Las Cruces Blog

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"More Bodies Will Fall"

The Las Cruces Blackmailer has sent the local paper a new letter threatening to shoot Crucens unless paid a large sum of money.

Here are the details of his previous extortion attempt:

The Blackmailer had previously set a deadline of September 22. That day passed with no consequences. The local paper states that the Blackmailer has set a new deadline in early November.

It quotes the new letter as saying:

"More bodies will fall. Now they will fall in school yards. Don't believe us? Try us again."

This could be a reference to the tragic shooting of a child several days ago. No one has been identified and arrested in that crime, but authorities are saying they don't think it's related to the threats.

A reward of $51,000 is offered for information leading to the capture and prosecution of the person or persons responsible.

Here's the 24-hour line for reporting tips:

(505) 635-9934

Any kind of information could be valuable.

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According to the Irish myth, the Jack O' Lantern is designed to ward off wandering spirits.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Peter Wolf Toth

Las Cruces has one of Peter Wolf Toth's Whispering Giants, as noted .

Since yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the , this is a good time to review his book on his sculptures and life, .

Indian Giver was published in 1980. It begins with his childhood in Hungary. He was born in 1947, the seventh child in a family that eventually numbered 11 kids.

Conditions under the communists were brutally harsh, and got even worse when what little property his father had was taken and given to a party member. They were left with a dirt-floored house in which the only furniture was a table and 13 chairs.

When the people of Hungary revolted against the Russians, it appeared at first they had succeeded. The Russians even agreed to negotiate -- but it was a ruse. They returned with a huge force, mercilessly crushing all opposition. Mass arrests and executions followed.

Two of Toth's brothers escaped to the West, and Toth's parents decided they would follow. For a short period of time the Yugoslavian border was open because the United States was paying Yugoslavia a bounty for every Hungarian that was permitted to leave Hungary.

After a dangerous escape and two years in refugee camps in Europe, Toth and his family came to the United States as sponsored immigrants.

Following his account of his life, Toth describes how he carved his first sculpture in a rock cliff, motivated by a compelling image he saw in the stone. That was 1972.

After carving a second sculpture in wood, he decided he would carve one for each state in the country, taking nothing for his work.

The difficulties and rewards of the first 27 "Whispering Giants" are described, and pictured. These sculptures are not "works" created in a studio -- they are his life, requiring months of travel searching for the appropriate tree and location, and months of carving.

In releasing the image he sees in each unique piece of wood, he satisfies something deep in himself. But he also makes it clear the work itself is a physical pleasure -- the outdoors, the textures, the fragrances -- even scrubbing pitch out of his hair.

This is a wonderful, exuberant book. It is no longer in print, so see if you can find a used copy.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Slow rain most of the night and all morning. Here's what the Organs look like.



Monday, October 23, 2006

Las Cruces Real Estate

Las Cruces has seen huge growth in the last few years. The population of the city has increased 8.5% since 2000, to an estimated 83,000. There are an additional 40,000 to 50,000 people living in the surrounding valley, and a total of about 190,000 in the county (Doña Ana).

Real Estate and housing prices have doubled during that period. The local paper reports that the average closing price of a house in Las Cruces last month was $221,000. A year ago it was $176,000.

I think the growth of Las Cruces is just beginning. Las Cruces offers attractions and advantages that are no longer available in states such as Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada. I predict a huge influx of relatively wealthy people, most from the West Coast.

This is going to continue to change Las Cruces in unfortunate ways.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Trashers

Everywhere in the desert around Las Cruces you see the offal of The Trashers. Not just a few cans, papers, bottles, but pickup loads.


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Friday, October 20, 2006

Fall Flowers

Some last flowers.



Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Whispering Giant

Apodaca Park at Solano and Madrid in Las Cruces has one of the 67 remarkable sculptures in "The Trail of the Whispering Giants."

These monumental sculptures are the life work of Peter Wolf Toth.

Mr. Toth was born in Hungary and escaped to the United States during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.

In 1972 at the age of 24, with no prior sculpting experience, he carved an American Indian sculpture at Wind and Sea Beach in La Jolla, California. Shortly thereafter, he decided to dedicate however long it took to create 50 such sculptures, one for each state.

He didn't stop at 50 and has now created 67, one or more in each state and the rest in other countries, including Canada.

The sculptures honor Native Peoples and are called as a group The Trail of the Whispering Giants.

Each sculpture is a gift to its location. He accepts nothing for them. He supports himself with other work while doing the carving.

The sculpture given to New Mexico is called "Dineh" and was finished and mounted in the park in 1986.

"Dineh" is a native word for "human beings."

Another view:


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Monday, October 16, 2006


This guy's been here for a couple of years, so it's not a Halloween thing. Any garden is long gone.

"Just me and my Bud Light."


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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Rainy Days

We've had several nights and mornings of rain -- unusual for Las Cruces and for this time of year. Cloudy most of the day, the Organs cleared in about 20 minutes this afternoon.



Saturday, October 07, 2006

St. Genevieve's Today

Here's the new St. Genevieve's Church.


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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

St. Genevieve's Church

The first St. Genevieve's Church was built in 1859. In 1886, the church's adobe structure was replaced by a brick cathedral, which was fronted by two 44-foot bell towers.

In 1967, this structure was demolished and a new church built at a new location -- a huge historical loss.

In 1998, a monument to the old cathedral was constructed at the church's original location.

Here's a drawing of the old church from the monument's plaque:

The monument:


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Tuesday, October 03, 2006


The sun breaks over the Organ Mountains.
Sunrise - Organ Mountains


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Underpass Water Tree

An underpass west of Las Cruces.


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