car that once carried commuters between Clovis and Carlsbad had been returned to New Mexico. The Doodlebug had been stored in a California museum for 20 years. Its new home is the state history museum at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe.
Feb. 10: Clovis police were actively promoting a “One with Clovis” campaign, encouraging community involvement in solving crime.
Feb. 11: With temperatures nearing 70 degrees, the American Little League and Zia Little League were promoting registration for baseball leagues. Opening ceremonies were scheduled March 31.
Feb. 12: Nina Luckett celebrated her 105th birthday at Clovis’ Retirement Ranch. … Hancock Fabrics was planning to close its doors within 12 weeks. Store Manager Pam Humphrey said the decision was made by corporate officials citing the “bottom line.”
Feb. 13: Clovis school board members extended Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm’s contract until 2009. “We feel like she really has a vision for the district and she has a heart for the students,” board member Lora Harlan said.
Feb. 14: Snow returned to the region and police said 33 motor vehicle accidents occurred by mid-afternoon. About 2.5 inches of snow had fallen by dark. The day’s high temperature was 19.
Feb. 15: City commissioners endorsed Great Lakes Aviation as their choice for air transportation. Officials said they believed area residents preferred the larger planes offered by Great Lakes, although competitor Pacific Wings Airlines claimed it could provide service for less money. The Commission’s endorsement was relayed to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which would ultimately decide which airline would receive a federal subsidy. Great Lakes’ bid was about $2.46 million annually.
Feb. 16: Two Curry County jail officers were charged with battering an inmate. Other detention officers told authorities they saw Jeff Aikman and Bernie Woods slam an inmate violently against a wall at least three times. Both officers were suspended with pay pending a review.
Feb. 17: Clovis High’s Miles Ware won the consolation final of the 100-yard backstroke in the New Mexico Swimming and Diving State Championships.
Feb. 18: Clovis Municipal Schools kicked off its annual Music in our Schools Week. Officials said more than 6,500 students receive music instruction through the schools.
Feb. 19: Graffiti, truancy and boredom among youth highlighted a community forum on crime in Clovis. Officials encouraged community members to volunteer with youth programs so they might deter crime by providing a positive influence on kids.
Feb. 20: Clovis’ Clyde Norris, who played in backup bands for Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, died at age 72. … Eighth-graders in Clovis’ public schools had voted to name the new ninth grade center “Clovis High School Freshman Campus” and selected colors of purple and white, school officials said.
Feb. 21: A Portales man was arrested following allegations he held a woman against her will for more than a day. The woman said she escaped when her captor went to a store for cigarettes.
Feb. 22: American Renewable Fuels announced it would locate a biodiesel plant in the Clovis Industrial Park. Officials said the Australian company would provide 30 to 40 full-time jobs by 2008.
Feb. 23: A former special investigation agent with the New Mexico Department of Public Safety pleaded no contest to charges she falsified traffic citations. Dolores Ledezma-Pinon was sentenced to nine months unsupervised probation. … The New Mexico Legislature was at its midway point and local lawmakers expected a busy second half. Issues on the table included cockfighting and minimum wage.
Feb. 24: Clovis High School won the girls’ District 4-5A basketball tournament title, beating Hobbs, 48-46.
Feb. 25: Three Melrose women were arrested after law officers discovered more than half a pound of marijuana in a home on Eighth Street. Officials also said they found scales, distribution packaging and $7,000 in cash.
Feb. 26: Cannon Air Force Base officials announced Capt. Robert Bitner had been convicted of molesting an 8-year-old boy. He was sentenced to one year military confinement followed by dismissal from the Air Force.
Feb. 27: The 15th annual New Mexico Ag Expo opened a two-day run in Portales. One highlight was an antique tractor painted pink, bringing attention to breast cancer. … A Clovis man and his two daughters were locked inside Hillcrest Park Zoo for about an hour. Chris Gauna said he did not realize the zoo closed at 4 p.m. until he found the exit locked when his family tried to leave about 5 p.m. He called 911 and a zookeeper arrived minutes later to set them free.
Feb. 28: A Portales man convicted of taking more than $600,000 from an armored car service where he worked was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison. Scott Kirby was also ordered to repay an undisclosed amount of money not recovered. Kirby hanged himself in his jail cell two weeks later, officials said.