VA vows timely GI Bill payments

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist The new Post-9/11 GI Bill, which on average will double the value of education benefits for eligible veterans, will be launched on schedule next August and begin making payments to students and colleges next fall. That’s just as Congress intended, says a senior Department of Veterans Affairs official. Keith M. […]

Proving VA claims creating process bottleneck

By Tom Philpott In the last decade, the Department of Veterans Affairs has doubled the number of disability claim processors on staff, and yet the average time to process a claim has climbed during that period from four months to six. From January 2007 through June 2008, as VA added 2,700 claim processors to its […]

Rain brings relief for farmers

By Thomas Garcia PNT Staff Writer Recent rainfall has interrupted stretches of high temperatures and brought some relief to area farmers. The average high temperature in Roosevelt County has been relatively cooler the past few days, said Earl Breon, meteorological technician with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. From June 10 through June 20, temperatures […]

Stock market’s rough ride has locals nervous

By Mickey Winfield, Freedom New Mexico The Dow Jones industrial average closed Monday at 11,350, marking the worst June for the market since the Great Depression of the 1930’s and it’s lowest point since Sept. 2006. In addition to the current condition of the market, the price of oil hit another record high at mid-day […]

Honors: NMJC graduates

Two students from Portales were awarded associate degrees from New Mexico Junior College on May 9. Daniel C. Vela received an Associate of Arts degree, and Joseph Roy Friesen received Associate of Applied Science degree. Freisen is an honor graduate, based on a grade point average of 3.5 or better of the credit hours completed […]

Housing slump hits home

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico Robert Garcia loves the home he and his wife share in Clovis, a three-bedroom, two-bath brick house he considers average. The Garcias are planning to move for a possible promotion with Robert’s computer job, and he’s shared a problem with average Americans in trying to sell his house. A […]

Tweaked farm bill worthy of Bush’s veto

Editorial Democrats took control of Congress vowing to take a fresh look at wasteful programs and spending priorities. The expiration of the federal farm program — it has to be renewed every five years — was a golden opportunity to put some substance behind those promises. Crop prices are high, and farmers are thriving; net […]

Farmers pleased with sorghum crop

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer Grain sorghum farmers are reporting an above average year with yields double and even triple the average, according to area producers and officials. “It is probably one of the better crops we’ve had in the past five years,” said Toby Bostwick, Curry County farmer and president-elect for the National […]

Wet weather gives way to heat

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By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer A cooler, wetter than normal late spring may give way to a warmer more humid summer in the city of Portales. According to AccuWeather, Portales’ average temperature in the month of May from 1914 through 2005 is 83 degrees. But this May, the temperature only reached or exceeded that […]

Four selected to LSC academic team

Freedom Newspapers RICHARDSON, Texas — Three baseball players and one softball player have been chosen to represent Eastern New Mexico University on the Lone Star Conference South Division all-academic teams. The baseball players are junior third baseman Derrick Kennedy of San Antonio, sophomore pitcher-outfielder Seth Clabaugh of Portales and sophomore outfielder Clayton Young of Canyon, […]

Seven Zias tapped by LSC

Freedom Newspapwers RICHARDSON, Texas — Eastern New Mexico freshman outfielder Alex Mayo Otis has been chosen to the All-Lone Star Conference South Division softball team, released on Tuesday by the conference office. Mayo Otis, from Phoenix, was one of seven Zias recognized by the conference. She finished fourth in the LSC in hitting at .436, […]

Gas prices on the rise

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer A recent spike in local gas prices has area businesses and residents reeling at the pumps. With 19 semi-trucks traveling on the road across the country, Welch Trucking is feeling the effects of the rising fuel prices, which jumped about 10 cents a gallon in the last few days. […]

Zias sweep ACU, improve playoff chances

By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers Eastern New Mexico University’s bats were smoking on Sunday, helping the Zias greatly improved their position in the battle for a Lone Star Conference tournament berth. ENMU used consecutive big innings to outlast Abilene Christian 13-9 in the opener, then rode a five-hit pitching performance from freshman Kristen Cruickshank to […]

Mercury not rising

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By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer A prolonged cold spell pushed the average temperature in January in eastern New Mexico well below normal. According to AccuWeather.com, the average daily temperature last month was six to eight degrees below the historical average. After a balmy start — with four of the first 12 days in the […]

Housing allowances increase for new year

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) will increase an average of 3.5 percent next year for the nearly 950,000 service members who live off base stateside. Some BAH recipients will see their housing allowance rise two to three times the average percentage increase while others will see no BAH raise in […]

ENMU Men’s rodeo team wins competition

Senior Stetson Hererra finished first in the bareback riding and Ty Foster won the tie-down roping to lead the Eastern New Mexico University men’s rodeo team to a first place finish at the recent first-ever New Mexico College-High School Challenge Rodeo in Farmington. The women’s team turned in a fourth-place finish. Herrera won all three […]

Cattle business risky even with technological advances

By Baxter Black: Humor Columnist This summer, within 30 days of each other, I was at the Idaho Old Timer’s Feedlot Reunion where the average age of attendees was close to 70, and the Adams County, Iowa, Cattle Feeders and Farm Bureau BBQ where the average age of attendees was under 40. My generation is […]

Feds employee too many, pay to much

Editorial Here’s an easy way to double your salary: Go to work for the U.S. government. GovExec.com reported earlier this month that in 2005 average compensation for federal employees was “double that of private sector workers for the first time,” according to figures released by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. In 2005, […]

Minimum wage puts state at economic disadvantage

By Walter Bradley Today we are experiencing a vibrant, robust economy. We have growth in jobs, unemployment under 4 percent and higher wages. According to the New Mexico Labor Department, Curry County ranks 18th in the state with an average wage of $11.42 an hour. In polling businesses in our area, the average minimum wage […]

Winter storm brings first cool days of fall

Staff and Wire Report After thunderstorms, that included a late afternoon deluge Wednesday, Portales residents woke to low, gray skies Thursday and the first cold temperatures of the season. With temperatures in the 40’s all day Thursday and light rain and variable winds, wind-chill readings had folks thinking winter weather. Despite the chill in the […]