On May 20, the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, Western Resource Advocates, the N.M. Public Regulation Commission, the New Mexico Attorney General, New Mexico Affordable Reliable Energy Alliance, New Energy Economy, and Incorporated County of Los Alamos reached an agreement with New Mexico Gas Company on its rate case, which had included plans to charge customers for a pilot to blend hydrogen into its gas supply and for compressed-natural-gas (CNG) fueling stations.
The settlement included:
Although not included in the settlement, the utility also agreed to work with WRA, CCAE, NEE and others on a legislative proposal to enable reduced utility rates for lower-income New Mexicans.
Eleven law students are participating in a program that provides pathways to the New Mexico judiciary and possible clerkships for people traditionally under-represented in the legal profession. The Judicial Clerkship Program, now in its second year, provides students training, mentoring and a 10-week summer externship. The New Mexico Supreme Court, the State Bar of New Mexico Committee on Diversity in the Legal Profession, and the Young Lawyers Division, jointly manage the program. The main goal of the program is to train law students to become law clerks after graduating from law school. Law clerks within the New Mexico judiciary typically work for a justice or a judge for one or two years.
Law clerks write bench memos, which detail all of the issues within a case objectively, and spend time doing research for writing draft opinions. A written opinion is a formal explanation of a ruling of a case. It is widely acknowledged that judicial clerkships increase professional development of law school graduates and often lead to greater advancement in their career as a lawyer or in the judiciary. For their externship, all program students pair with a justice or judge and an attorney as mentors. Students also receive a stipend while they gain experience at the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Thirteenth Judicial District Court or Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court.
Under a new program arranged with the City of Rio Rancho, Corrales residents aged 62 and older can call for a van to pick them up for appointments and other outings. The new service is also for disabled adults 18 and older. Anyone who wishes to use the service must be registered, which can be done at http://www.riometro.org/243/Rio-Rancho-Corrales. Look for the Rio Metro Application for Service - Seniors.pdf Possible destinations include sites in the village, in Rio Rancho, the Cottonwood Mall area and other parts of the metro area by connection at a nearby Albuquerque transit center.
The service, through the Rio Rancho Division of the Rio Metro Regional Transit District includes a medical van to take patients to and from facilities in Albuquerque for medical appointments. After registration is approved, patrons can call 505-994-1608 to be picked up. One-way fare is 50 cents; a 10-trip pass costs $5, and a monthly pass is $15. Accompanying children under five ride free, as do military veterans showing valid VA identification. Passes may be purchased on the bus or at the Meadowlark Senior Center in Rio Rancho. Rides must be reserved at least 24 hours in advance of pick up. Service is Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
By Mary Davis
Did you know the Indigo Crow Cafe was once the grocery store and gas station shown in this photo? This photograph was taken in the early 1940s; since that time the building’s history mirrors Corrales history.
The store was probably built in the 1920s by Alejandro Gonzales Sr., perhaps to market some of the produce grown on his large farm that stretched from the river to the sand hills on both sides of what today is Ella Drive. Gonzales died in 1941, and in the 1940s the store was converted into a house for Alejandro’s granddaughter Jeanne and her husband. Her grandfather Alejandro’s house, built in the 1920s, stood to the south —it now proudly displays a blue CHS historic building plaque.
Corrales attracted newcomers after World War II, especially artists drawn by its pastoral beauty, isolation, and inexpensive property. By the 1950s the northern section of the old grocery held the Corrales Art Gallery, run by Lavonne Minge, a sister of Alan Minge (who in 1952 bought the old adobe he eventually transformed into Casa San Ysidro). In 1962 the Corrales Art Association (founded in 1957) established their gallery in the old grocery building after leaving their first home in what is now Casa Perea and a brief stay in the Octaviano Lopez building (now El Portal). By the mid-1960s a local newspaper had christened Corrales “Santa Fe South” for its many artists.
But the wheel of time turned again and by 1968 the Corrales Art Association had left the building and it became home to the Double Mporium, a supplier of historic and cultural decorative items, most likely Indian crafts. The owner of the building at this time, John Cheney, continued this use under his company, the Tejas Trading Company. This use lasted about a decade.
A local man, Juan Lopez, leased the building from Cheney in the early 1980s to house his restaurant El Comedor, which previously had occupied other buildings in “downtown” Corrales. Lopez changed the restaurant name to The Desert Rose. He remembered that he and his partner “did everything" from cooking to serving to cleaning. They remodeled the trading company’s safe into their walk-in cooler and built a bar in the south end. Lopez eventually got out of the restaurant business, and became a well-known maker of silver filigree jewelry.
The building still houses a restaurant. Who knows what the future holds for the old grocery store?
Information provided by Corrales Historical Society (CHS) Archives Committee. Want to learn more? Visit http://www.CorralesHistory.org for all the exciting things the Historical Society has to offer. New CHS members are always welcome.
Performances of the comedy The Sweet Delilah Swim Club will be staged at the Adobe Theater July 22 through August 14. Curtain time on Fridays and Saturdays is 7:30 p.m., on Sundays at 2 p.m., with a “pay what you will” performance Thursday August 11 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at http://www.adobetheater.org or by calling 505-898-9222. The comedy features five southern women whose friendships began on their college swim team. For thirty-three years they meet every summer at the same beach cottage in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. See the Adobe Theater website or call for current COVID-19 guidelines.
Corrales has a reputation as an affluent community sandwiched between Albuquerque and Rio Rancho —and, indeed, it has the second highest median family income in the state— but its local government has nowhere near what it needs. The Village of Corrales’ new Infrastructure Capital Improvements Plan (ICIP) identified a need for $15,164,000 for things like a new gym for the recreation center, electric car charging stations, fire suppression water lines and police cars. The ICIP for the next five-year period, Fiscal Years 2024-28, includes perennially unfunded or under-funded projects such as the long-delayed pathways through the business district, repairs and improvements to municipal buildings and office information technology.
Village officials have called for $940,000 for generators for municipal facilities and $130,000 for a boat for swift water rescues on the Rio Grande. Removed from an earlier plan was a vacuum-equipped truck for the Public Works Department because it was recently acquired.
Items or projects listed included:
The July 14 meeting of the Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission will include a discussion on the use of e-bikes in the nature preserve. At the request of the Village’s Bicycle, Pedestrian Advisory Commission, that meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Corrales Library’s Teen Room. It will also be conducted via Zoom. The Bicycle, Pedestrian group has discussed whether that kind of bicycle should be permitted in the preserve although other forms of motorized vehicles are banned. Section 11-4 - Prohibited activities, of the Village ordinance governing the Corrales Bosque Preserve explicitly prohibits “operating any motorized vehicle” there. That has been official policy for more than 30 years, going back to a time when motorbikes, off-road vehicles and dunebuggies in the bosque created safety hazards for other users of the preserve and disturbed wildlife.
Likely to come up during the July 14 meeting is the speed at which e-bikes, electric bicycles, travel. The speed at which some foot-powered bicycles zoom along the bosque trails has been a concern for many years as well, especially for easily spooked horses and hikers whose hearing may be impaired by music earbuds.
Among other prohibited activities in the Corrales Bosque Preserve are: smoking, fire building, camping, alcoholic beverages, fireworks and “playing any radio, television, sound-amplifying equipment or any recordings without using a headphone or simar device to contain the amplified sound,” hunting, trapping or collecting any mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian, defacing any tree or surface, shooting firearms or air guns, or shooting with bow and arrow.
Visitors are not permitted in the preserve between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Also prohibited is use of the preserve for any commercial purpose.
Clearing of trees and shrubs along the Corrales levee has been paused to comply with the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty and subsequent revisions, while watering continues for a re-forestation effort in the Corrales Bosque Preserve begun last year by the Tree Preservation Committee and the Fire Department. “Work on the levee toe clearing project has ended until August 15,” the Bosque Advisory Commission’s Joan Hashimoto said. “What will be important if the next phase resumes in August is to spare the native New Mexico Olive trees.
“It’s very important to try to find tree species that are good for wildlife, can withstand drought and climate change and, hopefully be as long-lived as the cottonwoods. We already have one such species in the New Mexico Olive, and we should be working hard to save every one of those.”
The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, which owns the land along the river at Corrales’ eastern edge, convinced the Village Council last year to collaborate on removing non-native species of trees and shrubs from the east toe of the levee to maintain its ability to withstand high river flows.
The Bosque Advisory Commission protested, but the project went ahead. It got under way before the Migratory Bird Treaty required a seasonal halt. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXXI No. 4 March 5, 2022 “Tree Removals Along Levee Draw Bosque Lovers’ Complaints.”)
But at some cleared areas, the Fire Department has stationed cisterns for water to irrigate newly planted patches which were burned in bosque fires. The Corrales Tree Committee’s John Thompson provided an update.
“The bosque burn scar replanting project is going well, and there are already buds on the cottonwood poles, three-leaf sumacs, and golden currants,” he reported.
“The gravity-fed drip irrigation is working well at maintaining moisture levels for the plants. The Fire Department has been refilling the 500-gallon cistern on the levee about every week except when we get rain/snow.
“We submitted a grant proposal to National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for money to buy native plants and irrigation material to do two more plantings in the fall and spring in the adjacent burn scar area.
“If we don’t get grant money, we will ask for plant donations again from Trees of Corrales and Santa Ana Nursery. This has been an easy project to accomplish with lots of local support and volunteer efforts. There has been no sign of vandalism at the planting site.”
The levee toe clearing project was approved by the Village Council over warnings from the Bosque Advisory Commission. As originally presented, the removal of vegetation was supposed to spare native species.
But, as nearly always happens when chainsaws are switched on in the preserve, vegetation that should have been unharmed was taken down.
In theory, removal of trees and other vegetation growing along the “toe” (or base) of the levee along its east side was said to be necessary to protect it and allow better access for fire department equipment. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXX No.17 October 23, 2021 “Bosque Preserve Clearing Along Levee Gets OK.”)
Clearing and wood-chipping began Saturday, February 26, in the first stage between Dixon Road and Romero Road. The clearing is expected to continue for the entire length of the levee, from Alameda Bridge on the south to the Rio Rancho boundary on the north.
The Bosque Advisory Commission had won concessions from the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District to avoid removing native species such as New Mexico Olive trees, an important food for birds and other fauna.
Last year, the Audubon Society formally sought such protections.
The Village was asked to conduct a “scientifically informed assessment of the fire risk” in the Bosque Preserve before approving a project that would remove much of the vegetation along the east side of the levee.
The Audubon Society, which designated the Corrales Bosque Preserve as an “important bird area” in 2014, weighed in on the proposal to eliminate vegetation along the east side of the levee in a November 9, 2021 letter to the mayor and Village Council.
The Central N.M. Audubon Society asked the Village to reconsider its preliminary approval for the proposal by the Corrales Fire Department and the N.M. Forestry Division that would begin before spring.
The letter requested “reconsideration of the plans to clear trees along the Corrales Bosque levee detailed in the “Wildland/Urban Interface Hazardous Fuels Reduction” proposal. We find the proposal’s fire danger estimate of the vegetation along the levee to be unsupported scientifically and likely exaggerated.
“It is also our position that the habitat and ecological value of the trees targeted to be cleared, and the project area’s designation of this section of Corrales bosque as an Important Bird Area , has been underestimated.”
In the letter, the regional society raised many of the same issues presented by members of the Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission earlier this year. The letter was signed by Perrianne Houghton, president of the Central New Mexico Audubon Society.
“From the proposal, it is unclear whether the primary intent of clearing trees extending from the toe of the levee, is to create a clear passage for emergency vehicles in case of a bosque fire, or whether the primary motivation is to reduce potential fuel for a fire. If the former, then removing native trees —and particularly Coyote Willows— growing in and along the ditch banks, is clearly unnecessary and should be avoided, as they do not impede the passage of vehicles along the levee.
“If the latter, then we ask, before going forward with clearing the levees, the Village of Corrales make a scientifically informed assessment of the fire risk posed by native riparian trees (including Rio Grande Cottonwoods, New Mexico Olives, and Coyote and Goodings Willows) that are vitally connected to a continuous water source (in this case, the irrigation ditch that flows parallel to the levee year round).”
After a presentation on the proposal given by Fire Chief Anthony Martinez, the council voted to let the project move ahead.
In the November 9, 2021 letter, the Central New Mexico Audubon Society (CNMAS) and Audubon Southwest (ASW) asked for more transparency in decisions about clearing vegetation in the preserve given the presentation to the council September 14, 2021.
“While CNMAS and ASW recognize the increased fire risk posed by a hotter, drier climate and understand that clearing vegetation and cutting trees can be an essential fire preventive, we urge you to take a scientific approach to management of this area, that accurately assesses the fire dangers posed by native riparian vegetation and trees connected to a continuously flowing water source.”
The two Audubon organizations said they support much of the assessment produced by the bosque advisory commission. “This report uses peer-reviewed, scientific studies to evaluate the role trees play in supporting native wildlife and the overall ecology of the Corrales Bosque, along the levee. We endorse the following CBAC recommendations:
“• We do not see the necessity of thinning the entire 20-foot strip. Thinning should be accomplished in areas where fire access is most necessary, rather than thinning within a uniform width along the entire levee.”
“• All small Elms, Tamarisk, and Tree of Heaven should be removed, when possible, without damaging stands of New Mexico Olive and willows.”
“• Healthy Russian Olive trees within the 15-foot strip should be left in all areas where they don’t interfere with access needed for fire personnel… dead Russian Olive may be removed within the 15-foot strip where access or levee maintenance is required.”
“Most significantly, we endorse what the CBAC refers to as their most important recommendation, which is for transparency in the activities of the MRGCD and Chief Martinez in what they ‘intend to do, and where’ as part of Wildland/Urban Interface Hazardous Fuels Reduction projects.
“In addition to supporting the above CBAC recommendations, CNMAS and ASW would like to point out that between 217 and 238 species of birds have been recorded at various birding hotspots along the length of the Corrales Bosque, demonstrating it to be an extremely important New Mexico bird habitat:
“• While stands of ‘willows’ are mentioned generally within the second bulleted item above, we want to specify this refers to Coyote Willows (Salix exigua) and emphasize this should be among the species (along with Cottonwoods and New Mexico Olives) that are the highest priority to preserve due to their high ecological and habitat value. Coyote Willow stands provide nesting sites for a variety of native songbirds, for example Common Yellowthroats, Yellow-Breasted Chats, Blue Grosbeaks, and Spotted Towhees, as well as a potential habitat for the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher. This diversity of native plant and bird species reflects the designation of this section of Corrales bosque as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by New Mexico Audubon Society (currently Audubon Southwest) in May 2014.
“• From the proposal, it is unclear whether the primary intent of clearing trees extending from the toe of the levee, is to create a clear passage for emergency vehicles in case of a bosque fire, or whether the primary motivation is to reduce potential fuel for a fire. If the former, then removing native trees —and particularly Coyote Willows— growing in and along the ditch banks, is clearly unnecessary and should be avoided, as they do not impede the passage of vehicles along the levee.
“If the latter, then we ask, before going forward with clearing the levees, the Village of Corrales make a scientifically informed assessment of the fire risk posed by native riparian trees (including Rio Grande Cottonwoods, New Mexico Olives, and Coyote and Goodings Willows) that are vitally connected to a continuous water source (in this case, the irrigation ditch that flows parallel to the levee year round).
“Historically, bosque fires only increased in frequency and severity once trees were disconnected from the river, due to dredging and channelization that effectively stopped annual flooding. If the aforementioned native trees are associated with the irrigation ditch, it is likely the fire risk they pose is minimal.
“We would finally draw your attention to the vital role of shade trees and vegetation in combating the impacts of climate change by helping to maintain lower stream temperatures, and reduce evaporation:
“• Shade from trees and other vegetation along the irrigation ditch helps to maintain lower water temperatures, which results in less evaporation. Climate change and drought make maintaining lower ditch temperatures and minimizing evaporation increasingly crucial. As the study ‘Effects of Riparian Management Strategies on Stream Temperature Science Review Team Temperature Subgroup’ points out, ‘the most efficient method to maintain low stream temperatures is to reduce heat loading from solar radiation. Shade prevents stream warming by reducing inputs of heat energy from solar radiation’ (Leinenbach, McFadden, and Torgersen).
“ Greater evaporation from the irrigation ditch would decrease water for farmers and water available to return to the river channel downstream.
“• As climate change continues to reduce and periodically stop water flow within the river channel, many of the native riparian trees growing near the river will likely struggle to survive. This makes the preservation of habitat along irrigation ditches, including trees growing near the levee, increasingly crucial. Even as the Rio Grande has dried for many months each year in the Lower Rio Grande, irrigation ditches have continued to flow.
“If irrigation ditches become the only continuously flowing water through the Middle Rio Grande, then the future distribution and abundance of native riparian plants and trees —as well as the survival of the native animal species that depend on them— will be increasingly dependent upon our ability to preserve and even encourage their growth along irrigation ditches and levees.”
The Village Council gave a go-ahead to Fire Chief Anthony Martinez and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District at its October 10, 2021 meeting where Martinez and MRGCD Planner Yasmeen Najmi convinced the mayor and all councillors to let the clearing project proceed. No timetable was given when work would begin, although it would have to cease, or pause, by April 15 to comply with the federal Migratory Bird Act.
If the plan goes ahead as described in October, all along the entire length of the levee, non-native trees and other vegetation would be cut and removed at the edge of levee on its east, or river, side. According to Najmi, that is necessary to maintain the levee, although it was not stated what kind of maintenance would be needed that could not be done from the top of the levee.
However, she referred to retaining federal certification of the levee’s integrity, a concern raised 12 years ago the last time the Corps of Engineers and MRGCD proposed clearing trees from the toe of the levee.
Back then, the Corps’ Fritz Blake, since retired, explained that the proposed clearing probably would not be required after all because the federal requirement was an over-reaction to concerns about levees around the nation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXIX No.3 March 20, 2010 “Corrales Monitors Corps’ Research on Levee.”)
The 2010 project was to have removed essentially all vegetation within 15 feet of the levee.
“Initially,when the project was presented in September, the native trees, including New Mexico olive, were to be left alone,” the Bosque Commissioner Joan Hashimoto pointed out. “When the CBAC asked for more time to try to complete an analysis of the tree loss that the project would cause and had to generate a report by October 1, the project scope changed. When these new guidelines came out before the October 12 council meeting, they were worse than the initial project because they included natives clearing. I’m unsure what prompted that.
“The unanswered question is why does the MRGCD want to do this now? The levee has been maintained as it has been for at least 20 years,” Hashimoto said.
“We’ve heard answers that it can't be maintained only from the top anymore, and that there are increased risks of flood events. Now they are being backed up by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on this. This is a change in position as in a stakeholders meeting at the MRGCD in March 2018, the Corps did not recommend the clearing.
“It defies logic, that in the face of this epic drought, Corrales is allowing precious native New Mexico olive to be cut by the many hundreds along the base of the east side of the levee. It is fire-resistant, provides food, and many are 30 years old or more and could withstand the warming climate. Who will suffer? The animals, of course, especially birds, who are being faced with habitat loss at every point of their migration. We will be losers too as our world is less varied and interesting with fewer critters in it.”
Andrew Marschall of Corrales won first place overall at the City of Lakes triathlon, Olympic distance, held in Santa Rosa June 11, for the 2022 State Championship. USA Triathlon holds this state championship event in all 50 states to qualify for nationals and includes all age groups including high school athletes. Marschall, 29, will be racing at the nationals in Milwaukee on August 6, where he hopes to qualify for the world championships in 2023 in Pontevedra, Spain, representing the United States. He is studying business data analytics at the University of New Mexico. He has been competing in triathlons since he was 17.
“I was never a great athlete growing up, but kept training even after graduating high school because I loved it. I’ve been living in Corrales for about five years now, and love running on the trails in the area.”
By Laura Smith
Gifts of Getting Older
Life is beginning to get back to normal. Masks are generally off, we’re returning to social Events, and COVID, although still around, is not consuming all of our attention. People are starting to travel again and making plans for large gatherings.
Well, life is almost normal. I ordered some furniture last April. Some of it will be delivered next week, some at the end of July. Groceries and gas prices keep rising.
Shootings and wars penetrate our thoughts with unease. The heat and drought bring worry and concern. Stress, which is also a normal part of life, is becoming for many, a constant companion.
A bit of stress is good. It pushes us to act, gets us to plan, encourages us to relax. But frequent, unrelenting stress damages health. Multiple studies have linked stress, especially chronic stress, to poor health outcomes. Those who suffer from persistent stress age more quickly, than those with less stress. Stress has also been associated with increased risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia, and diabetes.
Daily hassles cause stress. But for seniors, one of the most significant predictors of stress is declining physical health. Of course, getting old usually includes aches and pains. But there are more serious health issues that frequently come along with age.
The World Health Organization lists the top problems of an aging population as:
Well, that’s a lot to be stressed about. But, on the other hand, old age has some notable advantages. For example:
How can a senior use some of the advantages of aging to cope with the stress of life in general and deal with the more difficult health issues? Here are a few suggestions.
One of the most precious gifts of old age is not caring so much about what other people think. You don’t need to prepare gourmet food to entertain, a cup of tea or a glass of water suffices. Most importantly, a good conversation can be more than enough. Make friends, connect, and let others into your life. No one remembers how fashionable you are, they remember who you are.
Laura Smith is a clinical psychologist and member of Village in the Village (VIV). ViV’s mission is to help seniors stay in their Corrales homes while connecting with the community. For more information about the organization visit: VillageintheVillage.org or call 505-274-6206.
2022 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour Plugs: None. Nearest: the Guild Cinema.
One of my favorite things to watch at the Guild theater and film festivals is the short film programs. Many people never get to see short films because mainstream theater chains typically want to sell seats for 100-minute Hollywood blockbusters, not shorter programs of eclectic —and admittedly at times necessarily uneven— short films from around the world.
The 2022 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour is now available, featuring seven shorts ranging from fictional animation to narrative documentary. They are as follows.
Goodbye Jerome! is an animated French film about a man who arrives in paradise (or Heaven, it’s not clear) in search of his beloved wife, Maryline. After some surreal adventures and encounters reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, he finds her —but circumstances have changed. Despite uneven animation quality and an unsatisfying ending, it’s a passable trifle.
Makassar Is a City for Football Fans, set in Makassar, Indonesia, follows a group of young male friends who hang out, make crude catcalls to girls, drink, and cheer on their favorite soccer teams. One of them, Akbar, struggles to fit in with his typically macho friends while harboring a secret attraction to one of them. The well-intentioned but middling film offers insight into casual homophobia and the difficulty of navigating both feelings and social norms.
In Stranger Than Rotterdam with Sara Driver—with characters portrayed by cut-out marionettes, screenwriter Sara Driver tells the improbable true story of her 1982 attempt to smuggle filmmaker Jim Jarmusch’s second film Stranger Than Paradise —one of the world’s rarest and most controversial films of the era— across the Atlantic in exchange for an opportunity to fund her own film. Witty and engaging, it’s a great example of effective, low-budget filmmaking.
Training Wheels is a comedy about a socially awkward woman who seeks the services of a male companion —for a few days in order to help her prepare for an upcoming date. The bearded and bemused hunk hired for the job does his best. With great acting, emotional resonance, and sly humor, this is a standout of the program.
Warsha, a French/Lebanese production, follows a Syrian migrant in Beirut who volunteers for a dangerous job as a crane operator on a building high rise. Beautifully shot and conceived, what at first seems like an act of economic desperation is revealed to be an act of liberation.
You Go Girl! intercuts a nervous performance by a standup comedian (Tiffany Mann) overcoming her fears with her climbing a scenic Oregon mountain. The two storylines converge skillfully and emotionally to a satisfying and uplifting ending.
Perhaps the least coherent of the lot, If I Go Will They Miss Me tells the story of a Watts, California, boy interested in Greek mythology (and Pegasus in particular) who hears on the news about jet fuel being dumped over his neighborhood, and begins noticing people start acting like airplanes. With flying metaphors galore, I’m not really sure where this short was trying to go, but the flight got diverted somewhere along the way.
The program is playing for a limited time at the Guild; if you miss it, look for it online, and if you like shorts, also look for the annual Oscar Nominated Short Films and the Manhattan Short Film Festival programs as well, and Xerb.com.
Landscaping designs to achieve a make-over of the Village Office Complex and its parking areas have been mounted in the old Community Center behind the Corrales Senior Center. The project has been anticipated for more than a year. A presentation by Groundworkstudio’s Amy Bell was given for the mayor and Village Council at their June 21 meeting. The site plan covers all parts of the municipal complex from Corrales Road eastward to the Senior Center, and includes a new mini-park between the Community Center and the Senior Center.
Two entrances would be paved with asphalt, one leading in from Corrales Road and the other from East La Entrada. Approximately the same number of parking spaces will be available, but more clearly defined. More parking spaces will be provided for people with disabilities. The plan also shows charging stations for electric vehicles. Some areas will be covered with compacted crusher fine material and others will have recycled asphalt.
Funding for the project comes from municipal bonds.
Even if the current monsoon season produces less rain than desired and little stormwater through the Harvey Jones Flood Control Channel, the wetland plantings at channel’s mouth in the Bosque Preserve are assured of irrigation. About five million gallons of treated sewage from Rio Rancho which had been poured directly into the river every day are now being diverted to meandering channels for the 10-acre wetlands project managed by The Nature Conservancy and the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA).
“In late February and early March, we planted about 30,000 native willows and about 130 cottonwood poles,” The Nature Conservancy’s Sarah Hurteau told Corrales Comment May 31. “During the upcoming monsoon season —hopefully we get rain!— the group we contracted with, Rio Grande Return, will seed the uplands with a mix of grasses and shrubs that are native to this area.”
A year from now, she said, another seed mix with more wildflowers and herbs and forbs will be included. “The first year seeding is focused on establishing ground cover and the second year seeding is focused on adding diversity to the site. The team will continue to monitor the establishment of the vegetation and make adjustments as needed.”
Major earthmoving and elimination of undesirable vegetation was largely complete before this spring, but such work was discontinued to minimize disruptions to birds. “There should not be any additional vegetation removal until the end of the breeding bird season,” she added. “At that time, there are a few invasive trees and shrubs that could use removal to keep the site focused on the return of the native trees and plants.”
Hurteau said The Nature Conservancy continues to seek funds for future seedings.
The project is a collaboration among The Nature Conservancy, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, the Village of Corrales, the City of Rio Rancho and the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority. (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXXX No.2 March 6, 2021 Stormwater, Treated Sewage Would be Used for Bosque.”)
During a monsoon rain, stormwater drained from a wide area west of the escarpment above Corrales will be redirected to a vegetated area between the river and the Corrales Road bridge over the Jones Channel. And on a more regular basis, treated effluent from Rio Rancho’s sewage treatment plant near the Montoyas Arroyo also would flow into the proposed wetlands.
The Nature Conservancy’s description of the project notes that the Jones Channel carries more than 4.4 million gallons of stormwater annually to the river. And treated sewage from Rio Rancho also enters the river just south of the channel at quantities ranging from four to five million gallons daily.
“By utilizing the permanent flow of water, we can re-contour the bank elevation and create secondary channels to create an expanded wet area to increase wildlife, fish and bird habitat,” according to the proposal.
The Nature Conservancy web page about the Harvey Jones Channel Improvement Project states these goals:
The Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission has considered such a project, at least conceptually, for many years. Elsewhere in the preserve, projects have already been implemented to excavate away the river bank so that water flows, or at least seeps, into the riparian forest.
The habitat plan was completed in 2010 after years of work. (See Corrales Comment’s nine-part series of articles starting Vol.XXVIII, No.7, May 23, 2009, “Bosque Preserve Habitat Plan Now Available”)
In 2010, projects similar to what is being proposed now were implemented by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as elements of a “bosque restoration” effort.
By Jeff Radford
This issue is my last as editor, publisher and owner of Corrales Comment. Ownership passes to a new entity, “87048 LLC,” created by Albuquerque City Councillor Pat Davis who also publishes The Paper as an alternative to the Albuquerque Journal. (See his guest commentary on Page 2 of this issue.)
A closing on the sale of this community newspaper will probably occur before the June 25 issue hits the streets and post office boxes. He and his publisher, Tierna Unruh-Enos, have said they intend to retain much of what Comment readers have come to expect over the years while expanding news coverage and digital distribution through the website and other media. By mutual agreement, I will still be around and involved. I am to remain on the Comment masthead as publisher emeritus. The new owners have requested that I continue reporting occasionally and, perhaps more importantly, suggest to them what local events and situations warrant assignments to other reporters.
The new publisher, Unruh-Enos, offered the following assurances to Comment readers.
“Jeff Radford is a local journalism legend in his own right, and that is most evident in the loyal readership the Corrales Comment has garnered over the past 40 years.
“We are excited to embark on this new chapter of the Corrales Comment as we are dedicated to serving the people and businesses of Corrales and Sandoval County. We hope to expand our distribution and coverage in 2023 while staying true to the mission of local, independent coverage. Reporting as if democracy matters.
“In the coming months, we plan to offer businesses more digital advertising opportunities, as well as create a comprehensive calendar of events both online and in print. If you have an event coming up, we’d love to hear about it! We’ll have a dedicated opinion column, and we want to hear from you.”
She said all op-ed columns, story ideas and event submissions should be emailed to editor@abq. news.
“For current and future advertisers, we look forward to working with you and our sales team will be in touch with each and every one of you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our sales team at email@example.com
“Here’s to 40 more years of the Corrales Comment!”
As most Comment readers probably know, I have been trying to find a new owner for the past five years; the burdens of ownership were getting to be too much, and the pandemic made my workload excessive.
I had always said I thought I could do this until I was 80. I turned 80 this month. I had resolved to close the newspaper if a new owner could not be found.
The needed transition has been achieved, with several Corraleños’ help.
As Davis explains, “ownership of the Comment is moving to the New Mexico Local News Preservation Project, a soon-to-be certified Benefit Corporation (B-Corp) I founded with the mission to preserve and enhance local newspapers that are the best platforms for local civic engagement, cultural preservation and economic development.”
When I started the Comment 40 years ago, my primary objective was to serve as a channel for public participation, to help villagers express their will to those making decisions. People living here could decide what they wanted their community to be, and then have a decent chance to make it reality.
Hence the motto “News Reporting as if Democracy Matters.”
A secondary objective was sustainability: I wanted this paper to continue.
In my 59-year career in journalism, I had helped start publications on three continents (four if you count Central America). The most hare-brained ideas were not my own and took none of my own money. One was astute and apparently well-funded (a Latin American version of the International Herald Tribune based in Rio de Janeiro). All closed quickly.
Over the years, regular readers of this newspaper frequently told me they felt they had spoken to me recently even though we hadn’t connected in person in months or even years. That happened because we had, in fact, been communicating.
It is akin to mental telepathy; based on years of common experience, I know what you’re thinking and you know what I’m thinking (bounded by lots of barriers and realities). But over the past four decades, it is really just a shared mindset.
Former State Senator Pauline Eisenstadt, still a subscriber although she moved to Rio Rancho years ago, used to say Corrales Comment is the glue that holds this community together. It can continue to be that.
Funding for a Fire Department water tank at the top of Angel Hill and water delivery pipes down Angel Road and then north and south along Loma Larga will be sought through the N.M. Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The Village Council approved a resolution at its June 8 meeting to seek an exceptionally low interest $5 million loan to complete the project that has been contemplated over more than 30 years.
The top of Angel Hill (the steep terrain where Angel Road has been paved up the escarpment) was identified by former Village Engineer Larry Vigil decades ago as the best site for a water tank that could deliver water by gravity to most of the village. Fire Chief Anthony Martinez proposed installing a well and pumphouse just inside the Corrales-Rio Rancho boundary and burying a pipe along Angel Road down to Loma Larga. The plan has been to install fire hydrants along Angel Road as the fire suppression pipeline is laid. A 12-inch diameter pipe would then extend north and south along Loma Larga.
The two-acre parcel of Village-owned land at the top of Angel Road, regarded as too steep to use for home construction, has been eyed for decades as an ideal spot for an emergency response dispatch tower as well as a water tank. The dispatch tower was erected about eight years ago.
Fire Chief Martinez has envisioned the Angel Hill tank as one that would hold 60,000 gallons.
At its September 10, 2019 session, the Village Council approved a contract for WHPacific engineering firm to plan, design and engineer “a fire suppression system to include a tank at 3001 Angel Road, a Village-owned property.
“The engineering firm will need to calculate needed water tank size and size of distribution line needed for a gravity system to run down Angel Road and into other areas in the Village of Corrales.”
Chief Martinez said the proposed water line would have fire hydrants installed at intervals determined by the engineering firm, probably between 500 to 1,000 feet apart.
The interest rate for the state loan was reported to be 0.01 percent, described as an all-time low.
Some movement has started on the long-delayed bicycle and horse paths along upper Meadowlark Lane. But don‘t expect asphalt to be laid right away along the south side of the road, nor preparation for a dirt horse path along the north side. Both of those could still happen before fall, but the step being taken now is to notify property owners about vision clearance requirements where their driveways approach Meadowlark Lane.
Before the end of June, Village Administrator Ron Curry is expected to send certified letters to villagers whose properties will be affected by the project. Village Clerk said June 17 those letters would likely be mailed during the week ending June 24 following review by Village Attorney Randy Autio.
Last December, Curry estimated construction of the two paths would begin in the spring and be completed by May 1.
No one could have been much surprised by the delay. Only the plagued pathway project along Corrales’ business district has been waiting longer.
An Upper West Meadowlark Lane Task Force was convened in 2011 to make recommendations on re-building that road from Loma Larga to the Rio Rancho border and the requested bike lanes along it.
That effort came after Village officials turned back a $214,000 grant from the Mid-Region Council of Governments to begin the project, which had been proposed in 2009 or earlier. (See Corrales Comment series on trails, starting with Vol. XXVIII, No.18, November 7, 2009 “First Steps to Implement Village-wide Trails Plan”)
At the August 25, 2009 Village Council meeting, a resolution was approved to design and build bike lanes and a five-foot wide compacted earth trail along upper West Meadowlark.
A general consensus evolved August 13, 2012 during a public meeting on the task force recommendations to move ahead with proposals that included a curving realignment of the road, horse and pedestrian paths and cycling lanes along one or both sides of the road.
Perhaps the most substantive input during the August 2012 meeting was provided by former Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Borman. He followed up his comments with a written submission the following day calling for:
“• a two-lane, 25 miles an hour roadway utilizing appropriate design, alignments, drainage, landscaping, buffering and traffic calming devices;
Borman stressed the need to clear away obstructions, or encroachments in the right-of-way. “All encroachments within the right-of-way should be removed by the adjacent property owner. If not removed, they should be considered abandoned. If abandoned, they should remain only if they enhance the streetscape design.”
He also insisted that bikes and horses should not be funneled to the same paths. “Avoiding the combining of different users onto a single trail is of the highest priority. Shared equestrian use is especially problematic within this collector road corridor. Separation of equestrian trails and pedestrian trails from vehicle and bicycle traffic is achieved by horizontal distance and/or by buffering and landscaping.”
Meadowlark residents Linda and Kurt Muxworthy were consistent critics of plans to change the roadway, but at the August 2012 meeting, Kurt Muxworthy read a statement generally supporting the task force recommendations —except for accommodating bike riders, which they still opposed.
Considerable discussion focused on whether bike lanes should be added to both the north and south sides of the right-of-way. Task force recommendations called for a bike lane or path along the uphill north side, whereas on the downhill south side, cyclists were to be encouraged to “take the road,” meaning use the full eastbound traffic lane. That concept assumed that cyclists can maintain the same speed as motorized vehicles going down and would be part of the normal flow.
But some in the audience objected. What about kids on bikes? they asked.
With the Bunkhouse building for sale, the Secondhand Treasures thrift store next to the Frontier Mart is closing. The non-profit business started by Nancy Baumgardner is urgently seeking a new space to lease. “We belong in Corrales, but we have looked everywhere. We have to be out by at least July 31.” She started a store closing sale on Friday, June 17.
Over the past 11 years, the business has raised more than a half-million dollars for the Southwest Animal Rescue Fund, Inc., Baumgardner said. “Our primary mission has always been to aid animals, primarily dogs, in need.” The fund has paid for veterinary bills, food, boarding, transport, rehabilitation, training and spay and neuter.
“Before the Village found other funding, we paid the veterinary bills for animals under the care of Corrales Animal Services. We have maintained a sanctuary/hospice for old, sick, injured or otherwise unadoptable animals for 11 years. Over the years, many of the dogs in the sanctuary came to us after Corrales residents died without leaving provisions for their animals. We never took a cent from the Village for any of our services.”
Baumgardner said the non-profit has also donated for animals rescued from the war in Ukraine, and to groups helping animals affected by N.M. wildfires. “For several years we have been paying food and veterinary costs for stray dogs cared for by a woman on the Navajo reservation.
“We fund all of our efforts through the operation of our thrift store.”
Except for its low prices, Secondhand Treasures bears little resemblance to a typical thrift store. “Customers call us a ‘boutique’ and a ‘mini department store.’ We have the only book store in Corrales. Our books are meticulously curated by a dedicated volunteer.
“We sell quality high-end men’s and women’s clothing, some of it brand new, for a fraction of its original price. We have beautiful jewelry, pottery, linens, housewares and art.
“If we can’t find another location in Corrales, we will have to close. None of us wants to close or leave Corrales, but we need at least 3,000 square feet, adequate parking and working plumbing.”
Does your favorite two-, four-, six- or eight-legged pet have what it takes to win election as Corrales’ next pet mayor? Nominations are under way now; the top vote-getter will be announced at the Corrales Harvest Festival Sunday, September 25. Candidate applications can be mailed to Pet Mayor Election, 4 Acoma Trail, Corrales NM 87048 or submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organizers ask that candidates, or their campaign managers, register at http://www.corralesharvestfestival.com/2022-pet-mayoral-election. Usually voters have favored dogs and horses. Dogs are better at glad-handing than horses. Last year’s winner, James the Peacock, defeated seven other candidates despite his ambivalence about handshaking. This year, Corrales Comment predicts that Kathy Lang’s tarantula will win. Think of all the hands that beautiful arachnid can shake at the same time! Lang had not entered the spider in the pet mayor race at press time.
Dark money, light money, bitcoin, corporate pay-offs —any kind of money can be used to vote your favorite once the election gets under way. As the summer wears on, expect to find ballot cans to stuff at the Sunday Corrales Growers’ Market and inside local businesses.
As in the past, voting is done with dollars. One dollar equals one vote; $10 equals 10 votes. You can vote as often as you like, pouring in as much money as you want.
You can also vote online at the Harvest Festival website, but votes there will cost $2 each.
“This is a fundraiser, and we want to continue raising money for our organizations and activities that benefit the needs of our two-legged and four-legged members of the Corrales community,” said organizer Tracy Stabenow.
Restoration work has resumed on Corrales’ old schoolhouse next to Perea’s Restaurant and Tijuana Bar. Owner John Perea said June 17 he still expects the structure will be ready to open for community functions by this fall. A portion of the building was removed this spring so that a new wall could be built to better stabilize it. Perea said the adobe wall had been added in the 1940s to enclose a back porch, but it had not been adequately tied with a bond beam to secure it to the original structure.
Adobe restoration specialist Rick Catanach and his son, Luke Catanach, replaced the wall in mid-June. They have been involved in the project since it began. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXVIII No.8 June 8, 2019 “Old Schoolhouse Will Be Restored This Summer.”)
The old building served as Corrales’ schoolhouse from 1875 to 1925. At an earlier stage in the restoration, the original terrón walls (made of sod blocks) were stabilized, interior walls were restored and the old wooden floors were replaced as part of Perea’s project to return the school building as close as possible to its condition in the late 1800s. The structure served as a school for Corraleños at about the same time that the recently restored Casa Perea, farther north on Corrales Road just south of Ex Novo Brewery, was the Sandoval County courthouse. By some accounts, it was the first public school in Sandoval County.
Restoration of the old schoolhouse has been Perea’s goal since he acquired it in 2011. His late uncle, Bobby Perea, had lived in the house until shortly before his death in 2008.
He is proceeding with recommendations from a New Mexico MainStreet architect and those of his contractor, Catanach, “who specializes in restoring old terrón and adobe buildings from that period.”
Catanach said he admires the workmanship evident in the building’s construction. “If it hadn’t been built with terrónes, it probably wouldn’t have lasted this long.”
Perea said he intends to restore the space to what one would have encountered 120 years ago. “Its best use would be as a place where somebody could sit down and imagine what it would have been like as a classroom. The goal is to preserve the building itself.”
Interviewed in 2019, Perea anticipated a need for compromises to meet modern building codes. He was pleased with cooperation from the Village’s building inspector, the Planning and Zoning Department, MainStreet and the Corrales Historical Society. “I’ve been very happy with the reception to this project. They’re helping me achieve my vision for this property.”
For more than a year, he negotiated purchase of the property held in a family trust. Although the much older adjacent building with the restaurant has been owned by the Perea family for a long time, the schoolhouse was purchased by the Pereas in the late 1950s.
Once he has the basic restoration plan accomplished, Perea expects to apply for a listing on the State Register of Historic Properties, for both the school-house and the restaurant building. “We’re going to take our time to be sure everything works together,” he assured.
When it was a school, the interior was one large classroom. As a residence, it was divided into five rooms. The original school desks and other furnishings were removed in 1925 to use in the new school building nearby.
Perea expects the exterior walls will receive a mud plaster coating, similar to what covers the Old Church and its annex.
“We’ll get rid of the stucco there now and go back to mud. There are certain treatments we can use and —unlike the Old Church— we probably won’t have to re-do it for maybe 10 years.”
He hopes to furnish the building with period chairs and tables, if possible. He’ll hang historic photographs on the wall and perhaps even portraits of Corraleños who attended the school.
A life-long Corrales farmer, Randolph Armijo, died last month at 93 years old. He was a much-decorated Korean War veteran who was later a double-amputee as a result of a farming accident here. Armijo is survived by sons Randolph Joseph Armijo and Randall Armijo and grandson Patrick Armijo, as well as sisters Ernestine Hamilton and Marie Archibeque of Corrales. Family members have lived and farmed in Corrales for more than 100 years. He was buried in San Ysidro Parish cemetery across from the Old Church.
The Village Council will hold a special meeting Wednesday, July 6. Agenda items were not known at press time. As customary in summer months, the council holds just one meeting in June and July. At its June 21 meeting, councillors renewed restrictions on fireworks, considered a report on the Village’s Animal Services operations and plans for the municipal complex parking areas, and re-appointed Dayton Voorhees, Jeff Radford and Suzanne Harper to the Corrales Bicycle, Pedestrian Advisory Commission.
By Pat Davis
If you are lucky enough to live in the Village of Corrales you know that the mailman's visit every other Saturday brings something special. That's when the latest edition of the Corrales Comment arrives, faithfully published every two weeks just as it has been for 40-years. It is “must-read” news for anyone interested in the outcome of Tuesday’s late-evening Village Council meeting or those planning next week’s local gallery visits and date night on Corrales Road.
There is an old saying that a local newspaper is a community’s best conversation with itself.
Without a forum for that conversation, the small things that create local identity and difference, and create our best and most honest form of democracy, go away. As a local elected official myself, I can tell when an issue makes it to the front page of the paper. My email and voicemail are full of enthralled and outraged constituents whose messages all start with “I read in the paper that….” I can’t imagine good government without local news.
But America has lost more than 2,200 small newspapers over the past 15 years and New Mexico is no exception. I am convinced that the transition from local newspapers to corporate newspaper conglomerates and self-curated social media is eroding the foundation of democracy —and once it is gone we will never get it back.
Our identity, culture, and democracy itself require strong local news of the highest caliber. We need a plan to save these local papers and the people and stories they tell. That’s why, in 2020, after the demise of the 20+-year-old Weekly Alibi, I asked a business partner and the remaining staff to help me build a new weekly to fill that gap. The paper we started, simply called The Paper, is now the state’s largest printed (yes, we brought back print newspapers!) weekly source for arts, culture and events, and it boasts an impressive daily digital news audience larger than the print version of the state’s largest paper.
That experiment showed that New Mexicans want local news well-told, but the best models of New Mexico journalism are fading fast. That's why I said yes when Jeff Radford asked if I'd be willing to be the caretaker for his paper when he retired.
As anyone who has followed the demise of local news knows, newspapers aren’t the business for anyone looking to get rich quick (as a nod to the quixotic efforts, we even considered calling the publishing company Fools Gold Inc.). But sometimes, doing the right thing is more important than profit. That’s why ownership of the Comment is moving to the New Mexico Local News Preservation Project, a soon-to-be certified Benefit Corporation (B-Corp) I founded with the mission to preserve and enhance local newspapers that are the best platforms for local civic engagement, cultural preservation and economic development.
No one could possibly replace Jeff Radford’s Corrales Comment, so we don’t plan to try. Under new ownership, the Comment will continue to be written and edited in Corrales by the same dedicated staff and contributors who have produced it for years, including Jeff Radford himself, as publisher emeritus, who has agreed to continue providing occasional columns when he’s home between long overdue global adventures.
Jeff has even agreed to let us continue publishing from his home office for a few more weeks until we find a more permanent space (if you have an extra office in the village, let’s talk! Email me at Pat@abq.news)
Readers worried about change shouldn’t worry. We love the Comment, just the way it is, just as much as you do. To be sure it stays local, we’ve asked all the village-based staff and contributors to keep working. The paper will still arrive in pickup locations and mailboxes every other week.
We just need you to keep advertising, patronizing businesses that do, and paying your subscription every year.
By partnering with The Paper, we can help Corrales’ restaurants, galleries and businesses local events, galleries and small business access a broader Albuquerque readership and enhance the Comment’s coverage of politics, climate change, and elections with stories by The Paper’s award-winning staff of New Mexico-based journalists. That partnership also means we can share publishing costs in the back office to can keep advertising and subscription costs low for all of you.
The way I see it, democracy isn’t free, and a subscription to your local paper is the entry fee for participation. Thank you to Jeff for building a world-class local news source and thank you to Corrales for entrusting us with it.
Pat Davis is the new owner/publisher of the Corrales Comment. He is also the co-owner and co-publisher of The Paper, Albuquerque's free weekly, the state's largest LGBTQ+-owned newspaper. Davis is also serving in his second term as an Albuquerque City Councillor.
By Meredith Hughes
A second Corrales business has been approved to sell recreational marijuana. Fawn Dolan, owner of Corrales Hemporium at Corrales Road and East Ella, learned June 15 that her site development plan related to recreational cannabis sales from the Village had been unanimously approved by Planning and Zoning. Dolan plans to install a small display case measuring about six feet by two from which recreational cannabis products will be sold. The business already has a license from state regulators to sell those products.
And in fact, April, the first month of legal recreational cannabis was not the cruelest month for New Mexico businesses’ sales. According to the N.M. Legislation and Licensing Department Cannabis Control Division, one month into the legal sale of such cannabis, vendors sold $22.1 million worth of it. Albuquerque retailers made over $8 million in sales that month.
The Cannabis Control Division reported that during the month of May “retailers around the state sold nearly $39 million in adult-use and medical cannabis combined.” The division “will continue to release sales numbers on a monthly basis, with data being available at the beginning of each month for the month prior.” See http://www.rld.nm.gov.
Corrales’ first store to sell cannabis, Southwest Organic Products (SWOP), has become a retailer for both medical and recreational cannabis; it sold close to $90,000 worth of the two products in May, down a bit from April sales of about $104,000.
Ultra Health, the state’s largest cannabis dispenser, said to control 40 percent of the N.M. market, has warned that supply issues may need to be addressed, however. Cannabis Times reported in April that in January, “the CCD issued an emergency rule that doubled the number of cannabis plants that licensed producers can grow from 10,000 to 20,000 mature plants in an effort to protect patients’ supply of medical cannabis as demand spiked with the launch of adult-use sales.”
“To ensure adequate supply, a spokesperson for Ultra Health said, “Another rule change may be necessary to either further increase the plant count limit or remove it entirely.” Ultra Health currently has 38 dispensaries in New Mexico. SWOP has eight, the newest of which just opened this month on Nob Hill in Albuquerque.
The SWOP outlet operating in Corrales since June 2021 was 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.”
New Mexico became the 17th state to legalize recreational use, and state officials are anticipating recreational marijuana sales to top $300 million this year. On the first day of legal sales of recreational pot, customers spent more than $1.9 million, according to the N.M. Cannabis Control Division.
Financial news for medical marijuana businesses here is robust. In February of this year Ultra Health announced it will receive a $7.4 million refund for improperly withheld gross receipts tax after the New Mexico Supreme Court determined that medical cannabis purchases should be treated like any other medication, and not be subject to New Mexico Gross Receipts Tax.
Meanwhile, in alignment with the April 1 legal sales event, the N.M. Department of Transportation launched a new, cannabis-focused campaign to discourage marijuana users from getting behind the wheel when they could be substantially impaired.
“Impairment is impairment,” transportation secretary Mike Sandoval said, “it doesn’t matter whether it’s alcohol or cannabis. Driving while intoxicated on any substance is dangerous and illegal. If you are impaired and driving erratically or unsafely, you could be arrested for DWI. The law is the same.”
Thus far evidently Corrales Police has not pulled over any drivers too stoned to maneuver safely in the Village.
A report submitted to the mayor and Village Council recommends that a pre-fab kennel be erected next to the Village’s animal control office in the municipal complex across from Wells Fargo Bank. “Overall, our recommendation to improve Animal Services is to purchase a pre-fabricated kennel that would be able to house both cats and dogs for a short-term stay in the Village before being either reunited with their owners or transferred to a facility that can coordinate their adoption,” the report said.
It added that the Dennis Friends Foundation “has pledged to help pay for this structure, once a final cost estimate is obtained, and Sandoval County Commissioner Katherine Bruch has already committed $25,000 to this project.”
The committee suggested a site development plan for the municipal complex be presented to the Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission.
“Our next step is to get a site development plan in place for the administration complex to see if another building can be added to this site. Once that plan is complete, it will be presented to the Village Planning and Zoning Commission for approval.”
Cost estimates would be obtained for the pre-fab building, a concrete slab for it, and electrical and plumbing.
“When we have the overall cost estimate, we will bring the plan to the Dennis Friends Foundation for approval and see how much of the project they can help fund. We estimate this process to take about three to four months, but this should offer a long-term solution to taking care of animals brought into Animal Services.”
The evaluation process began in September of 2021, when Councillors Bill Woldman and Stuart Murray met with Village Administrator Ron Curry and Police Chief Vic Mangiacapra to discuss possible upgrades to the Animal Services facilities. “By November of 2021, they had a quote from Facility Build for installing drains in the kennel rooms. A second quote received in December of 2021 included creating four kennels in the space where the two kennels currently are, drains for these rooms, and upgrades to the ventilation system. That estimate came to $106,580.54.”
“In early 2022, Councillor Woldman presented the idea of purchasing a prefabricated kennel structure for the Animal Services department during a council meeting.… In April, Mayor Fahey and Village Administrator Ron Curry initiated an overall evaluation of the Animal Services department by contacting Angela Gutierrez, a trustee for the Dennis Friends Foundation.”
The committee critiqued the existing facility as follows. “Our current facility consists of the office for the Animal Services officers, which also functions as a storeroom, and area to meet and greet animals. To access the kennels, one must go outside, as there is no indoor access to the kennels themselves.
“There are two kennel areas, each with an external door with a window, and currently one is typically used to house dogs, and one is set up with cat runs for felines. The flooring in the current kennel space is difficult to clean, and animals must be removed from the area to clean them. The installation of floor drains would help somewhat but would not allow for an animal to remain in the kennel while it was being cleaned, as is recommended by shelter guidelines.
“This set-up is also not ideal if the Village takes in more than one dog at a time. The outdoor kennel space currently does not provide adequate shade, although Animal Services officers are working to purchase shade material for these outdoor runs.
“The current kennels do not allow for an animal to see out, and temperature control and ventilation have been issues.
“We concluded that the kennels at Sandoval County are the best example of an adequate solution that would meet the needs of Corrales Animal Services.”
As of mid-June, Corrales had 1,216 cases of COVID-19. It seemed like just about every villager you knew had come down with the illness. Statewide, 27,256 had been hospitalized with it, and 7,869 had died. Yet, of those New Mexicans who had come down with it, 512,827 had recovered. In Sandoval County, most of the COVID patients were women, and most were in the 30-39 age group, followed by those aged 20-29.
The Corrales Fire Department’s Tanya Lattin said June 16 the N.M. Department of Health’s data did not indicate how many of the Corrales cases were among those already fully vaccinated, referred to as “breakthrough” cases. Lattin said villagers should not assume they will catch the virus whether they take precautions, and vaccinations, or not. “I do not know that it is inevitable, but studies show each variant of omicron is more infectious, and it appears BA4 and BA5 break through previous omicron infection and vaccine.
“None of my staff has gotten it from work. We have currently only had two cases in the Fire Department, and neither was work related.
“We still have a strict masking policy when interacting with the public.”
Lattin announced at a Village Council meeting last month that she had tested positive.
“Corrales has 65 lab-confirmed cases as of June 17, 2022,” she told Corrales Comment. “The N.M.Department of Health estimates three to seven times higher with home testing. Corrales is averaging 3.82 cases a day for June. In May we had 78 cases.
“It is very important for people who are over 65, or who have at risk conditions, to reach out to a medical professional to get access to early treatment if they end up with COVID. Paxlovid is the tier one treatment and must be started within five days of symptoms.
“With Corrales having a population that is one-third over 65, knowing the signs symptoms and how to get treatment is very important. Symptoms may start with very mild scratchy throat, runny nose or increased tiredness. It is also important to stay up to date with vaccines, as they are proven to reduce hospitalization and death rates.”
Sandoval County and nine other counties are currently listed at high level for COVID. “This means the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone wear a mask indoors in public settings,” Lattin explained.
“We are in the phase where every person needs to assess their risk-rewards benefit. They need to look at people that they see regularly who may be at risk of severe illness and make choices on what they are willing to do based on risks to themselves and others in their lives.
“I still wear an N95 in public settings and will be for a while. We still have vaccination sites in Corrales two days a week, and I still help people navigate registration, COVID questions and where to find treatment options. We also have information on the Village website http://www.corrales-nm.org/fire/page /covid-19-resources-health-and-resilience as well as the state site https://cv.nmhealth.org/.
“We still have at home test kits for people. You can call or stop by the fire station.”
The 2022 Corrales Fourth of July parade down Corrales Road will begin at 10 a.m. from Dixon Road to the recreation center just south of the post office. To be in the parade, you’re supposed to register at the Corrales Parks and Recreation website, https://campscui. active.com/ orgs/VillageofCorrales#/selectSessions/3164836.
In recent years that has usually brought in flatbed floats carrying volunteers with many local organizations, such as the Kiwanis Club, Corrales MainStreet, floats with gleaming, waving politicians, lots of antique cars —and this year, a return of the Parks & Rec swim teams wielding water canons. But if you don’t to get soaked, just avoid the end of the parade route.
Parade rules say, “Spectators are not to spray water until the water/wet groups begin 10 minutes after the horse clean-up crew. There are two groups dividing the wet and dry sections of the parade. When registering (if applicable) choose to be in the wet or dry groups. If you do not wish to get wet, then do not sign up for the wet groups.”
“Water and the water groups will begin 10 minutes after the horse clean-up crew. Please focus on the waivers and rules and regulation when signing up. This will inform you of all information as well as meeting places.”
Should you wish to be wet, but not ride a soggy float, choose “water.” Otherwise, choose “wet float.”
Assembly areas for parade floats, vehicles, horses and other participants are explained on the Parks & Rec website, and primarily are between the Wagner’s Farm parking lot and Corrales Elementary School.
If you want to take good photos, it might be best to watch the parade from the east side of the road. That way you’ll have the morning sun behind you.
By Josiah Ward
Controversies over policing and use of force nationwide have led the Corrales Police Department to examine its own policies. After the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, protesters took to the streets to demand that officers be held accountable and that reforms be made. Across the nation, the procedures, training, and practices of police departments were questioned.
Within the last month, the use of force by police officers has been called into question once again after a police officer fatally shot Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids, Michigan. And earlier this month, Albuquerque police fatally shot a man in what is thought to have been a sucide-by-cop incident. This year, APD has fatally shot subjects six times, five of which ended fatally.
Public outcry has once again called for examination and reform of police department’s policies.
These national events have led to reforms nationwide; including in Corrales. According to Corrales’ Chief of Police, Victor Mangiacapra, “The use of force incidents that have been taking place over the last couple years… have prompted us to look at our policies and then essentially tweak them where necessary.”
In 2020, the Corrales Police Department issued its first “use of force” policy to clearly outline the procedures that officers should be taking. The Corrales Police Department has not received an excessive use of force complaint since 2015, and a review of the department’s use of force policy is set for Feburary 2025.
“If circumstances reasonably permit, officers will use time, distance, verbal persuasion or other tactics to de-escalate the situation. And that was the understanding, but it was not in writing,” Chief Mangiacapara went on to say.
According to the policy, “An officer must exercise control of an individual displaying resitance or aggression in order to protect himself/herself or others from an immediate threat. The level of force employed must be commensurate with the threat posed by the subject of the seriousness of the immediate situation.”
Using proper force has also been integrated into officer training. These policies are reviewed “several times a year,” Mangiacapara said. It is mandated that use of force training is reviewed during the bi-annual firearms training for officers.
Corrales police are scheduled to train with the Sandoval County Sheriff's Department using a virtual reality simulator. “We’re not only going to review the use of force policies again, but also do a scenario based training,” explained Mangiacapara. The training aims to help officers make correct decisions on using lethal force or not.
Mangiacapara also detailed that the department was currently working on getting all of their officers through crisis intervention training in order to prepare officers for any person that may be experiencing a mental health emergency.
Mangiacapara stressed the importance of officers remaining calm and allowing, “cooler heads to prevail,” in the field. “You want to try and set the tone and maintain a calm demeanor,” he explained.
Even with unruly or resistant suspects, Mangiacapara stated that they would be treated with “a minimal amount of force,” in order to “keep them from being a threat to the officers, themselves, or to bystanders.” However, he warned that, “If you fail to obey a lawful order, or comply with a lawful arrest, then that could be another criminal charge.”
Aside from training and preparing officers for the field, Mangiacapara said, “It really starts at the beginning,” adding, “We try to hire that officer without that aggressive demeanor.”
Mangiacapara said that much of the recruiting done by the department was done through “word of mouth.” However, the department does have job listings posted on the Village website, the New Mexico Municipal League website, Indeed.com, and the Albuquerque Journal.
To retain officers, a pay increase was given in April. “The pay increase was implemented not only to recruit, but also retain police officers, and the department is participating in the state-funded program resulting from House Bill 68 which provides retention stipends of five percent of their annual salary to officers with four, nine, 14 and 19 years of service,” he explained.
In an email the police chief said, “CPD strives to cultivate a favorable work environment by recruiting and retaining the highest quality officers available, maintaining open communications and transparency within the department and seeking out the best possible training and equipment accessible for personnel to be able to safely and effectively do their jobs.”
Corrales horsewoman Karla Frosch died May 9 at age 89. She was also an accomplished master gardener. A Wisconsin native, she is survived by son Bradley Frosh of Corrales, and grandchildren. Her husband, Richard Frosch and son, Bruce Frosch, died before her. Funeral services will not be held. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are directed to the National Alzheimer’s Association.
A life-long Corrales farmer, Randolph Armijo, died last month at 93 years old. He was a much-decorated Korean War veteran who was later a double-amputee as a result of a farming accident here. Armijo is survived by sons Randolph Joseph Armijo and Randall Armijo, as well as sisters Ernestine Hamilton and Marie Archibeque of Corrales. He was buried in San Ysidro Parish cemetery across from the Old Church.
Corrales archeologist Martha Binford died May 12. She once owned the old Sears House (also known as the “White House” on Corrales Road). She was 65. Binford earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, and later a master’s in training and development at the University of New Mexico. Before she retired in 2008, she was an administrator for UNM’s Continuing Education program. She is survived by her wife, Kit Zimmerman, of Oberlin, Ohio, and step-brother Grey Howell of Corrales.
A founder of Village government for Corrales, Maria de la luz Moreno, died peacefully April 11 at age 98. She moved to Albuquerque from El Paso as a young bride after her husband’s service in the Navy. They built their home in Corrales where they raised four children. Moreno served as a Catholic Daughters of America Grand Regent at San Ysidro Parish where she also was active in the Ladies’ Sodality.
She taught in 4-H and worked for the newly established Village of Corrales, drawing up the charter. With her husband, she led friendship exchange trips to Italy and Korea, were active members of the Corrales Historical Society and of the Corrales Zarzuela musical theater group. She loved Corrales life. Moreno worked at Singer, Rockwell, UNM’s Anderson School of Business, UNM’s Main Library and managed KLUZ radio station which was named after her.
She was the eldest of four siblings, outliving them all. She is preceded in death by her husband, Ramon Arturo Moreno, and survived by children Ana Maria, Mimi, Veronica, Arturo and six grandchildren. Funeral services will be at San Ysidro Church 10 a.m. June 24. A celebration of life will be announced later.
Tracy Wilson Murray died on May 15.
After graduating from Okanogan High School, Tracy attended Washington State University and received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1962. That was followed by a master’s degree in 1965 and a doctorate in economics in 1969, both at Michigan State University. He worked as an assistant professor of economics at the University of New Mexico from 1966 to1968. During that time, he met and married Katherine Ann Paton.
Murray’s career took him to the Georgia Institute of Technology as an assistant professor 1969-1974, then to New York University 1974-1978 as an associate professor and on to the University of Arkansas as the Conoco Phillips Petroleum Company distinguished professor at the Walton College of Business from 1978 until his retirement in 2010.
He also served as an economist at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1971-1973. He worked for the United States International Trade Commission in Washington, DC from 1987 to 1989, and was a professor at the Toulouse Business School in Toulouse, France from 2001- 2010.
Murray also acted as an economic consultant for the United Nations, for the Organization of American States, as well as for the World Bank, the Organization of European Cooperation and Development.
He was also a economic consultant for the governments of the United States, Columbia, Argentina, Morocco and Uruguay. Along with many scholarly articles, Tracy authored the textbook Trade Preferences for Developing Countries (Problems of Economic Integration).
After his retirement, he and wife Kathi Murray, moved to Corrales where he was often seen driving his classic Citroen Deux Chevaux in the Corrales 4th of July parade.
He is survived by his wife, Kathi, their daughter Lisa (Murray) Lester and her husband Kent Lester, their son Scott Murray, and grandchildren Alec and Lila Murray, as well as Tammy and Patrick Lane of Corrales and Stephen and Eryn Prothero of Albuquerque.
A private burial will take place at Sunset Memorial Park and a Celebration of Life will be held later this summer. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Albuquerque Woodworkers Association at P.O. Box 36133 Albuquerque, NM 87176-6133 or at http://www.abqawa.org
Corrales Comment has provided a wealth of information about Corrales and the surrounding areas as well as national and world affairs. I appreciate your publishing my story titled “Book About Corrales and Intel Reverberates in Oregon,” edited by Fred Marsh. It is still being used —the people in Ohio who are now understanding how Intel does its business— are starting to become informed about Intel. Intel plans to build a 20-billion-dollar complex in Ohio. Your extensive stories and information have been invaluable in our Oregon campaign to reduce Intel’s toxic/corrosive air and water emissions. The Corrales Comment’s reporting about climate summits, the Citizen Climate Lobby actions, and the 21 youth suing the federal government and individual states because the youth are not being left with an inhabitable earth, I hope spurs people to support their efforts.
I am putting a copy of this email in with a regular mail letter with my renewal of another year of Corrales Comment, for $14 out of state rate, in gratitude.
Forest Grove, OR
In regards to the article on the front page of the Corrales Comment “agreement prepared for reuse of Corrales interior drain” May 21, 2022.
I like walking along the Interior Drain. I will miss it. I will miss the turtles, the fish, the red winged blackbirds that sing at the Meadowlark intersection in the cattails. I find it sad that this region is described as “a green belt” (a city planning term) instead of a wetland habitat visited by many migratory birds each year, such as bald eagles and belted kingfishers.
The water level in the ditch rises and falls with the changes in the water both from the groundwater, and also from the level of Clear Ditch, which is controlled by Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) via diesel pumps for now.
The Fire Department wants to run a hydrant line along its length. This is necessary to increase fire protection for residential houses. It will be sad to no longer see the pocket gopher holes along the banks that are reused by the Woodhouse toads and garter snakes. Fire hydrant access is one of the criteria for setting the cost of fire insurance, along with dirt roads and whether the Fire Department has volunteers (firedepartment.net website lists 20 volunteers). The ditch is going away because houses want to lower the costs of living in Corrales.
The local elementary school will gain a pedestrian path to the recreation center. Safety is important around children. But I will still miss the young cottonwoods that are currently growing in the interior drain. The school is interested in teaching conservation issues. I have participated in their nature journal program.
I have also watched their problems with maintaining a wetlands habitat at the west end of the school. The water recycling effort suffered when the waste water was moved to a pressurized, narrow-diameter buried sewer system. Some children run along ditch for 5K every Friday during school, but they run along the middle ditch to the rec center. I run with them and have for years. It will be sad to run along what used to be the Interior Drain and no see snapping turtles basking in the sun.
Corrales is semi-rural and has quite a few land management issues related to roads and access, especially along Huff Road and Andrews Lane. The MRGCD cannot solve these problems. It is expected they would like to return control and maintenance to the Village. Our narrow dirt roads are functional for village life, but not for growth. Once properly organized, cars can go on them above the “No dust limit” of 15 miles per hour to get places faster.
I will miss tracking the progress of turkey along the ditches and the raccoon paws in the mud.
I will miss all the nature that will vanish when the Interior Drain is covered over. I wonder why no one speaks for these ecosystems, this “Place of Butterflies” and all the plants, insects, animals and people who will miss it all so much when it is gone, and not coming back.
In 1950, my family moved to Corrales. All of the stories about the Corrales Interior Drain in the Corrales Comment brought back memories of our early days. We called the ditch between East Ella and East la Entrada the “Dirty Ditch.”
My oldest son liked to find frogs in the ditch, and would take a bucket to the ditch to bring home his frogs. He waded in the water to find the frogs, and leeches attached onto his feet and legs. One day, he brought home a bucket of leeches. I always wondered how the leeches got there, and now I wonder if they are still there?
Another time, the winter weather was so cold that the winter froze in the “Dirty Ditch,” and we loaded up the kids, sleds and ice skates and went ice skating and sledding on the “Dirty Ditch.” It was the coldest day in Corrales that I can remember. Maybe another old person can tell me the year.
When people say Corrales is such a wonderful community (and it definitely is), much of the reason is because of your stellar communications that have kept us informed and “in the know” about issues, events and opportunities here. You are a treasure. Enjoy your birthday and your retirement.
I’ve really appreciated your dedication to the village. You have kept the community informed and involved. You are leaving a very large gap in the village. You will be missed.
Thank you, Jeff, for being our glue for so many years! You made this village a sharing, happy place.
In the 31 years Jim and I have resided in Corrales, we have subscribed to the Comment, and have wholly subscribed to its importance as an invaluable Village of Corrales communication. The Comment has been the iconic image for all things Corrales, but even more, a democratic mouthpiece for the diverse ideas of Corrales’ residents. In sickness or in health, the Comment was the “go-to” to be heard, to be read, the bottom line for accurate Village government information. Only a journalistic superman could maintain this twice monthly publication for 40 years. Doing arithmetic: 12 x 2 = 24; 24 x 40 = 960 Comments.
When Jim and I moved to Corrales in early 1991, we joined volunteer arts and community groups, and frequently found ourselves in the PR role. Of course, that meant contacting the Comment for articles; since 1991, Jeff never rejected any of my scores of article requests. I was met with only encouragement and endorsement.…
We will miss you personally and journalistically:that herculean work ethic, your personal humility, your omnipresence at Village Council meetings, your immaculate memory for Corrales events. Thank you.
Jim and Carla Wright
My first brush with the Corrales Comment came in the winter of 1981-82. I’d moved here in the summer of ’81, was loving my newly adopted home village, especially all the eccentrics and other characters. One Saturday morning as I approached the front door of the Corrales post office… “Sir, want to buy a Corrales Comment?” I thought, “hmmm, a 13-year-old in a trench coat…”
Then I reflected on my days as a 10 year old newspaper boy, thought “Why not?” Later on I met Jeff hustling around refilling Corrales Comment vending machines, got to know him better, became friends, traveling companions and Legends in our Own Minds in the Backyard Volleyball circuit.
Arthur Miller said, “ A good newspaper is the nation talking to itself.”
Philip Graham said, “ the newspaper is the first rough draft of history.”
I say every community needs someone to guide that conversation to remind us the communal decisions we make will be our history. The role of any journalist is to ask questions. We all know about the who, what, where, when, how, and why of newspaper reporting.
A great newspaperman keeps asking more questions and more questions. Jeff Radford asks Corrales the right questions, then made us all re-examine our first, easy answers about the issues of the day, then finally arrive at a better version of Corrales. His questions allowed the charlatans and merely self-interested to reveal themselves.
And his questions got some of us who didn’t even know we had ideas to discover them and speak up and then get caught up in being involved even if we had always preferred the quiet anonymity of the back of the room.
Later on when I got to know Jeff better I discovered Jeff persisted in the worst habits many of us picked up in college… no, no, no, not that one, whatever you’re thinking. It’s the All Nighter. Did you ever pull an All Nighter before the big exam or to finish a term paper? How many of you know that before every issue of the Corrales Comment Jeff Radford pulls a nearly all nighter to finish writing it? I can’t imagine 40 years of writing all night 24 times a year; that’s dedication, not procrastination. That’s a story about how much Jeff cares about his community.
So, thanks, Jeff, for your years of dedication to the community, for years of genuine friendship and “Happy Trails” to you and congratulations on your retirement. Happy Trails to you.
How many firearm deaths do we wish to prevent?
Here are 10 gun safety recommendations to reduce firearm deaths that do not compromise Second Amendment rights:
Let’s bring leaders from at least Japan and the United States together to see what we may learn. Per capita, our annual gun deaths (40,000+) are about 500x higher than theirs (76 <- not a typo). The number of guns we own is also about 500x greater per capita (400,000,000 vs. 310,000).
The Second Amendment states: “A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” The “security” of our “free state" is clearly not secure. If our “militia” is to be defined as all Americans, we are obviously not “well regulated.” Greater regulation is needed.
The profusion of guns in America (compared to any other country, not just Japan) clearly correlates with the number of deaths we endure. If we do not wish to accept that level of tragedy, as parents in Uvalde understandably yelled out to President Biden, “DO something!” Do we have the will?
We can always amend legislation. We cannot bring back a lost life, nor 40,000.
This is How We Create Common Ground
Why can’t we move forward with steps to curb gun violence? Hint: It has nothing to do with the National Rifle Association (NRA). The answer is because to curb gun violence politicians would have to be representing the 80 percent of Americans who are currently unrepresented in our political system.
How does a Democracy end up rarely representing most of its citizens? Three reasons:
Problem: Primaries are broken because first round public elections exclude independent voters, but most importantly are controlled by the political parties that should be participants, not rule setters. We have very low turnout primaries where candidates focus on the party base and over the years both parties have tracked to their political extremes leaving little interest in compromise or representing all voters-only the party base.
Solution: Look to Alaska and adopt a blanket primary where all candidates run together and the top four voter getters advance to the general election where voters then rank the candidates first through fourth using a simple ballot. Candidates have to listen to all voters from the beginning of the election cycle and be responsive to the whole political spectrum.
Problem: Money drives campaigns and most of it comes from special interest groups on the left and the right that have a vested interest in keeping the status quo highly polarized. Surprised that candidates from the left and right this election cycle are fundraising off of the mass shootings? Well, it is effective whether the party opposes all gun regulation or embraces banning certain or all weapons. No one gets elected by articulating a common ground solution under our current system.
Solution: Public financing of campaigns and reversal of the U.S Supreme Court Citizens United decision so that once and for all we establish that corporations are not people and that freedom of expression is not tied to how much money you have.
Problem: Gerrymandered districts exist in most states and certainly in New Mexico as evidenced by the Democratically controlled legislature and many Republican controlled county commissions like Sandoval County. Politicians carving up the voters so that they can stay in power is a practice as old as the hills. Unfortunately, it also creates districts where candidates only have to talk to "their own kind" and reach out to a small sliver of voters. What if every district was competitive between parties and candidates?
Solution: Create an independent redistricting commission so that politicians can't decide who votes for them. The goal should be competitive elections and districts that keep communities intact.
In sum, our inability to solve wicked complex policy issues are rooted in our rigged election, campaign, districting and finance laws.
Want to come up with solutions on abortion, gun laws, taxes, education and more that 80 percent of New Mexicans can agree with? Change how we run primary elections, district elected officials, finance campaigns and register voters. There is a straight line from our failure in multiple policy arenas to the way we structure our elections.
Bob Perls is a former State Representative and former U.S. diplomat, writing here as a private citizen not representing any organization.
By Chris Allen
We’ve all seen them, those signs posted on streetlights and poles with cryptic letters and arrows. They appear for a few days and then disappear. They are directional signs that help actors and crew find a production site.
I am an extra, also known as a background actor. We are crucial to any movie or TV show, fleshing out a scene for the main actors and the viewers. Extras rarely are given speaking roles. Rather, we are silent, miming our conversations as patrons at a restaurant or workers in an office. Often, we stroll down a sidewalk or drive on the road.
My cell phone rang late on a Monday evening. The air had cooled from its high of 104 degrees to 98, and I was about to train one of my horses. I answered the call. It was a local casting agent.
“Chris, we need a beater car for tomorrow morning.” Beater car refers to a vehicle well past its prime that displays great character. “Do you still have that ratty farm truck?”
“Sure. Where’s the shoot?”
“West on I-40, about 45 minutes out of town.”
Uh, oh. There was slim chance my 1987 Isuzu pickup with 190,000 miles on it would make it that far.
Recently the cab had filled with gasoline fumes while I was hauling a load of hay. When I arrived home, I discovered a leak in the engine. Although it had been in two productions previously, Bordertown with Jennifer Lopez, and Breaking Bad where the director described it as the perfect meth truck, those shoots were both in Albuquerque. This location was 30 miles of open, empty desert away.
“When is call time?”
“Late morning,” she assured me.
I hadn’t worked for this agent in a while, and I had been hoping to reconnect. Late call time? Probably worth the risk. At that hour, I could call my husband or AAA if things went awry.
“Sure, book me. I’ll be there.”
The truck, faded navy blue with dings, dents, scrapes, and broken running lights, had taken two children to college. While there, it had been ransacked and had the radio torn out. The tailgate barely closed, and the rear bumper was askew. Nowadays we used it solely as a farm vehicle, hauling hay, manure to spread on the fields, and orchard trimmings to the local composting facility. It hadn’t been driven in months and was currently parked in the middle of the pasture.
I went out to retrieve it so my husband, Paul, and I could check its condition. One of my steeds had dumped a pyramid of manure on the hood. In the heat, it had concretized. I ran back for a broom and pushed off the mound of desiccated, undigested hay fiber. Fortunately, the broiling desert sun had baked out the smell of horse manure.
I moved the truck to the front of the house. “Paul!” I called from the driveway. He was relaxing inside.
Silence. I could hear the dialogue from one of his favorite Sci-Fi movies, The Abyss.
“What!” he shouted back. He was settled in for the night, but I knew he would dredge himself out of his chair to help.
“I was booked to bring the truck to a movie set tomorrow. We need to check the tires, fluids, all that stuff.”
“All right,” he sighed heavily. “I’ll be out in a minute.”
“While you do that, I’ll get my outfits together.” Extras are asked to provide several changes of clothing for when you appear on camera, all in muted, unobtrusive browns, grays, and blues so you don’t conflict with other aspects of the set. My “movie wardrobe” hadn’t been used recently, and it took time to gather it.
“Chris!” Paul’s voice rocketed through the front door. “Oil’s barely registering on the dip stick. You’ll have to get some. While you do that, I’ll pump up the tires.”
As I backed my car out, I saw Paul connecting the bicycle pump to the front left tire. God bless that man!
We added the oil and put the container on the floor by the passenger seat. We added water to the radiator, and then I noticed the gas gauge. “I’m going to fill it up. It’s a late call time, but I’d feel more comfortable getting a full tank tonight.”
“You’ll have to wait until morning,” Paul cautioned.
“The headlight button doesn’t stay on. You have to push it in with your finger.”
“I can do that,” I chirped.
“It’s a standard, Chris. One hand on the steering wheel, one hand on the button, and what hand is going to shift the gears?”
“I’ll get back before dark,” I laughed.
When I returned, I logged onto the agent’s website to verify the call time. I was stunned to see my name next to a 6:00 a.m. call! That’s “late?”
“You can’t do that, Chris.” Paul was peering over my shoulder. “You’ll have to cancel. It’ll be dark driving that early.”
“No! I can’t! I’ll never work again. Once you commit, you must show up! The production depends upon the people who are booked to complete the scene.”
“We can try taping the button,” Paul said, rummaging around in a drawer for the duct tape.
I sat in the driver’s seat with a wad of silver tape over the headlight button. Paul roved around the vehicle shouting commands. “Headlights! Turn signals! Right! Left! Brake lights!” His report? Headlights worked.
Brake lights worked. Back turn signals worked, front ones did not.
“You can’t go on the interstate,” Paul warned. “Let’s see if we can route you on the frontage road.”
Paul fired up Google Earth on the computer. “Here you go. Head straight down Coors, turn onto Paseo del Norte, run past the shooting range and the mattress plant, and then out to the frontage road. It will take longer, so you should leave at 5:00.”
Ugh! I am not a morning person.
Paul went downstairs to get ready for his own workday, and I reviewed the route. I then trotted downstairs to pack my wardrobe. As I neared the bottom, I detected the distinct odor of dog poop. In the dim light, I saw a large, brownish, amorphous blob on the brick floor. I flipped on the stairway light and saw a moist mound of puppy goo that was bisected by a boot print. Off to the left, a series of heel prints continued from the pile, across the living room and into the kitchen, each step diminishing in size in proportion to the distance from the pile.
“Paul!” I shouted. “You stepped in dog poop! Check your boots!” It was undoubtedly Mia, our new Labrador puppy who was having a terrible time grasping the concept of housebreaking.
After cleaning the mess, I ran back upstairs to commit my route to memory, since at 5:00 a.m., there is a fifty-fifty chance my brain will function. As I traced the roadways, the nauseating stench of skunk assaulted me.
“Paul! Are the dogs out?” I screamed as I careened down the stairs. I threw open the backdoor and before me was another pup, Ember. Her head hung so low, her nose scraped the threshold. She reeked.
“Paul! Ember got skunked.”
He came thundering down the hallway in his underwear.
“Please go get the hydrogen peroxide from under the bathroom sink,” I beseeched. I buy the stuff in bulk since, with four dogs, this happens on a regular basis, though never with an early call time.
I emptied the bucket we had just used to clean up after Mia and mixed up the de-skunk solution. We each took a sponge and drenched Ember with the concoction. The poor dog howled in despair, leaping, and thrashing about, then slipping her collar and running into the living room where she violently shook off the solution, splattering the couch, rugs, and coffee table with her castoff droplets.
It was now midnight.
By the time I packed my clothing and a selection of shoes into the truck, laid out the food for the horses’ morning feeding, and put my cell phone on the charger, it was 1:00 a.m. My fingers reluctantly set the alarm for 4:30.
I crawled into bed exhausted, but my rabbit brain kept checking lists to see if I had everything in place. Cell phone! Sunglasses! The keys to the truck! By the front door?
The next minute the radio alarm blared in the inky darkness. An annoying voice said, “The New Mexico Film Office has announced a new production is coming into the state. The movie, a sequel to Wolverine, will be directed by James Mangold, director of the remake of 3:10 to Yuma. The production will employ several hundred people.”
“Oh, God,” I groaned, slapping my hand against the radio alarm. “Lucky me, I’m one of them.”
To beat the heat, I dressed in a lightweight outfit of beige Capri pants, and tan linen shirt with short sleeves.
I hoped this would pass the inspection of the wardrobe people, and they would not require me to change into a warmer outfit like long-legged pants and a long-sleeved jersey.
I slapped on some provisional make-up, fed the livestock, and buckled myself into the truck. It took about an hour for me to drive to the location. On a long stretch of barren roadway, momentary panic set in. There was no one around should the truck decide to be recalcitrant and conk out. I mentally crossed my fingers.
Bolstered by a beneficent universe, it indeed nattered along, accompanied by a symphony of squeaks, clinks, and squeals, and by the time I arrived, the slanted rays of the morning sun lit the world. I followed the signs to base camp and parked where a sleepy-eyed production assistant pointed. I was a few steps toward check-in when I remembered to remove the duct tape, relieving the headlights of their responsibility.
Passing muster with the wardrobe ladies and receiving permission to return the other outfits to the truck, I then sat down to the best thing about working on a set, the catered breakfast. Trays were filled with puffy clouds of scrambled eggs mounded with melted white cheese. Savory bacon, sausage, and crisp hash browned potatoes filled other trays. The smells of sizzling peppers and mushrooms from the made-to-order omelet station mingled with the fruity scent of freshly juiced beverages. Nearby were pots of steaming hot coffee.
I heard my name as I popped the last forkful into my mouth. Three of us with vehicles were ordered to caravan to set. I arrived in line first, and another production assistant, shielding her eyes against the rays of the sun, asked if she could hitch a ride. I gulped.
“Sure, let me clean off the seat.” Farm truck, remember.
I heaved the hangers of unused wardrobe and a box of yarn to the back seat along with a chicken waterer.
I grabbed the container of oil, shoved it against the console, and invited her in while I brushed smooth the torn and worn upholstery, raising clouds of dust along with bits of hay and a couple of chicken feathers.
We drove a short distance up a paved road and pulled into the parking lot of a gas station and convenience store.
“Here is fine,” the young lady indicated, pointing to the gas pumps. I pulled next to one of them, and she reached for the door handle.
“Oh, sorry,” I shrugged my shoulders. “A dog ate the plastic handle. You have to roll down the window and open the door from the outside.”
“No problem,” she said graciously, reaching for the power button.
“No,” I said. “You actually have to roll it down.”
She quickly cranked the stiff window and groped for the exterior door handle so she could vacate my vehicle.
“Be careful of the exposed springs,” I warned, fearful she would shred her clothing as she slid out.
I remained where I was until another production assistant approached. “Would you please pull up into that parking space by the front door? Leave the keys in the vehicle, and then you can head over there,” he said, gesturing to a small shade tent that had been erected on the west edge of the parking lot. “Craft service is next to it.”
I looked beyond the tent to the north and saw a silver catering truck with shelves of snacks, a coffee bar, and a tub filled with iced drinks. Oh, thank goodness, I thought, knowing it was likely to be another 100-degree day.
“And bathrooms are behind the building,” he continued. Also good to know as filming can run 12-15 hours.
I got as far as the coffee bar when someone called. “Hey, sorry. We need you to move the truck. Please pull it behind the building and wait there.”
Resuming my seat behind the steering wheel, I shifted to back up. “Hold it!” a commanding voice shouted.
Activity on the set was increasing. Safety dictated I wait to move until dollies of equipment, cables of electrical wiring, and miscellaneous people stopped crisscrossing behind me. “Ok, back up and go to your right.”
I pulled off on the side of a road on the east side of the gas pumps. Fifteen minutes later I heard a shrill whistle. “Bring the truck back,” he yelled.
I returned to park exactly where I had been earlier. This is standard procedure on a movie set. If you expect efficiency, you are looking at the wrong industry.
My truck never moved from that time until the end of the shooting day, twelve and a half hours later. Except for lunch, I spent my time in the extras holding tent, 10-feet by 10-feet of cover against the brutal, blazing sun. Nine other people were with me, two of them fervently hoping they will be called for a speaking role, their break into the business.
We shifted our chairs frequently so we could stay within the margins of shade as the sun moved across the sky. Occasionally someone would be called to participate in a scene, but mostly it was waiting, waiting, waiting.
At 7:15 p.m., one of the crew approached and asked who owned the blue truck. “I do,” I replied.
“Can you have it back tomorrow? We need it for continuity.”
“Sure,” I sighed, thinking of what I had gone through to get this day’s work.
“Hey, you get to come back,” one of the extras commented. “Congratulations!”
“Yep,” I replied, shifting my seat for the hundredth time that day. “But it takes a big chunk out of my acting ego to know they only want me for my truck.”
By Meredith Hughes
This edition of What’s On unfortunately misses a good segment of the month that is “bustin’ out all over,” as the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic song from Carousel goes. My personal June tradition is to sing this, softly, in our library to honor June the librarian, who either detests or is delighted by this homage….
Do visit the websites of your favorite museums/galleries/organizations to check opening times/new regulations. Published the first issue of the month, What’s On? invites suggestions one week before the publication date. email@example.com
Also June 19-20, celebrate Black-owned businesses, artisans, vendors, performers, and more at this weekend event at 1 Civic Plaza, Albuquerque. Juneteenth actually falls on June 19, to commemorate the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery in 1865, though the existence of this move was unknown to many for an entire year.