A look back at the year’s top stories

By Argen Duncan and Clarence Plank

The past year brought achievements, tragedy and changes for Roosevelt County.

Below, the Portales News-Tribune takes a look back over 2008.


• Cannon Air Force Base received a delivery of C-130s as part of its transition to a Special Operations Base.

• A grass fire burned more than 7,000 acres south of Portales. One home was saved from the blaze but was expected to have smoke damage.

• Members of the Ellen W. Jones chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy were honored for writing the salute to the New Mexico flag and pushing for its adoption in 1963. Jane Mauk Hilliard and Margaret Smith, both of Portales, and Jan Compton-Ross of Clovis were members in 1963.

• Portales resident Clytie Calton, 91, died in a Lubbock hospital from injuries she sustained in what was later determined to be a natural gas explosion in her Yucca Heights house.

• The Roosevelt County Detention Center renovation was finished.


• Chad Lydick of Clovis was appointed to replace resigning Eastern New Mexico University Regent Jay Gurley.

• Former Cannon Air Force Base Airmen Basic Edward Novak II was acquitted of premeditated murder charges in the 2004 death of his wife.


• Portales City Council incumbents Alfredo Bachicha Jr., Gary Watkins, Donald K. Shafer and Mike Miller won re-election. Also, incumbent Manuel Jasso and Glen Schattschneider were voted into office in Elida. Voters gave Colin Chandler a municipal position in Floyd and Jack Manis an office in Dora.

• Portales Mayor Pro-Tem Donald “D.K.” Shafer resigned.


• Floyd cheerleaders won the State 1A title.


• Valencia Elementary School principal Todd Morris resigned.

• The Air Force Special Command confirmed Cannon Air Force Base would receive a squadron that flies MQ-1 Predators, unmanned aerial vehicles.

• The Portales City Council voted to go ahead with improvements on the city water main that broke three times in the past two years.

• Shawn Watson was sworn in as city councilor to replace Donald Shafer, who resigned.


• Eastern New Mexico University junior Kyle Roberts won the university’s first national rodeo title in 32 years. He and partner Kory Bramwell took the team roping crown.


• Salmonella cases in Portales had the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placing a hold on certain foods until they could trace what batch of vegeables were contaminated. A week later the FDA said tomatoes were safe to eat.


• Roosevelt County crews helped victims of Hurricane Ike. Emergency Medical Technicians Rhonda Gorrell of Dora, Apple Wood of Causey and Wiley Teal of Milnesand were a part of an Emergancy Management Assistance Contract to help victims for eight days.

• Floyd McAlister, Roosevelt County Extension Agent for 22 years, died. He was considered to be a strong leader and a good role model for area youth.


• Alva Carter, 68, died in a car wreck. Carter was an educator, president of Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents, a dairyman and a businessman.

• Roosevelt County Commission elections brought in a new commissioner for District 1, Democrat Jake J. Lopez. Republican David C. Sanders was re-elected to the District 2 seat.


• The Roosevelt County Commission and Portales City Council both agreed to provide extra funds so the Courthouse Square improvement project could begin.