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Blue Hole draws swimmers, divers

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A boy leaps into the water at Blue Hole State Park in Santa Rosa, N.M. Blue Hole is part of the New Mexico Tourism Department’s “New Mexico True” campaign, an effort aimed at drawing more tourists to the state.

SANTA ROSA, N.M. >> It’s an anomaly in New Mexico’s high desert: a seemingly bottomless, deep blue swimming hole, the mysterious Blue Hole in the eastern part of the state.

Tourism officials are highlighting the Santa Rosa Blue Hole as part of the “New Mexico True” campaign and as a place for outdoor fun.

The artesian spring, tucked into a rock outcropping just off the highway, pumps out some 3,000 gallons of water per minute. The steady flow results in crystal clear conditions that have attracted divers from around the world.

A weeklong dive permit is $8; fee for recreational swimming is $5. Call 575-472-3763 or go to santarosabluehole.com.

Portrait gallery to honor 5 at gala

WASHINGTON >> The National Portrait Gallery plans to honor baseball’s Hank Aaron, singer Aretha Franklin, fashion designer Carolina Herrera, designer Maya Lin and U.S. Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter at a fundraiser for exhibitions.

The museum will honor individuals whose portraits are in the museum’s collection with the new Portrait of a Nation Prize, to be presented at the museum’s American Portrait Gala on Nov. 15.

The Smithsonian gallery aims to raise $1 million at the event to establish an endowment for future exhibitions.

Museum Director Kim Sajet says the five honorees are history makers and exemplars in their fields.

3 courthouses designated historic

NEW ORLEANS >> The National Park Service says the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals building in New Orleans and courthouses in Georgia and Alabama have been named national historic landmarks for their contributions to civil rights.

The announcement last week said the other two are the Elbert Parr Tuttle U.S. Court of Appeals Building in Atlanta and the Frank M. Johnson Jr. Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Montgomery, Ala.

Officials say the courthouses were involved in several cases that were pivotal in the civil rights movement including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Selma-to-Montgomery march, desegregation of public schools and more.

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