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2021 JANUARY 9 ISSUE: SENIOR LIVING COMPLEX PROPOSAL UPDATE

Maybe 2021 will be the year some Corrales seniors wishing to downsize, but still live in the village, will begin to realize their dreams. Frank Steiner, with the backing of a Village in the Village committee, appears more hopeful than ever.

In the fall of 2019, Steiner informally presented to Corrales Planning and Zoning Administrator Laurie Stout his plan to create a complex of five duplexes on the 1.89-acre parcel where his Sunbelt Nursery now sits. The land is at the corner of Corrales Road and Dixon Road, in the commercial district, which would make walking or bike riding to village stores, restaurants and the Bosque Preserve uncomplicated for residents.

The long-standing one-home-per-acre rule that has prevailed in Corrales for decades does not precisely apply to properties in the commercial zone, according to Steiner, who suggested in January 2020 that an addendum simply could be added to the commercial zone ordinance to make this happen. And possibly, the expected revision of Corrales’ Comprehensive Plan to which Mayor Jo Anne Roake has referred, could include a reconsideration of that long-standing one-home-per-acre rule.

After a meeting with Steiner in October 2019, Stout emailed him that “Allowing five duplexes with ten families would be a radical departure from current land use practices in the Village of Corrales. You did, however, state that you had the support of several councillors. My suggestion would be to float your idea and see if anyone would be willing to sponsor the higher density housing in the commercial zone as an additional permissive use, with site development plan approval.”

Leap through multiple pandemic months to early January 2021, and Steiner suggested this: “When the current councillors were running for office they all supported alternative senior housing in their public debates. Bill Woldman has met with our group and is very supportive. We have met with two other councillors who have expressed an interest in the project.

“Woldman encouraged us to meet with Planning and Zoning to investigate a special use permit for our project. P&Z director Stout said that would not be difficult if she were directed to do so by the Village Council. We hope the new councillor to be appointed by our mayor to the vacated District Four seat will be as supportive.”
He emphasized that “The one acre per house rule in the residential neighborhoods is not in jeopardy. This is limited to the commercial zone only.”

The push to alter the one acre rule for the Corrales Road commercial district is not brand new. In the fall of 2018, Village in the Village sought residents’ support for a land use ordinance that would allow townhouses or condo-like facilities on property within 250 feet of Corrales Road between Meadowlark and Wagner Lanes.

“Our population is aging. More than 50 percent of us are over 50 years old,” ViV proponents pointed out. “For many, our only option for living in Corrales is to occupy our present homes. In the future, our large houses, with significant maintenance issues, will pose obstacles to remaining in Corrales.

“Many senior friends and neighbors have already moved out of Corrales because of lack of desirable alternative housing. Today there are few smaller homes or rentals on the market, and none in the area where it is convenient to walk to the bank, post office, pharmacy, library, stores, restaurants and the bosque trails.”

“We at Village in the Village (ViV) propose that the Corrales Village administration and councillors investigate changing the housing density in the commercial zone to be similar to the number of individual units in the development Pueblo los Cerros off of Loma Larga. “Units like these provide neighbors close by, affordable and manageable housing. We would like to see townhomes, condominiums or multiple single homes in a quantity and quality, that supports ViV’s mission of helping seniors remain in their community.”

Thus far, the ordinance remains unchanged. Steiner points out that “We promote ourselves as a village that is all inclusive and supports a diversified population. Our valuable seniors have been active in our community over the many years since our incorporation in 1971 and have helped make it such a wonderful place to live. They love Corrales and their neighbors and do not want to leave.”

“We need a majority of the councillors to vote for approval of this project and direct P&Z to offer the appropriate zoning solution,” he added. “The project is fully funded and shovel ready. We could have ten senior families living in our project by this time next year.”

2021 JANUARY 9 ISSUE: COVID-19 DEATHS IN CORRALES AS PANDEMIC SPREADS RAPIDLY

Although no deaths from COVID-19 infection in Corrales have been reported officially, at least one person here was known to have died as of January 1. The N.M. Department of Health reported that 194 Corrales residents had been diagnosed with the fast-spreading disease at the first of the year. Statewide, that number was up to 144,142, of whom 2,502 had died. On January 1, 791 New Mexicans were hospitalized with the deadly coronavirus.

On December 27, Corrales had 178 COVID cases, demonstrating the spike in new cases here. At the end of May, Corrales had nine cases of COVID-19. That had risen to 20 at the end of June, and on to 32 cases by the end of July. At the end of August, the village had 36 cases. On October 31, Corrales had 52; on November 15, it was 74, and then 119 on November 30.

 

On December 5, there were 129; 156 on December 15, and then 176 on Christmas Day. By the end of December the number had risen to 189. At-home tests for COVID-19 are now available at no charge through the State health department. The kit will be mailed to you after requesting it by email to: learn.vaulthealth.com/nm. Each test request requires a unique email address.

On January 4, the N.M. Department of Health announced a new website for vaccinations: vaccinenm.org. After comprehensive personal profiles are registered at the site, health officials will notify those registered when and where vaccinations are available. On the day of their appointment, they fill out a medical questionnaire about their current health.

The Corrales Fire Department’s Tanya Lattin said if anyone needs assistance with registering for the vaccine, he or she should contact her at 702-4182. “We could have some of the population that does not have a computer or smart phone,” she explained. “The Village of Corrales wants to make sure everyone who would like a vaccine has the ability to sign up.”

2021 JANUARY 9 ISSUE: WHAT’S AHEAD FOR 2021?

“Life goes on in the village. Life goes on like a song.” And so it is as Corrales begins 2021 after a coronavirus pandemic crushed most of community life here during 2020. The two lines above are the underlying phrase from the Corrales pageant produced and staged by the late Evelyn Losack in the early 1980s. The song “Los Corrales” was formally adopted by the Village Council on April 24, 2012. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXI No.6 May 5, 2012 “Corrales Adopts Official Song,” which includes stanzas and refrain.)

Resilience and further adaptations are expected to be watch-words for Corrales in the year ahead. Vaccines for COVID-19 are only now being administered; Corrales firefighters and police are being scheduled. Across the board, much of what was anticipated to occur last year has effectively rolled over to this year. Among expected highlights are significant changes to the Village’s land use policies, including regulations on secondary dwellings (“casitas”) on residential lots and higher density for senior living facilities in the commercial district.

The Planning and Zoning Commission has scheduled a January 13 online work-study session on changes that may be needed to the Village’s regulations for casitas, or guesthouses. It will start at 1 p.m. and may run to 3 p.m. Contact Village Clerk Aaron Gjullin for remote access to the meeting. Village officials are contracting with the Mid-Region Council of Governments to analyze and recommend changes to Corrales’ land use policies as a review of the Corrales Comprehensive Plan. Village Administrator Ron Curry said December 29 he anticipates the Village Council will consider those recommendations by the end of this year.

On Tuesday, January 12, the Village Council will hold its first meeting of 2021 via Zoom, starting at 6:30 p.m. An appointment will be made to fill the council seat being vacated by Dave Dornburg, who resigned effective December 31. He has sold his home and is moving away. The council will vote on confirmation of someone appointed by Mayor Jo Anne Roake.

As the N.M. Legislature convenes in Santa Fe January 19 and continues through March 20, probably in a “hybrid” model with some sessions conducted virtually, three legislators from Corrales will deliberate: Representatives Jane Powdrell-Culbert and Daymon Ely and new Senator Brenda McKenna. Crafting a new budget will be a top priority, as always, but considerable attention is on whether legislators will legalize sale and possession of marijuana for recreational use, as neighboring states have done.

Corrales’ first cannabis shop, a dispensary for medical marijuana, opened at the corner of Corrales Road and Rincon Road. Another proposal that Corrales residents are following is possible adoption of the long-debated Health Security for New Mexicans Act which would provide all citizens with the same level of health care as state employees receive.

Village Administrator Ron Curry said the mayor has not made specific requests for funding beyond the Village’s infrastructure capital improvements program (ICIP) list adopted last September. That prioritized list includes $40,000 for animal control equipment and facilities, $75,000 to construct a trail connection at the top of Sagebrush Drive, $100,000 for municipal parking facilities, $2,155,000 for the Fire Department’s plan to extend water lines for fire suppression and $1,225,000 to improve residental roads and drainage.

There is no expectation that all of those projects will be funded. As the new year gets under way, a major sewer project is being installed along the south end of Loma Larga. A sewer line is being installed by horizontal drilling to connect the Pueblo los Cerros condos’ failed wastewater treatment plant to the Albuquerque sewer system at Alameda Boulevard. Completion is expected before April.

An extention of the Village’s sewer service to homes in the Priestley-Coroval neighborhood —anticipated for more than two decades— could begin by September. However, engineering for the project by Village Engineer Steve Grolmann was not complete as of January 1. Another perennial project, a pathway along Corrales Road in the business district is unlikely to be implemented this year. When asked about it, Curry explained that a high priority for the mayor is finally getting new crosswalks along the road designated and old ones re-striped.

Back in December 2018, the Corrales MainStreet Design Committee under Allan Tinkham said that it had received $40,000 from New Mexico MainStreet with which to pay for the complete engineered design of the first section of the pathway. At that time it was thought that the first stretch of the path heading north from West Ella would be completed by October 2020. That didn’t happen, and Curry offered no prediction when it would.

Also left hanging since last year is a decision on whether the Village should accept the long-standing offer from the N.M. Department of Transportation to transfer ownership of Corrales Road (State Highway 448) to the Village. A scheduled meeting on that topic was cancelled this fall and never re-set. Public input discussions with citizens are expected to resume before summer.

Similarly, Curry intends thorough public participation early this spring about options to complete the upper Meadowlark trails project. Plans for a bike and walking path along the north side of Meadowlark between Loma Larga and the Rio Rancho boundary were scuttled when state funders denied the Village a waiver to requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act because the grade is too steep at the west end.

The Village Administrator reported that the way forward is still hung up with a lingering lawsuit with the company that reconstructed upper Meadowlark in phase one. Initially, plans called for a horse path along the south side of Meadowlark, connecting trails along Loma Larga to the existing Thompson Fence Line Trail along the escarpment in Rio Rancho.

In an interview December 29, Curry said paths along upper Meadowlark could be in place by mid-year. No announcement has been made regarding this year’s Corrales Garden Tour which normally comes in early June. The 2021 event is expected to be cancelled due to the pandemic. And if the Fourth of July Parade is held this year, it is likely to be a drastically curtailed event.

On the other hand, the Corrales Growers’ Market probably will resume much as it was last fall. Design and engineering has been completed for installation of a water tank for the Fire Department at the top of Angel Hill, another project that has been anticipated for decades. When funding is available, that could begin this year. A second phase would involve laying a water line with fire hydrants from the tank down to Loma Larga.

A new project begun last summer, recommendations for how the “Scummy Ditch” (real name: Corrales Interior Drain) east of Corrales Road might be transformed for public use should be submitted by mid-August.  When the Village Council established “an ad hoc committee to explore the possibilities of the Corrales Interior Drain” on August 18, 2020, it set a one-year timeframe for reporting back.

The year 2021 marks 50 years since the people of Corrales incorporated their community as a municipality. The official date was September 17, 1971. If anyone remembers, civic-minded Corraleños are supposed to gather outside the Village Office to open a time capsule sealed on July 4, 1997. At the time, the concrete-coated “crypt” was to be opened on September 22, 2021.

The time capsule project by the Corrales Historical Society was part of the celebration of Corrales’ 25th anniversary as an incorporated municipality.
Inside the crumbling concrete box near the entrance to the Village Office is a plywood box containing the real receptacle: a metal box containing items of historic interest and other memorabilia. The capsule was purchased with funds donated by Intel Corporation. (See Corrales Comment June 21, 1997.)

By December, protection from COVID-19 should be well underway and, with it, some return to normalcy with such mundane affairs as in-person Village Council meetings, group meals at the Senior Center and events at the Old Church. St. Nick may even be able to return on the first weekend in December. And perhaps true to form, villagers will ponder standing for election to the Village Council. Declarations of candidacy will be due in early January 2022.

2020 DEC. 19 ISSUE: REX FUNK, OPEN SPACE GURU, TACKLES RETIREMENT

By Meredith Hughes
Especially in these pandemic-restricted times, many are grateful that Albuquerque has more park space per person than any city in the United States. A guy who grew up in Los Angeles was a major open space advocate for Albuquerque from the 1970s through the mid-90s. Since 2016 he has lived in Corrales.

Rex Funk arrived in Albuquerque in 1969 to teach science courses as well as photography at West Mesa High School, after studying at Cal State Long Beach. He had carefully observed how urban sprawl had overrun much of LA’s natural setting, and early in his teaching career decided he wanted to create a nature center.

A 10 chapter online book by Funk and archaeologist- anthropologist Matt Schmader recently posted on the new City of Albuquerque website relates in detail how environmentalists labored long to achieve open space for the state’s largest city. Early proponent of wilderness conservation, Aldo Leopold, who lived in northern New Mexico in the early 20th century, is quoted in the book several times. Here’s one example from 1917. “The average Albuquerquean man, woman or child, is in need of a place within walking distance of the city where each can enjoy a breath of fresh air and a sight of a few trees, a few birds, and a little water.”

Funk agreed. “He learned of a cattail marsh two miles north of the school in an old oxbow of the Rio Grande. It was fed by the outfall of the Corrales Drain, so it had a permanent water supply even when the tiver was dry. Funk visited it and found a high-quality 37-acre marsh teeming with wildlife. He heard of some people who were organizing to promote a nature preserve on the Rio Grande, and went to the first meeting at Saint Michaels and All Angels Church on Montano Road.”

A slew of local nature lovers gathered that day, named their group Bosque del Rio Grande Nature Preserve Society, soon shortened to the Bosque Society, and undertook years of public education projects.

Funk with others indeed did establish a nature center and preserve along the Rio Grande, and then served on several boards and task forces. He chaired the Open Space Task Force, and worked to save the Elena Gallegos lands and create the Open Space Trust Fund in 1982. That year he was hired as the City’s first Open Space planner and was instrumental in the establishment of Rio Grande Valley State Park in 1983. In 1984 he became the first superintendent of the Open Space Division of the City Parks and Recreation Department, and also was elected to the AMAFCA board on which he served for six years. He retired from the City in 1994.
Not that he retired in any real sense of the word. Moving to Oregon for awhile, he taught, worked with non profits, and then settled for a time in Arizona where he met his wife LuJet, a Methodist minister, and handled a range of projects until her retirement, when they moved to New Mexico.

And all along the way, Funk, the son of a machinist —“we appreciate precision”— tooled up, making both wood and metal salt and pepper shakers on a lathe as a 10-year-old, and learning how to repair old cars.

He bought a 1963 Sunbeam, a British car, while still in college, then ”returned to cars” about 1990. He has been involved with his current Brit car in the Rio Grande Valley Regional Rendezvous, an event sponsored by the British Automobile Owners Association.The latest one involved 20 cars, and four days of driving in New Mexico.

And most recently, after building a workshop on the property he and his wife bought in Corrales in 2016, Funk has immersed himself in fine woodworking. His small pieces recently were part of the online Fine Arts show mounted by Corrales Historical Society and Corrales Society of Artists. And he does custom commissioned work, too —shelves, fold down tables, made from his favorite “figured wood.” Burls, spalted wood, that decayed by fungus, and all varieties of maples and myrtle. Contact Funk at rexsmail@yahoo.com. Explore the History of Albuquerque’s Major Public Open Space here: https://www.cabq.gov/parksandrecreation/documents/history-of-albq-major-public-open-space-final.pdf

The book begins like this:
“Albuquerque is blessed with an extraordinary physical setting. Viewed from above, the major landforms that make the city recognizable can be seen in their vastness and beauty: it is how you know you can only be in Albuquerque. It is these features that Open Space advocates realized early on-- from the 1950s at least—and which have been the subject of many conservation efforts. Success in the preservation movements laid the foundation for one of the country’s true open space gems; a proud legacy that is still growing and whose story we hope to unfold in the following chapters.”

2020 DEC. 19 ISSUE: LEARN HOW TO MAKE HOLIDAY TREAT —TAMALES!

By Meredith Hughes
Corrales’ Jane Butel, maven of American Southwest regional cooking, with the upcoming Christmas holiday in mind, has posted a “Tamale Rolling” video up front on her website, which can be accessed for a fee. Butel writes that she “grew up with a mother whose favorite food her entire life was tamales. The video we just completed shows all the hints, tips and tricks for perfect, fluffy tamales which I learned from her.”

Tamales, those corn meal and chile concoctions wrapped typically in cornhusks, date back thousands of years, where they were prepared and eaten by the indigenous peoples who first gathered and later farmed the many vegetables native to the Americas, corn, beans, tomatoes, and chiles among them.

Scholars think that Mesoamerica, a historical region and cultural area in North America, that extends from approximately central Mexico through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica, is likely where tamales may have begun their long history. California ethnohistorian Karl Taube writes that “Maya epigraphy supplies the most convincing evidence that the tamale constituted the principal maize food of the Classic Maya. It will be seen that tamales represented in Classic period texts and iconographic scenes were known widely by the Mayan term wa or wah, a word also signifying food or sustenance in a number of Mayan languages.”

So tamales = food! When you register for the Tamale Rolling video, for $49, Butel will send out four recipes for making both the tamales and the red chile sauce. Then you can order the products for making them on her website, http://www.janebutelcooking.com, including tamale masa, hot chile and mild red chile, if desired. As Butel puts it, “Tamale masa is a special coarser grind that yields fluffy tamales instead of greasy or hard tamales.  And pure red chiles are needed for the fresh spicy clear flavor of the tamales and sauce.”

Along with rocking and rolling tamales, you can do a deeper dive into “All About Chiles.” This is a course focused solely on learning about chiles and how to cook with them. Butel launched her latest extensive on-line chile cooking course this fall, and now is taking the first 20 registrations for its 2021 iteration which will begin January 18. The cost? $650. Sign up via her website.

In a series of over 40 lectures by Butel, along with 150 kitchen-tested recipes, participants will use chiles in Southwestern and Mexican dishes. Hints and tips for cooking with both green and red chiles will be completely spelled out. Also, Butel explores chiles’ healthful benefits, including “how to eat your way to losing weight and reverse aging.” Also ways to use chiles for “improving your heart’s health as well as your skin,” and the history and lore of chiles.

As Butel wrote in “Real Women Eat Chiles,” “Those of us who have been ‘exposed’ to chiles early in life are constantly on a quest for a daily chile fix. Those who have not had the opportunity to eat chiles have much less tolerance for capsaicin. However, it is never too late to start a daily habit of chile eating and develop one’s own ‘chile drive.’”

Each lesson is based on a written document. People who sign up view the text and then create the recipes. And, according to Butel, “there are choices — they don't have to prepare all of the recipes— only those they wish to. Plus they have an extra month beyond the end of the series to return to any classes they wish to and as often as they wish to. Each comes with a grocery and equipment list, as well as the recipes to select from.” The last two classes will be devoted to participants creating their own chile recipes.

Once you sign up, you will receive some chile and chile-related goodies: Jane Butel’s Southwestern Kitchen, a comprehensive book on Southwestern cookery developed to back up her PBS series; a DVD on Bowl o’ Red Chile Party; eight ounces pure hot red chile powder; eight ounces pure mild red chile powder; eight ounces crushed caribe chile; eight ounces blue corn flour; four ounces crushed pequin quebrado chile; two ounces ground cumin; and two ounces ground Mexican oregano.”

While the course is not interactive, nor Zoom-based, Butel is setting up a chat room so that learners can ask questions. They also can feel free to call her at 505-243-2622.

Not all in Butel-land derives from the Americas. Her recipe for stollen, the traditional German Christmas bread which may have originated in Saxony, is best served up with champagne on Christmas morning, she urges. First traditionally made with oil, because of Advent restrictions by the Catholic Church on the use of butter, bakers pushed back, begged Papal circumvention, ranted, and then finally, 15th century Pope Innocent VIII relented, kind of. Finally, when Saxony became Protestant, (see Lutherans,) butter ruled.

You can access the recipe, from Jane Butel’s Freezer Cookbook, for free at http://www.janebutelcooking.com/post/great-deal-on-cooking-classes-for-2019-and-christmas-baking. Scroll down to take a gander through the following ingredients for two loaves, with butter up top: ¾ cup unsalted butter; ½ cup sugar; 1 teaspoon salt; ½ teaspoon nutmeg; 1/2 teaspoon mace (if you do not have mace, substitute more nutmeg;) Grated rind of 1 lemon; Grated rind of ½ orange; 2 eggs; ¼ cup dark rum, brandy or sherry; 1 cup milk 1 package active dry yeast; ¼ cup warm water; 6 cups all-purpose flour, approximately; 1 cup raisins;1 cup currants (if unavailable, substitute more raisins;) ¼ pound each candied orange peel, lemon peel, and citron;1 slice candied pineapple; 1 cup toasted almonds; 1 ½ pounds candied whole red and green cherries; ¼ cup melted butter; Powdered sugar.

Or, skip stollen, but pop the champagne, and dream of taking a seven-day foodie trip hosted by Butel to Oaxaca, Mexico’s mole-rich gastro capital, whenever the pandemic eases up and makes three hands-on cooking classes, tours of historic sites, market tours and artisan visits possible.

2020 DEC. 19 ISSUE: CONCERNS OVER WALLS THAT BLOCK SCENIC QUALITY


A new effort is under way to establish some controls over continued erection of cinder block walls adjacent to Corrales Road which detract from scenic views. At the December 8 Village Council meeting, Councillor Zach Burkett said he would like to see incentives by Village government to encourage other styles of walls or fences that do not inhibit views.

He said he wanted the council to address the issue after seeing such tall, solid walls erected by builder Steve Nakamura on two properties at the south end of Corrales over the past year. Similar long walls have gone up adjacent to Corrales Road at the north end in recent years, creating what former Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Terry Brown has referred to as a “canyon” effect that destroy the scenic quality for which Corrales has been known for many years.

When Brown heard of Burkett’s interest, he said he looked forward to collaborating on a proposal to address the worsening situation. “When I was chair of the Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission, the last issue I tried to get a reluctant council to approve was a recommendation for a requirement for a partially open wall ordinance along Corrales Road. “The new CMU walls being built by Mr. Nakamura at the south end of Corrales are the antithesis of what Corrales needs,” Brown added.

“Look at the fencing along Rio Grande. This is what I envision for our village, and what is desperately needed to protect the views along the Corrales ‘scenic byway.’” Bucolic views along Corrales Road of pastures, horses, farms, orchards, vineyards and old tractors are central to this community’s character and perhaps even its economic vitality. A degree of national recognition for those attributes was gained in 1995 when Corrales Road was designated a “scenic and historic byway.” But a Village-appointed byways corridor management committee disbanded amid controversy more than a decade ago and was never fully reconstituted.

Brown, an architect, is concerned that the community’s treasured scenic quality is being incrementally lost due to an unfortunate landscaping feature: view-blocking solid walls or fences at the edge of the road. “I was on the Planning and Zoning Commission for eight years, and I was the chair for two years. As an architect, I felt strongly that we needed to protect this view, this viewshed from Corrales Road,” Brown explained.

“People come here to see Corrales… they don’t come here to look at walls and fences. They come here to see horses and donkeys and llamas and cows, and the views that stretch from the fields to the riparian habitat and all the way to the Sandias.

“They don’t want to see walls; they don’t want to see that ‘canyon effect.’” Back in 2010-11, Brown and others pushed hard for the Village Council to adopt an ordinance or regulation that would prohibit owners of property abutting Corrales Road from erecting a solid fence or wall taller than three feet at the road frontage property line.

Draft Ordinance 11-007, amending the Village’s land use regulations regarding fences, was tabled at a February 2011 council meeting and never revived for vote. No other proposals have been pursued, and tall cinder block walls and wooden fences continue to go up, blocking views.

Corrales is left vulnerable, Brown cautioned. “In some places we have a tall wall along one side of Corrales Road, but it’s left open on the other side. I guess that’s probably acceptable,” he volunteered. “But what if a developer or homeowner says ‘Hey, I need to have more opacity on my side of the road, too.’ And then, the next guy says the same thing, and pretty soon, a hundred years from now, Corrales Road will be just one long canyon.”

On the other side of the river, regulations for Rio Grande Boulevard have apparently closed off that undesired future. “I believe along Rio Grande Boulevard you can only have a limited expanse of opaque wall and the rest of it has to be open. The walls are low; for the most part, you can see over them or through them. “Since Corrales Road is a scenic byway, I think it is worthy of getting the same treatment.”

Without any regulation requiring scenic views be maintained, Brown warned, “you get whatever a developer is going to give you.” In laying out the 2011 rationale for recommended action by the Village Council, then-P&Z commission Chairman Brown put it this way: “One of Corrales’ greatest assets that maintain the rural character of this village is the vistas of vineyards, agricultural fields, large animals, towering cottonwoods and the Sandia Mountains beyond. With this in mind, the P&Z commission recommends the modification noted above for fences along Corrales Road. Our concern is that without this proposed modification to our ordinance, Corrales Road could become a walled-in road where nothing could be seen beyond the six-foot high walls along both sides of Corrales Road. We already have portions of Corrales Road with this unappealing aspect.” (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXVIII No.3 March 23, 2019 “Can Scenery Along ‘Scenic Byway’ Be Preserved?”)

During early discussion about regulating the size and opacity of walls along property lines, the proposed rules would have applied to roadsides throughout Corrales. But P&Z commissioners and council members backed away from that, anticipating villagers’ resistance for reasons of privacy.

That continues to be a primary concern, although the thwarted 2011 ordinance exempted existing walls and fences; the rules would have applied only to new walls or fences. Even so, the draft ordinance that went to the Village Council back then would have applied only to property along Corrales Road, not residential neighborhoods east or west of it.

While privacy issues seem to have been dominant during the P&Z and council discussions about protecting scenic quality nine years ago, it’s clear that visitors to Corrales have no interest in knowing who’s rolling in the hay with whom. A secondary concern was road noise from increased traffic along Corrales Road. Proximity to the road is the critical factor in how disturbing tire-on-asphalt noise would be to residents. But if the residence is that close to Corrales Road, or any neighborhood road, the structure itself would likely obstruct a view of fields, farm animals or the mountains.

Brown said he is not aware of any road noise mitigation measures that might be used that still allow scenic views. He said a tall wall, fence or dense vegetation may be the only way to effectively block road noise if the residence is very close.

In Brown’s February 25, 2011, letter of transmittal from the P&Z commission to the council, he pointed out “This revised proposed ordinance recommends modifications to the previous proposed ordinance by requiring all new fences along Corrales Road (Scenic Byway) to have no solid fence exceeding three feet in height erected on the front lot line or within the front setback area of any lot or within the vision clearance area abutting a driveway.

“If someone wants a fence taller than three feet, then that portion of the fence would have to be an open fence.” The wall or fence could actually be taller than three feet, but the upper portion would have to be open or see-through to some degree, he added. Serving as Planning and Zoning Commission vice-chair at that time was Corrales’ current mayor, Jo Anne Roake. “The Village Council did not like the idea at that time,” Brown recalled. “They didn’t like the idea of dictating to a homeowner what type of fence they could have. However, we already have ordinances that cover what type of fence you can have and what it looks like; what is acceptable and what is not.”

“It’s like anything else in the village; it should be the villagers who decide what’s in the best interest of the village. We want to encourage tourism, but if, when they come, we have a canyon of walls on both sides of Corrales Road, that’s not going to be very attractive.”

2020 DEC. 19 ISSUE: SAGEBRUSH DRIVE TRAIL CONNECTION COMING

Construction is expected to begin in April for a long-proposed trail connection between the City of Rio Rancho’s paved Thompson Fence Line trail along the edge of the escarpment and the end of Sagebrush Drive in Corrales. Engineering work has begun after the Corrales Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Commission pushed for it at the June 16 Village Council meeting. The plan was explained in a Powerpoint presentation by the commission.

At the November 12 session Village Administrator Ron Curry said the work would likely begin in April since that is the availability of the firm contracted to build the trail link. In the meantime, he said adjacent property owners will be contacted to make sure they are aware of the project.

On August 31, Village Clerk Aaron Gjullin informed advisory commissioners that the project had launched. “Just a heads up. It has begun!” he emailed. “The Village is funding it, asking for additional money or reimbursements from the County and State. Engineering has begun.” The commission has held discussions with Rio Rancho officials, the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority and Corrales Public Works several times over the last five years. Public Works has estimated the trail link could cost around $74,000 including engineering and installation.

“The time is now,” the commission’s presentation urged. “A Parks and Recreation survey indicated residents want opportunities to exercise outside as individuals and as families. Trail connectivity is an important tenet of the Trails Master Plan. A loop trail is a great way to enjoy our village.”

The south end of Rio Rancho’s trail terminates at Corrales’ Meadowlark Lane, although just south of that is Intel’s recently improved Skyview Trail which extends on southward to the Skyview Acres Subdivision. “Together, they provide a three-mile path along the border between Corrales and Rio Rancho that offers sweeping views of the village and the Sandias,” the commission’s report stated. “Attempts to connect the north end to the village via Sagebrush have been ongoing for 30 years.”

It noted that “ad hoc” paths at the end of Sagebrush Drive to reach the Thompson Fence Line Trail have existed for years across private property. Now an opportunity to build the long-proposed trail connection can be achieved using Village-owned land adjacent to the cul de sac at the end of Sagebrush. “The Village owns the land on which the potential trail connection would be constructed,” the Powerpoint said. “Nearby lots are for sale. We have an agreement among current neighbors that the connection is a good idea. Benefits are significant: health, quality of life, potential economic boos for local businesses.”

The commission’s introduction noted that “the idea of a loop trail around Corrales was first imagined in the 1980s. Rio Rancho completed the Thompson Fence Line Trail, and Intel built their trail in the 1990s. “A few years ago, a lot in that area that would serve as a trail connection was deeded to the Village from the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority. Mike Chavez, Village Public Works director, viewed the possible connection, indicating it was doable and providing cost estimates. This link is on the Master Trails Plan.”

2020 DEC. 19 ISSUE: DORNBURG RESIGNS; COUNCIL VACANCY DIST.4

Councillor Dave Dornburg has resigned from the Village Council effective January 1 since he and his family are moving away. He made the announcement at the December 8 council meeting; Mayor Jo Anne Roake encouraged anyone interested in filling the vacancy to contact her as soon as possible. She will name a replacement to represent Council District 4 until the 2022 municipal election.

The district boundaries are generally from Loma Larga on the east to the Rio Rancho boundary on the west and from Applewood on the south to West Ella on the north. Anyone interested is urged to notify the Village Clerk by email at agjullin@corrales-nm.org. At the council meeting Dornburg did not say why he is moving away, but that he had not intended to move so quickly. He said his home had sold within three days of putting it on the market.

When running for the council seat in 2018, he said he worked for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration as deputy director for the Office of Nuclear Weapon Surety and Quality. He lives along upper Meadowlark Lane and had led in the ongoing discussion on how to complete the improvements between Loma Larga and the Rio Rancho boundary. His term ends in March 2022.

2020 DEC. 19 ISSUE: MEDICAL MARIJUANA SHOP SET TO OPEN

By Meredith Hughes
A burst of increased activity at the eastern end of the former Kim Jew property at 4604 Corrales Road is evidence that Southwest Organic Producers (SWOP), which first began business in 2009 selling medical marijuana, is opening a retail cannabis dispensary in Corrales as soon as this month.

The store is opening at the corner of Corrales Road and Rincon Road, just north of Perea’s restaurant. A company employee at its first Albuquerque retail location on Montgomery, just east of Interstate 25, said “furniture, including display cases” were being bought for the Corrales site.

Spencer Komadina, one of the project’s partners, said the New Mexico Department of Health was expected to do its inspection the week of December 13, and that the shop would then hold its soft open, with a grand opening following not far behind. The Corrales outlet will immediately benefit from what another partner, Aaron Brogdon, has described as “better quality product,” grown right in Corrales. The Komadina property at 379 Camino de Corrales del Norte has three greenhouses, as well as a “head house,” or nursery, for new plants.

The SWOP outlet has been a long time in coming. Although the site development plan application was approved by the Village Planning and Zoning Commission on November 20, 2019, assorted hoops required jumping through, or what P&Z Administrator Laurie Stout described soon thereafter as “applicable state and federal agencies on their specific requirements.” At that time, a long-time Corrales cannabis grower, Tom Murray, explained to P&Z prior to their positive ruling that he was “the first cannabis producer in Corrales, and one of the first four in New Mexico.”

Murray emphasized the gross receipts coming to the Village via a retail outlet would be based on an estimated “$4.2 million of revenue that will originate through that point of sale and will include a good portion of customers outside of the village.” Komadina pointed out that the retail outlet would likely involve three to four employees, with an office for human resources above the store front. He added that “all manufactured products would be made outside Corrales by six extraction companies” the group works with.

At the moment SWOP pays rent to Kim Jew, still the building’s owner, but the group has first refusal on any upcoming purchase of the place. Komadina said SWOP hopes to own the property within a year or so. The interest by New Mexicans in medical cannabis continues to grow. As of May 31, 2020, New Mexico had 94,042 registered Medical Cannabis Program card holders, with Sandoval County at 6,514, and Bernalillo, 30,562. By November 30, 2020, 101,770 patients were registered, 7,281 in Sandoval County, and 33,976 in Bernalillo County.

Across the state, by far the biggest number of patients were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), jumping from 48,010 to 54,391 by the end of November. People experiencing “severe chronic pain,”for which they sought cannabis, increased to 31,956 from 29,862. While a bill to legalize recreational cannabis in New Mexico was shot down in February of last year in the N.M. Legislature, signs indicate this time around the bill will have greater support.

According to a report by Ultra Health, the largest marijuana seller in New Mexico, the state “is now landlocked between three states with more flexible cannabis policies than its own. Legalization in Arizona is likely to create greater momentum surrounding legalization of cannabis for adult use in New Mexico during the 2021 Legislative Session.”

“New Mexico’s medical and adult-use cannabis market is estimated to generate $600 million in consumer sales and $90 to $100 million in recurring tax revenue. The path to a legalization market of such size will require legislators and regulators to work collectively to create a robust cannabis model.”

In addition, again according to Ultra Health, “medical marijuana sales in New Mexico in the third quarter exceeded the same period in 2019 by 62 percent. New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program of 34 licensed producers reported $55 million in cannabis sales in 2020, a jump of $21 million.” Earlier this month, the United Nations’ Commission for Narcotic Drugs voted to remove cannabis from its list of most dangerous drugs, and a floor vote was held in the U.S. House of Representatives December 4 on the MORE Act, (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act). The bill officially passed by a vote of 228-164. Next stop, the U.S. Senate.

According to the official House description, “This bill decriminalizes marijuana. And specifically, it removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana.”

“The bill also makes other changes, including the following:
• replaces statutory references to marijuana and marihuana with cannabis,
• requires the Bureau of Labor Statistics to regularly publish demographic data on cannabis business owners and employees,
• establishes a trust fund to support various programs and services for individuals and businesses in communities impacted by the war on drugs,
• imposes a 5 percent tax on cannabis products and requires revenues to be deposited into the trust fund,
• makes Small Business Administration loans and services available to entities that are cannabis-related legitimate businesses or service providers,
• prohibits the denial of federal public benefits to a person on the basis of certain cannabis-related conduct or convictions,
• prohibits the denial of benefits and protections under immigration laws on the basis of a cannabis-related event (e.g., conduct or a conviction),
• establishes a process to expunge convictions and conduct sentencing review hearings related to federal cannabis offenses, and
• directs the Government Accountability Office to study the societal impact of cannabis legalization.”

2020 DEC. 19 ISSUE: ‘FARMLAND FOREVER’ AT HASLAM TRACT AFTER COUNCIL’S VOTE

Despite some suspicions and misgivings, the Village Council approved purchase of a conservation easement on 12 acres of farmland at its December 8 session. The vote was three-to-two to pay $960,000 for an easement on the Haslam farm between the Corrales Main Canal and the Corrales Lateral irrigation ditch at the end of Kings Lane. Councillors Stuart Murray and Kevin Lucero voted no, citing prospects that a more desirable tract might become available during the next six months.

That was almost certainly a reference to the long-discussed, and negotiated possibility that the Trosello tract farther north along the east side of Corrales Road might be saved from development as home sites. Murray, Lucero and several villagers had argued that the Village had negotiated an option to purchase the Haslam tract this past summer and still had six months remaining to exercise it. They argued there was no hurry to close on the Haslam land.

With the council’s action December 8, the closing is expected by the end of this month. That would leave approximately $1.5 million remaining of the $2.5 million raised from municipal general obligation bonds approved by voters in March 2018 for farmland preservation. Former Village Councillor Fred Hashimoto urged a delay on the Haslam property. “Some very attractive proposals might pop up between now and June 1, and the council should not cave now to prematurely spend potential funds which might be used for a possibly more valuable proposal in the next coming months.”

In his remarks to the council, Hashimoto suggested “undivulged” reasons might have led to an early decision. The reasons stated, he said, “are not compelling reasons. Perhaps undivulged ones exist. I don’t know. Perhaps someone wants the Haslams to get a windfall before year’s end.” Those questions drew sharp responses from Councillor Dave Dornburg and Mayor Jo Anne Roake. “I think it’s kind of folly to assume that another deal is going to come out of the woodwork at this day and age when property values in the village are only going up,” Dornburg said. “I think there has been enough man-hours and due diligence put into this process that the time has come to put it to a vote.

“There may always be another option down the road, but in my humble opinion, while I’m sure there are other pieces of property that people would rather have, this is the option we have and it meets the intent of conservation easement that we’re trying to protect.” Murray responded. “I’m not going to dispute the process. They have been working on it quite a bit. I have no objection to Mr. Haslam’s property. It’s a beautiful piece of property.” But he doubted that the offered parcel could be successful as a farm. “I’ve seen farmers back in my hometown who had 150 acres and couldn’t make a go of it and had to work two jobs to make a living…”

Mayor Roake cut in to say that was not relevant, and that waiting another six months on the Haslam option is not really an alternative, given the amount of time it has taken to get the Haslam option ready to execute. “Between getting our financing and getting the bonds issued and getting it approved through the N.M. Finance Authority and all the other gates that we have to go through actually does put the time limitations on this process. I want to address the idea that we can actually wait for months, because all of the pieces that you have voted for have gotten us to the point now where we are issuing the bonds, and that has to be done in a certain time frame… all of this was done based on two different appraisals and two different reviews by N.M. Taxation and Revenue, so I think that’s a false analogy.

“All of this work has taken place since July. It has taken a long time. It’s a lengthy and complex process,” the mayor stressed, making the point that the administration does not actually have another six months to exercise the Haslam option. Murray resumed questioning the push to move ahead, saying he is suspicious that the final appraisal on the Haslam property came out exactly the same as the original. “It’s a little suspicious to me that the appraisal came in at exactly what was asked for. If you look at properties around —I even did a little rough estimate myself using a…”

Again Mayor Roake interrupted. “Actually that tells me that there’s an excellent appraiser. But I have a point of order.” Murray said he disagreed, so Roake asked the Village’s negotiator, Michael Scisco of Unique Places LLC, to explain how the appraisal was arranged. Scisco said the reason the original appraisal was so accurate iwa that they had access to another appraisal on a property right across Corrales Road just two months earlier.

Before the vote was called, Councillor Dornburg made another plea for approval. “I think it’s a good idea today, it was a good idea six months ago and it will be a good idea six months from now. If we don’t think it’s a good idea, that’s a different conversation. But we have the will of the people for a bond to buy conservation easements. We have a great conservation property in front of us. If you like the property and think it meets the will of the people, either today or in June, the answer should probably be the same.” The motion to purchase the Haslam conservation easement was approved. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIX No. 17 November 21, 2020 “Haslam Easement May Be Approved By Council Dec.8.”)

More than 40 acres of Corrales farmland has been brought under conservation easement since the effort began here in 2000. Villagers overwhelmingly approved a bond proposal for $2.5 million for that purpose in 2004, but the last of those bond proceeds was spent in 2015. Since the bonds now have been paid off, more bonds were issued without increasing property tax.

The first conservation easement here was donated by former Corrales resident Jonathan Porter on land west of Corrales Road at the south end of the valley. Similar to the Haslam farm, the Porter tract is not visible from Corrales Road, nor are most others.

Corrales’ interest in preserving farmland dates back at least to its incorporation as a municipality in 1971. The first master plan produced for the new Village government in 1973 recommended techniques be explored to accomplish that. Successive planning documents and ordinances over the years have endorsed that goal. (See Corrales Comment Vol. II, No. 8, August 20, 1983 “Can Corrales Stay Farmland Forever? Yes, Say Planners, & Here’s How.”)

Corrales’ first conservation easement of six acres along Mira Sol Road in 2001 was donated by the landowner, not sold. Jonathan Porter believed in keeping fertile land under cultivation and his donation of the easement to the Taos Land Trust provided helpful tax benefits.

2020 DEC. 19 ISSUE: LAND USE POLICIES TO BE REVIEWED BY MRCOG

A review and proposed revision of Corrales’ land use regulations will be carried out next year by the Mid-Region Council of Governments. Village officials expect to contract with the Albuquerque-based MRCOG by the end of the year to conduct such an assessment, according to Village Administrator Ron Curry.

The task will include a review of the Village’s Comprehensive Plan and related zoning and land use regulations covered in Chapter 18 of the Corrales Code of Ordinances. Topics for review are expected to include residential densities, commercial uses, outdoor lighting, signs, landscaping, cell towers, stormwater management and many others —as well as assessments as to whether villagers are complying with those regulations.

An outline provided by Curry indicates that MRCOG planners would “work with a possible steering committee to develop policy in regards to changes to the ordinances.” Recommendations would be submitted to the Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission as well as to the Village Council. Curry did not indicate how long such a review is expected to take.

In the outline provided to Corrales Comment December 11, Curry said the contract with MRCOG would include:
• review of the current Comprehensive Plan, which would include reviewing by zone category (Residential-Agricultural - One-Acre Minimum Lot Size; Residential Agricultural - Two-Acre Minimum; Commercial; Professional Office; Municipal; Historic; and Neighborhood Commercial - Office);
• conduct land use analysis to assess non-conforming lots;
• a matrix of current zoning ordinance requirements by zone to identify redundancies and gaps;
• create approval and permitting process flow chart to gauge language clarity and to identify if current practices align with the stated procedures.

“Our Village Attorney, Randy Autio, will be working with us step-by-step to ensure the legality of the work, plus add his experience as needed into the process,” Curry said, explaining that the tasks outlined above “represent data collection and research, outreach and input gathering, preparation of a document, and we will be able to update the Zone Map.

“These processes can be challenging, but we believe that with our knowledge base within the village, plus with the technical assistance of MRCOG, we will be successful.” Among the current hot topics sure to be addressed are the threat of increased residential density due to proliferation of “casitas” (secondary housing units in zones where only one dwelling per acre is permissible) and short-term rentals, as well as proposals for senior living complexes.

At the December 8 Village Council meeting, Councillor Stuart Murry requested a report from Curry on the Village’s regulations for casitas and short-term rentals. Corraleños’ concerns are growing over an apparent erosion of protections against increased housing density here. It came to a head earlier this year when a home builder erected a casita at the same time he built a new home on West Ella Drive. (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXXIX No.13 September 19, 2020 “West Ella ‘Casita’ Draws Neighbors’ Ire.”)

Construction of a large casita next to a new home underway at 489 West Ella Drive this past summer riled neighbors, including the mother of former Mayor Scott Kominiak. The former mayor said the current administration has played favorites for what some villagers consider violations of the Village’s net one-acre subdivision rules.

“This is about administrations and building inspectors signing off on things that do not comply with our code, unless you jump through three or four loopholes, while they hold long-term residents hostage to strict interpretation of the code as they see it,” Kominiak explained in an email to Corrales Comment August 17.

The construction site on West Ella Drive was at least the third project in recent years where a house and casita have been built simultaneously in seeming contravention of the one-dwelling-per-acre regulations. Corrales’ laws allow casitas, or guesthouses, on a one-acre lot, as long as the secondary residence does not have a full kitchen. And the builder at 489 West Ella, Wade Wingfield, assured Corrales Comment that the casita there complies with that rule.

“You can have a separate living quarters as long as it doesn’t have a fully-functioning kitchen,” Wingfield said August 11. “You can have a refrigerator, a microwave, a sink and anything else, but you just can’t have a stove and oven.”  Wingfield said the project underway obtained all the permits and approvals through the Corrales Planning and Zoning Department. Since the earliest days of Corrales’ incorporation as a municipality in 1971, a bedrock policy has been adherence to low-density housing. Candidates for elective office here have always vowed to protect the one-acre minimum lot size rule. But even going back to the early 1970s, many Corrales properties already had casitas which were often rented for extra income. Commonly, property owners would seek permission for secondary dwellings so that a relative or other caregiver could assist an ailing or aged resident in the big house. But even such hardship cases were often denied.

Still, for many Corraleños, it has been a truism that sooner or later the one-acre minimum rule would fall. If and when that day comes, the quality of Corrales’ drinking water will become an unavoidable issue due to septic leachfields. Last summer, Corrales Planning and Zoning Administrator Laurie Stout explained how the casita on West Ella gained approval, and suggested the Village Council may re-visit the rules in the months ahead. “In Section 18-29, the definition of dwelling unit in Village Code states: dwelling unit means any building or part of a building intended for human occupancy and containing one or more connected rooms and a single kitchen, designed for one family for living and sleeping purposes.”

The definition of kitchen, she added, “means any room principally used, intended or designed to be used for cooking or the preparation of food. The presence of a range or oven, or utility connections suitable for servicing a range or oven, shall be considered as establishing a kitchen. “This means a second structure on a lot, as long as there is no range or oven (or utility connections for such) meets the letter of the law in Village of Corrales Code. Contractors can and will exploit this loophole if their clients request.”

At that time, Stout said the mayor and council may try to tighten up relevant regulations. That review will apparently get under way next year, Curry told Corrales Comment December 11. “Potential options in Corrales could be looking into limiting the size of the accessory unit, requiring that it merely be an addition to the home, etc.,” Stout said. “The intent of the N.M. Statute is to allow family members, such as elderly parents, to live on-property with their relatives.  “The reality is that often at some point the separate structure ends up having a kitchen added retroactively, and that structure eventually becomes a long-term rental with a tenant —thus becoming a zoning violation.”

Controversy over increased requests to operate short-term rentals in Corrales burst into public view in late 2019. when a real estate investor began using the former church building at 5220 Corrales Road for rentals. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXVIII No.17 November 23, 2019 “Law Would Restrict Disruptive AirBnB Rentals.”)

At its August 21, 2019 session, the Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission grilled the late Nick Mystrom about his plans to use the residence as a rental through Airbnb. He had come before P&Z seeking approval for a home occupation permit, while admitting he had been renting it out for more than a year, several times for wedding events.

Several residents in the neighborhood attended the commission meeting to complain that activities, especially parties, at 5220 Corrales Road were disruptive and unpleasant. Mystrom died September 25, and the property changed hands. The incidents described by neighbors were just the latest complaints arising from rentals in residential areas; often problems have arisen when rowdy guests rent Corrales homes for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

At the November 2019 Village Council meeting, where councillors agreed to post and publish an ordinance to establish better control over short-term rentals, and collect lodgers’ tax and gross receipts tax on such rentals, Stout reported “It is estimated that we have about 100 short-term rentals operating in the village,” Stout said. “Right now, we have no way to regulate them. This new ordinance will give us the tools to do that.”

The new law was adopted and later amended to better control parking and to clarify how many people could stay in such facilities at any given time. But those changes have not resolved the issues. A former member of the Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission, Mike Sorce told Corrales Comment December 12 that he had been called by a man in Wisconsin recently who wanted to buy his home near the top of West Ella Drive to use it for short-term rentals as an investment property.

The caller told Sorce he represented a group of investors who wanted to buy homes in Corrales for that purpose. Sorce warns that the Village needs to take action now to better control short-term rentals including Airbnbs. “If we don’t, we’re going to get overrun with these mini-motels.” Other communities around New Mexico have taken steps to meet the problem. On December 10, the Santa Fe City Council approved major changes to its regulations on short-term rentals.

Among the changes: no more than 1,000 permits will be allowed for short-term rentals in Santa Fe, no person can have more than one permit and no unit can be rented out more frequently than once in a seven-day period. The Village of Los Ranchos and the City of Albuquerque also have taken action, or are preparing to do so.

Los Ranchos Planning and Zoning Director Tiffany Justice explained the primary concerns this way. “Impact to Long-Term Housing Options: Short-term rentals can remove houses from the market and create neighborhoods of vacant homes during off-seasons. “Impact on Neighbors (character, sense of community, nuisances): Short-term rentals can change the character of a residential neighborhood to commercial if there are many of them on the same street, as there would be fewer familiar faces in the neighborhood. The likelihood of nuisance (noise, on-street parking, traffic, events) also increases as those who rent short-term rentals are usually on vacation or sometimes renting for a special event.

“Competition with Lodging Industry: In communities with a lot of tourism, short-term rentals collectively are a competitor to the established lodging industry, and there is a desire to ‘level the playing field.’”

2020 DEC. 19 ISSUE: CORRALES NIGHTS TWINKLE WITH HOLIDAY LIGHTS

No Starlight Parade this year, and no St. Nick community party, but a Christmas lights display has been assembled as a drive-by event at the Corrales Recreation Center. Colorful lights decorating the Village’s dump trucks, road graders, old fire trucks and other vehicles are illuminated each evening at dusk for motorists and families to enjoy while briefly passing the parking area at the east end of the rec center.

Those decorated vehicles will be parked and displayed right adjacent to the front playing field so that most of the parking lot will still be available for the Corrales Growers’ Market which holds its last market Sunday, December 20. Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Siverts said the parking of privately owned vehicles will not be allowed; only Village government equipment will be in the display. The event is not meant to be a stationary substitute for the popular Starlight Parade.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, visitors to the display will not be allowed to come into the parking area. The lights are to be enjoyed drive-by only, Siverts emphasized. “You’re not supposed to park and go in to look at it,” he said. The display will remain up and lit through December 28.

2020 DEC 5 ISSUE: NEW FUNDRAISING EFFORTS TRIED BY HARD-HIT CORRALES NON-PROFITS

The pandemic is affecting families and local businesses, but also Corrales institutions that depend on fundraisers to support their work. For example, Friends of Corrales Library (FOCL), which normally holds two major book sales a year, has done neither. But it has created an online “giving tree,’ to which you may contribute.

Now through January 15, visit corrales library.org/donate to give online. Designate the category you would like to support: DVDs and music CDs; Spanish collection; children’s collection; general adult collection; adult programs, including author series, craft kits, ukulele lessons and similar; kids’ programs, including summer reading, craft/science kits, holiday event materials, writing contest prizes and the like.

If you’d rather, send checks to FOCL, PO Box 1586, Corrales, NM 87048. Any amount you give will make a difference. Corrales Arts Center and Corrales MainStreet similarly could not hold their annual fundraisers, Got Art! and Starry Nights. Their Holly Daze Collection 2020, now until December 12, 5 p.m., is an online auction supporting both groups. Gift certificates will be emailed to winners.  All other items must be picked up at the Corrales MainStreet Office between December 14-17. Jump into the auction at: https://tinyurl.com/y4xtnsfl

Old San Ysidro Church, supported by the Corrales Historical Society, has long been closed, with no in person events possible. It mounted a first ever online Fine Arts show in October, to benefit local artists as well as the church. Currently it is selling seasonal cards online, featuring three images, 10 cards for $10, including envelopes. Woodcut of Old Church, a Navajo Nativity, and a photo image, Snowy Day Old Church. View the cards at https://www.corraleshistory.org/chs-card-shop.html. Email chsmarketing@corrales.org with your order.

CHS marketing chief Carolyn O’Mara says right now she has a new order of the woodcut coming in soon, and a decent inventory of the Navajo Nativity and the Snowy Church cards. “Printing takes three business days, and then they ship. Then we fold, assemble and place in cellophane sleeves as soon as we can, usually the same day we get the shipment.” To avoid shipping costs —$15 per set, with two sets minimum— place an order to pick up via email above.

Also on tap in a reimagined format, is the CHS Festival of the Nativities Show, now a video montage, prepared by Lisa Sparks. Begun in 2017, the Festival of the Nativities displays over 100 nativities each year, loaned by private collectors and typically displayed for one weekend in December for public viewing. Look for the montage link via https://www.corraleshistory.org/nativities.html.

Over the years CHS has displayed nativities from around the world, the southwestern United States, and New Mexico. Some nativities are one-of-a-kind, while others are special family heirlooms. While the nativities project is seen as CHS’s gift to Corrales, in these pandemic times donations are always welcome, to help preserve and maintain the iconic 152-year-old adobe structure, Old Church.

Not surprisingly, the annual Winter Craft Show, yet another anticipated event at Old Church, will not be held this year due to pandemic restrictions. Organizers encourage collectors to visit the CHS Facebook page, to view work and order directly from the artists. https://www.facebook.com/corraleshistoricalsociety. CHS also reminds everyone to go to Amazon/Smile before shopping Amazon, and chose CHS as a recipient of a percentage of your purchases. You also can use your Smith’s Rewards Card in similar fashion.

Meanwhile, the usual seasonal Corrales Fire Department food and gift drive is as needed as ever. Thus far Corrales generosity is substantial. The day before Thanksgiving, Commander Tanya Lattin posted on social media platform NextDoor the following: “Today I finished getting food out to 23 families, thanks to all of you! It was a three-day process and the most unique Thanksgiving meal packaging and delivery in my 23 years of working on this project.”

“We changed it up, not only supplying turkeys and all of the things that go with Thanksgiving, but added some pre-made meals from local restaurants. Each of you added smiles to so many faces over the last three days. I think I have smiled more in recent days than I have in the last eight months. This is all thanks to you, the wonderful Village of Corrales citizens.”

The December project will operate differently this year. Lattin explains that if you want to get gift tags, or adopt a family in need of food, just call her at 702-4182 or email tlattin@corrales-nm.org. Donations of money to Kiwanis Club of Corrales referencing the fire department are welcome. Or, feel free to send checks to Corrales Fire Department, 4920 Corrales Road, 87048.

2020 DEC 5 ISSUE: SEWER BLOCKAGE EXPLAINED


A blockage in Corrales’ sewer line, now cleared, was caused by wastewater from the Ex Novo beer brewing operation across Corrales Road from the fire station. The business owner, Joel Gregory, said the clog was caused by waste hops particulate that apparently settled in the six-inch sewer line along the east side of Corrales Road near Perea’s Restaurant.

He said that seemed strange since the wastewater containing the residue seems to have passed through the two-inch effluent line from the brewery’s septic tank, yet clogged up when it was in the much larger diameter sewer line. The material apparently settled from the wastewater stream a quarter-mile away. Gregory said a strainer already in the effluent discharge line had not proven adequate for the waste hops, so he is now installing a more elaborate —and expensive— remedy. The brewery here is trucking cans of Ex Novo beer about once a month to his outlets in the Pacific Northwest where his business began. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXVII No.10 July 21, 2018 “Ex Novo Brewery: Big Leap for Commercial District?”)

Shortly after he launched his project here, he said his plan was to ship a quarter-million cans of Ex Novo beer from Corrales to outlets as far away as Los Angeles. Gregory grew up in Corrales and moved back about three years ago after starting his brewing career in Portland, Oregon.

On his Ex Novo business card, Gregory identifies himself as “beer baron.” He unveiled his plans during a July 12, 2018 ground-breaking for the brewery on the site of the burned-down Rancho de Corrales restaurant. In phase one, Ex Novo erected a 10,000 square-foot brewery and small tasting room, as well as loading docks and tanks to hold water and beer. At the time, he said a later phase would involve a restaurant and beer garden.

In an interview for Corrales Comment July 6, 2018, Gregory said the brewery will produce a wide variety of beer styles —and that he expects to continually introduce new products. One of the more popular he’s already bottling in Portland is a prickly pear variety. “We love all styles of beer if they’re done well. We really appreciate the traditional styles, and then we do a lot of fun, kind of experimental stuff. We hope to have a small orchard on site growing peaches, nectarines, plums and other fruits” that might go into the brew.

Some beers would be ready to pour in two to four weeks, while others he intended to produce would require closer to two years. “There’s really no end to the experimentation.” He said he expected to sell draft beer throughout the metro area and Santa Fe. After growing up here, Gregory earned a degree in electrical engineering from California Polytechnic in San Luis Obispo, and then worked for Honeywell in Albuquerque before being laid off in 2012. “That’s when I made the jump,” he explained.

He opened a craft brewery in Portland in 2013, “learning as I went. I fell in love with craft beer out there. That’s when everything was really taking off. “I started brewing at home, and started visiting a lot of breweries to find out what makes them work.” He started his own. It wasn’t long before Ex Novo had outgrown its maximum capacity with the equipment, pub and restaurant. “We did a good amount of beer there, but we’re full up, and looking to grow.”

He and his wife were ready to move back to the Albuquerque area “to be closer to family.” His parents live here and hers live in the Heights. “The pull to move back to Corrales was very strong now that we have a couple of small kids. So the question was: how do we get back to New Mexico.”

2020 DEC 5 ISSUE: FACE MASKS


The Village of Corrales began offering free COVID-19 face masks to village residents and businesses November 10. “We want to do everything we can to encourage mask use.  That is an enormously powerful weapon against the current surge of cases,” said Mayor Jo Anne Roake. “We want to be sure everyone who needs one has one.”

Businesses that need a supply can call Sandy Rasmussen at the Corrales MainStreet office, 350-3955.  Individuals can get masks via the fire station at 898-7501. If you need them delivered as you are staying home, this can be arranged, according to the mayor.

Coming soon, a video that covers the importance of masks, social distancing and protecting each other, first responders and other essential workers.  Look for it on the Village website website, corrales-nm.org, under “COVID -19 Resources.”  And don’t miss the COVID-19 jingle created by Arlene Thomas and Dave Cross, posted in a series of signs along CW Horse Farm on Corrales Road. The project was sponsored by the Village, Music in Corrales and MainStreet.

2020 DEC 5 ISSUE: WINNERS NAMED FOR CORRALES LIBRARY’S YOUTH POETRY CONTEST

The organizer of the Corrales Library “I Love to Write Poetry Contest” and Youth Services librarian Melisa Chandler recently announced the winners. High School. First Place: Analisa Ortiz; Second Place: Addison Fulton. Middle School. First Place: Hannah Opel; Second Place: Shane Yara. Distinguished Poets. Jayden Tode, Laurel Nash-Jarecki, Giovanna Almanzar.

According to Chandler, the last category was for those poets “recognized for their admirable work,” though they did not win the contest. Chandler also stated that “The Corrales Community Library would like to thank all of the participants in the 2020 ‘I Love to Write’ Poetry Contest. We recognize and appreciate the efforts each writer put forth. We look forward to more youth poetry contests with the Corrales Library in 2021.”

A Land of Enchantment
By Hannah Opel
Life in New Mexico is not life in Colorado
Life in New Mexico is not life in Arizona
Life in New Mexico is not life in California
Life in New Mexico is vigas sticking out of every other house
Life in New Mexico is pearly red ristras swinging in the breeze
Life in New Mexico is sipping a cold horchata under the hot summer sun
Life in New Mexico is the sound of the coyotes yipping and yowling through the star dotted night
Life in New Mexico is the spiky cacti lining the desert floor
Life in New Mexico is the comforting smell of spicy chiles being roasted nearby
Life in New Mexico is the morning sky dotted with colorful balloons
Life in New Mexico is not life in Utah
Life in New Mexico is not life in New York
Life in New Mexico is a life of Enchantment

Life in New Mexico is…
By Annalisa Ortiz
Brisk walks along the ditch.
Smelling roasting green Chile at the corner store.
The sounds of fire,
Lifting the colorful balloons off the ground.
Midnight quiet interrupted by trains.
Together as families we are so close,
Except when loteria is played and the cousins complain.
Rain on a sunny day,
Snowy mountains in April.
Today, tomorrow, and everyday
Life in New Mexico.

2020 DEC 5 ISSUE: CHRIS ALLEN’S TURKEYS CAST WATCHFUL EYES


Eager to scurry out from their coyote-proofed hut on a November morning at Chris Allen’s livestock-rich spread were an array of ducks and hens. But mostly, and appropriately, turkeys. Allen and her husband, Paul Knight, have lived on their Corrales plot since 1981, the year they bought the land and built their home.  And turkeys have long been part of the mix.

It’s a well-gardened place, with vineyards, plots of freeze-killed chiles. Plus two horses belonging to Allen, a gaggle of goats and a mix of sheep. The sheep largely provide wool for Allen’s yarn and knitting activities, rather than chops. She’s been a member of Las Arañas Spinners and Weavers Guild for years. Her mom taught her to knit way back in the day when the family lived in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where she also was on horseback from an early age.

Zeroing in primarily on Allen’s turkey selection, given the season, and in spite of one tall white goat’s focus on nibbling this visitor’s vest, there were three traditional big white birds in view, destined to be cooked, given that they are bred to be big, to not lay eggs, and to generally be pitied. Allen said one year she neglected to dispatch one Broad Breasted White when she should have, and the poor beast could barely walk. He ended up weighing close to 50 pounds at his demise.

Her heritage breed Bourbon Reds appeared happy to show off their rich red plumage as they exited the pen. Bred from a combo of Kentucky Reds and Pennsylvania Bourbon Butternuts in the late 19th century, they once ruled the meat roost, until the Whites took over as the favorite of commercial breeders. Her one black-and-white turkey is a Royal Palm, prized for its appearance, not its meat.

Allen has turkey tales to tell. “One year one of my Bourbon Red turkeys set a clutch of eggs. My husband came in to tell me the eggs had hatched, and we had five light brown turkey chicks and one black one. “A black one?” I asked. "That’s not possible. We don’t have black turkeys right now."

“I went out to check and discovered our turkey hen had hatched out a black duckling. I have no idea how the duck egg got in her nest, but it hatched along with the baby turkeys. As the chicks grew, she would take them out for walks. Every time they passed the duck pond, the little black “chick” would head for the water. This caused great consternation for the hen. I pictured her saying, ‘No! Don't go near the water! You'll drown!’

“The duck, as he grew, lived his life as a part of the turkey flock since that was what he imprinted on, although he would on occasion take a swim. His condition in life was most distressing for him during breeding season as he thought he should be mating with the turkey hens. Given the body type and height differential though, he was never quite tall enough for the task.”

Allen also recalled one year that her husband sought to involve his mother who was visiting in choosing which turkey would go to table. They returned from turkey review, he saying, “This Christmas we shall serve ham.”

Which brings up the topic of eating animals. One time a lamb “reject” was dropped off at Allen’s place. They cared for it, and it thrived, her two children naming it Bubba. The inevitable day arrived, and some of the animal was served up at table. “What is this?” asked her daughter. “Well, um..” replied Allen. “It’s Bubba, isn’t it?”

Trained as an anthropologist, Allen notes that humans are omnivores, yet not all cultures are big meat eaters, and that much depends on latitude. “Ninety percent of the Inuit diet has been animal,” for example, “While that percentage flips when there is arable land for easily growing vegetables.”

Still, as any 4-H kid will tell you, and many farmers as well, it is not always easy to kill off a critter you have raised. Allen said recently she had decided to send one of her lambs to be butchered, and as she drove it to its fate, she kept saying to it “I am so sorry, so sorry.” She stresses that nothing is wasted when one of her animals is killed —“we use every bit—” saving turkey feathers, for example, to share.

The wool end of the Allen-Knight spread is much less fraught. Allen has her Shetlands, Teeswaters and Merino sheep professionally sheared twice a year by a fellow from Las Vegas, New Mexico, and sends wool for “roving yarn,” that thick coiled material, to a place in Mora to be processed. At the moment her wool shed is overflowing, her horse trailer holding the excess. There’s also mohair from a couple of Angora goats.

Occasionally Allen’s hobby impinges inappropriately with her husband’s hobby, grapes. “Goats eat grapes.” Still, a wine cellar is filled each year with their own vintage, up to the legal limit.

Entering and leaving the family’s place, near the front gate, nestles a remarkable sculpted image of a dog. It’s Paul’s rendering of Chewy, Allen’s empath of an animal who lived with her for 17 years, always knowing when she was about to return home. An irreplaceable creature, no matter how many turkeys, goats and sheep abound.

2020 DEC 5 ISSUE: BOSQUE ARSONIST STILL AT-LARGE

Although arson in the Corrales Bosque Preserve had stopped by mid-November, the culprit had not been apprehended. The Corrales Fire Department’s Tanya Lattin said November 22 that no additional fires in the bosque had been reported. She had reported earlier this fall that several fires had been deliberately set in the preserve.

Seven fires had been set over a two-day period. “We have had a total of seven fires in the bosque on two separate days,” Lattin told Corrales Comment October 18. No evidence was found to suggest any of the blazes was caused accidentally by campers or squatters. In Mayor Jo Anne Roake’s message to villagers days before, she flatly stated, “Corrales has an arsonist in the bosque. Numerous fires have been started in the last week. The Corrales Fire Department has successfully responded to each one, helped by neighboring first responder organizations.”

Lattin said a fire Thursday, October 8 was discovered near the bridge over the Riverside Drain at the end of Andrews Lane. She described that one as a small fire about 200 feet by 200 feet in area. Then on Friday, October 9, two fires were set more or less at the same time near the Dixon Road entrance to the preserve, near the levee, burning a total of about a half-acre.

On Wednesday, October 14, “We had a total of four fires all burning during the same time, two of them were near the Romero Road access to the bosque, and two were approximately two miles south of Romero.” About two acres were burned near the river while a lesser area was ignited closer to the levee. Two fires were started near the end of Paseo de Dulcelina between the river and the levee. “There was no evidence of any illegal camp fires in the area of any of the fires. Corrales fire and police, along with Sandoval County Sheriff’s officers, have increased patrols in the bosque.

“We are asking for anyone in the bosque to be sure to report any smoke or fires,” Lattin added. “We are asking anyone in the area of these fires that may have any information to call 898-7585 so we can contact them.” Lattin said there has been no indication that any of the fires were caused by lightning strikes “so these fires are human-caused.”

In October, the Fire Department battalion commander offered the following guidance for villagers who might be in the preserve. “Your safety while in the bosque is number one. If you decided to go out and do a patrol, take a cell phone, let someone know where you are going,  stay on trails, do not get into thick areas that can cause you to get turned around or trapped if you run into a fire.

“If you smell smoke in the bosque, please call 911. Do not call the fire station; calling the station can delay our response.  We are not always in the office to answer the phone, and when we are, we have to gather the information from you that dispatch normally would get and cannot start our response to the emergency. Dispatch can reach us no matter where we are and get important information from you while we are heading to the call.”

If a villager encounters a situation that should be reported, Lattin said it would be very helpful if the person raising the alert could state the location accurately. She pointed out that mile-marker signs are painted on standing galvanized silver-colored vents along the west side of the levee. “Try to keep in your mind how far you have traveled from your entry point.

“If you have a smart phone, your mapping application will help you determine your location in the bosque and its relationship to roads within Corrales.  Knowing where you are helps get emergency responders to you in case of an emergency.

“If you see flames or smoke, call 911. Make sure you get to a safe area and leave your phone on. Responders may call you for more information after dispatch has completed their questioning.

“The bosque is extremely dry and weather is still unusually warm.  Thanks to people reporting these fires early, we have been able to control them quickly, but someone has to report them while small for our best chance of preventing a large fire,” Lattin said.

“Just know Corrales Fire is taking this very seriously and we are doing extra patrols. The Corrales police department has issued extra patrols and has officers in the bosque, and Sandoval County sheriff's officers are also in there patrolling.”

2020 DEC 5 ISSUE: BENJAMIN RADFORD PODCAST NOW ACCESSIBLE THROUGH COMMENT WEBSITE

Squaring the Strange is a podcast co-hosted by Corrales Comment contributor, author and folklorist Ben Radford, Las Vegas-based artist Celestia Ward, and former Santa Fe musician and producer Pascual Romero.

The podcast began on April Fool’s Day 2017 and is released every two weeks, bringing evidence-based analysis and commentary to a wide variety of topics, ranging from the paranormal to the political, the mysterious to the mundane. Topics often include investigating ghosts, listening to legends, tracking chupacabras and defusing media hype. “And calling shenanigans where appropriate,” Radford said.

“If a claim seems strange, the team will try to square it with the facts. Not just another current events podcast, Squaring the Strange goes deeper. It’s a show about critical thinking and evidence-based analysis, using science and logic to examine the world around us. Listeners will learn about skepticism, psychology, myths, hoaxes, folklore, investigation, science, media literacy and all the things that add up to strange experiences —both real and unreal.”

You can listen to Squaring the Strange on iTunes and anywhere else podcasts are found. Links to each new show will be available on the Corrales Comment website. Radford has been Corrales Comment’s film reviewer for more than 20 years. He is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books, the most recent of which, Big… If True was published by Corrales’ Rhombus Publishing Company earlier this month.

2020 DEC 5 ISSUE: PAUL STOKES LOOKS AT CONFLICT WITH IRAN OVER NUKES

Might escalating armed hostilities in the Middle East lead Donald Trump to bomb nuclear facilities in Iran before he relinquishes command of the nation’s arsenal January 20? Iran vowed to retaliate after its top nuclear scientist was assassinated November 27, presumably by Israeli commandos with close coordination from Washington. Corrales’ Paul Stokes, who directed nuclear inspections in Iraq for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) prior to the U.S. assault on that country, was asked for insights that might have bearing on the current conflict with Iran.

How confident can the American public be that any U.S. preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would be justified, given the erroneous assertions made about Saddam Hussein’s alleged “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq? Can current inspection methods determine conclusively whether Iran is now trying to produce nuclear weapons? What might be the health effects globally if the United States or Israel bombed a reactor or uranium enrichment plant there?

Stokes served for two years on an “action team” conducting nuclear inspections in Iraq after the First Gulf War. “We essentially shut down the Iraq nuclear weapons program, and ascertained that it continued to be shut down, despite the unwarranted policies of the Bush administration,” he explained in a November 29 interview with Corrales Comment. Given the Iraq experience, he was asked what might be the international repercussion if an Israeli-American strike occurred without defensible justification.

Corrales Comment: At some point an assessment was made that the allegations General Colin Powell made to the United Nations were in fact accurate and therefore the action that was taken was justified. Is there some protocol in place now that would avoid another “false positive?”

Stokes: “I don’t really know, but there were a lot of us who didn’t believe what Colin Powell was saying at all. But he got enough belief so there were people who, for political reasons, decided to go ahead and invade Iraq. I don’t know how many of those people really believed that. But a lot of us didn’t.”

And now, Stokes said, people who have been involved in such inspections are skeptical that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. “There just is no evidence that would say that Iran’s nuclear weapons program is imminent and therefore we have to attack. I know of nothing like that.”

Comment: If Israel or the United States did bomb an Iranian nuclear facility, what kind of international repercussions would be expected?

Stokes: “That would be an act of war. And there are international laws to deal with that. You would think that the international community, at least a good part of it, would object. “I am not up to date on the extent to which the Iranians have disclosed or not disclosed their program, but it could be that nuclear reactors would be a target because they can produce nuclear materials. The damage would depend on what they bombed and how extensively they bombed it.

“I don’t know the details, but I do know they were putting their enrichment facilities underground. Those would be pretty hard to get at. Of course, we developed weapons systems to try to address that. We have earth-penetrating bombs, that, incidentally, were developed at Sandia National Labs.

Comment: From what you know, what would be the health effects expected if an Iranian nuclear facility were to be bombed? Presumably there would be a lot of radiation released.

Stokes: “There’s probably no single answer to that, but it should be pointed out that Israel did bomb an Iraqi reactor that was producing nuclear material that could eventually become part of a weapon.

“That was not done to the level that might have been. They destroyed buildings and what-not, but not to the extent that it destroyed a reactor, for example. If you bombed a facility to completely put it out of commission, you’d be scattering a lot of nuclear material and radioactivity into the air. “I’ve seen estimates that that could result in the death of as many as 70,000 people. So it could be pretty bad if you really bombed the hell out of a place like an enrichment facility.”

As the interview got under way, Stokes set the context for his remarks. “My broadest concern about this whole topic is why, indeed, do we have to have Iran as an enemy? We could go into a variety of geopolitical reasons, but it probably has a lot to do with Israel and our knee-jerk response to Israel’s concerns. “Israel does have concerns about a nuclear weapons program in Iran, there’s no doubt about that. But I don’t see that having Iran as an enemy helps that situation very much.”

Comment: How accurate can we expect a determination to be that a country’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes?

Stokes: “There are a lot of countries that could have nuclear weapons programs that we wouldn’t know about, or we wouldn’t be sure about. Japan would be one; Germany would be one; Switzerland could be one, and that goes on and on. I don’t happen to think any of them do, but I suspect that each one of those has a plan, or something in their files somewhere, so that they could have a nuclear weapon if they felt they needed it.

“But in the case of Iran, there’s a difference, in that they are part of a nuclear nonproliferation treaty, so they are subject to inspections. Those inspections make it hard [to have a clandestine weapons program]. The inspections regime was organized and set up by the International Atomic Energy Agency as part of the nonproliferation treaty way back in the Sixties. So, they have lots of practice.
“As a result the operation at the IAEA is really highly professional and pretty well staffed. The inspection regime that was designed for Iran under tha Obama administration could and did take advantage of all of that learning. So I have full faith in the inspection process, although there are still some uncertainties.

“Based on intelligence from many countries and from the IAEA’s own experience over many decades now, I feel there is high assurance that they’ve found all the potential places and all the places that were being used by Iran before their nuclear weapons program was exposed have been identified and are now subject to appropriate inspections.”

Comment: If Iran or some other country were found to be violating terms of the treaty, what would be the consequences?

Stokes: “Normally that would be set out in the arms control agreement, but usually they leave that kind of vague. It’s almost like an ‘everythings on the table’ argument. The other parties to the agreement would have to decide what their response would be and then move forward with it. But they never state that initially, and I assume they didn’t in this Iran agreement.”

Comment: Is it left vague because a decision to impose some penalty is more a political one rather than a technical one?

Stokes: “Very much so. But there are some technical things that you can do. You can deny them technology that they really need, and then you can apply economic sanctions that are even more severe than those already imposed. I think the political measures are the more important ones.”

Comment: Given the heightened tensions around Iran’s suspected progress toward a nuclear weapon and what Israel and or the United States might do during the last days of the Trump administration, what should a citizen do?

Stokes: “The trouble is that most citizens really don’t know what’s going on over there. Actually, I think the situation over there is pretty much under control, and we as citizens should state that. It might be helpful to get that message to Biden, that we want to avoid any over-reaction. And in the future, I think it would help if we as a nation can be less threatening to other countries.

“Can we work with Israel to tamp down activities that seem like a threat to Iran?” In the November 30 online newsletter from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a run-down of assassinations of Iranian scientists was provided. Since 2007, four Iranian scientists and engineers working on nuclear projects were assassinated and an attempt was made on a fifth.

In one of those, physics professor Masoud Ali-Mohammadi was killed by a remote-controlled bomb in January 2010. Eleven months later, a similar bomb killed Majid Shariari, a nuclear engineer. A separate blast at that time wounded Fereydoon Abassi, now vice- president of the Islamic Republic and director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. In July 2011, another man connected to the country’s nuclear program, Darioush Rezaeinejad was gunned down and killed. In every case, the assassinations were credibly thought to have been carried out by agents of Israel with assistance or concurrence of the United States.

2020 DEC 5 ISSUE: CORRALES AUTHOR OF ‘COLLAPSE OF COMPLEX SOCIETIES’ ON WHERE WE ARE

The Collapse of Complex Societies, a book written in Corrales more than 30 years ago, may be the perfect tome for contemplative pandemic reading. Caught up in an all-encompassing, crushing, arguably inescapable downward spiral, our personal and even institutional relationships seem to be unravelling. It’s not a stretch to link the need to “make American great again” to a perception of societal disintegration.

A lengthy article in The New York Times Magazine’s November 8 issue focuses on Joe Tainter’s 1988 book published by Cambridge University Press. He was living here in the mid-1980s with his wife Bon Bagley when he began the book now regarded as “the seminal text in the study of societal collapse.”

Tainter is now a professor in Utah State University’s Department of Environment and Society. Pre-pandemic, he has returned to Corrales intermittently as opportunities arise. From 1975 to 1978, he was an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico, and then an archaeologist with the U.S. Forest Service 1978-1994.

The New York Time Magazine article by Ben Ehrenreich, titled “Why Societies Fall Apart,” starts with, “When I first spoke with Joseph Tainter in early May, he and I and nearly everyone else had reason to be worried. A few days earlier, the official tally of COVID-19 infections in the United States had climbed above one million, unemployment claims had topped 30 million and the United Nations had warned that the planet was facing ‘multiple famines of biblical proportions.’”

But the article tries to comply with Tainter’s insistence that he no longer be pigeon-holed as a collapse expertise, but instead a scholar of societal sustainability. Contacted by Corrales Comment November 11, shortly after the magazine article appeared, Tainter explained, “The Collapse book’s level of exposure has been pretty constant since publication in 1988. There soon will be six foreign language editions (five currently, another in January). I do a few interviews each year. There has been some uptick of interest since the virus hit, but usually I tell people who ask for interviews that epidemiology is outside my expertise.”

Tainter added: “The collapse research pointed clearly to shifting to work on issues in sustainability, which I’ve been doing for some time. The consistent focus throughout my career has been complexity, especially how complexity evolves in societies as a benefit/cost function. That was the core idea in the Collapse book, and I have found that it clarifies issues we have today. My new areas of research are energy and innovation.”

The professor said before the pandemic hit, he typically gave up to four guest lectures a year, mostly overseas. “My talks are mostly to academic groups, but also to some non-academic groups and to a couple of international audiences of journalists.”

The New York Times Magazine article explains that his interest in the topic began during his research and documentation for the Forest Service about proposed mining and logging in the Cibola National Forest around Mount Taylor. That cultural resource survey included links to the long-vanished civilization centered in Chaco Canyon to the north.

Tainter’s work is cited many times by Jared Diamond in his New York Times bestseller list book Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail or Succeed, published in 2005. While Tainter’s book focuses primarily on China’s Western Chou empire, Egypt’s Old Kingdom, the Hittite Empire, the Western Roman Empire and the Lowland Classic Maya civilization, Diamond’s purview has those and adds the Vikings in Greenland and even certain “modern societies.”

Central to Tainter’s premise is that societies’ collapse occur when, for a variety of causes, they reach a point of rapidly declining marginal returns on their investments in problem-solving capacity. That continues to be key to his ongoing research these days at Utah State University, as he explained in his email to Corrales Comment.

“I worked with a petroleum engineer to produce a book on the Gulf oil spill. My part was energy in society. The crucial energy issue isn't how much oil is left. It is what we call EROI —energy return on investment. That’s not monetary investment, it is energy invested to get energy back.

“In 1940 we produced oil and gas at an EROI of 100:1. That’s how we fought World War II. That figure is now down to 15:1, and the trend is irreversible. When it reaches 8:1 we would go off what is called the energy cliff —at that point, the energy profit of producing energy declines rapidly. As EROI declines, the complexity of producing energy increases. We once got oil just by putting a pipe in the ground. It now takes complex technology like the Deepwater Horizon platform. Then of course there is the problem of climate change, but you know about that.” Even though the cost-benefit problems with fossil fuel production are shown to be dire, Tainter points out, it has been proposed that innovation will save the day. But he contends the same problem arises.

“Technological optimists assert that as long as we have unfettered markets, resources don’t matter. Scarcity will prompt technological innovation, as long as there is a profit to be made. I’ve been skeptical about this.

“The technological optimists make an assumption of which they are unaware: it is that the productivity of innovation remains constant. What are the consequences if that isn’t true? Scientific research grows complex and costly over time. Research was once done by lone wolf researchers like Charles Darwin. Now most research is done by interdisciplinary teams, who work in large institutions backed up by administrative staff, assistants, janitors, etc. The cost of research has gone up.

“So I teamed up with a couple of colleagues to try to study how the productivity (return on investment) of innovation has changed. We have a database of over three million patents in our study, starting in 1974. We found that it is taking more and more scientists to achieve an innovation that warrants a patent. This amounts to higher costs per patent. Conversely, the productivity of innovation (measured as patents per inventor) is declining. From 1974 on the productivity of our system of innovation declined by over 20 percent.

“As this trend continues, and it will, at some point later in this century our system of innovation will become very different. This raises questions about whether innovation can bail us out forever, or whether the societal value of innovation has limits.”

In the Times magazine article last month, the author points out “The current pandemic has already given many of us a taste of what happens when a society fails to meet the challenges that face it, when the factions that rule over it tend solely to their own problems.

“The climate crisis, as it continues to unfold, will give us additional opportunities to panic and to grieve. Some institutions are certainly collapsing right now.…” The author lays out Tainter’s explanation of the devolving process. “As the benefits of ever-increasing complexity —the loot shipped home by the Roman armies or the gentler agricultural symbiosis of the San Juan Basin— begin to dwindle, Tainter writes, societies ‘become vulnerable to collapse.’ Stresses that otherwise would be manageable —natural disasters, popular uprisings, epidemics— become insuperable. Around 1130, a severe half-century-long drought hit the desert Southwest, coinciding with Chaco Canyon’s decline. Other scholars blame the drought for the abandonment, but for Tainter, it was the final blow in a descent that had already become inevitable. Chacoan civilization had survived extended dry spells before. Why was this one decisive?”

Tainter’s answer: complexity. According to Ehrenreich, “Only complexity, Tainter argues, provides an explanation that applies in evey instance of collapse. We go about our lives, addressing problems as they arise. Complexity builds and builds, usually incrementally, without anyone noticing how brittle it has all become. Then some little push arrives, and the society begins to fracture.

“The result is a ‘rapid, significant loss of an established level of sociopolitical complexity.’ In human terms, that means central governments disintegrating and empires fracturing into ‘small, petty states,’ often in conflict with one another. Trade routes seize up, and cities are abandoned. Literacy falls off, technological knowledge is lost and populations decline sharply. ‘The world,’ Tainter writes, ‘perceptibly shrinks and over the horizon lies the unknown.’”

2020 DEC 5 ISSUE: CORRALES BUSINESSES NEED YOUR HELP TO STAY AFLOAT

H1 CORRALES BUSINESSES NEED YOUR HELP TO STAY AFLOATDespite restrictions on businesses here during the past eight months, Corrales’ gross receipts tax revenues are holding steady compared to last year. Declines in holiday shopping are expected to ravage the bottom lines for retailers here as elsewhere this month and last, but so far sales tax revenues have stayed relatively strong, according to Village Administrator Ron Curry. “Gross receipts tax revenues for us are running about the same as last year. In fact, it’s up about two percent, so we’re really happy about it.”

Gross receipts tax revenues for Corrales for the month of September were “within a couple of thousand dollars, one way or the other, of last year’s numbers,” he reported. Curry was asked why he thought this year’s gross receipts taxes are about the same as last year, given the recent months of business closures and restrictions. He didn’t know, because local governments do not have access to information from the N.M. Department of Taxation and Revenue regarding taxes paid by specific businesses. “That information is not available to us. However, as I’ve gone around the village talking to people, some of our businesses, like Frontier Mart, have told me business was good for them during the COVID.

“Apparently, some of our businesses have not suffered, because month over month, the numbers have been pretty stable.” Throughout New Mexico, a severe clamp-down on business activity has been ordered by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. All except businesses designated as essential were ordered to close this summer while some were told to curtail the number of patrons who could be served at any one time. When the daily infection rate declined, presumably due to those restrictions, the governor relaxed the measures. But then, late last month, infection rates skyrocketed in New Mexico, so the governor imposed the tightest restrictions yet.

In Corrales, where coronavirus cases were relatively small, infections climbed sharply at the end of November. Corrales had 63 cases as of November 10, then 72 cases November 14. That number had risen to 111 cases as of November 28. It is no great mystery that local businesses, whether selling breakfast, lunch and dinner, or arts and crafts, are being hard hit during this pandemic. To keep going, they pivoted to pick up or delivery, or online sales. And now colder weather, along with a surge in COVID-19 have added to the mix. In Corrales, the usually bustling Mercado de Maya, home to Elaine Bolz’ Claywork, both her studio and shop, is quiet indeed.

A fixture there for 32 years, Bolz says “Right now it’s just the Bosque Gallery and me!” Ambiente, the emporium at the southern end, mostly has been closed since well before the recent lockdown. Barb Clark and Susana Erling’s Corrales Fine Arts in the mercado tried opening for limited hours on weekends, then Clark recently attempted a two-day shop online/pick up curbside sale of her work which ran less smoothly than she had hoped… to put it mildly. But, crucially, she had shifted, exploring new ways to do business. A vendor unwilling to change likely will not survive. “Everything is absolutely new,” as a bookstore owner in Detroit recently put it in a PBS interview. Another seller added “We all have become better business people.”

An in-demand talent like Clark need not worry. Her work is featured on a 2021 calendar produced by New Mexico Magazine, along with that of Jim Jennings. Order it at https://tinyurl.com/ y6nc4lg6.  Bolz agreed the pandemic has pushed her finally to acknowledge she needs better marketing, even a presence on Instagram. “I never wanted to do social media, but now I have to. I will have to be much more professional online.” Her business has been largely based on commissions, and drop-in customers. She laughed when describing her 10 by 12 foot display space, room for two visitors at the most, which she could open, now that the latest tough reset per Michelle Governor Lujan Grisham is over.

Grateful for self-employment money, as well as an expected disbursal of local CARES funding —“The Village is confident the entire $255,000 will be disbursed to local businesses by the December deadline,” according to Mayor Roake— Bolz says her rent is “not that high.” And “this is the season in which we all must make sales,” so to the world of social media she will go. See it at http://claywork.com/index.php. For more information, call 898 8822.

She is part of the 38th annual Weyrich Gallery Invitational Theme show, “The Great Turning,” which just opened and runs to January 22, 2021, but what “open” means is unclear. The gallery is at 2935 Louisiana Blvd. Contact Valerie Tibbetts at 450-6516 or 883-7410. The aforementioned Corrales Bosque Gallery put up an online shop fairly recently. See corralesbosquegallery.com/ store, featuring work by Dennis Chamberlain, Indea Sanchez, Andy Goldschmidt, Dianna Shomaker and Juan Wijngaard. The gallery hopes to feature “Little Critters” made of polymer, paint, and wood, each about 9-10-inches tall and 2-inch wide, at the gallery sometime in December during a “Little Treasures Show,” if allowed to open. If not, they will be available for sale on the website.

As for breweries and eateries, they have tiptoed from normal, to limited indoor seating, to only outdoor seating, adding curbside pickup as well as delivery options, to then only doing such. Corrales Bistro Brewery recently was offering to fill up growlers with mixed drinks, selling as many gift certificates as possible, handing out free lunches to any kid who wanted one, and operating its own food truck. It debuted at the Barelas neighborhood La Esquinita Food Hall/Farm Stand/Food Truck Park at 507 4th on November 14. View its maneuvers via Facebook.

ExNovo Brewing Company is selling carry-out brews, canning a range of products on site, as well as offering Milagro wines and Candlestick Coffee beans, and hosting food trucks. Milagro Winery itself pivoted cleverly a few months back. Partnering with organic growers Silverleaf Farms on an order online, drive-thru and pickup shop, the two entities have been successfully offering customers wine, cheese, fresh veggies, even soil, to be retrieved each Thursday afternoon. See http://www.milagrofarmstand.com. Also showing innovative pandemic planning has been the much larger Corrales Growers’ Market, inventing unique ways to connect vendors and customers, navigating masks, no pre-orders, drive-thru, and then walk-through. And, to support its Market Shop Booth, selling largely baskets and T-shirts, it set up a shop at https://cgm-store. square.site/s/shop.

C3’s Bistro at 4940 Corrales Road which only opened in July offering a large menu of Cajun dishes, with enthusiastic eater reviews, launched a Go Fund Me project on November 23, for both C3’s and its other restaurant, P’tit Louis Bistro. As of November 29 the undertaking had raised $1,075 of its $134,441 goal. C3’s explained it this way: “Two friends started out with a dream to bring great food and service to each guest that graced our doors. Little did we know that a world-wide pandemic was lurking in the shadows waiting to rock that dream.

“Much like you, we have done our best to ebb and flow with the changing restrictions and mandates handed down by our leaders. While they may mean well, it has not stopped our expenses from piling up, while at the same time stifling our ability to serve our guests.  We have persevered and been creative, adding to and changing our menus in ways that will meet the needs of the current climate.  At the end of the day, our hard work and creativity have still fallen short.

“We have supplemented the revenues of our restaurants with our personal income since the beginning of this crisis to hold onto as much staff as fiscally possible and our operations running.  We knew that was an unsustainable model, but believed it was a better option than closing our doors for good.  Now what was unsustainable has become increasingly unbearable, as we both have families at home who are counting on our provision.

“So, we have turned to you, our community.  We want to be around to serve you for years to come and we need your help.  The money raised will go to business expenses incurred as a result of the New Mexico health order restrictions, which will also allow for the revenues generated from our limited operations to go towards keeping our staff employed and guests served.

“We desire to be up front and transparent with you all, and any donor who leaves their information will receive notice when a debt has been paid to ensure you of the efficacy and sincerity of your money. Any amount raised above what we have asked will be used as working capital, to help cushion us against further pandemic-driven restrictions.

“We are extremely grateful for any and all support that is provided. Thank you for taking the time to hear our story and your consideration. Be well and many thanks. They added that “No salaries to ownership, nor personal reimbursements, will be taken from these reimbursements.”

C3’s website, http://www.c3sbistro.com is its menu. The GoFundMe page is reached via Facebook. Long time Corrales “pie”purveyor Village Pizza is busy doing take-out, but still asks locals to “support your favorites today. We need the encouragement!” It’s obvious. If you like Corrales businesses —and we could not visit with them all— support them with your money. If you would also like to support other New Mexico businesses, take a look at http://www.buynmlocal.com and purchase gift cards. This site features over 800 businesses from across the state.

Having endured the tough two-week lockdown, here comes a complicated “tiered county-by-county COVID-19 risk system, enabling local communities to shed burdensome restrictions as soon as public health data show the virus is retreating within their borders.”

This went into effect December 2. Governor Lujan Grisham put it like this: “The county-by-county framework enables counties, and the businesses and nonprofits within their borders, to operate with fewer restrictions when they slow the spread of the virus and drive down test positivity rates.” If you’d like to explore the tiered system, the red to green framework, see http://www.governor.state.nm.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/red-to-green-framework-for-safe-reopening.pdf.

2020 DEC 5 ISSUE: CORRALES ROAD TAKEOVER

Although the state highway department wants Village government to take over Corrales Road, officials here are still hesitant. A big issue is timing. The transfer of ownership and management of State Highway 448 would happen only after Corrales Road were thoroughly upgraded with paving and other maintenance of the right-of-way —but that would cause major disruptions to Corrales businesses, Village Administrator Ron Curry said.

A N.M. Department of Transportation (NMDOT) presentation to the mayor and Village Council about the proposed transfer was originally scheduled for September, but it was pushed back until November. “Now it looks like it won’t be until early next year,” Curry said in a November 25 interview. “Our last meeting with NMDOT was abruptly cancelled by the State. We don’t know exactly why.

“But one of the things we review with them when we meet on a quarterly basis is the upper Meadowlark project, and of late we’ve wanted to establish what crossings would be available to us in advance of moving ahead with the Pathway Project.

“We’ve been trying to get permission from the State to use crusher-fines or some other surfacing that would be used at those crossings,” Curry explained. “But for whatever reason, we don’t know why NMDOT didn’t want to meet with us.” As in the past eight months, the scheduled meeting was to have been virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I have to believe that the cancellation was partly due to the COVID, but they have just not been willing to make a decision on the crosswalks for the pathway which was supposed to have been the focus of the meeting last week.

“We want to move forward on the pathways and they are reluctant to give us a decision. That segues into the whole discussion of Corrales Road. The State very much advocating that Corrales take over the road.

“But when we re-open that discussion, or if we re-open that discussion, one of the first things we’re going to have is Jill Mosher from the state highway department come in front of the Village Council to give the parameters and pre-requisites that need to happen on both sides before they could give us the road.

“In the past, they have said they would give us the road which would be like new. In other words, they would go in and do whatever work was required on the road so that it was up to snuff, whatever that is, and when that was done, they would give us the road.

“What comes into play at that point is how long it would take them to do that,” Curry added. One of the most important things is the timing of all this. We would want some assurances from the State about how long it would take. I don’t think it would be fair to the residents or the businesses along Corrales Road” to have their lives and livelihoods disrupted for extended periods of time.

“It’s important to have a public discussion about this because people here have very strong opinions about taking over Corrales Road.” Among other considerations, he said, is that the Corrales Public Works Department has more capabilities to carry out road maintenance than in the past. Once NMDOT has brought Corrales Road up to like-new condition, “we feel the Village is quite capable through our Public Works Department to maintain the road.”

The bottom line for NMDOT, Curry stressed, “is that they really want us to take over Corrales Road. They’re always nudging us, or gently leveraging us, to do that.” He said ongoing frustrations among business owners, town officials and commuters regarding disruptive improvements to Highway 550 through Bernalillo are also a factor in the department’s desire to be rid of roadways like Corrales Road in its system.

2020 DEC. 5 ISSUE: CORRALES BUSINESSES NEED YOUR HELP TO STAY AFLOAT

H1 CORRALES BUSINESSES NEED YOUR HELP TO STAY AFLOAT

Despite restrictions on businesses here during the past eight months, Corrales’ gross receipts tax revenues are holding steady compared to last year. Declines in holiday shopping are expected to ravage the bottom lines for retailers here as elsewhere this month and last, but so far sales tax revenues have stayed relatively strong, according to Village Administrator Ron Curry. “Gross receipts tax revenues for us are running about the same as last year. In fact, it’s up about two percent, so we’re really happy about it.”

Gross receipts tax revenues for Corrales for the month of September were “within a couple of thousand dollars, one way or the other, of last year’s numbers,” he reported. Curry was asked why he thought this year’s gross receipts taxes are about the same as last year, given the recent months of business closures and restrictions. He didn’t know, because local governments do not have access to information from the N.M. Department of Taxation and Revenue regarding taxes paid by specific businesses. “That information is not available to us.

“However, as I’ve gone around the village talking to people, some of our businesses, like Frontier Mart, have told me business was good for them during the COVID.

“Apparently, some of our businesses have not suffered, because month over month, the numbers have been pretty stable.” Throughout New Mexico, a severe clamp-down on business activity has been ordered by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. All except businesses designated as essential were ordered to close this summer while some were told to curtail the number of patrons who could be served at any one time. When the daily infection rate declined, presumably due to those restrictions, the governor relaxed the measures. But then, late last month, infection rates skyrocketed in New Mexico, so the governor imposed the tightest restrictions yet.

In Corrales, where coronavirus cases were relatively small, infections climbed sharply at the end of November. Corrales had 63 cases as of November 10, then 72 cases November 14. That number had risen to 111 cases as of November 28. It is no great mystery that local businesses, whether selling breakfast, lunch and dinner, or arts and crafts, are being hard hit during this pandemic. To keep going, they pivoted to pick up or delivery, or online sales. And now colder weather, along with a surge in COVID-19 have added to the mix. In Corrales, the usually bustling Mercado de Maya, home to Elaine Bolz’ Claywork, both her studio and shop, is quiet indeed.

A fixture there for 32 years, Bolz says “Right now it’s just the Bosque Gallery and me!” Ambiente, the emporium at the southern end, mostly has been closed since well before the recent lockdown. Barb Clark and Susana Erling’s Corrales Fine Arts in the mercado tried opening for limited hours on weekends, then Clark recently attempted a two-day shop online/pick up curbside sale of her work which ran less smoothly than she had hoped… to put it mildly. But, crucially, she had shifted, exploring new ways to do business. A vendor unwilling to change likely will not survive. “Everything is absolutely new,” as a bookstore owner in Detroit recently put it in a PBS interview. Another seller added “We all have become better business people.”

An in-demand talent like Clark need not worry. Her work is featured on a 2021 calendar produced by New Mexico Magazine, along with that of Jim Jennings. Order it at https://tinyurl.com/ y6nc4lg6.
Bolz agreed the pandemic has pushed her finally to acknowledge she needs better marketing, even a presence on Instagram. “I never wanted to do social media, but now I have to. I will have to be much more professional online.” Her business has been largely based on commissions, and drop-in customers. She laughed when describing her 10 by 12 foot display space, room for two visitors at the most, which she could open, now that the latest tough reset per Michelle Governor Lujan Grisham is over.

Grateful for self-employment money, as well as an expected disbursal of local CARES funding —“The Village is confident the entire $255,000 will be disbursed to local businesses by the December deadline,” according to Mayor Roake— Bolz says her rent is “not that high.” And “this is the season in which we all must make sales,” so to the world of social media she will go. See it at http://claywork.com/index.php. For more information, call 898 8822.

She is part of the 38th annual Weyrich Gallery Invitational Theme show, “The Great Turning,” which just opened and runs to January 22, 2021, but what “open” means is unclear. The gallery is at 2935 Louisiana Blvd. Contact Valerie Tibbetts at 450-6516 or 883-7410. The aforementioned Corrales Bosque Gallery put up an online shop fairly recently. See corralesbosquegallery.com/ store, featuring work by Dennis Chamberlain, Indea Sanchez, Andy Goldschmidt, Dianna Shomaker and Juan Wijngaard. The gallery hopes to feature “Little Critters” made of polymer, paint, and wood, each about 9-10-inches tall and 2-inch wide, at the gallery sometime in December during a “Little Treasures Show,” if allowed to open. If not, they will be available for sale on the website.

As for breweries and eateries, they have tiptoed from normal, to limited indoor seating, to only outdoor seating, adding curbside pickup as well as delivery options, to then only doing such. Corrales Bistro Brewery recently was offering to fill up growlers with mixed drinks, selling as many gift certificates as possible, handing out free lunches to any kid who wanted one, and operating its own food truck. It debuted at the Barelas neighborhood La Esquinita Food Hall/Farm Stand/Food Truck Park at 507 4th on November 14. View its maneuvers via Facebook.

ExNovo Brewing Company is selling carry-out brews, canning a range of products on site, as well as offering Milagro wines and Candlestick Coffee beans, and hosting food trucks. Milagro Winery itself pivoted cleverly a few months back. Partnering with organic growers Silverleaf Farms on an order online, drive-thru and pickup shop, the two entities have been successfully offering customers wine, cheese, fresh veggies, even soil, to be retrieved each Thursday afternoon. See http://www.milagrofarmstand.com/
Also showing innovative pandemic planning has been the much larger Corrales Growers’ Market, inventing unique ways to connect vendors and customers, navigating masks, no pre-orders, drive-thru, and then walk-through. And, to support its Market Shop Booth, selling largely baskets and T-shirts, it set up a shop at https://cgm-store. square.site/s/shop.

C3’s Bistro at 4940 Corrales Road which only opened in July offering a large menu of Cajun dishes, with enthusiastic eater reviews, launched a Go Fund Me project on November 23, for both C3’s and its other restaurant, P’tit Louis Bistro. As of November 29 the undertaking had raised $1,075 of its $134,441 goal. C3’s explained it this way: “Two friends started out with a dream to bring great food and service to each guest that graced our doors. Little did we know that a world-wide pandemic was lurking in the shadows waiting to rock that dream.

“Much like you, we have done our best to ebb and flow with the changing restrictions and mandates handed down by our leaders. While they may mean well, it has not stopped our expenses from piling up, while at the same time stifling our ability to serve our guests.  We have persevered and been creative, adding to and changing our menus in ways that will meet the needs of the current climate.  At the end of the day, our hard work and creativity have still fallen short.

“We have supplemented the revenues of our restaurants with our personal income since the beginning of this crisis to hold onto as much staff as fiscally possible and our operations running.  We knew that was an unsustainable model, but believed it was a better option than closing our doors for good.  Now what was unsustainable has become increasingly unbearable, as we both have families at home who are counting on our provision.

“So, we have turned to you, our community.  We want to be around to serve you for years to come and we need your help.  The money raised will go to business expenses incurred as a result of the New Mexico health order restrictions, which will also allow for the revenues generated from our limited operations to go towards keeping our staff employed and guests served.

“We desire to be up front and transparent with you all, and any donor who leaves their information will receive notice when a debt has been paid to ensure you of the efficacy and sincerity of your money. Any amount raised above what we have asked will be used as working capital, to help cushion us against further pandemic-driven restrictions.

“We are extremely grateful for any and all support that is provided. Thank you for taking the time to hear our story and your consideration. Be well and many thanks. They added that “No salaries to ownership, nor personal reimbursements, will be taken from these reimbursements.”

C3’s website, http://www.c3sbistro.com is its menu. The GoFundMe page is reached via Facebook. Long time Corrales “pie”purveyor Village Pizza is busy doing take-out, but still asks locals to “support your favorites today. We need the encouragement!” It’s obvious. If you like Corrales businesses —and we could not visit with them all— support them with your money. If you would also like to support other New Mexico businesses, take a look at http://www.buynmlocal.com and purchase gift cards. This site features over 800 businesses from across the state.

Having endured the tough two-week lockdown, here comes a complicated “tiered county-by-county COVID-19 risk system, enabling local communities to shed burdensome restrictions as soon as public health data show the virus is retreating within their borders.”

This went into effect December 2. Governor Lujan Grisham put it like this: “The county-by-county framework enables counties, and the businesses and nonprofits within their borders, to operate with fewer restrictions when they slow the spread of the virus and drive down test positivity rates.” If you’d like to explore the tiered system, the red to green framework, see http://www.governor.state.nm.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/red-to-green-framework-for-safe-reopening.pdf.

2020 NOV. 21 ISSUE: NEW BOOK BY MARTHA EGAN ON ANTIQUE ARTFORM

A beautifully illustrated 175-page art book compiled and written by Corrales’ Martha Egan is being distributed by the University of New Mexico Press. Relicarios: the forgotten jewels of Latin America is a product of Egan’s 40 years of research since her Peace Corps days in Venezuela. The hardcover book is available at her store in the Casa Perea Artspace, 4829 Corrales Road.

“In the mid-1970s while I was perusing the jewelry case of a Lima antique shop, I spied several pretty framed miniatures of saints painted in a Cusco style. ‘They’re relicarios,’ the owner told me. ‘Two-sided, eighteenth century, silver frames.’

“As a fledgling buyer of Latin American antiques for my Santa Fe store,  Pachamama, I believed her and bought them. She was right about them each having two sides, but her other claims were false. In time, with a more experienced and jaundiced eye, I could spot similar twentieth century reproductions in their pot-metal frames from across a room.”

The book can also be ordered through www.papalotepress.com. It was published by Fresco Books in Albuquerque and printed in Italy. Her research took her throughout Latin America, Spain and Portugal as well as around the United States.

In the book’s preface, Egan notes, “Even as a recovering Catholic, I felt compelled to research this art form, embarking on what became a four-decades-long project of collecting, studying and interviewing authorities about these little jewels.”

2020 NOV. 21 ISSUE: JOHN ALSOBROOK’S RESEARCH LAB FEATURED BY NY TIMES FOR INNOVATIVE WAY TO TEST FOR COVID-19 EXPOSURE

The medical research laboratory where Corrales’ John Alsobrook works gained national attention November 12 when the New York Times reported on its COVID-19 investigations. Headlined “New Type of Test on T-Cell Response May Better Discern Immunity to Virus,” the article explained how researchers at Adaptive Biotechnologies in Seattle used ongoing work on Lyme disease to re-focus on COVID-19.

The article did not mention former Village Councillor Alsobrook by name, but quoted the firm’s chief medical officer as saying “What we’re developing is essentially a way to look at that cellular part of immunity,” rather than whether COVID-19 antibodies are found in a person tested.

If the Adaptive Biotechnologies coronavirus test is authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it would be the first commercially available product to detect a body’s response to current or past exposure to COVID-19. According to the Times article, “Antibodies have dominated the conversation on immunity since the start of the pandemic, but scientists believe that T-cells may be just as important in preventing re-infection.”

Corrales Comment reported on Alsobrook’s work in its June 5, 2020 issue. He is director of an Adaptive Biotechnologies laboratory in Seattle, where he thinks the industry’s rapid response to the COVID-19 crisis will set the stage for how future pandemics are addressed. In a telephone interview with Corrales Comment May 30, Alsobrook said he has been very impressed with how rapidly the scientific community produced results to protect the public here and around the world against invasion by the novel coronavirus.

Anyone in the medical research community “who could switch gears to focus on COVID did, and has continued to do so. “This really speaks to why we have to maintain research budgets for the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation,” he said. “All of this basic research is there as a body of knowledge, and you never know what is going to happen that will make you go back to that knowledge.”

The Adaptive Biotechnologies lab at which he works continues to focus primarily on the human body’s response to cancer cells, particularly leukemia. The basic idea is to learn from the body’s adaptive immune system how to detect and battle invaders. But given the current pandemic, Alsobrook explained, the firm also is collaborating with Microsoft “to decode the immune system’s response to COVID-19” and develop the more sensitive T-cell diagnostic method.
A second strategy is collaborating with Amgen, a pharmaceutical company, to use Adaptive Technologies’ capabilities to “develop potential antibody therapies for COVID-19.”

His firm has committed to make its findings freely available to all researchers around the world through its “ImmuneCODE” project. Alsobrook explained that the term “adaptive” refers to a specialized type of white blood cell in the body which “learns” and adapt to new situations.

“Our immune systems rely on two kinds of cells: B-cells, which make antibodies to attack foreign organisms like the new coronavirus while it's in our bloodstream, and T-cells, which attack when the viruses have invaded and are inside our body’s cells.

“As mentioned briefly in the New York Times article, the preliminary results from a study performed by a team in Italy show Adaptive’s new T-cell test identified 97 percent of past confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections, which outperforms a currently FDA-authorized antibody test that only detected 77 percent,” Alsobrook explained in a November 15 email.

“This T-cell detection method can be an advantage because it appears that antibodies can wane over time, while virus-specific T-cells persist for six months and longer. Also, some people who become infected by this coronavirus may not develop antibodies at all if their body knocks down the infection rapidly with their T-cells.

“Importantly, this new test also detected prior infections in asymptomatic patients. The results were part of a study that tracked nearly the entire population of a single town in Italy.

“We expect the test to be launched later this year after Thanksgiving. The test requires a tube of blood, not the little drop shown in the picture that accompanied the Times article.”

He added a request. “My personal ask for everyone is to “Wear Your Masks!” Any one of us could be an unidentified asymptomatic person, spreading the virus until it reaches someone who is more vulnerable.” He thinks society should expect other pandemics in the future. “I’m certainly not an ‘end times’ or doomsday person, but I think we will see more of this kind of thing. I think it’s bound to happen, mainly because… it’s a small world. There is more and more physical mixing due to travel more than anything else.”

Alsobrook hopes science’s response to the pandemic will set a standard for future collaborations. “It is precedent-setting and really sets the stage for how we react when something like this happens in the future.

“So many places came out rapidly with diagnostic tests. although unfortunately there were some bad actors. Certainly big drug companies always have their bottom line in mind, so they rarely do things for free. But a vaccine is not a big money maker. Yet so many have turned their resources to that, saying they’re ready to turn out a billion doses —that’s pretty amazing.

“And so many in the research community have turned and collaborated, because usually there’s a spirit of friendly competition among academic scientists. It has become more of a collaborative spirit.

“I think that will prepare us for something like this in the future. We will look back on this time and say ‘Yeah, this is the right way to respond.’” The scientific and technical capabilities with ongoing improvements should allow this kind of rapid-response, he said. “All it takes is for us to decide that this is the thing we want to take care of. It takes some leadership to point us in that direction, but then it’s amazing what we can do.

“Look at what we’ve accomplished in a really short period of time… so what can we really get done.” After five years as a bio-medical research scientist at the Yale Medical School, John Alsobrook jumped into the burgeoning gene-focused bio-tech industry in 2000, getting more involved in the management of medical research projects. In 2005, he was hired as “director of discovery” for the Albuquerque-based Exagen Diagnostics firm. He moved his family into a home on Corrales’ Coronado Road in spring 2006.

Alsobrook was something of a science prodigy; he graduated from high school at 15, while taking university courses in symbolic logic, psychology and meteorology. In college, he was funded with a National Science Foundation fellowship to “design molecules to detoxify heavy metals.” He finished his degree in bio-chemistry in 1981 still not sure what field of science he wanted to pursue.

So he enrolled for another bachelor’s degree in physics at Cal State-Los Angeles. In 1985 he headed to Yale University for a doctorate bestowed in 1995. His dissertation was on genetic links to obsessive-compulsive disorders. While working for the Albuquerque medical research firm, he ran for a seat on the Village Council in 2008, serving two terms.

Funding medical research in a private corporation is risky, he pointed out. “There are probably 100 different companies that are working on a vaccine, or a diagnostic or a therapeutic. We’ll see which ideas come to the fore and which can be sustained and have the impact we’re looking for.’ That research activity was sparked largely by a ruling from the federal Food and Drug Administration which relaxed standards for rigorous testing before use on humans. “Now they’re saying you can start using them as long as you say you did the right stuff, and you show it to us later. So look at what happened, just last week,” he pointed out in May. “The FDA pulled 27 different tests off the market that were being used for COVID because the tests didn’t perform well, or the companies didn’t follow up with the data.”

Alsobrook said he has been somewhat amazed by response from the general public to the pandemic. “It’s amazing that people will find any reason to spark controversy… masks or not masks, you name it. “But people can have a lot of confidence in the science that’s being done. I’m seeing what lots of other scientists and companies are doing. But the wild card in any infectious disease outbreak is the social side. Someone is saying that requiring them to wear a mask abridges their freedom; it’s fine to think what you want to think about that independently. ‘I don’t want to wear a mask. Should I really? What is really the truth about a mask?’ “So then we get into these weird areas about what is truth and social media and fake news. But what I would say is that generally with scientists in this day and age, there’s no hidden agenda.

“It’s true that scientists, like everybody else, want to keep their jobs. But for scientists, it’s because they love what they do. To spend as much time as they do in training and learning how to do these things, they do it because it’s what they love to do. There’s a certain amount of faith and integrity that goes with that.

“So for me, it’s interesting how people decide what they want to question.”

2020 NOV. 21 ISSUE: FIFTH GRADER SUCCEEDS WITH REMOTE LEARNING

As most youngsters are having to adjust to school work that is entirely online, Corrales fifthgrader Maya Gomez is right at home with it —literally. She’s in her second year with New Mexico Connections Academy, and is maintaining a grade level of 99 percent, she reported in a Corrales Comment phone interview October 29.

She and her parents, Danelle and Roberto Gomez, chose the remote learning model as a better alternative to classes at a typical brick-and-mortar school because she can better cope with diabetes problems. In a regular school, she recalled, she missed too much class time when she had to go to the school nurse’s station to manage her erratic blood sugar levels. “With home schooling, I can stop what I’m doing and check my blood sugar, and then start again where I left off.”

The program she’s in now, a tuition-free virtual public school, allows more flexibility, but still structured, learning environment. “The first year worked out very well,” she reported. She also credits her academic success to wearing a new Dexcom continuous glucose monitoring device.

Her school day starts soon after breakfast and continues with breaks until about 4 p.m. Her favorite subjects are social studies and science, especially space walks. “I want to be a scientist and I’d love to do a space walk.” She’d like to go to Cal Tech after high school. The Gomez family has lived in Corrales going on four years. Roberto Gomez is a pharmacist.

With the Connections Academy, he said, the curriculum is more structured and involves more face time with teachers compared to online programs his daughter had used earlier. “Homework” is accomplished differently as well. “When she’s finished with her lesson, she’s also finished with her homework,” he explained. “Built into the lesson is the paperwork portion of it.

“But there’s enough flexibility that if you wanted a little more tradition way, like doing homework after dinner, you could do it that way too.”

Another difference is in testing. There’s not a clear distinction between instruction and testing since testing is built in instruction. She finds that all subjects are equally well presented for optimal response. Her school program has integrated physical activities with options. Before the coronavirus pandemic reduced choices, she played softball all year around. “Now, we just do the softball practice here at home,” her father said, “and we log in and submit that information.

“Because New Mexico Connections Academy is technically a public school, they still have to follow New Mexico state standards which include PE for kids,” he added. As might be expected, “socialization” with kids her age is difficult under home school conditions. But she said she gets to interact with other students by participating in Explora program experiments.

She also enjoys interacting with other kids through the Albuquerque Gem and Mineral Club. “Before, she could do things like that, but with COVID, it’s even more difficult,” Gomez said. New Mexico Connections Academy teaches students in grades four through 12 in communities all around the state.

2020 NOV. 21 ISSUE: VETERANS’ DAY CEREMONY AT LA ENTRADA PARK


A solemn and deliberately sparsely-attended event on Veterans’ Day was held at the memorial in La Entrada Park outside the Corrales Library. Attended by about 15 people, the pandemic-influenced event was highlighted by the ringing of a bell and a brief speech by retired Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Orell.

In his remarks, he said “The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the 11th month 1918 was when the armistice was signed ending the First World War. “For years after, this day was celebrated by the ringing of bells in all churches and the blowing of whistles in all factories. Americans throughout the country would bow their heads, observing a moment of awesome silence, wherever they were, in tribute to all that died in that war.

“Today’s observance of that special day still reflects our respect for the end of the war and many more in which our nation has engaged over the past 102 years. Its name has been changed to Veterans Day, and it has been expanded to include all veterans, the living and the dead.” He ended his comments reciting a poem by Marine Corps chaplain Dennis Edward O’Brien.

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
And it is the soldier who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

2020 NOV. 21 ISSUE: WHAT ARE YOU HAVING FOR THANKSGIVING?

By Meredith Hughes
As New Mexico enters deep lockdown, many of us are not quite feeling that big old joyful, grateful “we gather together” Thanksgiving buzz, though we indeed are pleased to be alive and well. Absolutely not seeing our son in DC, nor other family in Bucks County, Brooklyn, New Hampshire or Maine, nor friends in New York or California, not even locals right here.

But we recall a rollicking good Thanksgiving dinner here pre-pandemic, with a Spanish-theme. Paella, grilled sardines, assorted greenery, cheeses, Spanish wine and flan for dessert. This year, contemplating eating tuna right from the can while watching “The Crown,” I decided to ask villagers, totally randomly chosen, their Thanksgiving favorites.

Here you go:
Chris Allen: “One of my favorites is the freshly baked rolls that are Alex’s specialty. The recipe calls for butter at several stages in the making, and they are delicious. He has made them for every Thanksgiving for years except when he had to be in Mexico to film Narcos Mexico for Netflix. My husband and I tried to take over the task, but they just weren't the same.”

Deborah Blank: “Pumpkin pie for breakfast the day after. Too full to enjoy on the actual day. Bummed; had to cancel trip East due to situation.  I miss my son and grandkids!”

Tony Messec: “I don't prepare a single dish for Thanksgiving dinner. I partake of all: some type of salad, turkey, white and dark meat, which I do carve, stuffing —my late mother’s recipe made with Pepperidge Farm stuffing and Jimmy Dean sausage, sweet potato casserole, varies as to whether or not it has marshmallow topping, green bean casserole, varies as to whether or not it has bacon, cranberry sauces, sweet pickles, olives and more. It's an obscene/fabulous —choose your word— feast. Oh yeah, and pies. Pecan, pumpkin, and some sort of berry fruit. Maybe apple, too. And, I'm here to swear to you that my wife and our families can some kind of cook!

“My job is to select the wines. I restrict the selection to American wines, which eliminates Beaujolais, which is a shame, because it's perfect with turkey. Usually have an American sparkler to start, followed by Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and a few others, red and white, but usually not including Zinfandel, another shame, because it’s too high in alcohol, and ending with a dessert wine. There will be appreciably fewer served this year because there will only be four adults rather than the usual 18 or so. Now that I’ve made myself really hungry and thirsty, I wish for you and yours a lovely, peaceful, Thanksgiving dinner and holiday.”

Debbie Clemente: “For me the best part is the stuffing. We make cornbread stuffing with sausage, mushrooms and truffles, topped with homemade gravy. We just made several quarts of turkey stock, in the freezer ready to go. I also love to make cranberry sauce… watching those beautiful red berries burst and bubble in the pot is always a treat. Oh yeah, we like turkey, too, and Thanksgiving is the only time of year we make it. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!”

Jo Anne Roake: “I’d love to say Mama Stamberg’s cranberry relish, but actually I love cranberry straight out of the can, ridges intact. Favorite side is fresh green beans with almond slivers.”

Aaron Gjullin: “Stuffing for me, please.”

Tanya Lattin:  “So I am having trouble deciding, lasagna from my Italian heritage and/or fresh mashed potatoes topped with green chile mixed with garlic.”

Kitty Tynan: “Mine is so boring, and/or weird. My favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is the cranberry/ orange relish. You just grind up fresh cranberries and whole oranges, throw in a little sugar, and you’re done. But I love it!  I love the smell of turkey roasting, too.”

Eleanor Bravo: “We're not very fancy when it comes to Thanksgiving.  I always make and serve mashed sweet potatoes and cranberries with orange rind.”
Stephanie Duran: “My favorite is mashed sweet potatoes and pears. Bosc pears, the brown ones, are best. Bake sweets and pears separately, then mash with butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, a bit of sugar, a spot of vanilla, a tad of orange rind. Bake about 20 minutes.”

Rex Funk: “I favor the condemned man’s last meal. Alaska King Crab!”
Alex Price: “The turkey drumstick. Meh, to all the side dishes and family drama fanfare. Paleo all the way!”

Sandy Gold: “You’re talking to a grinch, Meredith! Let’s start with the fact that I’m a vegan and then go to the fact that I just started Ayurvedic medicine last month and have to follow a very limited diet, trying to get my doshas balanced and my gut in order.

“That’s for now.

“I never cared for T’giving as a holiday, had a crazy family that I really didn’t want to be with, and managed to avoid it in 1978, right after being treated for melanoma. I did a four-day course with Silva Mind Control in New York City, both for the value of the course, but also it gave me an excuse not to have to be with family.

“By the way, my kitties would love tuna straight out of the can.”

2020 NOV. 21 ISSUE: HASLAM EASEMENT MAY BE APPROVED BY COUNCIL DEC.8

The Village Council will vote at its December 8 meeting whether to buy a conservation easement on the Haslam farm at the north end of the valley. That might have come at their November 10 session except that the appraisal for that purchase was not available to the public ahead of the meeting. Village Attorney Randy Autio and Village Clerk Aaron Gjullin admitted the oversight and said the appraisal document would be posted on the Village’s website immediately and would be included in the information packet for the December 8 council meeting.

The appraised value of the easement that would keep the land as agricultural open space in perpetuity came in at approximately $960,000. That money would be raised by the sale of general obligation bonds approved by Corrales voters in March 2018.

At the November 10 meeting, the Village Council unanimously approved issuing $2.5 million in municipal bonds for the purpose of farmland preservation —without specifically earmarking it for the 12-acre Haslam property. This past summer, the council approved taking an option to acquire the easement amid considerable controversy over whether the transaction would be the best use of those funds. A tie vote on the matter was broken by Mayor Jo Anne Roake.

Opposition arose over the Haslam farm’s lack of visibility from Corrales Road, especially compared to the iconic Trosello fields farther north. But it was thought at the time that negotiations for the Trosello farm would not be successful. In recent weeks, talks have resumed for the possibility that at least some of the expansive fields that have grown corn, chile and other crops in the scenic foreground of the bosque and Sandia Mountains might be saved from development as one-acre home sites.

That renewed effort came after three members of the Village Council voted against the option on the proposed conservation easement for the Haslam farm in July. One of the three dissenting councillors, Bill Woldman, told Corrales Comment October 29 that he had met with the Farmland Preservation and Agricultural Commission’s co-chair, Lisa Brown, to discuss that opposition and learn why the effort to save the Trosello tract had fizzled.

“She reached out to me about why I hadn’t voted for the Haslam easement, and so we had a walking tour of that farm. In the course of that, we discussed the possibility of some kind of joint operation of the Trosello fields.” Woldman recalled that “when voters were asked to approve general obligation bonds for farmland preservation, it was the Trosello tract that people were excited about. The Trosello field was the number one target for use of those funds, and about 80 percent of Corrales voters were in favor of that bond proposal. I wanted to know why nothing was happening with that.”

When Corrales Comment raised the same question to the Village’s negotiator, Michael Sisco of Unique Places LLC earlier this year, he said that the owner of the Trosello tract had lost interest in participating in the Village’s conservation easement program. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIX No.10 August 8, 2020 “Farmland Preservation Easement Decision Explained.”)

He added: “We exhausted our options on Trosello before Haslam became a potential project.” At the November 10 council meeting, former Councillor Fred Hashimoto urged members to postpone any action on the Haslam proposal. He said he wanted to address the process, “not about any cons or pros of the Haslam proposal, which I don’t think is a particularly good deal, nor about the timing of a final decision on the proposal, which would make most sense to be done closer to June of 2021, the deadline Haslam gave.

“Tonight, I’m speaking about transparency of government and why the Haslam approval item should not be on tonight’s agenda,” Hashimoto continued. “An appraisal apparently has been done for the Haslam conservation easement proposal, but it has not been made available for public inspection and comment. It is neither in the meeting agenda packet nor on the Village website; at least as far as I and others can tell.

“Interestingly, the final purchase price is $960,000, which was the minimum, base price asked by Haslam. Months ago, a projected final price was about $1,200,000. One wonders whether a realistic purchase price might be lower than $960,000 and it was reverse-engineered up to meet the sellers’ minimum asking price. I’m not saying that’s what happened, but the public should be able to see the appraiser’s data, calculations and conclusions and perhaps comment on them before the governing body votes to finalize the deal.

“Not allowing public inspection of the non-confidential appraisal, which was paid for by public funding and concerns public funding, is not an example of transparency in government. Hashimoto said he had consulted with the N.M. Foundation for Open Government which confirmed that the appraisal should be public record.

“Because the appraisal has not been available for public inspection and comment, I request that Haslam approval item be tabled until such time when it has, or if you think the proposal does not fit the bill, reject it.” More than 40 acres of Corrales farmland has been brought under conservation easement since the effort began here in 2000. Villagers overwhelmingly approved a bond proposal for $2.5 million for that purpose in 2004, but the last of those bond proceeds was spent in 2015. Since the bonds now have been paid off, more bonds could be issued without increasing property tax.

A key figure in that early effort was then-Councillor Sayre Gerhart, who explained its importance this way. “We have prime soils in the valley, limited in New Mexico and valuable to the state and to the country. When the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded conservation easements in Corrales, they did so to protect prime soils for agricultural use, all the more valuable for agriculture because of the superb water delivery system to the land.”

And beyond those values, she said, “We preserve farmland in order to preserve our lifestyle, our quality of life and our property values in Corrales.” She stressed the importance of issuing more general obligation (GO) bonds to preserve portions of remaining farmland. “The local GO bonds are critical for farmland conservation to make financial sense in New Mexico. First of all, the federal grant programs require a local match. Secondly, we have the highest land values per acre in the Corrales/Albuquerque area, so we need to bring cash to the table as an option for property owners.”

“We need to offer property owners an alternative, to provide a program over several years, decades, which gives an option to not develop the land. That is the vision behind the funding of the second GO bond proposal,” Gerhart explained. The first conservation easement here was donated by former Corrales resident Jonathan Porter on land west of Corrales Road at the south end of the valley. Similar to the Haslam farm, the Porter tract is not visible from Corrales Road, nor are most others.

Corrales’ interest in preserving farmland dates back at least to its incorporation as a municipality in 1971. The first master plan produced for the new Village government in 1973 recommended techniques be explored to accomplish that. Successive planning documents and ordinances over the years have endorsed that goal. (See Corrales Comment Vol. II, No. 8, August 20, 1983 “Can Corrales Stay Farmland Forever? Yes, Say Planners, & Here’s How.”)

Corrales’ first conservation easement of six acres along Mira Sol Road in 2001 was donated by the landowner, not sold. Jonathan Porter believed in keeping fertile land under cultivation and his donation of the easement to the Taos Land Trust provided helpful tax benefits.

2020 NOV. 21 ISSUE: CORRALES SEWER CLOG CLEARED; SCHOOL’S HOOK-UP MAY BE SOLUTION

The sewer line along Corrales Road experienced a major blockage in early November when Los Lunas-based Southwest Sewer Service was called in to remediate. The blockage was cleared within a few hours, although the Corrales Public Works Department continued to flush the line for several more hours. Public Works Director Mike Chavez said he could not definitively identify the cause of the problem. “We noticed we had an issue when the pressure on the line increased. We isolated the area in question and applied vacuum on one end and pressure on the other until the blockage loosened up and we could remove it.

“We did have to rotate between the vacuum and pressure a couple of times. We did have to isolate the area so the main was put out of service in the area we were working on.

“We pumped out the tanks at the businesses and residences in said area as to not introduce liquids as we were working. At this point I would not speculate on the exact cause of the blockage, being an enclosed system under pressure, we couldn’t see what the blockage was.” Chavez said the cost of repair would not be known until calculations were made for pumping, staff time and contracted service. Under normal operation, the Village’s six-inch diameter wastewater line is pressurized by a pump at each septic tank connected to the system. If that effluent cannot discharge to the sewer, or encounters unusual difficulty in doing so, the pressure builds, setting off alarms. South of Meadowlark Lane, the wastewater line is eight-inches in diameter.

Hook ups by owners of residential and commercial properties have been slow, at one point leading the funding source, the N.M. Environment Department, to threaten legal acton against the Village. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIII No.1, February 22, 2014 “Corrales Avoids Default on NMED Loan for Sewer Project.”) After decades of confusion, political turmoil and technical and bureaucratic delays, the Corrales sewer system went into operation in February 2014.

With no fanfare or ribbon-cutting, the controversial liquids-only, pressurized sewer system began sending waste water toward Albuquerque’s sewers around 2:15 p.m. that day, pumping from the Corrales Recreation Center’s septic tanks and those at the Village Office. Finally, after more than six years, the biggest hold-out to connecting to the municipal wastewater line, Albuquerque Public Schools, is set to do so in the weeks ahead. APS Director of Operations John Dufay told Corrales Comment November 16 that crews began work on the connection in late summer. He could not say exactlly when the tie-in might come.

Dufay said a variety of factors indicated the time had come to finally connect the school to the Village’s sewer line. “Due to COVID-19, we decided now is a good time to start doing it. Everything just fell into place to do it at this time.” He said the school’s innovative constructed wetlands at the east end of the property —which he designed and directed years ago— has continued to function well. The project will continue to be used, but as an outdoor classroom rather than the schools’s primary wastewater treatment method. The school’s “black water” will be routed to a large septic tank, sand filtration unit and pumping station before it goes to the sewer line along Corrales Road.

Dufay said some amount of “grey water” will still be delivered to the constructed wetlands for educational purposes. When school is fully in session, he expects about 15,000 to 18,000 gallons of wastewater per day will be sent to the municipal sewer. Back in 2014, a letter from the N.M. Environment Department (NMED) about the acceptability of the Village Council’s sewer ordinance arrived just before the council’s February 11 meeting.

Signed by then-NMED Secretary Ryan Flynn, the letter conceded that not all property owners adjacent to the sewer line in the commercial district needed to connect to it immediately. The argument had been advanced by Councillor John Alsobrook the previous year was accepted; that NMED should be satisfied if nearly all the wastewater volume from the business district was sent to the sewer, which he said would be accomplished if municipal facilities, the Catholic church and the elementary school connected.

Flynn’s letter noted, “You and [Village Attorney John] Appel previously conveyed that you anticipate several commercial and government facilties to connect to the system as soon as allowed. Further, these facilities constitute the majority of the anticipated flow rate for the system. “In an effort to assure a functional and healthy system and avoid costly litigation, the Department will re-evaluate the success of [Corrales] Ordinance 13-007 and withhold judgment of potential default of the terms of the loan agreement for two years.

“The department will recognize substantial compliance with the loan agreement’s mandatory connection ordinance requirement under the following circumstances: 50 percent of the anticipated flow rate for the entire Corrales Road High Density Area [the commercial district, Wagner Lane to Meadowlark] is connected by December 31, 2014; 70 percent of the anticipated flow rate for the entire Corrales Road High Density Area is connected by June 30, 2015; and 80 percent of the anticipated flow rate for the entire Corrales Road High Density area is connected by January 31, 2016.”

The NMED secretary asked for reports telling which properties in the commercial district would be hooked up to the sewer as of April 1 that year, as well as on January 15, 2015, July 15, 2015 and February 15, 2016. He also wanted to know how many “fixture units” were to be hooked up at each address by those dates. “This information will allow us both to determine when the milestones outlined above have been met.”

Flynn closed his letter by noting, “I hope the approach outlined above provides a beneficial path forward and meets our mutual goal of a fully functional and fiscally sustainable wastewater collection system.” But Corrales was nowhere near achieving the results that NMED demanded.

NMED’s Environmental Health Division director, Tom Blaine, and Construction Programs Bureau chief, Jim Chiasson, had argued the Village of Corrales was fundamentally in default of its loan and grant agreement that funded completion of the system the previous year. The agreement stated that use of the system must be mandatory.

But council members twice rejected such an ordinance that required property owners to connect to the sewer line immediately, citing financial hardship for long-time, modest income residents. As the impasse seemed to be leading to an NMED lawsuit against the Village, then-Mayor Gasteyer had several meetings with ranking NMED officials and their attorney, and finally a meeting in the governor’s office. The conflict essentially evaporated once a new mayor, Scott Kominiak, was sworn in.

The blockage last month may well re-open another debate: possible use of grinder pumps to process wastes from homes and businesses before they are sent to the sewer line. Back in 2013, an assessment was made that the sewer pipe in the ground from Corrales’ commercial district to an Albuquerque sewer station could function with grinder pumps as well as liquids-only septic tank effluent pumps —as long as Village officials were willing to flush the line weekly with water from the fire station.

Village Engineer Steve Grollman, then with The Larkin Group, gave the mayor and Village Council that general evaluation at a work-study session March 19, 2013.  His assessment matched that of original determinations by the Souder, Miller and Associates engineering firm which designed and supervised installation of the six-inch diameter sewer main, with the added operational advantage of pumping clean-out water into the line where it starts north of San Ysidro Catholic Church.

“This analysis indicates that it is most likely that there will be minimal difficulties in maintaining the system, subsequent to the ultimate flow of approximately 200,000 gallons per day envisioned in the design documents provided to us,” Grollman wrote in his preliminary report discussed at the 2013 work-study session.

But until enough homes and businesses were hooked up to supply sufficient volume and velocity, there’s a strong probability that solids will settle in the sewer main and begin to clog the system, Grollman cautioned. Mayor Phil Gasteyer said he expected the study would show that the infrastructure in the ground could handle sewage from grinder pumps as well as waste water effluent from septic tank effluent pumps.

The liquids-only system is referred to as a “septic tank effluent pressurized,” or STEP, system. “Though construction of either pressurized system could be costly at individual properties, over time the grinder option will be significantly simpler and cheaper for those connecting, since there is no longer need for a septic tank.”

But in councillors’ discussion following Grollman’s 2013 presentation, general consensus focused on starting the system up for STEP operations on a voluntary basis for property owners along Corrales Road to get as many sewer users as quickly as possible, perhaps even providing the STEP pumps free.

Once there is adequate flow into the sewer main, then allow property owners to apply to install grinder pumps, they reasoned. The sewer system designed by Souder Miller was for liquids-only pumps, so that sewage solids remained in septic tanks which would have to be pumped out perhaps every three years. Even so, at the time the Souder Miller design was approved and implemented, engineers anticipated that a limited number of grinder pumps, primarily needed by restaurants, could also be accommodated.

Mayor Gasteyer and others concluded grinder pumps discharging waste water and ground-up solids into the sewer main would be a better option. It would be cheaper in the long run, the mayor asserted; it would eliminate septic tanks altogether along with associated maintence costs, and would eliminate the need for homeowners’ cleaning septic pump filters.

The mayor said he was convinced that homeowners were unlikely to perform the STEP filter cleaning ritual as diligently as would be required, resulting in malfunctions that could require burdensome maintenance responses. With grinders, there is no effluent filter to clean, but… the ground-up solids going out to the sewer main are likely to settle in the bottom of the pipe and eventually clog the system, especially in the first year or so before all homes and businesses are hooked up.

That’s why Village Engineer Grollman recommended flushing the sewer main out with water weekly, at least until all potential users of the system were discharging into it. And that’s why the pending connection of Corrales Elementary to the Village’s sewer line could be just what’s needed to make the system work optimally.

Even so, as Gasteyer explained on March 15, 2013, “Introduction of grinder pumps will present some different maintenance issues, because flows must be maintained at certain velocities to avoid settling out of solids, particularly in the early months of operation as initial customers are joining the system.

“This could mean additional operation and maintenance costs for the Village utility system compared with a STEP-only system,” he cautioned. “Periodic ‘flushing’ may be needed from a hydrant at the north end of the line, near Old Church Road.” Grollman’s preliminary report for the 2013 work-study session gave details of what might be required. “The entire force main system should be flushed on a weekly schedule to remove solids that have settled in the lines,” he wrote, estimating that such flushing would take 400 to 450 gallons per minute with 60 to 75 pounds per square inch pressure for 90 minutes.

That calculates to at least 36,000 gallons of water each week to make the sewer work. Using less water at higher pressure would run the risk of bursting the sewer pipe, the engineer warned. In a quick estimate, then-Village Attorney John Appel said Corrales had sufficient water rights to flush the line weekly.

It would help to add more volume to such a grinder pump system by extending sewer service to higher density residential neighborhoods that need it, such as those along Priestly and Coroval Roads, the mayor pointed out. But as Grollman noted in his report seven years ago, “Paradoxically, some of the installed ‘neighborhood laterals’ for future expansion are smaller than would be designed for grinder pump use” which could also lead to sewage blockages.

Grollman estimated homeowners opting for a grinder pump system, rather than a liquids-only STEP system, would pay about $12,000. That breaks down to $7,000 for the grinder and pump, $2,000 for electrical service to the grinder, $2,000 for buried sewer pipe out to Corrales Road, $500 for a vault and valve and another $500 for “septic tank abandonment.”

Appel noted, “The advantage of using a grinder pump from the standpoint of both the Village and the property owner,” Appel said, “is that the use of a grinder pump allows you to eliminate the septic tank entirely. You don’t need to worry about that element, and the grinder pump allows all waste water, including semi-solids to be ground up in the grinder pump and put into the system to be discharged eventually to the Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority.

“The potential problem is that with those solids it can be difficult to ensure that the flow in the pressure system will be maintained. That’s presently being evaluated by the engineers at Larkin Group, so we don’t know the extent yet to which grinder pumps can be used.

“I would point out one of the potential disadvantages of the use of grinder pumps for some potential users, particularly domestic users, is that the grinder pump requires 220-volt power at the source [of the grinder pump installation] which is going to be the responsibility of the property owner.

“If your present system is not sufficient to handle that, a STEP pump which can use 115-volt power may be to the advantage of the individual property owner.”

2020 NOV. 21 ISSUE: CHRISTMAS PARADE, ST. NICK PARTY CANCELLED

No Christmas de Caballos parade this year, and no St. Nick’s old-fashioned community Christmas party. Those two holiday traditions that have brightened Corraleños’ spirits have been cancelled, as has the “giving tree” erected in the Village Office. But another is still going and needs your participation more than ever.

It’s the annual food and gift drive by the Corrales Fire Department. “As we head into the holiday season, things will be different this year to help keep everyone safe from COVID-19,” the Corrales Fire Department’s Tanya Lattin explained. “We still have a need for food and presents for Corrales families, but cannot do a normal food drive and setup a “giving tree.” We will not have groups help with food sorting, food box setup or present wrapping. What we will be able to do as a community is help support those in need.”

Lattin suggested that people who want to get gift tags this year, or to adopt a family for food, should contact her directly by calling 702-4182 or email tlattin@corrales-nm.org to learn what a child wants and needs. “Since there will be a very limited number of people to make food boxes, if you would like to help supply food for families, donations of money made to Kiwanians Club of Corrales with the memo of Fire Department or ‘Food and Present Drive’ is the best way to help.

The Fire Department will be making orders of food online to supply to families. She explained that drop off of large amounts of food items to clean and sort by one or two people will be very difficult. The address to send checks is Corrales Fire Department, 4920 Corrales Road, Corrales NM 87048. “If you would like to wrap presents, we can arrange to get you presents to be wrapped at your home. If you have any questions, please call.

“For those of you who have been helping purchase food and internet for families in Corrales since March, we thank you again.”

2020 NOV. 21 ISSUE: COVID CASES SOAR HERE; RESCUE TEAMS SET NEW PROTOCOLS

Corrales cases of COVID-19 have climbed ominously this month, reaching 74 as of November 15. The number rose from fewer than 60 in October to 63 cases as of November 10, and then up to 72 four days later. Statewide, the number of coronavirus cases reached 64,201 as of November 15, resulting in 1,215 deaths.

On November 14 alone, 1,180 new cases were reported. The state reached a record seven-day average of 1,170 new cases a day. In response, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered a strict lock-down of businesses for two weeks and ordered New Mexicans to stay at home except for essential outings. Hospital bed were reported filling up.

With Thanksgiving approaching, the governor urged New Mexicans to avoid family gatherings. “It’s not worth the risk,” she advised. Families that ignored that warning, it was suggested, might hold their following gathering at a loved one’s funeral. Corrales’ Emergency Medical director, Fire Department Commander Tanya Lattin, reported November 15 that “we currently have 74 cases, that is an increase of 33 cases in 31 days. “In the last 14 days, we have had 21 new cases with 11 in the last seven days. Sandoval County has had an increase of 1,362 in 31 days, 819 in 14 and 538 in seven days.

“I cannot confirm COVID deaths as they are not reported to me or anyone else in the Village; we only get the county death breakdown from the state.” Lattin said emergency medical calls to the Corrales Fire Department for critically ill patients continue to be transported to hospitals. “Our patients who need or want transport would still be transported but possibly not to their hospital of choice,” she explained, adding, “This is not new; it happens all the time in trauma cases.” Although the virus spread has been exponential in recent weeks, Lattin said Corrales first responders are sticking with earlier established protocols. “Nothing new in station’s protocols since March. We take the safety of the citizens and staff as the very most important thing we do.

“We handle every single call as a possible COVID-19 infection. We have N-95 masks which are standard on every call. We wear a cover over our N-95 so they stay cleaner and the cover mask is washed. Everyone also has access to full facemask P-100 or half-face with shield. They are mandated on any call that sounds like it could be respiratory in nature or may require aerosol generating procedures or COVID positive.

“Patients who can come out of their home are asked to do so. All patients are given a mask to wear. Dispatch also directs them to put a mask on before EMS arrives. On calls where COVID is a high probability, crew members must shower and wash clothes as soon as they are back at the station. We disinfect all equipment and bags after every call. The station is sanitized at least once daily.

“We currently have a good supply of PPE but I look for availability daily and order if it is available.” Lattin said access into the fire station is limited and must be approved by Fire Chief Anthony Martinez before anyone can come in. “On large calls or in the case of multiple calls at the same time, staff and volunteers respond and sign in after the emergency is mitigated. We have a health check and sign in for anyone entering the station.

“We have pulse oximeters for patients either COVID-positive or waiting for test results, if they contact us. We can also monitor pulse oximetry remotely if needed for patients if they or their physician requests it. I encourage everyone to think of your neighbors and your family. It takes us all following COVID safe practices to protect each other.”

2020 NOV. 21 ISSUE: WOODWORKING SITE DEVELOPMENT PLAN UPHELD

A woodworking business on a recently C-zoned property along Hansen Road has been approved by the Village Council following an appeal by a nearby resident. Following a hearing November 10, councillors voted unanimously to uphold the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval of a site development plan for Dendro Technologies, owned by Rick and his son, Jacob Thaler at 4404 Corrales Road. At its September 16 meeting the P&Z commission unanimously approved the Thalers’ proposed site development plan on the condition that buffering walls for noise control be erected on the south, east and north sides of their property.

Commissioners specified that six-foot buffer fences would have to be erected within one year on the south and east sides and within two years on the north side. The primary piece of equipment for Dendro Technologies is a band saw that is used to cut slab planks to make furniture and other purposes. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIX No. 13 September 19, 2020 “Rick Thaler and Son Open Woodworking Business.”)

During the commission’s September session the primary concern voiced by nearby property owners was noise from the saw —and the subjective nature of the Village’s regulations on noise. Commissioners commended the Thalers for addressing neighbors’ complaints or concerns. Brian Whalley, who lives at 4372 Corrales Road, said his property “runs almost the entire length on the south side, we have had zero complications from the business and welcome it.”

But Antonette Roybal, the person appealing, lives at 43721/2 Corrales Road. She said the noise is “very annoying and it’s constant.” She said normal voice is about 50 to 65 decibels whereas the whine from the saw has been 95 decibels or above. That assertion was challenged by P&Z commission Chairman McCandless. She did not take decibel readings, but offered to provide an audio recording of the noise.

Rick Thaler said he had provided to the P&Z administrator a decibel reading made by an application on his iPhone after he had installed noise buffers. He said it showed “about 55 decibels on the south border when the saw was fully engaged and running. The 50-decibel sample is from Corrales Road on a normal day without the saw running; that’s the ambient noise on a regular day.”

In addition to erecting sound buffers, the Thalers had attached a muffler to the saw “which changed the frequency of the noise and made it less whiney. Before we added the sound abatement, standing right next to the saw we were at about 85 decibels, and standing south of the tin shed which is closest to our nearest neighbor, the sound was at about 65 decibels, spiking to 75 decibels. And now it spikes at 55 decibels” roughly the same level as traffic from Corrales Road, he said.

At the appeal hearing, Rick Thaler said he had used the band saw as a hobby for about a year and never heard that anyone was bothered by it. As a business, he said the saw would be used no more than three hours a day on any given day and even then, it would be cutting wood for periods ranging from about one minute to ten minutes.

Roybal told councillors the sound has decreased since the Thalers installed noise abatement measures, but that it is still annoying. She argued the business is industrial in nature, not commercial, and therefore not allowed.

In his remarks to the council, Thaler said a significant part of the conflict is that he mistakenly referred to the business as a “saw mill” in his request for P&Z approval. He regretted that description gave rise to fears about intended use of the band saw. “We’re not a lumber mill producing commercial quantities of lumber,” he explained. “We’re reclaiming dead and down and unwanted trees.”

If granted site development plan approval, he said he would erect an eight-foot high fence between the Dendro site and the Roybal residence. Another nearby resident, Michael Roake, husband of Corrales’ mayor, said they live about 350 feet east of the Dendro operation. He said he wants to promote business in Corrales but has two concerns: compatibility with the residential character and noise. “I did hear a whine once, and it was so distinctive and unusual it prompted me to take a look. If it is a question of noise abatement, I would welcome abatement to the east.”

Mayor Jo Anne Roake recused herself for the council’s appeal hearing. Thaler said he and his son are willing to erected whatever sound abatement is required, although they wanted to know whether they will be issued a business license before spending thousands of dollars on the fencing. “We were waiting to see if we were going to get our business license before spending another thousand dollars on sound abatement,” Thaler said. “We fully intend to do the sound abatement to the east. If we get a complaint from the north, we’ll do more there.”

At the P&Z meeting in September, several villagers spoke in favor of the site development plan, including former Corrales Planning and Zoning Administrator Claudia “Taudy” Smith. “He’s going above what our ordinances require so that they can fit in with the neighbors.” She said she has known Rick Thaler for 45 years. “This is exactly who we want in our commercial district.”

2020 NOV. 21 ISSUE: FINALLY TIME NOW TO TAKE OVER CORRALES RD?

Should Village government take over Corrales Road from the state highway department? It’s a question that has re-surfaced every few years since Corrales incorporated as a municipality in 1971, and it’s back again. A public presentation will be scheduled for the near future to explain what might be involved if Village officials take up the N.M. Department of Transportation’s long-standing offer to give the road to Corrales.

That prospect was mentioned briefly at the November 10 Village Council meeting during Village Administrator Ron Curry’s report. He tied that possibility to more clarity regarding the Village’s financial situation. “It’s maybe out in the weeds, but I think it’s pretty exciting,” Curry prefaced. “We are getting to a point where we have got a lot of our accounting and finances to a point of reconciliation —where we are looking at fully engaging with our Tyler financial software— and how quickly that can get us to even consider taking over Corrales Road.”

Elected to the council in March, Zach Burkett said he was open to the prospect of Village government taking over Corrales Road, “but my biggest concern is maintenance on the road.” On the other hand, he noted that Loma Larga and other municipal roads receive funding from the state highway department.

Then-candidate Stu Murray, also elected in March, said he thought it would be a bad idea to take ownership of Corrales Road. “It will take millions of dollars just to re-pave it as it is now.”

Tyler Technologies produces the municipal accounting software package used by Village government. Curry said he expects to move ahead on talks with NMDOT on that possibility “sometime within the next 90 days, depending on what their schedule will allow, where they come in and talk about all the details and ramifications involved in us taking over Corrales Road.” Mayor Jo Anne Roake had little to add when asked November 12 for details: “The Village will be meeting with NMDOT next week, and we’ll try to set a date for a public presentation on the topic.”

For decades, Village officials have been reluctant to take over State Highway 448, Corrales Road, fearing road maintenance costs would be unbearable. On the other hand, the community would gain the ability to move ahead with long-delayed projects such as the pathway in the commercial area, speed limits and crosswalks. As in most previous municipal elections here, candidates were asked to explain their position on the Village taking over Corrales Road. In nearly every case, they expressed reservation about possible maintenance costs and liability.

2020 NOV 7 ISSUE: 2020 NOV 7 ISSUE: ‘CORRALES INDIVISIBLE’ RE-DOUBLES

By Meredith Hughes
One group riveted on the results of this election is Corrales Indivisible, created on February 15, 2017, and today comprised of 545 members in its Facebook group. The site states, in part, “We model the values of inclusion, fairness and justice.”  Three of the many Corrales members who have been actively getting out the vote this year are Mary Ellen Stagg Capek, Terry Eisenbart and Bert Coxe.

Capek reported with some level of sardonic certainty that she had been mulling “Packing up our camper and moving to Canada,” if Trump prevailed. But her vision post-election is that she “will keep up the ‘town crier’ emails, with input from a lot of folks, and emphasis on local, county and state issues that will need a lot more of our attention. So we can get back to concerns like banning fracking and banning carcinogenic chemicals in public places, especially on school grounds.”

She also ponders how corporate interests may shift under a Biden presidency. “They’ve had free rein under Trump and in my opinion that’s why they took over the Supreme Court: to strip FDR and the Warren/Burger courts’ safety net and civil rights laws, sending us back to the roaring Twenties with no corporate oversight or regulations.

“So unless Biden packs the court, and soon, the focus of organizing and protests will have to shift to the courts.” She adds that it appears that “many Trumpers in his inner circle have given up winning, and their efforts are focusing now on making it much harder to overturn all those executive orders and policy changes they’ve been able to make protecting corporate interests and pillaging the environment. We will have plenty to do.”

Eisenbert sounds as fired up as ever. “After November 3, we’ll switch our energy to the upcoming legislative session. That is, as long as we don’t have to hit the streets to protest a president who won’t leave! “Corrales Indivisible is not going away no matter who wins,” she added. “We will fight on for progressive issues at the federal, state and local levels. We will continue to hold all our representatives accountable. As one of our steering committee members, Steve Conrad, said, ‘I’m just getting started,’ and we believe that’s how most of our members feel. I certainly do.”

“I can tell you that if Trump wins and the Republicans hold the Senate, I do think that we are in for darker times and a real serious move toward authoritarianism,” Coxe said. “There will also be a serious let down and a lot of personal depression if that were to happen. It will be tough to pick up the pieces and swing into action for the 2021 New Mexico legislative session.”

He went on to say that of the people he knew who were clinically depressed after the 2016 election, “The Women’s March and groups like Indivisible allowed them to come together to work toward something positive and feel better about themselves and their country.  “The crazy thing is, that if Trump were marginally competent, and could at least fake empathy for the greater electorate, he probably could have coasted into a second term.  A lot of the people involved in ‘the resistance’ would have not been able to keep up their energy for four years. It is really a testament of how miserable he is that we are even having this conversation.”

“A win by Trump, especially if he loses the popular vote by a big margin, almost a given, will drive home how truly undemocratic many of our country’s institutions actually are, from the Electoral College, to the U.S. Senate and the federal judiciary.” The Corrales entity is one of many inspired by Indivisible, today a national organization, which began in December 2016 as a 23-page online document written by former congressional staffers suggesting ways to peacefully resist what they viewed as the anti-democratic Trump agenda. “We have to build a democracy that reflects a broad, multiracial ‘we the people,”‘one that works for all of us and is sustained by all of us.”

What began as a document swiftly became “a movement of thousands of group leaders and more than a million members taking regular, iterative and increasingly complex actions to elect local champions. And fight for progressive policies.”

2020 NOV 7 ISSUE: CORRALES HISTORICAL SOCIETY VOLUNTEERS CONTINUE WITH OLD CHURCH MAINTENANCE

The preservation and maintenance guy for the Old Church, John McCandless, is not one to lounge about even as COVID-19 invades captivating Corrales. He reports that “The pandemic has impacted some of our preservation and maintenance activities, but essential maintenance has continued. The biggest impact so far has been on our revenue stream.

“With public gatherings out of the question, events such as music performances and weddings have been curtailed. The funds generated by these events help sustain our preservation and maintenance activities, so we’ve scaled back or postponed some plans. However, necessary work is continuing.” A month or so ago, some creature was spotted tossing odd bits and bobs up into the air from a hole in the ground just east of the church. On further inspection it was seen to be McCandless, who by necessity was ripping out some old plumbing.

McCandless explained that back in February with the help of Master Gardeners, Corrales Tree Preservation Committee members John Thompson and Don Welsh and the Village Public Works Department, “We planted 10 trees that were donated by Trees of Corrales. The process of setting up a system to keep them irrigated uncovered some weaknesses in the water supply system which kept me busy on a sporadic basis for several months. This culminated in the failure of the pressure tank, which filled the well pit with water and ruined some of the electrical components. Public Works helped by pumping out the pit and removing the old tank.” McCandless subsequently installed a new tank, pressure switch and piping.

Those usually involved with maintenance definitely missed the volunteer help typically available in abundance on Mudding Day, usually held in late April, yet another event canceled because of the pandemic. “In past years we have re-mudded the courtyard wall, cleaned up the grounds, oiled woodwork and cleaned the chairs,” he pointed out.

Still, with the help of Kathie Lehner, “we worked on taking care of these maintenance items until mid-summer when it got too hot for much besides the weeding. With the arrival of cooler weather I’ve finished plastering the wall and there are a number of small projects —patching exterior plaster on the church and repainting the windows— that I’ll be working on in the coming months, along with the eternal weeding.”

A needed project definitely shelved is the replacement of the floor in the Old Church. McCandless explained that the Historical Society board had been discussing various approaches to funding that enterprise, “but once the virus hit, we decided that it wasn’t the best time to approach the community for funds, and put the project on hold.”

According to McCandless, “the current floor was installed in the 1990s and refinished once in 2009 but is showing significant signs of wear and should be replaced sometime in the near future.” Ironically, as McCandless pointed out, “since the Old Church isn’t getting used these days there isn’t any additional wear and tear, so the urgency to do the work has decreased,” but at the same time, an Old Church devoid of people and events seems perfectly positioned for McCandless to get in there and get cracking on floor replacement. That undertaking is unlikely to occur for now.

2020 NOV 7 ISSUE: THALERS’ PROJECT APPEALED TO COUNCIL

A near-neighbor to the woodworking business Dendro Technologies at 4404 Corrales Road has appealed the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval of a site development plan for it. The Village Council will hear the appeal by Antonette Roybal during its November 10 session. The business has been operating along Hansen Road by Rick Thaler and his son, Jacob Thaler. As with other parts of the council meeting, the appeal hearing is open to the public via Zoom by calling 1-669-900-6833 for meeting 865-1469-6536# and entering password 282288#.

The council meeting begins as 6:30 p.m. although no specific time is set for the appeal. At its September 16 meeting the P&Z commission unanimously approved the Thalers’ proposed site development plan on the condition that buffering walls for noise control be erected on the south, east and north sides of their property. Commissioners specified that six-foot buffer fences would have to be erected within one year on the south and east sides and within two years on the north side. The primary piece of equipment for Dendro Technologies is a band saw that is used to cut slab planks to make furniture and other purposes. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIX No. 13 September 19, 2020 “Rick Thaler and Son Open Woodworking Business.”)

During the commission’s September session the primary concern voiced by nearby property owners was noise from the saw —and the subjective nature of the Village’s regulations on noise. Commissioners commended the Thalers for addressing neighbors’ complaints or concerns. Brian Whalley, who lives at 4372 Corrales Road, said his property “runs almost the entire length on the south side, we have had zero complications from the business and welcome it.”

But Roybal, the person appealing, lives at 43721/2 Corrales Road. She said the noise is “very annoying and it’s constant.” She said normal voice is about 50 to 65 decibels whereas the whine from the saw has been 95 decibels or above. That assertion was challenged by P&Z commission Chairman McCandless. She did not take decibel readings, but offered to provide an audio recording of the noise. Rick Thaler said he had provided to the P&Z administrator a decibel reading made by an application on his iPhone after he had installed noise buffers. He said it showed “about 55 decibels on the south border when the saw was fully engaged and running. The 50-decibel sample is from Corrales Road on a normal day without the saw running; that’s the ambient noise on a regular day.”

In addition to erecting sound buffers, the Thalers had attached a muffler to the saw “which changed the frequency of the noise and made it less whiney. Before we added the sound abatement, standing right next to the saw we were at about 85 decibels, and standing south of the tin shed which is closest to our nearest neighbor, the sound was at about 65 decibels, spiking to 75 decibels. And now it spikes at 55 decibels” roughly the same level as traffic from Corrales Road, he said.

Another nearby resident, Michael Roake, husband of Corrales’ mayor, said they live about 350 feet east of the Dendro operation. He said he wants to promote business in Corrales but has two concerns: compatibility with the residential character and noise. “I did hear a whine once, and it was so distinctive and unusual it prompted me to take a look. If it is a question of noise abatement, I would welcome abatement to the east.”

Thaler said he and his son are willing to erected whatever sound abatement is required, although they want to know whether they will be issued a business license before spending thousands of dollars on the fencing. “We were waiting to see if we were going t get our business license before spending another thousand dollars on sound abatement,” Thaler said. “We fully intend to do the sound abatement to the east. If we get a complaint from the north, we’ll do more there.”

Several villagers spoke in favor of the site development plan, including former Corrales Planning and Zoning Administrator Claudia “Taudy” Smith. “He’s going above what our ordinances require so that they can fit in with the neighbors.” She said she has known Rick Thaler for 45 years. “This is exactly who we want in our commercial district.” The council’s decision on the Roybal appeal could not be reported in this issue.

2020 NOV 7 ISSUE: HISTORIC PLAQUE POSTED FOR OLD FARMHOUSE

An old farmhouse, considered one of the oldest structures in Corrales, has been designated a historic property by the Corrales Historical Society. The old residence at 4655 Corrales Road, now owned by Susanna Chavez and Doug Findley, was listed in the State of New Mexico’s Register of Historic Properties in 2010. “The Elias Martinez Farmhouse reflects its status as the home of a hard-working farmer who took advantage of existing walls to expand his home.  It provides a window into Corrales before it succumbed to mid-20th century development pressures and helps tell the story of the village’s long Hispanic agricultural history,” according to the description for the State Register.

“The largely intact front portion of the house embodies how a remodeled old adobe home in a Hispanic village of the 1920s would appear.  Most of the windows throughout the oldest sections date to the 1920s as do its doors, and the ceilings in the oldest part of the house feature milled board tablas.

“Although altered in the 1960s, from Corrales Road the house appears little changed from its 1920s appearance and is one of a handful in the commercial center of Corrales that retains an early appearance.” Referred to as the Elias Martinez Farmhouse, it is “a rare well-preserved example of vernacular New Mexican farm houses built during the 19th century and modestly expanded in the early 20th century.

“Elias Martinez, its primary owner, and the builder of the 1920s expansion, was a descendant of 18th century Corrales settlers, and farmed in the Corrales valley all his life.  Although Corrales began to change after World War II when adventuresome newcomers discovered the quiet farming village, a sensitive remodeling done in the 1960s preserved the essential elements of the Martinez Farmhouse so that even now it reflects the architectural heritage of Corrales before World War II,” the description continues.

 

“Corrales’ recorded history begins with the Alameda Land Grant given in 1710 to Francisco Montes Vigil, a soldier in the Spanish army.  Vigil was unable to settle on his grant as required by Spanish law, so sold it in 1712 to Capitán Juan Gonzales Bas who was then living in Bernalillo.  The central portion of Corrales was reportedly bought from Gonzales by Salvador Martinez early in the 18th century.

“Little is recorded of Corrales during the first 150 years of its existence since it was not on the major trade routes along the river from Santa Fe; even by 1870 the census records only 141 households with 687 residents.  Nearly all were farmers, ranchers or laborers.  As the population grew, the land was divided into long, narrow strips, stretching from the river to the sandhills.  Prominent Hispanic family names included Gonzales, Martin (or Martinez), Gutiérrez, Cordova, Chaves, Montoya, Armijo, Silva, Perea and Sandoval.

“European immigrants, mainly from France and Italy, began to settle in the village after 1860; several established extensive vineyards and Corrales became known for its wine and brandy production.  By the 1930s many of the vineyards were gone, replaced by acres of orchards.  These consisted primarily of apple trees, but also included cherry, apricot, and peach trees.

Elias Martinez, age 16, first appears on Corrales censuses in 1880 as one of four sons (Martino, Elias, Ardino and Carlos) of Cristobal Martinez and Guadalupe Gutierrez.… Elias is the owner of record of this property on both the 1927 and 1941 property appraisal records from the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District.  He was a farmer and the 1927 map shows his chicken pen, garages, a large garden, orchard and vineyards, and his corn field. “Corrales resident Dulcie Curtis told a historic building surveyor in 1981 that the house had been owned by one of the four Martinez brothers.  She also told the surveyor that the house was considered by long time Corraleños as one of the oldest in the village.

“The front half of the home has seen relatively little change since the 1920s when a simple two-room addition was built into the 19th century L-shape of the house.  “Historic information on the house is scant, but fortunately a student in Professor Bainbridge Bunting’s Architecture 261 class at the University of New Mexico wrote a paper on the house in 1967.  The wife of the student author, James Bushman, had family connections with the Wood family who were living in the house at the time.  Bushman surveyed the house, drew a house plan and details of some of its components, interviewed the Wood family, and spoke with Corrales residents about the house.

“The chronology of the house given in Bushman’s paper is that it was built in 1818 and added to in 1925; owners noted in the paper… were (in order) Bonifacio Carrillo, Donaciano Perea, and Elias Martinez who is said to have bought the property in 1914.…

“Martinez owned the property until his death in 1943; MRGCD records state that of the 3.42 acres adjacent to his home, 1.40 acres were in orchard and garden (including a vineyard) and an equal acreage in field crops, leaving .62 acre as the homesite.  He also owned and farmed other narrow parcels bought from Donaciano Perea in 1914.   Three years after his death, Elias Martinez’s wife, Antonia, sold their house to Christopher Fitzgerald, an Irish miner turned farmer who lived in the house until 1962 when he sold it to H. B. Wood.  According to Corrales residents who knew Fitzgerald, he was cheerful and hard-working, but during his tenure in the old house it was beginning to deteriorate.  Fitzgerald sold it to H. B. Wood in 1962 and Wood soon built the rear addition….  Wood’s daughter-in-law, Mary, sold the house to Susanna Chavez in 2004.”

2020 NOV 7 ISSUE: DEMOCRACY WINS IN A LANDSLIDE!


Wow.
Americans turned out to vote in record numbers for the 2020 general election in an unparalleled demonstration of civic participation. Whether the candidates you preferred won or lost, you and fellow citizens can take pride in an extraordinary achievement for our political system.

Although total vote counts could not be included in this issue, nationwide more than 90 million people had voted early or absentee for the November 3 elections. In 2016, approximately 138 million Americans voted in that presidential election. So even before election day 2020, early-absentee voters accounted for 65 percent of the total over all four years ago.

The Sandoval County Bureau of Elections reported that the early vote as of October 30 was 97 percent of the total number of the county’s voters in 2016.As of November 1, more than 700,000 voters statewide had weighed in, which was 86.8 percent of the total vote in New Mexico in 2016, setting a record for early voting. Statewide, early, unofficial tallies late on Election Day indicated victories for Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential contest; for Ben Ray Lujan in the race to take the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Tom Udall, and Democrat Deb Haaland to retain her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

And Democrat Theresa Leger Fernandez was expected to take the U.S. House seat being vacated by Ben Ray Lujan. In the contest for the N.M. Senate seat being vacated by Corrales’ John Sapien, Corrales Democrat Brenda McKenna was the likely winner over Placitas Republican John Clark in partial returns Election Day, Corrales Democrat Daymon Ely was considered likely to retain the N.M. House District 23 seat. Corrales Representative Jane Powdrell-Culbert had been expected to keep the House District 44 seat, and did so.

For Sandoval County government positions, County Commissioner Jay Block, a Rio Rancho Republican, was likely to retain the District 2 seat, while the Sandoval County Clerk position was expected to be won by Republican Lawrence Griego, and Republican Benay Ward was expected to take over as Sandoval County Treasurer.

Democrat Barbara Romo was considered likely to win as District Attorney for the 13th Judicial District, replacing long-time DA Lemuel Martinez. Nationwide, nearly 92 million citizens had voted as of November 1, which is more than two-thirds of all the votes cast for president in 2016, In 16 states, more than half of eligible voters had already cast their ballots before Election Day 2020.

While candidates and all partisans can be excused for beating drums to drive their supporters to the polls, the fervor this election season has been extraordinary. Some of that enthusiasm, or desperation, comes from deep divisions about what serves the national interest, but some of it is a reflection of the personality of the current president, Donald Trump.

Partisan dividing lines have been clear, exaggerated and expanding for months, if not years. For some commentators, the fate of democracy itself is at risk. Precisely that was the warning from New York Times columnist Frank Bruni in his September 27 commentary headlined “America Is In Terrible Danger.” He wrote, “On Wednesday, Trump was asked if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power in the event that he lost to Joe Biden. Shockingly, but then not really, he wouldn’t.

Bruni elaborated, “We’re in terrible danger. Make no mistake. This country, already uncivil, is on the precipice of being ungovernable, because its institutions are being so profoundly degraded, because its partisanship is so all-consuming, and because Trump, who rode those trends to power, is now turbo-charging them to drive America into the ground. The Republican Party won’t apply the brakes.” Some would scoff at Bruni’s alarmism, But the president himself made it clear he might not accept voters’ decision November 3. In July, he told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that “We’re going to have to see what happens” when asked directly whether he would accept the 2020 election results.

He added: “I have to see. Look, I have to see. No, I’m not going to say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.” Of course, President Trump gained worldwide celebrity based on borderline outrageous, highly combative statements. But he’s unlikely to mount a serious battle if results of the November 3 election declare him the loser… other than possibly mounting a Bush-Gore style challenge following that presidential election in 2000.

In that case, a vote re-count was underway in Florida when the George W. Bush campaign successfully asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the re-tally, thus delivering Florida’s 25 Electoral College votes to Bush. Florida is again a key battleground state, and now it has 29 Electoral College votes to cast.

Regardless whether the incumbent relinquishes the presidency if the final ballot count doesn’t favor him, partisan combativeness is likely to continue. Some observers have gone so far as to warn that a civil war is brewing. Among those is columnist Nicholas Kristof who just before Election Day wrote that President Trump “has left the United States a more turbulent and divided nation, one close to war with itself.”

Across the country retail sales of guns have risen dramatically ahead of November 3. More than 15 million guns were purchased between March and September this year, up 91 percent from the same period in 2019. While some of that rush for gun ownership is thought to be related to coronavirus insecurity, a strong current of anticipated political unrest is also involved.

And it’s not just “coastal elites” who are wailing about an underlying threat to democracy. In New Mexico, incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Deb Haaland told supporters November 1 that “Democracy, decency and sanity are on the ballot.… I’m running against lies, hatred and white supremacy.” Armed self-styled militia groups are organizing and mobilizing publicly in New Mexico and around the United States. So far, there’s no indication that violence will erupt in the days and weeks after November 3, but citizens seem to be preparing for it nonetheless.

A Bloomburg News report October 31 quoted a business security consultant as saying, “If Trump wins, our risk analysts, who look at this every single day, are expecting widespread mass anti-government demonstrations in every major city.” In some commercial centers, shopkeepers boarded up their windows anticipating violence following the election.

And yet, perceived threats to democracy and social stability already are being countered by outpourings of support for America’s political system. A full-page ad in the Sunday New York Times touted a “Democracy Declaration” signed by many of the nation’s leading educators. Signators included the president of the American Association of University Professors, an Alabama State University professor of history, a Duke University professor of public policy, a Harvard professor of government, a Penn State professor of atmospheric sciences, a professor emeritus of Arizona State University and a Rutgers professor of history, to list just a few.

The “Democracy Declaration” states “We the undersigned educators in pre-K through 12 schools, colleges and universities, representatives of schools across the United States, endorse democracy as a means of giving voice to each one of us, of expressing the dignity of each individual, of representing the values of our society, and of ensuring the lawful transition of authority.

“Every freedom depends on the freedom to vote. Each vote counts; count each vote.” A month earlier, another full-page ad was emblazoned with the headline “We’re 100% In For Democracy.” The ad was endorsed and paid for by dozens of corporations including Cummins, Gap, Lyft, Deloitte, Best Buy, Dow, Estée Lauder and Bad Robot Productions, among many others.

In a preview of what to expect in the months ahead, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich said October 31 that victories in the 2020 election “will make historic decisions on healthcare, climate change and more, that will determine our trajectory for decades to come.”

As politicians, both Republican and Democrat, have said repeatedly this year, “this is the most consequential election of our lifetimes,” Heinrich said. “We must continue our fight until every person —no matter who they are, where they live, and what they do for work— has access to life-saving healthcare and medication.

“We must continue our fight until the next generation can breathe easy knowing they will have clean air, drinkable water and a habitable climate for them and their children.

“We must continue our fight until people of color no longer worry for the safety of their family, friends and loved ones at the hands of those who are meant to protect and serve.

“We must continue our fight until every American family can afford food on the table and a roof over their heads without taking on two or three jobs.”

2020 NOV 7 ISSUE: VIRTUAL HARVEST FESTIVAL 2020 ASSESSED

Corrales Harvest Festival 2020 officially completed its first virtual event on Halloween with no final results as yet in the Pumpkin Palooza contest. According to the organizers, “there are some problems with hanging chads and we have late voters still casting their ballots.Therefore, The Supreme Court has moved the voting deadline to November 7.”

All involved indeed cheerfully await the final Palooza votes to be tallied, and are grateful to the Key Clubbers from Cibola and Rio Rancho High Schools whose hard work made the event happen. “They put their hearts and souls into organizing and promoting this event,” as Harvest Festival veteran Tony Messec put it. The contest featured 31 entries from kindergarteners through adults, and ranged from scary to beautiful. The contest has already raised over $200, benefiting the Key Clubs of Cibola and Rio Rancho High Schools, with more expected as ballots arrive and are counted.

And Corrales has a new Pet Mayor in Chip the miniature donkey, raising over $2,000 in the process, all going to further the Kiwanis Club of Corrales’ philanthropic goals. Additionally you can still learn about Corrales history via assorted Casa San Ysidro videos, still available on the Corrales Harvest Festival website. http://www.corralesharvestfestival.com “All in all, for an event which none of the committee knew how to put together, it went better than expected,” said Messec.

2020 NOV 7 ISSUE: HOLIDAY FOOD DRIVE

The Corrales Fire Department’s annual holiday food drive and collection of children’s presents is under way. “As we head in to the holiday season, things will be different this year to help keep everyone safe from COVID-19,” the Corrales Fire Department’s Tanya Lattin explained.

“We still have a need for food and presents for Corrales families, but cannot do a normal food drive and setup a “giving tree.” We will not have groups help with food sorting, food box setup or present wrapping. What we will be able to do as a community is help support those in need.” Lattin suggested that people who want to get gift tags this year, or to adopt a family for food, should contact her directly by calling 702-4182 or email tlattin@corrales-nm.org to learn what a child wants and needs.

“Since there will be a very limited number of people to make food boxes, if you would like to help supply food for families, donations of money made to Kiwanians Club of Corrales with the memo of Fire Department or ‘Food and Present Drive’ is the best way to help.

The Fire Department will be making orders of food online to supply to families. She explained that drop off of large amounts of food items to clean and sort by one or two people will be very difficult. The address to send checks is Corrales Fire Department, 4920 Corrales Road, Corrales NM 87048. “If you would like to wrap presents, we can arrange to get you presents to be wrapped at your home. If you have any questions, please call. For those of you who have been helping purchase food and internet for families in Corrales since March, we thank you again.”

2020 NOV 7 ISSUE: PROTECTION FOR CORRALES SIPHON BRINGS BIG CHANGES IN RIO GRANDE

The recently completed project to prolong the life of the 85 year old wooden culvert siphon that brings irrigation water into Corrales has dramatically transformed the north end of Corrales next to the river. The old barrel stave pipe that delivers water from the east side of the river to the Corrales valley has been threatened by the constantly eroding river bed since about 1974 when Cochiti Dam was built.

The river has washed away about 12 feet of dirt that originally covered the hydraulic siphon when it was laid in 1935. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXII, No.16, October 5, 2013 “River Bed’s Drop Disturbs Buried Irrigation Culvert.”) The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) studied options for a remedy, deciding to cover it with large rocks, arranged in a long line all the way across the river, forming a low dam that over time is expected to cause river water to drop silt and recover the wooden pipe.

Completed at the end of last month, the effect has been to create a mini-white water rapid as water crashes over the rocks for a drop of about three feet. But it also drastically has changed how people use the area for access to the river’s edge.

One of the most outspoken critics of the project’s results has been Corrales photographer Ken Duckert. In a series of emails last month, he questioned MRGCD Executive Director Mike Hamman about environmental, recreational and esthetic impacts. “I have many friends and family who have access to water delivered through local acequias and appreciate the effort, especially with these periods of drought, to deliver that water,” Ducket “The long-time tradition of farming in Corrales can only exist as long as water continues to flow through the acequias.

“For me, and I know for others, the scope of the project is something none of us were prepared to see. North Beach has always been a very special place because of its accessibility and its grand beach area that provided a rare riverside recreation area.

“Seniors and folks with disabilities had a good chance to experience the river without having to walk a long distance on a trail to access a beach area.  Many of these folks just wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the beauty and serenity offered by the North Beach area.

“A few of my friends asked why the wood stave construction was not replaced in this repair.  I imagine cost was an issue, but staying with the same 1935 year design and the predictable behavior of the river, isn’t the problem encountered this year going to return sometime soon?”

Duckert expressed concern that the river’s fish would be hindered by the rock dam, such as the endangered silvery minnow. “I've been able to discuss this issue with biologists at the University of New Mexico, and they explained that provisions can be made to provide for fish movement.  The construction that I saw would require fish moving upriver to accomplish going over what looked like a four- to six-foot height from the downriver side of the dam. Are these fish shut out of upriver movement until the degradation and flattening of the rock dam you mention occurs?

“I haven't been back to the construction site since my visit last weekend and so haven't seen what plans you have for boaters. As a small business person here, I am concerned about losing the visits to the village from the boating community that used the North Beach site.  On mornings during the Balloon Fiesta, I have seen well over 200 kayakers leave from North Beach area. Unless I’m wrong, it would appear that these folks will have to carry their kayaks some distance downriver to access a suitable place to put in the river. I’ve talked with Albuquerque outfitters.  They had seen the construction and weren't aware of the scope of the project and were eager to come out to check it out.”

Hamman replied in an October 19 email as follows. “Here are the answers to your questions but first let me describe the purpose and importance of the project.  The Corrales Siphon is a critical piece of infrastructure to the Corrales area and serves over 1,000 acres of farm land as well as creating the flowing water people and wildlife enjoy throughout the irrigation season.

“When constructed in 1935, the 5-foot diameter wood stave pipe supported by a timber frame was covered with 12 feet of riverbed.  Since the construction of Cochiti Dam in 1974, the river has changed dramatically by narrowing and down cutting to the point that the top of the siphon structure became completely exposed after the high and sustained runoff of 2019.  “If you have noticed when at the site, there are very tall cutbanks on both sides of the now very narrow (200 feet wide more or less) river channel and the river is leaving the Corrales bosque high and dry.

“To save this critical infrastructure, the MRGCD needed to act quickly as exposed wood begins to degrade rapidly so a grade control structure was constructed to stabilize the bed at an elevation approximately two feet over the top of the siphon.

“This is standard practice for stabilizing degrading river beds and we expect the federal agencies will be constructing more in this reach to help stabilize the bed elevation between the siphon and Alameda Bridge. Over time, the river will deposit sands and gravel and the beach area will return and perhaps become a much bigger area. Now on to your specific questions.

“1. The MRGCD planned, designed and constructed the project.
“2. There is no requirement for an environmental review as no federal funds were used and the District is exempted from federal 404 requirements given that this is an existing irrigation facility.  We did, however, consult the proper federal agencies and they concurred that no formal actions were required.
“3. This is solely an MRGCD project but we did inform the Village of Corrales and the boating community of this project.
“4. The MRGCD left the far end of the rock structure in an ununiform condition and a flatter grade to allow for potential fish passage.
“5. A portage area is being constructed to allow for boaters to take boats around the structure at low flows.  Over time, higher flows will flatten and fill in the rock structure so experienced boaters will be able to negotiate the weir. Warning signs and public information will assist boaters as to this potential hazard.
“6. The weir itself is complete but crews are placing fence barriers and other safety features and preparing parking areas.”

Duckert got the following response from UNM Biology Professor Tom Turner. “At low flows like we are experiencing now, the structure functions as a dam. Over time, and as higher flows move over the structure, it is designed to degrade into a riffle and act as a grade control structure to prevent channel incession. There are similar structures in place upstream to prevent head cutting This aggraded section will accumulate sediment behind it, covering the previously exposed siphon.

“Minnows could have a hard time making it over the current rock structure, but over time, they should be able to pass it easily. At this point, we do not anticipate the river to dry in the reach between Angostura Dam and Isleta Dam, so minnows should be able to tolerate the presence of the structure with minimal negative effects.”

2020 NOV 7 ISSUE: MORE AID OFFERED FOR BUSINESSES’ COVID-19 RECOVERY

At least 18 Corrales businesses have gotten grants of up to $10,000 in COVID-19 economic relief. And the deadline for new applications has been extended to November 10. The cap for such financial aid has been raised to $25,000 for each qualifying business, Mayor Jo Anne Roake announced October 30. Businesses already awarded $10,000 can now request an additional $15,000.

These grants derive from the federal CARES Act to help recover from economic disruptions caused by the pandemic. The local administrator, Tanya Lattin in the Corrales Fire Department, explained November 1 that “The Village of Corrales has re-opened the Small Business CARES grant program. Application period is November 1 to November 10, 2020. The State of New Mexico has given some new guidance on the grants; businesses may now have up to 100 full-time or part-time equivalents, and have revenue up to $5 million to be eligible.

“All business owners in Corrales are encouraged to review the application. Due to timeline for expenditure of all grant funding, this will be the final application period.” Questions should be directed to her by calling 702-4182, or by emailing tlattin@corrales-nm.org.

 

She said businesses that have operated less than a year as of March 1 could also qualify, “depending on ability to prove financial impact.” The kinds of business expenses that may be reimbursed through the grants include payroll, rent or mortgage, insurance, utilities and marketing, as well as “business re-design” which might include installation of plexiglass barriers, purchase of personal protective equipment and web-conferencing technology.

The program is open to non-profit organizations as well, and to Internal Revenue Service 1099 contract employees who live in Corrales. Application forms can be found at the Village of Corrales website http://www.corrales-nm.org. Completed application forms can be emailed to the Village Clerk at agjullin@corrales-nm.org, or by mail to Village of Corrales, CARES Grant, 4324 Corrales Road, Corrales NM 87048. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXIX No.13 September 19, 2020 “Corrales Businesses Can Apply for $10,000 Grants.”)

2020 NOV 7 ISSUE: DONKEY WINS AS 2020 PET MAYOR


Chip, a five month old miniature donkey, is Corrales’ new Pet Mayor. The winner was announced Sunday, November 1 by organizer Tracy Stabenow, who praised the enthusiasm of Corrales pet owners, as well as donors to candidates’ campaigns. This year’s event raised $2,733, $200 more than last year, remarkable given pandemic restrictions. The money will stay in Corrales to help the two- and four-leggeds in the village.

All candidates are expected to pick up their ribbons and prizes at the Village Mercantile on November 7 between 2 and 4 p.m. The prizes were donated by the Village Mercantile. The first runner up, and new Chief of Police, is Archie, a 12 year old Anatolian shepherd and lab mix. Snickers, the second runner up and new Village Administrator, is a one year old American guinea pig. The third runner up is JoJo, an eight month old standard poodle who now takes office as the new Village Judge.

Finally, in fourth place, is the new Director of Barks and Recreation, Samson, a four year old Anatolian shepherd who graduated at the top of his obedience school class. Voting online for the 2020 Pet Mayor began September 1, and ultimately included 13 candidates, with Angel, Moonshadow, Stinkerbelle, Jacqui, Olga, the duo Jack-Jack and Moose, and Abigail Fae part of the field: nine dogs, one cat, two donkeys and a guinea pig.

 

2020 NOV 7 ISSUE: FIRST 3 ‘LOCAL HEROES’ HONORED BY MAYOR


The mayor’s new initiative to publicly recognize “local heroes” has produced the first three villagers to be so honored: historian Mary Davis, Red Cross volunteer Linda Crowden and Corrales Comment publisher Jeff Radford.

Mayor Jo Anne Roake started the program last month when in her weekly “Mayor’s Message” she wrote “Hats off to a local hero. Corrales resident and Red Cross volunteer Linda Crowden is in Baton Rouge distributing food and supplies for those devastated by recent hurricanes. Linda said she ‘really wanted to be out in the field, and has the background and experience to do my best for us.’ Thank you to Linda for her efforts.”

In the following Village Council meeting, Roake urged villagers to submit their own nominations to Corraleños who should also be recognized as local heroes. Quickly nominated were Davis, for her work with the Corrales Historical Society and books about Corrales, and Radford, for reporting on village affairs since 1982 and service on several Village commissions, such as the Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission and Corrales Bicycle, Pedestrian Advisory Commission.

“Please keep the nominations coming,” the mayor urged. “Send the names of those neighbors who are helping to make the world a better place to agjullin@corrales-nm.org.” Davis, retired as head of the City of Albuquerque’s historic preservation program, has led the Corrales Historical Society’s archive program and has written two books based largely on that collection: Corrales Families Through Time and Corrales, published in April 2010 by Arcadia Publishing, which was part of the series “Images of America.”

2020 OCT 24 ISSUE: WAGNER FARMLAND EXPERIENCE


Villagers living in the vicinity of the Wagner Farmland Experience on Corrales Road, now in full swing, have noted almost no pandemic safe practices in place, with overflow parking, groups of more than five people, few masks, many lined up to buy tickets, and nothing close to social distancing. Each fall Wagner’s creates a corn maze, and invites visitors to pick out future jack-o-lanterns from their pumpkin patch.

New this season, a “Vegetable U-Pick,” featuring a variety of vegetables including different color bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, eggplant and chile piquin. Farmland Experience is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through October 31. Admission is charged.

The Farmland Experience website states this in tiny print: “We are adhering to the CDC guidelines and NM Health department requirements to keep our fellow New Mexicans safe.” A separate tab on the website recommends social distancing and mask-wearing, and says that hand sanitizer is scattered around the field. Elsewhere on the site is posted “Please note that by visiting Wagner's Farmland Experience, LLC, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”

The State of New Mexico’s website has detailed instructions on safe practices for agritourism events, including pumpkin patches and mazes. It says that “Access to attractions such as corn mazes shall be on a reservation-only basis and must be strictly monitored to maintain capacity and social distancing standards.” And it underscores contactless scanning of tickets, and plans in place to insure contact tracing. Agritourism info here.

2020 OCT 24 ISSUE: VISITORS TO ONLINE OLD CHURCH FINE ART SHOW

As of October 17, the first-ever online Old Church Fine Arts Show has had 1,423 visitors to its site.  According to the Corrales Historical Society board of directors secretary, Carol Rigmark, “close to 1,100 are first time visitors and over 300 are returning to the site for another look.”

The show featuring about 50 artists is running online through October 31. It is produced in collaboration with the Corrales Society of Artists. It can be viewed at www.corralesoldchurchshow.com. 

“To date we have sold 16 pieces of art ranging in price from $86 to $800. The majority of these have been paintings, followed by photographs. Most have been sold to local New Mexican buyers but several are being shipped out of state to places like Seattle, Chicago, smaller towns in California and Rhode Island.  We have received many compliments about the quality of the art as well as the show itself.”

Naturally, all involved would like to reach more potential buyers, so Rigmark suggests artists send another invitation to their own mailing lists. She also reminds them that “your art being shown here may not be sold outside the show for the remainder of this month.”

Although organizers are pleased with the response so far, as Rigmark put it, “of course we hope for continued interest.” Back in September Rigmark explained that the online show was considered “a gift we should provide for the artists, especially during this very difficult year. Our two primary goals were to highlight New Mexico’s fine artists and to raise some badly needed funds for the Old Church.”

She saluted Diane Cutter, Cheryl Cathcart and Rachel Dushoff, all Corrales artists, as well as Clark, for their contributions to the event. Twenty-five percent of each artist’s sales is donated toward preservation and maintenance of the Old Church.

2020 OCT 24 ISSUE: CORRALES ROAD TRAFFIC GLUT DUE TO WORK ON HWY. 550 IN BERNALILLO

Exasperated by the continuous flow of traffic on Corrales Road these days? Rest assured it’s not because everybody and his uncle or her aunt has moved to Corrales in a mass migration. Instead, the clogged condition of Highway 448 through Corrales is caused by closure of lanes on Highway 550 between Interstate 25 and Highway 528 through Bernalillo.

The widening project, presumably to serve motorists going to and from Rio Rancho, seems to have gone on for generations. Cars that traversed that route back when it started are surely now in a junkyard, unless they were deemed “totaled” in a minor wreck and are now putting along in Mexico. A website dedicated to informing folks about the project, Keep Moving 550, offers weekly updates. Work is expected to continue Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and possibly weekends as well.

It warned that crews are installing a 60-inch storm drain and setting up curb-and-gutter, grading medians and laying base course for paving in some sections. “Due to the amount of work required, eastbound traffic will continue to be shifted to the north for the installation of a 60-inch storm drain pipe and other improvements on the south side of U.S. 550 through about November 8, 2020,” the website notes. “Motorists are encouraged to expect delays, and to give themselves extra time to reach their destinations.”

2020 OCT 24 ISSUE: COMMERCIAL ROUND UP: BUSINESSES OPEN

A drone might be handy, in these pandemic times, to slowly drift along high above Corrales Road to look down on what businesses are in, what out, what pending, etc. But, a car must do. The long-debated and awaited medical cannabis retail shop via TopShelf, aka Southwest Organic Producers, or SWOP, is still not open at 4604 Corrales Road in an end space in the former Kim Jew building.

But there are tiny signs of progress. The building itself is still not sold, but SWOP reported on its website October 9 that it had “just started harvesting our first couple of harvests. The results are in and they’re testing better than ever.” Cannabis for SWOP is being grown now in Corrales at 379 Camino de Corrales del Norte, under the guidance of Spencer Komadina. It comprises three greenhouses.

Though the site development plan application for the dispensary was approved by the Village Planning and Zoning Commission back in November, in July of this year assorted hoops still required jumping through, or what P&Z administrator Laurie Stout described soon thereafter as “applicable state and federal agencies on their specific requirements.”

Two new businesses, Corrales Teas and More at 3923 Corrales Road, and Shelby At Home, 4448 Corrales Road, are holding their own during the pandemic. As Corrales Teas’ owner Janelle Boyle put it, “We were about to open when the pandemic hit, so officially we opened May 15.” Boyle and her boyfriend own the store, which sells “fair trade” teas, essential oils, CBD products and items made by local crafters, including aprons, bags and purses. Boyle ran two spas for 20 years in San Diego, spas that included tea offerings, then divorced and moved to New Mexico about three years ago.

The shop features an oxygen bar, a concept which Boyle explained first popped up in the 1970s at airports, in particular to relieve customer hangovers and jet lag. For 1$ per minute, 15 minutes being the norm, “customers breathe purified, scented, oxygen through a nasal hose.”

You may choose from a variety of fragrances, displayed on what Boyle called a “smell wall.” Corrales Teas’ website, https://www.corralestea.com/, further explains that “We use an industrial concentrator (non-medical) machine that filters out nitrogen and other atmospheric gases to produce oxygen that is about 85 percent pure. The air we breathe is about 21 percent oxygen.”

Coming soon after a final inspection, is an actual tearoom, where customers can enjoy both tea and coffee, as well as a line of chocolates, to be added to the menu. Closed Sundays, the shop is open weekdays 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays. Call 619 438-4600 to be certain of hours. Masks are required.

Shelby Hohsfield, of Shelby At Home, who grew up in Corrales, has owned Lorenco’s Hair Salon on Alameda Boulevard with her mom, Cindy Kokurek, for 16 years. Both are experts in permanent cosmetics, as in eyebrows, eyelashes, even lips, that in essence are tattoos, but much less permanent than those. About five years ago Hohsfield decided to add to her output a new online venture, selling native American jewelry and her own paintings, as well as a clothing line.

Today Shelby At Home is part online, and part in person, dealing with pandemic restrictions. Her gallery and boutique recently hosted a pop-up opening the weekend of October 16. And she plans another in time for Christmas. She offers custom paintings of people, places and critters you may hold dear, as well as some self-help videos, along with the clothing and jewelry. As she posted on social media, “These are the life experiences and everyday challenges of myself trying to find my inner rock star while inspiring others to hold steadfast on their mission towards internal happiness.” See http://www.shelbyathome.com.

At Mercado de Maya, Ambiente is “temporarily closed” again due to the increased risk of COVID-19, Chris Windisch said October 18. Meanwhile, Frame-n-Art at 3563 Corrales Road, owned by the Derr family, officially closed down September 30, via this message on social media: "Thank you to all our wonderful customers over these many years. We have some bittersweet news. We are retiring and closing Frame-n-Art. Michael is going to focus more on his artwork and Suanne and John will be hitting the highways in their RV.”

For over 20 years, in addition to the framing business, the business supported the Young in Art show with Corrales Elementary School. Carrying on in these pandemic times, more or less, is Corrales Fine Arts, the gallery owned by oil painter Barb Clark and paper sculptor Susana Erling. The shop at 4685 Corrales Road is open Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and posted on its door are these sentences: “1. Mask on, please; 2. Only two at a time; 3. No cursing!; 4. OK, you can curse….” Call 280-1896 to be sure the gallery is open.

Also adjusting to the times is Beth Waldron, artist and wedding/social photographer installed at the end of Mercado de Maya in the former Moon & Dove spot. Waldron, former geologist, is open only by appointment, for photo sessions. She opened up Beth Waldron Studios in mid-November. Information can be found by calling 633-5740.

The spot formerly occupied by artist Laura Balombini at 4436 Corrales Road, Del Rio Plaza, now has a paper sign on the door reading “Meraki Studio Heart, Soul, Hair. (Donna’s New Salon Studio.)” No word back from Donna af ter calling 508-7063.

More mysterious, however, is what appears to be a school or a pandemically-inspired teaching pod perched where assorted coffee shops have struggled to operate in the same complex at 4436 Corrales Road. On a visit this month, kids and one adult could be glimpsed and heard. The outside patio has tables and chairs but is closed off by a low fence and assorted potted plants.