The Taos News from Taos, New Mexico on August 3, 2005 · 5
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The Taos News from Taos, New Mexico · 5

Taos, New Mexico
Issue Date:
Wednesday, August 3, 2005
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Favor y Contra A5 July28-Aug. 3,2005 My Turn Baltimore rag misrepresents ranching couple T A T hiff, whiff,, whiff. Another lefty batter V V from the old media team strikes out, this time reporting on New Mexico. On June 5, The Baltimore Sun carried two stories by reporter Tom Pelton. One told of opposition to natural gas drilling in Northern New Mexico's Valle Vidal. The other featured a San Juan County couple, Linn and Tweeti Blancett, drilling opponents claiming they are being driven out of ranching by companies producing natural ' gas. But they aren't taking it lying down. No, sir. Linn Blancett, a self-proclaimed lifelong Republican, "has become so disillusioned by the Bush administration's accelerated leasing of public lands to drillers that he recently teamed up with the -liberal group Greenpeace," said Pelton. And Tweeti, reported Pelton, is an outspoken Bush critic, too, from her position as a director of something called Republicans for Environmental Protection. "Linn Blancett's brother has also abandoned the family's ranching heritage," according to Pelton. Pelton didn't do all his homework or his dog ate it and he has refused to complete the record. ' His last e-mail to me was a red herring about Log Cabin Republicans and Republicans for Choice, along with an I-coiildn't-care-less if someone else writes about his articles' glaring misrepresentations. The Blancetts' problems with ranching include a nasty suit that brought up allega- JOHN DENDAHL No wonder public confidence in the national 'mainstream' media continues to erode. tions of Linn's attempted misuse of a deed from his father, Richard. When the matter went to court, Linn lost at the trial level,.lost at the Court of Appeals, then lost a unanimous decision of the state Supreme Court. I e-mailed a copy of the Supreme Court decision to Pelton and suggested that this important matter should have been included in his tear-jerker about the Blancetts' departure from ranching. I also told Pelton that Tweed's organization, REP has no relationship to the Republican Party, supports Democrat office-seekers and Democrat Party interests, and is basically a scam. No reply, and no action. Then I received a statement by Linn Blancett's sister-in-law, Sherrie Blancett, that is a thorough impeachment of Linn and Tweeti's story. It turns out, says Sherrie Blancett, that Linn's brother hasn't "abandoned" ranching, as Pelton reported, but continues to ranch with his and Linn's father on about 30,000 acres. Sherrie says they have "a strong working relationship with the oil and gas industry." Two weeks had passed since my first e-mail to Pelton. His only response was argumentative and self-serving, noting, "The courts didn't ; force him off the BLM land that I wrote about in my article." - " 1 sent Sherrie Blancett's statement, a reminder of the REP scam, and urged again that Pelton correct the record with a follow-up story. "Forget it" was the essence of his reply, along with the evasion about other organizations with "Republican" in their names. Apparently this blue state reporter and his paper have the man-bites-dog, anti-energy-producer story they sought, and they don't want -it "colored" with stubborn, inconvenient facts. ;.. No wonder public confidence in the national "mainstream" media continues to erode. Laugh of the Month: Among nicknames his critics have long applied to Gov. Bill Richardson is Pander Bear. He gave special meaning to that this month by promising Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez $1.5 million (from where remains to be seen) to rescue a panda bear project that the City Council refused to fund. John Dendahl is a retired executive, and political leader. living an unexpected life "T Talerie Martinez is not liv- . A ing the life she expected,'; V : i Like so many , ': Taosenos touched by violence, her life changed forever the day her sister was murdered. "My sister was a really out-' going person," Valerie says. "She was very lively. It's amazing how she touched people's lives. She knew a lot of people. She was just a friendly person. Everywhere we went, she knew someone." But three years ago, 22-year-old LeAnne Martinez was killed at home, killed "in the one place we all think is safe," her sister points out. Her death shocked Taos and shook her family to the core. LeAnne, her family decided, would not be forgotten. ' Too many times, Valerie says, "the media focuses on the perpetrator and forgets the victim. I wasn't going to let that happen." She wanted people to know the LeAnne her family loved. Her sister, Valerie says, "was fun. She knew how to have fun. I would travel 350 miles to have fun with LeAnne." Valerie was living in Las Cruces when her sister died. In an instant, her life as she knew it ended. She couldn't concentrate on work, and ended up losing her job with the state. Valerie moved home with her son to help her mother care for LeAnne's daughter, little Estrella. With other family members, Valerie stayed involved in the court process, watching as her sister's killer was convicted, but regretting that the state did not prosecute the rape charge against the killer more vigorously. "They had it in the bag for first-degree murder so. they weren't going to worry about the rape," she says matter-of-factly. "But it was important to us, it was important to her daughter. We're the ones who have to live with it. There were just so many more things they could have done." The defense attorney was 'Taos Revisitado Inez Russell She spends time with Estrella but still v struggles to hold back tears at a birthday or a preschool graduation. Gary Mitchell, renowned for his skill in working hard for the reviled, and for the often-guilty. Valerie watched him in court. She knew him. She had met . him in Las Cruces when, as a student representative for the New Mexico State University chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, she had asked him to speak on campus, She didn't say hello during the trial. She no longer worries about the rights of defendants. "I used to work for the public defender's office," she says. "But after LeAnne, everything changed. I feel like I'm in a snow globe and someone shook it. I still haven't settled." Still, she has pulled hersejf together. She now works for -. the state in the income support division. Her real work, though, takes place in her free time. That work concerns mending the rips that violence causes this community. : Every year, Valerie and her family gather with other survivors of violence to remember the victims, people like LeAnne who left this earth too early, people who left not by God's will but by man's. They came together again earlier this July, making sure that Taos doesn't forget the people who are gone. But Valerie also. has work to do among the living. As a volunteer with the New Mexico Survivors of Homicide, she works one-on-one with people like herself, the loved ones of a man or woman killed through violence. She explains the court process to them, talks to them about grieving and sometimes, just sits with them while they cry. . . She spends time with Estrella but still struggles to hold back tears at a birthday or a preschool graduation - all the times that LeAnne should have been there to watch her daughter grow. All the times a little girl needs a mother, All the times LeAnne will miss. In July Valerie says matter-of-factly, Estrella tends to get grumpy. She's angry She wants her mother, Only 3 when her mother was taken from her, Estrella doesn't forget. LeAnne died on July 14, 2002, killed by Richard Fresquez in a murder so brutal, so inhuman, that it defies description. He was sentenced to life in prison for the crime. He's still alive. And so is Valerie Martinez. She's not living the life she expected. But she's living the life she has fought for, battling sorrow, working through anger, and moving on to make a success of her life despite the pain. LeAnne's death is but one in a series of horrific crimes that seem to haunt Taos. It's the question we all ask, but can't answer. Why in such a place of beauty do. so many suffer? And how many more will continue to suffer before the violence stops? Valerie doesn't know.tiie answer to those questions either. She does know that she must do what she can to . make sure that the victims have names, faces, and that the spotlight remains on those who are hurting, rather than those who kill. "My sister was a wonderful, living person. There was no reason for it to happen." No reason. Inez Russell is a former editor of The Taos News now living in Santa Fe with her husband, David Gomez, and son, Joaquin. Her column will appear monthly. Contact her at . 1 ; i The treacherous plot of land grant heirship Recently the heirs of the merced (grant) of Las Trampas had a meeting to see where they are headed, but according to some people who attended, they were disturbed by some of the exclusionary tactics to see who qualifies as a direct descendant of the original settlers. The grant was made to 13 families in 1751. Trying to prove today who is a descendant of the original settlers of many land grants, especially those made by the Spanish Crown in the 1700s,' can be quite problematic, if not utterly impossible. To follow in this direction might mean that those who think they are direct descendants might in reality not be, since maybe their ancestors settled in the grant a few years after it was made. What most of these people who have recently jumped onto the land grant bandwagon don't understand is history. Perhaps lacking the historical background as to how the land grants were made, they are in essence attempting to rewrite history to how they understand it, or rather, to how they would like it to be interpreted. For one thing, grants made by the Spanish Crown during the time of Onate's arrival in 1598 to Mexico's independence in 1821 were made under the Ordenanzas of King Philip . II in 1576; these were later incorporated into the Laws of the Indies of 1681, one year after the Pueblo Revolt and 1 1 years before the return of the Spanish Crown under don Diego de Vargas in 1692. ' Under the Laws of the Indies, , which very few of those involved in the land grant movement have read in its original Spanish, it is very clear in Book Four that a person could not own land in more than one land grant at a time. Also, anyone who received land from the Crown could sell their property after four years; thus anyone who then bought property was entitled to the use of the common. This is-at issue today, the use of the commons, which according to Spanish law anyone who owned private property, or suertes, was then entitled to grazing rights and the right to harvest timber or use firewood, regardless of nationality. It's this law that is giving the land grants a headache because they want to ignore it. If someone an original heir from any grant received land when the grant was made but that person later sold his property, does that mean that today one of his heirs can still claim land in such a land grant? I am not a lawyer, but common sense would say no. When someone Otras Voces W Mil ' 'ijcJT Estevan Arellano sells a piece of property his heir in perpetuity cannot claim to own part of the commons. When private property, which usually meant a suerte or long-lot, was sold, the rights to the commons were also given up. And if the land was sold to a Basque, like in the case of the Embudo grant when a piece of land was sold in 1751 to Nicolas Apodaca . (which means cranberry), that person was also entitled to the use of the commons. Or if it was sold to a griego (Greek) from where the last name Griego came into being, he was also ' entitled to the use of the commons. Does then an Anglo who buys land within a grant have the right to use the commons? The courts probably will have to decide. So if the people of the Trampas land grant, or for that matter any land grant, want to be real strict that only descendants of the original heirs are entitied to the' commons of grant, how will that be proven? A simple last name doesn't prove anything. In the 1800s there were a lot of Indians who were sold as slaves to the Hispanos and adopted that particular family's last name, but that didn't make them heirs since they cannot trace their blood lines to the original settlers. So if someone was adopted by an original heir's family, let's.say in the mid-1800s and the family has lived in the land grant since then for more than 150 years, then by following such criteria the person's descendants would not qualify for any land or to serve on (he board of commissioners. This is utterly wrong and very racist. This sounds more like a page taken out of Hitler's book. Using DNA to prove whether one is a descendant of an original settler would mean disturbing the grave of the deceased, provided that one knew where such a person was buried in the late 1700s. This is a scary proposition and one that can cost millions of dollars simply to prove who is or who is not a descendant of an original heir of a particular land grant. For people who don't own land anymore on a particular land grant and haven't owned land there for two or three generations, what gives them the idea that they can still qualify for land? This is absurd and ludicrous, and if it wasn't so serious it would even be hilarious. One of my grandfathers owned land in the Truchas land grant and helped to save it in 1896 by contributing money so the people could retain ownership, but that doesn't mean I can put a claim to land in that particular grant. We cannot talk about social justice and equal ity if we ourselves deny justice to others simply because they cannot prove through genealogy or DNA that they are direct descendants of an original settler of a certain land grant. This will create more conflict in land grant communities than is imagined. Let us work to improve the quality of life on the land grants for those who live on the grants, regardless of who they are and if they believe in community and aren't there simply as land speculators. tTAOO ... I A"V J ..AIM Footnotes Jake Mossman WOMEN'S HEALTH ISSUES The Ml leading mm of death for women in Iht US. are heart disease, oncer. stroke, chrtnic lower lespinlory disease. Alzheimers dime, diabetes, wintentioml Injuria, flu and pneumonia, kidney dime, and sriaiceiiMa (infecomofmebknll Being aware of Iheae risk factors is the first step lo irducint your risk. Hear) dweaae lemums Ac number buer of Americana, both male ml female, repraening over a fnunh of 9 causes of death. Mexues In pn heart dmaae alt fte seme for men and women, First ex a hesfthy (let Eat five or mont serving of fruit and wgetahtes duly. rmat enmumpoon of saturated fats, and dm plenty of water. Secrsid,ninmiann a healthy weight Ohnsty an afl-lime high mine US and getnng worse. Obesity increases the risk of a number of chrome disease mcrurjng heart disease, high Nond prewar, diabetes, cancer, and rthnM. Trsrd.gflregisareMrcise. ThrtymiiruwarJay at lean five days each wee la required for aduhs to derive heaht bnrfiB from esetcise. This amount ef eujoae dns not require a lot of lime ha It dries require cnmmrtnienl. Sort wty and gradually build up me jrttoisity lo avoid injtay. fxKim ran hi fun sue as dmraiBTtnwitvirwiiTir Mm tun Ml percent of Americam dn not art enniigh esercise which conttirsaa sigrsficanth; to our obesity pnWem. Nat do not smoke. Smoking triples the risk of dying from heart disease. Second-hand amoke also increases the ask of heart disease. Lasdy, ream l manage stress. Learn retauoon Irxhraque and use (hem dairy. Stress contn tines lo a number of diseases and increases Ihe risk of death fmm heart disease. Cancer s the semnrj leading cause of death in American women. Cancers of major concern include breast, cervical, cokaectal. lung, arid skin cancer. Estimates are fiat more than 50 of cancer death in (he US. are caused by social and envTrnornental condrttra and unhealthy lifestyle duces. General cancer prevents n measures sndiidc avoiding smnkmg and second hand am ike. not dnnkmg mo much alcohol, rttanusning a healthy wei ght earing five or more servings a iky of hurts and vegetables and a low fat 4et gelling regular eaerose, protecting year akm man (he sun, and helping t create a hearfhy social and rjbvcal erMrnrirnent Estimates are that oneaa lo one Hard of breast careers in pnavenenripainsl women are due to a lack of physical activity anoVnr obesity. Mammography Is the best (variable method deled bream cancer in Us earliest,' most treatable stage- an average of I lo 4 years before I woman can fed s lump Women aged 4f yean or older ahraJd have a serening manaiaigrani every I i 2 years. Cervical cancer can usually be prevented if women ate screened regiiarh at least every three yean with a lest called the Pap lesl The ftp lest can find aonormal ocUsia the cervix. These cells may, over tune, mm into cancer, and ooukl take many yean lo happen. If (he raits of a Pap lesl show there are ahnrxmal cesh that could become cancerous, a woman can be avsaed In moat cases, nil tratmenl prevents cervical cancer from developing. Colorectal cancer usually starts from polypi in the colon or rectum. A polyp rs a growth thai shrsidnt be tiere. Over time, some polypi can turn mtn cancer. If you're 10 or older, anting t screening rest for colorectal cancer ootid stve your life. Screening teas can find pnrypt, so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. ScrttrsnglesgscanitofndcotoTei il n found early, the chance of hetng cared nptii. Keys to good health are ne same for men and women. Eat right, get exercise, mnintsm a healthy weight, manage stress, know jmur family Iwory. get needed varanaOfni. and see your health care provider regularly for screening and iwetilising, . PIT X OF THE WTTX: EfTTWTVEN HtXAAI, RH Jf F Of MI f )M JSAL SYMPTOMS. GET 10 avEsmmm till august . 2005. See us k-i the PVxxi Pfcua Open Mooclay-f rttiay 9-6, SfttunJay 9-3 Ptt 758-3342 rww.taovhai macy-OOfrt SfXCiM SiSrj 00 Taos County and' Moreno Residents: 52 weeks: $30 26 weeks: $18.50 New Mexico Residents: ' 52 weeks: $30.50 26 weeks: $20.50 13 weeks: $15.50 Out-of-State Residents: 52 Weeks: $35.50 26 weeks: $25.50 $13 weeks: $21.00 TheTaosNews 505.758.2241 V f , i .4 V'tv " ,1 ,. Ul

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