Closing arguments start in Chunn murder trial

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer Attorneys delivered closing arguments Monday in the murder trial of a Roosevelt County farmer accused of hiring an Aryan Brotherhood member to kill local rancher Jimmie Bo Chunn. By noon, the state and the defense for William “Billy Joe” Watson had spoken before Judge Drew Tatum called for a […]

Opening arguments in murder trial begin

Freedom New Mexico Opening arguments began Thursday in the slaying trial of Roosevelt County farmer William “Billy Joe” Watson. Watson is accused of hiring Aryan Brotherhood member Donald Taylor, a Rogers native, to kill Causey rancher Jimmy Bo Chunn, 71, in July 2005 in exchange for providing anhydrous ammonia for methamphetamine manufacture. Taylor has pleaded […]

Murder trial set for Thursday

PNT staff reports The murder-for-hire trial of Roosevelt County farmer William “Billy Joe” Watson is scheduled to begin with opening arguments 9 a.m. Thursday in the Roosevelt County Courthouse. Watson is accused of hiring Rogers native Donald Taylor — a member of what authorities call the race-based criminal group Aryan Brotherhood — to kill Causey […]

Imagine experience through cow’s eyes

By Baxter Black: PNT columnist There is a frequently told story by cowmen and veterinarians since herdsmen discovered fire. As I listened to a Georgia farmer recount his own personal version, I found myself imagining how the cow would feel. “I was grazing down by the creek. Something I do every day, I think? My […]

Business feature: Farmer finds stability with company

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PNT staff Eldon Merrick was a farmer before he decided he needed to find something different to provide for his family. The answer for him was feed processor J.D. Heiskell & Co., where he is now plant manager. “I couldn’t sustain a good living for my family so I tried to get into something else […]

Roosevelt farmer still faces death penalty

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico Even though the death penalty was repealed in New Mexico, a Roosevelt County farmer accused of arranging a murder-for-hire still faces possible execution. Prosecutors filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against William “Billy Joe” Watson last August. Watson is accused of conspiring with the Aryan […]

Women play significant role in agriculture

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By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer The classic image of a farmer shows a man getting up with the sun, feeding his animals and getting on his tractor. But what if that farmer is a woman? Michelle Heavyside, a dairy farmer’s wife, and LaVerne Scheller, a cattlewoman and one-time farmer, are active in agriculture in […]

Ingle ready to lead Legislature

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By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer Hunter, family man, farmer, state senator for 24 years. Portales resident Stuart Ingle wears many hats in eastern New Mexico, where he was born and raised. Ingle, a Republican elected to another term in November, has spent the last eight years as Senate minority leader. “I enjoy working with […]

Grady farmer appointed to state livestock bureau

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By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer “I don’t think farmers are a bunch of stupid people in bib overalls,” said New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau’s new second vice president. “I believe they are the backbone of our nation.” Grady-area farmer and rancher Pat Woods received his appointment for the two-year term in November. He […]

Dry season could leave farmers’ wallets lighter

By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer A dry winter, on top of a dry year, is leaving some area farmers worried and some just waiting to see what happens. Elida dryland farmer Greg Burris estimated that his crops have received much less than half of what is considered normal precipitation this winter. In the fall, […]

Housing on way to becoming privatized

Cannon Connections photo: Liliana Castillo The demolition of about 350 old housing units is part of a housing upgrade at Cannon Air Force Base. By Gabriel Monte: Cannon Connections Cannon Air Force Base has major housing changes scheduled for the next five years as the military moves toward privatized housing. Crews are in the process […]

Housing changes for CAFB

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By Gabriel Monte: Freedom New Mexico Cannon Air Force Base has major housing changes scheduled for the next five years as the military moves toward privatized housing. Crews are in the process of demolishing 350 housing units that were built in 1966, according to base officials. Meanwhile, 441 new housing units will be built after […]

Chili crop checked by available labor

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By Thomas Garcia PNT Staff Writer Portales farmer Rick Ledbetter said labor issues and crop prices have affected just how much chili he grows. Ledbetter, who has been growing chili for seven years, said he has six people helping with this year’s harvest of green chili, which he sells at the Farmers’ Markets in Clovis […]

FSA county committee nominations beginning

PNT Staff Report Farmer and rancher candidate nominations begin today for local Farm Service Agency county committees, according to a news release. The nomination period continues through Aug. 1, and elections take place this fall. “I encourage all producers to participate in the county committee election process by nominating candidates by the Aug. 1 deadline,” […]

History of peanuts in area illustrated by equipment

By Karl Terry: Freedom New Mexico Relics from another era in Roosevelt County agriculture were stopping lots of people and causing many to reminisce about peanut harvests gone by Tuesday at the 16th annual Ag Expo. Dennis Harper of Portales is displaying antique peanut diggers and threshers at this year’s Expo. The display is a […]

Sept. 25, 1969

• Portales residents, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Johns were preparing to travel to Seoul, Korea where Mr. Johns will be an advisor to Korean manufacturing firms under the auspices of International Executive Services Corps. The couple had served as Vista workers for the past year. • During a meeting of the Roosevelt County Soil and Water […]

Substandard base housing demolished

By Sharna Johnson: Cannon Connections Demolition crews are working at Cannon Air Force Base to remove 63 substandard housing units, according to base officials. The houses, most of which are located in the area near the base hospital, were built in the 1950s and would require major repairs to meet military housing standards, Housing Management […]

September 23, 1969

• Portales residents, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Johns were preparing to travel to Seoul, Korea where Mr. Johns will be an advisor to Korean manufacturing firms under the auspices of International Executive Services Corps. The couple had served as Vista workers for the past year. • During a meeting of the Roosevelt County Soil and Water […]

Organic peanut production on rise in N.M.

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer Naveen Puppala of the New Mexico State University Agriculture Science Center in Clovis. Puppala’s area of specialty is in peanut breeding and genetics. Q. Why is New Mexico ranked No. 1 in organic peanut production? A. Mainly because we have a suitable climate. We do not get as much […]

Making the grade

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Marlena Hartz: Freedom Newspapers Twenty years ago, the cotton that sprouted in the Texas Panhandle and eastern New Mexico could be used to make a limited number of items because the quality was poor. But farmers these days are celebrating a higher quality product, according to many in the industry. Regionally grown cotton, once used […]