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The End of an Era at San Juan

Westmoreland San Juan Mining LLC announced on September 13 that its underground crews mined the last ton of coal destined for the San Juan Generating Station (SJCS) located in San Juan County, New Mexico. Beginning as a surface mining operation in 1973 when Unit 1 came online, the San Juan and La Plata mines have been the sole supplier of coal to SJGS for nearly five decades. At its peak, the four units at the power plant generated 1,848 MW of electricity for millions of households and countless businesses across New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Utah.

Eventually transitioning to an underground operation with a longwall mining system, the San Juan mine has been “home” to thousands of employees over the years and has played a transformational role in the prosperity and commercial development of the surrounding communities. According to Martin Purvis, Westmoreland’s CEO, the discussion is no longer about policy debates surrounding the generating station and mine, but about finally saying thank you.

“Ignoring all the rights, wrongs, and arguments about the premature closure of this amazing facility, we as a company want to make sure that we say thank you to the men, women and communities that have worked together so effectively over the years to make this mine and generating station a bedrock of power supply in the Southwestern United States,” Purvis said.

Steve Pierro, the mine’s General Manager is one of those people. Pierro, who is retiring after 40-plus years in mining to spend more time with his wife, eight children, and 33 grandchildren, agrees and reflects fondly back on the mine’s performance as well as his time there. “It’s hard to see the mine close,” he said, “but as I look back on all we accomplished and all the incredible people I’ve had a chance to work with, I can’t help but be extremely proud of our outstanding track record at this operation. We have put a lot of people from all walks of life to work. We have injected millions of dollars back into the local economy — as well as millions of
dollars to local and national charities.

We have provided countless educational and training opportunities to our workers so they could improve their lives and those of their families. And, to top it all off, we have had one of the top safety and compliance records in North America. That’s really something to be proud of.”

But as Pierro points out, none of that would have ever been possible without one key element — that is, people. “I think it’s important to remember that we are a very diverse community of people who came here and made this mine and power plant work . . . from young people coming to us from the Navajo Nation who were just starting out, to experience longwall operators, to foreman and supervisors, to engineers and environmental technicians, to the hundreds of vendors and suppliers from this community and across the globe. We need to remember that all of them have had an important role in powering the economic development of the Western United States over the past 50 years.”

James Pile, an engineer who came to San Juan from the United Kingdom, agrees with Pierro’s sentiment but has a slightly different focus – his own quality of life and that of his family. “I can’t tell you enough how truly grateful I am to this mine,” Pile said. “In the 24 years I have been here, it has given me and my family financial and educational opportunities, as well as a standard of living well above the one we could have expected, had we stayed in the UK.”

Emma Curley has been with the mine for 29 years. Emma started out as a novice long-haul truck driver for the company. Today, the mother of one who grew up on the Navajo reservation is an experienced mining supervisor. I’m very proud of my career and position here at San Juan. But, you know, I am also a member of the Fire and Rescue Team. I have an EMT certification. I can take that with me almost anywhere and find a job . . . but, more importantly, it enables me to serve my community. That really means a lot to me,” Curley said. Asked if she will miss her work and her colleagues, Curley replies, “Nowhere else would I have had access to the advanced opportunities, growth, and financial stability to take care of my family. So, yes, it’s hard to move on. But I’m very thankful for the San Juan mine and all my coworkers here. They’ve given me far more than I could’ve ever hoped for.”

Jeffrey Kukura, who served as San Juan’s General Manager before becoming Senior Vice President for Technical Services for the company in its Denver office, agrees with Pile, Curley, and Pierro. But he takes it a step further. “They’re heroes, without any doubt in my mind at all,” he exclaims with pride. “It’s really true, this mine and our miners really have been the heroes of this community and our nation,” he says. “The quality of life we enjoy today would not and could not have been possible without them and a lot of people like them.” 

Emery vs. San Juan — Football Game

Emery

Spartans (7-4)

21 14 0 13 48
vs San Juan

Broncos (12-0)

28 15 0 13 56

Played @ Southern Utah University

Roundup

In a 2A semifinal game in which the teams combine for 104 points and 1,201 yards of total offense, San Juan recovered an onside kick with 22 seconds remaining to seal the victory and a repeat spot in the 2A state championship game. Zach Conway rushed for three touchdowns and caught two more to lead the Broncos, with teammate Parker Snyder passing for three scores and rushing for a pair.

Scoring Summary

  • Emery — (11:20 1Q) Creek Sharp, 56-yard pass from Wade Stilson (kick from Koalton Curtis)
  • San Juan — (9:53 1Q) Zach Conway, 18-yard run (kick failed)
  • San Juan — (8:53 1Q) Zach Conway, 70-yard run (pass from Collin Baker)
  • San Juan — (7:01 1Q) Rigley LaGiglia, 78-yard pass from Parker Snyder (kick failed)
  • Emery — (4:37 1Q) Creek Sharp, 48-yard pass from Wade Stilson (kick from Koalton Curtis)
  • San Juan — (4:27 1Q) Zach Conway, 65-yard pass from Parker Snyder (run from Parker Snyder)
  • Emery — (1:55 1Q) Koalton Curtis, 70-yard pass from Wade Stilson (kick from Koalton Curtis)
  • San Juan — (11:10 2Q) Zach Conway, 25-yard pass from Parker Snyder (run from Parker Snyder)
  • Emery — (3:14 2Q) Wade Stilson, 1-yard run (kick from Koalton Curtis)
  • San Juan — (0:54 2Q) Zach Conway, 13-yard run (kick from Shawn Black)
  • Emery — (0:02 2Q) Matt Olsen, 2-yard pass from Wade Stilson (kick from Koalton Curtis)
  • Emery — (10:09 4Q) Wade Stilson, 1-yard run (pass failed)
  • San Juan — (5:15 4Q) Parker Snyder, 1-yard run (kick failed)
  • San Juan — (1:46 4Q) Parker Snyder, 11-yard run (kick from Shawn Black)
  • Emery — (0:22 4Q) Koalton Curtis, 10-yard pass from Wade Stilson (kick from Koalton Curtis)

Rushing

NO

PLAYER

9

P. Parker Snyder

2

26

Z.Zach Conway

3

NO

PLAYER

18

W.Wade Stilson

2

Passing

NO

PLAYER

9

P. Parker Snyder

3

NO

PLAYER

18

W.Wade Stilson

5

Receiving

NO

PLAYER

14

R. Rigley LaGiglia

1

26

Z.Zach Conway

2

NO

PLAYER

20

M.Matt Olsen

1

85

K. Koalton Curtis

2

3

C.Creek Sharp

2

Special Teams

NO

PLAYER

12

S.Shawn Black

2

NO

PLAYER

85

K. Koalton Curtis

6

San Juan Holiday on the Costa Brava. Spain in Russian

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Spain

On the night of June 23-24, the main summer holiday, the Night of San Juan, has been celebrated throughout Spain for many centuries. This holiday is reminiscent of the ancient Slavic Day of Ivan Kupala, which is also celebrated on June 24, but has its own national characteristics. In Catalonia, the holiday is also called Bonfire Night or Verbena San Juan, it is very loved among the locals and is celebrated on a grand scale.

The tradition of celebrating the Night of San Juan has an ancient pre-Christian origin and is associated with the day of the summer solstice and the onset of summer. The night of Saint Juan from June 23 to 24 is the shortest of the year, so the holiday symbolizes the victory of light over darkness. The main symbols of the holiday are fire, light, sun and water. In the flame of bonfires, which are lit everywhere on this night, all the bad things that have accumulated over the year are burned. The custom of lighting fires came from the ancient pagan cult of the sun. Also, there was a belief in the healing power of fire to drive away evil spirits or diseases.

With the onset of the evening of June 23, bonfires from old furniture and junk appear everywhere on the streets of cities, which are set on fire after sunset. After the symbolic burning of bonfires, the celebration begins. The festivities continue all night long, when in every district the residents of the city take to the streets to have a gala dinner in the open air in the company of friends and relatives. Tables with refreshments appear on the streets, and scenes with live music and dances appear in the squares of each district. A traditional treat on San Juan Night in Catalonia is the coca pie. Coca has a round shape, symbolizing the sun, and can be sweet dessert or savory, reminiscent of pizza. The main festive drink on this day is champagne, which the Catalans call cava. In addition to bonfires, in the cities of Catalonia they arrange fiery performances and fireworks.

Water and herbs are also symbolic in the Night of San Juan. Water on this holiday, according to legend, is endowed with healing magical properties, so bathing is an obligatory ceremony. Also, according to legend, the verbena plant becomes healing, which is able to heal everyone who does not touch it on the Night of San Juan. Locals believe that miracles happen on this magical night — herbs and water become healing, fire drives out evil spirits, girls meet suitors and love reigns everywhere.

Center of services for business and life in Spain «Spain in Russian» offers a special offer for accommodation in a luxurious five-star hotel on the Costa Brava «Gran Hotel Guitart Monterrey» during the celebration of the Night of San Juan. Accommodation package «1 night — from 23 to 24 June» — 149 euros per person. Includes accommodation in a standard room on the basis of breakfast. Package «3 nights» in a superior room category, half board, costing 282 euros per person.

Need help in Spain? The service center «Spain in Russian» is more than 100 types of services in Russian in any region of Spain.

+7 495 236 98 99 or +34 93 272 64 90, [email protected]

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