Monday October 25, 1999

MEXICO Tourists who plan to take their cars with them on a trip to interior Mexico will be asked to deposit up to $800 in cash for the privilege.

NEW MEXICO At the Governor's Conference on Tourism, only 15 attendees showed up to debate how to best promote the state's many cultures. "The powerful people with money and influence who were here yesterday and this morning are not in this room," said Cynthia Ann Bettison, director and archaeologist at Western New Mexico University's museum in Silver City. The forces of nature are beating the signs that tell the history of New Mexico. No maintenance or repair has been done since 1981, and the history of New Mexico is being lost. Neatly arranged - but in dark drawers - lie arrow-points of Coronado-expedition crossbows - ungazed-upon by children, serious scholars and visitors seeking greater sense of the people of the Land of Enchantment. Looming above these museum pieces are water-damaged walls, sewer pipes and electrical wires. Disaster could rain upon them any time.

ARIZONA The prospectus earmarks $32 million for a complex of museums featuring local natural and cultural history. An intriguing campaign of historical and cultural salvage will be devoted to recreating Father Kino's original settlement along the Santa Cruz River. The early Spanish Convento will be restored. Early gardens, mills and acequias will be exhumed to give Tucsonans a feel for Tucson's past. The Tucson Presidio Historic Park will interpret the original 1770s presidio wall. There will also be sites devoted to native Indians' ancient use of the area. The Stone Avenue Temple Project wants old interior photographs to guide restoration work. The Arizona State Historic Preservation Office awarded a grant of $118,000. The group has raised about $140,000 more for the project, estimated to cost $300,000. Quechan Indian Agent L.L. Odle needed a way to get his Native American client's crops across the river to Yuma. Odle took the first steps to get a bridge built. A plank road across sand dunes was completed about the same time the bridge opened to traffic in May of 1915.

CYBERIA If we give a hoot about elephants that once walked the earth, we owe Sanders. He could have kept ramming, he could have ripped up the earth, he could have told brag stories. Instead, he stopped digging. He called a relative who called the Sternberg Museum. The rest is natural history. What Bonnichsen wants is what the Pacific Northwest has yet to yield: evidence that humans lived here 12,000 years ago. Anything earlier than 11,500 years ago would debunk the Clovis Theory.