Socorro has played an important role in history – beginning at the start of its recorded history when the local inhabitants helped the Spanish explorers. Fast forward a few centuries when Socorro unwittingly played host to the Manhattan Project.

Nationally, the hit movie “Oppenheimer” has brought attention to New Mexico and Los Alamos, and I know the movie was enthusiastically attended by many here in Socorro. But did the movie even mention Socorro or San Antonio, or even White Sands Missile Range? No.

You’d think the movie could have at least made note of The Owl Bar and their hamburgers, which were popular with those folks.

It’s my understanding that the Los Alamos folks managed to fly the parts of that first bomb down to Socorro and transport them out to Stallion Site without anyone here suspecting a thing. Evidently back then as now, most folks around here take a live-and-let-live attitude.

That’s not to say we don’t notice things, nor do we hesitate to pass information along. (One of the first things I learned about Socorro was that “M” on our mountain stands for mitote. It does, doesn’t it?) Still, in great measure, this community is also welcoming and helpful, as its name implies.

As the movie portrays, Oppenheimer had an idea, and then headed the project that developed and tested that idea.

Just a few years later, Ruth Handler had an idea and by 1959 had manufactured the first Barbie doll, changing the toy industry forever. Over the years, there have been a shocking 43 Barbie movies, but this year’s movie is a new spin.

These two films are vying for top sales. I can’t remember when I last saw two hit movies in one month but with Barbie and Oppenheimer, I have. I can’t wait for Barbie to come to the New Loma Theater so I can watch it again.

Two ideas turned into two blockbuster movies.

Another wonderful idea was proposed in the Aug. 3 El Defensor Chieftain. In a letter to the editor, Richard Sonnenfeld suggested taxing empty business buildings and using that money to rehab empty motels into starter apartments or to house the homeless. Affordable housing – any kind of housing  is tight up and down the valley but particularly here, it seems to me.

Homelessness is an issue nationwide which to me is a sad, sad reflection on the state of this union. But some cities have found creative ways to help the homeless. A year and a half ago, or so, I tried to raise awareness with a couple of articles in EDC but couldn’t generate much official discussion.  Any number of people will express sympathy for homelessness, but getting concrete support and action are a different matter.

Meanwhile, those folks at Puerto Seguro/Safe Harbor labor on with volunteers and generous donors. And while there is no overnight shelter, in the winter the center is open as a warming center and in this summer’s heat, they opened the building as a cooling center.

I just read something in EDC’s sister newspaper, Valencia County News-Bulletin: Los Lunas schools now offer specially designed sensory rooms. The rooms give students and staff a break from stressors and whatever may be causing them anxiety. Soothing lights, sensory walls, weighted stuffed toys and other items are available. Funds for the rooms (one in each school) came from federal COVID relief funds.

That’s a wonderful idea and a good use of federal funds if you ask me.