In the Rearview

Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago: June 7

Hahn summits Everest again, Red River debates biker rally, preschool teachers overpaid


- 10 YEARS AGO - 'Hahn becomes first non-Nepalese to summit Everest for 10th time', Staff report, June 5, 2008

Taos resident Dave Hahn made history the week before this edition of the newspaper when he became the first non-Nepalese to scale Mt. Everest 10 times, according to Nepalese tourism officials.

The accomplishment was confirmed by a banner headline on the website published by the International Mountain Guides. The site read in part, "Dave Hahn called down at 7:26 a.m. Nepal time from the summit. Everyone in their team is on top and doing well, and the weather is perfect, with 5 mph wind. Congratulations to Dave and Nicky Messner (both of Taos)..The team still has a lot of climbing left before we can all breath(sic) a sigh of relief, but so far so good. We'll keep you posted! (May 26, 2008)."

Until that day, the world's record for Everest climbs was held at the time by Apa, a Sherpa guide, who had climbed the mountain 18 times. Eight more Sherpas had climbed Everest at least 10 times, according to Associated Press figures quoted in the story. Apa retired in 2011 after increasing his total to 21 climbs. This year Kami Rita, also a Sherpa, broke Apa's record when he made his 22nd climb. To this day, Hahn, who has now made 15 Everest climbs, is the highest ranked non-Nepalese on the list of multi-summiteers listed by internet sources. His last climb was in 2013, according to Outside magazine.

At the time this story appeared, Hahn was 46 and had gained much notoriety the year before for rescuing a climber on Everest who had been left for dead by her own climbing team, according to The Taos News report. The climber, Usha Bista, was found 1,300 feet from the top suffering from cerebral edema, a swelling of the brain that can be caused by high altitudes. She survived with only some frostbite effects.

- 25 YEARS AGO - 'Red River residents debate merits of hosting annual 'biker rally', By Bob Mentzinger, June 10, 1993

It's still happening, the annual Red River Memorial Day Biker Rally, so the problems must have been solved.

However, in 1993, Red River residents were furious about the behavior of an estimated 8,000 visiting motorcycle riders in their town for the event.

Some suggested the governor be called to send out "riot police" for the next year's event. Others wanted speed bumps on the main drag.

The focus of their anger was the high number of arrests during the weekend: 18, to be exact, including two felony arrests for cocaine possession, according to then Red River Marshal Ken Iskow. Plus, the folks attending the town meeting covered by reporter Bob Mentzinger described "public drug use, defecation, drinking, nudity, on-street vending and even prostitution.

"You were so close to having mob rule this past weekend it's pitiful," said Harry Bean, 70, a seasonal resident for the past seven years.

Indeed, Iskow said his force of fewer than two dozen officers were outnumbered and unable to enforce even basic rules, such as bans on public drinking and open containers.

Town officials, including Red River Mayor John Tillery, promised things would be different next year. Tillery, Isakow and town administrator Jake Pierce vowed to visit Sturgis, South Dakota, during the summer to find out how that small town handles the 50,000 or so Harley Davidson riders who show up every year.

Meanwhile, Red River officials this week reported that the 2018 rally drew 25,000 riders. One rider was killed in an early morning, one-motorcycle accident this Memorial Day after he fled a police officer who had tried to stop him.

- 50 YEARS AGO - 'Headstart Teachers found 'overpaid', By Scott McCullough, June 6, 1968

To anyone who works for a preschool, the notion that the people who take care of 3-5 year olds could be "overpaid" is probably ridiculous. Preschool teachers earn an average of $10.51 in New Mexico, according to the job website That figure is 9 percent below the national average.

Nevertheless, in 1968 when the federal Head Start preschool program for low-income families was in its early days, an audit showed that the Taos County Community Action Program, which ran one of two Head Start programs in Taos at the time, had overpaid its employees about $3,800 over the past 12 months.

The announcement was made by Carlos Lopez, the relatively new director of the community action agency, who said that the overpayments occurred largely because his agency had been paying employees every 20 days (on the assumption that each month contains an average of 20 workdays) rather than monthly, which would have allowed for months with fewer or more workdays. His audit showed that 11 of the 56 programs received the payments.

And while the largest overpayment to the former Head Start director was only about $165, the news must have hit the average Head Start teacher pretty hard. Lopez said the employees were on the hook for paying the money back.

Moreover, reporter Scott McCullough wrote that Lopez said that employees' "willingness or unwillingness to reimburse the program would be considered when they applied for their positions for the fall term."