Town getting new life as target of `terrorists'
Wayne and Mara Duncan have witnessed their tiny community nearly evaporate, now just 60 people away from being a ghost town. Isolated in the high desert mountains, Playas once shimmered like an oasis, its green lawns visible for miles. Though only three decades old, the hamlet of adobe-style houses and brick buildings evokes a mining town gone bust, except this one-time company town was built around a copper smelter, which closed in 1999. Only the Duncans and their two teenagers enliven Lomitas Street, where 25 other houses cast lonesome shadows. Now, a New Mexico university is about to take over the village and turn it into a terrorist response training camp for Homeland Security Department agents, the military and emergency responders from local and state agencies. Once the transformation is complete, as early as this summer, the site will be the only anti-terrorism facility in the nation that uses a real town for emergency training, according to officials with New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, which is purchasing the town for $5 million from Phelps Dodge Corp. Full Story