Nominate your own four-legged —or two-legged or eight-legged— critter for Corrales’ next Pet Mayor. Heck, a candidate doesn’t need to have any legs at all to qualify. The annual event is part of the Corrales Harvest Festival. The winner will be announced on the last day of this year’s festival, based on a tally of dollar-ballots cast for each. As of mid-July, just two candidates had been declared, both birds. Kristyn Mader nominated James, a peacock, and Pumpkin Cary entered her giant Canadian goose, Mimers.
More nominations are encouraged. Application forms can be found at http://www.corralesharvestfestival.com. Once filled out, the form can be emailed to email@example.com or regular mailed to Pat Mayor Election, 4 Acoma Trail, Corrales NM 87048. Online voting is already underway, and ballot boxes soon will be placed at various businesses around the village.
Vote as often as you’d like, with as many dollars as you can afford. The event is a fundraiser for several Corrales-based organizations. The peacock’s election slogan is “the man with a new brand of pea-litics and a very loud voice” which he will use to its fullest to get the message out. The goose’s slogan is “keep your eyes toward the skies, and level out with the clouds.” He has pledged to make Corrales the best place to live for every bird —or other animal including humans.
Corrales MainStreet, Inc.’s new executive director, Angela Gutierrez, anticipates using her background in marketing to boost Corrales’ potential for tourism and economic development. She has replaced Sandy Rasmussen, who retired June 30 after serving in that role since 2016. “This feels like a really exciting time to take over with Corrales MainStreet,” Gutierrez said July 16. “There’s lots of enthusiasm again coming out of the pandemic.”
With COVID-19 restrictions lifting and New Mexicans ready to release pent-up demand to venture out, she expects Corrales will experience an uptick in visitors and retail sales. Just ahead are preparations for resumption of the organization’s prime fundraiser, the Starry Night dinner party August 28. The event this summer on the Koontz family’s Trees of Corrales property at the north end of the valley features a murder mystery dinner party, “Murder on the Rio Grande.” Tickets are available online or from MainStreet committee members and board members.
Another big project is moving ahead with the long-awaited pathways along Corrales Road through the business area. Gutierrez said funding is secured to build the first phase of the walkway from about Ex Novo Brewery south to around Target Road. She said the first stretch of the project should be shovel-ready by the end of this year. The path will be four to five feet wide with a crusher fine surface. Gutierrez said no timeline has been set for a second phase continuing south. The new executive director said Corrales MainStreet’s new website had gone live in mid-July. She has served on the organization’s board of directors since March of last year. Among her other local involvement activities, she was Corrales Elementary School PTA treasurer 2017 to 2019, and is a trustee on the board of Dennis Friends Foundation which funds animal welfare work.
She was also a Corrales Soccer Club head coach during 2018 and 2019. Current board members for Corrales MainStreet, Inc. are Sue Evatt, president, Valerie Burkett, vice-president Linda Parker, treasurer; and Maureen Cook, Jim Kruger, John Perea, Joel Gregory, Kim Stewart, Cookie Emerson and Lynn Martinez. Over the past year of pandemic shut-down, Gutierrez said, “one of the things we could do was work on a strategic plan.” She was an honors graduate from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, in 2000 with a major in communications and a minor in marketing and advertising. She worked in the medical field in Georgia and Florida before relocating to New Mexico. From 2011 through 2013, she promoted specialty sales for Chanel in Albuquerque.
A survey will be mailed out to residents near the Corrales Interior Drain to learn what changes, if any, should be considered to the long drainage ditch east of Corrales Road. A committee appointed by Mayor JoAnne Roake has been convened to develop plans for how the property owned by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District might best be used. A cover letter accompanying the questionnaire explains its purpose. “The Corrales Interior Drain was constructed in the 1930s to lower the water table and reclaim flooded farmland. The Interior Drain runs from East Valverde Road south to the Corrales Clear Ditch and Bosque Preserve, culminating just south of East Meadowlark Lane. The 26 acre, 120-foot-wide drain is owned and maintained by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy.
“Today, the Interior Drain serves many uses, providing access to homes, farms and the elementary school, recreation for biking, horseback riding, hiking, fishing and bird watching. It is a vital nature sanctuary with entry to the Bosque Preserve. In recent years, use of the ditch banks along the Corrales Interior Drain have given rise to concerns about increased traffic and associated dust and potential contamination of water in the drainage ditch. Concerns have been raised about children’s safety especially as they walk or ride bicycles along the ditch going to and from Corrales Elementary School. Villagers have long thought about how the ditch right-of-way might serve community uses while maintaining MRGCD property ownership and drainage mandate.
“In 2020, Mayor Jo Anne Roake appointed The Corrales Interior Drain Committee tasked to make recommendations on the drain’s uses, preservation and potential.
“Preliminary ideas have included:
• Installing water lines along the ditch for fire suppression and landscape enhancements.
• A pathway or trail along the ditch as a safe route for children between the east end of Corrales Elementary to the Recreation Center.
• Biologists have been asked what habitat should be preserved or enhanced.
“While the committee began collecting and recording public input for the project last year, an effort is under way now to personally contact residents living near the drain.
“We are seeking your opinions and recommendations to help guide the planning effort. The questionnaire is included here. You can email your response or call any of the committee “ To return by email, send survey responses to Csmiller@UNM.edu. Appointed to the committee were Doug Findley, Sayre Gerhart, Jeff Radford, Rick Thaler, John Perea and Ed Boles. Claudia “Taudy” Smith Miller and Shai Haber-Thaler are facilitating.
The committee’s mission statement is as follows. “Our mission is to identify and help to implement ways in which the Interior Drain and its right-of-way may be improved for safe, enjoyable and essential public use while maintaining tranquility for adjacent residents” A draft of the questionnaire, or survey, reads this way.
1. Do you live along the Corrales Interior Drain? Please provide the location address.
2. Do you use the drain to get to your home?
3. Do you drive along the drain to get to your home?
4. Do you drive along the drain for other reasons besides going to and from your home? If yes, for what reasons?
5. What is the impact of motorized traffic along the drain on you? Please describe.
6. How do you feel about the drain being used as an alternative route for Corrales Road?
• Very good
• Very bad
7. If you have concerns with motorized traffic on the drain, do you have a suggestion which mitigates your concern?
8. How often do you use the drain for outdoor recreation such as walking, biking, horseback riding or bird watching?
9. Do you agree with the statement - bird and animal life along the drain have significant value?
• Very much
• Not much
• Not at all
10. How would you feel about having a pocket park (a small park) somewhere along the drain?
• Good idea
• Not good
• Bad idea
• Not enough information
11. Do you use the drain for other activities? Please provide examples.
12. What are some activities you would like to see along the drain?
13. What are some activities you would like to see discouraged along the drain?
14. Would you like to see any other changes in the drain?
15. Do you have any other thoughts, comments, or ideas about the drain that you would like to share?
16. Would you like to be invited to any meetings or discussions the committee will be having concerning the drain?
17. Would you share your email address and phone? (only for the purpose of the study)
18. Do you have any friends or neighbors, that would be interested in this discussion? Will you share their phone number or email address?”
Since the Village of Corrales has no ownership in the land involved, the committee acknowledges that its eventual recommendations would need concurrence from the MRGCD to be implemented. The district’s chief concern is expected to be retaining full use of the ditch and ditchbanks to perform routine maintenance. One of the first things the committee did was to document what is physically in the ditch and on the ditchbanks, how the land is now used and what adjacent features should be taken into consideration, such as homes, trails and Corrales Elementary School and the playground there. Suggested opportunities for future use of the land indicated in the presentation to the council included: a Fire Department fire suppression water line to fight fires east of the drain; horse riding; hiking; children’s access to school grounds; a pond; a green corridor for appreciation of nature and wildlife habitat; a butterfly garden; and improvements in air quality for neighbors asa result of reductions in dust.
In the presentation to the council, the committee outlined the following as “what problems are we trying to solve?” traffic, dust, safety, liability, loss of habitat and devaluation of property. Discussions with neighboring property owners and ditchbank users began last month to be followed by the survey. As a preliminary concept, the committee is considering possible uses for three conditions along the ditch: ponds, water areas and xeric locations. A photo essay of the varying parts of the long ditch can be found in the centerfold pages of Corrales Comment’s May 22, 2021 issue.
In 2019, the last year the Rio Grande Valley produced a significant apple harvest, a severe case of apple maggot damage was found in two Corrales apple orchards. So what are apple maggots, and how are they different from codling moths? Codling moths lay eggs on the fruit and leaves of the tree. When the larvae hatches, they burrow into the core of the apple, leaving an entry point that is visible to the naked eye. Since most of the codling moth damage occurs at the apple core, minor codling moth damage may be removed so the rest of the fruit is edible.
Apple maggot flies are a tiny quarter-inch fly that lays its eggs by piercing the skin of the apple. Each female apple maggot fly can lay hundreds of eggs. Each point where the apple is pierced leaves a small dent with a tiny dot in the middle where an egg was laid. When the eggs hatch, the larvae wind their way through the fruit leaving a trail of frass. Because of the number of times the fruit is pierced, the fruit becomes inedible. Both codling moth larvae and apple maggot larvae overwinter in the soil in a pupa state.
Steve Lucero, of the Sandoval County Cooperative Extension Service suggests these treatment options. Codling moths appear in late May. The moths are approximately half-inch long with grey and brown bands and they appear at dawn and dusk. Upon appearance, begin applying a pesticide such as an organically approved spinosad or kaolin clay. Spray the trees every two weeks from mid-June until the end of August.
Unlike the codling moth, only one generation of apple maggot flies is produced each year. Apple maggots appear starting in June and continue through most of the summer. Adult flies often leave and feed outside the orchard, in wooded or brushy areas. There is no cure for apple maggots once they are inside the apples. Controls must prevent damage by stopping the flies before they lay their eggs. To monitor for apple maggots, hang sticky traps from the tree at eye level in early summer and replace them every three to four weeks. Treatment options are in links below.
The insecticides recommended in this article are effective but they do have negative impacts on pollinators. NMSU recommends weeding/mowing flowering plants in the orchard that might be contaminated with drift and not to spray when it is windy to reduce drift. See https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-insects/apple-maggot; and https://extension.usu.edu/pests/ipm/notes_ag/fruit-apple-maggot
A book researched and written by Corrales’ Martha Egan has been selected as a “Book of the Year” by Foreword Reviews journal. Her book, Relicarios The Forgotten Jewels of Latin America, published last year by Fresco Books, won a silver award. With lavish photographs, the art book exposes a little known Latin American artform. “As the author of this book, which represents 40 years of research and I’m extremely pleased that Foreword Magazine and its editors recognized Relicarios The Forgotten Jewels of Latin America by awarding us a silver in the art category for 2020,” Egan said.
“The topic is an obscure one, unfamiliar to even Latin American art historians. Most of the 200 photographs relating to these beautiful gems are previously unpublished.” She said the publisher’s book design “shows them and the text with off with spectacular artistry. I did my best to present academically sound research in a readable, engaging manner… pirates! Shipwrecks! Implausible relics! Miracles!” Egan is a long-time Corrales resident and founder of Pachamama, a shop offering Latin American folk art, crafts and jewelry relocated from Santa Fe to Corrales’ Casa Perea Art Space, 4829 Corrales Road, next to Ex Novo Brewery.
The journal focuses on independently published books, recognizing the best books published from small, independent and university presses, as well as self-published authors. For this year’s competition, over 2,100 entries were submitted in 55 categories, with Foreword’s editors choosing the finalists. Those titles were then mailed to individual librarians and booksellers charged with picking the gold, silver, bronze and honorable mention winners. Egan will give talk about books at Casa Perea on Saturday, July 31, during a mid-summer event 5-9 p.m. Tickets are $20. Raffle drawings offer merchandize valued at $200 for first prize, $100 for second and $50 for third.
By Scott Manning
Former Village Councillor Gerard Gagliano, CEO of the technology security company Prodentity, is concerned about the future of the stalled Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository project and about future nuclear waste repository projects. Nuclear waste storage is a serious problem in the United States. Waste generated from nuclear power production and from military nuclear weapon systems is radioactive and potentially deadly to people and to the ecosystem if the waste materials are improperly stored. Additionally, these waste products remain radioactive for thousands of years, meaning that a highly secure location and facility must be designated to store nuclear waste.
The U.S. government designated Yucca Mountain in Nevada to be the site for permanent nuclear waste storage in the 1987 Nuclear Waste Policy Act. The site was intended to be used to store high level radioactive waste (HLW), which is defined as highly radioactive materials from spent nuclear fuel in reactors. According to Gagliano, Yucca Mountain was a good choice to store the nuclear waste material. Yucca Mountain is dry and barren, making the location suitably isolated and stable for the storage of radioactive material. Yucca Mountain is also in the Nevada Test Site in the Nellis Air Force Range, so the site would be protected from trespassing. Finally, geology at the site indicated that the location was safe and stable enough to store nuclear waste far underground.
Despite these advantages, the proposed repository site encountered serious political opposition. Harry Reid, a U.S. senator from Nevada, opposed the development of the repository site. Reid argued that the proposed site was overly expensive and scientifically flawed. Gagliano explains that the proposal never garnered widespread support from Nevada citizens. In 2010, the Department of Energy (DOE) ultimately withdrew its license to construct the project, which effectively ended any prospects for building nuclear waste storage in Yucca Mountain. Gagliano’s company Prodentity was hired in 2001 to develop the security regimen for the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository project. Prodentity developed a comprehensive security plan that involved physical, information, and network security considerations.
Physical security entails the infrastructure and human personnel required to keep the site isolated from outsiders. By implementing electronics, Prodentity designed a system to ensure that only authorized persons were allowed to access the facility. This involved designing alarm systems that would detect breaches. Physical security is imperative because the design and construction of the storage system would be sensitive to any disruptions or changes inside of the storage area.
Information security considerations focused on securing sensitive information. Prodentity supplemented information security by developing training protocols for workers so that anyone operating or building the site would be properly trained. And network security involved the programming of autonomous rail cars that would deliver and move nuclear waste cargo into the facility. This programming effort required security because the site had to be protected against cyberattacks that could manipulate or derail the railcars. For example, the security network had to defend against the risk that a faux server could access the control systems in the storage system and send a railcar on a dangerous errand. Prodentity was awarded the security job because Gagliano had been granted patents on much of the security technologies needed to design and implement a comprehensive security system. Prodentity designed a software environment that housed the security infrastructure and modernized its technology over the years, but the company did not use its designs because of funding issues and later the effective termination of the project.
Gagliano and Prodentity are currently evaluating the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) site near Carlsbad, New Mexico to see if the site can be approved for the storage of HLW. But Gagliano suspects that the site is not adequate for HLW due to a 2014 waste leak at the site. Although the leak was contained with minimum environmental impact, it exposed geology concerns. This leaves the United States without a nuclear waste storage site for HLW. According to Gagliano, there are over 130 sites in the country, mostly run by commercial power plants, where nuclear waste is stored. Gagliano argues that this current model of localized storage of nuclear waste seems to be more dangerous than a single storage facility deep underground. And given the country’s history with nuclear weapons and nuclear power, a nuclear waste storage site is needed for old nuclear waste regardless of whether nuclear activity continues in the future.
The issue remains where and when a new nuclear storage facility for HLW will be developed. As more and more people move into previously unoccupied parts of the United States, the number of isolated candidates for nuclear storage shrink, and Gagliano is unsure if nuclear storage will ever become more popular among citizens. With the end of the Yucca Mountain Project and without any suitable alternatives, the United States is without a permanent HLW storage facility.
More than 25 artists submitted work for the Placitas art exhibition July 31 through September 9 when responding to the announced theme: the color yellow. The art show is at the Placitas Community Library which is open Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as Sundays 1-4 p.m. The show’s prospectus explained, “Let us begin with the summer sun, that brilliant yellow orb whose rays provide both comfort and danger to those of us who are drawn to it. We cannot look directly at it, nor can we look away, and those who linger too long in its path may pay a painful price.
“Yellow is indisputably a color that signifies both the joys and angst of summer. That is why the Placitas Community Library Art Committee asked artists to reference ‘yellow’ with all of its contradictions and complexity for the August 2021 exhibition.” Among the pieces is a depiction of the sun fashioned out of bicycle chains. An artist reception will be held Friday, August 13 from 5-7 pm. All work is available for purchase and 25 percent of the purchase price will benefit the Placitas library.
Guitar maker Roberto Pimentel won the raffle to decide what style of haircut John Perea will get following an unshorn year. A drawing was held Saturday, July 17 in the Tijuana Bar at Perea’s Restaurant after organizer Sam Thompson announced that raffle ticket sales had raised $2,941 for the Corrales Fire Department. Fire Chief Anthony Martinez said the money would be used for “things that may not be budgeted” for the Village’s firefighters and rescue teams.
Thompson said nearly half of the tickets were sold by John Perea himself. The winning ticket was pulled from a jar by his wife, Ana Perea. Pimentel was not present at the drawing, so it was not known immediately what style haircut would be given.
Thompson said other fundraisers for the Fire Department are continuing, including firefighters’ old boots and helmets planted with flowers for sale. These can be seen at the main fire station.
Speaking in Corrales’ La Entrada Park June 5, Congresswoman Theresa Leger Fernandez was adamant that concerted action be taken to confront climate change. “We are ground-zero for climate crisis,” she emphasized. “We need to be talking about revenue replacement” for money that would come to New Mexico as the state and nation move away from fossil fuel extraction. She was accompanied by her legislative assistant, Adeline DeYoung, who grew up in Corrales and until recently worked for Citizens Climate Lobby. In introducing DeYoung, Leger Fernandez pointed out that the young Corraleña had written her master’s thesis on states’ relying on oil and gas to fund education.
Leger Fernandez said she intended to introduce a bill in Congress to mitigate financial losses due to decreased oil and gas leasing on federal lands. “My bill is going to separate out oil and gas from federal lands, so we don’t need to worry about the loss as we transition off of that. “We’re not going to cease that drilling right away; that’s just not how it works. Fifty percent of the oil and gas produced in New Mexico comes from federal land, and we need to wean ourselves of that. So my bill is going to say, ‘let’s look at the last five years of oil and gas revenues from public lands,’ and say ‘We’re going to give you the average of those five years, guaranteed. So you’re no longer going to be worried about what we’re doing on federal land because you’re going to be guaranteed that payment.
“That’s going to go down over time, of course, but we’d have a guaranteed paycheck that would allow us to do what we need to do on our federal land to save this beautiful place we call home. I think that’s the way we need to go; being honest about our difficulties during that transition, but also address the climate crisis. This would not touch anything on private land or state land, just on federal land.” The District 3 congresswoman further explained the concept. “What I will be proposing is that on federal land, we de-couple the revenue that the state receives from oil and gas development on those federal lands from whatever happens on them.
“So the State of New Mexico would receive an average of what we have received over the last five years, and that would be received as a guaranteed payment. That would allow the federal government to decide what it needs to do to assist our climate goals on federal land without harming New Mexico. That might mean leaving it in the ground, or no more new leasing. This would not impact existing leases and existing drilling. I think that is the kind of approach we need to look at. How do we take bold action and at the same time recognize the vulnerability that New Mexico has?
“My revenue replacement bill would de-couple the federal royalties that New Mexico gets from the payments that our state gets. And one of the nice things about it is that it would be guaranteed, so the State would know in advance what it would get and could budget for it.” As it has been, she explained, those revenues fluctuated greatly, in a boom-bust cycle.
Purchase of two more conservation easements to preserve farmland was postponed so that a single transaction with the N.M. Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) to purchase Corrales’ municipal bonds could be consolidated. The Village Council had been expected to exercise pending options to acquire easements at its July 20 session. But Village Administrator Ron Curry said July 15 that the Village’s bond attorney, Jill Sweeney, was trying to combine use of general obligation bonds for easements on the Phelps Farm and the Lopez Farm. As in the past, DFA buys the Village’s GO bonds for the bond market and is paid interest on the funds provided over time.
The pending acquisitions are expected to use the last of the $2.5 million from GO bonds approved by Corrales voters in the 2018 municipal election. Curry said final appraisals had not been submitted, but that the bond sales would be adequate to cover costs. Village officials have until November 30, 2021 to exercise an option on the three-acre farm owned by Emilio, Veronica and Renee Lopez, and a similar time frame has been set for the 10-acre Phelps Farm nearby. Those are expected to be the last easements to be acquired using funds generated by the 2018 GO bonds. Last year, the Village acquired a similar easement on the Haslam family’s farm a little south of the Phelps and Lopez tracts between the Main Canal and the Corrales Lateral irrigation ditch west of Corrales Road.
That earlier acquisition preserved 12 acres at a cost of approximately $960,000 from those bonds. The easement agreement between the Lopez family and the Village of Corrales notes that the three acres “includes scenic open space located along, visible from, and directly adjacent to Corrales Road, the primary thoroughfare through the village and the Corrales Bosque Preserve; and a public recreational trail along Sandoval Lateral, which is frequented by many residents and visitors for walking, running, horseback riding and mountain biking. The publicly accessible viewing platform along the Sandoval Lateral and Corrales Bosque Preserve will also provide significant opportunities for the public to enjoy the scenic values of the property.”
As with earlier farmland added to the Village’s farmland preservation program, the easements to be acquired would be held and administered for the Village by the New Mexico Land Conservancy, based in Santa Fe. If the Lopez deal goes through, the owners of the land, or any subsequent owners, would have the right to construct an agriculture-related building within a quarter-acre enclave, similar to other earlier transactions. At the May 25 Village Council meeting, an option to purchase a conservation easement on that land owned by Courtnay and Anne Koontz was approved unanimously. A final appraisal has yet to be made, but the Village is expected to pay approximately $780,000 to prevent the tract from being developed. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXX No.8 June 5, 2021 “Another 10 Acres of Prime Farmland To Be Saved.”) Members of the Corrales Farmland Preservation and Agriculture Committee were invited to submit a guest commentary to Corrales Comment to explain where that effort goes next since the GO bonds likely will have been spent. That is expected to be published in the August 7 issue.
Corrales high-tech firm Ideum is expected to finish its interactive display “Exploring the Structure of the Universe” SOON. The project is one of several featured by the N.M. Film Office highlighting the company’s growing reputation nationally and internationally. The interactive media production is scheduled to be online by 2025. It will allow visitors to one of the nation’s national laboratories to explore the next generation of particle accelerators,” according to the Film Office. The project “will allow researchers to peer more deeply into the structure of subatomic particles than ever before. What they learn will shed new light onto the structure of matter and the origin of the universe itself.”
Executive producer for the project is Ideum’s Hugh McDonald. Another project now in production, “The Body Explorer,” is a three-dimensional interactive exhibit for a science facility in the Middle East. “Visitors will explore an elaborate 3-D model of the human body and investigate the various medical technologies that can enhance human life,” the Film Office explained. “A wide range of technology from cochlear implants and artificial hearts to embedded microchipss and electronic tattoos are on display” with explanations of where the current science would lead. “The Body Explorer” is to be released next summer.
Ideum Producer Darold Ross explained it this way. “Humanity is continually re-conceptualizing what our relationship with technology is, even as technology evolves at a break-neck pace. “This experience will invite visitors to consider their own opinions on emerging technologies and how they interface with the human body. Visitors will answer questions about their personal feelings on the implementation of medical technology in the body, and see their answers represented in real time as they compare to other respondents. The survey will cover a wide range of moral and ethical questions across a broad range of technologies.”
“As our company continues to expand our work with world-class museums and Fortune 500 companies across the country and across the world, the New Mexico Film Office has been there every step of the way,” according to Ideum founder and chief executive officer Jim Spadaccini. “Their support has been vital to our success as we are quickly gaining an international reputation for developing creative and compelling digital interactives right here in New Mexico. Even during the darkest times in the pandemic, we were able to maintain more than 40 full-time positions while we continued our work and to land new opportunities.” (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXXVII No.3 April 7, 2018 “Ideum Will Test Display Prototypes in Blue Sky Building.”)
Also under way is a soundscape and presentation system expected to be in production through next June. It is a collaboration with a zoo in the Midwest to create sounds for a new aquarium building. Closer to home, visitors to the Albuquerque BioPark’s “Bugarium” have experienced one of Ideum’s projects. Among scores of others are “Meet the Bisti Beast, New Mexico’s Tyrannosaur,” “Operation Smile: the global cleft palate repair project” and the U.S. Navy Seals History Project. (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXXIV, No.18 November 7, 2015 “Corrales Firm’s Display Featured at New ‘Bugarium.’”) In 2017, Ideum bought the former Blue Sky woodworking building at the corner of Corrales Road and West La Entrada, next to Village Pizza. Founded in the San Francisco area by Jim Spadaccini in 1999, Ideum relocated to Corrales in 2005, re-opening in a former gas station and auto mechanics garage. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXIX, No.16 October 9, 2010 “Corrales Hi-Tech Firm Sells to Science Museums, iPhone.”)
As the business grew, Spadaccini moved to the office complex at the south end of Corrales, where Ideum occupies 22,000 square feet of space to design, produce and prototype innovative hardware and software equipment often used museums around the world. Products are interactive displays and multi-touch tables. The expansion to the former Blue Sky Woodworks building is used to build boxes for Ideum’s interactive display equipment. In 2017, Ideum got a $75,000 grant provided by the N.M. Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) program.
About five years ago, Spadaccini introduced an innovative new product, the Portrait Touch and Motion Kiosk, an interactive display system featuring an ultra high-definition 55-inch display with 60 touch points and motion-tracking sensors. The seven-foot tall kiosk is constructed of aircraft grade aluminum that contains touch guided screens for use at museums, trade shows and other settings. “The Portrait Touch and Motion Kiosk is our first all-in-one standing system,” he said. “It is the perfect addition to our line of multi-touch tables and Presenter touch walls. We have brought our years of experience in creating turnkey, integrated touch-systems to the Portrait Kiosk.” The units are designed in Corrales and built entirely in the United States.
As Spadaccini explained, Ideum focuses on creating “the next generation of visitor experiences that blend both the physical and digital realms.” The products are sold in 38 countries. Among other of Ideum’s clients and customers: the Baseball Hall of Fame, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Apple Computers, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Exploratorium, National Science Foundation, Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, the Technology Museum of Innovation, the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California-Berkeley, Marriott Resorts, the Chabot Space and Science Center and the Museum of the African Diaspora.
At the National Museum of the American Indian in the nation’s capital, Ideum produced a table top interactive display of a portion of the prehistoric Peruvian Inca Road near Machu Picchu. Anyone who has caught even a single episode of the CSI-type television shows that now proliferate would likely be familiar with what Ideum makes and sells. You probably recall seeing the TV detective walk up to a huge, colorful computer screen displaying multiple images of evidence and suspects. He then “grabs” one image to shift it to the center, then pokes the screen to instantly and dazzlingly bring up a plethora of data about that clue. Ideum’s Multi-Touch 50 model does all that.
Before founding Ideum, Spadaccini was director of interactive media at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. His department was responsible for developing educational web resources and media exhibits for the museum floor. For his work there, he received a Smithsonian Computerworld Award, an Association of Science and Technology Centers Award for innovation and three consecutive Webby Awards for “best science site” on the Internet.
Climate change. It’s everywhere. In newspaper headlines, that is. But also in everyday neighbor-to-neighbor talk. It’s as though, suddenly, everybody finally grasped Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth,” and joined a consensus that we humans need to do something to avoid disaster. Note that Gore’s global warming slide show presentation, launched on a lecture circuit in 2000, was released as a blockbuster movie in 2006. That was 15 years ago. What if people had acted decisively back then? Was that too much to expect? Humans don’t respond that quickly? Gore’s first book on the subject, Earth in the Balance, went on the New York Times bestseller list in 1992, 29 years ago. Will short-sightedness always prevail?
His book An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, came out July 28, 2017, four years ago. By then, some people around the globe had begun to act decisively on already-unfolding climate change. Corrales Comment offered on-the-scene news reporting from the crucial United Nations climate change conference in Paris in December 2015. This was the only New Mexican news medium to provide that first-hand coverage, which can be read at our website http://www.corralescomment.com. Corrales Comment will report from the UN climate conference in Scotland this coming November, assuming pandemic restrictions allow. The crux of the UN’s 26th Conference of the Parties (COP-26) convening in Glasgow will be to “increase ambition” by every nation on earth to implement steps to dramatically reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2019, as COP-25 got underway in Madrid, the executive secretary for the UN’s climate change programs, Patricia Espinosa, explained, “This year, we have seen accelerating climate change impacts, including increased droughts, storms and heat waves, with dire consequences for poverty eradication, human health, migration and inequality. “The world’s small window of opportunity to address climate change is closing rapidly.” That was 2019. Since then scientists have recorded temperatures of 118 degrees F in the Arctic region, unprecedented heatwaves in the Pacific Northwest, a mega-drought in the Southwest, extraordinary flooding in Germany, accelerating disappearance of glacial ice in high mountains around the globe and crop failures resulting in mass migrations, among other climate crises.
Readers of the Albuquerque Journal learned July 19 that birds are dying of excessive heat in the United States, Australia and South Africa. On the same day, The New York Times reported that huge wildfires in Russian’s normally frozen north “have been made possible by the extraordinary summer heat in recent years in northern Siberia, which has been warming faster than just about any other part of the world.” These days, The New York Times publishes several climate change-related articles in nearly every issue, often at the top of the front-page. Other major papers do the same. The Times’ lead story July 15, for example, was headlined “Europe Lays Out Stringent Plan in Climate Fight. Challenging the World: Curbing Fossil Fuel Use With Penalties for Noncompliance.”
The next day, it published an op-ed article titled “We Can’t Afford to Be Cheap in Fighting Climate Change.” The conservatively liberal newspaper’s lead article in the Sunday Times, July 18 carried the headline “Climate Change Comes For the Wealthy Nations. Brutal Heat and Deadly Floods Show World Unprepared to Cope with Extreme Weather.” Inside the same edition, a banner headline reads “Floods Thrust Climate Policy Onto Center Stage of German Politics.” It’s not just East Coast newspapers. The Albuquerque Journal headlined “Heat Wave in US, Canada Devastates Crops, Livestock” above a sentence in the second paragraph explaining “What’s happening in parts of the U.S. and Canada shows the damage climate change is wreaking on agriculture.”
The same week, the Journal carried a front-page article warning that “New Mexico Is Grappling With a Mega-Drought” and pointing out that “Rising global temperatures, a consequence of greenhouse gas-induced climate change, make drought worse by affecting regional snowpack.” The journalistic trend has even made its way onto lifestyle pages. In the July 17, New York Times, the headline “You Can Live To Fight Climate Change” was followed by a sub-head that “Individual Choices in Lifestyle and Investing Can Have a Positive Effect on the Environment, Experts Say.”
For some time now, the topic has invaded advertising space as well. Bayer, maker of aspirin and other drugs, enticed newspaper readers this summer with the question in a large ad that read “Can biology reverse disease and slow climate change?” It touted the “bio revolution, one of the megatrends we’re investing in to help treat chronic human conditions, like a warming planet. To us, there’s nothing more valuable.” These intensifying messages across many, if not most, platforms, are not meant to appeal to tree-huggers. Compared to a few years ago, Americans of all persuasions are concerned that, as reported in the Albuquerque Journal June 28, “Earth is now trapping nearly twice as much heat due to mounting greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from carbon emissions than it did in 2005, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the U.S. environment agency National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”
Captains of industry have heeded the shift in public attention to threats posed by global warming. Earlier this month, the world’s largest investment firm, BlackRock, demanded that the major multinational corporations make firm commitments to bring down global greenhouse gas emissions. BlackRock’s CEO, Laurence Fink, spoke at the “Group of 20” economic summit that governments and corporations need to do more to combat global warming. He called for a shift that would “fundamentally change the function of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as re-shape the role of governments in combatting climate change,” it was reported.
In June, Europe’s biggest oil company, Royal Dutch Shell, said it would step up its reduction in carbon emissions worldwide. The corporation’s leader, Ben van Beurde, said a court decision in the Hague in May would spur faster reductions. The court ruled that Shell has to cut net carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030 compared to 2019. It may not be an accurate gauge of the extent to which corporate executives have committed to joining the fight against climate change, but perhaps a paradigm shift may be seen in the publication of a book later this summer by Yale University Press: Prosperity in the Fossil-Free Economy: Cooperatives and the Design of Sustainable Businesses by Melissa Scanlan.
Citizens groups are also mobilizing to capitalize on the growing awareness of climate crises already occurring. On July 19, elected officials from around the world announced formation of a Global Alliance for a Green New Deal to press for binding commitments to reduce carbon releases. Emission target reductions, the coalition stressed, “although important, don’t change things: policy does.” The new group’s leadership urged policy setters around the world to “not wait for November’s critical COP-26 summit, but to embark on bold transformative action to make the world fairer and greener now.” One of the 21 founders, U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, said “Climate change is here, and it is an existential threat to humanity. We have already seen the horrifying repercussions of failing to act: wildfires ranging across the West Coast, extreme hurricanes, heatwaves in Australia and massive flooding around the world. natural disasters like these will only get worse unless we act as a global community to counteract this devastation.”
A member of the British parliament, Caroline Lucas, added, “Pledges and targets will not avert catastrophic climate change. Ambitious action will, but it’s been perilously absent. The world is running out of time and out of excuses.” And in the U.S. Senate, Martin Heinrich introduced his Zero-Emission Homes Act that would reimburse Americans for buying and installing household electric appliances, presumably replacing those burning natural gas. “Electrifying America’s homes is a sure fire way to cut down on fossil fuels and take bold action on climate,” the senator said.
“We’ve got to act boldly on climate right now. It’s the only way to preserve our planet for future generations. From heating and cooling to cooking and transportation, our households make up about 42 percent of our country’s energy-related emissions.” In 1979, President Jimmy Carter installed solar hot water heating panels on the White House roof; President Ronald Reagan removed them in 1986. President George W. Bush installed the first photovoltaic panels on the White House grounds in 2003. In 2013, Barack Obama ordered solar water heating panels back on the presidential household roof.
Although many, perhaps most, Corraleños are acting as though the pandemic has passed, 335 people here had the illness as of July 16. As of that date, 4,372 New Mexicans had died from COVID-19, and 207,002 had tested positive for the coronavirus. And 15,011 were then in the hospital for treatment. Corrales had four new cases between June 27 and July 16, according to the Fire Department’s Tanya Lattin. For perspective, she pointed out that Corrales had just 26 cases on July 13 last year; on July 13, 2021, Corrales had 219 cases. Lattin continues to offer vaccinations one to three days a week. Interested persons should call her at 702-4182 to schedule a Pfizer vaccination.
“We are not out of the pandemic, but with New Mexico’s great vaccination rate, we are doing better than other states,” she said. “We need to keep it that way, and it takes all of us following COVID safe practices to keep our infection rate low. Wash your hands, stay home if you are sick, get tested if you are sick. The Public Health Order still requires unvaccinated people to wear a face covering in public, while no one is checking for vaccination status, please consider others who may be immune compromised, older, or they just did not develop a large amount of antibodies from vaccination, and follow the rules about face coverings. Also be kind to people who are wearing face coverings; it is an added layer of protection. When I started in the medical field many years ago, it was common practice not to wear gloves for most things. Now we wear gloves for many things to protect ourselves from blood-borne pathogens.
“I am fully vaccinated and have been since January, I still wear my mask in many settings. Not only to add a layer of protection for myself, but to protect others since I am around unvaccinated and ill people. If you want a vaccine or have questions about vaccine please contact me, as we want to make it easy for people who want a vaccination to get one and have them available in Corrales. If you know of someone who is homebound and wants a vaccination, we are available to vaccinate in their home. Together as a community we will get through this”.
In Sandoval County, 53 percent of COVID-19 cases are in women. The age category most affected now are people 20-29 (2,171 cases as of July 16). The second highest category was people aged 30-29 (2,080 cases). For those aged 70-79, Sandoval County had 626 cases, while the age category 80-89 registered 245 cases. As of that date, 69.6 percent of Sandoval County residents had been vaccinated.
The 35th season of Music in Corrales begins with a concert in La Entrada Park by Corrales trumpeter Bobby Shew and his jazz sextet on Saturday, September 18 at 7 p.m. The second offering in the new eight-concert season, Friction Quartet on October 23, will also be in the park outside the Corrales Library. After that, COVID-restrictions allowing, the remainder of the season will be inside the Old Church, although the Irish music group Socks in the Frying Pan will be presented as an online video concert only. That concert will be offered on Saturday, November 20 and Sunday, November 28. Season tickets and Premier Choice Tickets (for three or more tickets) are now available online at http://www.musicincorrales.org. The full season ticket price is $175. Price for the Premier Choice Ticket is $24 each for three or more concerts. Pre-season advance ticket sales end August 31, after which prices will increase.
Offerings range from performance of a work by an Albuquerque native, composer Nicholas Lell Benavides, and a blues singer to a German-Brazilian classical guitar duo and a Mozart prize winning pianist. First up is the Bobby Shew Jazz Sextet on Saturday, September 18, starting at 7 p.m. in La Entrada Park. Raised in Albuquerque and now living in Corrales, Shew played trumpet for several “big bands” such as those of Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and Buddy Rich. Settling in Los Angeles, he did studio work for television shows that included those of Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart and Mork and Mindy. The Saturday, October 23 concert, also in the library park, brings in the classical and contemporary string quartet Friction. The group is “artist in residence” at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center. The concert here begins at 7 p.m.
The November event, the only one planned as entirely online, features Irish music by Socks in the Frying Pan, shown, two days, Saturday, November 20 and Sunday, November 28. The group hails from County Clare, on Ireland’s west coast, the hotbed of Irish music today. Then the December offering is Crys Matthews, a blue singer and songwriter, said to be an inspiration for those who fight for change. This concert is in the Old Church starting at 7:30 p.m. The first concert of 2022 has Hot Club of Cowtown, described as “country meets jazz.” That is on Saturday, January 22, 7:30 p.m.
The February concert is given by classical pianist Claire Huangci, whose range goes from Bach and Scarlatti to Bernstein and Corigliano. She returns for her third engagement in Corrales. The young American pianist won first prize and the Mozart Prize at the 2018 Geza Anda Competition. On March 20, the Sunday afternoon concert in the Old Church is by Take3, with classical-jazz fusion. It begins at 3 p.m. The final concert in the 2021-22 season comes Saturday, April 23, with Nova, a Brazilian German guitar duo. The two musicians met while studying at the Royal College of Music in London. The concert in the Old Church begins at 730 p.m.
A preliminary design for future paths along upper Meadowlark Lane shows an uphill bike path along the south side of the road while cyclists would be expected to use the regular eastbound traffic lane going down. The road shoulder along the north side of upper Meadowlark would be designated for horse riders and carriages. At a sparsely-attended public meeting July 8, Village Engineer Steve Grollman briefed three members of the Village Council and three members of the Village’s Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Commission. It was the start of what Village Administrator Ron Curry had said would be a wide-open re-assessment of trail options after state highway officials nixed a multi-purpose paved path along the north side of the road due to non-compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXX No.1 February 20, 2021 “Corrales Returns $167,417 Meant for Meadowlark Trails.”)
During his briefing July 8, Grollman proposed constructing a ten-foot wide asphalt path between the subdivisions’ walls on the south side of the road and the existing eastbound driving lane. That path, for pedestrians and cyclists, would be designated for bikes headed uphill, or westward, only. Cyclists headed eastward, downhill, would be expected to use the regular driving lane along with cars and trucks. A six-inch high curb would divide the bike path from the adjacent driving lane. At each of the five roads leading into subdivisions along the south side of upper Meadowlark, Grollman said crosswalks would be painted on the trail pavement. Listening to the discussion, which included no objections from members of the Bicycle, Pedestrial Advisory Commission, Curry was optimistic. “I would like to think it could be done by the end of the year,” he ventured.
But at least two potential problems arise. First, unless no-passing rules are strictly enforced, cyclists in the eastbound traffic lane may be at exceptional risk near the medians. Second, cyclists making a right turn from southbound Loma Larga onto westbound Meadowlark could easily find themselves where they don’t want to be. The lane they should use going west is on the south side of that busy intersection, and could be difficult to access.
How horse riders would be expected to cross Loma Larga at the Meadowlark intersection remains unexplained as well, although that problem was raised years ago. Neither Grollman nor Curry indicated when the next opportunity for public input on the trail proposal will come. At the July 8 meeting, Grollman said he was about two-thirds finished with the design.
Back in August 2018, the engineer in charge of construction plans for reconfiguration of upper Meadowlark, Brad Sumrall of Weston Solutions, told the Village Council that the south side of the road from Loma Larga to the Rio Rancho boundary would remain pretty much as is, the terrain to be graded, with existing vegetation removed for a horse riding path. A proposed paved, multi-use path was to be constructed along the north side of the road, but even then, that part was expected to be more complicated, especially with steeper terrain near the top.
In a nutshell, the design and engineering for the proposed asphalt path showed grades going east-west and north-south that were too steep for safe wheelchair access. Sumrall had sought a waiver from ADA requirements, but that was rejected. A work-around involving flattening terrain on homeowners’ driveways was abandoned. So the strategy was that the trails portion would be accomplished with Village funds alone which, presumably, would not need to meet state-federal regulations, Curry suggested. Returning the money provided by N.M. Department of Transportation would be “the first step in restarting the whole process,” he added. That was to involve starting over with consultations among residents along upper Meadowlark, and the community in general, as to what is desired along the road connecting Loma Larga to bike lanes in Rio Rancho.
In February of this year, Curry said he expected to launch a new public involvement effort in April 2021, starting with consultations with the current Village Council member representing the upper Meadowlark neighborhood, Tyson Parker, joined by its previous representative, Dave Dornburg, who had indicated a desire to participate. First proposed well more than a decade ago, the project secured funding through the Mid-Region Council of Governments for a bicycle connection between the two municipalities. But the Village declined the money after the Village Council was caught up in homeowners’ disputes mainly about drainage. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXX, No.10, July 9, 2011 “Corrales Gives Back $160,000 for Upper Meadowlark Trail.” )
But proponents kept the project alive, building support community wide. Village officials conceded that more preliminary, conceptual work should have been done, especially regarding drainage.
In July 2013, villagers convened for a planning charrette to develop realistic proposals for better using the exceptionally wide right-of-way.
The sessions led by Architectural Research Consultants under contract to the Village attempted to resolve ongoing conflicts over the future of upper Meadowlark Neighbor-against-neighbor conflict had erupted over anticipated disruptions from the earlier funded project to construct bike trails along one or both sides of upper Meadowlark. Residents claimed the proposed changes might dump stormwater run-off onto their adjacent property, would increase traffic unbearably, make it difficult to safely exit their driveways onto Meadowlark and obliterate their frontage landscaping. Proponents noted that upper Meadowlark is one of the few Village roads where plenty of right-of-way exists to accommodate multi-modal transportation, that bike lanes there would significantly improve opportunities for bicycle commuting, and that, as an inter-municipal project, funding had been allocated for it.
From the beginning, opponents argued that funding provided through the Mid-region Council of Governments was nowhere near adequate to do the project right. No funds, for example, were provided for anticipated costs of managing drainage from the modified roadway. The council chambers were packed for the contentious April 12, 2011 council meeting at which the Meadowlark trail (as a stand-alone project not accompanying re-construction of the driving lanes as well) was voted down. Several of those residents spoke at the council meeting, citing safety issues, especially given the sight distances when they try to pull out from their driveways onto Meadowlark, and drainage concerns. They were apparently struck by Village Engineer Steve Grollman’s admission that the funding available to design the bike trail and compacted earth path did not specifically include money for drainage issues.