By Steve Komadina
A New Year And New Direction?
Well, here we are 2022! Always a chance for new beginnings as we turn the calendar at the end of another year.
This is a column that talks about horses and the Corrales connection. It was started as an initiative of Corrales Horse and Mule People (CHAMP) to help horse and non-horse owners to think about living in a horse-oriented community.
The name of the column and initial essays were written by Nancy Nelson who was an active member of the board of CHAMP and an avid horse owner and rider. When Nancy ran out of ideas and topics, she asked me to continue writing the column. Many years later, I am still at it.
I have struggled all those years with the name Nancy gave the column. I often asked myself if the casual reader of the Corrales Comment had any idea of what it meant if they did not read Spanish.
“Corrales Para Los Caballos” “Corrales For The Horses.”
As I look to the New Year, it might be a good time for a change. What would you call a column with a horse connection in Corrales? Here are some possibilities:
“Horsing Around in Corrales “ or “Horsing Around in Our Village” or “The Real Poop about Horses in Corrales” or “Corrales Saddles Up” or “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Stable” or “Why We Saddle Up” or “Becoming a Millionaire with Horses by Starting with 2 Million.” At least you would know it had a horse connection!
What will the New Year bring for our Corrales horse heritage? Our population as a world and its interests is continually evolving. Our climate changes. Our free time has evolved.
Will we have more time at home with the shift to virtual offices and more time to spend in the stable without a commute? Will horses return as a necessity for going to the post office and store, with ban on fossil fuels and an unreliable renewable electric grid? Will hitching posts and diapers for buggy and wagon horses keep the poop off main street? Who knows?
This I know. Change is inevitable and often out of our control. Stay tuned and see what we will call ourself the next time this column is printed. Maybe a different language every month!
By Johnny Martinez
Elephant in the Room
I am not a writer, but after speaking with members of old Corrales families, I was prompted to write this piece. I would like to solicit similar stories and sentiments from those who perhaps are reluctant to write about “stuff”, especially our older Corraleños. I will provide my contact information at the end of this article.
I was raised here in Corrales. My family has been here for generations. We are Corraleños. I left in 1982 and was privileged to serve 34 years in the military during my time away.
I had a wonderful career, saw the world, worked on things I cannot speak about, had the opportunity to fly an F-16, spent time on Air Force One, worked on a congressional campaign and even saved a life. However, life has a way of returning one to his roots. I returned to Corrales in 2016 to be closer to my elderly parents who are very much vested Corraleños.
Unfortunately, much of present-day Corrales is not as I remember it. More than anything, I have noticed the type of person in Corrales is what is most contrasting from what I grew up knowing. I want to share a couple of stories to provide a contrast of community and culture. My aim is not to create a divide, but rather to expose the “elephant in the room” so to speak. Please keep in mind that the idea of writing this comes after speaking to members of over 10 Corrales families who have voiced the very opinions I will be voicing in this piece. I am not conveying anything others are not expressing.
When I was a young boy, our neighbor’s cows broke down our fence to graze on the property where I now reside. Back then it was just natural grasses on a rolling hill filled with chamisa (rubber rabbitbrush). My father and that neighbor spatted over repair of that fence for a short bit.
Then one day the other gentleman came over with a six pack of beer and apologized to my father; it was probably Old Milwaukee back then, or maybe even Hamms. In any case, they shook hands and the whole ordeal was considered over. Years later, my father was instrumental in rallying neighbors and contacting our police when this same neighbor’s house was being broken into late at night. The thieving duo was caught on West Ella Road by the Corrales police.
I believe the arresting police officer was Benjie. Everyone knew Benjie. Speaking of West Ella, I remember when Corrales flooded in the 1970s. If you own a house on the south side of West Ella that existed during the aforementioned flood, I have been in your house. The community all rallied together, and we helped those families salvage whatever we could from those flooded houses for one another. I do not know what it was, but I just knew we would be helping because as a boy, I had heard the story of how in 1957, my grandfather’s house burned to the ground.
Harvey Jones, who owned a construction company on the property where the community center, soccer field and Post Office now sit, donated material for my grandfather to rebuild that house which is on Corrales Road just across from the Village Office. You see, Mr. Jones was a Corraleño.
Everyone lived and existed humbly, even those who were affluent, all because they were Corraleños. We looked after one another because that is what Corraleños do.
Today, we have come to find there is a new breed of people who have moved in. They come from elsewhere, build a new house and complain about their neighbors. I see fences going up everywhere because passersby do not like what they see or hear. Then, I read articles in the Comment from those complaining about the “canyon effect” the walls and fences create. Heck, as a kid the only fences we needed were to keep in livestock. And if we could see Mr. Doe’s truck or heavy equipment was broken down in the yard, it was because he may not have been able to afford the fix. Neighbors would trade tractor work and provide rides; not complain about the disabled vehicle. We felt for the fellow Corraleño.
Now, it is apparent that people are forced to build solid fences or walls to keep people from looking in and to avoid continuing complaints from the new neighbors or village officials. Recently, I talked to members of five families that are well established on a certain stretch of a popular road here. Their homes have all been here since before I was born. Their newer neighbor has complained about every one of them.
Why did you move in there?
I read how newcomers have stated they love to embrace our local culture and heritage, but then I cannot help but think: hypocrite! You say you love the “rich Hispanic culture” yet, you cannot stand to see his humble house across from yours because it lowers your property value.
This very house or yard you may be complaining about is most likely older than you. Its cocina has hosted neighbors of all walks, and the matriarch, Doña Josefina once bragged about how her sobrino, Larry, who works at Yonemotos on Fourth Street, joined the Army and will be leaving soon.
“Let’s invite everyone and give him a wonderful send-off!” is what was expressed. Perhaps, a matanza… but oooh, don’t even mention that long standing cultural celebration taking place across from your new estate.
Keen to keep the focus on complaints, I will say that while I may not be 100 percent correct in my perception of things, a likely scenario is: a person who has recently moved here to Corrales complains to a Village employee who does not live here. That employee cites ordinances voted on by people who are new here, and a citation, warrant or whatever you want to call it, follows that conversation and is delivered by the dear, underpaid police officer who can’t afford to live here, to the homeowner, whose family has been here for generations and is doing his best to pay his increasing property taxes to maintain that home and pass it along to future generations. All the riff is external… expat if you would. What unfortunately remains: quarreling neighbors.
Recently, a man I know approached a neighbor who cannot stand to look at him. In a neighborly effort, he said “I know we have our differences, but we need to make this right; we’re neighbors and it’s Christmas time.” The neighbor’s reply was simply: “I’m fine with the way it is.” Boy, somehow that does not read well in a children’s book. You know the one we read to our kids and grandkids about being good citizens? I cannot help but think “Wow, how ugly is that?” I suppose this embittered neighbor is not, and will never be, a true Corraleño.
I also was recently conversing with a long time Corrales farmer. The summation of the conversation is Corraleños do not get involved in our local politics, but in their defense, they are busy being Corraleños; they live simply and place much trust in man’s good nature and honesty.
But you see, trust and honesty are now out the window. In a council meeting a while back, the topic of restricting marijuana growth in our village was discussed. The outcome entailed some restrictions regarding marijuana growth in the village. Many reasons for doing so were shared. I even spoke, as I have many years ministering to youth and even working alongside some of the Tucson Police Department Gang Unit members with troubled youth.
I have personal experience dealing with the consequences of marijuana use by our youth. Trust me, it will find its way to your adolescent children. Perhaps my voice was discounted and not given weight for lack of being an attorney or not possessing my PhD. In any case, I have learned many do not feel our council cares about the voice of Corraleños as much as they may be interested in, or possibly connected to the supposed money in this industry. The council mysteriously changed their disposition. Since that initial meeting, I believe Steve Gutierrez wrote about this incident in a Comment article and cited the possible dishonesty of the mayor and council.
I challenge readers to watch KRQE’s Dean Staley’s report on the negative consequences legalized marijuana has brought to Colorado. He interviews law enforcement officials, educators and district attorneys regarding the problems legalized marijuana has brought to their communities. A present saying is “listen to the science or statistics.” Well, smart council members of Corrales: Please do so. I say that respectfully.
New Mexico is already at the bottom of education metrics. The last thing we need is to introduce something to our community that is hurting our youth’s education or ability to learn and comprehend as a whole. It is already an issue. As you read this piece, I challenge you to consider your income and where you are from. If you possess higher education levels or are fortunate to earn a significant and above average income, more than likely you’re an expat, meaning, not from here. My point is, we should not effectuate something that has the potential to negatively affect the local education metrics even more than they are.
Corrales property is not “cheap,” and our crime rate is low. There is a reason pot growers want to be in our community. Perhaps the pot growers think the associated crime might be mitigated by centering themselves in a safer community. The projected grow houses are suspiciously near all the older and smaller homes in Corrales. I find it interesting that none of the million-dollar homes in Corrales are likely to have a marijuana grow house adjacent to their property.
Regardless of your belief in the right or wrong of its consumption, I cannot see the benefit of introducing this industry to our farming village… a village that was never divided on whether corn was a good crop to grow. Corraleños back in the day would never have introduced something that caused a disturbance to the community. New Mexico is a vast territory with a sparse population. Do you mean to tell me there is not another place you can grow your weed? Cheaper and with no resistance from the local community? You would not do that in the name of community harmony? Council member, you don’t consider that?
I remember Ann Dunlap singing a song about Corrales: “It’s between Bernalillo and Paradise Hills on a crooked old road by the river… where guitar players croon in the local saloon and the locals play heck with their livers…blah blah blah…one thousand people and two thousand dogs, and three thousand registered horses…” blah blah blah…. (If anyone knows the entirety of that song, I would love for you to share it with me as I have forgotten most of it). I mentioned the song to emphasize that in years prior, we celebrated Corrales because we loved and appreciated each other. So much so that we could even sing about it. What a wonderful place we had! Now, people outside of Corrales think people living in Corrales are full of themselves. I know this because I hear it all the time at work. Sometimes, I cannot even argue their sentiments.
There is a reason Mary Davis wrote about Corrales families. She tapped into something beautiful and historic. I challenge you to buy a copy of her books from our local gift shops or markets…
Read about the families and how they built and shaped Corrales and its neighborly culture.
I am proud to say my family is mentioned in at least one of her books. My grandfather and great uncles worked on paving the road through Corrales in 1946. My father, the nicest man you will ever meet, served on the Planning and Zoning Commission here 1980-86, and a further 18 years with the Sandoval County Planning and Zoning Commission. I even recall that once, Governor Bruce King called our house and sought my dad’s perspective and input on an issue.
When we had that flood in the 70s, I remember my dad firing up a bulldozer left on a neighbor’s property and shoring up the ditch on Loma Larga, ultimately saving many of the homes east of Loma Larga between La Entrada and West Ella. And then there of course is Margie from Alameda who, whenever I see her, tells me of how my father saved her life from drowning in the Rio Grande. I could go on… I mention my dad not only because I am enormously proud of him but because a neighbor told me that code enforcement personnel were complaining about his stuff on his property. Shame on you! What have you contributed to the village outside of your paycheck?
My family name is not the only name having contributed in the building of Corrales. Just look at the roads: Montaño Road, Chavez Lane, Rupert’s Lane, Armijo Lane, and so on. Did you ever ponder those names?
I encourage you to take a drive through beautiful Corrales and take notice of the road names. The names are of the families who owned strips of land and built roads, farmed, and volunteered in the shaping of Corrales. Take the time to learn this and appreciate their legacy. When you see their humble homes consider they never felt the need to have a large home. “Para que? The kids will be grown soon and then it’s just me and the vieja.”
You may not know this, but many of these families own substantial ranches elsewhere in New Mexico. They just choose to live humbly here, in Corrales.
Having worked in technical fields my whole career, I understand change and how it is embraced.
However, not all change is good…. Just ask an aging and sickly person. Even though they may know a lot more now than back then, they will surely admit that sometimes, things were better “back in the day.”
I understand many of you reading this may not appreciate this article. That is perfectly okay. I do not appreciate many of the things I see and hear around town, but I served to defend my right to speech and feel I deserve to voice it. I guess you could say, I have some skin in the game… I am a Corraleño!
What I would love is to hear stories from Corraleños. You can write me at Corralesstories@gmail.com. Watch your language and type elephant in the subject line. I’ve spoken with Jeff Radford from the Comment who has graciously said he would accept written communication to me through his drop box for those who do not use email.
My wife Alicia and I have lived in Corrales for over 26 years and have raised our children here. I am a licensed real estate broker who has been continuously active in my profession here locally for over 35 years.
We have no objection to the personal use and cultivation of marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal purposes on and in one’s residence.
We are strongly opposed however, to commercial cultivation in residential areas that are zoned A-1 and A-2 and any other zone designations that apply to residential property use in the village.
Aside from problems associated with increased traffic, noise, and odors that affect many in proximity to such operations —the attractive nuisance of commercial cultivation will attract potential crime and the resulting spillover of non-village people who have no investment or concern for the security of our rural lifestyle that so many have worked hard to preserve.
The property at 3577 Loma Larga and 119 Veronica Court are just two addresses on applications for commercial cultivation permits that are in close proximity to our home, among dozens more that have submitted applications throughout every other residential part of Corrales.
Upon greenlighting this commercial exploitation of our precious natural resources (water), and our security and comfort, Fire Department Chief Anthony Martinez might want to consider installing a much larger water piping system along Loma Larga, as there is the strong potential for residential-use domestic wells to run dry, and hence, a critical need for city water to flow out of our taps once the commercial growers suck the aquifer empty.
As a real estate professional who has assisted individuals and families with the purchase and sale of their homes in the village for many years, approving the commercial marijuana grow industry will have a significant negative impact on “everyone’s” property value, an undesirable but inevitable effect of our elected leaders ignoring their constituents' welfare in favor of giving preference and support to an industry that will impact our home values, personal safety, and the health and enjoyment we deserve and have come to expect as property owners and stakeholders in Corrales.
We urge our mayor and the councillors to heed the needs and the pleas of the Village residents that they serve, and not enable nor permit commercial cultivation of marijuana in our residential neighborhoods.
Steve and Alicia Murthal
I feel compelled to respond to the statements reported by the Corrales Comment in Mike Hamman’s “Exit Interview” as the MRGCD director in the December 18, 2021 issue, as well as his out-of-order pro-commercial cannabis comments during the December 14 Village Council meeting. He used his time under the Village Administrator’s agenda to spend several minutes discussing the errors and misconceptions of those who signed petitions favoring a ban on commercial cannabis operations in zones A-1 and A-2. The public was restricted to two minutes each under a subsequent agenda item reserved for cannabis legislations discussion, but Hamman was allowed to freewheel for several minutes before Councillor Stuart Murray raised a point of order. Even then, the mayor allowed Hamman to continue to “wrap up” his presentation with additional time.
Hamman has used his position and influence as MRGCD director to expound on and misrepresent facts about the Village’s exposure to harmful effects of commercial cannabis operations in residential areas, and he either intentionally misrepresents, or is ignorant about, the science, economics, neighborhood effects and implementation of commercial cannabis grow facilities. Further, he may have used his position and influence to obtain commercial permits for water rights to support a cannabis grow operation on land that he owns in Corrales.
I believe this sort of misinformation is common for the pro-commercial cannabis supporters in Corrales. There has been significant misrepresentation of facts as well as personal misrepresentation from those claiming to be disinterested parties.
For example, Hamman claims that commercial cannabis uses “less water than tomatoes, corn and other crops in California”. What he doesn’t explain, however, is that those studies are for outdoor growth, and not the intensive, high density, high tunnel, greenhouse indoor cultivation of cannabis plants proposed to be allowed in Corrales. It is very well documented that a water usage rate of two to six gallons of water per plant per day is typical for cannabis growers. For 100 adult plants using the median amount, that annual consumption can be as high as 146,000 gallons of water annually, not including water usage for evaporative cooling as well.
Hamman further says that those seeking protection for A1 and A2 who are “fear mongering” might convince the Village Council to take action which would limit opportunities for local farmers to make a “decent living.” This is simply nonsense.
We are not asking to limit any existing abilities of a farmer to make a living. No changes affecting traditional farmers at all. We just don’t want to be subjected to noxious odors and toxic BVOC emissions that are a by-product, along with grow lights, excessive noise, increased traffic, damage to an already diminishing water table, and lowered property values of commercial cannabis cultivation. Realtors now require that persons wanting to transact houses near the two medical cannabis facilities must state the presence of such facilities in the real estate transaction disclosure documents.
The real issue is that commercial cannabis is huge money for a select few Corraleños who are willing to risk the quality of life of the rest of us to make a large profit for themselves in a business fraught with significant threat to others. But the business is extremely lucrative. A master gardener can cultivate 4 to 6 lbs. of product from a cannabis plant. The current spot price for cannabis is $1300 per pound. 100 plants producing 5 lbs. each yields a wholesale price of $650,000.
Quite the “decent living” don’t you think? As long as you don’t worry about the long term effects on neighbors.
Lastly, Hamman in both his farewell write-up in the Comment, as well as during an out-of-order monologue during the December 14 Village Council meeting, represented himself as not “having a dog in this fight” and that he is simply “pro-farmer.” But that simply is not the fact. He does have a dog in the fight.
What Hamman failed to mention is that he and Sally Olguin applied for a water use diversion to create a commercial well during 2021. Sally Olguin has likewise applied for a commercial cannabis license under “Monte Vista Farm and Market Inc.” along with Antonio Olguin for 100 plants, and that both Hamman and Olguin have co-resided at a residence on Mountain View Lane, which is immediately adjacent to the site for the high tunnel cannabis greenhouse they propose. The properties upon which they live, and upon which the proposed commercial cannabis operation will reside belong jointly to Olguin andHamman.
How can this possibly be considered as not “having a dog in this fight”? How does someone so quickly know about and obtain commercial water rights? Well, perhaps it helps to be the director of MRGCD and have all the right connections. How does someone stand in front of the governing body and claim that he is an uninterested party, criticize those of us concerned about livability and quality of life, say similar things to a Corrales Comment interviewer, and yet claim that he is completely Corrales cannabis neutral?
Public officials have been investigated and excoriated for less, and perhaps the Sandoval County Ethics Commission or the newly created N.M. Ethics Commission would have an interest in Hamman’s conduct. An ethics investigation might be in order at both the county and state level.
We may be hurting the climate with our climate plan.
It is clear that humans have caused the recent spike in atmospheric CO2, and while some are still arguing about how fast that will affect us, recent weather events and trends are not encouraging.
Synergistic effects like wildfires, release of frozen CO2 from permafrost, and continued loss of forests suggest getting a real plan in place sooner rather than later. Doing what we can to decrease CO2 emissions is extremely important and Patti Flanagan’s letter (December 18, 2021) highlights simple steps we can take to help.
Substantial emissions are associated with creating the steel, concrete, wiring, transport and earth-moving required unless that manufacturing energy is provided by a zero- or low-carbon means. Building zero carbon energy sources also produces carbon by using existing fuels to produce the silicon cells, wind generators, cement, rebar and metals required.
A large, fast, spending program for infrastructure over a short period can cause the manufacturing-carbon cost of fixing prior neglect to produce near-term increases in CO2. A possible near-term way to decrease this impact is with nuclear power. While avoiding this source may be a good long-term target, ignoring it as a possible transitional way to limit damage to the planet is a disservice.
Legislators seem to be shooting wildly at individual items known to help and ignoring the cost to the environment of producing them or their aggregate results. An all-electric passenger car fleet in the United States assumed by Build Back Better and, using statistics from bts.gov, eia.gov, and epa.gov, would consume roughly 1.5 times the total renewable power produced in 2020 just for vehicular travel.
We would need a huge growth in low-carbon electrical generation just to have power to connect to the charging stations that BBB installs… or a choice between blackouts and stranded motorists, and this ignores the CO2 produced manufacturing and installing that infrastructure. A poor result for a large inflation-fueling expenditure and a big hit in manufacturing carbon emissions.
Are electric cars the proper solution? Battery minerals are already running in short supply. Wouldn’t high-speed rail be better for long range travel? Have we looked at systems that have succeeded like Florida’s rail and people movers in Miami? Remember it took more than half a century to mess this up.
Shouldn’t we be working to minimize total additional carbon pollution including the manufacturing carbon cost of infrastructures? On the other hand, doing nothing is the wrong answer. These are not Hollywood popularity contests. These are existential questions. Politicians apparently won’t address them unless they become voting issues, and the media is in La-la-land.
Everyone says we “should listen to the science” regarding climate change, yet no one has asked the scientists “what is the minimum carbon footprint out of this mess?!”
We need a coherent plan along with low-emission piecemeal actions, not a shoot-from-the-hip, pollution-generating enterprise aimed at the long term while ignoring short term impacts to the atmosphere.
By Meredith Hughes
We did it! Made it out of 2021 —thank you, vaxxes, Facetime and Zoom— and into 2022, even though 99 year old phenom Betty White did not, alas. Some of us plan to wander through The Mary Tyler Moore Show to see Ms White, in a show we never watched, because, we were living abroad… sound posh?
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. email@example.com
• Beginners Floral Design Classes, January 11 – February 22, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. A seven week course Tuesdays, taught by National Flower Show judge and instructor, Shirley Tetreault. $75 for new students, $60 for repeat students. Albuquerque Garden Center, 10120 Lomas.
• The United Nations International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032, kicks off with a free, online festival, January 14-23. The sponsor of the festival is the Endangered Languages Project, https://www.endangeredlanguages.com/about/, based at the University of Hawaii. The keynote speaker is Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams, whose “endangered language” is Ucwalmícwts. You can also dip your tongue and brain into Guernesiais, Limbu, Basaa, Secwepemctsín, Yougambeh, Hawaiian, and many more. For info regarding speakers: https://sites.google.com/endangeredlanguages.com/elp-festival/home?authuser=0 To sign up: https://tinyurl. com/2p9fsdwf
• Jewel Cases, starting January 15, celebrates “Albuquerque's incredible wilderness-urban interface and chronicles one man’s daily explorations and the gems found on the way. As a composite, this piece is about looking up, looking down, looking long, and looking in. It is about vitality, about pausing, about quiet, about joy, about curiosity and learning. And ultimately, it is about sharing and creating connectedness.” The artist is George Julian Dworin. Plus, Thoughts on the Rio Grande in Photographs and Haiku, beginning January 22. Works by Clarke Condé. “This series explores the great river and its surroundings as it passes through an ever-expanding city of Albuquerque, where the needs of its people compete with the needs of the plants and animals that rely on its waters for life itself.” Open Space Visitor Center, 6500 Coors. The Center is now open to the public Tuesday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
• Midori, January 15, 6 p.m. performs Korngold’s Much Ado About Nothing Overture; the Brahms Violin Concerto, and Symphony No. 2. Well known to Corrales music lovers, violinist Midori appears at Popejoy Hall, 203 Cornell. Tickets: https://tinyurl.com/ 2p83 raxx. Strict COVID protocols will be in place.
• Candelaria Nature Preserve, guided public information tour, January 28, 10 a.m. to noon. This 167 acre section of Open Space in the North Valley was being weeded by goats in November 2021. You can inspect their work via this tour. Sign up: Colleen Langan-McRoberts, firstname.lastname@example.org , 505-768-4200. End of Arbor Road, Albuquerque.
Did You Know?
The Herb Society of America has picked Violet species, Viola spp, as the herb of the month, or, as herb of the year, depending on what area of its website you land on. The International Herbal Society, in fact, named the viola “Herb of the Year.” The genus Viola includes between 500 and 600 species in the violaceae or violet family, including violets, pansies, heartsease or Johnny jump-ups, other species, and many hybrids within the family. • Viola hybridize freely, which can make identification challenging. • While the flowers across the species vary in color, they generally have four unlike petals arranged in pairs and a fifth lower lobed petal with a spur, on top of an individual stem. • Pansy is generally the common name reserved for the hybrid Viola × wittrockiana, whose complex origin includes at least three species. • Violet, Viola odorata, has been used in the perfume industry as a fragrance source. • The fragrance of violets is said to be “flirty” since it seems to come and go. The presence of ionone causes humans to not be able to detect the fragrance for moments at a time. • Violet, Viola odorata and heartsease, Viola tricolor are two species with a history in herbal medicine for respiratory issues and many other issues including liver disorders and bad tempers according to Hippocrates. • The flowers of violets, heartsease, and pansies can be candied and added fresh to salads, desserts and other dishes. The leaves are also edible and can be added to fresh greens or soups. V. odorata has a sweeter flavor and is the most popular to be added to sweets and teas. The mild pea flavor of V. tricolor pairs well with either sweet or savory foods. • Viola flowers flavor violet liqueurs such as Crème Yvette, Crème de Violette, Parfait Amour, and The Bitter Truth Violet Liqueur. The Aviation, Blue Moon, and Violet Fizz are classic cocktails made with violet liqueur.
The HSofA was established in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1933, but moved into a historic building in Kirtland, Ohio in 1988, after establishing the National Herb Garden in Washington, DC, at the National Arboretum in 1980. See https:/ /www.herbsociety.org/
• Corrales Tree Preservation Advisory Committee, January 10, 4:00 p.m.
• Village Council meetings, January 11, 25, 6:30 p.m.
• Corrales Historical Society Speakers series, January 16, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. “Los Arabes of New Mexico: Compadres from a Distant Land”, presented by Monika Ghattas, a history professor, based on her book about Lebanese immigrants in New Mexico. Budaghers, established as an early trading post, was founded by Joseph Budagher, an immigrant from Lebanon. At Old Church.
• Casa San Ysidro is closed in December and January.
• Corrales Arts Center. Creativity in Photography, January 22, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with Dennis Chamberlain. Corrales Community Center, 4324 Corrales Road. Register at corralesartscenter.org
• De-Spooking Clinic, January 15, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For horses and their people. Near the Rec Center, Corrales.
• Music in Corrales, Hot Club of Cowtown, where country meets jazz. January 22, 7:30 p.m. “Due to public health considerations, we have limited ticket sales to a smaller-than-normal capacity for the Old San Ysidro Church; this concert has reached that limit. If at some point we can safely increase the seating, we will re-open ticket sales, so please check back periodically for availability.” Lance Ozier 505-899-8830
• Corrales Library Book Club, January 31, 2:30 p.m. Contact Sandra Baldonado for Zoom event details. email@example.com
• Corrales Growers’ Market. Sunday, February 6, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Village in the Village. Focussed primarily on helping villagers, more than social events, until Omicron is booted out. Call 274-6206 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A retiree to Corrales since 2015, Ron Bloch died unexpectedly on December 28. He was 77. The Missouri native joined the Peace Corps in its early days after graduating from St. Louis University in 1966. While serving in that capacity in Venezuela, he was drafted into the Army during the war in Vietnam. Stationed to South Korea, he had responsibilities for nuclear weapons. After leaving the military, he went into human resources, primarily in the Boston area. In his retirement, one of his main projects was coaching returning Peace Corps volunteers. He was proud to have helped more than 4,000 of them.
Bloch was active in Corrales’ Village in the Village and the Corrales Arts Center. He turned his backyard into a nature preserve where he regularly fed birds and rabbits; he enjoyed watching coyotes and bobcats as they passed by.
He is survived by wife Kathleen Brown, daughter Catherine Bloch and son Christopher Bloch. A celebration of his life will be announced at a later date. The family suggests memorial donations to New Mexico PBS or to the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA.org).
Outdoorsman and adventurer Bill Clark of Corrales died December 26 after a 41-year career with Los Alamos National Laboratories and 21 years fighting off cancer.
Family members noted that “The last few years of Bill’s life were filled with fewer adventures. He battled lung disease due to complications from radiation treatment with inspiring grace and positivity, and a determination not to let illness keep him from doing the things he loved.”
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, in his twenties Clark discovered the Southwest on a long bike adventure.
He is survived by wife Danette Clark, mother Beth Clark, brother Budd Clark, daughters Tiffany Hinsley, Tricia Franchville and Laura Kuskil, as well as seven grandchildren.
A celebration of his life will be held this summer. Contributions of fun memories and photos are encouraged via facebook.com/groups/bill clark.
Two villagers, Janet Ruth and Dave Krueper, have issued as 2022 Trash Pick Up Challenge to make Corrales more litter-free by January 2023.
“We would like to issue a 2022 Trash Pick Up Challenge to Corraleños,” they told Corrales Comment December 31. “Today, New Year’s Eve morning, on our morning walk, we brought along two trash bags, and filled both of them on the loop we take which takes us about 45 minutes, or maybe 2.5 miles.
“If everyone did this on their walks through the village once a month in 2022, we would have a very clean village!”
Ruth, an ornithologist, was featured in a Corrales Comment article a year ago about her book Feathered Dreams. She was also instrumental in having the Corrales Bosque Preserve named an “Important Bird Area” by the Audubon Society. She and Krueper recently collaborated on the Annotated Checklist of the Birds of the Village of Corrales and the Corrales Bosque Preserve, published by the New Mexico Ornithological Society.
Commercial-scale growers of marijuana have been operating legally in Corrales for years, and at least nine new sites for cannabis businesses are proposed on land east and west of Loma Larga.
Until now, the only legal cannabis grow sites have been those licensed and regulated to produce it for medicinal uses. But that will no longer be the case: the new N.M. Cannabis Regulation Act sets up a process by which “micro-producers” can harvest up to 100 plants to sell for recreational use.
Given the state law, Village officials are being advised they can’t ban such marijuana crops even if they wanted to. So for several months, the controversy in Corrales has been to what extent municipal regulations, or land use zoning, might be imposed to restrict cannabis growing where it would be offensive in residential neighborhoods.
That’s what happened at the Village Council’s special session January 4. On a 5-1 vote, councillors approved an ordinance that “the commercial production, manufacture, sales and distribution of cannabis and cannabis products are prohibited in the A-1 and A-2 zones.”
Perhaps the biggest hang-ups are Corrales’ long-standing land use zone categories that lump agricultural areas and residential areas together. In virtually all parts of Corrales, anywhere you can build and occupy a home, you or your neighbor can grow a crop to sell commercially.
At a special session of the Village Council January 4, councillors had to decide whether to pass an ordinance that allows marijuana cultivation in neighborhoods as long as facilities or activities that might reasonably be considered offensive to nearby residents, such as odors, are at least 300 feet away.
That January 4 special council meeting was held the day after Corrales Comment’s deadline for this issue, so results could not be included here.
Most of the issues involved in the council’s action January 4 can be understood by carefully reading commentaries and letters published in this issue, as well as an article in the December 18 issue explaining measures adopted by the Village of Los Ranchos on the east side of the river.
As of the end of 2021, the N.M. Cannabis Control Division lists the following nine Corrales properties with pending applications to produce cannabis.
• 984 Camino de Lucia, as a “cannabis producer microbusiness;”
• 3577 Loma Larga, as a “cannabis producer,” near the intersection with Sagebrush Drive;
• another permit pending at 3577 Loma Larga as a “cannabis producer;”
• another at 3577 as a “cannabis producer microbusiness;”
• 4484 Corrales Road, near the intersection with East Ella Drive, listed as a “cannabis producer microbusiness;”
• 119 Veronica Court, off Rayo del Sol, also listed as a “cannabis producer microbusiness;”
• 184 Mountain View Lane, off Corrales Road at the north end of the village, where the past executive director of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, Mike Hamman and family live and farm, listed as a “cannabis producer microbusiness;”
• 1084 West La Entrada, just east of Loma Larga, listed as a pending “cannabis producer microbusiness;” and
• 266 Target Road, just west of Corrales Elementary School, also listed as a pending “producer microbusiness.”
Of the proposed marijuana production locations above, most attention has been directed to the one for 184 Mountain View on property held or managed by Hamman and his stepson, Antonio Olguin.
That’s in part because Hamman said in a Corrales Comment interview last month, and told the mayor and Village Council at their December 18 meeting, that he “had no dog in this fight” over pending Corrales ordinance regulations for cannabis.
After it came out that Hamman’s plans would, in fact, be affected by amendments to Corrales’ cannabis regulations, he submitted the following statement to clarify plans to grow marijuana on the small farm at the end of Mountain View.
“In the interview in the Comment's last edition I made a statement related to legal cannabis production that 'I don't have a dog in that fight' and I wish to clarify that regarding the difference between my professional role as I retire from MRGCD and my personal situation on our organic farming operation in the north end in zone A-2. The MRGCD has received a number of inquiries regarding use of District water for cannabis production and the response is that this use is consistent with the District’s Water Distribution Policy and that since it will be a legal crop starting in April 2022, District water can be used just as it is for any other agricultural purpose but if any special accommodation for alternative delivery methods other than flood irrigation is required, the operator must first obtain an approved license from the District. So no dog in the fight on that front.
“Regarding my personal situation, my wife and I lease a portion of our land to the organic grower who is our son and he has been struggling to make a decent living selling organic produce through farmers' markets and other outlets for over four years now. An irrigation well used to drip irrigate a 3,000 square foot high tunnel green house began failing two years ago and in getting a well replacement permit, the State Engineer informed me that it must have a commercial water right for what was being grown and sold at that time so a significant investment was required to purchase and transfer the water right and re-drill the well at a greater depth. In addition, the entire farm/property’s energy use is being offset with solar panels which was also a significant investment.
“Upon passage of the N.M. Cannabis Regulation Act, my son looked into the specific provisions for the microproducer to grow up to 100 plants that appears to work well in the established green house that uses only sunlight for seasonal production and may provide for a young, struggling farmer to supplement the organic vegetable operations as well as help pay for the operating costs as he builds his business.
“My farm duties are taking care of the chickens, the fruit orchard and irrigating the larger field with District water when it’s available, and I personally would not be involved in, or profit from, any of the cannabis production or sales.
“The only reason my name is involved is that the application requires identification of the property owner. The application process is rigorous and no decision has been made as to whether or not this will proceed given the uncertainties of licensing and other factors.
“With that said, we are committed to organic food production and offsetting our carbon footprint with solar power and recycling green matter to improve the soils that, over time, become a netcarbon sink instead of emitter. It’s a small operation but a worthy endeavor that preserves two acres of farmland, provides organically produced food and a potentially sustainable income from sales of agricultural products.
“I apologize for the mis-leading statement but not for my son’s right to pursue this legal option on private property under the requirements of the act and any the Village ordinance may further require.”
Each of the nine cannabis producer applications listed above are identified as either in draft form or “pending applicant action,” as indicated for Hamman’s request.
Why those applications to grow cannabis in Corrales remain pending is not clear. Villagers have been told that the State’s Cannabis Control Division cannot approve such applications until each has gained approval from the municipality involved. But Village Administrator Ron Curry said December 30 his understanding is that the Village cannot act on any municipal permit until the state acts.
In November 2021, the Village Council imposed a three-month moratorium on processing applications to grow cannabis here. Resolution 2139 was passed which included a moratorium to pause the processing of all applications for new cannabis-growing permits for 90 days.
Village Attorney Randy Autio said, “The idea of the moratorium would be to craft the best law we could with all the data we can gather and the examples that we’ve already been identifying from other states.”
Many villagers spoke at a November meeting, all expressing their fear and dislike of commercial cannabis farming in residential Corrales areas. Some mentioned odor, others mentioned crime, some talked about night time light pollution, and others loss of property value. Their voices seemed to call out in unison with the same basic plea: “do what you can, councillors, to protect us from this frightening development.”
Autio’s response to these pleas was to mention that villagers have the right to grow cannabis as much as they have the right to live in a place that is protected from the negative aspects of cannabis growing.
He also reminded the council, “We are not an independent state, like an Indian reservation might be, within the United States that can pass its own laws. We are a creature of state law.”
He went on to say, “It may not be a good law, that’s not for me to determine, but it is the law of the land at the present time.”
Councillor Mel Knight suggested making the resolution 120 days, four months instead of three, giving the council much needed time to draft an ordinance.
Mayor Jo Anne Roake quickly spoke up, saying the village had consulted with an unnamed state attorney working for the municipal league. The mayor said of this person, “his concept is that 90 days is 60 days too long.” She then referred to attorney Autio to “explain the risk of waiting longer” to the councillors.
Councillor Kevin Lucero objected to the state’s cannabis legislation, saying, “the State said it itself, they’re driving the car as they are building it. We are trying to meet some crazy deadlines, trying to put some legislation in place that […] fulfills the will of our constituents and protects this village.” He said he was in favor of extending the period to 120 days.
Councillor Zachary Burkett agreed, explaining “there is zero point in doing a moratorium if we’re going to do it in such a short period that we can’t improve something during that moratorium.” Councillor Burkett also noted that the areas in discussion are only those zoned A1 and A2, not Corrales’ commercial district. He argued that permits for the commercial areas would still be considered and might be granted during the moratorium, thus further protecting the village from the risk of lawsuit.
In most elections, incumbents are considered to have a distinct advantage. But that offers little predictive value for Corrales’ upcoming election for mayor and three of the six members of the Village Council, because only one incumbent is seeking re-election.
So decision-making for Village government should look very different —but also likely very familiar— after Election Day March 1.
That’s because the three mayoral candidates include former Mayor Gary Kanin and former Councillor Jim Fahey. And in Council District 4, one of the candidates to fill Tyson Parker’s seat is none other than a former councillor representing that district, John Alsobrook.
Also seeking the District 4 seat is Courtenay Eichhorst, son of former Councillor Bob Eichhorst.
Amid a flurry of rumors that she would not seek re-election, Mayor Jo Anne Roake said January 3 she had not decided whether to try for a new term. In the end, she decided not to run.
The only incumbent to sign up for four more years was District 3 Councillor Mel Knight, who faces challenger Jonathan Dilts.
Kevin Lucero opted not to seek re-election for the Council District 1 seat, but three villagers stepped up: Rick Miera, Cora Frantz and James Ward.
Terms are not expiring for the council seats held by Bill Woldman, Stuart Murray and Zach Burkett, nor by Municipal Judge Michelle Frechette.
Any write-in candidates for the positions which become open in March must file with the Village Clerk on January 11. Early voting begins February 1.
Among major issues with which the new governing body likely will grapple are changes to the Village’s land use ordinances, possible revisions to the Corrales Comprehensive Plan, residential density, especially regarding senior living facilities and regulation of water usage.
The new year launches with optimism and flush bank accounts, at least for public institutions and maybe yours.
The State treasury is brimming, apparently with lots more revenue to come in 2022, and Village government is all smiles with $4 million tucked away. “The Village is in excellent financial health,” Mayor Jo Anne Roake crowed as the new year dawned. “The Village does a great deal with the annual $6 million budget… and we’ve got about $4 million invested with the Local Government Investment Pool.”
Your own personal finances may not be so rosy, and inflation may erode yours along with those of the Village and the State. The 2022 session of the N.M. Legislature begins January 18; it will be dedicated almost exclusively to —money.
Pandemicwise, Corraleños continue to be well served by relentless efforts of Commander Tanya Lattin and the Corrales Fire Department; prospects are improving that the less lethal omicron strain of COVID-19 will dominate the virus world during 2022.
At the start of the year, 664 people in Corrales and other neighborhoods in the 87048 zip code area such as Skyview Acres, had been diagnosed with the disease. The number of Corrals-specific COVID-19 deaths has not been disclosed but are known to be at least seven.
The year 2022 will bring other changes, even in how collective decisions are made. Municipal elections in early March will name a mayor and three members of the Village Council. Those villagers willing to serve in one of those positions had to file notice of their candidacy on January 4.
Who voters choose on March 1 could well be determined by candidates’ position on growing marijuana in Corrales for the recreational use market which is sure to boom this year. Retailing of cannabis to the general public will begin by April 1.
The medical cannabis store at the corner of Corrales Road and Rincon Road is expected to sell to recreational users once licensing and other protocols are in place. At least one other existing store farther south on Corrales Road likely will begin selling marijuana this year.
A periscope view of how the marijuana-growing business is likely to play out here may be offered later this month by recommendations for changes to Corrales’ land use ordinances. That advice to the mayor and council members will be submitted by a committee made up of citizens from each council district working with land use specialists from the Mid-Region Council of Governments tasked with suggesting revisions to Corrales’ Code of Ordinances Chapter 18.
Among other issues, those recommendations are expected to cover an analysis of Corrales’ bed-rock dictum of allowing just one home per acre (or one home per two acres on land at the south end of the village formerly within Bernalillo County). It’s the perennial “casitas” controversy.
Those recommendations likely will include proposed regulations on walls and fences along Corrales Road. Village Administrator Ron Curry said he expects the Village Council may make decisions on land use policies by mid-summer.
He does not expect a ground-up revision of the Corrales Comprehensive Plan during 2022 —unless villagers demand it as the community wrestles with the turbulent cannabis cultivation issue. Re-writing a comprehensive plan, he said, “can be a very painful experience, with neighbors pitted against neighbors. It’s just my opinion, but I think we were headed toward a ‘comprehensive plan light’ but that may change now with the cannabis issue and the fact that we don’t have any residential zoning per se.”
Village officials will move ahead with renovation of municipal offices, following conversion of the old “Corrales Valley Fire Station” into the relocated Planning and Zoning Office and Animal Control operations. Changes have already been made to the reception area of the Village Office; plans are afoot to re-do the restrooms and create a sole-purpose staff break room.
Curry thinks those may be done by the end of summer 2022, roughly when a thorough make-over of the Village Office parking areas is expected. Preliminary groundwork for the latter, done by Public Works crews, may begin by mid-2022.
Construction of a bike path along the south side of upper Meadowlark Lane, and a horse trail along the north side, from Loma Larga to the Rio Rancho border is expected before mid-year. Curry thinks that can be completed by May 1.
He’s also looking forward to plans for the Village to take over ownership and management of the Corrales Interior Drain, east of Corrales Road. A committee appointed by the mayor is scheduled give its recommendations later this year. to facilitate that, Curry said he intends to call a meeting of that committee and other groups, such as the Equestrian Advisory Commission, the Bicycle, Pedestrian Advisory Commission, the Tree Committee, the Bosque Advisory Commission and the Parks and Recreation Commission in the weeks ahead. “We’re going to find some money for them to get started on the planning for that.”
A long, long, long-planned project, extension of sewer service to the Priestly-Coroval neighborhood east of the post office is not funded past a design and engineering phase. “I don’t have a time line for that,” Curry added.
Another protracted project, construction of a new gym for the Corrales Recreation Center, could come to fruition later this year. Curry said last month that “there’s a very good chance” the new gym could be under way during 2022. The total gym project is expected to cost around $3 million, and about $2 million is already available, he explained. “But we’re exploring ways we can have the whole project done at one time. Giving a start date for the gym would depend on when we can get the rest of the money.”
On Corrales’ eastern fringe, major earth-moving work is already mostly complete for the wetlands to be established where stormwater coming through the Harvey Jones Flood Control Channel discharges to the Rio Grande. In the months ahead the multi-agency project will oversee planting of trees and other vegetation. Year one of that effort, led by The Nature Conservancy and the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority, should be complete by the end of the year.
A pilot project for re-forestation in the Bosque Preserve was implemented by volunteers and the Corrales Fire Department last month. Donated cottonwood trees, three-leaf sumacs and golden currants were planted in a large area that burned in 2012. The Fire Department will continue filling water tanks positioned on the levee nearby from which plantings can be irrigated as they establish. If successful, the project will be replicated in other parts of the preserve.
On the opposite side of Corrales, talks are continuing about prospects for bringing in water from the City of Rio Rancho for the proposed, nearly forgotten, area designated for commercial development adjacent to the Rio Rancho Industrial Park. Infrastructure for such delivery of water to the Neighborhood Commercial and Office District (NCOD) is not likely to come this year.
But plans are continuing for a Corrales Fire Department water tank at the top of Angel Road to which a series of fire hydrants might be connected in future years. Curry hinted that the Village has been in discussions with the N.M. Department of Transportation regarding the future of Angel Road, but he declined to explain further.
Asked to look ahead for 2022, the Village Administrator said a theme will be putting available funding to work on long-planned projects and facilities. “The money that we have coming to us, via the feds for COVID relief and via capital outlays from the State, we’re going to put that money to use, on the ground.
“It has gone slower than I would have liked, just due to delays at the state and federal levels. But people expect us to use the federal money, the capital outlay money and now the bond money.”
Those uses include the trails along upper Meadowlark, improvements to the municipal parking lot and possibly extending the sewer lines east and west of Corrales Road. “Most people like having their own wells, and the way to protect those wells is to have a good sewer system.”
Curry said the proposal to purchase the Gonzales parcel frontage, next to Wells Fargo Bank, will come before the Village Council for a decision during 2022. But he expects one of the biggest snags to be the seller’s asking price and the appraisal. “People tend to have a higher value for their property than what the appraisals come in at. And we have to go by the appraisal and how it’s zoned.”
He said the Village does have money to buy the Gonzales parcel if the council decides to move ahead with the acquisition.