February 4, 2005
Dear Subscriber:

They're telling us anywhere from 65 to 75 percent of registered
Iraqi voters voted in their election this past weekend.

You remember the Iraqis. Those people a world away that we have
been told have no concept of what democracy is. Those people
that could care less about who runs their government. They just
want to be left alone to tend their camels and shops and the
things that go on in the government palaces and death camps is
none of their business.

Well over half of registered Iraqi voters said with their ballot
that they did care.

Compare that to the number of qualified voters that usually vote
in the USA.

When we have an election, we're proud of ourselves when 50
percent of us vote.

Of course, most of us have a good excuse when we don't vote.

We have to make a living. We have to take the kids to soccer
practice. We have a tee time. We're busy reorganizing the
sock drawer.

In Iraq, I'm sure the non-voters had their excuses as well,
flimsy as they may have been.

They could have been shot entering the polling place. There
could have been someone standing across the street from the
polling place taking notes on who was entering so they could
go to their homes later and kill everyone there or maybe they
would be snatched from the street and featured later on local
TV losing their heads.

What kind of an excuse is that?

And we think that we in the US are the guardians of democracy.

Maybe someone should organize classes on how to establish and
sustain a democratic government. Maybe a few Iraqis could come
here and teach the class.

True, Iraq has a long and often painful road ahead of them.
Terrorism is like an infestation. It's like termites. When
you think you're rid of them you're not. We're not rid of
terrorism in this country, either. The holes in the ground in
New York City where the Trade Center Towers used to be are
constant reminders that we're all in this thing together.

I followed the Iraqi elections on TV much like I did the
inaugural ceremonies in Washington last week. I get a kick out
of seeing history in the making. I watched with the fear that
the meanies would ruin it. They didn't. I watched as Iraqi
voters danced in the streets. During a commercial I got up to
go to the kitchen to make myself a sandwich. On the way I
danced a little jig of my own.

In an "in your face" gesture to the terrorists cowering around
the corners, the Iraqi voters held up their ink-stained index
fingers. The ink was a way of preventing voter fraud, but it
turned out to be a memorable badge of courage for each one of

Here's an idea. In a gesture of solidarity with our brothers-
in-democracy in Iraq, maybe we should all dip our finger in ink
when we leave the polling place in our next US election.

Bad idea. Could mess up our manicures.

You can carry this democracy thing too far.

Don Vanlandingham

Turning colder with a smattering of snow (less than an inch).

High 45 degrees at 11am Saturday (1-29). Low 13 degrees at 6am
Monday (1-31).

Annual precipitation total -- 1.73 inches

Ten year average annual precipitation total (through January,
according to The Mountain Monthly) -- 1.26 inches.

Cloudcroft's only on-demand current weather conditions anytime
of the night or day are on Cloudcroft.com. It's free.
Part of the Cloudcroft Museum display. For display only. Not
for public use.


Cloudcroft School Board elections were held Tuesday.

Tom McLaughlin ran unopposed.

Jackie Cates was elected to the Board position occupied by
Ramona Elrod who did not seek re-election. She defeated Kelly
Gray for that position.

Vote totals had not been canvassed at press time.
Located conveniently on Hwy 82, comfortable rooms, great rates.
We can host your family reunions or group meetings. New owners
Doug and Marilyn Huntsucker. Call us for reservations at (505)
682-2526 or email aspencloudcroft@tularosa.net.
In Santa Fe.


Q - I read in the Cloudcroft paper that locals are seeking
motel and restaurant chains to locate in the village. Is this

A - I saw the same article. As you might imagine there is a
large contingent of residents (and visitors) that are against
the "Ruidoso-izing" of Cloudcroft. If you're of that
persuasion, I wouldn't worry too much about waking up one
morning in Cloudcroft with a KFC in your backyard and here's

(A) - National chains do not arbitrarily locate in a community.
They always conduct a thorough market analysis. There have been
a few such studies done on Cloudcroft in recent years. They
have all come to the same conclusion...the village's economic
base and available work force is not strong enough to support
such a business.

(B) - Cloudcroft has grown little in size in the past 50 years
due to several constants. Based on those same constants there
are no indicators that it will grow much in the next 50 years.
The overwhelming majority of new homes constructed in the area
are vacation homes and are not an indication of a growing local

(C) - Cloudcroft is too far South to be guaranteed a snow
season sufficient to develop a reliable tourist base around it.
In the past 10 years, Cloudcroft's ski area has been open for a
full season of skiing only once. For that reason, Cloudcroft's
tourism tends to be very seasonal. Retail chains depend upon a
much more reliable and flatter annual income line.

(D) - Cloudcroft has a nagging water supply problem. A fact
of life for every town is a lack of a reliable water supply
translates into an impeded growth.

I'm sorry if this scenario seems pessimistic to the "Bigger
Cloudcroft" crowd. I'm just reporting facts as they have
been presented to me.

Growth doesn't necessarily mean a growth in size. Most village
residents agree a growth in the quality of life in the village
would be nice. Better roads, more reliable utilities, etc.

If a small Cloudcroft bothers you, there's always Ruidoso.
February 4 -- Violinist Linda Wang. Flickinger Center.
Alamogordo. 7:30pm.

February 4, 5, 6, 7 -- Mardi Gras celebration. Cloudcroft.

February 6 - Cloudcroft Art Society. Old Red Brick Schoolhouse.
2:30 pm.

Would you like to help deliver meals to the homebound around
Cloudcroft? Monday through Friday deliveries. Call the
Cloudcroft Senior Center at (505)-682-3022. For information on
other Senior Center services, see their web site, listed on the
Cloudcroft.com Links button.


Mountain Garden Club meets every third Monday of each month.
Call (505) 682-2910 for more information.

Senior Van from Timberon to Alamogordo leaves the Timberon
Lodge promptly at 8:30 every Wednesday morning.

Free Vitals Clinic. Cloudcroft Senior Citizens Center, every
Wednesday. High Rolls Senior Citizens Center, first Thursday
of each month.
Dear Newsletter:

Thanks for all the great stories. The weather summary along
with the web site always makes me feel a little closer to
Cloudcroft. Could you consider adding what's normal,
especially for rain. If you report an inch of rain so far
this year or this month, is that good, behind, ahead, etc.

Thanks again for the great work.
Denis Welch
Dallas, Texas

[Here are the average monthly temperatures and precipitation,
based on long-term data provided by the Western Regional 
Climate Center.]



Dear Newsletter:

My wife and I have been reading your newsletter for just over
a month. We discovered the newsletter whist 'surfing' the net.

We were looking for houses and/or property to buy to set up a
small observatory where we could visit and view the night sky
from a place where the stars can actually be seen. We spotted
the link to the newsletter and took a quick look. 

It is such a pleasant surprise, to see in this day and age, a
community brought together with news, views and great short
real life stories. 

Ann, my wife, and I are visiting Cloudcroft for the first time
on 3rd Feb this year for 7 days. We already feel we know the
area well and are looking forward to meeting some of the
community, especially as there are some celebrations going on.

We hope to find a property that fits the 'bill' and begin to
enjoy holidays in such a wonderful location.
Keep up the good work with the newsletter.
Very best wishes to you all.
Chris and Ann Traher
Red Lodge, Cambridge, England

Dear Newsletter:

The Cloud News is superb! Look forward to receiving each and
everyone! The wording is elegant; sometimes very funny!

Please keep up the super job.

Santa Clara, NM

Dear Newsletter:

Love the newsletter--truly appreciate having this "letter"
from home, but would like an "unofficial" (accepting NO
responsibility for its accuracy!) report of how much snow
is around. Even the official CC weather report only talks
about "rainfall". Realize that it varies greatly, but just
a "rainfall" reading doesn't give you much of a feel for
the snow. 

Am looking forward to returning to our CC cabin in mid Feb. so
hope y'all get some snow for us Houston folk.

Dear Newsletter:

Does Cloudcroft have a wedding chapel?
Donna Munn
Lovington, NM

[Yes, there's a wedding chapel in Cloudcroft. You need to
contact the Sacramento Mountains Museum (505) 682-2932. Ask for
Pat Rand or Patsy Corneleus. The Chapel is located on Museum
property and I understand is available for weddings. -- Don]

Dear Newsletter:

I can't help being curious about the reasons the chapel was 
moved? Was it no longer be used for services? What is its 
history anyway? Denominational or non? 

Jack Schuller

[I've read the history of the chapel but I've slept since then
so whatever I tell you may not be accurate.
I know it used to be located near the Sacramento Forest Service
headquarters and hasn't always been a church building. It was
donated to the museum recently and was moved to that site this
winter. -- Don.]

Dear Newsletter:

Just wanted to say, I can not wait to come out to Cloudcroft
and experience what I am reading in your newsletter. 

All of a sudden one evening, my husband John was on my laptop
looking at Ebay's Land and Real Estate for sale. I walked into
my office and asked, "What are you looking for?" He says for
whatever reason that New Mexico is calling him. 

Now mind you, we are in Southern New Jersey, in a small borough
called Chesilhurst. We are a mile x a mile, we rely on all the
towns around us for a Post Office, shopping, etc. He tells me
Timberon is going to be a future second home for us, and is
going to bid on some land there. 

After showing me a few pictures, I started feeling the same
way. After he logged off, I decided to check out Cloudcroft.com
and Alamogordo.com. I think it is going to meet all my
expectations. I'm already designing the log home plans, and
even though I loathe the winter, it will probably be a beautiful
and pleasant summer place to call home. 

I love small towns and was very excited to know how artsy it
is. I look forward to meeting the people in the area and seeing
all the wonderful sights that I'm only able to read about right

I hope everyone enjoys Superbowl coverage and is cheering for
our EAGLES! Thank you for this Newsletter I'm really glad to be
able to receive it and read up on what's happening.

Take care and God Bless Cloudcroft!

Lisa F. Sturgis
Chesilhurst, NJ

Dear Newsletter:

I hear rumor that The Weed Cafe has closed! Is there any truth
to that? I hope not! Will they reopen? What about the Weed
Blue Grass Festival? What a sad thing for such a WONDERFUL

K. Carlsbad, NM

Dear Newsletter:

My sister told me that their friend had a dog they loved 
dearly, but he got very fat. They took him to the vet, who
asked, "my goodness! are you feeding him table scraps?" to
which they replied, "Oh no! he has his own plate!"

M. Sykes

Dear Newsletter:

The stories about the dogs and chocolate reminded me of one
Thanksgiving when we took our two schnauzers, IdaClair and
Max, to Dallas with us. 

They were used to being at my parent's house since we
traveled there often from our West Texas home. We had begun
setting desserts out on the table for our Thanksgiving meal
and were not paying much attention to anything else that was
going on there.

I walked into the dining room and found IdaClair standing on
the table over an almost completely eaten pecan pie. She must
have been slowing down on her eating when I walked in because
she was ready to get off the table and needed some help since
she was so full. 

She was the greenest dog I've ever seen and stayed that way 
the entire weekend. That was the last time she climbed on the
table and also the last time we left desserts unattended. Good
thing that wasn't chocolate!
Thanks for the newsletters and stories. They're always
delightful and relaxing.
A Reader from Slaton 

Dear Newsletter:

I spent four years in the Air Force and three and a half of
that as a B52 mechanic. I enjoy your newsletter and read it
I love dogs and especially your dog stories. Keep up the good
work and don't sweat the small stuff!
Charles Mullen
Tampa, Fl.

Dear Newsletter:

I read your article on the bathroom knobs and thoroughly
enjoyed it, as I do all of your newsletters. Soon Sandy and I
will be in Timberon. But just to say Nanny Nanny Boo Boo to
those jet guys (I know I worked on B-52's). Please be advised
that a jet engine has many many propellers, they ain't real
big like a reciprocal engine has, but they are still propellers!

I said that just to get the jet guys grinning.

You wrote about the loss of Johnny Carson and I couldn't agree
more. What an impact he had on the public. I think he was a
nice guy and seemed like he treated everyone with dignity and
respect. A trait that unfortunately seems to be going away in
this world.

Keep up the good work, I look forward to future newsletters.
Greg Pierson
Corpus Christi, Tx (Too Dang Far Away!)

Dear Newsletter:

Whoa Nelly! That New Mexico NFL team you suggested would never
survive in Albuquerque. Too small a population base. And if 
you are going to call them the "...Kids" after Billy The Kid,
then let's put them closer to the outlaw's stomping grounds
around Las Cruces. After all The Kid spent most of his time
around Mesilla, the saloons of El Paso, the jail in San Elizario
and in Otero and Lincoln Counties. 

There is plenty of room right where Billy traveled on horseback,
right there on the trail. The owner of American RV and Marine
outside of Anthony NM/Tx wants to build a large sportsplex near
the Anthony Gap between the Organ Mountains and Franklin 

The enormous international megalopolis population base of a
combined Las Cruces, Alamogordo, El Paso and Juarez estimated
at over 2 million could then support your New Mexico Kids. As
an example a pre-season "scrimmage" by the Dallas Cowboys and
the Raiders a few years ago was the very first sell out of
Sun Bowl stadium. It could happen...and in YOUR time.

Larry Bracher
El Paso, Tx

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Copyright © 2005 Cloudcroft Online
The Travel and Visitor's Guide to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
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