Tuesday December 21, 1999

CALIFORNIA Southern California's shrine to motor cars, the Petersen Automotive Museum, would survive under a tentative agreement reached late Monday that involves a $25-million gift from its namesake. The Petersen is considered one of the top five automotive museums in the nation, and its failure would be a blow to auto fanciers and students of automotive history, Petersen said. Ruins of the Llano del Rio Cooperative Community, a former socialist colony near the present-day town of Llano, were once feared threatened by the proposed widening of Highway 138. Valley Press Senior Writer Rich Breault reports on efforts by Cal Trans and the Big Pines Historical Society to protect the remnants of the community established in 1914.

ARIZONA Lawmakers this month authorized $2.25 million - probably part of next year's Interior Department appropriation - for a Four Corners Monument visitors center. The amount must be matched with $2.25 million from Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. The Four Corners site was first marked with a surveyor's peg in 1875 when the borders of New Mexico and Arizona were set. In 1931, the U.S. General Land Office built a concrete platform. The local Elks Lodge built the elegant theater in 1905. A lot of people will probably want to have their feet under the table to secure the future of the building. The Elks is a wonderful venue for historic downtown Prescott. The historic building is important to Prescott history, and maintaining and upgrading it is a very positive thing. The Hotel Monte Vista, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, first opened its doors on New Year's Day, 1927. If you're a fan of old romantic movies, you can request to spend the night in the room where a scene from Casablanca was filmed. The Fontenelle was built by local architect G. Phelby in 1924. According to its listing in the Arizona State Historic Property Inventory, the 12 rental units within the Fontenelle were popular with winter visitors and new arrivals who planned to settle in Phoenix. Since air conditioning did not exist in the 1920s, each room in the main building included a ventilation shaft to help fresh air circulate through the structure. The Yuma Territorial Prison, once commonly referred to as the Hellhole of Arizona, allows visitors to see what must have been one of the most difficult punishments of the day, especially considering that the facility was operational prior to the days of air-conditioning. The prison opened in 1876 and housed more than 3,000 men and women before closing in 1909. The site opened in 1961 as a state historical park.

NEVADA Historic preservationists in Reno will find out Tuesday whether they have been successful in their last-ditch effort to save the Mapes Hotel. Washoe District Judge James Hardesty will decide whether to extend a court order prohibiting demolition work on the historic hotel. A court spokeswoman Monday said he will file his ruling about 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Beneath the ancient trees are the ruins of the Little Spring spring house, a historic structure waiting for restoration. Water district officials feared the sickly tree might fall on the spring house built in 1917 to protect the natural artesian waters from roaming horses and cows. Once tree preservation efforts end, the water district will refurbish the spring house, Seymour said. It's part of a master plan to develop a 180-acre Las Vegas Springs Preserve in time for 2005, when the city celebrates its 100th birthday.

UTAH,1249,145012801,00.html? A $500,000 bonanza has been approved for the Escalante Center -- a unique mix of economic development and education is how Suzanne Winters, the center's executive director, describes the concept. Involved in the project are Southern Utah University in Cedar City; Garfield County; the Escalante Center for Arts and Humanities; and the Last Wagon Museum in Escalante. The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and Utah Arts Council have cooperated. The center would combine the missions of a research institute, a field institute, a high school, a historical museum, a teaching institution, conference facilities and a national park visitors center.

NEW MEXICO "The only time there's ever salary flexibility is when you're hired into a position," said Eric Blinman, acting director of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Problems arise when new employees leapfrog in pay over talented veterans, who are locked into incremental raises. "There's no way for a supervisor to rectify that once it's happened," he said. The Office of Cultural Affairs asked the State Personnel Board to increase the pay scale for several classifications at the Museum of New Mexico. Appeals involving eight classifications are still being decided. After a taste of pure administrative work, Blinman plans to return to his former job at the Office of Archaeological Studies when a new director is hired at the museum next year. Blinman sees inequities at his old office too, where archaeologists under the same pay classification supervise projects of vastly different sizes. "We'd have people trusted with a single crew and a budget of $50,000 (under the same title) as somebody running six crews with a budget of one, two or three million." "There's a tremendous disparity of levels of responsibility that's not compensated," he said. Gallup, a borough of 20,000 people between the Navajo and Zuni Indian reservations in western New Mexico, was a product of the Indian arts industry. Trading post entrepreneurs were among the first settlers here in the late 1800s, and quickly found fortune purchasing Indian-made goods as pawn. Items ranged from guns, saddles and buckskins to turquoise jewelry, blankets and carvings. Even in those days glass beads made to look like turquoise were being produced in Czechoslovakia and Japan, said Martin Link, publisher of the Indian Trader , a monthly industry newspaper in Gallup. Many of the 50,000 or so Navajos living throughout the Southwest return home at this time of year to seek traditional ceremonies while the whole family is present. "This is a big time for ceremonies," said Ruth Roessel, a teacher of Navajo culture at Rough Rock Demonstration School, "as well as for the Native American Church. Today, said Ben Silversmith, a member of the Dineh Spiritual and Cultural Society, there are only about 300 active chanters -- those who preside over such ceremonies. They also are aging -- the average medicine man today is in his 60s, the society says.

TEXAS The Acequia San Juan is a seven-mile network of irrigation canals, sluice gates and dams dating back to 1731. After generations of neglect and urban development, the old irrigation canal will receive a face lift - a $92,000 project that will rebuild a damaged portion of the acequia. By next year, water will flow through The Ditch, as its protectors lovingly call it, allowing volunteers to operate a small demonstration farm at the mission by 2001 that replicates 18th-century Spanish Colonial agricultural methods and crops.

CYBERIA When Columbus landed, there were about eleven people in Europe who could do whatever they felt like doing. Part of the exhilaration of the age came from the freedom that Columbus and other explorers were rumored to have found. Suddenly imagination was given a whole continent full of people who had never heard of Charlemagne or Pope Leo X or quitrents or the laws of entail, and who were doing fine. Amerigo Vespucci, the explorer who would provide the name for the continent, brought back news that in this land "every one is his own master." If this land new to Europeans was the setting, the lives of these untrammeled people suggested the plot: we could drop anchor in the bay, paddle up the river, wade up the creek, meet a band of Indians, and with them disappear forever into the country's deepest green. No tyranny could hold us; if Indians could live as they liked, so could we. Bobbi Rahder stumbled upon the historic treasures of Haskell Indian Nations University while cataloging century-old glass plate negatives five years ago. In May, Haskell was one of 62 national sites selected to receive $30 million in federal grants through a program called "Save America's Treasures." Haskell's share of $50,000 for its Museum and Archives Collections will be matched with preservation funds from the American Indian College Fund.

From: Gary Vey I led an expedition in 1998 to southeast Colorado and documented a collection of non-Native American petroglyphs that were dated to about 800 BCE and have since been determined to be in a language (alphabet) known as "old Negev" after the location in Israel where the same script was found and dated to 1500 BCE. The text in Colorado has now been translated using a 22 character index which substitutes old Negev symbols for Hebrew characters. The result can be easily translated to English using a Hebrew disctionary. I would have anticipated that such a discovery would be important to a number of people, specifically to Jewish people. The texts in Colorado refer to "Yah" and "Yahoveh" and make reference to an individual named "Ham" and of a cult who followed "Baal". There is also reference to something very important being buried at the site and there is a large mound of earth which is made reference to in the many petroglyphs in the area. You can see details at The fact that a group of Hebrew-speaking people appear to have migrated to America circa 600-800 BCE seems important to me, yet I have received only anti-Semitic replies from people who are in a position to assist with documenting and validating the site. Certainly your community must have some people who will recognize the significance of this find and can help to make this known. My goal is to have the site protected so that further documentation can be made and the petroglyphs recorded for history. You may contact me at work (this e-mail 8 AM EST to 3:30 PM EST) or at my home via Thanks. Shalom. Gary Vey