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National UFO coverage

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By Jay Miller

SANTA FE — Watch for New Mexico on TV this week. CW Network’s “The Daily Buzz” taped five segments around the state last month and is showing them every day this week around 7 a.m.

The segments were taped in Bandelier National Monument, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Albuquerque and White Sands National Monument. In addition, on Friday, July 4, “The Daily Buzz” will broadcast live from the Roswell Convention and Visitors Center during the UFO Festival.

And on Thursday, CBS Network’s “The Early Show” will broadcast from Roswell. The UFO Festival runs from July 3-6 this year, featuring an alien village, guest speakers, authors, live entertainment, family-friendly activities and a light parade.

“The Early Show” is on CBS from 7 to 9 a.m. We don’t have word on exactly what time Roswell will be featured, but it likely will be on segments throughout the program. The show has a specially-outfitted Winnebago it takes around the country. Average viewership is 2.8 million.

“The Daily Buzz” is a nationally syndicated program, produced in Orlando, Fla. and shown mostly on the CW Network. It is one of the fastest growing syndicated shows in America. It’s geared toward the younger crowd and is a good way for us oldsters to pick up a little pop culture.

“I think it’s outstanding,” Roswell Mayor Sam LaGrone said of all the attention. “We are getting national, maybe international coverage with this. You can’t buy the advertising we’re getting.”

Hats off to the good people of Roswell who have taken a piece of their history and created an event with worldwide interest and appeal. It is a bit uncomfortable to some in the community that Roswell has become known as the alien capital of the world.

But that’s the hand Roswell was dealt, so why not play it with gusto? State Tourism Secretary Michael Cerletti says no festival in New Mexico captures the adventurous spirit of its citizens like the UFO Festival.

Cerletti says “The Daily Buzz” was attracted to New Mexico by his department’s new marketing effort encouraging New Mexicans to vacation in their own backyard this summer. Considering the price of gas, it’s a great idea to visit attractions that are only a gas tank away.

Back to Roswell. We’ll never be sure what happened in early July of 1947. All we know is that the Roswell Army Air Force Base issued a news release saying it had come into possession of a flying disk and had flown it to “higher headquarters.”

The following day, the commander of the Eighth Air Forces in Fort Worth issued a statement that an examination by the Army revealed that what was thought to be a grounded flying disc was actually a harmless high-altitude weather balloon.

Back in those days, no one questioned the Army so the subject was dropped. It wasn’t until 40 years later that people began wondering how the Army could mistake a weather balloon for a flying disc, even for a day.

The Air Force then said it really was a top secret spy balloon being tested over New Mexico skies. Many who had accepted the previous explanation, accepted the new one. But others wondered if this might just be another cover up of the previous cover up.

And that’s what led to where we are today. If the military can make up three different stories, let’s all join the fun and make up our own stories. Let your imagination run wild. And that they have.

One of the most ambitious proposals to make something out of Roswell’s fame has been an alien theme park. Bryan Temmer, a Land o’ Lakes, Fla,. information technology specialist, pitched the Roswell City Council on an alien apex resort. The council liked the idea enough to take it to the 2008 Legislature, which appropriated $245,000 for planning.

Gov. Bill Richardson signed the appropriation. But the state later called it back because of our state constitution’s anti-donation clause that has tripped up other projects.

Why didn’t anyone in Santa Fe think of that earlier? Is this a case of something else going on that we don’t know about?

Jay Miller is a syndicated columnist in Santa Fe. He may be reached by e-mail to insidethecapitol@hotmail.com.