The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions will be receiving more than $600 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding from the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration to replenish the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, as well as to pay back a federal loan issued by the U.S. Department of Labor. That loan was to support the surge of unemployment insurance claimants during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s Trust Fund balance on Jan. 27, 2020, was $460.1 million. Later, after the onset of the pandemic in March, the state's number of unemployment claimants increased by more than 1,300 percent in a matter of weeks.
The economic impact of the pandemic pushed almost 200,000 individuals, at the peak, into the state's unemployment insurance system; the State was able to disburse almost $4 billion to displaced workers and New Mexicans all across the state amid the crisis. The number of claimants qualifying for state and federal unemployment benefits, however, contributed to the depletion of the trust fund by mid-September 2020. The funds transferred will be used to both complete the repayment of the federal loan and re-establish the trust fund to its pre-pandemic levels. The trust fund balance, after payments and transfers are completed, will be $460 million.
The total loan received by Workforce Solutions from the U.S. Department of Labor to continue getting benefits to New Mexicans in need was $284 million. On June 24, 2021, the department made a $100 million loan payment, a sum appropriated to the department from the state general fund in the 2021 legislative session. The remainder of the loan balance will be repaid with federal funding.
What should be done to provide bicycle, pedestrian and equestrian paths along upper Meadowlark Lane between Loma Larga and Rio Rancho? The roadway was re-designed and rebuilt more than two years ago with the promise that a new effort would be made to learn what villagers wished to have along the road shoulders. That had already been determined a long time back based on extensive public involvement, including a consultant conducting a planning charette, but the resulting 2013 plan was scrapped when it was learned the proposed path along the north side of the road could not use funding contingent on compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Finally, the public input effort has resumed with a meeting in the Village Council Chambers Thursday, July 8. Results of that meeting could not be included in this issue.
According to Public Works Director Mike Chavez in 2019, approvals were in place for the bike and pedestrian trail along the westbound lane, although no start date was announced. That part of the overall project was delayed for a re-design of a paved bike trail to satisfy the N.M. Transportation Department’s concerns about compliance with ADA. The original design had problematic slopes both east-west and north-south at the same locations near the top of West Meadowlark. Resolution of that issue was to have been resolved by modifying several driveways on private property to reduce the steepness of approaches to the proposed paved trail. But that never happened. Village Administrator Ron Curry said more than a year ago that the best work-around was to use the Village’s own money, rather than federal-state funds that might require ADA compliance. Although Curry did not link the two, that substitution may have been made possible after Corrales received funding last month through the state highway department’s Municipal Arterial Program (MAP).
The upper Meadowlark project received intense, and often contentious, public input since it was first proposed around 1990. In 2010, the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG) allocated $160,000 for an Upper Meadowlark bike trail connecting Corrales and Rio Rancho, but the Village Council turned the money back. West Meadowlark residents strongly opposed the project as then proposed, arguing the funds were inadequate to address stormwater drainage problems that might result. At the June 28, 2011 Village Council meeting, councillors voted unanimously to send back $160,000 for proposed trails. But almost immediately councillors unanimously resolved to ask MRCOG for a new grant to construct trails along Meadowlark or some other road that could connect to Rio Rancho’s bike paths. The council’s decision to turn back the MRCOG grant came in a package of related resolutions. The first re-allocated the funds that the Village would use for its local match to go with MRCOG’s $160,000.
The $51,000 which had been tagged to go with the grant (which was originally targeted to complete construction of Loma Larga) was re-directed to construct bike lanes for the extension of Don Julio Road in the Far Northwest Sector out to Highway 528 at its intersection with Northern Boulevard in Rio Rancho. That decision alone killed the Meadowlark bike trail project, so the following resolution to turn back the MRCOG grant was pre-determined; there was no other potential money for the required local match. Then-Councillor John Alsobrook took a longer view on West Meadowlark Lane’s problems. “We’ve learned quite a bit about the history of this section of road. It had stop signs put in and then it had stop signs taken out. It had a right-turn lane that was put in, and the right-turn lane was taken out. It had speed humps put in and taken out, and speed tables were put in.” In a revision to its initial recommendations, the consulting firm hired to suggest ways to improve upper Meadowlark Lane called for bike riders to use the same downhill driving lane as autos, or divert to the future pedestrian path along the south side of the re-configured roadway, now completed.
Appearing before the mayor and Village Council at their September 10, 2013 meeting, Steve Burstein of Architectural Research Consultants presented a new “Option A” that shows a five-foot wide bike lane adjacent to the westbound driving lane, while eastbound bike riders would be expected to come down in the same regular traffic lane used by motor vehicles. If cyclists did not want to “take the lane” with regular traffic coming down hill, they would be encouraged to bike along the proposed pedestrian path along the south side of Meadowlark, he said.
Among the advantages of the revised plan, cyclists using the bike paths along the Rio Rancho section of Meadowlark Lane would have a continuous connection to designated routes coming down into Corrales. Downhill bike riders would be informed to merge with regular vehicle traffic, or veer off onto the pedestrian trail. Some residents along the north side of upper Meadowlark had objected to routing both uphill and downhill bike riders to a future path on the north side of the road. They said they feared pulling into the path of fast bike riders as they left their driveways and tried to enter traffic. In Burstein’s revised plan, downhill cyclists would use the eastbound driving lane or use the pedestrian path along the south side of the road. The change was endorsed by the Corrales Bicycle, Pedestrian Advisory Commission as well, following communications with Burstein and his planners. Back then, Village Administrator John Avila said he understood work on the Meadowlark project could be at least partially funded through the MAP, which offers funding annually.
While Village officials had already assumed they could use future MAP money for changes to the intersection of Meadowlark and Loma Larga, Avila said he thought the same funding source could be tapped to pay for changes within the upper Meadowlark right-of-way for its entire length up to the Rio Rancho boundary.
Drawings submitted by Burstein at the 2013 council meeting showed the 60-foot right-of-way divided as follows, from south to north:
• a five-foot buffer from homeowners’ property line;
• a five-foot-wide pedestrian path (to be used also by bike riders who don’t want to ride in the regular downhill traffic lane);
• a five-foot buffer from the eastbound driving lane;
• an 11-foot eastbound driving lane next to;
• an 11-foot westbound driving lane next to;
• a five-foot wide bicycle lane as part of the pavement;
• an 18-foot shoulder along the north side of the road that would accommodate drivers trying to enter or leave driveways as well as;
• a four-foot-wide horse path along the most northerly part of the right-of-way.
Perhaps the consultants’ most important finding was that the proposed changes to Meadowlark Lane would not preclude the roadway’s designation and use as a “collector” road. That means such improvements would likely be eligible for funding through the federal-state Mid-Region Council of Governments. For nearly a year, that had been a lingering doubt: changes that residents might insist upon to reduce traffic impacts along upper Meadowlark could disqualify the project from essential funding.
Proposed as an agenda item for the Village Council’s July 20 session is discussion about possible regulations for walls and fences along Corrales Road aimed at protecting scenic quality. The topic has been surging and ebbing over the past year with the Planning and Zoning Commission prodded to present a draft ordinance that mirrored what the Village of Los Ranchos enacted for Rio Grande Boulevard on the other side of the river. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXX No.8 June 5, 2021 “New Rules for Corrales Road Walls, Fences.”) At least three council members are expected to support imposition of new regulations because they have said so publicly over the past six months. They are Councillors Zach Burkett, Tyson Parker and Kevin Lucero.
Planning and Zoning Administrator Laurie Stout was asked to evaluate the Los Ranchos ordinance to protect scenery along Rio Grande Boulevard and whether it achieves a balance for landowners’ privacy. “What the Los Ranchos ordinance does is that it allows a modicum of privacy since you’ve got your walls to a certain extent but with an open pattern at the top. And they also have setbacks that we can look at for a front fence. That would be another option. “It allows people to keep their animals in and keep other animals out, as the case may be. As you drive down Rio Grande Boulevard, it is a delightful experience. You can see the farmland, the large lots, the architecture. Corrales Road is a scenic byway, so looking at an ordinance would certainly be appropriate to balance the rights of the property owner with the overall feel that we want to keep here in Corrales.”
At the council’s June 15 meeting, Stout said the P&Z commission was still tweaking a draft ordinance, but that it might be ready to present to the council for posting and publishing at the July 20 session. As discussion wound down during a May meeting, Mayor Jo Anne Roake summarized. “At this point I can see things coalescing around focusing on a couple of areas in town, such as the scenic byway and the historic area to start with and maybe creating an ordinance that has Los Ranchos as a model to keep kind of a balance” between scenic quality and landowners’ privacy. Burkett said last spring he was researching what might be done to revive the status of Corrales Road as a designated scenic byway and what might be done to bolster that. Former Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Terry Brown had made that a high priority since at least 2010.
In a power point presentation to the Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission on April 12, 2011, Brown demonstrated what has been lost by view-blocking walls along Corrales Road and what has been preserved by see-through fences and low walls. But for other Corraleños, the idea that Village officials might tell them what kind of fence is permissible reeks of governmental over-reach and offends libertarian values. At the December 8, 2020 Village Council meeting, Councillor Burkett said he would like to see incentives by Village government to encourage other styles of walls or fences that do not inhibit views. He said he wanted the council to address the issue after seeing such tall, solid walls erected by builder Steve Nakamura on two properties at the south end of Corrales over the past year.
Similar long walls have gone up adjacent to Corrales Road at the north end in recent years, creating what Brown has referred to as a “canyon” effect that destroy the scenic quality for which Corrales has been known for many years. When Brown heard of Burkett’s interest, he said he looked forward to collaborating on a proposal to address the worsening situation. “When I was chair of the Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission, the last issue I tried to get a reluctant council to approve was a recommendation for a requirement for a partially open wall ordinance along Corrales Road. “The new CMU walls being built by Mr. Nakamura at the south end of Corrales are the antithesis of what Corrales needs,” Brown added.
“Look at the fencing along Rio Grande. This is what I envision for our village, and what is desperately needed to protect the views along the Corrales ‘scenic byway.’” Views along Corrales Road of pastures, horses, farms, orchards, vineyards and old tractors are central to this community’s character and perhaps even its economic vitality. A degree of national recognition for those attributes was gained in 1995 when Corrales Road was designated a “scenic and historic byway.” But a Village-appointed byways corridor management committee disbanded amid controversy more than a decade ago and was never fully reconstituted.
By Linda Walsh
Alyson Thal, a traditionally trained family doctor who became disillusioned with the present healthcare delivery system, now incorporates a vegetable garden with her practice and a community health perspective. It is nearly impossible to separate the history of a particular land from the history of the people who live on it and the same is true of the small plot of land on Corrales Road under Thal’s stewardship. Thal, the physician who started Corrales Family Practice at 3841 Corrales Road, spent much of her early childhood on a small family farm in Stanley, Kansas, where her father was professor of surgery at the University of Kansas Medical School. There she learned to ride horses and work cattle and watched her mother tend a beautiful and productive garden.
Her mother was also a gourmet cook so Thal got to experience the beauty of the garden and the direct fruits of her mother’s efforts. When the family moved from Kansas to a large ranch in Mora, in northeastern New Mexico, Thal went from riding English to western, from jumping fences to rodeo team roping. She also gained a deep appreciation of the role of nature in everyday life, and an awareness of how people must adapt to an ever-changing environment. She learned that gardening and agriculture demanded flexibility and patience. It was a lesson she applied to many aspects of her life as a physician and mother of six. In 1999 Thal moved to Corrales to start the Village Doctors with another physician. She had spent 13 years working in most of the healthcare systems as a frontline doctor, and was ready to quit “big city medicine.” She wanted more time with each patient for “an opportunity to get back to the essence of the doctor/patient relationship.”
As healthcare in traditional medical practices eroded due to over-crowding, higher costs, and especially less time to see patients, Thal looked for an opportunity to take more control of how she practiced medicine. Three years after moving to Corrales, Thal purchased the three-acre property on Corrales Road that had been headquarters for a construction company,and began the work of transforming it into a place of healing. Rehabilitating the original building to a functioning clinic was a huge undertaking. The ancient plumbing had to be redone, the rooms rearranged to accommodate patients and staff; the whole building needed to be made comfortable, home-like and welcoming. Once the clinic was complete she started work on the courtyard “because I want people to feel joy, I want them to feel happy, I want them to be awed when they see the beauty of nature.”
Thal originally envisioned the front acre of the property as a new kind of clinic, one that converted the idea of a waiting room into an interactive learning center, acknowledging that “life is too short to wait.” She envisioned a circular room with a garden in the center. Her ultimate goal was a home for the best of western and alternative medicine, integrating traditional and non-traditional in a beautiful space. As so often happens with great plans, life intervenes. When Thal was embezzled in 2008, the dream of building a new clinic had to be abandoned and a new one created for her practice and the front acre. The land was always part of her mission to deliver a more holistic form of healthcare. Knowing full well that “health” is multifaceted and that it includes social, emotional, physical and intellectual needs, her vision was multi-purposed. She saw the garden as an answer to help her patients who at times suffered from isolation and depression, sought community or needed an activity that could contribute to their health.
A garden would also rehabilitate the land. The next question was how to bring her idea to fruition. Fate intervened when L.D. Anderson, a long-term patient and Master Gardener, octogenarian and enthusiastic volunteer, entered the scene. When Thal asked him what his secret was to maintaining such a positive attitude and energetic life, he responded gardening and giving back. In 2012 at an open house for the conversion of her traditional practice to her partnership with the management company MDVIP, and with Anderson at the sign-in table, the Corrales Family Practice Garden enlisted its first volunteers. Though several added their names to the list at that event, only three were ready to roll up their sleeves and work in the dirt. They were Edy Burtis, Linda Ozier and Cindy Harper.
Along with Anderson as supervisor and consultant-Master Gardener, Edy Burtis had the most experience. Linda Ozier and Cindy Harper came with a desire to learn and a willingness to pitch in on many levels. The garden started out as a small corner of the current one third acre, and the work was hard. The early days of the garden presented many obstacles and the small band of volunteers learned by trial and error. One of the biggest needs was to maintain a steady flow of water. Thal enlisted the help of her family, imbued with ranch and farm experience, to install a well and later till the soil. The arid earth gradually relinquished the deep tap-rooted weeds and river rocks. It absorbed the irrigated water and soil amendments as well as all the energy and creativity the volunteers could bring.
According to Richard Zabell, an early volunteer in the garden, the three essential ingredients to a successful garden are good soil, water and volunteers. An engineer by training, Zabell took command of the watering system. With the help of Jim Koontz, this included laying tubing and T-tape, maintaining the well, adding a timer and staying on top of the many ruptures, leaks and frustrations an irrigation system can bestow. Koontz, rancher and long-time resident of Corrales, besides his volunteer work in the garden, shares his ranching experience and equipment tilling and hauling in organic matter and hauling out everything that can’t be composted.
Financing for a second well pump came in a grant from MDVIP, with which Thal had partnered after her practice was embezzled. It has allowed her the time to develop her doctor/patient collaborations so critical to effective healthcare. It has also given her the opportunity to develop additional avenues to enhance her patients’ health. MDVIP has continued to give financial support to the garden every year since that first request to replace the pump. The number of volunteers has grown as the garden has expanded from the first corner plot in 2013 to the current third-acre plus. Envisioned at first as a place for patients to enjoy the benefits of healthy fresh food, social activity and all the spirit-enhancing benefits that digging in the dirt and producing fresh food can bring, the volunteer group also needed to grow. In 2018 the Sandoval Extension Master Gardeners approved the garden for Master Gardener volunteer activities. Not only do the Master Gardeners help with the garden, but the garden gives the Master Gardeners an opportunity to fulfil their mission of teaching others how to garden sustainably. Thal also continues to prescribe the garden to her patients; volunteers from the Corrales community are welcome.
The garden is a thing of beauty during the growing season. In early spring the pollinator bed between the small orchard and field starts to show signs of life. Volunteers begin to sow rows of onions, beets, radish, bok choy and carrots. By late spring the first bags of food are being carried to St. Felix Pantry and the warm weather crops of summer squash, zucchini and cucumbers are sown. The seedlings of eggplant and okra are transplanted. By early summer the garden is going full steam. Rows of young tomato plants in large covered cages and peppers dominate the landscape. The tomatoes and peppers have been nurtured from seed to viable young plants by Seed2Need under the expert direction of Penny Davis and her small army of dedicated helpers. In late summer volunteers harvest the tomatoes, squash, cabbage, broccoli, cucumbers, okra and the last of the eggplant, and peppers and melons. As the harvest dwindles in early fall, the work of cleaning up the field begins. Toward the end of the harvesting season, Thal throws a party to thank all those who have contributed to her practice and the garden. She invites her patients and their families, the gardeners and friends in the community. They share music and dancing, food and awards, garden tours, produce to take home and an enhanced sense of community.
Thal is fond of saying that what gives her hope, what contributes to her life as a sole practitioner in Corrales, is seeing her patients, friends and community members in the garden and watching it bloom every year. Since Corrales was established as a farming community, perhaps seeing the tradition of small plot farming on the Corrales Family Practice garden gives joy to others as well. The garden that began as vacant dirt eventually attracted others who saw the potential in it: a blank slate upon which to create something beautiful, an opportunity to give back to the community and also, inevitably, an outlet to help heal from the sorrows brought on by sudden loss, for the loss of purpose brought on by retirement, for a need to put active and inactive minds and bodies to work and to learning, for the need to create something both beautiful and productive. No one could have foreseen the needs this community garden would help fulfill in a time of loss and hardship brought on by the COVID-19. While keeping to the rules of distancing and masking, the garden not only donated over 3,000 pounds of food to St. Felix Pantry, but became a rare place of social contact, of work outside the confines of quarantine and of gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to the health of others. The garden also proved that medicine does not need to be confined to a medical office, pharmaceutical option or facility or to one person at a time. A good community garden can be good medicine for individuals and the community.
Corrales’ first, and so far only, legal marijuana retail outlet has been open more than a month at the corner of Corrales Road and Rincon Road. Operated by Southwest Organic Producers (SWOP), it sells only medical cannabis to patients with a prescription. But next year, the site may also sell recreational pot. “We look foward to the future of cannabis, and the changes that will come with recreational approval next year,” SWOP’s northern regional manager, Sheena Brogdon said in an email to Corrales Comment July 2. She said her firm “is excited to be the first dispensary in Corrales. At SWOP, we focus on meeting our medical patients’ needs through a variety of products. “We carry a little bit of everything: tinctures, edibles, concentrates and flower. Our specialty is our locally grown cannabis, from our farm right here in Corrales.”
For months, signs announcing the dispensary would be “coming soon” were posted roadside and on a banner hung from the old building that some villagers had known as the Kim Jew Photography Studio. Before that, it housed a restaurant, a massage clinic and other short-lived enterprises. Today, the east part of the building is a flower shop.
Although Brogdon did not specify where in Corrales the marijuana is grown, one of the SWOP partners is Spencer Komadina, who is growing in large greenhouses at the north end of Corrales. SWOP was started by Corrales’ Tom Murray in 2009, and its products all were grown from 450 plants on his three acres here. The interest by New Mexicans in medical cannabis continues to grow. As of May 31, 2020, New Mexico had 94,042 registered Medical Cannabis Program card holders, with Sandoval County at 6,514, and Bernalillo, 30,562. By November 30, 2020, 101,770 patients were registered, 7,281 in Sandoval County, and 33,976 in Bernalillo County. With legal recreational marijuana right around the corner, more than a few Corrales landowners are eying prospects for cannabis cultivation. What changes lie ahead for Corrales as these developments unfold? (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXXVI No.23 2018 “Have a Look At Bernalillo’s Huge Marijuana Operation.”)
Corrales’ ordinance regulating marijuana cultivation came under careful scrutiny back in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The mayor and Village Council held a work-study session with Village Attorney Charles Garcia prior to their February 12, 2018 meeting that addressed marijuana cultivation and sale. Councillors heard a presentation on recommendations to amend Ordinance 18-002 regulating the cultivation of cannabis. According to Garcia, the new language would remove an inconsistency between the Corrales law’s Sections 1-4 and Section 5, which could leave the Village vulnerable to a court challenge. Section 5 essentially banned any cannabis cultivation, processing or distribution of pot as long as federal law deemed it illegal.
A last-minute amendment to the law approved by the council in January 2018 stated, “Therefore, nothing in this ordinance authorizes any marijuana cultivation or use under any state law or local ordinance, nor shall any building permits or planning and zoning approvals or any other authorization issue for any such activity in this village until the federal law no longer makes such activity a federal crime.” After the amendment was added, the council voted on the finalized ordinance. The decision to approve Ordinance 18-002 was met with a round of applause from the crowded room. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXVI No. 24 February 10, 2018 “Cannabis Ordinance Allows Crop Only in C-Zone.”) But Village Attorney Garcia told the mayor and council that that wording was inconsistent with provisions in the earlier sections. “It contradicts Sections 1 through 4,” the attorney said flatly. Back in 2018, some urgency was injected by Mayor Jo Anne Roake’s observation that the Village Office had been fielding frequent inquiries about prospects for starting cannabis growing operations in Corrales. “We’re getting daily inquiries and interest expressed about cannabis growing here,” the mayor pointed out.
Back then, the council’s biggest opponent to a local ordinance that would allow marijuana cultivation is Councillor George Wright. He had consistently stated that when he was sworn in as a member of Corrales governing body, he took an oath affirming he would uphold the U.S. Constitution, which declares that federal law is superior to state or local laws. “Federal law is supreme,” he pointed out, and so far, cannabis is considered an illegal narcotic. Wright declined to seek another tem on the council. In November 2017, the Village Council held a work-study session with a representative from the agency within the N.M. Department of Health that regulates use of medical marijuana, as well as with a state licensed grower in Corrales.
Three officials from the N.M. Department of Health addressed a council-P&Z work-study session October 24, 2017. The Village Council passed a 90-day moratorium the previous month on new applications from medical cannabis growers. The resulting law did not ban marijuana for medical use outright, but specified areas of the community that might be appropriate for that use. At the work-study session, the Health Department’s (DOH) public information officer, Kenny Vigil clarified that the agency’s rules do not require any particular height for perimeter fences around cannabis sites, nor that the plants must be grown indoors. “We approved an outdoor grow earlier this year,” Vigil said. A total of 14,500 licensed marijuana plants were then being grown around the state. The product was sold at 60 authorized dispensaries and is tested at four laboratories under contract with the DOH.
Vigil pointed out that between 200 and 600 applications were received every day seeking permission to grow medical marijuana. At that time, New Mexico had approximately 49,000 medical cannabis users, about half of whom are registered as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). That number is believed to have increased dramatically since fall 2017, to more than 60,000. The controversy took center stage in 2017 after an Albuquerque-based non-profit, The Verdes Foundation, purchased four acres of land at the north end of Corrales to grow cannabis for its marijuana dispensaries. Faced with opposition here, especially from homeowners who feared such disruptions as night time glare from grow lights and noxious fumes, Verdes last year halted attempts to start cultivation in Corrales and sold their acreage. (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXXVII No.17 November 10, 2018 “Cannabis Grower Verdes Pulls Out of Corrales.’)
The SWOP outlet has been a long time in coming. Although the site development plan application was approved by the Village Planning and Zoning Commission on November 20, 2019, assorted hoops required jumping through, or what P&Z Administrator Laurie Stout described soon thereafter as “applicable state and federal agencies on their specific requirements.” At that time, a long-time Corrales cannabis grower, Tom Murray, explained to P&Z prior to their positive ruling that he was “the first cannabis producer in Corrales, and one of the first four in New Mexico.” Murray emphasized the gross receipts coming to the Village via a retail outlet would be based on an estimated “$4.2 million of revenue that will originate through that point of sale and will include a good portion of customers outside of the village.” Back then, Spencer Komadina pointed out that the retail outlet here would likely involve three to four employees, with an office above the store front. He said “all manufactured products would be made outside Corrales by six extraction companies” the group works with.
By Carol Merrill
On Monday, June 7 the Corrales Library welcomed patrons in person for the first time in more a year. In the quiet shady park one young lady sat in the grass and leaned her back against a tree listening to something on her phone. Children played at the swings and slides. One person walked into the library in the first hour. Then more and more showed up. This cultural hub has awakened. A volunteer meets you at the door with a smile, a special Corrales mask, if you need one, hand sanitizer and sanitary wipes. And, the bathroom is open. That’s an important service. There is a plastic shield around the circulation desk to protect the volunteers checking out materials. Even with all the precautionary items here and there, it’s good to be back.
The graceful koi fish are swimming circles in their pool surrounded by green plants. The koi are the new emblematic motif for the library logo on stationery. The books on all the shelves in every room have never looked so untouched. They seem to be standing at attention. It’s as if they have been waiting for browsers to return. Now you can find that new copy of a favorite mystery writer. The Friends of Corrales Library held their traditional blow-out book sale in the park on the weekend of the Fourth of July. You find only one public computer available in the small computer room. There will never be five people in that tiny unventilated space. Later, when the internet access is improved, there will be computers spread around in the TeeRoom and the reading room.
Now that the library is open at last, you can check out up to 25 items at once if you are taking a trip this summer. That includes up to five new books and DVDs. Each room has an overhead sign with the number of people allowed in that part of the library. There are three hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) air filter machines, gifts from the Fire Department. The fans are noisy, but reassuring that the air is clean. They are humming along in the Children’s Room, the Southwest Room, and the Teen Room. Marian Frear, the head librarian, said it has been the weirdest year in her career. Whatever decision she made, someone was unhappy. For example, some were displeased when she closed the library. She decided to follow the lead of the Fire Department following the N.M. Department of Health guidelines. Now, when people bring books back, the staff leaves them on a special shelf for a few days to take care of possible contamination. The children’s summer reading program has begun. For the young ones there is an on demand virtual program “Unicorns: Break the Cage.”
For children ages 13-19 there is a competition “Words vs. Pictures” where contestants submit photos and a “Flash Fiction” piece. All submissions go to: email@example.com There are great prizes. Marian said, “We always give bikes to the little ones and there’s a really nice digital camera and other delights for the teens.” Check the website for details at Corraleslibrary.org.
A pre-school story hour will be held in the park every Wednesday at 10. It’s nice that the children can run around. Presently they don’t have toys out in the children’s area. They will bring them out slowly. After story hour families can check out books. You can purchase a hardback book for $2. But the free books have been out on the porch for months. People loved those during quarantine time. There were grab bags for the kids with little projects in a bag during lock-down. They were like little take-home art projects and were very popular. Friends of Corrales Library did a lot of work helping to assemble the grab bags for children. Explora Museum provided one activity which was sanitized owl pellets that you could dissect. There was a diagram of the bones you might find in the pellets.
Looking to the future, the Friends of Corrales Library (FOCL) are planning to put in a small building, an annex at the end of the parking area to store donated books and probably to provide some programming space as well. In addition Frear would like to see expanded wifi access so anyone in the park or in their car could use the internet. Frear said, “A zoom program isn’t quite the same thing as an in-person program. We may keep up doing some zoom programming because it turns out people like not having to drive, and you can go to the program in your pajamas.” The Spanish conversation group has picked up some members who are not local, so it is expected to meet hybrid fashion via Zoom and in the park. Normally the 10 to 15 members meet in the Southwest Room. The Spanish conversation group will be hybrid for now: zoom and in person. Good to know that our community library is resilient, ready to serve and sustain folks in Corrales.
Jay Block, a current Sandoval County Commissioner, is running to be governor of New Mexico because he said he wants to use his leadership experience to help New Mexico recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, support local businesses and keep families safe. His district within the Sandoval County Commission includes residents in the Village of Corrales and in southeast Rio Rancho. Block is one of four Republicans who have announced they would challenge Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham who seeks re-election. Also preparing to run in the Republican primary are Karen Bedonie of Farmington, Greg Zanetti of Albuquerque and Tim Walsh of Albuquerque.
Block is proud of his job as commissioner and points out that during his leadership Corrales was voted the safest city in New Mexico in SafeWise and Movoto reports. He also notes that Rio Rancho, now his hometown, is the most affordable place to live in New Mexico and one of the most affordable cities in the country. Block mentioned that he has a long history of leadership in military, business and government. The Republican candidate served in the military as an ICBM missile maintenance and launch officer before serving in Afghanistan in 2005-2006. After his military service, he worked in business as a consultant in private industry. His tenure in government service began in 2016 when he was elected as a Sandoval County commissioner.
Block suggested that he has been successful in leadership because he is good at working across the aisle to promote compromise. He explained his approach to politics by referencing a Venn diagram: politicians approach issues and the policymaking process with their own beliefs and values, and some of these beliefs may differ from other politicians and constituents. But good policies can be developed by focusing on values and beliefs that people have in common, the candidate said, adding that he is responsive to the needs of his constituents, and he always tries to respond to their concerns.
During an interview, he described the conduct of the current governor’s administration. He is highly critical of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said her policies caused unnecessary harm to New Mexican businesses. And he believes that her administration has treated conservatives unfairly. As for his proposed policies, Block supports lowering taxes for first responders, ending state taxation on military pensions and social security benefits, limiting the power of the governor and securing the southern border.
By Scott Manning
Retired Corrales dentist Guy Clark continues his advocacy work as chairman of Stop Predatory Gambling, and he now focuses on the Campaign for Gambling-Free Kids to restrict the gambling industry from targeting children and teens. Clark became involved in advocacy work against predatory gambling in the 1990s when he was asked to serve as a representative from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling (NCALG). The coalition transitioned to the Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation in 2008. The Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation limits its advocacy work to predatory gambling and does not intend to limit social gambling. The foundation defines predatory gambling as a government-corporation partnership that sanctions commercialized gambling that exploits citizens.
Predatory gambling often involves the marketing of commercialized gambling to the public, and the industry is designed so that the gambling corporation collects the bulk of money gambled. In contrast, social gambling is usually conducted in a small environment without a corporation collecting most of the money spent. Gambling at a dinner party or at a local office event are examples of social gambling. The Stop Predatory Gambling website makes the case against predatory gambling because it claims the industry generates enormous social and economic costs to society. In particular, the website identifies that predatory gambling is an addictive activity that is designed so that the corporation running the gambling operation (the “house”) collects most of the money spent in gambling over the long term, thereby guaranteeing that gamblers lose out. This near guarantee of lost money is often obscured in gambling marketing in which gambling corporations grossly exaggerate the chances of winning. Therefore, citizens gamble in an industry that overwhelmingly consumes private wealth but that misleadingly presents gambling as a viable path to wealth creation.
The Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation argues that the predatory gambling industry consumes private wealth that would be better spent in local businesses and in purchasing assets that build wealth such as property and stock portfolios. Those in favor of government-sanctioned gambling argue that gambling revenues are important for funding government operations. The Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation responds that governments likely spend more on social services and welfare in the long run because predatory gambling generates enormous social costs. According to Clark, predatory gambling is an addictive and self-harming activity that is correlated with suicide, child and spouse abuse, and homelessness. The enormous social and economic costs of predatory gambling make it an ineffective means of generating funding. Predatory gambling has a history in New Mexico. Native tribes have signed gambling compacts with the State of New Mexico, and the native tribes have built casinos. In addition, limited gambling operations have been run at horse racetracks around the state. And despite the social and economic costs of gambling, legislative efforts continue to expand gambling in New Mexico.
This past legislative session, House Bill 101 was submitted that supported the expansion of gambling at racetracks to include slot machines. Historically, slot machines have been limited to tribal casinos. The bill also aimed to allow for online sports betting at the racetracks. Stop Predatory Gambling advocated against the proposed bill. Clark explained that those in favor of adopting the bill argued that expanded gambling at racetracks would help to fund horse racing. Clark countered this reasoning by explaining that horse racing is a struggling industry and should not be supported by predatory gambling. HB 101 did not pass the initial legislative committees. In Clark’s experience, HB 101 served as an initial test to determine community support, and similar legislative efforts will be tried again in the future. Clark contrasts the efforts made to end dog racing with horse racing.
Dog racing and horse racing are both forms of gambling, but the two sports have otherwise had different trajectories. Advocacy groups against dog racing have been highly successful at ending dog racing across the country. Advocacy groups emphasized the animal cruelty to greyhounds in the dog racing industry. Although some efforts have been made to curtail it, horse race gambling remains more common. Clark suggests that there is beginning to be a similar undercurrent of criticism against horse racing, so the industry may change in the coming years. According to Clark, there was significant opposition to the house bill last session. Some tribes, including Sandia and Mescalero, testified against the bill because it would generate more gambling competition.
Notably, other tribes did not testify against the bill. Although he said he is did not testify in oppositon, Clark said it might be that some hoped the legislation would clear the way for expanded online gambling in general. Online gambling is a new iteration of the predatory gambling industry. Online gambling is especially prolific with fantasy sports betting. In this format, participants bet on the outcomes of sports games. The online format, however, has also enabled a more fast-paced version of gambling in which participants bet on sports games in real-time and play-by-play. This new, fast-paced format generates more gambling involvement that contributes to addiction. Clark is especially concerned about how the predatory gambling industry harms young people under the age of 16. Young people are involved with sports, and the online format of predatory gambling makes fantasy sports betting highly accessible. To justify his concerns, Clark points to the United Kingdom as an example of a country that has a more developed online gambling industry than the United States. In the United Kingdom, online gambling has already had an impact on young people: young people have gambling apps on their electronic devices, and online gambling is more common than substance use. The United Kingdom Parliament has already considered legislation that would restrict online predatory gambling.
Clark is now working on the Campaign for Gambling-Free Kids to restrict the gambling industry from targeting and catering to young people. As a minimum, Clark supports the restriction of gambling advertisements in TV, radio, and online media from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. when kids are likely to be active. Clark explains that the kind of legislative restrictions placed on cigarette company advertising serve as a model for the kind of restrictions he supports for regulating the predatory gambling industry. Reflecting on his time as chairman of Stop Predatory Gambling, Clark gives a mixed review of the organization’s success at ending predatory gambling. The organization has consistently engaged in advocacy that has prevented new predatory gambling legislation from becoming law. But Clark admits that the organization has struggled to repeal existing legislation that permits predatory gambling. In effect, gambling legislation that passes the legislatures sets a precedent that is difficult to disrupt or reverse. In fact, successful efforts to restrict gambling such as in South Dakota and South Carolina were done through the judiciary, not through the legislature.
Despite these challenges, Clark believes that predatory gambling will face pressures to change in the coming years. Stop Predatory Gambling and similar efforts enjoy bipartisan support. Clark explains that Stop Predatory Gambling advocacy efforts appeal to conservative concerns over protecting the strength and health of families and progressive concerns over protecting citizens from predatory corporations. In addition, Clark believes that online gambling operations have given a new life to the predatory gambling industry over the short term, but have entailed the destruction of the industry over the long term. As the social and economic costs of online predatory gambling become more apparent, Clark thinks that more advocates will come out against predatory gambling and that public perception will change.
New Mexico’s two national labs could get a funding boost from provisions within a massive technology investment bill making its way through Congress. The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act has been passed by the Senate and will soon be considered by the House. The package was cobbled together by multiple senate committees and would authorize $200 billion in spending, including $52 billion in funding for manufacturing semiconductors, which are used in electronic devices, and other types of research and development programs in the United States. American production of such microelectronics has fallen significantly in the last 30 years, while countries like China have ramped up production and are dominating the industry.
U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján worked to include two amendments in the bill that would benefit New Mexico. One was a $17 billion investment into Department of Energy facilities and national labs. The other would create the Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation, an organization that would “advance collaboration with energy researchers, institutions of higher education, industry and nonprofit and philanthropic organizations to accelerate the commercialization of energy technology.”
A planned high-volume drive-thru coffee shop near the corner of Cabezon Road and Loma Larga-Ellison Drive has residents in Skyview Acres warning that Corrales’ heavily-used exit to the south would become impassable from lined up cars. The now-vacant land east of the Mister Carwash along Highway 528 (Alameda Boulevard) is the site for a Dutch Brothers coffee shop and a phase two 3,350 square foot restaurant with another drive-thru. Neither of these would have a direct connection to Loma Larga-Ellison, but members of the Skyview Acres Neighborhood Association have raised the prospect that vehicles trying to enter the drive-thru lanes will bring stacked-up traffic especially when the coffee shop first opens.
The neighborhood association’s Anna Brown submitted comments that among immediate concerns is that “traffic issues on Alameda related to two new drive-thus; one, Dutch Brothers, with a history of heavy traffic. The second drive-thru restaurant is not yet known. The Dutch Brothers is expecting 94 vehicles during the hours of its peak morning traffic. “Traffic cutting though our neighborhood and through the office complex to the east of the property if traffic on Alameda backs up.” However, the developer’s representative. Ronald Bohannan, said analysis has demonstrated that “Dutch Brothers Coffee will not alter commuter traffic, but will capture the pass-by trips already going past the site.… It was determined that a traffic study for Dutch Brothers is not necessary, but will be required with the development of the second pad” for the proposed restaurant.
In a Zoom meeting with the neighborhood association June 30, Bohannan assured traffic impacts there would be minimal because there would be no direction connection with those streets. “There is no direct connection other than to the dental office that goes over to Ellison-Loma Larga.” He said the future coffee shop will have a right-in, right-out access off of Highway 528. The drive-thru would have a lane that would accommodate 30 vehicles waiting to place and receive orders.
Nearby residents are worried that drivers will be impatient about trying to merge into westbound traffic, especially if they will have to make a U-turn to head east. “We believe this is the worse location for a Dutch Brothers they could have selected,” Brown said June 30. Another resident, Jen Kruse, was adamant. “Let me be very clear what we’re concerned about. We’re not concerned about Dutch Brothers traffic coming into our neighborhood. We’re concerned about traffic being backed up on Highway 528, and people knowing that our neighborhood can be a short-cut to get to Corrales Road or to get back to Ellison. “Already currently, we can sit as the ends of our driveways and watch people come in from the Cottonwood side and go out the Loma Larga side or vice versa. We know that our neighborhood is being used as a short-cut.
She pointed out that the Dutch Brothers shop east of Rio Rancho’s Highway 528 has caused congestion problems there.
The association raised other concerns including blowing trash and noise since the business plays music outdoors from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. A decision on the site development plan is expected before the City of Albuquerque’s Environmental Planning Committee, perhaps July 15. That meeting begins at 840 a.m.
If Village government purchases conservation easements on two farms at the north end of Corrales at the July 20 council meeting, that will deplete all of the $2.5 million approved by voters in 2018. At their June 15 session, councillors approved buying an option to place a conservation easement on the Lopez farm, just south of the other pending option on the Phelps farm, owned by Trees of Corrales. Village Clerk Aaron Gjullin said June 30 that the council is expected to exercise both of those options at the July 20 meeting, essentially spending what remains of the $2.5 million raised from issuance of general obligation bonds in 2018.
After Corrales voters raised an initial $2.5 million for the program back in 2004, the first-round of conservation easements on four parcels totalling about 30 acres of Corrales farmland was concluded September 29, 2005, after more than 30 years of community effort to save farmland from development. Even though Corraleños’ second round of GO bond funding for farmland preservation here will have been depleted, plenty more acreage around Corrales now in pasture, orchards, crops or open space could still be saved in perpetuity through the Village’s conservation easement program. Among major tracts remaining are the Trosello Farm, part of which has been used by the Wagner family for its Farmland Experience and corn maze, and the Gonzales family’s acreage west of the Juan Gonzales Bas Heritage Farm west of Wells Fargo Bank. That 5.5-acre parcel was purchased outright by the Village, but the family’s three acres next to the bank fronting Corrales Road may also be available.
In March 2018, Corraleños overwhelming approved that second issuance of $2.5 million in municipal general obligation (GO) bonds to acquire new easements. That first round of GO bond funding was used as the local match for more than $1 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That federal source of funding dried up, so subsequent acquisitions of conservation easements were achieved with Village funding alone. In 2004, Corrales became the first municipality in the state to approve bonds to save farmland through purchase of conservation easements. If the Phelps farm and Lopez farm easements are completed, Corrales will have preserved nearly 55 acres in perpetuity.
Approximately six acres of that total protected by a donation by Jonathan Porter at the south end of Corrales before the Village’s program started. Porter, son of acclaimed photographer Elliot Porter, donated an easement on his land to the Rio Grande Agricultural Land Trust, gaining substantial tax benefits. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XX, No. 1, February 24, 2001 “First Conservation Easement Here Saves 6 Acres of Farmland.”) Each day across the United States more than 3,000 acres of farmland are lost to sprawling development, according to the Washington, DC-based American Farmland Trust. But over the past 45 years agricultural conservation easement programs have protected about two million acres of such threatened farmland, with programs operating in more than 15 states.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as of April 2021, more than 1.9 million acres in the United States have been preserved as farmland, and another three million acres in wetlands and grasslands have been protected with easements. About 17 years ago, Corrales was urged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program to request up to $1 million to continue the Village’s farmland preservation program.
By a margin of nearly 5-to-1, Corrales voters approved issuance of municipal bonds to buy conservation easements on farmland here to keep it out of development. The bond election August 31, 2004 was the first major success in a decades-long commitment by villagers to keep their community rural. Participation in the program is entirely voluntary. The intent is to give landowners an option for not selling their acreage to developers. The landowner still retains all the other rights that came with his or her ownership. He or she could sell the farm, sell the water rights, sell the mineral rights, leave it to heirs or do anything else one might normally think of —except develop it as home sites or other non-farm uses.
Once the development right is sold, the land in question would thereafter, in perpetuity, have a deed encumbrance with recorded easement that legally specified that the parcel could not be developed. On May 12, 2005, the Village Council made its first easement acquisition by formally approving purchase of an easement on two acres owned by Shirley and Jack Kendall. The parcel on which development rights were purchased sits at the northeast corner of the intersection of West La Entrada and the Corrales Acequia, or ‘first ditch.” It is adjacent to the Gonzales family fields farmed from Corrales Road westward to the Main Canal, which subsequently was purchased outright by the Village and is now known as the Juan Gonzales Bas Heritage Farm. The Kendall easement, and all acquired later, is held and administered for the Village by the Santa Fe-based N.M. Land Conservancy. Easements were later purchased for the field adjacent to Casa San Ysidro Museum, and for a portion of Dorothy Smith’s farm south of Meadowlark Lane between the first and second ditches.
A fourth easement was acquired on a portion of the Koontz family’s Trees of Corrales property at the north end of the valley. In recent years, villagers have expressed interest in acquiring conservation easements for the scenic Trosello tract or at least parts of it, as well as for the equally iconic horse pastures of CW Farms at the south end of the village. Although the Village acquired no easements on the Trosello tract using the 2018 GO bond proceeds, the land is thought to be protected from development at least in the near term by a lease agreement between the landowner and the Albuquerque-based One Generation Fund, in association with the Native American Community Academy (NACA). (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXX No.4 April 10, 2021 “Trosello Field Leased as Non-profit Demonstration Farm.”)
“A couple of weeks ago, I went out and met with Alan Brauer with the Native American Community Academy, Councillor Bill Woldman said in May. “They have entered into a lease agreement on the Trosello fields …the lease is not going to be through the farmland preservation program,” Woldman explained. “They brought a number of students from NACA, mainly Navajos, to the fields to take a look at it. I liked the presentation from Alan for what they propose to do there. It would be about 16 acres, 12 on the east side and four on the west side. “I think it’s going to be an absolutely terrific project once they get going.” He said the lease covers the entire tract along the east side of Corrales Road. “There will be no condos or skyscrapers or other developments there at least for as long as the lease runs,” he suggested.
Before easements on the Lopez and Phelps farms, the most recent purchased was on three acres of the 4.7-acre Boyd property east of Corrales Road in 2015. The Village of Corrales paid approximately $185,000 from the general obligation bonds to purchase an easement on the Boyd property at the end of Candi Lane, according to Beth Mills, of the N.M. Land Conservancy.
A new law restricting secondary dwellings on residential lots in Corrales was passed unanimously at the June 15 Village Council meeting. Ordinance 21-04 clarified what constitutes an impermissible kitchen and defines a dwelling unit which “may be a mobile home, modular home, manufactured home or site-built house. It may also be an independent unit of an apartment, townhouse or other such multiple-unit residential structure where allowed by Zoning Code. Recreational vehicles, travel trailers or converted buses, whether on wheels or a permanent foundation, cannot be a dwelling unit.” The key point in the wording above is that Corrales law permits only one such dwelling unit on an acre of land, or on two acres of land in the former Bernalillo County portion of the village.
The ordinance does not ban, or otherwise restrict casitas, or guesthouses, or so-called “mother-in-law” quarters, that already exist here. The adopted amendments to Section 18-29 and Section 18-203 of the Village’s Code of Ordinances were considered necessary because such secondary dwelling have proliferated in recent years with property owners erecting them as rentals. The preamble of the ordinance passed June 15 states the intent as follows. The Village Council “directs the Village to require the residential dwelling unit density to be limited to a maximum of one per lot, with a minimum lot size of one or two acres, depending on the zone, and; Whereas, New Mexico State Statute directs that the zoning ordinances should be in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan: “the regulations and restrictions of the county or municipal zoning authority are to be in accordance with a comprehensive plan and be designed to:
1. Lessen congestion in the streets and public ways;
2. Secure safety from fire, floodwaters, panic and other dangers;
3. Promote health and the general welfare;
4. Provide adequate light and air;
5. Prevent the overcrowding of the land;
6. Avoid undue concentration of population;
7. Facilitate adequate provision for transportation, water, sewerage, schools, parks and other public requirements; and
8. Control and abate the unsightly use of buildings or land, and;
Whereas, as per Village Code Section 18-28 (a) “any use not classified as a permissive use or a use by review within a particular zone is hereby prohibited from that zone”, and; Whereas, in accordance with the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, Village ordinances limit density to one dwelling unit per lot, with a minimum lot size of one acre in A-1 Agricultural and Rural Residential, Historical, and Neighborhood Commercial zones and two acres in A-2 Agricultural and Rural Residential zone. (Dwelling units are not a permissive use in Professional Office or Municipal zones); and Whereas, a Dwelling Unit as defined in Village Code Sections 18-29 Definitions and Section 18-203 Definitions “means any building or part of a building intended for human occupancy and containing one or more connected rooms and a single kitchen, designed for one family for living and sleeping purposes”, and;
Whereas, a Kitchen as defined in Village Code Sections 18-29 Definitions and “means any room used, intended or designed to be used for cooking or the preparation of food. The presence of a range or oven, or utility connections suitable for servicing a range or oven, shall be considered as establishing a kitchen”, and;
Whereas, in addition to a dwelling unit, the zoning ordinance allows for an “accessory structure” to be built on residentially and commercially zoned lots. An Accessory Structure as defined in Village Code Section 18-29 Definitions states “Accessory uses and structures means uses and structures which are clearly incidental and subordinate to principal uses and structures located on the same property” and;
Whereas, despite the above-mentioned regulations limiting density to one dwelling unit per lot, secondary dwelling units, sometimes known as “casitas”, have periodically been constructed in Corrales. This occurs when an accessory structure is legally constructed on a lot already containing a dwelling unit, and the accessory structure is subsequently converted to another dwelling unit via the addition of an oven or range, and; Whereas, the “oven/range or utility connections suitable for servicing one” is the only distinguishing feature separating an accessory structure from a dwelling unit, and; Whereas, the Village of Corrales has no municipal water or sewer with the majority of lots nearly entirely on-site water (well) and septic, low density development is not only an aesthetic issue but a health and safety concern….”
As discussion began on the motion to adopt the changes as presented by Planning and Zoning Administrator Laurie Stout, several changes to her recommendations emerged, which had been anticipated based on discussion at the previous council meeting. After public comment from Ryan Burt, Scott Parker, John Clark and Vanessa Santo as the June 15 meeting, Councillor Tyson Parker wanted the new ordinance to specify that “kitchen means any room used, intended or designed to be used for cooking or the preparation of food.” That motion was approved unanimously. Then Parker offered another amendment to the main motion: “Dwelling Unit [is] a single unit with connected rooms intended, or designed to be built, used, rented, leased, let or hired out to be occupied, providing complete independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for each and everyone of the following uses: living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation. A dwelling unit may be a mobile home, modular home, manufactured home or site-built house. it may also be an independent unit of an apartment, townhouse or other such multiple-unit residential structure, where allowed by the Zoning Code. Recreational vehicles, travel trailers or converted buses, whether on wheels or a permanent foundation, cannot be a dwelling unit.”
Parker’s second amendment, above, was also adopted, but not unanimously. Councillors Kevin Lutero and Stuart Murray voted no. Next Councillor Parker moved that the new ordinance should change the definition of “accessory uses and structures. His proposed wording was that an “accessory building or structure means a building detached from and incidental and subordinate to the dwelling unit and located on the same lot, such as a detached garage, workshop or studio. An accessory building or structure shall not be used as a second or independent dwelling unit.” His third amendment also passed unanimously, 5-0.
Finally, a motion to adopt Ordinance 21-04, as amended that evening, was approved with a unanimous vote of the councillors. Near the end of debate on the casitas motions, Councillor Stuart Murray expressed concerns that tight restrictions will still depend on close monitoring and enforcement by the P&Z office. “I’m concerned that regardless of good intentions for these rules on casitas or extra dwelling units, people are going to put them out there for rent as Airbnb or whatever they want, and ultimately we’re changing the dynamics of the village because we’re adding more people,” he cautioned.
A free presentation on large and small animal evacuations will be presented at the Seventh Day Adventist School gymnasium on July 19, at 6:30 pm. The event, organized by the Corrales Equestrian Advisory Commission and Corrales Horse and Mule People (CHAMP), will feature Village first responders who will brief animal owners on the Corrales Animal Evacuation Plan and go over details. The gym is at 24 Academy Drive. “Fire season is here, and the dry weather, hot temperatures and wind make for a dangerous combination. We have already had a close call, so it is imperative that animal owners are prepared for the worst possibility,” said Janet Blair, co-chair of the commission. “Our evacuation plan is a good one, and we should be able to protect village residents and animals as long as everyone is familiar with it,” Blair added.
The presentation will include directions on how to prepare an emergency evacuation kit. Fire Department Commander Tanya Lattin said “We will go over how each person needs to build their own plan. The Village will call for an evacuation and set up holding sites, dependent on location. It is each person’s own responsibility to be able to evacuate their animals.”
Corrales kids usually have been successful in showing and selling livestock they raised at the annual Sandoval County 4-H Livestock Fair and Auction. The event returns August 4-7 at the fairgrounds in Cuba, even though the full county fair will not be held. Livestock check-in is Wednesday, August 4, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The 4-H Horse Show starts at 9 a.m. the same day. Thursday, August 5 begins with events for small animals, rabbits, poultry and a lamb and goat dress-up show. The main events come Friday, August 6 with such attractions as shows for dairy goat, meat goats, swine, lambs and steers. Buyer check-in is Saturday, August 7 9-10 a.m. The livestock sale starts at 11 in the Leeson Arena.
No food booths or vendors will be on hand, so take your own food, drinks, chairs and shelter if needed.
Entries for small animals and livestock must be submitted online at http://sandoval.fairwire.com.
RV, camper and tent space can be reserved by contacting Nathan Crespin firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full hook-ups are $20 a night and dry camping is $14 a night.
In the last few months, I have noticed a surge in new people using the Bosque Preserve trails. I have heard about several unpleasant incidents and have experienced a few myself. I realize that not all of these incidents are due to boorish behavior although some of them clearly are. Most of them heed bosque rules which spell out who has the right of way. After the levee was rebuilt, the Bosque Advisory Commission had signs made that showed who had the right-of-way. They were placed at the major entrances to the bosque and at all the places where people commonly went into the preserve from the levee. A lot of these signs are missing, having been taken down when work was being performed on the levee or just plain stolen. Even when they are still there, they are inconspicuous and confusing.
Here are a few simple rules to follow when you encounter horses on the trails or the ditch banks.
1. When cyclists, runners or hikers meet horses coming towards them on the trail or ditch bank, the cyclists should stop and move their bicycles well off the trail to let the rider or riders pass safely. Runners and hikers should also stop and move off the trail. If there are multiple riders, runners or hikers, I recommend that they get off on the same side of the trail for their own safety. Families often split up and move to both sides of the trail. Some people in their zeal to get out of the way, hide behind trees or bushes. This is not a good idea because it can cause horses to spook if they can’t see you clearly.
2. If approaching horses from the rear, call out to let the riders know you are there and would like to pass. The riders will get off the trail as soon as they come to a safe place. In really dense places, this may take a little time and require patience on the part of the cyclists or runners.
3. Keep your dogs on the leash and do not let them run ahead of you out of sight. If dogs appear suddenly or try to nip at the horses’ heels, this can cause an accident. If you see horses approaching, please keep your dogs on the leash. Almost all of the people who use the bosque are considerate and friendly but occasionally, you run into rude or thoughtless people. If you have a bad experience while in the bosque, please report it to the police. We all enjoy the bosque and want to keep it safe for everyone.
Much talk about global warming, fossil fuels —and a savior, Avangrid, from Spain. Despite the full-page newspaper ads in the Journal, I cannot see why a foreign company would wish to help us do what we should do for ourselves. Passive solar, our earth’s tilt on its axis and its orbit about the sun, provide great opportunities of heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. Electric heat pumps are unnecessary and expensive despite the excitement of those who wish to sell us power to run ovens. Five hundred years ago, the indigenous citizens of New Mexico understood passive solar and constructed the cliff dwellings along the Gila River and the San Juan. There their dwellings were warm in winter with much sun and cool in summer. Even 50 years ago, despite commercial competition, people took advantage of the seasons using our familiar adobe bricks to carry winter day heat into the night or in summer to carry night cool into the hot days.
Inexpensive, reliable and natural, such methods attracted even our national laboratories who then studied what the sun could do as well as their atomic power. For some reason, passive solar, despite its long history here in New Mexico, is forgotten. Our architects, scientists, builders and adobe fans know all about this; the engineering departments and the architects are strangely silent. We must upset this silence. Here in New Mexico, we can help ourselves as the Anasazi did 500 years ago, as Los Alamos did 50 years ago. Despite the wonders of our modern, still-improving photovoltaic panels and towering wind generators, passive solar and adobe brick offer us year-around low-cost comfort and affirm the long traditions practiced forever here in our land of enchantment.
By John Thompson
Member, Corrales Tree Committee and N.M. Tree Steward
Keep your trees alive during the drought! All of New Mexico is in a drought and Sandoval County is in an extreme to exceptional drought condition. Keeping the trees alive in your landscape should be your first priority for watering during the drought. Trees are the most valuable plants in your landscape and add up to 10 percent of the value of your property, plus they provide cooling, wind reduction, shade and many other environmental benefits. Trees take the longest to replace if killed during a drought. With little rain, your trees are not getting enough moisture to their roots even if you are continuing to water lawns and landscape plants near those trees. The higher temperatures, wind and low humidity during a drought cause trees and shrubs to lose water faster through transpiration. An extended period of drought such as we are currently experiencing causes stress on trees that can kill or weaken them. Trees stressed by drought are more susceptible to pathogens such as fungi and insects. Remember the devastation to piñon trees caused by the pine bark beetle in our last drought.
What do I need to know about watering during a drought?
• What is my soil? How you water depends on what kind of soil you have. In Corrales, there are two predominant kinds of soil. In the foothills the soil is likely to be sandy which means watering needs to be shorter but more frequent. In the greenbelt, soil will have a large amount of clay that holds water requiring longer watering at longer intervals. Loamy soil will hold water better sand and less than clay.
• What trees do I have? Different trees have different water requirements. You can find out if your trees have low, medium, or high water usage by checking with the NMSU plant database at https://aces.nmsu.edu/pes/lowwaterplants/index.html or the New Mexico Plant Database at http://wuc.ose.state. nm.us/Plants/home.jsp
• Where do I water my trees? Too many people mistakenly water only at the trunk of a tree. Water is best applied to the feeder roots of the tree that are predominantly under the canopy of the tree but can reach out well beyond the canopy. The best place to water is at the drip line at the outer edge of the canopy.
• How much do I water my trees? The amount of water needed every month varies by the season, and size and type of tree. The amount of water needed at one watering is what is needed to provide moisture to root depth (1-3 feet). The best way to tell is to check for moisture at about 12 inches deep the day after watering. This can be done with a probe or digging a small hole. Mature producing fruit trees require the most water —up to 800 gallons per month. Low water usage trees can exist on 200 gallons per month. Mature landscape trees can require 400-600 gallons per month during the summer.
• How often do I water my trees? Frequency of watering varies by season and type of soil.
Sandy soil requires less water but more frequent watering. Clay soil retains more water for longer so requires less frequent watering. Newly planted trees and shrubs need the most frequent watering to encourage root growth. Frequency of watering for mature trees may vary from once a week to once a month depending on season and type of tree.
• What’s the best way to water my trees? Bubblers or emitters on drip systems are the recommended way to water landscape trees and shrubs. When you water lawns and flower gardens with sprinkler systems, you are only providing moisture to 4-12 inches deep; whereas, trees and shrubs need moisture to 24-36 inches deep. Emitters or bubblers should be placed in the active root zone just outside the outside edge of the canopy. Emitters are rated in gallons per hour so that you can calculate how long to water for a given volume of water. Hand watering is also good. A tree well placed at the drip line (outside edge of canopy) will keep the water above the root zone until it is absorbed into the soil. As a rule of thumb, one inch of water in a tree well that is 10 feet in radius will provide about 200 gallons of water. Wood mulch 2-4 inches deep in the tree well will help retain moisture.
• What if I have conifers? Some conifers (e.g. Afghan Pines) have low water requirements but still need watering at least once a month to sustain their health. Conifers can be more adaptable to drought conditions once their root systems are established (2-3 years).
• What if I have fruit trees? Mature fruit trees require minimum amounts of water to produce fruit. In drought conditions, irrigation water may be restricted to once every three weeks. In cases of inadequate irrigation frequency, you may want to consider supplementing irrigation with hand watering or a water truck for larger fields. To retain moisture, trees should be mulched with wood mulch to a depth of 2-4 inches under the canopy.
• What if it rains? If you receive more than .5 inch of rain you can skip one watering day.
• What are the signs of drought stress? Conifers will show drought stress in thinning, browning, yellowing, or graying of needles. In the second year of a drought, conifers will produce excess cones. Deciduous trees will show stress through scorched leaves, yellowing of leaves, leaves dropping early, thinning of canopy, and twigs or branches turning brittle or dying.
• What is the minimum amount of water required for survival in a drought? Trees may not recover if deprived of water for too long a period. Once a month is a rule of thumb for minimum watering frequency for survival during a drought.
• What if I need more information? These are resources that provided information for this article and can be accessed online.
• Sandoval Extension Master Gardeners: http://sandovalmastergardeners.org/
• Gardening with the Masters Online classes http://sandovalmastergardeners.org/gardeningclasses/gardening-with-the-masters-online/
• NMSU Desert Blooms website: https://desertblooms.nmsu.edu
• Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority: http://www.505outside.com
• New Mexico Office of the State Engineer U.S. Drought Monitor. www. drought.gov/states/new-mexico#current-conditions
• New Mexico’s Enchanted Xeriscape Guide.
By Steve Komadina
Out of the Pandemic? I have met with veterinarians and trainers in the last three months, and it is satisfying to witness the great awakening in the horse world. As restrictions have been cautiously raised, the interaction of equine fanatics has begun to unfold. It has been a tough year with loved ones lost and others weakened by the COVID-16 virus. Therapeutic riding programs closed, and stables were on lock-down. But we are waking up and coming alive and the excitement is palpable. Most encouraging is the excitement for many big shows like the Arab Youth Nationals in Oklahoma this month. A scan of the entrants shows many New Mexicans and classes with 40-60 entrants. These numbers have not been seen for several years even pre-COVID. There was time for training and private lessons during the lock-down and now everyone is anxious to try for that ribbon or trophy or even the roses!
Rodeo also is alive and well. Rodeo events are springing up in every little community and the kids are ready to ride. Horses and children: not ready to go away yet! Sure, there are some who would rather jump on an ATV, or just close the door to their room and spend hours immersed in a video game killing hoards trying to storm the castle or outrun the police as they make their heist of millions. But there still are those youth who saddle up and learn to work with another breathing, living, thinking being who will take them to their dream destinations. For eons, humans have partnered with these great animals to explore the world and find new horizons of opportunity. The horse youth of today can experience the same thrills and hard work and yes, even discomfort known to those who lived in the past.
My grandpa Pollock was a cowboy in Tropic, Utah and he gathered cattle in Bryce Canyon and moved them to new pastures in the late 1980s. He never quite left that life behind as he married and moved to Salt Lake City, where he worked as a barber and raised a family. I have looked at his picture leaning on his saddle horn and found it easy to close my eyes and imagine him riding along with me through the bosque and sharing thoughts as we watched the sun come up over the Sandias. I never knew him, but I think we were soul brothers when it came to love of a good horse between our legs.
Here is to the horse youth of today! Ride on and win that ribbon or capture that dream. Do not be afraid to hit the trail and follow the paths of those who went before. You are blessed to live in Corrales and do not miss the opportunity to wave if you see me on the trail. Saddle up! Tomorrow may be too late.