Corrales Fire Department Commander Tanya Lattin reports that this holiday season “With everyone’s help, we assisted 41 families.” At least 148 people, of whom 86 were children, were helped. In fact, several citizens have steadied families with internet service for online school, as well as food, since March. Lattin says the Fire Department will continue to have food available for families in need.
She wants to thank those who donated funds, and “adopted” children or whole families. As well as Kiwanis Club of Corrales for being the fiduciary entity, and local businesses that collected and donated. Village Mercantile made the drive their “giving Tuesday” event and doubled all donations on Giving Tuesday. Casa Vieja, Mercado de Maya/ Ambiente and Roadrunner Waste were supportive, too, and Corrales Growers’ Market donated fresh food.
Along the same lines, the Village of Corrales granted funds to 29 local businesses under the CARES grant for a total of $255,600. The Village currently is closing out the grant and paying out all grantees.
Thankfully, 11 members and staff at the Corrales Fire Department received the Pfizer vaccine on December 22, with the second shot coming on January 12, 2021. The department also is assisting the New Mexico Department of Health with vaccinations for healthcare providers.
With Joe Biden in the White House and John Kerry taking charge of the nation’s side-tracked response to climate change, prospects have improved that the planet’s livability can be retained. The president-elect’s proposal to direct some $2 trillion for that goal over the next four years may be blocked by a reluctant Congress already gagging over proposed trillions for pandemic relief. But since he first proclaimed climate change to be one of his top priorities, Biden has cloaked his plan as a job-creation bonanza.
On the president-elect’s long list of things he’ll do on day one is re-joining the Paris Climate Accord, a loosely binding pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to suppress and then reduce ever-rising global temperatures.
In tandem, Biden has endorsed Senator Tom Udall’s legacy-sealing legislation, the 30 By 30 Resolution which calls for concerted and sustained action to halt destruction of natural ecosystems, establishing a national goal of conserving at least 30 percent of the land and ocean of the United States by the year 2030. In it, Udall asserts that “conserving and restoring nature is one of the most efficient and cost-effective strategies for fighting climate change.” (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIX No.13 September 19, 2020 “Senator Tom Udall Urges Push to ‘Save Nature’ By 2030.”)
Biden’s own climate plan as enunciated during the campaign has the following goals:
• Ensure that the United States achieves a 100 percent clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
The Democratic candidate said he would immediately sign a series of new executive orders to correct reckless orders issued by Trump. He said he would demand that Congress enact legislation in the first year of his presidency that: 1) establishes an enforcement mechanism that includes milestone targets no later than the end of his first term in 2025; 2) makes a historic investment in clean energy and climate research and innovation; and 3) incentivizes the rapid deployment of clean energy innovations across the economy, especially in communities most impacted by climate change.
• Build a stronger, more resilient nation by making infrastructure investments to rebuild the nation and to ensure that our buildings, water, transportation and energy infrastructure can withstand the impacts of climate change.
• Aid in development of regional climate resilience plans, in partnership with local universities and national labs, for local access to the most relevant science, data, information, tools and training, and
• Rally the rest of the world to meet the threat of climate change. Biden said he will not only re-commit the United States to the Paris Agreement on climate change, he will go much further.
Even if Biden fails to move bold initiatives through Congress, it has been clear for more than five years that much of the needed action to confront climate change would come from the private sector, and that continues to be the expectation. Partly due to the pandemic’s drag on the economy, greenhouse gas emissions are expected to drop dramatically in 2020, probably to their lowest level in the last 30 years. That means the United States at least temporarily is on track to meet the pledged reductions made by John Kerry and the Obama administration at the 2015 Paris conference. Even without the Trump administration’s participation in the global agreement, by the end of 2020, the United States was nearly half-way to meeting the reduction goals set by Obama-Kerry in 2015.
U.S. corporations and others around the world have pledged deep cuts in emissions and conversions to renewable, green energy sources. This fall, Japan’s leadership pledged to transform that nation’s economy to be carbon-neutral by 2050. The European Union and South Korea have pledged to reach net zero by then as well. Earlier this year, China promised to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2060.
Current projections indicate that production of electricity from renewable sources will surpass that from burning coal within the next five years, according to the International Energy Agency. Closer to home, Public Service Company of New Mexico continues its plan to convert electrical generation from coal to renewables in the near term. PNM is moving ahead with announced plans to close the San Juan Generating Station as well as the Four Corners station in compliance with the N.M. Legislature’s Energy Transitions Act.
The act sets a statewide renewable energy standard of 50 percent by 2030 for New Mexico’s investor-owned utilities and rural electic co-ops leading to a goal of 80 percent renewables by 2040. Investor-owned utilities are to reach zero carbon emissions by 2045. Three solar electric generating projects in San Juan County are planned to partially make up for those closures. The first expected to begin delivering electricity would be the San Juan Solar project to generate 598 megawatts of power, accompanied by 300 megawatts of storage capacity nearby. Another indication of the way things are going: the N.M. General Services Department last month cleared the way to order 28 electric vehicles for the State’s motor pool. Installation of 30 charging stations is nearing completion at state government locations around Santa Fe.
Biden’s choice of John Kerry as the administration’s point-man on climate change offers maximum leverage for effectiveness at home and abroad. Not only was Kerry U.S. Secretary of State under President Barack Obama, he also headed the U.S. delegation to the United Nations conference on climate change in Paris. As such, his role was key to the international agreement’s success. (See Corrales Comment’s coverage of the Paris conference starting with Vol.XXXIV No.21 December 19, 2015 “U.N. Climate Change Accord: Citizen Action Made It Happen.”)
Kerry’s commitment to confronting climate change runs deep. Along with Al Gore, Kerry was a delegate from Congress to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 when he was 49 years old. That global conference established the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change which set in motion years of international collaboration culminating with the 2015 Paris accord. As a senator from Massachusetts, Kerry was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and delivered a benchmark address to the United Nations on the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit.
“When it comes to the challenge of climate change, the falsehood of today’s naysayers is only matched by the complacency of our political system,” Kerry said in that 2012 speech, promising unrelenting support for the campaign to confront climate change. “We knew the road ahead would be long. But we also knew that this was a watershed moment —that it created the kind of grassroots momentum that made people sit up and start to listen to the damage we were doing to the environment.”
He was the Democratic Party’s candidate for the presidency in 2004. Kerry also led U.S. delegations for negotiations at the U.N. climate conferences in Kyoto in 1997, Buenos Aires in 1998, The Hague in 2000, Bali in 2007, Poznan in 2008 and Copenhagen in 2009.
Al Gore, 44 when he chaired the U.S. Senate delegation to the Earth Summit in Rio, later founded and still leads The Climate Reality Project. Like Kerry, Gore ran for president of the United States, winning the popular vote in 2000 but losing to George W. Bush in a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In an op-ed essay for the New York Times Sunday, December 13, Gore expressed hope with Kerry leading the Biden effort on climate. “Even as the climate crisis rapidly worsens, scientists, engineers and business leaders are making use of stunning advances in technology to end the world’s dependence on fossil fuels far sooner than was hoped possible.…
“Slowing the rapid warming of the planet will require a unified global effort. Mr. Biden can lead by strengthening the country’s commitment to reduce emissions under the Paris agreement —something the country is poised to do thanks to the work of cities, states, businesses and investors, which have continued to make progress despite resistance from the Trump administration.”
By Meredith Hughes
When you are 22, athletic, and have a free summer ahead, even during a pandemic, you go for it, especially if you have supportive Corrales parents. Nicolette Jones has it all, and in November completed the 3,100-mile trek that is the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, stretching from just above the edge of northern Montana to the Crazy Cook Monument on the Mexican border.
According to the Trail Coalition website, “The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) is one of the most significant trail systems in the world. Established by Congress in 1978, it spans 3,100 miles between Mexico and Canada, traverses five states and connects countless communities along the spine of the Rocky Mountains.” What may be more important, it separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.
The establishment of the Appalachian Trail in 1925 kicked everything off. Years later, the passage of the National Trails System Act in 1968 officially designated the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails, and directed that 14 other possible routes be studied, including the Continental Divide Trail.
As Jones hiked on her own, over a period of four months, she posted entries on her new blog, “A Walk In the Park, on WordPress, whenever in range of a wifi signal. One of her early entries was this: “It wasn’t until my first day alone that the reality of my solitude hit me. I realized how much I would be missing my friends and family for the next few months, but all the same I was excited to be hiking. Being out on my own also made me appreciate how much getting here has not been an individual endeavor. I’ve had so much support and help from the people around me to make this hike possible! That day was filled with a mix of emotions while I saw lots of bear footprints and enjoyed some beautiful views.”
Yes, bears. Grizzlies. Montana is rich in them. And even though Jones recently graduated from Adams State in Alamosa, Colorado, whose mascot is a grizzly, she admits to being “bearanoid.” Jones was not carrying an actual tent —just material on which to lay her mat and sleeping bag, and a modest tarp to erect over her, as needed. Her first night was… relatively sleepless. But, she got with the program. As she put it, “I had always wanted to explore Montana and Wyoming, having never been there, the COVID-19 regulations were not strict, and the area was very hiker friendly.” Her backpack’s “base weight” was about 11 pounds, including a small stove, her sleeping gear, and minimal clothes. Food and water added about two pounds per day, and at one stretch she traveled nine deeply backpack-heavy days without reprovisioning.
Somewhere in Wyoming, she posted this: “The past four days have been hot, dry, dusty and filled with cow poop. This was one of the most difficult stretches for me. The days felt really long and the terrain was not always inspiring. The first night out, I realized there was something wrong with my stove, and, too tired to fix it, I just cold soaked my food for the past three days. Most of the time, I really just felt like I was walking from water source to water source, not really hiking. As a fun bonus, most of the water sources were littered with cow poop and cows pooping. Luckily, I was able to download some podcasts before I left so I had something to listen to other than the wind.”
Her parents back in Corrales periodically mailed her supplies, and kept a bead on her via a GPS tracker. Her mom, Heidi, is a long time mechanical engineer, and her dad was the parent-in-charge of the household of two sons and daughter. A couple of times her parents swooped in to relieve her, once from an unexpected snow storm, once when her boyfriend’s father fell ill and unexpectedly died. Jones and her boyfriend had intended to hike together for about a month, but that plan crumbled.
Along the way, Jones did some walking and camping with fellow hikers, but also stayed in what might be called hostels, and occasionally showered and bedded down in hotels, when she reached towns with grocery stores and laundromats. But she also became adept at washing undies in a plastic bag while on the trail. Water, environmentally correct soap, much shaking, rinsing, then hanging to dry from her pack.
One of the most strenuous portions of the journey involved an 8,000-foot climb among 14,000-foot peaks, then walking a ridge line trail at about 12,000 feet. No surprise — the CDT has been described as “the highest, most challenging, and most remote of the country’s National Scenic Trails.”
As you might imagine, shoes were key. She went through seven pair of Altras in four months. As of early 2021, the trail from the Crazy Cook Monument at the Mexican border to Waterton Lakes National Park at the Canadian border is 95 percent complete, with only 164 miles remaining to be protected on public land.
Now back with her boyfriend in Leadville, Colorado, where she will again be a ski instructor, Jones, an English major who also studied something called Adventure Leadership, a pursuit her mom dubbed “majoring in recess,” might indeed like to work with youth in outdoor education. But also, recreationally speaking, go bike packing with her boyfriend somewhere outside the United States post pandemic. She sees no need to commit to a career as yet.
As she notes in her blog, which she intends to continue, “This summer has been immensely rewarding, and in the face of the joy and strife I’ve experienced on trail, this stone marker [to the Crazy Cook] at the Mexico border seems like an awfully arbitrary ending to the endeavor. Of course, the perspective I have gained and the joy I’ve felt do not end at that terminus. The goal, after all, is to bring back those important things which can be gained from this sort of undertaking.”
Such as learning that the “crazy cook” was a kitchen worker who killed someone.
Her blog can be found at https://awalkinthepark906214396.wordpress.com.
Explore the trail remotely at https://continentaldividetrail.org
If you love digging in dirt and fussing with seeds, and now are inclined to become better informed, soon you can dive into the 15-week Master Gardener Training offered each winter-spring by Sandoval Extension Master Gardeners, in partnership with New Mexico State University. The training program is expected to start by February and end by early May 2021.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the training will be virtual, in the classroom, along with small group activities guided online by Master Gardener mentors. The training program covers practical horticulture topics including sustainability, botany, plant identification, soil biology, entomology, integrated pest management, arboriculture, perennials, vegetable and fruit production, plant pathology, weeds, pollinators, companion planting, and irrigation.
To be certified as a Sandoval Extension Master Gardener, you must successfully complete the training program, but also complete a 30-hour internship that includes 10 hours of public outreach activity and 20 hours of other community service activities. Given COVID-19 restrictions, the details of the internship are being reassessed. To maintain your status as a Certified Master Gardener, you must volunteer at least 40 hours each year, of which at least 10 hours must be earned in continuing education classes.
Class size for this program is limited to 24 people. To apply for the 2021 Training program, fill out the online application here: http://sandovalmastergardeners.org/intern-application/ You will be contacted when further information becomes available.
A team of Corrales woodworkers has built small, student desks for children trying to learn at home during the pandemic. Ben Blackwell said he was inspired to start such an effort here after seeing a CBS Evening News story in early October. He took a prototype to Corrales Elementary School this fall for feedback, and then modified his design to make desk legs shorter for a better fit for a typical kid in kindergarten through third grade.
As of January 1, he and other woodworkers have produced 24 small desks for Corrales Elementary, Alameda Elementary and Bernalillo Elementary., and for distribution through the Corrales Fire Department.Rick Thaler, his son, Jacob Thaler, and Tracy Murray have joined the team, along with Rio Rancho’s Mike Murray, members of the Albuquerque Woodworker’s Association.
They enlisted help from the Kiwanis Club of Corrales which donated $300 to defray cost of materials, about $30-40 each. Donations have come in from other sources. National Wood Products provided materials, while Shannon Perry of Bluedog Fine Woodworking donated computer numerical control programming and machine time to cut desk parts, and Billy Warriner and Mike Otero of DS Assemblies provided assembly time.
Music in Corrales volunteer Jannie Dusseau recently described the organization’s pandemically truncated season as “a significant learning experience and undertaking for our small volunteer organization, as we navigated what for us have been the unknown waters of obtaining and presenting online concerts.”
And still they persisted. The schedule already was set for September 2020 through April 2021, when COVID-19 blew everything up. The president of Corrales Cultural Arts Council’s Music in Corrales, Lance Ozier, along with Mike Foris and Deb Dapson took a deep dive into how to switch from in-person to online concerts.
They sought a new platform vendor who could support video on demand, and their usual ticket sales platform using brownpapertickets was no longer viable. They decided to offer the first online presentation for free. It featured Russian pianist Arsentiy Kharitonov, and ran through January 3, 2021.
Kharitonov, working from the University of North Texas, had quickly sent Music in Corrales an elegant concert video in 4G, which sadly had to be converted to 1080 in order to flow online. According to Ozier, about 67 people registered for 89 tickets, with the cost covered by funds from New Mexico Arts, as well as donors to Music in Corrales.
They contacted every artist already committed to its Corrales season, and slowly made renegotiated deals. Next up, running from January 23 through January 31 is a concert featuring Celtic fiddle and cellist duo, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, making their fifth appearance with Music in Corrales. For this one, music lovers will pay $15 per ticket.
Following the first viewing opportunity on January 23, Fraser and Haas will participate in a live question-and-answer session right after the concert, beginning at approximately 8:15 p.m. Tickets are available at http://www.musicincorrales.org/concert/fraser-and-haas-concert/
The vast repertoire the Scottish fiddler and the American cellist have developed over a 20-year partnership spans several centuries of Scottish music as well as Fraser’s own compositions, and blends the Scottish tradition with cutting-edge musical explorations. And their work has helped revive and reinvigorate the Scottish tradition of playing dance music on violin and cello.
One critic suggested that what makes their music soar is its “tonal variation and attack to spare,” along with “the responsiveness each shows to the other.”
They tell stories as well, sharing the lore surrounding Scotland’s musical heritage. And, in addition to performing, when not constrained pandemically, they both teach at fiddle camps across the globe.
Fraser, described as "the Michael Jordan of Scottish fiddling,” was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame in 2011. Haas, a Juilliard graduate, has performed with most of the fiddle world’s greats. Begun in January 2020, the pair’s latest CD, “SYZYGY,” is finally rolling out. The title apparently references “the nearly straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies, such as the sun, moon, and earth during a solar or lunar eclipse, in a gravitational system.” The duo says to “Make sure you check the livestream page for album release shows coming to a computer screen near you.” See https://culburnie.com/alasdairandnatalie.html
Ozier thinks the live streaming online video platform Music in Corrales selected, Dacast, based in San Francisco and London, is meeting its needs. A few glitches here and there may well pop up, as concert venues and performers reinvent ways to reach their audiences. Look for Boyd Meets Girl online come February. Australian classical guitarist Rupert Boyd and American cellist Laura Metcalf, based in New York, will serve up an “eclectic and engaging range of repertoire, from Bach to Beyoncé.”
Maybe 2021 will be the year some Corrales seniors wishing to downsize, but still live in the village, will begin to realize their dreams. Frank Steiner, with the backing of a Village in the Village committee, appears more hopeful than ever.
In the fall of 2019, Steiner informally presented to Corrales Planning and Zoning Administrator Laurie Stout his plan to create a complex of five duplexes on the 1.89-acre parcel where his Sunbelt Nursery now sits. The land is at the corner of Corrales Road and Dixon Road, in the commercial district, which would make walking or bike riding to village stores, restaurants and the Bosque Preserve uncomplicated for residents.
The long-standing one-home-per-acre rule that has prevailed in Corrales for decades does not precisely apply to properties in the commercial zone, according to Steiner, who suggested in January 2020 that an addendum simply could be added to the commercial zone ordinance to make this happen. And possibly, the expected revision of Corrales’ Comprehensive Plan to which Mayor Jo Anne Roake has referred, could include a reconsideration of that long-standing one-home-per-acre rule.
After a meeting with Steiner in October 2019, Stout emailed him that “Allowing five duplexes with ten families would be a radical departure from current land use practices in the Village of Corrales. You did, however, state that you had the support of several councillors. My suggestion would be to float your idea and see if anyone would be willing to sponsor the higher density housing in the commercial zone as an additional permissive use, with site development plan approval.”
Leap through multiple pandemic months to early January 2021, and Steiner suggested this: “When the current councillors were running for office they all supported alternative senior housing in their public debates. Bill Woldman has met with our group and is very supportive. We have met with two other councillors who have expressed an interest in the project.
“Woldman encouraged us to meet with Planning and Zoning to investigate a special use permit for our project. P&Z director Stout said that would not be difficult if she were directed to do so by the Village Council. We hope the new councillor to be appointed by our mayor to the vacated District Four seat will be as supportive.”
He emphasized that “The one acre per house rule in the residential neighborhoods is not in jeopardy. This is limited to the commercial zone only.”
The push to alter the one acre rule for the Corrales Road commercial district is not brand new. In the fall of 2018, Village in the Village sought residents’ support for a land use ordinance that would allow townhouses or condo-like facilities on property within 250 feet of Corrales Road between Meadowlark and Wagner Lanes.
“Our population is aging. More than 50 percent of us are over 50 years old,” ViV proponents pointed out. “For many, our only option for living in Corrales is to occupy our present homes. In the future, our large houses, with significant maintenance issues, will pose obstacles to remaining in Corrales.
“Many senior friends and neighbors have already moved out of Corrales because of lack of desirable alternative housing. Today there are few smaller homes or rentals on the market, and none in the area where it is convenient to walk to the bank, post office, pharmacy, library, stores, restaurants and the bosque trails.”
“We at Village in the Village (ViV) propose that the Corrales Village administration and councillors investigate changing the housing density in the commercial zone to be similar to the number of individual units in the development Pueblo los Cerros off of Loma Larga. “Units like these provide neighbors close by, affordable and manageable housing. We would like to see townhomes, condominiums or multiple single homes in a quantity and quality, that supports ViV’s mission of helping seniors remain in their community.”
Thus far, the ordinance remains unchanged. Steiner points out that “We promote ourselves as a village that is all inclusive and supports a diversified population. Our valuable seniors have been active in our community over the many years since our incorporation in 1971 and have helped make it such a wonderful place to live. They love Corrales and their neighbors and do not want to leave.”
“We need a majority of the councillors to vote for approval of this project and direct P&Z to offer the appropriate zoning solution,” he added. “The project is fully funded and shovel ready. We could have ten senior families living in our project by this time next year.”
Although no deaths from COVID-19 infection in Corrales have been reported officially, at least one person here was known to have died as of January 1. The N.M. Department of Health reported that 194 Corrales residents had been diagnosed with the fast-spreading disease at the first of the year. Statewide, that number was up to 144,142, of whom 2,502 had died. On January 1, 791 New Mexicans were hospitalized with the deadly coronavirus.
On December 27, Corrales had 178 COVID cases, demonstrating the spike in new cases here. At the end of May, Corrales had nine cases of COVID-19. That had risen to 20 at the end of June, and on to 32 cases by the end of July. At the end of August, the village had 36 cases. On October 31, Corrales had 52; on November 15, it was 74, and then 119 on November 30.
On December 5, there were 129; 156 on December 15, and then 176 on Christmas Day. By the end of December the number had risen to 189. At-home tests for COVID-19 are now available at no charge through the State health department. The kit will be mailed to you after requesting it by email to: learn.vaulthealth.com/nm. Each test request requires a unique email address.
On January 4, the N.M. Department of Health announced a new website for vaccinations: vaccinenm.org. After comprehensive personal profiles are registered at the site, health officials will notify those registered when and where vaccinations are available. On the day of their appointment, they fill out a medical questionnaire about their current health.
The Corrales Fire Department’s Tanya Lattin said if anyone needs assistance with registering for the vaccine, he or she should contact her at 702-4182. “We could have some of the population that does not have a computer or smart phone,” she explained. “The Village of Corrales wants to make sure everyone who would like a vaccine has the ability to sign up.”
“Life goes on in the village. Life goes on like a song.” And so it is as Corrales begins 2021 after a coronavirus pandemic crushed most of community life here during 2020. The two lines above are the underlying phrase from the Corrales pageant produced and staged by the late Evelyn Losack in the early 1980s. The song “Los Corrales” was formally adopted by the Village Council on April 24, 2012. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXI No.6 May 5, 2012 “Corrales Adopts Official Song,” which includes stanzas and refrain.)
Resilience and further adaptations are expected to be watch-words for Corrales in the year ahead. Vaccines for COVID-19 are only now being administered; Corrales firefighters and police are being scheduled. Across the board, much of what was anticipated to occur last year has effectively rolled over to this year. Among expected highlights are significant changes to the Village’s land use policies, including regulations on secondary dwellings (“casitas”) on residential lots and higher density for senior living facilities in the commercial district.
The Planning and Zoning Commission has scheduled a January 13 online work-study session on changes that may be needed to the Village’s regulations for casitas, or guesthouses. It will start at 1 p.m. and may run to 3 p.m. Contact Village Clerk Aaron Gjullin for remote access to the meeting. Village officials are contracting with the Mid-Region Council of Governments to analyze and recommend changes to Corrales’ land use policies as a review of the Corrales Comprehensive Plan. Village Administrator Ron Curry said December 29 he anticipates the Village Council will consider those recommendations by the end of this year.
On Tuesday, January 12, the Village Council will hold its first meeting of 2021 via Zoom, starting at 6:30 p.m. An appointment will be made to fill the council seat being vacated by Dave Dornburg, who resigned effective December 31. He has sold his home and is moving away. The council will vote on confirmation of someone appointed by Mayor Jo Anne Roake.
As the N.M. Legislature convenes in Santa Fe January 19 and continues through March 20, probably in a “hybrid” model with some sessions conducted virtually, three legislators from Corrales will deliberate: Representatives Jane Powdrell-Culbert and Daymon Ely and new Senator Brenda McKenna. Crafting a new budget will be a top priority, as always, but considerable attention is on whether legislators will legalize sale and possession of marijuana for recreational use, as neighboring states have done.
Corrales’ first cannabis shop, a dispensary for medical marijuana, opened at the corner of Corrales Road and Rincon Road. Another proposal that Corrales residents are following is possible adoption of the long-debated Health Security for New Mexicans Act which would provide all citizens with the same level of health care as state employees receive.
Village Administrator Ron Curry said the mayor has not made specific requests for funding beyond the Village’s infrastructure capital improvements program (ICIP) list adopted last September. That prioritized list includes $40,000 for animal control equipment and facilities, $75,000 to construct a trail connection at the top of Sagebrush Drive, $100,000 for municipal parking facilities, $2,155,000 for the Fire Department’s plan to extend water lines for fire suppression and $1,225,000 to improve residental roads and drainage.
There is no expectation that all of those projects will be funded. As the new year gets under way, a major sewer project is being installed along the south end of Loma Larga. A sewer line is being installed by horizontal drilling to connect the Pueblo los Cerros condos’ failed wastewater treatment plant to the Albuquerque sewer system at Alameda Boulevard. Completion is expected before April.
An extention of the Village’s sewer service to homes in the Priestley-Coroval neighborhood —anticipated for more than two decades— could begin by September. However, engineering for the project by Village Engineer Steve Grolmann was not complete as of January 1. Another perennial project, a pathway along Corrales Road in the business district is unlikely to be implemented this year. When asked about it, Curry explained that a high priority for the mayor is finally getting new crosswalks along the road designated and old ones re-striped.
Back in December 2018, the Corrales MainStreet Design Committee under Allan Tinkham said that it had received $40,000 from New Mexico MainStreet with which to pay for the complete engineered design of the first section of the pathway. At that time it was thought that the first stretch of the path heading north from West Ella would be completed by October 2020. That didn’t happen, and Curry offered no prediction when it would.
Also left hanging since last year is a decision on whether the Village should accept the long-standing offer from the N.M. Department of Transportation to transfer ownership of Corrales Road (State Highway 448) to the Village. A scheduled meeting on that topic was cancelled this fall and never re-set. Public input discussions with citizens are expected to resume before summer.
Similarly, Curry intends thorough public participation early this spring about options to complete the upper Meadowlark trails project. Plans for a bike and walking path along the north side of Meadowlark between Loma Larga and the Rio Rancho boundary were scuttled when state funders denied the Village a waiver to requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act because the grade is too steep at the west end.
The Village Administrator reported that the way forward is still hung up with a lingering lawsuit with the company that reconstructed upper Meadowlark in phase one. Initially, plans called for a horse path along the south side of Meadowlark, connecting trails along Loma Larga to the existing Thompson Fence Line Trail along the escarpment in Rio Rancho.
In an interview December 29, Curry said paths along upper Meadowlark could be in place by mid-year. No announcement has been made regarding this year’s Corrales Garden Tour which normally comes in early June. The 2021 event is expected to be cancelled due to the pandemic. And if the Fourth of July Parade is held this year, it is likely to be a drastically curtailed event.
On the other hand, the Corrales Growers’ Market probably will resume much as it was last fall. Design and engineering has been completed for installation of a water tank for the Fire Department at the top of Angel Hill, another project that has been anticipated for decades. When funding is available, that could begin this year. A second phase would involve laying a water line with fire hydrants from the tank down to Loma Larga.
A new project begun last summer, recommendations for how the “Scummy Ditch” (real name: Corrales Interior Drain) east of Corrales Road might be transformed for public use should be submitted by mid-August. When the Village Council established “an ad hoc committee to explore the possibilities of the Corrales Interior Drain” on August 18, 2020, it set a one-year timeframe for reporting back.
The year 2021 marks 50 years since the people of Corrales incorporated their community as a municipality. The official date was September 17, 1971. If anyone remembers, civic-minded Corraleños are supposed to gather outside the Village Office to open a time capsule sealed on July 4, 1997. At the time, the concrete-coated “crypt” was to be opened on September 22, 2021.
The time capsule project by the Corrales Historical Society was part of the celebration of Corrales’ 25th anniversary as an incorporated municipality.
Inside the crumbling concrete box near the entrance to the Village Office is a plywood box containing the real receptacle: a metal box containing items of historic interest and other memorabilia. The capsule was purchased with funds donated by Intel Corporation. (See Corrales Comment June 21, 1997.)
By December, protection from COVID-19 should be well underway and, with it, some return to normalcy with such mundane affairs as in-person Village Council meetings, group meals at the Senior Center and events at the Old Church. St. Nick may even be able to return on the first weekend in December. And perhaps true to form, villagers will ponder standing for election to the Village Council. Declarations of candidacy will be due in early January 2022.