By Meredith Hughes
“Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote, The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veyne in swich licour…..” Yes, I took a course on Chaucer in college, and adored reading as best I could the prologue to The Canterbury Tales, 1387-1400, in the lingo known as Middle English. But is April really a “he”?
What exactly is an April shower and have we/will we have any? Still, buds are budding, leaves are greening, and birds are caroling. And recreational cannabis sales are on, full tilt boogie.
Grab the second booster?
Do visit the websites of your favorite museums/galleries/organizations to check opening times/new regulations. Published the first issue of the month, What’s On? invites suggestions one week before the publication date. firstname.lastname@example.org
Did You Know?
April is National Poetry Month and the Corrales Library is devoting the month to teens and poetry via Teen Blackout Poetry Project. The detailed/fascinating instructions printed below may, or may not, deter you…
“Follow this guide to uncover a hidden poem!”
Step 1: Select a page from an old book or even an article from a newspaper or magazine. (Feel free to choose a page from one of the books on the Young Adult creativity table or one from the “Free Cart.”)
Step 2: Scan or skim the page, keeping your eyes peeled for an “anchor word” —a word that stands out to you because of its significance or meaning.
Step 3: Read the page all the way through, and, with a pencil, circle words that connect to the anchor word. Try not to circle more than three words in a row.
Step 4: On a separate piece of paper, list the circled words in order as they appear in the text. Words will remain in this order for the final poem.
Step 5: Select additional words from the text to create lines of the poem. You may eliminate parts of words, such as endings, as needed. If you get stuck here, go back to the original text and look for more words to circle.
Step 6: In the existing text, make sure you’ve circled all the words you will be using for the final poem. Erase circles around words you decided not to use.
Step 7: Optional - You may wish to add an illustration or design to the page of text. Be sure not to draw over the words you’ve circled for your poem.
Step 8: With a marker, “black out” the words you are not using. This will reveal the final poem. If you’ve added an illustration or design, be sure not to mark over the outline.
Step 9: Leave your poem in the Young Adult Room or email a picture of it to email@example.com and it will go up in our Teen Poetry Display. Or, enjoy it on your own.
“To ensure as many people as possible can enjoy seeds from the Corrales Community Seed Library, we are limiting check-outs to 1 packet per variety. At the end of the growing season, borrowers may save seeds from their harvest, label them and return a portion of the seeds to the library during our hours of operation.” And, for a recorded course in seed starting from Master Gardener Judy Jacobs, see https:// tinyurl.com/tj9yjdbn
A major re-design and landscape for parking areas at the Village Office complex at the northeast corner of Corrales Road and East La Entrada can be expected by the end of the year. The project planned since last year would use some of the proceeds from the sale of municipal bonds approved in 2020. Village Administrator Ron Curry said late last year that he expected a thorough make-over for parking areas near the Village Office to begin by summer and be complete a few months later.
He said then that preliminary earthmoving for the project, to be done by Public Works crews, could get underway by mid-2022. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXX No.22 January 8, 2022 “What’s Ahead for 2022?”) Those parking areas are immediately in front of the Village Office building, outside the building that houses the Council Chambers/Municipal Court, and space on the north side of that structure, across from Wells Fargo Bank.
The project likely would include spaces in front of the old Community Center, behind the Corrales Senior Center. That would include the concrete slab in front of the Community Center that —in the earliest days of Village government— was a basketball court where fire department volunteers exercised. A little later, the same slab supported a mobile home salvaged from the County landfill where it had outlived usefulness as the dump’s office.
Landscaping for the re-designed municipal parking areas is expected to be enhanced as the projects nears completion. The garden and landscape in front of the Village Office has been planted and maintained by volunteers, many of whom are Sandoval County Master Gardeners.
A preliminary plan for the parking lots produced last year showed new plantings on the north side of the building that houses the Council Chambers, courtroom, court office and Corrales MainStreet office.
But recently Curry said those initial plans are being revised.
Started by Judy Jacobs and a handful of volunteers nearly 20 years ago, the municipal complex landscape’s upkeep and further development languished for awhile when she relinquished leadership of the project over a family member’s treatment at the hands of Corrales police. She said she was thankful that the directors of the Parks and Recreation and Public Works departments stepped in to keep the plants alive.
Jacobs started the landscaping effort as an Earth Day project in 2003. Donations from Intel and Corrales Comment acquired the first plantings.
At the time, Jacobs explained the basic idea was to show villagers what could grow well on Corrales’ bottomlands, because much of the Albuquerque-area “desert gardening” demonstrations and literature focus on sandy soils.
“With the exception of a few plants, almost everything in there is adaptable specifically for clay soils. Most of what we are told about for plant choices apply mainly to sandy soil, and very little information is available for clay soils,” Jacobs explained.
She said the Village Office gardening project started when Chris Allen served as Village Administrator. Sandoval County Master Gardeners program was invited to consider the site as a project, but “they didn’t feel it was something they could take on successfully, mainly because potential landscape areas didn’t have water to them.”
So when the Corrales Public Works department rectified that, “I happened to be looking for a project at that time, and Sandy Gold approached me about it. I said, ‘Sure, I’ll help, ‘ but never intending to be in charge for 11 years,”Jacobs recalled.
Intel volunteers planted most of the trees and shrubs that first year. “Over the next couple of months, I planted most of the rest of the shrubs, and it kind of expanded as Master Gardeners would come along with ideas and energy,” she added. “Most of the rest of the beds are mixed borders with perennials and shrubs —not so many trees because most of the planting areas are fairly narrow.”
Many of the first plants came in as transplants from Jacobs’ garden and those of other volunteers.
“Our primary goal was to provide a plant list for people who live in the river valley with its colder temperatures and heavier soils,” Jacobs explained. “This is the land of Johnson grass, bindweed and elms, not the four-wing saltbush and sagebrush which grow on the slopes around us.
“Cold air falls down these slopes and settles in the river valley, contributing to a shorter growing season and colder winter temperatures. And the soil in the valley holds water much longer than the sandy soils around us, so many xeric plants will not tolerate these conditions.”
She said gardeners new to Corrales can be confused by trying to grow plants the way gardening is recommended by experts who assume the students are working with coarse sandy hills or mesa land.
“The plant list for valley land is much different,” she pointed out. “With the clay soils we have here, after a summer monsoon rain our soils can stay soaked for a month,” killing off plantings better suited for sandy conditions.
In 2007, they essentially re-built the garden area on the street side of the old fire station, now used as the Village Council Chambers and courtroom. They installed a demonstration “dry stream bed” to show how a garden can incorporate a stormwater ponding area.
To control weeds, they laid down a landscaping fiber and then they built the stream bed stone by stone.
After 20 years, the garden areas around the Village Office complex contained more than 100 plant species.
Bark mulch averages about two to three inches thick.
As everywhere in the world these days, Covid is having a huge impact on life in Mexico. Especially as many of the country’s close-knit families lost beloved relatives in last summer’s pandemic surge, today most mexicanos appear to be taking COVID seriously. They're wearing masks, even in traffic and in public markets, with N-95 ones ubiquitous. As in the United States, however, many wear their masks at half-mast, leaving their noses uncovered. Doesn’t COVID come into your body via your nose, and exit the same way, with the potential of infecting others?
Hanging a mask off your chin or dangling one by its strings from your ear may be a fashion statement, a token display of conformity, but it’s not going to do you or anyone else any good. In a country non-Mexicans often dismiss as being even more disorderly than the USA, mexicanos patiently wait in line a few feet apart for their turn to be allowed onto a bus. At the entrance to a store or museum, a guard checks your temperature with a no-touch zapper, squirts a sanitizer gel into your palms, and sometimes has you twirl around in a spray of something that smells of alcohol. It could be mezcal, but it’s more likely to be an even more toxic substance. Anti-bacterial gel dispensers are everywhere: beside elevator doors, at the bottom of stairways, in taxis, in public bathrooms and outside them.
Ubiquitous signage and drawings suggest effective behavior vis-à-vis COVID. In restaurants, waiters spray down tables before seating you, as well as after you leave. In a land where people are usually huggy, even when meeting for the first time, the protocol now is knuckle-knocking or elbow-touching, usually with a laugh and a shrug. Nevertheless, refuseniks proffer selfish and ridiculous excuses for not getting vaccinated, splitting families and close friendships. Hospital beds and corridors are filled with the unvaccinated, often to the extent that patients in crisis are not getting the attention they need. It’s no different here.
American Airlines only notified me the day before my return flight that I needed a certified COVID test —negative— to get back into the United States. The options were to lug my considerable luggage to the airport several hours early, join a long, slow line of many half-masked would-be fliers, and hope for a negative test. If it was positive, where would I go?
The better idea was to pay $70 to have med techs come to my hotel the night before flying, give me a test, tell me in five minutes if I had COVID or not, and within an hour, email me an official document attesting to negative results. Guess which method got my vote. With my negative diagnosis in hand, I was tempted to go out to a grungy, crowded bar to celebrate. Hey, all drinks on me!
The Dallas airport was another story. No temperature-taking, no antibacterial gels in evidence anywhere, not even in the bathrooms. Grumpy guards herded passengers, many half-masked, into slow-moving crowded lines to be paraded past a drug dog. The process took an hour-plus, requiring me to hustle onto a crowded train to make my connection to Albuquerque. No wonder few grey-hairs like me were traveling, and then, often in wheelchairs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now advises Americans against visiting Mexico. Huh? Does strolling along a wide-open Mexican beach really present a greater threat to your health than joining tens of thousands of fans at the Super Bowl, including many anti-vaccers, with maybe five percent of them wearing a mask?
We’re all a little cranky here in the USA, shut up for too long, too myopic about our own conundrums and fears. Rudeness in public is rampant, especially in airplanes and in traffic, often with dangerous consequences. Mexico these days is much more polite.
With many staying home from work, traffic is far less chaotic, the skies over Mexico City were actually blue, and the air was breathable. OK, so drug dealers are shooting each other down in Cancún, but how about the guy who went on a mile-long rampage in Albuquerque this past week, stabbing 11 people? I suggest that if you want to go to Mexico, grab your hat and your hand sanitizer and go! Send me a postcard.
Corrales’ regulations regarding signs have been controversial, sparking heated debate, for decades. Now come new rules for the Village Council to consider at its April 12 meeting.
Below is the draft ordinance amending Chapter 8 of the Corrales Code of Ordinances which was deliberately excised from the more broad land use regulations adopted at the March 8 council meeting. It begins with definition of terms.
Banner means a sign no larger than 36 square feet, generally made of flexible vinyl and/or canvas-like material.
Billboard means an off-premises sign that is larger than 64 square feet of sign face.
Building mounted sign means a sign entirely supported by or through a building, including signs mounted on the roof; under a canopy, arcade or portal; on walls; or a marquee; or projecting from a building.
Composite sign means a group of signs that are integrated into one framed unit or compact structure or any arrangement of signs representing more than one business or entity.
Digital sign is an electronic sign using a screen or series of screens to display images or messages. Exempt sign means a sign that is exempt from the regulations in this ordinance.
Freestanding sign means a sign attached or supported from the ground and not attached to a building. Signs on walls or fences which are not an integral part of a building are freestanding signs.
Height means the vertical distance from grade to the highest point of the sign.
Illuminated sign means any sign which is lighted by any on-premises internal or external electrical light source.
Nonconforming sign means any sign legally erected and permitted in compliance with codes at the time it was erected and permitted, but which does not conform to current codes or this chapter.
Off-premises sign means a sign which directs attention to a business, commodity, service or entertainment not conducted, sold or offered on the premises where the sign is located.
Permanent sign means any sign permanently attached to the ground or any structure.
Portable sign means any sign which is not permanently attached to the ground or any structure; and, is constructed, with or without wheels, in such a manner that it can be moved or transported from one premises to another.
Sign means structure or device designated or intended to convey information to the public in written or pictorial form.
Sign area means the combined area of all sign faces.
Sign face means one side of the sign including the content area and frame, not including the supports.
Temporary Sign means a sign such as realtor, political, or garage sale sign that are up for a time frame not to exceed 60 days.
General Sign Regulations
No sign shall be erected unless it conforms to the regulations for the zone in which it is located and a permit for the sign is obtained from the Village of Corrales Planning and Zoning Department if required. This does not apply to exempt signs.
Signs shall not be located in the public right-of-way or on public property. If a sign is so located, it shall be considered forfeited to the public and subject to confiscation and disposal.
No sign shall be erected in the clear sight triangle area where two streets intersect, as per Section 18-30 (e).
No sign shall obstruct or contribute to the obstruction of ingress or egress of any premise. Placement of signs that cause unsafe sight distances for vehicles entering or exiting a premises shall not be permitted.
No signs shall be attached to any utility pole.
All signs must comply with the Night Sky Protection Act (74-12-1 to 74-12-11 NMSA 1978) and Village of Corrales Code Section 18-42 Lighting. No lighting which is unshielded, or if lighted from within, casts nuisance glare on an adjoining property shall be allowed. Oscillating and/or flashing signs shall not be allowed. Internally lighted signs and digital signs shall only be permitted in the Commercial, Professional Office, or Municipal Zones, with the illuminated portion not to exceed a total of 16 square feet of sign area.
Billboards are prohibited in all zones.
Signs in the Agricultural and Rural Residential (A-1 and A-2), and Historical Area (H) Zones
Temporary signs, including portable signs, are permitted on private property for a time-frame not to exceed 60 days and shall not exceed 4 square feet per sign face in the A-1, A-2, and H Zones. After the 60-day period has passed, a temporary sign must be removed for an additional 60 days. Temporary signs do not require a permit in the A-1, A-2, and H Zones.
Permanent signs in the A-1, A-2, and H Zones shall not exceed five square feet per sign face and require a permit by the Village. No more than two such signs will be allowed on any premises, including portable signs. Where portable signs are continuously or repeatedly displayed and intended for long term use (over 60 days) they shall be included in the total permanent sign count for the premises and shall not exceed five square feet per sign face.
Off-premises signs are not permitted in the A-1, A-2, and H Zones.
All freestanding signs may not exceed three feet in height from grade in the A-1, A-2, and H Zones.
Signs in the Professional Office (O), Neighborhood Commercial (C), and Municipal, Public and Quasi- Public (M) Zones
Temporary signs, including portable signs, are permitted on private property for a timeframe not to exceed 60 days and shall not exceed 4 square feet per sign face. Temporary signs require a permit by the Village in the O, C, and M Zones.
Permanent signs in the O, C, and M Zones shall not exceed 64 square feet of total sign area including portable signs displayed for continuous or repeated long-term use and banners. Permanent signs require a permit by the Village in the O, C, and M Zones.
Multiple tenant buildings such as shopping/commercial centers may consolidate free standing signs into a single composite sign with no more than 64 square feet of total sign area. Each tenant’s sign area on the composite sign will be subtracted from their allowable 64 square feet of total sign area.
Off-premises signs require a permit by the Village and are permitted in the O, C, and M Zones. An off- premises sign will be subtracted from the sign owner’s allowable 64 square feet of sign area.
All freestanding signs may not exceed 15 feet in height from grade in the O, C, and M Zones.
No sign shall be placed on Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) or Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA) land other than by those entities or by expressed permission by those entities.
Permit required; application; fee.
All signs displayed in the Village not otherwise exempted in this article require a sign permit. The sign permit application shall contain the following:
The fee; Signature of the applicant; Name and address of the sign owner and sign erector.
Drawings showing the location of the sign on the property, building façade, wall, or other location.
Drawings showing the area dimensions of the sign, height of the sign, and basic design of the sign.
Drawings showing the location of all other existing or proposed signs displayed on the property. The permittee must show a valid Village business license and proof that he/she has the permission of the property owner before a sign permit is issued. Fee to be charged for a sign permit is detailed in the fee schedule available at the Village office.
A sign which first becomes nonconforming through passage of this article is a legal nonconforming sign and may remain. If the sign including support is removed and replaced, the new sign must comply with this article.
Variances from the terms of this article may be granted under the procedures of section 18-48 of this Code, as amended, except that variances may not be allowed for number, size or illumination of signs; however, a variance may be granted for height or other factors where topography, obstructions, etc., prevent the sign from being visible.
Responsibility for compliance
A party occupying or doing business on a property is responsible for complying with the requirements of this article.
If a property is not occupied or an existing tenant is not responsible for the presence of signs, then it shall be the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that the requirements of this article are fulfilled.
Penalty for violation of article
Any person violating the provisions of this article or failing or neglecting to comply with any orders issued pursuant to any section of this article shall be deemed guilty of a separate misdemeanor, and such person shall be guilty of a separate offense for each and every day or portion thereof during which any such violation is continued or permitted. Upon conviction for any such violation, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable in accordance with Section 1-6.
The planning and zoning administrator or designee shall order the removal of any sign or violating portion thereof which is erected or maintained in violation of this article.
Former Corrales resident Robin McCoy died in her sleep March 28. She was 93. She had moved to the Houston area in 2009 to be closer to her daughter, Amy Pettigrew. She left Corrales in 1987. Born in El Paso, she earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art at Mills College in Oakland, California. In 1951, she married future attorney Bob McCoy; they moved to Albuquerque and then Corrales where they raised three children and many animals.
To create her art, she worked in oils, watercolor, small sculptures and wood carving. McCoy served on the board of trustees for Sandia Preparatory School, and as a docent at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and the Museum of Natural History. Her husband and sons Matthew and Daniel McCoy and sister Jane Norton Dodds died before her. She is survived by daughter Amy Pettigrew and three grandsons.
A private memorial event will be held later.
Dial-a-Ride bus service will start in June for Corrales’ elderly to destinations in the village, in Rio Rancho, the Cottonwood Mall area and other parts of the metro area by connection at a nearby Albuquerque transit center. That service, through the Rio Rancho Division of the Rio Metro Regional Transit District is expected to start in early June, and includes a medical van to take patients to and from facilities in Albuquerque for medical appointments.
Prior registration is required; the application form is available at http://www.riometro.org/243/Rio-Rancho. Look for the Rio Metro Application for Service - Seniors.pdf After registration is approved, patrons can call 505-994-1608 to be picked up. One-way fare is 50 cents; a 10-trip pass costs $5, and a monthly pass is $15. Accompanying children under 5 ride free, as do military veterans showing valid VA identification.
Passes may be purchased on the bus or at the Meadowlark Senior Center in Rio Rancho. Rides must be reserved at least 24 hours in advance of pick up. Service is Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Corrales voters pulled out all the stops for the March 1 municipal elections, recording a remarkable 36 percent voter turn out. That compares to just 12 percent in Rio Rancho’s election. Will that fervor extend to the next big election, the state’s party primaries June 7? All seats in the N.M. House of Representatives are up for grabs this November, as are victories for positions ranging from governor to probate judge. The party primaries in June will determine who the contenders will be.
Airwaves already are being filled with Republican candidates who want to take on Democratic incumbent Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. They include Jay Block of Rio Rancho, Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences, and Greg Zanetti, Ethel Maharg and Mark Ronchetti all of Albuquerque. Add to those would-be challengers Libertarian candidates Tim Walsh of Albuquerque, Karen Bedonie of Navajo and Ginger Grider of Portales who is a write-in.
Republicans will see a full slate for lieutenant governor as well: Travis Sanchez, Ant Thornton, Peggy Muller-Aragon, Isabella Solis, Anastacia Golden Morper and Patrick Lyon. Incumbent Democratic Congresswomen Melanie Stansbury and Teresa Leger Fernandez have no challengers in the June primary, although Republicans who want to replace Stansbury include Louie Sanchez, Michelle Garcia Holmes, Jacquelyn Reeve and Joshua Taylor Neal.
The two Republicans who want to battle Leger Fernandez this fall are Alexis Martinez Johnson and Jerald Steve McFall.
Nationwide, there is significantly greater attention being given to fielding candidates for the Secretary of State positions, largely due to expected Trump-inspired election result challenges. In New Mexico, the Democratic incumbent, Maggie Toulouse Oliver, is running unopposed as are Republican Audrey Trujillo of Corrales and Libertarian Mayna Erika Myers of Hobbs.
Democrats will have to choose between two running for N.M. Attorney General: Raul Torrez and Brian Colón, both of Albuquerque. There’s just one Republican running for AG, Jeremy Michael Gay of Gallup.
Two are running for State Auditor on the Democratic ticket: Joseph Maestas and Zachary Quintero. A Libertarian is running for that position as a write-in: Robert Jason Vaillancourt of Albuquerque.
On the Democratic ballot for State Treasurer are former Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya, a Rio Rancho resident, and Heather Benavidez of Albuquerque. The winner will face Republican Harry Montoya this fall.
Two Republicans face off to be the party’s nominee for Commissioner of Public Lands: Jefferson Byrd of Tucumcari and Aubrey Dunn of Mountainair. Santa Fe Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard has no challenger for that position in June.
Long-time Corrales State Representative Jane Powdrell-Culbert, a Republican, seeks another two-year term, but she has a challenger this time: Frida Susana Vasquez of Rio Rancho. A Rio Rancho Democrat, Kathleen Cates, will be on the ballot for N.M. House District 44 this fall since she has no opponent in the June primary.
Neither of the two candidates for the House District 23 seat, Democrat Ramón Montaño of Rio Rancho, nor Bernalillo Republican Alan Martinez, has an opponent in the primary.
Running to represent Corrales on the Sandoval County Commission (replacing Jay Block who stepped down to run for governor) are Placitas Democrat Katherine Bruch and Bernalillo Democrat Paul Madrid. There’s a Placitas Republican running for that position, Jeanette Nowers.
Sandoval County Sheriff candidates are Placitas Democrat Jesse James Casaus, who is unopposed in the primary, as well as two Republicans: Patrick Michael Mooney of Placitas and Darrell Keith Elder of Rio Rancho.
Seeking election as Sandoval County Assessor are Democrat Linda Gallegos of Rio Rancho and two Republicans: Richard Shanks of Corrales and Lawrence Griego of Rio Rancho.
Three Democrats are running for Sandoval County Probate Judge: Charles Aguilar, Edward Wayne Lovato and Ronnie Sisneros.
On the ballot for Sandoval County Magistrate Judge are Ann Marie Maxwell-Chavez, Benito Aragon, Kenneth Eichwald and Delilah Montaño-Baca.
Those running for N.M. Supreme Court Judge will have no opponents in the June primary. They are Thomas C. Montoya, Julie Vargas, Briana Zamora and Kerry Morris.
Seeking a judgeship on the N.M. Court of Appeals are Democrat Gerald Edward Baca, Libertarian Sophie Cooper and Republican Barbara V. Johnson. None has an opponent in the primary.
For the Court of Appeals Position 2, Libertarian Stephen P. Curtis wants the job, as does Democrat Katherine Anne Wray.
A demonstration on how to remove the tree parasite mistletoe will be offered April 29, Arbor Day, in La Entrada Park, outside the Corrales Library. The free event has been arranged by the Corrales Tree Committee, which has warned that “Corrales is facing the loss of its cottonwood forest in the Bosque Preserve and a major portion of the Corrales tree canopy to drought and mistletoe.”
The demonstration in La Entrada Park, by certified arborist Harrison O’Connor of Legacy Tree Company, begins at 9 a.m.
The committee appointed by Village government explained that “The continuing drought conditions in the Rio Grande Valley and infestations of mistletoe are gradually killing off the beloved cottonwood tree canopy that is integral to the culture and charm of Corrales. We may be able to offset some effects of these problems by acting early.”
Mistletoe is an evergreen parasitic plant that grows on a number of tree species. It has a green stem and thick green, oval leaves. It can grow into a rounded form up to two feet or more in diameter. Its small, sticky, whitish berries are produced from October to December, but the clumps are readily observed on deciduous trees in winter when tree leaves have fallen.
The committee submitted the following information to Corrales Comment to alert villagers to the growing problem. “The number of trees in the Corrales tree canopy is over 10,000 mature trees. The tree canopy in the 662 acres of the Corrales Bosque Preserve is 50 percent, with most of the trees being cottonwoods. There are an estimated 5000 mature cottonwoods in the Bosque. The greenbelt has a 14 percent tree canopy that includes over 2,000 cottonwoods, twice as many Siberian elms. Mature cottonwoods in the Bosque and greenbelt may be as old as 80-100 years.
“The sandhills have a scattering of younger and smaller cottonwoods planted in residential landscapes that are also vulnerable to mistletoe.
“The north end of Corrales appears to have the worst infestation with hot spots where 30-50 percent of cottonwoods might be affected. The 12-mile narrow strip that borders the greenbelt and Clear Ditch are heavily infested. The south end of Corrales is the least infested with up to 10 percent of trees affected. Sandhills cottonwoods have high levels of infestation up to 50 percent in areas.
“Overall, of the 7,000 plus cottonwoods, there could be 1,500-2,000 trees infected with mistletoe. The cost for an arborist to remove mistletoe from a single large tree can be as much as $2,000. Treatment of the total Corrales canopy could cost in the millions.
“What causes the infestation? The berries of the female plant are attractive to birds who feed on the berries and excrete the seeds that stick tightly to branches on which they land. The seeds germinate on the branch and grow through the bark into the tree’s water conducting tissues.
“Infestations initially occur in older, taller trees because birds prefer to perch in the tops of those trees. Berries can fall from the top branches to cause further infestations on lower branches. The rapidity of spread depends on the proximity and severity of established infestations. That is why you notice that there are areas in Corrales with high levels of infestation and others with little or no infestation.
“What happens to an infected tree? Healthy trees can tolerate a few mistletoe branch infections, but individual branches may be weakened or killed. Heavily-infested trees may be reduced in vigor, stunted or killed. It may take many years for the damage to kill a tree.
“Trees that are stressed by drought are more susceptible to mistletoe damage and damage from other pests such as insects or fungi.
“The most effective way to control mistletoe and prevent its spread is to prune out infected branches, if possible, as soon as the mistletoe appears. In heavily-infested cottonwood trees, severe pruning weakens a tree’s structure and destroys its natural form, especially if pruning larger branches (greater than 2-3 inches in diameter). In some cases, severely infested trees should be removed entirely because they provide a continuous source of seed. Removing mistletoe clumps flush with the branch each winter is better than nothing, even if the mistletoe will continue to return. Trees that have had mistletoe removed can be reinfected by birds or by residual mistletoe rooting in branches.
“Mechanical management usually requires the services of a certified arborist and special equipment to reach upper branches of large trees. The cost of arborist services, especially if needed for multiple trees and repeated every few years may be prohibitively expensive.
“Chemical treatments have a low probability of success. Homeowners with a large, old, well-structured cottonwood tree should consider the cost of mistletoe management against the added property value provided by the tree canopy (possibly 10 percent increase over value of property with no trees).
“Managing mistletoe infestations in the Corrales Bosque where hundreds of trees are infected and multiple government organizations have interests would require a large budget that currently does not exist.
“What are pragmatic solutions? Unfortunately, mistletoe infestations are probably not going away, especially with increased vulnerability of trees from climate change. Municipal budgets are not going to increase dramatically to sustain or enhance the tree canopy, even with scientific evidence about the importance and value of the tree canopy. What budget we do have to work with should be focused on the saving the high-value cottonwood trees that give Corrales its unique character.
“This should be a joint effort of Corrales residents, Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, and the governing body of Corrales.
“Our second priority should be a tree planting program that emphasizes use of tree species that are resistant to drought and not susceptible to mistletoe.
Recent research reported by the Nature Conservancy on climate ready trees provides guidance on tree species that are known to be drought tolerant and suitable for the changing climate in this area.
“Mistletoe research has also shown that there are resistant tree species such as Chinese pistache, gingko, golden rain tree and conifers that can be planted in mistletoe-infested areas.
“The third priority should be the mobilization of volunteer efforts for planting programs to reforest areas devastated by mistletoe, drought, or invasive species.
Residents of Corrales can help fight the mistletoe problem by early identification of mistletoe in their own trees. Because mistletoe starts at the upper branches of older trees, pruning out infected branches should be done by arborists with appropriate equipment, for safety reasons. Severely infected trees should be removed.
“Selecting trees for planting in landscapes should consider trees that are both drought and mistletoe resistant. The Corrales Tree Committee has prepared a brochure listing recommended trees for Corrales and is available at the Village Administration office and on the Village website.
“Individuals can help with reforestation of the Bosque Preserve by volunteering for replanting efforts coordinated by the Corrales Fire Department. For more information on volunteer tree planting projects, contact John Thompson, chairman of the Corrales Tree Committee.
More information on mistletoe can be obtained from New Mexico State University Extension Guide OD-10 “True Mistletoe” and University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Publication 7437, “Mistletoe: Integrated Pest Management for Home Gardeners and Landscape Professionals.”
By Jo Anne Roake
A Mayor’s Perspective
Corrales should be incredibly proud of the level of service the Village staff provides. With their help, the Village made considerable strides in financial procedures and process, installed new technology upping our communications capability (including an audio system in the Village Chambers and wireless reception outside the library), launched a new Village website and a new library website. A weekly Mayor’s Message provided additional public outreach.
The Village provided equitable pay raises for staff, hired a first-ever Compliance Officer, updated Chapter 18 Land Use Regulations, conserved over 25 acres as perpetual open space and created an ongoing bond program to provide infusions of money every two to four years for municipal improvements without raising property taxes above the 2019 rate.
After 14 years, Meadowlark Lane is repaved and plans are complete for its Phase 2 trail.
After 20 years, the connection is open for pedestrian, bicycle and equine traffic.
Substantial improvements have been made to our municipal buildings, including Municipal Court, Corrales Fire Department, Corrales Police Department and Public Works Department. The Corrales Valley Fire Department Building was completely renovated (what a project), providing a brand new home for Planning and Zoning and Animal Control Services.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation surprisingly repaved and re-striped State Highway 448, Corrales Road.
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, but we got COVID-19 anyway. For all the downsides, the Village can be proud of the government employees who worked tirelessly to ensure safety, give vaccines and distribute COVID monies.
With volunteer help, Corrales gained outdoor pickleball courts, a new floor in the Old Church, a pollinator garden in La Entrada Park, new trees, advice on proposed ordinances, the advisability of a Village Center, removal of noxious plants from the Bosque Preserve and help in locating farmland conservation properties.
The Village strengthened ties with our neighboring elected officials, County and state agencies and organizations and partners like the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District and Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA). When there is a problem, it is so much better to call someone you know.
Looking ahead, our Village faces recurring issues as we seek to maintain our rural charm, agricultural heritage, low density and sense of community in the face of development pressure.
Our existing Comprehensive Plan (CP) favors low density (one dwelling per one acre; one dwelling per two acres), and retention of our agricultural heritage. I agree. However, a new CP is necessary to confirm these assumptions and also to gather public input about the advisability of other uses, such as senior housing.
Once citizens have spoken, the new CP will provide clear guidance for the Governing Body. Also, the Village has often considered taking over Highway 448 (Corrales Road). Let NMDOT retain ownership of Corrales Road. The costs of maintenance, repair of dozens of culverts and liability are just three reasons why.
Over time, there’s been repeated concern about animal services. The Department takes in about eight animals per month, housing them for 72 hours or less until they are returned to owners or re-homed. In 2019, Animal Services got a new facility, with new kennels and equipment. There’s room for improvement, proportionate with need. I suggest the Village get an objective assessment of the best steps to take moving forward.
Finally, Corrales is dependent on well and septic systems and has repeatedly struggled with infrastructure needs. The time is here to address the quality of our groundwater and acquire a functioning wastewater system. Right now, there’s money to make a good start on changes to ensure a healthy future.
Lastly, may I be so bold as to ask a favor? Mistakes and missteps happen, but they are rarely deliberate. Please give your Corrales government and staff the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise. We all love our community and together we will keep Corrales special.
Thank you. It’s been an honor.
As Corrales’ new mayor, Jim Fahey, takes the helm at the Village office, he anticipates no abrupt changes in personnel. He scored a decisive victory in the March 1 municipal elections and was sworn in March 31, along with two new councillors, John Alsobrook and Rick Miera, along with returning councillor Mel Knight. The outgoing mayor, Jo Anne Roake, had moved quickly after her own swearing in to replace the Village Administrator at that time, John Avila, as well as the Village’s law firm.
Corrales Comment asked Mayor Fahey whether he intended to name his own administrator or other key personnel and he replied “No one is being replaced. The staff is doing a great job. They work together well and efficiently.”
He said his first effort would be to get “the lay of the land, attend the elected official orientation in Santa Fe and prepare for our first council meeting which will be an organizational meeting.”
That will be Tuesday, April 12, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers (which doubles as Municipal Court) across from Wells Fargo Bank.
The new mayor, a retired surgeon who also chairs the board of directors for the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority, said an early focus of his administration will be to try to gain funding for projects that have been discussed and planned over the past year and during recent campaigns.
“It may not prove to be as easy as advertised by the state and federal government as there are very specific guidelines to quality for funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. Locally we will try to move forward on the sewer system for some of the denser neighborhoods, start construction on the new gym and the rec center —although we still need additional funding to complete the project— come to a consensus on a performing arts center that has no funding at present an address a recent issue of temporary housing for stray animals in the village.”
He was elected to the Village Council in 2012 and again in 2016 in what is now District 5. He served on the council until March 2020.
While on the council, Fahey began attending meetings of the board of directors of the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority which attempted to address chronic flooding problems here and in Rio Rancho. He was elected to that board in 2010, and has been re-elected ever since. He is currently the board’s chairman. His SSCAFCA term ends next year.
H also disliked the project which eventually installed a small-diameter wastewater line down Corrales Road to serve the commercial area, but he helped implement it to end a decades-long impasse. “Ultimately, we got only a STEP system,” which is a pressurized septic tank effluent line that accepts only liquid waste, and serves only the business district, Fahey said during the campaign for mayor. T
Based on statements during the candidate forums February 7 and 10, Fahey suggested the next Village Council may be ready to consider switching to a more conventional gravity-fed sewer system.
“The system we have now is not the best. It appears, after the discussion we had the other night, that all the five people who participated are for a sewer line. So if they’re all in favor of a sewer line, we should start thinking about planning for a sewer line,” he said in February.
“That’s where the Interior Drain project comes in, and that’s where the Comprehensive Plan comes into play,” since the drainage ditch there now could contain a gravity-fed sewer pipe.
That long drainage ditch east of Corrales Road owned by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District runs all the way from the end of East Valverde Road to south beyond East Meadowlark Lane. “If we do this first part right, it could be a template for a sewer line to serve other parts of the village. The MRGCD sounds eager to get rid of the Interior Drain. If you put in things you know you need, such as broadband, sewer, a fire suppression system, and then cover it up, then in the middle of this gorgeous pathway area you plant your heritage trees and you make it pretty. You allow bicycles, pedestrians and equestrians —and you close it to traffic. You’ve got to close it to traffic, because it is there, motorists will use it and it will be dangerous. So that’s sort of a pipe dream.”
On another long-running, endlessly delayed proposal, a pathway along Corrales Road, he said he would like to see it advance. Fahey said he would “absolutely” like to see the pathway implemented as soon as possible.
But Fahey does not favor Village government taking over Corrales Road [State Highway 448] because it would be too expensive to manage and maintain. Among the reasons are that the road cannot meet the Village’s roadway standards and the numerous irrigation pipes and culverts under the road will eventually deteriorate requiring enormous repair costs.
If the highway department fixes those things and brings it up to meet the Village’s standards, a transfer of ownership might be possible, he said.”We can certainly discuss it with them, but they need to tell us how much they spend on the road, they need to get the culverts clear and functional and they need to stabilize the road shoulders.”
Fahey does not want to be drawn into the commercial cannabis cultivation issue again. “The ordinance banning commercial cannabis in residential areas has been passed, it is the law of the land, and it will be enforced and defended,” he emphasized.
He wants to see tighter controls on construction of casitas or the reversion of existing ones to rental units, although “I’ll not interfere with ones already in existence, but if this keeps going, we’re going to have issues with our groundwater.”
To allow an ongoing proliferation of casitas “would be a quantum change for the Village of Corrales,” Fahey added during the campaign. He sees permission for higher density senior living facilities in much the same way, although he noted that is already being evaluated by the Planning and Zoning Commission and would likely be addressed by an update of the Corrales Comprehensive Plan.
The Easter Bunny returns to Corrales Saturday, April 16. The Kiwanis Club of Corrales will have (minimally) hidden dozens of plastic eggs with goodies inside around La Entrada Park, outside the Corrales Library, in time for the 10 a.m. start of the egg hunt. The free event is intended for children ages 1 to 8. Hunters and gatherers are urged to bring their own baskets to hold their finds. Parents bringing their youngsters for the egg hunt should arrive well before the 10 a.m. start, because nearly all the eggs are typically found within the first 10 to 15 minutes.
This year, a costumed Easter bunny will participate, along with the now-traditional party-crasher, Coyote.
Daymon Ely, Corrales lawyer and retiring state legislator, looked back at his experience in the N.M. House of Representatives with satisfaction and ahead with optimism. Although he had become an influential Democratic legislator since he won the District 23 seat in 2016, he declined to seek another term, keeping a promise to bow out after three two-year terms. Ely had been elected to the Sandoval County Commission in 2000, but got out of electoral politics in 2004 while his wife, Cynthia Fry was a judge on the N.M. Court of Appeals. She retired at the end of 2015, motivating him to run for the House District 23 seat.
“I said at the very beginning that I was only going to serve six years, and nobody believed me. But I kept that promise. I kept that promise to Cynthia and I kept it to my constituents.”
“I really feel I ran for the office for the right reasons,” Ely recalled during a Corrales Comment interview in February. After first-hand observations of how the legislature functions, he is convinced that most of the other legislators also serve for the right reasons.
He feels he is leaving the House in good hands, that the chamber has a new, invigorating collegial spirit —largely due to the fact that now a majority of its members are women.
Ely continues to practice law full time; his specialty is suing other lawyers.
He acknowledged that Corrales may feel the lack of his influence in the N.M. Legislature in the sessions just ahead, “but on the other hand, there are new people, mostly women, particularly in the House, who are wonderful. I say that genuinely. So I am very comfortable about leaving. The House is in good hands.”
He praised the prospective Speaker of the House, Xavier Martinez, for his capacity to take on that responsibility. “He has the best set of skills I’ve seen in a political leader in a long time. A real quality guy, smart, good heart, charming —but tough. That’s kind of a rare combination.
“If anything, I would miss being his lieutenant… that’s what I tell people.”
The person who takes his place in the legislature “is going to find a very collegial body in the House. So do I think Corrales will miss out a bunch? No, I don’t. We all like to think we’ll be missed, but realistically in two to four years from now, few people will remember that I was even there. And that’s okay.”
He said it was not difficult, during his six years in the Round House, to avoid ethical compromises. “I wanted to avoid getting caught up in a scandal, nobody would accuse me of conflicts. I would just try to do the right thing. And it turned out to be surprisingly easy.
“You hear all this talk about corruption and conflicts of interest, but if you think about it, you see that a majority of legislators never get caught up in that stuff. My view was always that if you have to take a tough vote, take the vote and do the right thing. If it’s worth voting for, then your problem is to figure out how to explain that tough vote to your constituency.
“Marijuana is a good example of that. That’s a tough vote. But I would make that vote [in favor of legalization] every time. My job then was to come to the community and talk about why I voted for it. I can tell you that I never regretted any vote I took.”
But that’s not say he had no regrets about what happened. “I can tell you that I regret not making sure that the mayor had the funds requested for a pathway project. I’m upset with myself for that.… sometimes I have brain farts.”
Ely feels that both Democrats and Republicans elected to the legislature “get involved for sound, public policy reasons. Having said that, I do think there is more polarization than when I went in. I’d be naive to say otherwise.
“It’s worse now. The other side, particularly, is caught in that Trump loop that they can’t get out of. That’s just the way it is.”
The Comment asked El why he thinks that has come about.
Ely: “Because if they don’t do it, they don’t get re-elected. It’s just that simple. There are these rural districts that are conservative.”
Comment: And it’s got nothing to do with Trump?
Ely: Oh no, it’s got everything to do with Trump.”
Comment: But is Trump driving this, or is he riding this?
Ely: I don’t know. It’s an interesting question. But it is uncommon for a basically moderate liberal Democrat, which is where I would put myself, to be working with Republicans. But if you look at what happened, I had major legislation with a guy from Roswell. We had developed a relationship early on, so we worked together to get guardianship reform and commission and, believe it or not, criminal justice because we saw eye-to-eye on so much of that.
“So you can still do bipartisan things but there is this rural-urban divide.”
Ely said the divisiveness makes it hard to move bipartisan legislation in Santa Fe. “The Republicans in the rural parts of the state have to go back to their constituents, many of whom have Trump bumper stickers and Trump flags, who tell them ‘Don’t get along with Democrats. Fight, fight, fight!’
“So it’s hard for them. because if they don’t toe that line, they’re not coming back. That’s a real deal. My attitude would be, then don’t come back. That’s easy to say, but people are influenced by that.”
He is aware that Corrales’ recent municipal election was far more partisan than at any time in the village’s history as a municipality, and that it seems to be a spill-over from the polarization of national politics. “I would guess that it’s not just Corrales where this is happening. There’s a lot of money coming into these local races, particularly on the Republican side, that Democrats are not focused on and should be.”
Ely said he would like to see all facets of the electorate taking a more active role in local politics. “I would like a vibrant two-party system. A hundred percent I would like to see that. The problem is that a lot of folks on the other side are going down the road of not believing that anything the government is doing is good. That, for me, makes them not be a viable party in the abstract. But with individual legislators on the other side, I have been able to appeal to their sense of ‘Then what are you doing here? If you’re not here to do something constructive and do something positive, why are you here in government?’
“Even for Republicans on the other side of the aisle, that has some logic to it.”
But some reply they just don’t believe in government and “throw up roadblocks every chance they get and say ‘I’m here to stop everything you’re doing.’
“But in my mind, that’s not a constructive view of how government should function. There has to be a balance. I do want a vibrant Republican Party. I want somebody on the other side who can philosophically debate why lower taxes are good. Why you should start with people who have a lot of income getting tax breaks rather than people with lower income. Although I disagree with that, that’s a healthy debate to have.
“Legalizing marijuana? That’s a healthy debate to have. Energy policy. Tax policy. Criminal justice policy. All of those are issues we could be having real debates about, but on very few of those issues do we even start from the position that government has a role to play on those.”
Ely said he is concerned about what he sees as an increasing tolerance for authoritarian politics that combines with anti-government sentiments. “We need people to be skeptical about government, but it’s not healthy for people to hate government. I put that right on Trump.”
He thinks it’s time for New Mexico to move to a paid legislature because “you want to draw people in with the widest net possible” which can’t happen if the only citizens who can afford to serve in the Round House are those who can afford to leave work for one to two months every year.
By Stephani Dingreville
Corrales Elementary has opened registration for the 2022-2023 school year. After a year of uncertainty, masks and closures, the staff at Corrales Elementary School (CES) is ready to hit the ground running next fall. When asked which staff members are intending to stay on for next year, Principal Liv Baca-Hohhausler enthusiastically responded, “Almost everyone!” The administration of the school is hoping enrollment, which now stands at 318 students, will continue to rise, as it has done throughout the current school year.
The easing of COVID 19 restrictions means students, their families and other community members can look forward to the full return of the many events and happenings that make Corrales Elementary unique, and a central gathering place for the village.
Events like the always-crowded Fall Carnival, the annual Holiday Concert, and the end-of-year Celebration of Children have been historically attended by Corraleños of all ages. Even villagers who do not have children currently attending the school come to these functions. Volunteers from many parts of the community work together to make these events a success, so that CES feels at times like the heart and soul of Corrales.
The Fall Carnival, which this year quietly celebrated its 60th year, is a particularly important event in our village. This year was special, with COVID-19-mandated changes, but with mandates going by the wayside, the village can hope for a return to normal next year.
In a typical pre-pandemic Fall Carnival, the school cafeteria would be filled with people ordering food donated by local restaurants like Perea’s Restaurant and Village Pizza. Corrales Fire Department Chief Anthony Martinez would probably be manning the cash register, as volunteers from the Corrales Senior Center would be heaping steaming-hot posole onto paper plates. The kids running around in their Halloween costumes would be of course blithely unaware that the whole shindig, in its collaborative, homemade glory, feels like a moment snatched from another era.
Current PTA President Jim Ward, himself a CES alumni, has high hopes for the year to come. He noted that Corrales Elementary was consolidated and built on the current site in 1923, which means, in his words, “We will be celebrating Corrales Elementary School’s 100th birthday next year!”
Ward goes on to say, “We are hoping to see a lot of parent and community involvement as we mark this huge milestone in the life of not only our school, but also our village.”
Students can be registered online by visiting the APS website, http://www.aps.edu, and clicking on “ParentVUE/StudentVUE”. Andrea Atkerson, administrative clerk at the school will be available to assist with registration and answer questions. She can be reached by calling the school at 505-792-7400, or by stopping by the CES office at 200 Target Road.
Consider the following.
Whether or not you indulge in recreational drinking or pot smoking, you need to be aware that some of your friends and neighbors do. And they drive along Corrales’ roads. Even before sale of recreational cannabis became legal April 1, drivers here were behaving more erratically, perhaps due to COVID frustration and fatigue. Or maybe it’s just the recent horrific increase in traffic in the business district and especially around the post office.
In any event, the need for defensive driving may be greater now than at any time since Corrales’ horse-and-buggy days. The N.M. Department of Transportation launched a new, cannabis-focused campaign April 1 to discourage marijuana users from getting behind the wheel when they could be substantially impaired. Billboards went up with the warning “You’re Too Drive to High. Endwi+.”
“Impairment is impairment,” Transportation Secretary Mike Sandoval said, “it doesn’t matter whether it’s alcohol or cannabis. Driving while intoxicated on any substance is dangerous and illegal.
“If you are impaired and driving erratically or unsafely, you could be arrested for DWI. The law is the same.”
For weeks now, police officers have undergone training to recognize signs of driving impairment unrelated to alcohol use.
As in other parts of New Mexico which legalized recreational marijuana use, Corrales’ sole retail outlet, the SWOP (Southwest Organic Products) store at the corner of Corrales Road and Rincon Road, saw a dramatic uptick in business April 1.
“We did about four times our regular level of sales on the first day of legalized recreational marijuana,” SWOP Regional Manager Dranna Insausti told Corrales Comment April 2. “We had 139 customers yesterday.”
She said she didn’t know how many of those first-day customers were Corraleños.
She anticipates about the same level of sales through April —aside from April 20 which is celebrated as “4/20 Day,” an unofficial holiday also known globally as “Weed Day.”
Insausti said she expects a celebration of some sort at the SWOP site that day.
“SWOP has really grown a lot over the past two years,” she added. “We now have seven stores around New Mexico, including three in Albuquerque and, of course, this one in Corrales.”
The SWOP website homepage features a full-screen photo of the store here. It is found at http://www.swopnm.com.
The store has sold medical use marijuana here for more than a year. Products include prescription cannabis as well as recreational smokes, edibles, tinctures and topicals.
Since April 1, store hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays 10-5.
Insausti said she is aware that customer parking may become a problem, and that already, SWOP patrons have been parking in spaces for Perea’s Restaurant. She said arrangements have been made for SWOP staffers to free up parking space by leaving their own cars across Corrales Road west of the Village Print Shop.
Sales of medical cannabis have been legal since 2007, but recreational use remained outlawed until 2021. New Mexico became the 17th state to legalize recreational use.
State officials are anticipating recreational marijuana sales to top $300 million this year. On the first day of legal sales of recreational pot, customers spent more than $1.9 million, according to the N.M. Cannabis Control Division.
Here as elsewhere in New Mexico, smoking marijuana in public places is not allowed, although a licensing process could permit use in a “cannabis consumption area.”
The law allows individuals to grow up to six plants for each adult in a household.
But in federal law, marijuana possession, sale or use is still illegal.
A Spring Bicycle Fair will be held Saturday morning, April 30 at the Corrales Recreation Center. The event, sponsored by the Corrales Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, is meant for children and adults focusing on safety, basic repairs, bike etiquette and “rules of the road.” Children aged 4 to 14 can participate in a bike rodeo. Prizes will be awarded.
The event starts at 10 a.m. and concludes at noon. Bike retailers will showcase popular models. Instruction will be offered for proper fitting for a bike helmet, bike maintenance, changing tires and signaling in traffic for turning and stopping. A presentation also will be made for how bike riders should safely deal with encountering horses and horse riders on Corrales trails.
A Corrales resident who sits on the N.M. Environmental Improvement (EIB) has a key role in a current attempt to address the state’s outsized contributions to global warming. Barry Bitzer sits on the EIB as it conducts hearings on state regulations to control oil and gas field operations in New Mexico that could slow climate change due to the rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The hearing is on tougher regulations on oil field emissions considered precursors to ozone pollution.
The EIB hearing process started last year to consider a petition from the N.M. Environment Department to beef up rules for oil and gas operators in counties where releases of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (precursor chemicals to formation of ozone) have risen to at least 95 percent of federal ambient air quality standards. Sandoval County is one of those, but most are in southeastern and northwestern parts of the state.
In recent years, attention has been focused on methane releases and their exceptional potency as greenhouse gases. But the State of New Mexico has limited ability to address methane because it is not a listed “criteria pollutant” in the context of the federal Clean Air Act’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Even so, it has been estimated that if the Environment Department is able to move ahead with new regulations after the EIB hearing process, methane pollution in New Mexico would be reduced by around 851 million pounds a year.
Understandably the oil and gas industry has opposed the new rules that would require reporting for self-monitoring those emissions and new equipment to limit those. And predictably, those operators warn that such requirements will hurt the state’s economy.
Final rulemaking is expected sometime this year. The board continues to take testimony. “We have booked April 11, and possibly beyond, to continue our deliberations,” Bitzer told Corrales Comment April 4.
As it stands now, just 11 state inspectors are expected to monitor the more than 53,000 oil and gas wells.
If the EIB upholds the proposed regulations, the matter could go to the N.M. Court of Appeals, which, presumably, would confirm the board’s decision unless it was found to be arbitrary or capricious, not supported by substantial evidence in the hearing record or otherwise not in accordance with law.
The EIB hearings have included presentations by the N.M. Oil and Gas Association, the Gas Compressors Association and the Independent Petroleum Associator of New Mexico, as well as by Conservation Voters of New Mexico, Diné CARE, Earthworks, Natural Resources Defense Council, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Sierra Club, WildEarth Guardians, N.M. Environmental Law Center, the National Park Service and 350 New Mexico.
Non-technical testimony was offered by State Senator McKenna and 133 other citizens.
“Beyond wide-reaching environmental policy and a number of technical and scientific issues, many legal considerations await the board as it deliberates on provisions throughout the final proposed rule,” the EIB hearing office, Felicia Orth wrote.
Among those issues is whether the board can consider the “co-benefits of the rule in reducing methane emissions even though it is directed at nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds?”
On April 4, the United Nations convened Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report on how to mitigate ongoing climate change and scenarios to limit planetary warming to no more than 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial era average temperatures.
The report, compiled by leading climate scientists from around the world, says emissions of greenhouse gases must be cut in half within the next eight years to prevent rises above that 1.5 degree level.
“We’re past the point in human history where continuing to burn stuff is a bad idea, undermining both the climate and democracy,” the founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben, responded. Happily, there’s a ball of burning gas hanging 93 million miles up in the sky that we can depend on. We have the tech, we need the will! At this point, a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is a must.”
The policy makers’ summary of the intergovernmental panel report is the work of 270 authors from 67 countries. An introductory section reads as follows, in part.
“Increasingly since [the last report], these observed impacts have been attributed to human-induced climate change particularly through increased frequency and severity of extreme events. These include increased heat-related human mortality (medium confidence), warm-water coral bleaching and mortality (high confidence), and increased drought-related tree mortality (high confidence).
“Observed increases in areas burned by wildfires have been attributed to human-induced climate change in some regions (medium to high confidence). Adverse impacts from tropical cyclones, with related losses and damages, have increased due to sea level rise and the increase in heavy precipitation (medium confidence). Impacts in natural and human systems from slow-onset processes such as ocean acidification, sea level rise or regional decreases in precipitation have also been attributed to human induced climate change (high confidence).
“The extent and magnitude of climate change impacts are larger than estimated in previous assessments (high confidence). Widespread deterioration of ecosystem structure and function, resilience and natural adaptive capacity, as well as shifts in seasonal timing have occurred due to climate change (high confidence), with adverse socioeconomic consequences (high confidence).
“Approximately half of the species assessed globally have shifted polewards or, on land, also to higher elevations (very high confidence). Hundreds of local losses of species have been driven by increases in the magnitude of heat extremes (high confidence), as well as mass mortality events on land and in the ocean (very high confidence) and loss of kelp forests (high confidence). Some losses are already irreversible, such as the first species extinctions driven by climate change (medium confidence).
“Other impacts are approaching irreversibility such as the impacts of hydrological changes resulting from the retreat of glaciers, or the changes in some mountain (medium confidence) and Arctic ecosystems driven by permafrost thaw (high confidence).
“Increasing weather and climate extreme events have exposed millions of people to acute food insecurity and reduced water security, with the largest impacts observed in many locations and/or communities in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Small Islands and the Arctic (high confidence). Jointly, sudden losses of food production and access to food compounded by decreased diet diversity have increased malnutrition in many communities (high confidence), especially for Indigenous Peoples, small-scale food producers and low-income households (high confidence), with children, elderly people and pregnant women particularly impacted (high confidence). Roughly half of the world’s population currently experience severe water scarcity for at least some part of the year due to climatic and non-climatic drivers (medium confidence). . . • “Climate change has adversely affected physical health of people globally (very high confidence) and mental health of people in the assessed regions (very high confidence). Climate change impacts on health are mediated through natural and human systems, including economic and social conditions and disruptions (high confidence). In all regions extreme heat events have resulted in human mortality and morbidity (very high confidence). The occurrence of climate-related food-borne and water-borne diseases has increased (very high confidence).
“The incidence of vector-borne diseases has increased from range expansion and/or increased reproduction of disease vectors (high confidence). Animal and human diseases, including zoonoses, are emerging in new areas (high confidence). Water and food-borne disease risks have increased regionally from climate-sensitive aquatic pathogens, including Vibrio spp. (high confidence), and from toxic substances from harmful freshwater cyanobacteria (medium confidence). Although diarrheal diseases have decreased globally, higher temperatures, increased rain and flooding have increased the occurrence of diarrheal diseases, including cholera (very high confidence) and other gastrointestinal infections (high confidence). In assessed regions, some mental health challenges are associated with increasing temperatures (high confidence), trauma from weather and climate extreme events (very high confidence), and loss of livelihoods and culture (high confidence). Increased exposure to wildfire smoke, atmospheric dust, and aeroallergens have been associated with climate-sensitive cardiovascular and respiratory distress (high confidence). Health services have been disrupted by extreme events such as floods (high confidence).
The full report, “Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability,” can be found at http://www.ipcc. ch/report.ar6.
A 45-year resident of Corrales, Ann Braunschweig died February 12 after a long illness. She was 85. An environmentalist and animal welfare activist, Braunschweig was also an artist whose social justice works were published internationally.
“My mom was a bit left of center and quite idealistic, optimistic and hopeful of positive change,” said her daughter, Kathy Braunschweig, who survives her as does husband Ernie Braunschweig.
No memorial is planned.
The Corrales Historical Society’s next presentation in its speakers series comes Sunday, April 24 when Chuck Hornung delivers a talk on “The Four-Legged Boot-Legger: a tale of New Mexico state mounted police.” It begins at 2 p.m. at the Old Church.
Among the topics is how a U.S. District Attorney prosecuted a horse for running illegal booze. The horse’s defense team was headed by a former justice of the N.M. Supreme Court.
The talk is free and open to the public.
Any still-good items you might consider discarding during spring cleaning could be donated to the Corrales Historical Society’s “Treasures” sale May 21. The society will take many items you no long want or need to offer at its fundraiser, but “no junk, please, and no clothing or books.”
“Your clutter may be another’s treasures,” they point out.Proceeds from the sale donated items will help preserve the Old Church.
The Authentic Native Arts Association presents the 2022 version of the Bernalillo Indian Arts Festival May 14 and 15 showing paintings, jewelry, pottery and other art forms. The festival is in Loretto Park along Bernalillo’s Camino del Pueblo, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Tickets are $10 for adults, on sale at http://www.bernalilloindianfestival.com
Among the many exhibitors are Andy Marion, Priscilla Apache, Richard Dawavendewa, Amado Peña, Jr., Adrian Nasafotie, Alfonso John, Emmett Navakuku, Adrian Lucario, Cynthia Kuck, Diana Lucero and Virgil Julis Nez.
Two exhibitions have been mounted to showcase art by University of New Mexico students.
“Tracing Inner Worlds” is a collection of images created in response to Anila Quayyum Agha’s current exhibition, “Mysterious Inner Worlds.” Students in the Introduction to Photography class visited and reflected on that installation and then were asked to respond to Agha’s use of light and color by making images.
This project was organized by instructors Nicholas Valdés, claudia hermano, and the UNM Art Museum. It was juried by Assistant Professor of Photography Mark McKnight. The exhibit runs through April 23 in the Clinton Adams Gallery.
“Not Yet and Yet,” the University of New Mexico Department of Art’s 29th annual juried graduate exhibition, features the work of 12 artists currently enrolled in the master’s of fine arts program and working painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, sound/installation and video. “Not Yet and Yet” runs through April 30 in the Raymond Jonson Gallery.
The UNM Art Museum is open Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 10-7. Masks are encouraged, but not required. Learn more: artmuseum.unm.edu/visit
Throughout April, Rebuilding Together Sandoval County volunteers will serve veterans, older adults and families with children by providing them with a variety of critical home repairs.
“We have plenty to look forward to this month,” said the organization’s president, Brad Wood. “We have already renovated more than half of the 21 homes under our USDA grant, and we have a new partnership with Sandia National Labs and with Lowe’s to help veterans.”
Contact Rebuilding Together Sandoval County at 854 Camino Don Tomas, Bernalillo 87004 or PO Box 1913 in Bernalillo
Eight New Mexico high-growth-potential companies were awarded Science AND Technology Business Start Up Grants at $25,000 each for a total of $200,000 through the N.M. Economic Development Department.
Those grants are available to New Mexico-based for-profit science and technology companies with fewer than 50 employees. Eligible businesses must work in one of the following fields: aerospace, biosciences, cyber security, intelligent manufacturing and sustainable and green energy.
The grant specifically targets high-growth potential companies that provide a unique product or service, have a clear and compelling business proposition, demonstrate a scalable product and business model, have the potential to create jobs in New Mexico and/or garner private investment, and can provide economic benefit to the state greater than the award amount.
The eight companies receiving science and technology grants were:
A online certification course for food processing continues through April 20 with New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. It is intended for managers and supervisors of food-processing plants that use thermal processing. The course, “Better Process Control School for Low-Acid, Aseptic and Acidified Foods,” will be presented virtually live over seven session sessions through Apil 20. Each session will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Better Process Control School is approved by the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and sponsored by NMSU. The FDA requires this course for food processors who process aseptic, acidified and low-acid foods. The program satisfies training requirements and regulations set by the FDA and United States Department of Agriculture. The course follows the manual from the Consumer Brand Association’s “Canned Foods: Principles of thermal Process Control, Acidification, and Container Closure Evaluation” program.
The course is open to managers and supervisors of commercial food-processing operations of thermal procession systems, acidification and container closure evaluation programs for low-acid, aseptic and acidified canned foods. NMSU will offer course options:
Registration cost includes online instruction and testing. Participants must purchase their own printed or digital manual.