Not In Public
Homeschooling on the rise in Southwest NM.

Happy Trails
Learning the ropes at Cowgirl Camp.

Writing Contest Winners

Some Memoirs
of Mildred's

Teen pranks at the best little whorehouse in Silver.

The Scene
of the Crime

Going back after all these years.

Waiting for Rain
Award-winning poetry.

A Day's Ride
Playtime turns deadline in the borderland.

Rattlesnake Stew
A tasty history lesson.

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Deer Friends: Wildlife Rescue
Sculptor Michael Metcalf
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Letters Banner

Raining Cats and Dogs

My wife and I want to express our appreciation and admiration for Jeff Berg's article, "A Disposable Commodity," in the August issue. He took the time and trouble to investigate the topic, then wrote about it with intelligence, compassion and accuracy. There are so many parts to the problems with dogs and cats in Dona Ana County, from numerical to emotional, it's very difficult to get them all captured and explained. Jeff accomplished this complex task better than anyone else we are aware of. This article is worthy of national attention and recognition.

We have been involved with animal-care issues in this area for the last few years, and spent five months managing the Dona Ana County Animal Shelter. I have ridden with an Animal Control Officer, as Jeff did, and have lived with the results of the situations he experienced.

The things Jeff observed about animal care issues are all too real. But his observations of the compassion and care on the part of the people who work with the situation every day are also right on. The Animal Control Officers from the city and county are overwhelmed and understaffed to adequately deal with the problems. The shelter is far too small and there are not enough staff to handle the constant flow of dogs and cats they must deal with. The city and county have, to date, seemed unwilling to face and work on the problem with the financing necessary to correct these shortcomings.

The root of the problems is that there are just too many dogs and cats in Dona Ana County, and many of those alive today are not treated well by their owners, or have no owners at all. As Jeff pointed out, some 17,000 dogs and cats are brought to the shelter every year, and over 11,000 of them are euthanized. And the shelter always operates at double its capacity or more. The solution, following the lead of Albuquerque and many other metropolitan areas around the country, has three main parts:

There are several organizations in the Dona Ana County and Southern New Mexico area working on these problems, each from a slightly different point of view, but in cooperation with one another.

Thanks again for bringing this situation to our attention so effectively and so well.

Bob and Dona Hearn
Las Cruces


More Lightcap Lashing

I'd heard of your publication, although I'd never read it until now, when an article by a Henry Lightcap ("Caveman Thinking," July) was brought to my attention by numerous Las Crucens who are outraged by that ill-conceived, inaccurate, blasphemous article, unbelievably fraught with errors and misinformation about the development in Las Cruces and the residents' opposition.

I decided I'd better check out the link on your Web site (www.desertexposure.com), "Who We Are," to learn a little about your paper's ownership and staff, before I really exploded. Your credentials are impressive; I might even read your paper again.

Considering those credentials, how, why did you ever come up with this Lightcap person? I often complain about some inaccurate articles written by our local reporters in our local paper (Las Cruces Sun-News), but boy, do they look good compared to the total misconceptions written by Mr. Lightcap. Where on earth did he come up with such garbage? I can't help but wonder if Lightcap might have had on his nightcap when he dreamed up the material for that article.

He obviously knows nothing about the backgrounds or education of those persons who are raising serious questions about our rampant annexations and approved massive developments. I, for one, have an education in city planning; there are professional hydrologists in the group (please tell Henry that has to do with water); civil and environmental engineers who have raised serious questions and numerous other "complainers" who have served on city boards and are very familiar with the planning, or lack of, in Las Cruces. They (we) all recognize that growth will occur and we aim to demand that that growth be managed and controlled in a beneficial way for all the residents.

The growth here has exploded and, as a result, the many wonderful features for which people came here are rapidly being eroded by poorly planned and uncontrolled growth. In fact, a recent California transplant had enough of what he saw as destruction of a really nice place and a few months ago, he and his wife packed up and moved to, of all places, Silver City.

Among the most outspoken persons are the so-called "newcomers" (not only the "locals"), who have traveled quite a bit and have seen, first hand, what has happened to the once-lovely cities of Phoenix, Tucson, Colorado Springs, San Diego and yes, even LA. Because of the horrendous traffic problems, congestion, air pollution, etc., they fled those cities to come here because Las Cruces was widely advertised as a nice, laid-back town. Yes, once it was.

I gather that Mr. Lightcap has been to LC, although obviously he doesn't visit very often, nor does he live here. I wonder why? He, as so many people I know, seems to have extreme difficulty in understanding that when serious questions about sufficient water supplies, lack of infrastructure, erosion problems, historic sites destruction, insufficient planning for schools and law and fire facilities, and a myriad of other important issues are raised, that automatically means anti-growth, the two words that the ignorant often use in hopes of quelling the questions raised by the intelligent.

By the way, we currently have 1,600-plus unsold houses on the market, and there are about 4,000 in the process of being built, 5,000 about to be approved within the next month and many thousand more already approved for construction.

I doubt you'll publish my diatribe, but I hope you'll at least read it. (PS — I've been to "Silver" numerous times; it's a lovely town — hope it stays that way.)

Tamie Smith
Las Cruces

Editor's note: Columnist Henry Lightcap does indeed live in Las Cruces.


History Lesson from Cyberspace

Enjoyed your online feature "On Camp Furlong Day, It's 1916 Again in Columbus" (March 2007). As I am researching an historical text on Camp Furlong, I want to pass on what I've found concerning the naming of the military camp and some info on Major Furlong.

Looking back on the early days, the installation was known as the Cavalry Post at Columbus, NM. Following the Villa attack on Columbus and the adjacent military installation, and as a result of a US Army troop buildup, the installation was called Headquarters, Punitive Expedition, US Army — Columbus, NM. After Pershing's expedition moved into Mexico, and as a result of supply and troop buildup at Columbus, the installation was known as Camp US Troops. This installation was named Camp Furlong by General Orders, No. 9, War Department, 1937. It was named in honor of Major John W. Furlong, 13th Cavalry.

Major Furlong was a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, class of 1891; he graduated number 15 in a class of 65. After graduation he served with the 1st and 6th Cavalry; served recruitment duty in Philadelphia, 1898-99 (Spanish-American War); served in China as an aide to M.G. Chaffee, 1900 (China Relief Expedition); served in the Philippines, 1900-1903; General Staff, Washington, DC, 1906-1910. He served at Columbus, Squadron CO, 13th Cavalry, January-March 1915. He was then at the Army and Navy Hospital, Hot Springs, Ark., March-April 1915, where he died April 4, 1915, following an operation for gastric ulcer, age 45.

John L. Deuble, Jr.
Western Historian — Millitary Installations and Mining Camps
via email


Tarantula Training

If you look up "tarantula (Southwest)," you will find that they are said to be harmless to humans and can be trained as pets. A bit nervously I have let a tarantula run around on me with nothing but, finally, a pleasant experience. And yet the plan as expressed in your column (Continental Divide, August) is to squish it next time? I believe your wife has the right idea, tossing it down the hill. But of course you might just train it as a pet.

David Nelson
via email

Fan Mail from Afar

We just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know how much we enjoy the Desert Exposure. My wife and I built a house in Silver City about three years ago. We have not yet had the opportunity to move to Silver full time, but we spend as much time as possible at the place we now call "home." I grew up in Cincinnati, my wife is from Chicago and we now live in Austin when we can't be in Silver. Our plan is to get to Silver full time within the next four to six years. That is the Cliff's Notes version of our story. I give you our background so that you can understand the framework for our appreciation of what you do.

Every time we come into town, one of our first stops is to pick up a Dessert Exposure. We like to get the hard copy to keep at the house, partly for a reference to the shops and restaurants that advertise in Desert Exposure and partly for the interesting and entertaining articles. On several occasions our out-of-town visitors will read the Desert Exposure's we have at the house and are able to get a real flavor of our extraordinary town.

I always read your online version (www.desertexposure.com) and appreciate the opportunity to read the current issue before we can get our hands on the real deal. The online version helps us stay connected to our real home. Please keep doing what you're doing — we love it.

Susan and Bill Ossim
Austin, Texas


Let us hear from you! Write Desert Exposure Letters, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, email letters@desertexposure.com or fax 534-4134. Letters are subject to editing for style and length. Deadline for the next issue is the 18th of the month.


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