Year in Review: Soldiers die in line of duty

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks: Army Honor Guard members fold a flag from the coffin of Sgt. Leroy “J.R.” Segura Jr. outside the Scared Heart Church. Segura, a 2001 Clovis High graduate, was seving his second tour in Iraq.

CNJ staff

Two U.S. Army soldiers with Clovis ties were killed during a three-week span while fighting the war on terrorism.

Sgt. Leroy Segura Jr., 23, died of injuries he received in a vehicle accident while serving in Habbaniyah, Iraq, in August.
Segura, a 2001 Clovis High School graduate, was in a Humvee that rolled while maneuvering over a river levee, according to officials with the public affairs office at Fort Benning, Ga.

Segura, who ran track and cross country at Clovis High, was serving his second tour in Iraq.

“You hate to see something like this,” Clovis High track coach Mike Hankins said. “When it’s one of our kids, it hits home a little bit harder. It just makes the reality of what goes on in the world a little closer to home. You get attached to a lot of the kids you coach — they become ‘our kids.’”

Sgt. Robert Paul Kassin, 29, died near Larzab in Afghanistan’s Zabul province in August. He was killed when his platoon was attacked by small-arms fire while on patrol, according to an Army news release.

Kassin was shot twice and died from his wounds. He was assigned as an infantryman in the southern Afghanistan region, according to the Army’s news release.

Kassin attended junior high and high school in Clovis.

AYP woes: Clovis Municipal Schools failed to meet federal academic standards in 2006 as a result of low performance by special education students and English Language Learners, according to results released in early August by the New Mexico Public Education Department.

Those same subgroups performed below standard last year, leaving local educators frustrated with a system they say is skewed.
Despite making strides, six of 17 Clovis schools failed to meet No Child Left Behind math and reading standards in an assessment called Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP.
Seven schools failed to meet standards last year.

Gas war: — A fevered gas war between Allsup’s and Town and Country convenience stores — in which the price dropped to 49.9¢ per gallon — snarled traffic at one of the city’s busiest intersections in late July. After more than 200 vehicles lined up to buy the cheap gas, Clovis Fire Marshal Allan Silvers put an end to the battle because the traffic was a public safety hazard. The average price for gasoline in Clovis in July was $2.83 per gallon.

Bank heist: The Hilltop branch of New Mexico Bank & Trust was robbed in July using what turned out to be a fake bomb. Police evacuated the shopping center, which involved at least 20 businesses and more than 100 people, officials said.

Beating the odds: Clovis High grad Hank Baskett beat the odds and earned a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles roster. An undrafted rookie free agent from the University of New Mexico, Baskett was an instant hit in training camp. He started the Eagles’ season-opener in September. In 15 games, he has 15 catches for 287 yards and a touchdown.

New chief: City Manager Joe Thomas stayed within the system in naming Dan Blair as new police chief. Blair, a 21-year Clovis Police Department veteran, replaced Bill Carey, who retired Sept. 29. “This is quite the honor to serve the community and quite the honor to be the chief,” said Blair, who was promoted to deputy chief in April 2005.