2015-01-21, Steve Hernandez, Elephant Butte Irrigation District

President Bill Harty rang the bell to begin our meeting at 12:18 pm and Ana Mangino led us in  a silent prayer of thanks.  President Harty led us in the Pledge of Allegiance and Michele Murphy led the club in singing “The Band Played On” and “Home on the Range”, followed by a limited meet and greet due to our late start.  Lya Jordan was our mystery greeter. We had many guests this week including our student guests Katheryn Dickson, Samantha Perez, and Emily Ramsey, Harry Hansen’s daughter, Meagan, and two visiting Rotarians, Jesse Allen (Rotary Club of West El Paso) and Mary Lee Shelton (Club Rotario Juarez Campestre).  Dinus Briggs introduced Bill Brogan (this is his second reading for club membership).

Happy bucks were collected from Bill Harty (returning from a fun family reunion in San Antonio), Ken Van Winkle (Picacho MS Interact club), Patty Groth (welcomed back to Sue Groth and reported that Alex Keatts is walking well), Ron Salak (reported on his wife’s successful hip replacement), Kristi Granados (still pre-tax season), Ana Mangino (the Club Rotario Juarez Campestre cookbook and Buddy Ritter’s new book), and Paul Comeau (reporting on the selection of Jake Redfearn as the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional of the Year).

The following announcements were made: 1) The Rio Grande Academy schedule is set for January 31, February 28 and April 11 in Alamogordo and January 24, March 7, and March 28 in El Paso; 2) the new Picacho Middle School Interact starts this week; and 3) Elaine Szalay is back at the Rehab Hospital.

Jim Bullock presented Les Smith with his new Paul Harris pin (2 rubies!).  Congratulations Judge Smith!

The Program

Steve HernandezHoward Ness asked Gary Esslinger to do the honors of introducing our speaker.  Gary did so with a light-hearted poem about Steven L. Hernandez and his role as an attorney connected with the Elephant Butte Irrigation District.  Steve outlined the history of the Rio Grande Project and its milestones including the development of the Elephant Butte Irrigation District.  It was extremely interesting to learn the history of the Rio Grande water flow problems and how the dam at Elephant Butte came to exist.  This writer was not aware that it did take an “act of Congress” to approve the dam’s construction (authorized by the United States Congress on February 15, 1905 and finished in 1915!).  The list of legal battles regarding water rights along the Rio Grande stretched over many years and states and has not yet ended.  Texas v. NM and Colorado CV No. 220141 (U.S. Jan. 8, 2013) is currently at the U.S. Supreme Court.  This case underscores that water is a crucial interstate resource in New Mexico.  Thank you to Steve for catching our attention on what could be a very “dry” subject.

After the Program

A student won the 50/50 drawing but because no one couldn’t find the ticket, the drawing proceeds were split between them!  The can collections through Happy Dollars and fines generated $64 for the El Caldito Soup Kitchen.  The meeting closed with a reminder of next week’s speaker – Phil King, NMSU Civil Engineering.  President Harty led us in the Four-Way Test. 

<prior week   following week>

Guests of Rotarians



Bill Brogan

Dinus Briggs

Megan Hansen

Harry Hansen

Visiting Rotarians


Home Club

Jesse Allen

West El Paso

Mary Lee Shelton

Juárez Campestre

Student Guests



Kathryn Dickson

Las Cruces

Samantha Perez


Emily Ramsey








Submitted by Kristi GranadosKristi Granados