Planet Earth explained; Earth history digs up our planet’s past

By Daniel Montaño ,Managing Editor | Photo courtesy of PALAEO-ELECTRONICA.ORG


For the first time ever at CNM, starting in the spring semester, an Earth History course and lab will be offered at Main Campus, Dr. Spencer Lucas, earth and planetary science instructor, said.

Lucas will be teach­ing the course, which is a survey of Earth’s 4.5 bil­lion year history, including the birth of the planet, the origins of life, mass extinc­tions and mountain build­ing, Lucas said.

“It covers all sorts of fun stuff including dinosaurs and other very interesting fossils,” Lucas said.

The lecture portion of the class, EPS 2096, will be offered Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 8:20 p.m. and the lab, EPS 2196, will be held Fridays from 8 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. and there are still slots open for inter­ested students, according to CNM’s schedule of classes.

There are no prereq­uisites for the course, and Lucas said students do not need any scientific back­ground in order to enroll.

“It would help if you know a little bit about geology, but I won’t assume you have a background in anything,” he said.

The lecture course is an introduction class that offers the basic foundation for other fields such as engineering or anything else related to geol­ogy, he said.

The subject focuses on the history of the planet itself and the processes through which the planet came to be how it is today, he said.

For example, Lucas said the class will study the basic processes of mountain build­ing, how different mountains form and why they form that way.

“Take the Sandias and the Jemez Mountains, they are formed in completely differ­ent ways and not a lot of people know that,” he said.

The course also enriches one’s life by shedding light on the basics of what our planet is and how it developed throughout the millennia, he said.

“To me the Earth is our home, and I think that the more you know about the Earth the more interesting of a place it becomes. I think it’s a good thing in anybody’s life to understand how this planet came about,” he said.

In the lab, students will look at fossils and interpret what they mean, and Lucas said he hopes to include optional trips out into the field so students can get hands-on field experience, he said.

“I’d certainly like to do that — go to the Sandias and actually look at the geology of the mountain range,” he said.

The credits from both the lab and the lecture course transfer to the University of New Mexico for students who are interested in moving on to get a degree in Geology, Lucas said.

However, Lucas said he thinks that the fact that CNM is looking to expand the Geology Department might mean that eventually there will be a program that offers an associate’s degree in Geology.

“I think that’s the goal, in the long run, if pos­sible,” he said.

Lucas said he has vast field experience across the globe, has printed over 500 articles in his field and is currently the curator of geology and pale­ontology at the New Mexico Natural History Museum, making him one of New Mexico’s foremost geologists.

While he has taught at UNM, and has more than 17 years’ experience teaching at the univer­sity level, this will be his first semester teaching at CNM, he said.

New theater breathes life into retail wasteland

By Daniel Montaño, Managing Editor | Photos by Daniel Montaño and INFOBARREL.COM AND MAIN.ABQJOURNAL.NETDNA

8.2 8.1

Like Las Vegas, a vibrant neon oasis has sprung up amongst a barren concrete and asphalt waste­land in Albuquerque’s northeast heights.

Regal’s Winrock Stadium 16, Albuquerque’s newest movie theater, has been long awaited by fans of premium movie experiences, and it finally officially opened for business on Friday.

The Chronicle was there for the new the­ater’s grand opening and reviewed the cinema and festivities on Nov. 16.

Situated in the Winrock Town Center at 2100 Louisiana Blvd NE, which has been a relative retail waste­land for over a decade as plans have been meticulously laid for the revival of the shopping center, the theater itself is an impressive sight in the midst of ongoing construction.

The crowd was huge on opening night, because many people have been looking forward to this theater for months coming to Albuquerque.

That is in part because the theater touts Albuquerque’s first commer­cial IMAX auditorium, and the closest Albuquerque had before was the DynaTheater attached to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, which is a Dolby theater, so it does not count — because if you cannot watch Thor smash things with his hammer, it is not real IMAX.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, this theater is not a real IMAX theater either.

The theater is instead equipped with “digital IMAX,” a smaller version of the real thing, about half the size, which features dual digi­tal projectors instead of the dual 70mm projectors in a true IMAX auditorium.

That being said, both the IMAX and Regal Premium Experience (RPX) auditori­ums at Albuquerque’s newest theater are deeply impressive, both boasting a richer movie experience with a better, bigger, brighter picture, far better sound and more com­fortable seating.

The RPX audito­rium has the edge when it comes to sound, featuring a 100,000 watt speaker system including eight 21 inch subwoofers, according to, which all work together to engulf one in the sound of the film.

While watching “Enders Game,” one could feel the auditorium shake during explosions, an auditory experience that warrants a second viewing.

The IMAX audito­rium clearly has a better picture, however, and both auditoriums offered luxurious, comfortable leather seating.

Whether or not all that is worth the price ($17.25 for IMAX at any time of day, and an additional $4 on the regu­lar ticket price for RPX) is up to the individual moviegoer.

The staff was friendly, albeit a bit bumbling, which might have just been a symp­tom of opening night jitters and the massive crowd rather than incompetence.

Overall the staff was very accommodating, friendly and helpful, even if getting a soda in the massive concession stand takes a bit longer than one would expect.

The concession stand spans the length of the brightly lit and captivating lobby, and serves more the traditional movie theater fare, including cheeseburgers, hot wings and pizza.

Although the food options are not traditional for a movie theater, the prices are traditionally high, so do not come here expect­ing a cheap date.

The lobby is relatively small, giving most of its room to concessions and leaving most of the 72,000 square foot operating space open to serve why people actually go to a movie theater — to watch movies.

Overall, enjoying a movie at Regal’s Winrock Stadium 16 is a wonder­ful experience and defi­nitely fresh for Albuquerque, although it is a bit expensive.

Argument for the ban

By Daniel Montano, Managing Editor | Photo from PROLIFEWITNESS.ORG


President of Students for Life UNM, Samantha Serrano, said one thing is at stake with the proposed ballot measure: the lives of children.

Serrano believes that life begins at conception, even if the child is not able to survive outside of the womb at that time, and that abortion ends a human life, she said.

“If we do not win this election, babies are dying,” she said.

The term that is used when a fetus is capable to live outside the womb is “viable” and for Serrano, the magic number is 20 weeks old, she said.

The conceptual basis of viability provides a frame of reference for the larger philo­sophical question of when a fetus becomes a person, and for those in favor of this ballot measure, it is undis­putable that a fetus is a living human being by five months, Serrano said.

Although the number is up for debate and has been said to be anything from 20 to 28 weeks, 20 weeks is the time when Serrano said a pre-born human can begin to feel pain.

For supporters of the ballot measure, knowing a human being can feel pain, subjecting that human to pain and ending its life is inherently morally wrong, Serrano said.

“By allowing for abortion in the later terms of preg­nancy, we are basically saying we acknowledge this is a human being, we just don’t care,” she said.

Serrano said she is also a part of Project Defending Life, a local pro-life ministry headed by Father Stephen Imbarrato.

Imbarrato believes that in addition to saving the lives of children, he is working for the health and well-being of the women in question, he said.

“Abortions are not safe. They’re potential risks to women, especially when you start getting into late-term abortion,” he said.

Imbarrato said he is pushing for reform to give women “real options” when it comes to pregnancy.

As part of his ministry, Imbarrato provides counsel­ing services to women with unexpected pregnancies, providing housing assis­tance, access to pre-natal care, such as ultrasounds, and assistance receiving social services, he said.

“Women have abortions, not because of choice, but really because they feel they have no choice. They’re in a desperate situation,” he said.

For Imbarrato, the ques­tion should not be whether or not one should have access to abortions, but why a woman would feel as if she needs to get an abortion in the first place, he said.

Being a catholic minis­try, Project Defending Life provides these services under the guidance of the church, counseling women on the teachings of the Bible, he said.

Serrano however, does not take that approach with her outreach efforts, she said.

She believes it is impor­tant to include people of all faiths in her discussions, so she approaches the topic from an academic perspec­tive, she said.

“We may not agree about religious beliefs, but we can find common ground in biol­ogy and philosophy,” she said.

With this approach, Serrano said she has found success when discussing late-term abortion procedures, which account for about 1.5 percent of all abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and repro­ductive health non-profit organization.

However, her and Imbarrato’s goal is to com­pletely ban all abortion, regardless of how far along the pregnancy is, she said.

“From a pro-life point of view, I think that this is a stepping stone toward ending abortion all-together, and that is the ultimate hope,” she said.

For Serrano, there is no difference between having an abortion at two weeks or five months, and killing a child two years into life, she said.

She said she believes the motivation is the same.

In response to the argu­ment that abortion is a pri­vate medical and moral deci­sion, and that there should not be laws regulating such decisions, Serrano thinks that certain private decisions do require legal regulation, she said.

Just because a woman has a right to make private decisions, does not mean she will always make the right decision, both morally and legally, she said.

“Women can make pri­vate choices to prostitute themselves; the law says that’s wrong. Women can choose to drink alcohol while pregnant, but the law says that’s wrong,” she said.

Albuquerque has become a battleground state in the legal abortion debate in part because of the Southwest Women’s Options clinic, one of only a handful of clinics nationwide that will provide abortion services throughout the pregnancy, which has led supporters of the ballot measure to dub Albuquerque “the late-term abortion capi­tol of the United States,” Imbarrato said.

The most recent avail­able data, from 2009, shows 5 percent of all abortions in New Mexico are performed on women who come from out of state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“People come here from all over the country, and other places outside of the country, come here, to Albuquerque, to get an abor­tion,” Imbarrato said.

Battle of the ban; The late-term abortion issue heats up in Albuquerque

By Daniel Montaño, Managing Editor
With one week left until the votes are done being cast in Albuquerque’s contentious late-term abortion ban ballot measure on Nov. 19, campaigns on both sides of the argument are working harder than ever to get people out to the polls.
The Chronicle spoke with representatives from both sides to shed a little light on the argument.

For the accompanying articles, go to for the argument for the ban, and for the argument against the ban.

Argument against the ban

By Daniel Montaño, Managing Editor | Phot Courtesy of

41Because there are so many varied opinions and personal motivations within the group of people opposed to the upcoming ballot measure, Respect ABQ Women has taken an eclectic approach to lead the charge in striking the ballot down, Micaela Cadena, Respect ABQ Women member and policy director at Young Women United, said.

Respect ABQ Women is a coalition of local groups, including men and women, the young and the old, reli­gious or not, families and individuals, dedicated to protecting women’s right to make private medical deci­sions regarding their own body and, Cadena said.

“For us, it’s really about each family being respected and trusted to make the best decisions for them­selves,” she said.

The real issue at stake for Cadena and other groups opposed to the ballot mea­sure is not an issue of abor­tion, but one of personal responsibility and the right to have one’s own personal life and health free of govern­ment interference, she said.

Cadena said that regard­less of one’s personal opin­ions on abortion, there should not be a law forcing anyone to fall in line with a particular belief.

“It’s not actually a debate between pro-choice and pro-life. It’s about accurate information and respectful conversations, because our families, for many reasons, don’t believe in government interference in our private lives,” she said.

Julianna Koob, a local Attorney who works with Planned Parenthood of New Mexico, which is also part­nered with Respect ABQ Women, echoed Cadena’s sentiments, and added that the people within this coalition are New Mexico natives, who care about what happens within their home state, she said.

Koob’s comment reflects some of the contro­versy surrounding how the petition that this ballot mea­sure is based upon was started — by groups of anti-abortion activists who came to New Mexico from other states specifically to lobby for a ban here in Albuquerque, she said.

“We’ve been protecting women’s access to reproduc­tive healthcare for genera­tions. We’re invested in New Mexico, and we’re not going anywhere after the elections,” Koob said.

Both Koob and Cadena also hold issue with the lan­guage of the ballot measure itself, they said.

“This ballot is com­pletely misleading and biased,” Koob said.

The language of the proposed law does not allow exceptions for cases of rape, incest or complications, forc­ing women who are in these circumstances to carry the resulting pregnancy to term, Cadena said.

The law also does not allow for exception in the case of fetal anomaly, abnormalities or diseases that are found with the fetus in utero, meaning if this ballot passes, women will be forced to continue a pregnancy that would end with a child that could not survive outside of the womb anyway, Cadena said.

The way the law stands now, in cases such as these the woman in question has the option of ending the pregnancy, reducing the chances of complications and infec­tions that can threaten her life or cause problems with future pregnancies, Cadena said.

“Many times these are wanted pregnancies, fami­lies are excited about the new beings that they’re going to bring into their family, and they have no options. These can be pregnancies that may never be viable outside of the womb,” Cadena said.

Some women do chose to complete the pregnancy even in the case of fetal anomaly, and that is exactly the freedom of choice that Respect ABQ Women and opponents of the ballot like Cadena are seeking by strik­ing down this bill, she said.

“We cannot stand in a woman’s shoes. We cannot make those decisions for her. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in this situation,” she said.

Although the ordinance would allow for an abortion if the life of the mother is “endangered,” the language is vague and indistinct, Cadena said.

Respect ABQ Women representatives took the lan­guage of the ballot measure to Albuquerque physicians in order to determine if doctors could make a viable medi­cal decision while keeping within the limits of the pro­posed law, Cadena said.

The physicians agreed that the language is so vague it effectively eliminates the possibility of ending a preg­nancy if the woman’s life is in danger, Cadena said.

“When we brought the language of the ballot to medical professionals, they told us ‘we don’t know what this means. If you’re 30 seconds away from death can we per­form a procedure then?’” Cadena said.

Doctors would be forced to make decisions about how to best keep a family healthy and well based on governmental oversight, not necessarily the option that is best for the woman, Koob said.

“A doctor should not have her hands tied when she is trying to get the best care to her patient,” Koob said.

For more information on Respect ABQ Women, or to get involved in their cam­paign, go to http://www.respect­

Beyond conversation; ESOL tears down language barriers

By Daniel Montaño, Managing Editor | Photo by Daniel Montaño

Beth Giebus-Chavez specializes in teaching academic english and writing to those whose first language is not english.
Beth Giebus-Chavez specializes in teaching academic english and writing to those whose first language is not

Every Tuesday and Thursday, a symphony of twangs, inflections and accents come together in harmony in Beth Giebus-Chavez’s classroom, she said.
Last Thursday, the long, thick syllables of an eastern Turkish accent could be heard explaining English verb tenses to a lush, vowel rich Jordonian cadence that sang understanding, which was interrupted by a quick-syllabled Mexican inflection asking for clarification.
Because she is the only full-time English for Speakers of Other Languages Instructor at CNM, those sounds are typical in any of Giebus-Chavez’s classrooms, she said.
“It’s great! It’s wonderful! It makes for a really interesting class when you have people from all over, and they’re all speaking English but learning about the world from each other,” she said.
ESOL courses differ from traditional English as a second language (ESL) classes because they focus on academic English, Giebus-Chavez said.
While ESL classes teach students general conversational English for day to day living, ESOL classes are traditional English classes, such as practical writing or essay writing, that are tailored to students for whom English is a second language, she said.
“We’re able to address the challenges that are unique, or the problems that are unique, to speakers of other languages,” she said.
Giebus-Chavez said that some students who already speak basic English can sometimes struggle in college level English courses, particularly in a classroom full of native English speakers.
ESOL classes help those students by delivering the same information in a clearer manner, ensuring that students do not get lost in the din of conversational American English, she said.
“When you’re with native speakers you get to hear all the nuances of American way, American culture, and there’s some validity to learning that way, but for others it can be overwhelming,” she said.
All ESOL classes count as regular English credit because the instructors are trained to teach traditional English classes and traditional ESL classes, Giebus-Chavez said.
Their special training allows these instructors to provide support for their students, and allow students to learn at a pace that might be easier when dealing with a second language, she said.
“In ESOL we’re trying to provide a safe atmosphere where if, for example, you’re mispronouncing a word, it’s OK, because we’re all kind of struggling with it,” she said.
Because all the students learn together at the same pace, and oftentimes take the same series of classes together, Giebus-Chavez said there is a community mentality among the students in ESOL classes.
The instructors help to foster this feeling by hosting book clubs, and throwing parties and events just for ESOL students, she said.
“We offer a lot of support to those students, because they’re new. They feel vulnerable sometimes. So we try to find ways to make it into a community, so they feel comfortable, and so they have people to come to if they have any questions,” she said.
Nasser Alhajali, Business major and one of Giebus-Chavez’s students, said he has issues trying to keep up with what native English speakers are saying because they speak too fast.
“When American speakers speak fast, I can’t catch anything. It’s hard to me,” Alhajali said.
But in his ESOL classes, Alhajali has been able to improve on his English speaking while also learning the basics of academic writing, he said.
“In this class, all the teachers speak slowly. They’re patient with students. It helps a lot,” he said.
Although Giebus-Chavez is the only full-time instructor who devotes all of her time to ESOL classes, there are two full-time English instructors and six part-time instructors who teach some ESOL classes, she said.
That is a total of 10 teachers, including the chair of the ESL/ESOL department, who can teach these classes to the 862 international students at CNM this semester, which may not sound like much, but many of those international students are not signing up for classes, she said.
“I think a lot of people aren’t aware of it. I think our only difficulty has been informing people about it,” she said.
ESOL classes are offered every semester, and are held mainly at Main and Montoya Campuses, she said.
Those interested in the program can feel free to email Giebus-Chavez anytime at with questions, she said.

Getting the goods Albuquerque’s best and safest places to trick-or-treat

By Daniel Montaño , Senior Reportermaps

For parents, keeping their little monsters from running into something truly scary while trick-or-treating means knowing the safest neighborhoods to go to, and Albuquerque has some of the best neighborhoods in the country for Halloween fun according to

Zillow annually ranks the best cities in the United States, and although Albuquerque just narrowly missed making the top 20 this year, our fair city has held that honor in the past, according to their website.

Beside which neighbor­hoods tend to be the most generous with candy treats, the website’s real-estate data experts calculate which neigh­borhoods top the list by look­ing at home values, how easy it is to walk the streets, population density, and most importantly crime statistics, according to their website.

According to Zillow’s most recent data, topping the list for Albuquerque is the Altura Park neighbor­hood, which consists of homes surrounding Altura Park on Morningside drive and bordered by Indian School Road to the north, Washington Street to the east, Constitution Avenue to the south and Carlisle Drive to the west.

The data said the Oso Grande neighborhood on the southwest corner of Spain Road NE and Eubank Boulevard NE, is the next best place to go, and Academy Hills on the southwest corner of Academy Road NE and Eubank Boulevard NE came in third.

Fourth and fifth place went to Peppertree-Royal oak, west of Tramway Boulevard NE, between Academy and Spain roads NE, and Embudo Canyon east of Tramway Boulevard at Indian School Road NE, according to the website.

Even for trick-or-treat­ers who live in another part of town, the drive to these neighborhoods should prove worth it in pounds of glorious candy, chocolate and other sugary snacks.

Part-timers seek more respect

By Daniel Montaño, Senior Reporter
Better pay and more job security — part-time instructors reported they want both in a recent poll conducted by CNM’s employee union leading up to annual contract negotiations, Seamus O’Sullivan, part-time political science and sociology instructor, said.
Nariman Arfai, part-time psychology instructor and head of the part-time CNM educator union, and his team will be looking to change that this year, he said during an interview on Oct. 3.
For the union, the part-timer negotiations, which began on Oct. 10, will center on compensation, job security and improving working conditions for part-time instructors, also called adjunct faculty, who teach 63 percent of all classes at CNM, Arfai said.
“Adjunct means supplementary. How can you teach 63 percent of all the courses and be called supplementary?” he said.
O’Sullivan said there are 753 part-time instructors and 302 full-time instructors teaching at CNM this semester.
Brad Moore, director of marketing and communication, was not able to answer specific questions regarding CNM policies for part-time faculty members’ pay-scale, course selection process, or contract eligibility, because of confidentiality issues, he said.
“CNM and the faculty union are currently in collective bargaining negotiations for a new contract.
To uphold the confidentiality and of the negotiation process, the rules of which have been contractually agreed upon by CNM and the union, CNM will not discuss issues that could be a part of the collective bargaining process,” Moore said in an official statement.
At the time of this publication, Tom Manning, labor relations officer, who was asked to comment, did not responded to several interview requests, which were initially sent prior to when negotiations began.
Most part-timers at CNM have a master’s degree, and a large portion hold a doctoral degree, yet if these academics teach 10 classes in a year, they will earn about $27,000 before taxes or about $20,000 after taxes, Arfai said.
In comparison, according to the United States Department of Labor, tree-trimmers and receptionists earn an average of more than $33,000 a year before taxes — and neither job necessarily requires a high-school diploma.
“It’s impossible to support a family with this salary and in this economy,” Arfai said.
College administrators, however, have seen a steady increase in pay over the last 15 years, according to
The Chronicle previously reported that Kathie Winograd, CNM president, received a 22 percent raise last November, which was approved by the schools governing board and amounted to an extra $48,000 a year, bringing her annual salary to more than $260,000.
CNM’s administration set aside state funds to offer a 2 percent raise for part-timers this year, which amounts to an extra $56 per class taught, but the union will be looking for far more than that, O’Sullivan said.
Andy Tibble, full-time instructor and President of CNM’s employee union, under whose umbrella the part-timers union falls, said in an Oct. 1 interview that while part-timer’s may say they are not being paid enough, CNM does pay better than other institutions in the area.
For example, New Mexico Highlands University pays part-timers $800 per credit hour taught, which works out to about $24,000 before taxes a year, to teach “overload courses,” according to the public bargaining agreement held between NMHU and their faculty union.
“So, while we would complain that all part-time faculty are underpaid, we can’t complain that CNM pays less than other institutions,” Tibble said.
O’Sullivan agrees that CNM is not the only school underpaying their part-time faculty, but does not believe that just because it is a common practice CNM is excused in underpaying anyone, he said.
“I’m frankly very tired of hearing that as an excuse. ‘Well, everybody’s doing it.’ That doesn’t make it right, doesn’t make it fair, doesn’t make it moral and you’re exploiting your workforce.” O’Sullivan said.
Tibble stressed that CNM does at least offer benefits to part-time instructors who teach more than eight contract hours per week, a practice that is not common among higher education institutions, he said.
“You know that’s pretty big, because it’s actually more generous than, say, the affordable care act requires. That’s just not available at a lot of other institutions. I don’t even believe that UNM offers that,” Tibble said.
For O’Sullivan though, the problem is the administration’s lack of appreciation for its largest teacher workforce, he said.
He thinks the lack of respect begins with the fact that Colleges and Universities nationwide are moving toward a business model to run their schools — the Wal-Mart mentality of seeking profits, in part, by disregarding employees, he said.
O’ Sullivan thinks administrators in those schools look at their workforce as numbers, not people, and search for ways to deliver their “educational product” cheaper, he said.
“I think in most cases for the levels at the top, it’s just economics. It’s got nothing to do with anything else, it’s just economics,” O’Sullivan said.
Andy Russell, full-time history instructor, was once a part-time instructor, and thinks that one of the major benefits of being a full-timer is the job security that comes with it, he said.
Part-timers are contracted to teach on a semester-to-semester basis, and receive no guarantee that they will be given any classes once the semester runs out, Russell said.
“There’s nothing that guarantees your right to classes the next semester, and they don’t have to give any explanation, as far as I know, to why you won’t be teaching,” Russell said.
Part-timers are assigned the courses they will teach by administrators, usually the deans of the school, Russell said.
While part-time instructors’ requests for where and what they would like to teach are taken into consideration, classes are assigned based on CNM’s needs — not the instructors, Russell said.
Because of this, part-timers do not know how many classes they might be teaching from one semester to the next, and sometimes may even receive fewer classes if they are on the wrong end of office politics, Russell said.
“There seems to be some indication that personality issues occasionally enter into things,” Russell said.
O’Sullivan said there is a core of part-time instructors who sometimes teach five or more classes per semester — more than is required of full-time instructors — and have done so for years.
A two-term, full-time faculty member makes about $44,000 a year teaching 10 classes, and the part-timers who take on the same load deserve recognition from administration for their service, O’Sullivan said.
“I guarantee you they’re not here for the money, they’re here because they love doing what they’re doing,” O’Sullivan said.
Arfai said these core part-timers take on the extra workload despite the fact that they do not get paid the same as full-timers, because they truly care for CNM students.
“Deep in their heart part-timers really have a good soul, they don’t want to let CNM students down,” he said.
Higher education is adopting a business model and it seems that part-timers’ contributions are being left by the wayside in favor of profits, Arfai said.
But these teachers do not plan on putting down the chalk any time soon — for them teaching is a reward unto itself, Arfai said.
“Some of them come from CNM or other community colleges. They’re paying back their community with their altruistic, pro-social behavior,” he said.

Film fest features freaky fright flicks

By Daniel Montaño, Senior Reporter | Photos courtesy of Ashley Heffron8.5 8.4 8.3 8.1
Something wicked this way comes — straight to the South Broadway Cultural Center.
The first annual New Mexico Fright Fest will be taking over the SBCC at 1025 Broadway Blvd. SE from Oct. 24 to Oct. 26 to showcase and present awards to horror films from around the world, Ashley Heffron, Biology major, said.
Heffron is one of the co-founders of the film festival, which will also feature workshops where budding film makers can learn how to make special effects makeup using latex, how to properly use three point lighting, and will even include an acting workshop, Heffron said.
“It’s going to be super, super fun. Especially if you like films in general because for 65 bucks you’re getting 19 films, plus workshops,” she said.
Tickets can be purchased at and prices vary, starting at $7 to view a single film and going up to $65 for the all access pass, which includes all the films being featured, entry to the awards ceremony, costume contest and the after parties on Friday and Saturday night, Heffron said.
Fright Fest has also partnered with Jacko’con, a four day comic, anime, horror, steampunk and Halloween convention, by offering a $110 all access pass to both events, she said.
“If you get the combo, that’s two weeks’ worth of Halloween fun,” she said
After receiving entries from all over the world, Fright Fest staff picked the top 19 films to show, which all have the chance to win one of their “Skully” awards, she said.
The films chosen come from a huge range within the horror genre, some being suspenseful thrillers, others slasher flicks or 80’s throwback horror films, Heffron said.
“A lot of them have a fantastic production value despite their small budgets. We have films of different lengths, from a few minutes to full feature length, and they’re all awesome, awesome films,” Heffron said.
Trailers and showtimes for all the films being featured are available at, Heffron said.
These are horror films, which means some of them feature violence, scenes of gore and some brief nudity, so Heffron urges parents to check out the movies online before bringing children to the festival, she said.
“It’s up to the parents’ discretion.
A lot of these movies have typical horror stuff, but it’s not too bad,” she said.
The festival winners will be chosen by a selection committee, but the top films in each category, such as best creature feature or best slasher, will be chosen by two celebrity judges, actress Amanda Wyss, from “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, and writer, director and native New Mexican Thom Eberhadt, Heffron said.
Wyss will also be helping with the acting workshop, which will be led by LeAnn Powers, one of New Mexico’s leading acting coaches, Heffron said.
“It’s going to be amazing. The acting session will be especially fun,” Heffron said
Heffron has been putting work into Fright Fest since January, when she and Founder Carlos Montoya decided to start the event, which Montoya had been talking about starting for over 10 years, she said.
Montoya has worked as an assistant director and production assistant on over 40 films in New Mexico, but this is Heffron’s first move into the film industry, she said.
She and Montoya have been friends for years, and being a horror fan, when she first heard Montoya’s idea she signed up immediately, she said.
“I’m a huge horror fanatic in everyday life, so when I heard about it I was like ‘Let’s do it!’” she said.
Because of Montoya’s busy schedule, Heffron has had to handle much of the planning herself, she said.
The event is sponsored by several local businesses, including the Rio Grande Media Group, Free Radicals clothing, Del Sol Aviation and even the city of Albuquerque, she said.
“The Albuquerque Film Office has been awesome. They actually sponsored our venue this year. I can’t thank them enough,” Heffron said.
Most of the sponsorship has been through donated items or prizes; Del Sol for example, is giving the winner of best in show flying lessons, she said.
Beside one generous donor who provided funds to secure the website where film entries were made, Heffron and Montoya have largely had to pay for the festival on their own, she said.
“That was a huge help, but as far as anything beyond that, most of this has been privately funded by us,” she said.
Still, Heffron and Montoya plan to host the event again next year, she said.
“Now that I’ve done this I think it will be a lot easier for me next year. A lot of what I have done this year has been very new and foreign to me,” she said.

Mix it up! CHSS offers meet and greet for students and teachers

By Daniel Montaño, Senior Reporter
For the first time ever, the school of Communications, Humanities and Social sciences is offering a free meet and greet with instructors, Elizabeth Bennett, CHSS instructor, said.
Students can come to the event in the Richard Barr boardroom at the east end of the computer lab on main campus on October 4, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. to get advice about careers in the liberal arts, learn more about what they can do with their CHSS major, and meet other CHSS students and faculty, Bennett said.
No other college at CNM has ever hosted an event like this, and this one has been in the making for more than five months because it was such a new idea, Bennett said.
“We’re trying to get information out about the majors: What might be interesting to students, or why should you major in this program? What are you going to be able to do with it?” she said.
There will be academic advisors, achievement coaches and faculty as well as transfer specialists on hand throughout the event, Bennett said.
Students will be able to perform a degree audit with academic advisors to find out how close students are to graduating, will be able to get advice from instructors on when certain classes will be offered, and learn about what jobs they can get into with their degree and find out specific UNM transfer information all in one place, Bennett said.
“Plus, there’s free food,” she said.
Representatives from student organizations will also be there giving out information on their clubs, Bennett said.
Students who might be normally too shy to seek out these groups will be able to learn about the clubs and form bonds with other students who are interested, Bennett said.
“I remember being a student and being really nervous walking up to strangers and talking to strangers in my classes, and so we thought maybe this was one more venue where we might be able to nudge people into getting to know other students,” she said.
While the event is hosted by CHSS faculty and is targeted at CHSS majors, any student is welcome to come regardless of their major, she said.
Representatives from every program within CHSS will be there to discuss their particular field, even if the major does not offer a degree path such as cultural studies, and to explain how their program can strengthen other majors, she said.
“Maybe there’s that student who really loves cultural studies and here’s a way to learn how to weave more of that into their anthropology degree,” she said.
Depending on the success of this first event, it could continue to be held annually but earlier in the school year now that the framework for how to run the event is in place, Bennett said.
“If students show up that’d be great, and if not we’ll just keep trying,” she said.
The idea for the event was spurred by a reception held for sociology graduates at the end of the spring semester, Bennett said.
Faculty recognized all the graduates for finishing their pro¬gram, and the graduates got to mingle and meet each other throughout the reception, she said.
“They were really happy, and a couple of them were saying that they wished they had gotten to know some of their fellow students and more of their faculty earlier on,” she said.