Confusion over medical marijuana, a bloody crash year and flamenco dancers leave viewer in awe


As part of our weekly series, The Taos News dug into the newspaper's archives to uncover the top stories of the week from 10, 25 and 50 years ago.

--10 YEARS AGO--

'Cloud of confusion: Medical pot law vague for both patients and law enforcement', Sept. 6-12, 2007, By Chandra Johnson

New Mexico residents Robbie Gordon and Leonard French found some relief from nerve pain with marijuana. They were among the first 30 residents approved by the state Department of Health to use medical marijuana. But they felt targeted by federal and state law enforcement because of their use and the still-gray area between federal and state law over medical marijuana.

Federal officials raided French's house and confiscated five marijuana plants. They told him his state-issued medical marijuana card was useless in federal eyes, according to the report in The Taos News. "They're sending the wrong message because marijuana is a drug and should only be used for medical purposes."

French told the reporter he hoped things will get easier for people like him who use medical marijuana. "There's no pill I can take that makes it better," he said.

A decade later, the use of medical marijuana to treat ailments has increased in New Mexico and other states. Colorado and six other states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, too.

Times, they are a-changing.

- 25 YEARS AGO -

'Crash statistics paint Taos in blood', Sept. 10, 1992, By Mike Stauffer

In 1991, Taos ranked second only behind No. 1-tied Bernalillo and Chaves counties for the number of vehicle crashes, a total of 801. Of those, 96 involved drugs or alcohol. Eleven people were killed that year in fatal crashes, according to the state Department of Transportation, which tracks crashes in all New Mexico counties.

It was still in a time when New Mexico had drive-up liquor windows, which, while it added to the ease of picking up a six-pack on the way to a party, also contributed to the number of DUIs on the state's roads.

Fast-forward to 2016. Drive-up liquor windows are illegal now. The state has toughened up DUI penalties and enforcement. Those measures appear to be working. The total number of vehicle crashes and those involving alcohol or drugs have gone up and down since 2006, but haven't topped the 1991 total. In 2015, the last year with crash data available from the state's website, Taos County had 357 crashes involving vehicles. Of those, 16 involved alcohol and two were fatal. So far in 2017, there have been two crash-related fatalities involving alcohol.

- 50 YEARS AGO -

'Electric flamenco performance fuses traditional with present', Sept. 7, 1967, By Claire Morrison

Flamenco dancers Teodoro Morca and La Conte de Loyo wowed crowds at La Fonda Hotel with their extravagant and passionate performances. "The elegance and hauteur with which La Conte and Morca perform is exciting to the point of exhaustion," wrote reviewer Claire Morrison for the "Taos Arts" section of The Taos News. "Capable of creating tension by use of only their hands and eyes they frustrate the observer by becoming increasingly abandoned only to suddenly, subtly change mood to one of sensuous coquetry."

It's enough to make a prim reader of the '60s blush.

Taos still hosts tremendous flamenco performances from visiting artists and the town's own flamenco artist, Catalina Río-Fernandez, who has been teaching the art to youth in town for more than 25 years. She instills in the next generation the love and artistry of this complex dance form.