Many of us former New Yorkers were walloped by 9/11, understandably. My husband and I lived on the Lower East Side off the Bowery back in the early 70s.
But my old college pal had lived in Manhattan far longer when the planes hit. I asked him for his memories on this 20th anniversary. His recollection follows.
“I got a phone call from friends in Ohio while I was getting ready for work. “What the hell is happening in New York? Turn on your TV.” My windows face west and uptown from my place in the West Village, so I couldn’t see anything from my apartment. But when I left for work, from the sidewalk I could see the first building on fire. By the time I got to the Japanese gallery on the Upper East Side, the second tower had been hit.
Then I got a call from my sister. Her friend, Barbara, from Seattle and Barbara’s two traveling companions were sightseeing in New York. They had just arrived from Washington, DC. As it happened, they were on the subway heading to the Statue of Liberty with plans to visit the World Trade Center in the afternoon. When they got to Chambers Street, the announcement came to leave the train and exit the station. They came above ground to see the burning buildings and the crowds heading quickly away. Unfortunately there was no public transportation, and their hotel was at Broadway and 74th Street. So they ended up walking all the way uptown.
We closed the gallery, and I walked across Central Park to their hotel. We sat glued to the TV the entire day until partial subway service resumed, and I could get back home. Barbara and friends couldn’t get flights out of New York, so they took Amtrak to Albany and stayed with my sister until they could get flights from the Albany airport.
My friend Sarah’s brother was an emergency medical technician stationed across from the Trade Center that morning, and was the first to call in for help. He set up triage centers in nearby stores and spent the next several days picking up body parts. Needless to say, he retired with PTSD shortly afterwards. I had the opportunity to visit with him two days after September 11, and that was eye-opening.
My friend, Kristen, was scouting for photo shoots downtown on September 11, got a shot of the second plane hitting the building, and sold the photo to Newsweek which put it on the cover.
So those were my six-degrees of 9/11. Unfortunately my roof was closed for restoration, or that would have been a bird’s eye view.
The next few weeks were somber. It was upsetting to see all the posters of missing people and the sidewalk shrines. People coming into town wanted to see the site, while New Yorkers avoided the area. I could understand why tourists wanted to see in person what they had watched on TV. New Yorkers, however, experienced the day first hand, and it was too painful to relive.”
The Lost Leonardo Directed by Andreas Koefoed.Plugs: None. Nearest: Cottonwood, the Guild (9/26-9/30), or streaming.
The Lost Leonardo is a documentary film about the Salvator Mundi, the most expensive painting ever sold, claimed to be a long-lost masterpiece by none other than Leonardo da Vinci.
First appearing —suspiciously— a at New Orleans auction house, its two buyers paid a few thousand dollars for it, and apparently became convinced it was not what it first appeared to be (one of countless paintings done in Leonardo’s style) but was in fact painted by Leonardo himself. As it changes hands and experts (or “experts”) take sides about the painting’s authenticity, the price climbs and the stakes rise. Soon the world’s most famous art museums are involved, along with shady dealers and sketchy billionaires.
The Lost Leonardo is about art, but it’s even moreso a human story of psychology, deception, greed, commerce, and —strangely— international finance and money laundering. Even those who think that Thomas Kinkade is the pinnacle of painting talent will appreciate this film.
The film deftly moves around the globe, following experts and money, with stops in Berlin, New York, London, Geneva, and, well, let’s just say points further east. Though The Lost Leonardo is technically a documentary, it’s really more of a real-life mystery and thriller, due in large part to the film’s clever structure. It’s got a cast of characters ranging from nerdy to flamboyant, erudite to arrogant. I won’t give away too much of the story here, as the twists this film takes are best unpredicted.
The Lost Leonardo is partly about how and why people believe. As one expert notes, “Expectations are dangerous because you see what you want to see.” In this case people —including art historians, museum curators, and art dealers— wanted to see a long-lost painting by Leonardo, along with the accompanying publicity and quickly escalating price tag. In the case of Salvator Mundi, there’s clear financial and psychological incentive for many people along the way to endorse it as real. Many things —and art in particular— are worth what people believe they’re worth, and have little inherent value. You may assume that your mint-condition Cabbage Patch (or chupacabra toy) collection is worth a fortune, but you may be in for a shock when you try to sell it.
At its heart, the film raises interesting questions of authenticity and legitimacy. What does it mean to be a “real” Leonardo da Vinci anyway? There’s art (strongly) believed to be painted by him, of course, such as the Mona Lisa. But there’s also art done by his students under his direct supervision. Then there’s art produced in his style, intended not as fraud but instead as tribute and for practice. In many cases of old works, including Salvator Mundi, the painting has been professionally restored, adding a complicating (but unavoidable) element of artistic authorship.
For a more low-brow example, take your favorite band from the 1970s or 1980s that’s still touring today. It’s likely had multiple line up changes, and may not even have a single remaining original member of the band. Is it still really Lynyrd Skynyrd or Chicago or the Beach Boys? Yes? No? Maybe? Does it really matter? (Rock fans should check out the documentaries Quiet Riot: Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back and the Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey for a look at the perils of replacing members.)
The same can be said for art: if it brings you pleasure, does it really matter if it’s an original or not? What if you paid a fortune for it? Does it matter if a shiny stone is a $10 cubic zirconia or a $100,000 diamond, if they look identical to the naked eye?
To extend the analogy even further, we can look at the placebo effect in medicine. There are some conditions under which placebos can be as effective as an active ingredient. But that’s not the whole story, because it’s a very limited list. For some minor and temporary ailments, such as minor pain relief and insomnia, a placebo can be effective. But the placebo effect can’t set a broken leg or reduce blood sugar levels. In other words, it’s true that we view and understand much of the world through our own prisms and filters, but it’s an overstatement to suggest that our perceptions create or change reality, or that the gap between perception and reality is irrelevant. Believing you took an Advil instead of a TicTac may make your headache fade, but believing you’re cured of cancer won’t reduce a tumor; believing you’re rich won’t add zeros to your account balance; and believing you’re looking at an original Leonardo doesn’t mean you are.
There’s also the argument that even if it’s fake, the controversy surrounding it elevates its importance, sort of like Kim Kardashian being famous for being famous. Even if at some point somehow conclusively proven to not be painted by Leonardo, it’s still the painting that was once thought to be the titular Lost Leonardo, and that by itself makes it an object of interest, for the same reason that the alleged diaries of Adolf Hitler or Howard Hughes are still of historical interest despite being definitively debunked.
As the film goes on the painting itself becomes secondary to an investigation into the opaque world of art auctions, where much is smoke and mirrors. Buyers of art have the right to remain anonymous, and often choose to do so. But at the price that Salvator Mundi fetched ($450 million), the list of potential buyers becomes pretty short. When the stakes are that high, international police agencies become interested because of potential tax implications (for more check out the documentary The Panama Papers, currently on Netflix), and because rare art is sometimes used as collateral to secure loans at international banks (who knew?). With a process as intentionally murky as art auctions, the hallowed halls of Sotheby’s is rife with shady shenanigans. Who, then, is the authority? Can we even know with any certainty what the truth is? Does it even really matter to anyone but the buyer and art historians who painted Salvator Mundi?
The Lost Leonardo is one of several recent documentaries dealing with high-end fakery and forgery, along the lines of Art and Craft, Sour Grapes and Made You Look. Like the documentary Misha and the Wolves, which I recently reviewed, the film gets into the on-the-ground detective work, not only investigating the provenance of the painting but also how it changed hands.
Even the current (apparent) owner has not confirmed its purchase, and as of this writing the location of the world’s most expensive disputed painting is not publicly known. The Lost Leonardo is top-notch documentary filmmaking that offers a revealing glimpse into both the rarified art world and the human condition.
By Carol Levy
Whether our golden years are far down the road, around the corner, or in the here and now, if we were asked, “Where will you spend your golden years?” Most of us would answer, “Corrales, of course!” After all, we love Corrales, the community where we have grown roots, raised children, volunteered, made friends and chosen to live.
For all of us who hope to age in Corrales, there are three important questions to consider:
Will it be possible to stay in our beloved community as we age?
Do we want Corrales to be an age-friendly community?
Are we willing to support housing that allows us, as well as our friends, neighbors, and relatives to continue to live in this community as we age?
When communities address the needs of the young and old, everyone in between benefits.
Livable places for people of all ages are commonly referred to as age-friendly communities. These inclusive communities address the varying needs and abilities of those on both ends of life’s continuum. Age-friendly environments enable people to be active, connected and contribute to their community.
They promote relationships and a sense of belonging among generations and allow older residents to remain socially involved. Becoming age-friendly makes a community a viable choice for all generations —a great place to live, have a family and grow older.
Rural villages like Corrales have special challenges to becoming age-friendly. While we value our rural character, well-spaced homes and large lots, navigating distances to services and neighbors can be daunting. As we age, some of us will face life events that make it difficult if not impossible to continue to maintain our homes and their surrounding property. We find ourselves wondering how we will manage when our partner gets sick or dies, it becomes too difficult to keep up with our home and yard maintenance, or we just can’t get around like we used to.
These are legitimate concerns for many Corrales residents given that our median age is almost 55, and 30 percent of our population is over 65. When we find it too difficult to stay in our current homes, where can we live? What will we tell our parents, friends, or neighbors to do? Like 86 percent of adults 50 and older, most of Corraleños want to remain in their community. We do not want to move in with family members, relocate, or move into assisted living when we are capable of living independently. We want to stay in Corrales, maintain our social connections here, and continue contributing to our community.
Yet, we find we have few housing options that make that possible.
Age-friendly housing is a necessity for keeping seniors in Corrales. Village in the Village (ViV) supports efforts to help seniors stay in Corrales as they age. Building an age-inclusive community is an important component of this goal. Therefore, we encourage all residents and our elected Corrales officials to support the senior-friendly housing initiative proposed for Corrales’ commercial district. This plan is for five small, single-story handicapped accessible duplexes located a walkable distance to many amenities including restaurants, shops, the bosque, health care, a pharmacy and a church.
The proposed project will enhance our scenic byway by replacing Sunbelt’s truck and machinery parking lot with attractively landscaped southwest-style homes maintained by the landlord. The project will connect to the Village wastewater system and have state of the art methods for sewage processing and gray water recycling of 50 percent of total water usage. Since the project is in the business district, it does not impinge on the one house per acre ordinance for our residential area. Density and traffic will be less than if the property was developed as a retail business.
In less than 30 years, the number of adults age 65 and older will double. Right now, Corrales has a unique opportunity to take a small step toward the greater challenge of making our quaint Village more inclusive. Please let your Village Councilor know you support this project.
Carol Levy is a member of the board of directors of Village in the Village as well as an active volunteer and supporter. For more information about ViV, visit http://www.VillageintheVillage.org or call 274-6206.
More than 50 artists will have their work displayed in the Old Church October 2 through 10. The Old Church Fine Arts Show, now in its 33 year, is a collaboration between the Corrales Historical Society and the Corrales Society of Artists. The juried exhibit is free and open to the public with COVID-19 precautions maintained. No admission is charged and parking is free. The show will be online starting October 11, continuing until October 31 at http://www.corralesoldchurch show.com.
All art is for sale; a portion of proceeds will support ongoing efforts to preserve the Old Church.
In coming weeks, the Village Council is expected to amend its ordinance regulating the growing of marijuana —and to urge the N.M. Legislature to amend State law as well. Intense discussion on the Village’s ordinance came at the September 14 council meeting, and more is expected at the September 28 session. Councilors are responding to constituents’ concerns that the local ordinances leaves homeowners too vulnerable to factory-scale cannabis cultivation in areas designated for residential.
A weakness in Corrales’ land use regulations is that those residential areas are identified in law as agricultural-residential, and marijuana crops would qualify as agriculture. A second problem is that Corrales has no alternative land use zoning category, such as one for light industry, to which any proposal for intensive cannabis growing could be directed.
Village Attorney Randy Autio advised the mayor and council at their September 14 meeting that, as Corrales’ law and land use plan exist now, any attempt to block or obstruct large-scale marijuana growing here would almost surely face a lawsuit.
Mayor Roake, a lawyer, concurred. “We will be sued and we will lose.”
But some councilors said the Village shouldn’t be deterred by such a threat, arguing that it is more important to protect residents here than to be intimidated by possible legal action.
Councilors indicated they are likely to address residents’ concerns about negative impacts from large-scale cannabis growing and processing by requiring that such operations have much greater set-backs from residences.
Although some councilors wanted to impose a moratorium on marijuana-growing permit applications, Autio advised the Village legally cannot do that.
On the other hand, the attorney pushed back on the notion that Corrales is particularly at risk for being overrun by cannabis businesses. “We have a couple of things in our favor,” he said.
Land in Corrales is expensive, and therefore not optimal for any agricultural venture. Furthermore, we don’t have a municipal water system and we don’t have many large commercial buildings. “We are not going to be the popular choice for growing marijuana,” Autio said. “Corrales is not a likely place for marijuana growers to target.”
But they already have, some would argue, pointing to the greenhouse complex operated by Spencer Komadina in the Corrales del Norte neighborhood at the north end of the valley.
At least four villagers have weighed in on the need for tighter restrictions on cannabis operations based on their experience with the Komadina operation.
They took issue, as did residents in other parts of the Village, that marijuana growing should be treated no differently than any other crop.
In his remarks to the council, former Village Councilor Fred Hashimoto said comparing marijuana-growing to just the same as any other crop is ridiculous —and if State statutes insist on that, the statute is ridiculous as well.
“To consider cannabis as a regular crop plant is ludicrous. It’s much different than other crop plants,” he said , because “a pound of it in New Mexico sells for up to $4,500. Second, it’s frequently grown intensively in enclosed structures, which have 24-7 operations requiring huge amounts of water and electricity and high security measures such as fences, wires, lights and window bars;
“Third, in New Mexico, the regulation of cannabis businesses covers pages and pages of rules, regulations, certifications and licensures, and fourth, New Mexico limits me to growing only six plants in my backyard; it doesn’t limit me to only six chile plants or six stalks of corn.”
And finally, Hashimoto reminded, “the Village has recognized cannabis-specific issues.” The Village ordinance states “‘Whereas, the Village finds that high-yield crop raising, often referred to as ‘intensive agriculture,’ is common practice with cannabis production and has potential adverse impacts, such as increased discharge of pollutants and light or odoriferous nuisances, on the Village if not properly regulated.…’”
“Yes, the Village has already put some special restrictions on intensive grow structures such as increased setbacks —which are most insufficient for cannabis— and HVAC [ventilation] adaptations and noise restrictions specifically for cannabis grow structures.
“Unfortunately, the Village’s current regulations are inadequate and do almost zero to protect residential neighborhoods from the invasiveness of intensive cannabis growing, which was alluded to in its own ‘whereas.’
“Municipalities and counties in many states have setbacks up to 1,000 feet for cannabis grow structures from residential property lines. Corrales says, ‘25 feet.’”
Hashimoto argued that establishing more restrictive setbacks for cannabis operations in residential neighborhoods can survive any legal challenge. “Such setback restrictions are not prohibiting use; they allow, but set limits.
“Attorneys might say, the Village can get sued if it steps out too far. Really, the Village can get sued if it does or it doesn’t. Other municipalities and counties are protective of their residential neighborhoods. Corrales isn’t.”
The former council member contended that, unlike some other municipalities that might want to control cannabis operations, Corrales could withstand a lawsuit asserting it had acted capriciously in enacting tighter restrictions.
“Case law doesn’t exist concerning growing recreational cannabis in New Mexico because that hasn’t even begun. Corrales would seem to be in a good position to defend a more protective stance for residential neighborhoods because of its pre-existing Ordinance 18-002, which banned cannabis cultivation, etc. in its residential A-1 and A-2 zones. Corrales would be acting most consistently with its well-documented cannabis stance and not capriciously.”
Among other concerns voiced, Pam Garfield said such marijuana farms could take up water needed for food crops here. “This year, irrigation water is already severely limited, so how will marijuana production affect water availability for food crops?”
As discussion drew to a close at the September 14 meeting, Councillor Stuart Murray warned that the Village should prepare to be sued no matter how it decides to proceed.
Councillor Zach Burkett said the cannabis issue has generated much more intense citizen involvement than any other since he has served on the council. In the face of potential lawsuits, he said, “I would err on the side of our duty to our constituents,” rather than to cannabis growers’ prerogatives.
Marijuana is toxic for your dog, and can cause uncomfortable illness requiring the attention of a veterinarian. At its worse, a dog munching an unsmoked, discarded joint may experience seizures. In one reported case, a dog tossed with tremors for over 12 hours. Though rarely fatal, munching marijuana can cause excessive drooling, vomiting, wobbly movements, disorientation, whining, unusual eye movements, incontinence and slowed breathing in dogs. For more, see https://dogtime.com/
PetMD reported that a veterinary study in Colorado revealed “incidences of marijuana intoxication in dogs increased dramatically following the drug’s legalization” for personal use in 2012. The website added, “from the plant to oils and edibles, there are plenty of opportunities for dogs to get their paws on some weed.”
Rachel Barrack, founder of Animal Acupuncture in New York, writes that “Dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains than people, Therefore, the effects of marijuana are more severe and potentially more toxic.” So cannabis products should be stowed away carefully, especially those dipped in dark chocolate.
With the 2021 Corrales Harvest Festival cancelled due to safety concerns during the pandemic, a few related activities and side events are continuing. The Pet Mayor election, for example, is still under way. The winner will be announced on Sunday, September 26, which would have been the final day of the festival. Candidates include five dogs, a peacock, a Canada goose and a cat. Voting continues online, at the Corrales Growers’ Market and at stores up and down Corrales Road.
But the usual Pet Parade associated with the festival will not be held this year. Another parade had been planned by Mayor Jo Anne Roake to build community interest in the 50th anniversary of Corrales’ incorporation as a municipality. That was to have culminated in the opening of the time capsule outside the Village Office. “The Village hasn’t given up on the parade, but that’s not happening for awhile,” the mayor explained.
Another event long associated with the festival, the annual race along Corrales’ ditch banks (most recently known as the Corrida de Corrales) was held as planned although it had been decided to precede the festival by a week. A stronger than usual participation in the Corrales Ditch Run was indicated by sign-ups as of September 18. A highlight of the annual festival has been the Growers’ Market on its final day. That will go on as usual on Sunday, September 26, regardless of the festival’s cancellation.
And the Corrales Historical Society has shifted gears on what had traditionally been its contribution to the Harvest Festival: special exhibits and activities at the Old Church. All that was cancelled… except for fundraising homemade pies, a raffle for a Celtic knot quilt and sale of notecards and other gifts in front of the Old Church Saturday and Sunday, September 25-26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The annual Halloween trick-or-treat event in the front field of the Corrales Recreation Center may still happen despite ongoing concerns for the pandemic. Parks and Recreation director Lynn Siverts said September 17 that no decision had been made regarding the Trick or Trunk or Trailer event that in past years has drawn hundreds of costumed participants, decorated haunted vehicles and truck beds and tethered hot air balloons.
“I’ve been getting a bunch of calls, but we are waiting to see how Labor Day weekend did before we start offering programs in which we get a bunch of people together,” Siverts told Corrales Comment. “Tanya Lattin and I talk every day about all our programs and keep thinking of ways to make them safe.
“We would like to offer the Halloween event to the community, but we need to make sure it is going to be safe.”
A hearing officer for the N.M. Ethics Commission has dismissed a complaint against State Representative Daymon Ely filed by N.M. Attorney General Hector Balderas who alleged the Corrales lawyer inappropriately pressured him regarding distribution of payments in the settlement of a lawsuit. The AG submitted a complaint to the Ethics Commission saying that Ely “made threats of official action for his apparent displeasure with our handling” of the case involving Vivint Solar Inc.
Balderas went on to assert that Ely “violated the Governmental Conduct Act by asking State Auditor to investigate the Attorney General’s handing of the Vivint case” and that “Ely’s conduct has been so misinformed in law, and so outlandish, that it becomes highly concerning to me… that not only is [he] willfully attempting to interfere with a law enforcement prosecution, but that he is doing so because he directly benefits as a plaintiff’s lawyer from the information and handling of the case he so outlandishly criticizes.”
(See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXX No.14, September 11, 2021 “State Rep. Daymon Ely Faults Atty. Gen. Balderas for Not Reimbursing Victims of Solar Company.”) But the Ethics Commission hearing officer, Alan Torgerson, threw out Balderas’ complaint, dismissing it with prejudice so that it cannot be re-filed. Torgerson ruled that the allegation against Ely should be dismissed because it is a frivolous and potentially destructive effort to weaponize the Ethics Commission process against a legislator for making legitimate inquiries.”
The hearing officer wrote that the AG’s complaint simply “strings together a series of unsupported personal attacks.” Torgerson sided with Ely by noting that “even if his interests as an attorney were relevant, his specialty is attorney malpractice, and he has no intent to become involved in consumer rights litigation.”
A draft ordinance regulating opaque walls and fences along the Corrales Road Scenic Byway is expected to be introduced at the September 28 Village Council meeting. The proposed law likely will mirror that enacted by the Village of Los Ranchos to protect scenic quality along Rio Grande Boulevard. At the September 14 council meeting, Councillor Zach Burkett asked that the topic be on the agenda for the next meeting. Mayor Jo Anne Roake agreed.
In an email September 16, Burkett said he anticipates Planning and Zoning Administrator Laurie Stout will have a draft ordinance. “I think Ms Stout has a draft in the works that will be our starting point of discussion.” Other council members have spoken in favor of such regulations aimed at maintaining scenic quality along Corrales Road. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXX No.4 April 10, 2021 “No Moratorium on New Walls Along Corrales Road.”) The current push to protect scenic views began shortly after erection of tall cinder block walls fronting Corrales Road at the south end of the valley last year. Burkett said he regretted that such walls had been permitted and asked that the council consider what might be done to prevent the same from happening all along the road.
A former chairman of the P&Z commission, architect Terry Brown, had tried to persuade the Village Council to pass such an ordinance 10 years ago, but councillors balked and the initiative died. Perhaps the biggest stumbling block was that the 2011 draft ordinance seemed to apply to other roadways throughout Corrales and at intersections where walls would block visibility. The council sent the draft back to P&Z for more work, but a revision was never submitted. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXX No.2, March 6, 2021 “Council Revives Interest in Corrales Road Scenic Quality.”)
The Village of Los Ranchos regulations on walls along Rio Grande Boulevard were discussed at two previous council meetings. Those regulations were explained as follows by P&Z Administrator Stout. “Los Ranchos uses the idea of low and open walls/fences. They restrict height of all fences to six feet. Solid walls within the front setback can only be four feet with an option to add additional open fencing on top of that to a maximum of six feet total. No solid wall or fence shall be located within the clear sight triangle of a driveway and a public or private right-of-way.”
At the March 23, 2021 council meeting, all members of the governing body supported the goal of protecting scenic quality along Corrales Road, possibly with a new ordinance modeled after that used for Rio Grande Boulevard. Councilor Kevin Lucero made the point that any decisions on this issue will have implications for the quality of life in Corrales for decades. “The decisions we make in the coming months will determine what Corrales looks like over the next ten, 20, 25 years. What we want Corrales to look like for future generations.”
Burkett tried to head off the controversy that scuttled the 2011 draft law by saying he did not expect any regulation that would apply to roads except Corrales Road and possibly the historic zone near the Old Church and San Ysidro Museum. To try to include other neighborhoods would be opening a can of worms, he cautioned. Last spring, 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.”
Former Corrales Planing and Zoning Commission Chairman Terry Brown has 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.
Brown, an architect, is concerned that the community’s treasured scenic quality is being incrementally lost due to an unfortunate landscaping feature: view-blocking solid walls or fences at the edge of the road.
“I was on the Planning and Zoning Commission for eight years, and I was the chair for two years. As an architect, I felt strongly that we needed to protect this view, this viewshed from Corrales Road,” Brown explained.
“People come here to see Corrales… they don’t come here to look at walls and fences. They come here to see horses and donkeys and llamas and cows, and the views that stretch from the fields to the riparian habitat and all the way to the Sandias.
“They don’t want to see walls; they don’t want to see that ‘canyon effect.’”
Back in 2010-11, Brown and others pushed hard for the Village Council to adopt an ordinance or regulation that would prohibit owners of property abutting Corrales Road from erecting a solid fence or wall taller than three feet at the road frontage property line.
Draft Ordinance 11-007, amending the Village’s land use regulations regarding fences, was tabled at a February 2011 council meeting and never revived for vote.
No other proposals have been pursued, and tall cinder block walls and wooden fences continue to go up, blocking views.
Corrales is left vulnerable, Brown cautioned. “In some places we have a tall wall along one side of Corrales Road, but it’s left open on the other side. I guess that’s probably acceptable,” he volunteered. “But what if a developer or homeowner says ‘Hey, I need to have more opacity on my side of the road, too.’ And then, the next guy says the same thing, and pretty soon, a hundred years from now, Corrales Road will be just one long canyon.”
On the other side of the river, regulations for Rio Grande Boulevard have apparently closed off that undesired future. “I believe along Rio Grande Boulevard you can only have a limited expanse of opaque wall and the rest of it has to be open. The walls are low; for the most part, you can see over them or through them,” Brown pointed out.
“Since Corrales Road is a scenic byway, I think it is worthy of getting the same treatment.”
By Stephani Dingreville
Amid continued rise in covid cases, Corrales Fire Department vaccination efforts shine.
It is 6:29 on a sunny, busy Wednesday evening at the Corrales Recreation Center. Amid the happy din of the skate park and multiple youth soccer practices, a line of about 20 cars snakes through the parking lot, a grim, unwelcome reminder that the pandemic is not yet finished with Corrales.
At 6:30 on the dot, the first car at the curb is met by Corrales firefighter Megan Molinari. Molinari's job tonight is to gather the patient’s name and appointment information. She runs this information up to volunteer firefighter Bryah Lattin-Montaño, who sits behind a makeshift desk on the curb and inputs the name into the New Mexico Department of Health database.
Lattin-Montaño confirms the appointment, and checks for any past negative vaccine reaction or allergies. Then Fire Chief Anthony Martinez and Firefighter Eamonn Cole actually administer the vaccine, each taking a different car.
The patient is then instructed to park in the rec center parking lot and wait 15 minutes, to make sure there is no negative reaction to the vaccine.
The Corrales firefighters are incredibly efficient this evening, the entire process only takes about 30 minutes for Corraleña Lucy Hays. Hays has an immune deficiency. and has come in tonight for her booster shot. Although she received her first two shots outside of Corrales, she read about this clinic in the Comment and decided to try it for her booster. “The whole process has been very easy so far,” she reports just as she is about to pull up to the curb.
This is a scene that has played out many times in Corrales since February of this year, when the vaccine first became available. In fact, vaccine coordinator Battalion Commander Tanya Lattin estimates that she has personally given 7,000 vaccines at various Corrales clinics like this. As the night goes on, and the cars keep lining up, Lattin’s job is to run inside the center and mix vaccine vials as they are needed.
Tonight the Pfizer vaccine is on the menu, which is an extremely finicky vaccine to handle. It must be stored at the fire department in a special freezer that can keep the vaccine at a frosty -91 degrees Fahrenheit. Once thawed, it remains viable for only 30 days. Within that time it must be mixed with saline, and a complicated dance ensues in which the bottles must be inverted a certain amount of times in a certain way.
After the vaccine has been mixed with the saline, the shelf-life shrinks to a very brief six hours. The Corrales Fire Department is responsible for every vial, and if their numbers don’t match up with the number of appointments that have been made with the DOH, explanations are required. This makes vaccine preparation extremely difficult for Lattin, who takes the laborious job in stride.
Even though August 2021 has been one of the worst months for positive Corrales COVID cases, Lattin believes Corrales’ vaccination numbers are very good. She attributes the rise in cases to a combination of many factors, including the relaxation of the mask mandate, school reentry, and plain old pandemic fatigue. “I believe cases will go down again in September, then they might climb again in November as we saw last year” Lattin says.
Corrales has 423 positive COVID cases as of the Comment deadline September 20. Thirty-seven of those cases have been added in the first weeks of September. Compared to the tally inSeptember 2020, when Corrales had just one positive case, this number can seem overwhelming. But thanks to the continued efforts of the fire department and especially Battalion Commander Lattin, villagers can rest assured that Corrales is getting the protection it needs to face the months ahead.
The clinic at the Recreation Center is ongoing, every Wednesday evening from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Various other clinics are available throughout the week at the Corrales Fire Department. Appointments can be made at cvvaccine.nmhealth.org or by calling the fire department at 898-7501.
Several Corrales artists’ work will be shown at this year’s N.M. Watercolor Society exhibition at the State Fairgrounds Thursday through Sunday, October 2-24. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Fine Arts Building of ExpoNM. Enter and find parking through Gate 3, San Pedro and Copper NE. An awards ceremony comes Saturday, October 2, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
One of the exhibitors, Lucy Jelinek Hays, explained the origin of her painting “Osprey.” “Living in the Corrales bosque has been a real blessing. And living through the pandemic in the bosque, a lesson in nature. We have studied more birds and animals, insects and plants than ever.” She had watched an osprey couple before it hatched eggs. “We were not invited to the birthing, but the tending of the nest, and the little heads peeking out made us laugh out loud. ‘Osprey’ illustrates the spirit of life along the Rio Grande.”
Tina Stallard’s painting “For Mel” was a watercolor pour. “I took this picture of a spent rose in my lovely friend’s patio, and the light was so striking to me. It was a very challenging pour, and things did not go the way I had planned. I pushed forward even though it was a fight for most of the painting.… There is a life lesson in this painting! I named it in honor of my cousin’s wife who passed away from brain cancer on the day I finished the painting.”
Another watercolorist, Dee Anne Link, said her painting, “Cactus Blooms 1,” is about “the fragile existence of flora in New Mexico, and how it survives in spite of no moisture. When the cactus blooms, it says so defiantly.”
Laura Speer’s subject was a hammer. “This well-used hammer rack caught my eye. I was visiting my friend Cliff Bessom, a long-time resident of Corrales, while he was so kindly creating a beautiful aspen arch for a family wedding. The light in his shop was soft, and created an opposite idea with the hard surface of the hammers. This watercolor painting reminds me of friends and family working together.”
Stallard and Hays will also have art for sale during the Old Church Fine Art Show October 2-10.
Approval of the controversial proposal for a short-term rental at 593 Reclining Acres by Jeannine Grayson was to have been the subject of an appeal hearing by the Village Council September 14, but it was postponed until the September 28 meeting. Reason: the person filing the appeal, Nelson Ackerman, who resides at 525 Reclining Acres, did not attend the scheduled hearing. In his letter appealing the Planning and Zoning Commission’s July 21 approval of the short-term rental, Ackerman said he took the step “on behalf of many of the neighbors on Reclining Acres Road as well as residents of the Village of Corrales.”
The commission had rejected Grayson’s request for a short-term rental permit on March 17. It was modified and re-submitted for P&Z’s consideration in May. But on the second try, it was neither rejected nor approved, but rather deferred to seek clarification from the N.M. Environment Department as to the adequacy of Grayson’s septic system to accommodate as many rental occupants as she desired. With the NMED okay, the commission on July 21 approved Grayson’s request to use two bedrooms to temporarily house up to four occupants. The appeal hearing is expected to resume at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 28 before the regular council meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.
The unsightly property at 58 Rincon Road, behind Perea’s Restaurant and Tijuana Bar, is to be cleaned up with significant improvement by the end of September or Village government will do it and collect reimbursement through a lien on the property. At the September 14 Village Council meeting, a resolution was adopted setting that in motion. The Planning and Zoning Department’s code enforcement official had been coaxing the person who is buying it, Zechariah Glover, to remedy the problems, to little avail. Glover had been cited for violating the Village’s regulations and was found guilty in municipal court.
At the council meeting held on Zoom, Glover rejected the assertion he had not begun to clean up the land, saying he had already hauled away eight of the 16 vehicles. “I have made progress,” he asserted. “Most of what’s left is behind a fence.” But Village officials said Glover has persistently delayed making the required improvements over many months. P&Z Administrator Laurie Stout told the mayor and council that the accumulated trash and other materials made the property disorderly “beyond belief.”
After hearing the discussion, the council ordered Glover to make substantial progress within 10 days. Otherwise, he was told, the Village will do it and recover its costs by seeking a lien on the property.
Proposed construction of a casita —or alternatively, an office and workshop— at 66 Bad Coyote Place was approved by the Village Council after a September 16 hearing at which Ken and Kathleen DeHoff expressed disagreement with decisions by the Planning and Zoning Office. Initially they had sought a building permit for a 600 square-foot structure labeled as a casita, but that was rejected by Planning and Zoning Administrator Laurie Stout. The DeHoffs re-submitted plans with modifications including re-labelling areas as an office and workshop, and that was rejected as well.
Another re-submittal came August 15. which the P&Z administrator approved. But in the DeHoffs’ appeal, they asked the Village Council to overturn Stout’s rejection of the original plan. In their appeal to the Village Council, they argued, “The first submission of July 19 referred to the area as a casita with bedroom and kitchen with no appliances. The second submission of July 21 referred to the same physical area as a shop with a workbench and an office. It is clear in these two rejections that the Village takes a capricious and ambiguously broad interpretation of your new law, such that no reasonable person will be able to guess at what you may consider valid.”
The appeal further asserted that “Laurie’s stated ‘inferred conclusion’ in both rejections is that my space referred to as a casita or shop is independent and thus a dwelling unit. However, the space is not independent and not complete. There is no evidence that it by itself meets the ordinance definition for dwelling unit. The language of the ordinance is clear and unambiguous, and attempts to ‘interpret’ are capricious as best.”
After lengthy discussion on the appeal and Village Attorney Randy Autio’s defense of actions taken by the P&Z administrator, the council went into close session to deliberate. At 7:15 p.m. they returned to an open session via Zoom and voted to uphold Stout’s rejections while finding the DeHoffs’ last submission acceptable. The backdrop for all of this has been P&Z’s approval of a casita at a new home construction site on West Ella Drive more than a year ago. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIX No.13 September 19, 2020 “West Ella ‘Casita’ Draws Neighbors’ Ire.”) Stout referred to that earlier controversy with chagrin at the DeHoffs’ September 17 appeal hearing. “I wish I could take it back. In hindsight, I made a mistake.”
Volunteers are needed to clean up litter in the Corrales Bosque Preserve on Saturday, October 16. The Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission will lead a trash removal effort at the Siphon Road entrance at the extreme north end of the preserve. Volunteers should bring gloves, but collection bags will be provided. That clean-up will start at 8:30 a.m., said chairperson Joan Hashimoto. For more information, contact her at email@example.com.
The Adobe Theater —formerly The Corrales Adobe Theater when its productions were in the Old Church way back in 1957— will resume live performances Friday, October 15 in its renovated building across the river on North Fourth Street. Dinner With The Boys is billed as a “killer comedy” about the Mafia written by television actor Dan Lauria in 2015. Shows are each Friday, Saturday and Sunday through November 7. Those on Friday and Saturday begin at 7:30 p.m. while Sunday’s start at 2 p.m. A Thursday, November 4 production will be a “pay what you will” show.
The play is described this way. “Charlie and Dom, two wise guys from the old neighborhood, find themselves at odds with The Family, so they must serve up perfectly seasoned performances with their spicy puttanesca to escape danger. This odd couple awaits its fate as it prepares dinner for the special guests. “The only question remaining: will this dinner be their last meal?”
A long-time resident of Corrales and Albuquerque Public Schools retiree Raymond Archibeque died September 12. He was 94. He died at the Albuquerque Veterans Administration hospital; he served in the Navy during World War II. Archibeque loved to build things, so he helped his children with their projects. He is survived by his wife, Marie Archibeque, and five children: Yvonne, Lorraine, Annette, Raymond and Gary, as well as numerous grand-children.