In the Rearview

Youth treatment center closes, Plaza shenanigans and a man disappears


– 10 years ago – “Casa de Corazón suspending residential treatment center”, By Shawna R. Williams, Nov. 29-Dec. 5, 2007

Exactly a decade ago, Casa de Corazón announced it was closing its residential treatment centers in Española and Taos that served adolescents around Northern New Mexico. A change in the preferred treatment model for helping adolescents struggling with addiction and mental illness meant fewer youth were referred to the facilities making it tough to operate financially. 

Fast forward to September, 2017 as Taos County celebrated the word that the state Children Youth and Family Department had approved a plan for a Taos County Residential Treatment Center for adolescents. The need for a residential treatment center, as it turned out, remained, despite the change in treatment models. According to the Taos-based service NonViolence Works, New Mexico has only 90 residential treatment beds for adolescents and 300 on a waiting list. 

The closing of the Casa de Corazón treatment centers grew out of a Supreme Court ruling, which required “states to place persons with mental disabilities in community settings rather than in institutions,” according to The Taos News article. Experts in the Supreme Court case argued that people placed in community settings were more independent and had better relationships with family and friends. 

But one New Mexico expert, who generally supported the community setting, told a reporter at the time that sometimes “kids need to be taken out of the home and put into intensive 24-hour treatment center ... The trend is going too much the other route. It must balance out at some point.” 

Taos County’s efforts to reopen a residential treatment center for youth 10 years later might be part of that balance. 

– 25 years ago –, “Smooth criminals”, Nov. 25, 1992

Call them scoflaws of the highest order. In 1992, Dick Schrader and Joe Franzetti circled the Taos Plaza for four hours on rollerblades, hoping to be arrested for violating the town’s ban on skateboarding and roller skating in the historic venue. KOB-TV showed up to film their arrests, but Taos police ignored the miscreants and several phone calls about their misbehavior. The men were not arrested.

Now Taos, 25 years later, still has an ordinance banning skateboarding and other such nefarious acts on the Plaza. Town officials are considering a further regulation now, this time limiting, but not banning, buskers who sing and play music on Taos Plaza.  

– 50 years ago – ‘Search continues for Flores’, By Scott McCulloch, Nov. 30, 1967

Pat Flores was driving home to Taos from Española through the Río Grande Gorge on Nov. 20, 1967 when he became one of many tragic Taos mysteries after a chance encounter with a horse.

Flores, 35, apparently hit the horse on State Road 68 near Pilar, which caused him to lose control of his vehicle and send it tumbling down the embankment. His Oldsmobile was found partially in the Río Grande, but there was no sign of Flores. 

The search for the man continued for more than a month, with state police sending professional divers into the frigid waters of the river looking for his remains and others combing the banks looking for him, according to updates in The Taos News. A snowstorm temporarily suspended the search on Dec. 20. 

The state Department of Game and Fish gave permission for Taos County Sheriff Anselmo Valero to use dynamite in an attempt to find Flores, once the weather cleared.