Gallup Girls Tackle the Big Guns -- T-Mobile Tour

T-Mobile brought some of the top high school basketball teams in the country to play in Albuquerque. The Gallup Lady Bengals team was selected to be the local team to represent New Mexico. As much as the Gallupfans like to brag about their basketbal team and the number of state titles they have won, the girls were out of their league tonight.

Gallup Lady Bengal Janelle Largo (50) gets up close and personal with Hampton High School Lady Crabber Candace Brown (5) Friday afternoon during the T-Mobile National High School Basketball Invitational at the University of New Mexico's Pit in Albuquerque. The Gallup Lady Bengals lost 55-33 to the Hampton, VA Hampton Lady Crabbers.

Hampton Lady Crabber Kenyatta Sears (20) knocks the ball out of Gallup Lady Bengal Courtney Cowboy's (24) grasp Friday afternoon during the T-Mobile National High School Basketball Invitational.


Hoops - St. Michael Cardinals vs. Rough Rock Sun Devils

Rough Rock Lady Sun Devil Nicole Nez (21) keeps the ball out of reach of St. Michael Cardinal Kylee Sam (14) during Thursday night's match-up at the Window Rock Sports Pavillion in Window Rock, Ariz. The Lady Sun Devils held off the Cardinals to win 44-39.

St. Michael Lady cardinal Melissa Yazzie (15) tries to scoop up the basketball Thursday evening while Rough Rock Lady Sundevil Rielvina Harvey (32) tries to get a hand on it at the Window Rock Sports Pavillion in Window Rock, Ariz.
St. Michael Cardinal TyWray Hardy (14) gets slammed to the floor by St. Michael's Horseman Justin Smith (40) during Thursday night's boys basketball game at the Window Rock Sports Pavilion in Window Rock, Ariz.

St. Michael Cardinal Samuel Hardy (24) tries to score two-points Thursday while St. Michael's Horseman Jeff Najjar (34) moves his hand to block the ball.


Frozen Rescue

Gallup police officers and medical personnel load an intoxicated man up after he passed out under the bridge along Maloney Avenue. Police on the scene stated that whoever called to report the man probably saved his life, as he was wet and the temperature was well below freezing, leaving the victim with a very real chance at frost-bite and hypothermia. The victim was taken to IHS for treatment, and two others at the scene were taken into protective custody.


Loops and Flips - Walking Away from the Landing

A single-engine 1966 Champion fixed wing aircraft sits upside near the runway of the Gallup Airport on Sunday morning. The aircraft, registered to Brown Consulting and Sales Inc. from Farmington, Utah, crashed shortly after 6 Saturday evening.


Bataan Death March Survivor

This morning I spent some time with a Bataan Death March survivor - Timothy Smith. As far as we can tell, he is the last survivor of the march to still reside in Gallup. What amazed me was that there are days I cannot even remember what I had for breakfast, and yet Smith was able to sit in his home and recall details of living through being a Japanese POW.

At times SMith rambled a little, and a few times he repeated himself. He laughed at the stories he told, and then became quite quiet and introspective. I wondered what memories were still creeping back into his mind, and at the same time I knew I don't want to find out.

Long-time Gallup resident and Bataan Death March survivor Timothy Smith reflects on his time spent as a POW during WWII, and the life he has lived as a Gallupian since the war ended. Smith said the experience brought him into contact with some Gallup residents and once the war ended he moved to Gallup, "Us New Mexico boys, one thing we did, we stuck together."

The handwriting is faded and slightly smeared, but Smith and his wife still have several notebooks that he wrote in during his time as a POW. The notebooks, and the pencils used to write in them, had to be hidden at all times to keep his captors from confiscating them.


Get a Grip - wrestling

I don't get a lot of opportunity to cover wrestling for this newspaper. A majority of the meets are away, and the interest in wrestling is a lot less than it is for basketball, so that puts our priority for our readers on the basketball games. For this meet I was able to spend a bit of time at the event. I set up a pair of SB-800 strobes set to 1/4 power in the bleachers and triggered them with Pocket Wizard radio slaves, allowing me to get pretty good light without creating harsh shadows of a on-camera flash.

Gallup Bengal wrestler Stephen Garcia lifts White Horse high's Travis Begay off balance Wednesday afternoon while wrestling at Wingate High School. Garcia pinned to Begay to win the match.
Sanders Valley Pirate Sheldon Murphy lifts Wingate Bears Marty Watah's foot Wednesday while trying to push him to the matt while wrestling in the 215 pound weight class at Wingate High School. Murphy pinned Watah to win the match.

White Horse high school's Nathaniel Tsosie wraps up Gallup Bengal Jeremy Macias while wrestling in the 125 pound weight class.


Forgotten School: Tse Yi Gai

A pick-up truck travels along Hwy 46 after passing a hand-lettered sign indicating the road leads to Tse Yi Gai High School. The high school was constructed in 2004 but still does not have a paved road, which causes problems with students being able to get to school on rainy or snowy days.

Scott Hedgelan talks to his students Tuesday afternoon during class at Tse Yi Gai High School near Pueblo Pintado, NM. The school, the most remote for the Gallup McKinley County School district, has a current enrollment of 143 students, though bad weather, muddy roads and other problems have attendance numbers average out to 87 percent.

Tse Yi Gai high school principal Christopher Spade heads up the McKinley County school district's most remote school, and he said that the limited enrollment of only 143 students has the advantage of allowing he and his staff to get to know each of the students.

Students play basketball Tuesday afternoon at Tse Yi Gai High School near Pueblo Pintado, NM.

Traveling along Hwy 46 to Tse Yi Gai High School can be difficult at times, especially when the weather has added moisture to the mix. One faculty member at the school described the road by saying it "turns into chocolate pudding the whole way."



Snow and ice are evident Monday morning as a car drives slowly over the railroad crossing at County Road 1 in Gallup.

A line of trucks wait to turn onto the I-40 freeway entrance ramp Monday morning by the west-side truck stops in Gallup after icy conditions contributed to a jack-knifed truck on the interstate and forced law enforcement officers to temporarily close the west bound lanes.

A highway department sanding truck works the exit ramp from I-40 at mile 16 in Gallup on Monday while working to keep the interstate open and safe to drive on. Drivers battled slick roads after a storm front left rain and snow flurries to melt together into sheets of ice.


Sports Motion - Basketball Blur

Even though it is nice to have crisp, sharp photos from basketball games, the effect can sometimes come out a bit dead, or at least static. Some of the energy and the fluidity of the game gets lost by freezing things completely. So today I went with some safe, standard shots, then I slowed down the shutter and started to flash and pan to get some blur to the non-essential parts of the photos. Here's what I came up with:

Navajo Pine Warrior Jermaine Chee (14) takes to the baseline as he moves past Newcomb Skyhawks Larrin Yazzie (22) during Thursday evening's boys varsity basketball game at Navajo Pine High School in Navajo, NM. The Warriors defeated the Skyhawks 63-48.

Navajo Pine Warrior Tim Chee (1) dribbles the ball past Newcomb Skyhawk Shea Bowman(24).

Navajo Pine Warrior Walter Bia (3) dives after a loose ball to try and save it from going out of bounds.

Navajo Pine Warrior Pernell Begay (24) takes to the air as he goes to the hoop in front of a Newcomb Skyhawk.


Veteran Rememberances

These two photos were grab shots I took while waiting for yesterday's casino press conference to get started. After I returned to the office I took a second look at them and submitted them as a possible package for use on our Native American page toward the back of the news section. Instead the photos ran on page two.

Emma Filesteel holds hands with two-year old Mitchrena Begay while walking with Delbert Begay and Dalbray Begay (not pictured) Tuesday afternoon at Veteran's Memorial Park in Window Rock, Ariz.


Casino Funding Opponents

Dooda Desertrock president Elouise Brown speaks during a press conference Tuesday afternoon as former Navajo Nation Prsident Milton Bluehouse, left, Alfred Bennett III and Ambrose Teasyatwho stand with her at a press conference announcing the beginning of legal action against the tribe in regards to how the proposed casino project is being funded.

Former senator Leonard Tsosie gives his support to frmr Navajo Nation President Milton Bluehouse Sr., center and attorney James Zion and the proposed legal action against the Navajo Nation.

Albuquerque attorney James Zion answers questions Tuesday during a press conference at Veteran's Memorial Park in Window Rock during which he announced the begin of legal proceedings against the Navajo Nation in regards to the handling of funding for the proposed casino project. With Zion is former Navajo Nation President Milton Bluehouse Sr., one of the plaintiffs in the suit.


Graphic Content - Pushing Limits

Once again a pedestrian was killed in Gallup. Most often the accident involve pedestrians and trains, but today an intoxicated man stumbled out into one of the busiest streets and town and was struck by the back wheels of a large dump truck.

Arriving at the scene I fired off a few frames to get an establishing shot just in case I was going to run into access issues. After a few moments it began to sink in that what I was looking at was not just a body covered by a white sheet. For more than 20 feet there was a smear of red and chunks of meat. And somewhere in the middle of it was the very easily identifiable pieces of the victim's brain.

I wandered up and down the block looking for a possible image that would work for our readers. I certainly was not going to show the gore of the scene. In the end I came in with three different images - ranging from showing nothing, to a hand extending out from under a sheet, to the victim's legs. I wanted to give the readers a sense of how gruesome the scene was without actually showing much of anything. In the end the editor decided the second and third images here were just too graphic, and the very safe image of on-lookers staring at squad cars was what we published.

A pair of on-lookers watch as police respond Monday afternoon to the scene of a fatal hit-and-run accident that left a male pedestrian lying in the middle of the road on Boardman Avenue near Historic Rt. 66 in Gallup after he was run over by the trailer of a dump truck. Investigators believe that the driver of the dump truck was unaware that he had struck anything. The victim's wife was with him at the accident and reported that they had both been drinking.

An unmarked patrol car sits parked on a curb as Police respond Monday afternoon to the scene of a fatal hit-and-run accident.

Gallup police crime scene investigator Emery Holly photographs the scene Monday afternoon to the after a hit-and-run accident left a male pedestrian lying in the middle of the road on Boardman Avenue near Historic Rt. 66 in Gallup.


Gallup Invitational Basketball Tournament

A few of my images from today's game at the Gallup Invite Girls Basketball tourney...

Kirtland Central Lady Bronco Dayan Hall-Jones (10) soars past Winslow Lady Bulldog Samantha Sam (22) to make a basket during the Gallup Invitational Girls Basketball tournament at Gallup High School. The Lady Broncos defeated the Bulldogs 57-53.

Winslow Lady Bulldog Kourtney Shirley (32) wrestles with Kirtland
Central Lady Bronco April Christie (24) after the ball came loose.
Gallup Lady Bengal Courtney Cowboy (24) moves past Hobbs Lady Eagle Diana Juarez (12) and looks for a teammate to pass the ball to as she approaches the baseline.

Gallup Lady Bengal Tanya Wilson (20) stands at the edge of the three point line and makes a basket Friday night as the Lady Bengals defeated the Hobbs Lady Eagles during the Gallup Invitational Girls Basketball Tournament at Gallup High School. The Lady Bengals launched themselves into a large lead right away with their aerial attacks from three-point land, leaving the Eagles scrambling for a way to stop them.

Gallup Lady Bengal Stevie Hudson (21) runs past Hobbs Lady Eagle Katilyn Gray (44) as the Gallup Lady Bengals turned some heads Friday night with their dominating play against the Hobbs Lady Eagles.



Percy Trujillo, a RN from RMCH, administers a flu shot to Francisco Cerna, 10, Thursday afternoon at the Gallup Community Service Center. In addition to three locaitons in town to give the free vaccines, nine other locations across the Navajo reservation offered the shots during National Influenza Vaccination Week. The program was not only a way to help the community, but also served as a Northern Region Emergency Preparedness Exercise that had mulptiple agencies and departments working together.


Basketball Begins

MY first basketball game of the season, and I covered it inside the brand new gymnasium at Rehoboth Christian High School. It is a major step up from their old facility, but for some reason they didn't install overhead catwalks and photographic strobe equipment into the ceiling... (VBG) so it was time for the standard of SB-800 speedlights on light stands and a set of pocketwizard radio slaves to trigger them.

Rehoboth Lady Lynx Lesley Eldridge (14) tries to maneuver around Gallup Lady Bengal Jeryn Wilson (35) to score, but Raelynn Toadlena (22) reaches in and gets called for a foul Monday as the Varsity Lynx played against the JV Bengals at the new Rehoboth HighSchool gymnasium. The Lady Bengals easily handled the lynx, winning 53-28.

Rehoboth Lady Lynx Tara Postma (13) tries to wrench the ball out of the grasp of Gallup Lady Bengal Kelsi Etsicitty (34) Monday night but the ball is whistled dead and called a jump ball.

Gallup Lady Bengal Heather Brown (55) puts the ball into the air as she scores two-points against the Rehoboth Lady Lynx.


Bridge Support

Today's task: Photograph something that is not happening. Specifically, a bridge that is restricted from heavy vehicle driving over it to get into the town of Sanders, Ariz.

Patches and potholes mar the surface of this bridge that connects I-40 with the town of Sanders, Ariz. along Hwy 191.

A school bus slowly rolls across this bridge that connects motorists from I-40 to Sanders, Ariz. on Hwy 191. The bridge, which spans above two sets of railroad tracks, has officials concerned enough about its condition that they have limited it to vehicles not weighing any more than 10 tons.

A gravel truck travels south into Sanders Monday afternoon as it begins the drive down through Zuni before heading back north through Gallup so that it can avoid traveling over a railroad bridge approximately 100 feet south of I-40 along Hwy 191 in Arizona. The bridge is in need of repairs and has been limited to vehicles weighing less than 10 tons.


Coyote Tracks

In the Navajo culture coyotes are not necessarily a good thing to see, especially if one crosses the road in front of you. I have heard of more traditional Navajos literally turning around and heading home if they are starting out on a trip and one of these creatures crosses the road. Even so, when I spotted this animal hunting for food a few hundred feet from the interstate I had to stop and make some images. I pulled out my 300mm lens and added a 1.4x teleconverter on it to try to get me some reach to make a somewhat close up image from inside of my car.

When I first pulled onto the shoulder and then to the edge of the grass the coyote spooked and trotted farther away. I waited for a few moments, thinking I had lost my shot when suddenly it came bounding back toward me through the grass. I caught some sight of movement ahead of it and realized it was chasing a rabbit. The rabbit eluded its hunter, and a few moments later the coyote turned and looked over at me before again wandering into the grass and brush.