In the Rearview

Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago - July 12

County balks at wind power, Pueblo powwow draws 5,000, O'Keeffe's friend, artist Rebecca Salsbury James, dies

By Mary Beth Libbey
forum@taosnews.com
Posted 7/12/18

- 10 YEARS AGO -'County blows off windfarm...for now'By Andy DennisonJuly 10, 2008Faced with two proposals for wind farms on land owned by Eliu Romero, the Taos County Planning Commission postponed a …

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In the Rearview

Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago - July 12

County balks at wind power, Pueblo powwow draws 5,000, O'Keeffe's friend, artist Rebecca Salsbury James, dies

Posted

- 10 YEARS AGO - 'County blows off windfarm...for now', By Andy Dennison, July 10, 2008

Faced with two proposals for wind farms on land owned by Eliu Romero, the Taos County Planning Commission postponed a preliminary OK this week.

The proposals were for 65 wind turbines on two parcels several miles east and northeast of Tres Piedras drew a packed crowd to the planning meeting with many vocal opponents and proponents.

Proponents spoke about alternative energy sources, especially when gas prices at the time were hovering around $4 a gallon. Opponents talked about their view. "I moved here for the view," said Gabriel Daffron, a western county resident." Solar is where we get our energy. I have a windmill, and it's not producing much."

Romero was seeking a landscape variance, a height variance from county regulations for the 284-foot electricity-generation structures, and a major development permit. Such a development required two public hearings, one on preliminary plans and another when they were final. The commission could have given Romero the variances, but instead voted 6-1 not to do so.

Two test towers in the Wind Mountain and Cielito Lindo areas are "right at the midpoint" to attract investors, said wind-power technician Henry Herman. The investors need a year's worth of data before they put their money up. Bill Lockwood, a partner in Taos Wind Power, said that one turbine costs $1.8 million installed, so the local company must seek outside investors to raise the $120 million needed for these installations.

The power generated would be made available to the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative although no agreements had been signed at the time of the planning commission hearing.

KCEC has since worked with Denver-based Guzman Energy on a plan to produce 100 percent of daytime power needs for its customers from solar. Wind power isn't in the picture at the moment.

- 25 YEARS AGO - '1993 Taos Pueblo Powwow', Story and photos by Rick Romancito

In a year when the Taos Pueblo Powwow has been canceled and the Carson National Forest was temporarily closed, it's good to look back on people having a roaring good time and thousands visiting Taos for a beloved event.

An estimated 5,000 visitors showed up for the powwow July 9-10, 1993 during what reporter Rick Romancito described as "some of the nicest weather in recent years."

Pueblo officials were delighted since they had only estimated that 1,000 would show in part due to the outbreak of hantavirus that year. The outbreak of what was at first a mysterious disease in the Four Corners region and Northern New Mexico had received national media attention and had taken several lives. Researchers eventually determined the disease was carried by rodents.

But that didn't stop Native Americans from all over the continent from coming to Taos. Powwow officials reported 200 dancers registered in 18 categories to compete for $10,000 in prize money. Romancito listed a dozen different drum groups who performed. Film and video crews from National Geographic and several regional news organizations covered the event, including one from Raven Hawk Productions that shot a segment for a dramatic film.

Evelyn Marcus and Charlene Tsoodle Marcus, both of Taos, won first place in the women's jingle dress and traditional buckskin categories, respectively, at the powwow.

"I think this is one of the best years we've had," committee chairman Carl Concha said. "Everybody had a good time and a lot of people said they are coming back again."

Organizers who canceled the three-decade old powwow this year said they were taking a break and the popular event would be back in 2019, bigger and better than ever.

- 50 YEARS AGO - 'Mrs. James succumbs', Staff report, July 11, 1968

Rebecca Salsbury James, the fellow artist who reportedly taught Georgia O'Keeffe to drive, the ex-wife of photographer Paul Strand, and the daughter of the originator of the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, died in her Bent Street home July 8.

The front page obituary said that "Mrs. James" had died after a long illness. She had already been cremated in Albuquerque, and no services were held in keeping with her request.

Her Taos history was star-studded. She came in the 1920s and encouraged O'Keeffe to come with her the next time she visited, which was in 1928. The two stayed with Mabel Dodge Luhan, who James had met on her first visit. And, like many Taos artists, she came back to Taos repeatedly during the 1930s. While it is unclear whether she met her second husband, William James, while in Taos, he did operate the Kit Carson Trading Co. in the late 30s. She moved here permanently in 1964.

She wrote two books about Taos in the 1950s, "Allow Me to Present These Ladies and Gentlemen," and "Taos, New Mexico 1885-1939." The first book was intended to pay tribute to people who contributed to Taos who were not artists and writers.

During her life, James' art was exhibited in notable museums from New York City to San Francisco. James is noted for her "large-scale flower blossoms and still lifes painted on glass", according to art reference books. She also learned colcha embroidery while in Taos.

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