Man arrested in Socorro part of large cocaine ring

Eric Heinz — El Defensor Chieftain: New Mexico State Police blocked off about a quarter-mile of N.M. Highway 1 Feb. 18 during a tactical team response to a report of a man holding a woman against her will.

Officers arrested Joseph L. Padilla, a.k.a. Joseph Montano, 33, Feb. 17 in Socorro by way of a federal warrant in regard to conspiracy to abet trafficking 18.7 pounds, 8.5 kilograms, of cocaine into New Mexico, according to U.S. District Court documents inspected by El Defensor Chieftain.

Some Socorro parents refuse PARCC test

Across the United States, some parents in states where the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test has been implemented have chosen to remove their child or children from taking the standardized exam.

Renovations good news at Good Sam’s

John Larson — El Defensor Chieftain: Craven Ford, administrator of Good Samaritan Society-Socorro, indicates the wall that will removed for dining room expansion.

The Good Samaritan Society-Socorro, locally known simply as Good Sam's, is planning more renovations to its facility on Highway 60 thanks to a successful fundraiser in December.

Truck ordinance denied amid concerns

What Socorro County administration viewed as a way to recoup damages to roads from major projects was met with backlash from local business owners who use large trucks for business.

Longtime insurance man Hardern retires

John Larson — El Defensor Chieftain: State Farm agent Hubert Hardern prepares to close down his  agency after almost 50 years.

After almost 50 years of writing thousands of policies from auto to homeowners insurance and taking care of hundreds of claims, State Farm agent Hubert Hardern is retiring.

Blue, Gray to mix it up in Escondida

El Defensor Chieftain file: Blue and Gray re-enactors battle it out for spectators at last year’s Battles for Socorro at the Escondida bridge.

The year was 1862. The mining boom which would bring prosperity to Socorro would not start for another handful of years, but in the early 1860s Socorro was little more than mostly adobe homes and buildings with a population of about a thousand.

Lemitar church open again

John Larson — El Defensor Chieftain: A covered front porch is a new addition to the rebuilt Lemitar mission church. It reopened on Monday.

The 185 year-old La Sagrada Familia Church in Lemitar observed its rededication Monday with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop of Santa Fe Michael J. Sheehan and Father Andy Pavlak of San Miguel Missions.

One dead in rollover car crash

New Mexico State Police reported about 4 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, just north of Socorro one person was killed in a single-vehicle rollover accident, and one person was transported to University of New Mexico Hospital.

Kirtland special ops training in county continues

John Larson - El Defensor Chieftain: CV-22 Osprey crew chief readies for landing at Kirtland AFB. The rear ramp door is always open during flight.

Its primary mission is to rescue soldiers and downed pilots in hostile combat areas, and the 58th Special Operations Wing operating out of Kirtland AFB continues to use the rough terrain of Cibola National Forest in Socorro County to train its combat personnel.

Coyote carcasses discovered

John Larson — El Defensor Chieftain: Coyote carcasses were found dumped in the Brown Arroyo diversion channel last week. The blocks of wood numbered 61 through 64 are evidence of an organized “coyote calling” contest.

The discovery of four coyote carcasses under the Brown Arroyo diversion channel bridge on Highway 60 at the Socorro city limits is a sight not common in the city or the county.