Property ‘tax lightning’ raises ire

Liliana Castillo The Payne’s property taxes jumped 60 percent the year after they purchased their Curry County home. James and Robbie Payne were victims of what is being called tax lightning. Tax lightning is caused by a 2001 state law that put a 3 percent annual cap on how much assessed value could rise for […]

Homicide suspect had conflicts with victim

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Anthony Ray Casillas By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer There was a history of friction between homicide victim Gary Payne and the man accused of shooting him, according to people who worked for a silage company with the two men. Payne and Anthony Ray Casillas worked together with a crew that traveled throughout eastern New […]

Shooting victim remembered as loving father

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Gary Payne traveled to Lubbock on Thursday afternoon to visit his daughter and see her new house. After the visit, he headed home for Melrose, but never arrived. Police said Payne and a Lubbock woman, Melissa Ward, were shot in the head about 11 p.m. Thursday as they drove […]

CHS alum takes job with Howard Payne

CNJ staff BROWNWOOD, Texas — Clovis High alum Josh Prock was named the new women’s basketball coach last week at Howard Payne University. In replacing Chris Kielsmeier, Prock has some big shoes to fill. Kielsmeier was the winningest coach in school history at 179-44 for seven seasons, and last year led the Lady Jackets to […]

Elida beats defending champs

Wesley Gilmore scored 30 points as Elida beat defending state champion Gateway Christian 75-66 Wednesday night in a Class 1A boys state quarterfinal game at Rio Rancho High School.

Defense tactics irk judge

Sharna Johnson CANNON AIR FORCE BASE — A special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations was the brunt of defense ire and sarcasm on Wednesday, accused of a botched and careless investigation in the first-degree murder trial of Airman Basic Edward Novak II. Under cross-examination, OSI Agent Thad Payne took a verbal […]

Transient’s family accepted way of life

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer The mother of a transient whose body was discovered in an abandoned house last month said her family is at peace with his death and is thankful for the thoughtfulness Clovis residents showed before and after his death. Marie Autrand of Yuma, Ariz., described her son, Howard J. Payne, […]

Much of transient’s life mystery

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Few people were aware of Howard J. Payne’s existence in Clovis. Even police information about the 52-year-old transient whose body was discovered Tuesday in an abandoned house near Wal-Mart is sketchy. He was in Clovis a few months, though police aren’t sure exactly how long. A public assistance card […]

Clovis body identified as 52-year-old

Freedom Newspapers Fingerprints have established the identity of a body discovered in Clovis Tuesday as that of a 52-year-old transient with ties to Arizona and California, according to Clovis police. Howard Payne’s badly decomposed remains were found in an abandoned house near Wal-Mart, according to police. There were no signs of foul play at the […]

Decision on jury trial for airman delayed

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers A decision on whether a Cannon Air Force Base airman will face a jury trial in connection with his wife’s death has been delayed while more evidence is collected. Investigating officer Lt. Col. Daniel Kiefer agreed Friday to hold Airman Basic Edward Novak II’s Article 32 hearing open for an […]