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4 10 2013

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BEST BETS (April 27-29)

27 04 2012

Priority No. 1 this weekend: Turn on the swamp cooler. I’m a young homeowner and, although I’m not much of a handyman, this is one task I should be able to accomplish by myself. And if I can’t? Expect many a few angry, irritated tweets (@LittleGuyInATie) or blog posts next week.
It should be another wonderful weekend to be outside. Temperatures will rise to the high 80s and the forecast calls for “abundant sunshine,” winds 10 to 15 miles per hour and 0 percent chance of precipitation. Get outside and enjoy this weather before it becomes unbearably hot.
Here’s this weekend’s Best Bets:

Thousands are expected to flock to the La Viña Spring Wine Festival from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Billed as New Mexico’s oldest winery, La Viña will offer samplings of 20 different wines. The two-day festival features live entertainment, wine tastings, arts and crafts from more than 60 vendors, and New Mexican food in a “festive and family-friendly atmosphere.”
The entertainment roster on Saturday includes Dusty Low at noon, Radio la Chusma at 2:15 p.m. and Frank Zona & Urban Edge at 4:30 p.m. On Sunday, see Muddy Hands Blues Band at noon, Guitar Slim at 2:15 p.m. and Kat Crosby at 4:30 p.m.
The $15 admission fee includes a souvenir glass and a choice of a full glass of wine or samples of nine wines. The admission fee is $5 for ages 12 to 20 and it’s free for kids under 12.
For information, including directions to the La Union winery off of Highway 28, visit

It’s April, which, of course, means it’s time to ask, “Are you ready for some football?”
The annual Wells Fargo Spring Football Game is the final spring practice for the Aggies before they resume a regular practice schedule in the fall. Between 1,000 and 2,000 fans are expected to turn out and admission is free. The game starts at 1 p.m., but there’s plenty to do pregame.
Former Aggie and current Green Bay Packer Davon House will be signing autographs prior to the game inside the northwest gate of the stadium and the first 250 NMSU students to enter the gates will receive a free T-Shirt. The Goal Line club will also be hosting a tailgate prior to the game with free hotdogs for students, along with music. Concession stands will be open on the west side of the stadium and Sodexo will provide ice cream for just 50 cents.
Stay after the game to get autographs from current players and a get a free 2012 NM State football poster/schedule.
Also, the NFL draft continues with the second and third rounds Friday night and rounds four through seven tomorrow. Watch the draft on ESPN. A few Aggies from last year’s team could get drafted in the later rounds, but not likely. Cornerback Jontae Green, wide receiver Taveon Rogers, safety Donyae Coleman and running back Kenny Turner should get invites to NFL camps, however.

The Southern New Mexico March of Dimes is looking to set another record for funds raised to help prevent premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality at its annual March for Babies event.
“In Las Cruces, last year, they raised $170,000. That’s a record,” said Becky Horner, director for the March of Dimes southern New Mexico chapter. “This year, we’re hoping to raise $200,000.”
March for Babies will take place Saturday morning, starting and ending at Young Park, 1905 Nevada Ave. The 7 1/2-mile walk is one of the longer treks in the country, but participants are not required to finish the whole trail down Lohman Avenue, the Triviz multi-use path, University Avenue, El Paseo Road and back on Lohman to Young Park. Several companies are sponsoring checkpoints and rides back to the park, including two horse-drawn trolleys, Horner said.
Organizers are expecting 1,000 people to participate this year.
Registration and warm-ups are at 7:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 8 a.m. Participants can register their team up until the day of the event. Registration forms are available at both Kmart locations. Registration is encouraged online at
For information, call (575) 523-2627.


It promises to be much more exciting than watching paint dry.
Observe as individuals and teams of artists bring downtown Las Cruces alive with colorful chalk images at the state’s first festival of its kind. AvenueArt New Mexico runs from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday on Main Street Downtown.
Artists in two age categories — adults and students and youths under 26 — will compete for awards and prizes, including “Audience Favorite” honors. All painting must be done in chalk, pastel or tempera. Each artist can choose to create either a 5-foot-by-5-foot square or 4-foot-by-6-foot rectangular work.
The event is expected to feature more than 20 juried artists and a special guest artist, the festival’s award-winning street painter, Las Cruces artist Bob Diven.
For information, visit


According to a recent survey by Visa, prom spending is up 33.6 percent from last year. Families are now setting their prom budget at an average of $1,078, up from $807 in 2011, according to the survey. Boy, I’m glad to don’t have a teenage son or daughter. Parents, on the other hand, have quite a bit to worry about.
I’m sure the kids are giddy though as the three big high schools in town will have their proms over the next two weeks. The schedule:
• Mayfield High School: “Zeus’ Palace” from 8 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday at The Grapevine
• Oñate High School: “Dream a Little Dream” from 8 p.m. to midnight May 5 at the Alameda House
• Las Cruces High School: “Bellissimo” from 8 p.m. to midnight May 5 at the Grapevine.
What does that mean for most us? Expect to end up behind a limo or two while driving around town and don’t expect a wait shorter than an hour to get a table at one of our finer restaurants.
Ahh, prom. Lovely, isn’t it?

Sun-News staffers Tracy R. Patrick, S. Derrickson Moore, Andi Murphy, James Staley and Teddy Feinberg contributed to this story.

Community Engagement/Digital Editor Lucas Peerman can be reached at (575) 541-5446.

Paper cuts

24 04 2012

“Where Have All The News Papers Gone” is a fun video about the demise of the print newspaper product. Are you a subscriber to our printed product? What would you think if we did away with it tomorrow?

If you’re a newspaper person, check out The Buttry Diary, which is where I first saw the video.

Nature pic

23 04 2012

This butterfly stayed still long enough for Mesilla Valley resident Linda Guillen to snap a photo today. In an email to the Sun-News, Linda said, “this beautiful butterfly was drinking from a puddle of water in our driveway…. I ran inside to gt my camera and was able to get the close up of it.” Thanks Linda for sending us this photo.

I’m a big fan of nature photography. If you snap a cool pic of wildlife near Las Cruces, send it to and I’ll repost on this blog, and possibly on the Sun-News Facebook.

BEST BETS (April 20-22)

20 04 2012

The weekend is nearly here and it’s shaping up to be beautiful. Expect temperatures to reach the high 80s, maybe even the low 90s, with plenty of sun, a 0 percent chance of rain (according to and most importantly, no wind!!! After participating outside in the Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament last Saturday, I’ve had my share of wind for the rest of the year. 

There’s plenty going on this weekend, no matter where your interests lie. Below, I’ve put together some of my favorite things happening, with help from the staff of the Sun-News. And please, please, please send your photos of this weekend’s events to and we’ll post in our reader-submitted galleries on the Sun-News website and on our Facebook page and we may even post your photo in Thursday’s community page in the print edition of the Las Cruces Sun-News (yes, we still put out a print edition).

Without further adieu, here’s this weekend’s Best Bets:


Up-and-coming country music artist and Las Cruces native Bri Bagwell has been busy since her stint on “CMT’s Next Superstar” last summer:

— She has independently released her debut album “Banned from Santa Fe.”

— She launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the production of a video and promotion of her album and tour.

— She’s produced the video for her single — a piano ballad titled “Whiskey.”

— If that wasn’t enough to keep a girl busy, she announced a booking deal with William Morris Endeavor Entertainment last week that touts a big-name roster, including Taylor Swift, Vince Gill, Brad Paisley and LeAnn Rimes.

Way to go, Bri! She’s as talented as she is gorgeous. You can see Bri perform Saturday at the Rio Grande Theatre and check out the debut of her video “Whiskey.”

The show begins at 7 p.m., but don’t wait till then to get your tickets. Purchase a ticket for $20 at Treasures of Las Cruces (owned by Bri’s mom), 2001 E. Lohman Ave., or call (575) 524-1249 or go to for details.


St. Clair Winery and Bistro is hosting the first Barrels and Blues Wine Festival this weekend. The three-day festival kicks off at 7 p.m. tonight at its Las Cruces location, 1720 Avenida de Mesilla.

For the past several years, the Barrels and Blues Wine Festival has been an annual event at the Albuquerque winery. Now that the Las Cruces location has a larger space, it’s time to bring the fun down south.

“This will be an annual event based around music and food,” said Zan Steinberg, general manager of St. Clair Winery and Bistro.

Tickets are $15 for one day or $25 for an all-weekend pass. Each guest receives a complementary wine glass to sample six wines made by St. Clair. A menu created especially for the wine festival will offer easy-to-eat foods.

Las Cruces musician C.W. Ayon — one of the best blues performers in the state — will be on stage from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday.


The 18th annual Border Book Festival, which began Thursday, will go through Sunday at sites in Mesilla. This year’s theme is “The Shamanic Journey/La Jornada Chamánica.”

Events will include talks by noted healers, a panel discussion, a gala fundraising gourmet dinner, plant exchanges, book signings, readings and arts and cultural workshops.

Books by festival authors will be on sale all weekend at La Tiendita in the Cultural Center de Mesilla.


April 21-29 is National Park Week. During the week, all 397 National Park properties (parks, monuments, etc.) will offer free admission. How cool is that?

We have some wonderful National Park-managed sites in New Mexico, including Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands and Gila Cliff Dwellings. Guadalupe Mountains and Big Bend may be in Texas, but they are still both enchanting places to visit. 


The Organization of Aggie Students Inspiring Sustainability (OASIS) will host the fifth annual Earth Day Festival from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday at Young Park.

The festival is family-friendly event that is free and open to the public. The purpose of the event is to bring the local community together to learn and discuss issues of sustainability.

The festival will include educational booths, commercial booths and local food vendors. There will be live music all day long, as well as yoga, a belly dancing performance and other entertainment. Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima will provide an opening address. 

DELIGHTFUL DISH (April 3, 2012)

4 04 2012

The weather is beginning to warm, baseball stadiums and swimming pools are alive with activity and grills are ready to be fired up — summer must be close. And along with summer comes another tradition — ice cream!

Baskin-Robbins offers 31 flavors of ice cream (OK, some are sherbet), and scoops of each are available half-price ($1 for a kids scoop, $1.50 for regular scoops) on Tuesdays from 5 to 10 p.m.

Mint Chocolate Chip, Pralines ‘n Cream and Pistachio Almond are among the most popular flavors at the Baskin-Robbins in Las Cruces, said the servers who were frantically running around layering scoops in cups and cones on a recent Tuesday. (Tuesdays are Baskin-Robbins’ busiest day, so plan accordingly.)

If you’re not a fan of any of those flavors, consider Jamoca Almond Fudge (the April Flavor of the Month), Cherries Jubilee or my personal favorite, Daiquiri Ice. A double scoop of whatever you enjoy for $3 makes for a tremendous Tuesday finale.


Two scoops of Daiquiri Ice from Baskin Robbins

BEST BETS (March 30, 2012)

30 03 2012

I received a phone message Wednesday from someone in the band Bourbon Legend. (Click on the link to listen to the band.) The person who left the message described the band as a ukelele/folk/rock/metal band. Hmmm. I’m a big fan of the ukelele — I’m sold. They play tonight at El Patio; probably around 10 or so. Cover is $3 and you gotta be 21 or older. Also, throw ’em a like on Facebook.