Corrales horsewoman Karla Frosch died May 9 at age 89. She was also an accomplished master gardener. A Wisconsin native, she is survived by son Bradley Frosh of Corrales, and grandchildren. Her husband, Richard Frosch and son, Bruce Frosch, died before her. Funeral services will not be held. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are directed to the National Alzheimer’s Association.
A life-long Corrales farmer, Randolph Armijo, died last month at 93 years old. He was a much-decorated Korean War veteran who was later a double-amputee as a result of a farming accident here. Armijo is survived by sons Randolph Joseph Armijo and Randall Armijo, as well as sisters Ernestine Hamilton and Marie Archibeque of Corrales. He was buried in San Ysidro Parish cemetery across from the Old Church.
Corrales archeologist Martha Binford died May 12. She once owned the old Sears House (also known as the “White House” on Corrales Road). She was 65. Binford earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, and later a master’s in training and development at the University of New Mexico. Before she retired in 2008, she was an administrator for UNM’s Continuing Education program. She is survived by her wife, Kit Zimmerman, of Oberlin, Ohio, and step-brother Grey Howell of Corrales.
A founder of Village government for Corrales, Maria de la luz Moreno, died peacefully April 11 at age 98. She moved to Albuquerque from El Paso as a young bride after her husband’s service in the Navy. They built their home in Corrales where they raised four children. Moreno served as a Catholic Daughters of America Grand Regent at San Ysidro Parish where she also was active in the Ladies’ Sodality.
She taught in 4-H and worked for the newly established Village of Corrales, drawing up the charter. With her husband, she led friendship exchange trips to Italy and Korea, were active members of the Corrales Historical Society and of the Corrales Zarzuela musical theater group. She loved Corrales life. Moreno worked at Singer, Rockwell, UNM’s Anderson School of Business, UNM’s Main Library and managed KLUZ radio station which was named after her.
She was the eldest of four siblings, outliving them all. She is preceded in death by her husband, Ramon Arturo Moreno, and survived by children Ana Maria, Mimi, Veronica, Arturo and six grandchildren. Funeral services will be at San Ysidro Church 10 a.m. June 24. A celebration of life will be announced later.
Corrales Comment has provided a wealth of information about Corrales and the surrounding areas as well as national and world affairs. I appreciate your publishing my story titled “Book About Corrales and Intel Reverberates in Oregon,” edited by Fred Marsh. It is still being used —the people in Ohio who are now understanding how Intel does its business— are starting to become informed about Intel. Intel plans to build a 20-billion-dollar complex in Ohio. Your extensive stories and information have been invaluable in our Oregon campaign to reduce Intel’s toxic/corrosive air and water emissions. The Corrales Comment’s reporting about climate summits, the Citizen Climate Lobby actions, and the 21 youth suing the federal government and individual states because the youth are not being left with an inhabitable earth, I hope spurs people to support their efforts.
I am putting a copy of this email in with a regular mail letter with my renewal of another year of Corrales Comment, for $14 out of state rate, in gratitude.
Forest Grove, OR
In regards to the article on the front page of the Corrales Comment “agreement prepared for reuse of Corrales interior drain” May 21, 2022.
I like walking along the Interior Drain. I will miss it. I will miss the turtles, the fish, the red winged blackbirds that sing at the Meadowlark intersection in the cattails. I find it sad that this region is described as “a green belt” (a city planning term) instead of a wetland habitat visited by many migratory birds each year, such as bald eagles and belted kingfishers.
The water level in the ditch rises and falls with the changes in the water both from the groundwater, and also from the level of Clear Ditch, which is controlled by Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) via diesel pumps for now.
The Fire Department wants to run a hydrant line along its length. This is necessary to increase fire protection for residential houses. It will be sad to no longer see the pocket gopher holes along the banks that are reused by the Woodhouse toads and garter snakes. Fire hydrant access is one of the criteria for setting the cost of fire insurance, along with dirt roads and whether the Fire Department has volunteers (firedepartment.net website lists 20 volunteers). The ditch is going away because houses want to lower the costs of living in Corrales.
The local elementary school will gain a pedestrian path to the recreation center. Safety is important around children. But I will still miss the young cottonwoods that are currently growing in the interior drain. The school is interested in teaching conservation issues. I have participated in their nature journal program.
I have also watched their problems with maintaining a wetlands habitat at the west end of the school. The water recycling effort suffered when the waste water was moved to a pressurized, narrow-diameter buried sewer system. Some children run along ditch for 5K every Friday during school, but they run along the middle ditch to the rec center. I run with them and have for years. It will be sad to run along what used to be the Interior Drain and no see snapping turtles basking in the sun.
Corrales is semi-rural and has quite a few land management issues related to roads and access, especially along Huff Road and Andrews Lane. The MRGCD cannot solve these problems. It is expected they would like to return control and maintenance to the Village. Our narrow dirt roads are functional for village life, but not for growth. Once properly organized, cars can go on them above the “No dust limit” of 15 miles per hour to get places faster.
I will miss tracking the progress of turkey along the ditches and the raccoon paws in the mud.
I will miss all the nature that will vanish when the Interior Drain is covered over. I wonder why no one speaks for these ecosystems, this “Place of Butterflies” and all the plants, insects, animals and people who will miss it all so much when it is gone, and not coming back.
In 1950, my family moved to Corrales. All of the stories about the Corrales Interior Drain in the Corrales Comment brought back memories of our early days. We called the ditch between East Ella and East la Entrada the “Dirty Ditch.”
My oldest son liked to find frogs in the ditch, and would take a bucket to the ditch to bring home his frogs. He waded in the water to find the frogs, and leeches attached onto his feet and legs. One day, he brought home a bucket of leeches. I always wondered how the leeches got there, and now I wonder if they are still there?
Another time, the winter weather was so cold that the winter froze in the “Dirty Ditch,” and we loaded up the kids, sleds and ice skates and went ice skating and sledding on the “Dirty Ditch.” It was the coldest day in Corrales that I can remember. Maybe another old person can tell me the year.
When people say Corrales is such a wonderful community (and it definitely is), much of the reason is because of your stellar communications that have kept us informed and “in the know” about issues, events and opportunities here. You are a treasure. Enjoy your birthday and your retirement.
I’ve really appreciated your dedication to the village. You have kept the community informed and involved. You are leaving a very large gap in the village. You will be missed.
Thank you, Jeff, for being our glue for so many years! You made this village a sharing, happy place.
In the 31 years Jim and I have resided in Corrales, we have subscribed to the Comment, and have wholly subscribed to its importance as an invaluable Village of Corrales communication. The Comment has been the iconic image for all things Corrales, but even more, a democratic mouthpiece for the diverse ideas of Corrales’ residents. In sickness or in health, the Comment was the “go-to” to be heard, to be read, the bottom line for accurate Village government information. Only a journalistic superman could maintain this twice monthly publication for 40 years. Doing arithmetic: 12 x 2 = 24; 24 x 40 = 960 Comments.
When Jim and I moved to Corrales in early 1991, we joined volunteer arts and community groups, and frequently found ourselves in the PR role. Of course, that meant contacting the Comment for articles; since 1991, Jeff never rejected any of my scores of article requests. I was met with only encouragement and endorsement.…
We will miss you personally and journalistically:that herculean work ethic, your personal humility, your omnipresence at Village Council meetings, your immaculate memory for Corrales events. Thank you.
Jim and Carla Wright
My first brush with the Corrales Comment came in the winter of 1981-82. I’d moved here in the summer of ’81, was loving my newly adopted home village, especially all the eccentrics and other characters. One Saturday morning as I approached the front door of the Corrales post office… “Sir, want to buy a Corrales Comment?” I thought, “hmmm, a 13-year-old in a trench coat…”
Then I reflected on my days as a 10 year old newspaper boy, thought “Why not?” Later on I met Jeff hustling around refilling Corrales Comment vending machines, got to know him better, became friends, traveling companions and Legends in our Own Minds in the Backyard Volleyball circuit.
Arthur Miller said, “ A good newspaper is the nation talking to itself.”
Philip Graham said, “ the newspaper is the first rough draft of history.”
I say every community needs someone to guide that conversation to remind us the communal decisions we make will be our history. The role of any journalist is to ask questions. We all know about the who, what, where, when, how, and why of newspaper reporting.
A great newspaperman keeps asking more questions and more questions. Jeff Radford asks Corrales the right questions, then made us all re-examine our first, easy answers about the issues of the day, then finally arrive at a better version of Corrales. His questions allowed the charlatans and merely self-interested to reveal themselves.
And his questions got some of us who didn’t even know we had ideas to discover them and speak up and then get caught up in being involved even if we had always preferred the quiet anonymity of the back of the room.
Later on when I got to know Jeff better I discovered Jeff persisted in the worst habits many of us picked up in college… no, no, no, not that one, whatever you’re thinking. It’s the All Nighter. Did you ever pull an All Nighter before the big exam or to finish a term paper? How many of you know that before every issue of the Corrales Comment Jeff Radford pulls a nearly all nighter to finish writing it? I can’t imagine 40 years of writing all night 24 times a year; that’s dedication, not procrastination. That’s a story about how much Jeff cares about his community.
So, thanks, Jeff, for your years of dedication to the community, for years of genuine friendship and “Happy Trails” to you and congratulations on your retirement. Happy Trails to you.
How many firearm deaths do we wish to prevent?
Here are 10 gun safety recommendations to reduce firearm deaths that do not compromise Second Amendment rights:
Let’s bring leaders from at least Japan and the United States together to see what we may learn. Per capita, our annual gun deaths (40,000+) are about 500x higher than theirs (76 <- not a typo). The number of guns we own is also about 500x greater per capita (400,000,000 vs. 310,000).
The Second Amendment states: “A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” The “security” of our “free state" is clearly not secure. If our “militia” is to be defined as all Americans, we are obviously not “well regulated.” Greater regulation is needed.
The profusion of guns in America (compared to any other country, not just Japan) clearly correlates with the number of deaths we endure. If we do not wish to accept that level of tragedy, as parents in Uvalde understandably yelled out to President Biden, “DO something!” Do we have the will?
We can always amend legislation. We cannot bring back a lost life, nor 40,000.
This is How We Create Common Ground
Why can’t we move forward with steps to curb gun violence? Hint: It has nothing to do with the National Rifle Association (NRA). The answer is because to curb gun violence politicians would have to be representing the 80 percent of Americans who are currently unrepresented in our political system.
How does a Democracy end up rarely representing most of its citizens? Three reasons:
Problem: Primaries are broken because first round public elections exclude independent voters, but most importantly are controlled by the political parties that should be participants, not rule setters. We have very low turnout primaries where candidates focus on the party base and over the years both parties have tracked to their political extremes leaving little interest in compromise or representing all voters-only the party base.
Solution: Look to Alaska and adopt a blanket primary where all candidates run together and the top four voter getters advance to the general election where voters then rank the candidates first through fourth using a simple ballot. Candidates have to listen to all voters from the beginning of the election cycle and be responsive to the whole political spectrum.
Problem: Money drives campaigns and most of it comes from special interest groups on the left and the right that have a vested interest in keeping the status quo highly polarized. Surprised that candidates from the left and right this election cycle are fundraising off of the mass shootings? Well, it is effective whether the party opposes all gun regulation or embraces banning certain or all weapons. No one gets elected by articulating a common ground solution under our current system.
Solution: Public financing of campaigns and reversal of the U.S Supreme Court Citizens United decision so that once and for all we establish that corporations are not people and that freedom of expression is not tied to how much money you have.
Problem: Gerrymandered districts exist in most states and certainly in New Mexico as evidenced by the Democratically controlled legislature and many Republican controlled county commissions like Sandoval County. Politicians carving up the voters so that they can stay in power is a practice as old as the hills. Unfortunately, it also creates districts where candidates only have to talk to "their own kind" and reach out to a small sliver of voters. What if every district was competitive between parties and candidates?
Solution: Create an independent redistricting commission so that politicians can't decide who votes for them. The goal should be competitive elections and districts that keep communities intact.
In sum, our inability to solve wicked complex policy issues are rooted in our rigged election, campaign, districting and finance laws.
Want to come up with solutions on abortion, gun laws, taxes, education and more that 80 percent of New Mexicans can agree with? Change how we run primary elections, district elected officials, finance campaigns and register voters. There is a straight line from our failure in multiple policy arenas to the way we structure our elections.
Bob Perls is a former State Representative and former U.S. diplomat, writing here as a private citizen not representing any organization.
By Chris Allen
We’ve all seen them, those signs posted on streetlights and poles with cryptic letters and arrows. They appear for a few days and then disappear. They are directional signs that help actors and crew find a production site.
I am an extra, also known as a background actor. We are crucial to any movie or TV show, fleshing out a scene for the main actors and the viewers. Extras rarely are given speaking roles. Rather, we are silent, miming our conversations as patrons at a restaurant or workers in an office. Often, we stroll down a sidewalk or drive on the road.
My cell phone rang late on a Monday evening. The air had cooled from its high of 104 degrees to 98, and I was about to train one of my horses. I answered the call. It was a local casting agent.
“Chris, we need a beater car for tomorrow morning.” Beater car refers to a vehicle well past its prime that displays great character. “Do you still have that ratty farm truck?”
“Sure. Where’s the shoot?”
“West on I-40, about 45 minutes out of town.”
Uh, oh. There was slim chance my 1987 Isuzu pickup with 190,000 miles on it would make it that far.
Recently the cab had filled with gasoline fumes while I was hauling a load of hay. When I arrived home, I discovered a leak in the engine. Although it had been in two productions previously, Bordertown with Jennifer Lopez, and Breaking Bad where the director described it as the perfect meth truck, those shoots were both in Albuquerque. This location was 30 miles of open, empty desert away.
“When is call time?”
“Late morning,” she assured me.
I hadn’t worked for this agent in a while, and I had been hoping to reconnect. Late call time? Probably worth the risk. At that hour, I could call my husband or AAA if things went awry.
“Sure, book me. I’ll be there.”
The truck, faded navy blue with dings, dents, scrapes, and broken running lights, had taken two children to college. While there, it had been ransacked and had the radio torn out. The tailgate barely closed, and the rear bumper was askew. Nowadays we used it solely as a farm vehicle, hauling hay, manure to spread on the fields, and orchard trimmings to the local composting facility. It hadn’t been driven in months and was currently parked in the middle of the pasture.
I went out to retrieve it so my husband, Paul, and I could check its condition. One of my steeds had dumped a pyramid of manure on the hood. In the heat, it had concretized. I ran back for a broom and pushed off the mound of desiccated, undigested hay fiber. Fortunately, the broiling desert sun had baked out the smell of horse manure.
I moved the truck to the front of the house. “Paul!” I called from the driveway. He was relaxing inside.
Silence. I could hear the dialogue from one of his favorite Sci-Fi movies, The Abyss.
“What!” he shouted back. He was settled in for the night, but I knew he would dredge himself out of his chair to help.
“I was booked to bring the truck to a movie set tomorrow. We need to check the tires, fluids, all that stuff.”
“All right,” he sighed heavily. “I’ll be out in a minute.”
“While you do that, I’ll get my outfits together.” Extras are asked to provide several changes of clothing for when you appear on camera, all in muted, unobtrusive browns, grays, and blues so you don’t conflict with other aspects of the set. My “movie wardrobe” hadn’t been used recently, and it took time to gather it.
“Chris!” Paul’s voice rocketed through the front door. “Oil’s barely registering on the dip stick. You’ll have to get some. While you do that, I’ll pump up the tires.”
As I backed my car out, I saw Paul connecting the bicycle pump to the front left tire. God bless that man!
We added the oil and put the container on the floor by the passenger seat. We added water to the radiator, and then I noticed the gas gauge. “I’m going to fill it up. It’s a late call time, but I’d feel more comfortable getting a full tank tonight.”
“You’ll have to wait until morning,” Paul cautioned.
“The headlight button doesn’t stay on. You have to push it in with your finger.”
“I can do that,” I chirped.
“It’s a standard, Chris. One hand on the steering wheel, one hand on the button, and what hand is going to shift the gears?”
“I’ll get back before dark,” I laughed.
When I returned, I logged onto the agent’s website to verify the call time. I was stunned to see my name next to a 6:00 a.m. call! That’s “late?”
“You can’t do that, Chris.” Paul was peering over my shoulder. “You’ll have to cancel. It’ll be dark driving that early.”
“No! I can’t! I’ll never work again. Once you commit, you must show up! The production depends upon the people who are booked to complete the scene.”
“We can try taping the button,” Paul said, rummaging around in a drawer for the duct tape.
I sat in the driver’s seat with a wad of silver tape over the headlight button. Paul roved around the vehicle shouting commands. “Headlights! Turn signals! Right! Left! Brake lights!” His report? Headlights worked.
Brake lights worked. Back turn signals worked, front ones did not.
“You can’t go on the interstate,” Paul warned. “Let’s see if we can route you on the frontage road.”
Paul fired up Google Earth on the computer. “Here you go. Head straight down Coors, turn onto Paseo del Norte, run past the shooting range and the mattress plant, and then out to the frontage road. It will take longer, so you should leave at 5:00.”
Ugh! I am not a morning person.
Paul went downstairs to get ready for his own workday, and I reviewed the route. I then trotted downstairs to pack my wardrobe. As I neared the bottom, I detected the distinct odor of dog poop. In the dim light, I saw a large, brownish, amorphous blob on the brick floor. I flipped on the stairway light and saw a moist mound of puppy goo that was bisected by a boot print. Off to the left, a series of heel prints continued from the pile, across the living room and into the kitchen, each step diminishing in size in proportion to the distance from the pile.
“Paul!” I shouted. “You stepped in dog poop! Check your boots!” It was undoubtedly Mia, our new Labrador puppy who was having a terrible time grasping the concept of housebreaking.
After cleaning the mess, I ran back upstairs to commit my route to memory, since at 5:00 a.m., there is a fifty-fifty chance my brain will function. As I traced the roadways, the nauseating stench of skunk assaulted me.
“Paul! Are the dogs out?” I screamed as I careened down the stairs. I threw open the backdoor and before me was another pup, Ember. Her head hung so low, her nose scraped the threshold. She reeked.
“Paul! Ember got skunked.”
He came thundering down the hallway in his underwear.
“Please go get the hydrogen peroxide from under the bathroom sink,” I beseeched. I buy the stuff in bulk since, with four dogs, this happens on a regular basis, though never with an early call time.
I emptied the bucket we had just used to clean up after Mia and mixed up the de-skunk solution. We each took a sponge and drenched Ember with the concoction. The poor dog howled in despair, leaping, and thrashing about, then slipping her collar and running into the living room where she violently shook off the solution, splattering the couch, rugs, and coffee table with her castoff droplets.
It was now midnight.
By the time I packed my clothing and a selection of shoes into the truck, laid out the food for the horses’ morning feeding, and put my cell phone on the charger, it was 1:00 a.m. My fingers reluctantly set the alarm for 4:30.
I crawled into bed exhausted, but my rabbit brain kept checking lists to see if I had everything in place. Cell phone! Sunglasses! The keys to the truck! By the front door?
The next minute the radio alarm blared in the inky darkness. An annoying voice said, “The New Mexico Film Office has announced a new production is coming into the state. The movie, a sequel to Wolverine, will be directed by James Mangold, director of the remake of 3:10 to Yuma. The production will employ several hundred people.”
“Oh, God,” I groaned, slapping my hand against the radio alarm. “Lucky me, I’m one of them.”
To beat the heat, I dressed in a lightweight outfit of beige Capri pants, and tan linen shirt with short sleeves.
I hoped this would pass the inspection of the wardrobe people, and they would not require me to change into a warmer outfit like long-legged pants and a long-sleeved jersey.
I slapped on some provisional make-up, fed the livestock, and buckled myself into the truck. It took about an hour for me to drive to the location. On a long stretch of barren roadway, momentary panic set in. There was no one around should the truck decide to be recalcitrant and conk out. I mentally crossed my fingers.
Bolstered by a beneficent universe, it indeed nattered along, accompanied by a symphony of squeaks, clinks, and squeals, and by the time I arrived, the slanted rays of the morning sun lit the world. I followed the signs to base camp and parked where a sleepy-eyed production assistant pointed. I was a few steps toward check-in when I remembered to remove the duct tape, relieving the headlights of their responsibility.
Passing muster with the wardrobe ladies and receiving permission to return the other outfits to the truck, I then sat down to the best thing about working on a set, the catered breakfast. Trays were filled with puffy clouds of scrambled eggs mounded with melted white cheese. Savory bacon, sausage, and crisp hash browned potatoes filled other trays. The smells of sizzling peppers and mushrooms from the made-to-order omelet station mingled with the fruity scent of freshly juiced beverages. Nearby were pots of steaming hot coffee.
I heard my name as I popped the last forkful into my mouth. Three of us with vehicles were ordered to caravan to set. I arrived in line first, and another production assistant, shielding her eyes against the rays of the sun, asked if she could hitch a ride. I gulped.
“Sure, let me clean off the seat.” Farm truck, remember.
I heaved the hangers of unused wardrobe and a box of yarn to the back seat along with a chicken waterer.
I grabbed the container of oil, shoved it against the console, and invited her in while I brushed smooth the torn and worn upholstery, raising clouds of dust along with bits of hay and a couple of chicken feathers.
We drove a short distance up a paved road and pulled into the parking lot of a gas station and convenience store.
“Here is fine,” the young lady indicated, pointing to the gas pumps. I pulled next to one of them, and she reached for the door handle.
“Oh, sorry,” I shrugged my shoulders. “A dog ate the plastic handle. You have to roll down the window and open the door from the outside.”
“No problem,” she said graciously, reaching for the power button.
“No,” I said. “You actually have to roll it down.”
She quickly cranked the stiff window and groped for the exterior door handle so she could vacate my vehicle.
“Be careful of the exposed springs,” I warned, fearful she would shred her clothing as she slid out.
I remained where I was until another production assistant approached. “Would you please pull up into that parking space by the front door? Leave the keys in the vehicle, and then you can head over there,” he said, gesturing to a small shade tent that had been erected on the west edge of the parking lot. “Craft service is next to it.”
I looked beyond the tent to the north and saw a silver catering truck with shelves of snacks, a coffee bar, and a tub filled with iced drinks. Oh, thank goodness, I thought, knowing it was likely to be another 100-degree day.
“And bathrooms are behind the building,” he continued. Also good to know as filming can run 12-15 hours.
I got as far as the coffee bar when someone called. “Hey, sorry. We need you to move the truck. Please pull it behind the building and wait there.”
Resuming my seat behind the steering wheel, I shifted to back up. “Hold it!” a commanding voice shouted.
Activity on the set was increasing. Safety dictated I wait to move until dollies of equipment, cables of electrical wiring, and miscellaneous people stopped crisscrossing behind me. “Ok, back up and go to your right.”
I pulled off on the side of a road on the east side of the gas pumps. Fifteen minutes later I heard a shrill whistle. “Bring the truck back,” he yelled.
I returned to park exactly where I had been earlier. This is standard procedure on a movie set. If you expect efficiency, you are looking at the wrong industry.
My truck never moved from that time until the end of the shooting day, twelve and a half hours later. Except for lunch, I spent my time in the extras holding tent, 10-feet by 10-feet of cover against the brutal, blazing sun. Nine other people were with me, two of them fervently hoping they will be called for a speaking role, their break into the business.
We shifted our chairs frequently so we could stay within the margins of shade as the sun moved across the sky. Occasionally someone would be called to participate in a scene, but mostly it was waiting, waiting, waiting.
At 7:15 p.m., one of the crew approached and asked who owned the blue truck. “I do,” I replied.
“Can you have it back tomorrow? We need it for continuity.”
“Sure,” I sighed, thinking of what I had gone through to get this day’s work.
“Hey, you get to come back,” one of the extras commented. “Congratulations!”
“Yep,” I replied, shifting my seat for the hundredth time that day. “But it takes a big chunk out of my acting ego to know they only want me for my truck.”
By Meredith Hughes
This edition of What’s On unfortunately misses a good segment of the month that is “bustin’ out all over,” as the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic song from Carousel goes. My personal June tradition is to sing this, softly, in our library to honor June the librarian, who either detests or is delighted by this homage….
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
Also June 19-20, celebrate Black-owned businesses, artisans, vendors, performers, and more at this weekend event at 1 Civic Plaza, Albuquerque. Juneteenth actually falls on June 19, to commemorate the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery in 1865, though the existence of this move was unknown to many for an entire year.
As is customary in the summer months, the Village Council will hold just one regular meeting in June: Tuesday, June 21. However, a special meeting was held June 8 to consider a report on the expected availability of irrigation water. The mayor and council received a presentation from the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District’s chief executive officer, Jason Casuga, about anticipated restrictions on water deliveries, and how pumping of water directly from the river has affected irrigation here. Pumping has been necessary due to failure of the Corrales Siphon pipe that has for 89 years delivered water through a wooden culvert from the east side of the Rio Grande to the west side.
The MRGCD has said it will continue to pump water into the Main Canal “as long as river water levels allow.” But that was anticipated by early June.
See http://www.mrgcd.com to read more about Corrales’ water situation. Click on 2022 Irrigation Season Outlook Corrales Main Canal.
Jeff, the babe, sprang forth June 11, 1942, in Vicksburg, Mississippi
Four score years later with ambitions of his twenty-year young self
He supports respect for North American indigenous folk
Jeff muses about changing United States of America
To United States of Mississippi watershed or something better
And his father called him “Jefe” as he studied Spanish and mastered it
Truly the Jefe of his fate like the time when a thief stole all his money,
Ticket, passport, and all on the beach near Mombasa while he swam
And he decided not to let it ruin his day or his life and went back
Into the ocean, then found his way in spite of the cruel crook.
Had more of an adventure than if he had all his papers in order.
All that a man can be and span two centuries and walk many continents
All Jeff is friend, soldier, son, brother, husband, father, lover, writer
Artist, journalist, prankster, joker, playful curious independent free fellow
With the entire national forest as his backyard in Colorado when
He was nine-years-old so he wandered freely, climbing up to see
All the tiny people like ants embroiled in worrisome business of some sort
All the perspective of getting up off alone, self-reliant, learning
All the life lessons at Wolf Creek Pass where snow kept him from school
But not from the truth of life and wildness and open free space.
First girlfriend had a dress with gingerbread boys and girls holding hands.
Later on in college he did battle with abusive administrators
With his Sword of Damocles newspaper barely escaping libel suit.
Trudging the streets wearing rented Navy Pea Coat with holes
In his shoes in knee deep snow leaning against the wind.
The student, the artist, the journalist dauntless against winds of fate
The spirit of the warrior joined military intelligence and off to Vietnam
To face the fearsome demons of adrenalin streets of war.
Then great freedom of release from war and the beginning of his travels.
Magical time in India seeing things he thought he must have imagined.
Then marriage to strong-willed woman worthy of descriptions by Whitman
About fate of the land from the loins of such mothers and birth of precious son
With bald head and dimpled chin in N.Y. City, then off they go in green truck
With yellow camper along Pan American Highway daring cliff-hanging roads
And Jeff remembers the road to work in Brazil with lovely women
Along Copacabana Beach where he believes he will return and write
And off to Africa and more journalism and there he must return and write
All that has not yet been said; and whenever he can Jeff flies off to lands
Where the people struggle to create great change for themselves
Then he comes home smelling of tear gas and the thrill of it.
He was there at the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.
He was there when the educators demonstrated in Quito, Ecuador.
He was there in Peru when there were riots in the streets for new government
He was there in So. Africa as racism transformed to Peace and Reconciliation
He was there with activists to stop radioactive waste truck headed to WIPP
from Los Alamos on remote highway in New Mexico south of Clines Corners
He was there in East Africa in the Ugandan situation and the violence
And all the anti-apartheid passions. He was there.
He was there at the first Climate Summit in Rio; then in Paris and Glasgow
He was there amid death squads meting out vigilante justice in Brazil.
One old journalist said he would retire someday and run a village newspaper;
That’s what Jeff has done in Corrales, New Mexico, for half his life so far
Attending over 1,000 village council meetings for forty years to date.
Doing battle with government agencies, battle with ignorant corporations
Ever believing the strength of Democracy is in the wisdom of the people
Informed in truth about what’s going on; there’s jeff at his computer station
Reporting the news as if Democracy matters; persistent, patient with integrity
Every two weeks putting out the paper, pages and pages telling folks
Enough to make their own decisions; so many battles to be fought still
So many truths to be told. So many jokes to be played.
Before his head becomes a skull on his son’s desk like it says in his will
What news, what insight will spring forth from under his wizard eyebrows?
What fresh new joust will he engage in? How many more countries
And revolutionary crowds will he witness? As many as possible no doubt.
Jeff, Everyman of 20th and 21st centuries and so much more.
What new invention or turn of words will he put in print?
This man is a man who makes his own rules, his own way,
His way is that of a gentle man so humble once he skipped his own birthday.
This poem is not done yet, just like Jeff—a work in progress.
June 1, 2022
Jeff Radford Day in Corrales, NM
A structural steel fabricating company, Akins Manufacturing, celebrated its groundbreaking ceremony in Algodones May 26. Sandoval County, Sandoval Economic Alliance (SEA), and the Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted the event near the Roadrunner Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital. The Albuquerque-based company is relocating to Algodones with the goal to be fully operational by January 2023. At the February 23 Sandoval County Commission meeting, $800,000 in Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) funds was unanimously approved for the project.
New jobs will include metal detailers and designers with an average salary of $60,000 ($28.25 per hour). Other new positions will include fabricators and welders with an average wage of $20/hr.
JEFF RADFORD DAY
JUNE 1, 2022
WHEREAS, Jeff Radford has dedicated 40 years of his life and career to the Village of Corrales by creating and sustaining the Corrales Comment newspaper with the goal of publishing the truth with respect and unrelenting honesty, and to present news reporting as though democracy matters; and
WHEREAS the Corrales Comment has consistently informed the citizens of Corrales of official meetings such as those of the Village Council and other formal and informal groups, keeping Corrales citizens apprised of events in their community; and
WHEREAS the Corrales Comment creates a detailed historical archive of notable events, people, and commentary in the community as well as connecting the Village with its past; and
WHEREAS Jeff Radford and the Corrales Comment have promoted the health, safety, livability, and creativity of Corrales for 40 years by providing a voice for groups and activities in the Village, including Parks and Recreation, Corrales MainStreet, Arts in Corrales, Corrales Cultural Arts Council, Village in the Village, Music in Corrales, Farmland Preservation, Corrales Historical Society, and many other groups; and
WHEREAS the Corrales Comment consistently provides a forum for discussion of issues of importance and diverse opinions of Corrales Residents; and
WHEREAS Jeff Radford has served on numerous committees and task forces in and for Corrales, including his current tenure on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission to implement his ideas for a safe and walkable community; and
WHEREAS Jeff Radford has shown his dedication to the survival of our planet by pointing out the efforts to hold industrial polluters accountable in the Corrales airshed, dedicating special issues to the discussion of climate change, presenting first-hand accounts of international Climate Change conferences and reporting on the diverse important efforts to assure we have adequate safe and clean water; and
WHEREAS Jeff Radford has generously shared his knowledge, experience, and expertise by mentoring several generations of writers and aspiring journalists; and
WHEREAS Jeff Radford will celebrate his 80th birthday and retirement from the Corrales Comment in June of 2022;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, James F. Fahey, Jr., Mayor of the Village of Corrales, Sandoval County, State of New Mexico, proclaim June 1, 2022 as Jeff Radford Day in the Village of Corrales, and call upon the people of the Village of Corrales to honor Jeff Radford and the positive impact he has had on our community for 40 years.
PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED by the Governing Body of the Village of Corrales, New Mexico, this 24th day of May, 2022.
By Ben Daitz
I was reflecting that over the years, I’ve contributed, as a writer, to a series of three unfortunate newspaper events, two in Corrales.
The first was a poem I wrote in the summer of 1980, about a group of Corrales families who all ordered special, made to barbecue chicks at the same time, raised them, and then got together in early July for a massive chicken slaughter, plucking and BBQ.
Molly Ivins, the wonderful and intrepid New York Times reporter who was there, riffed on my poem’s line, “A plucking good time,” inserting “gang pluck” in her Page 1 story. She was fired by the Times.
The second event was last week. A documentary film I made about the Rio Grande Sun, a great weekly newspaper in Española, was aired on NM PBS.
The Sun, one of the best small-town newspapers in America, and under the same family management for 60 years, was sold last a couple of weeks before to a consortium of business people and politicos. Many fear for its future.
And now, you’re retiring after 40 years of editing the Corrales Comment, and I was asked if I could find some musicians who could be playing off in the corner of Perea’s parking lot while everyone kibitzed and celebrated, but no luck on short notice, so I’m gonna read the song I wrote if we had been playing, “The Ballad of Jeff Radford.”
(Not a single tweet)
The toxic plumes from Intel
and the politics of sewers
the battles over bridges
and the olders’ versus newers.’
The fire at the T-house
the skunky smell of weed
on the backroads of Corrales
he’s never short of ledes.
There’s been 40 years of village news
and not a single tweet
that’s Jeff Radford and his Comment
and Corrales is his beat.
A house with 2 casitas?
the Village P& Z
there’s all the notes he’s taken
‘bout the MRGCD.
He’s made our village paper
the best, I must confess
Salud to Jeff and 40 years!
and to freedom of the press!
There’s been 40 years of village news
And not a single tweet
It’s Jeff Radford and the Comment--
and Corrales is his beat.
Two more viewing platforms overlooking Corrales farmland preserved by conservation easements will be constructed in the months ahead. The new easements were purchased last summer with municipal bonds for two parcels along Corrales Road at the north end of the valley. The Village government purchased conservation easements on two farms deplete all of the $2.5 million in general obligation bonds approved by voters in 2018.
At their June 15, 2021 session, councillors approved buying an option to place a conservation easement on the Lopez Farm, just south of the other pending option on the Phelps Farm, owned by Trees of Corrales. Trees of Corrales leases both parcels, and that firm’s Court Koontz said last month that he would hire a contractor to design and build viewing platforms where any member of the public could stop by to see birds feeding and to take in the pastoral scenery which includes the Bosque Nature Preserve and the Sandia Mountain beyond. The first such platform for public viewing was installed nearby on the other side of Corrales Road at the edge of the 12-acre Haslam Farm.
After Corrales voters raised an initial $2.5 million for the program back in 2004, the first-round of conservation easements on four parcels totalling about 30 acres of Corrales farmland was concluded September 29, 2005, after more than 30 years of community effort to save farmland from development. Even though Corraleños’ second round of GO bond funding for farmland preservation here has been spent, plenty more acreage around Corrales now in pasture, orchards, crops or open space could still be saved in perpetuity through the Village’s conservation easement program.
Among major tracts remaining are the Trosello Farm, part of which has been used by the Wagner family for its Farmland Experience and corn maze, and the Gonzales family’s acreage west of the Juan Gonzales Bas Heritage Farm west of Wells Fargo Bank. That 5.5-acre parcel was purchased outright by the Village, but the family’s three acres next to the bank fronting Corrales Road may also be available; Village officials have made an offer to buy it from the Gonzales family, descendants of the founder of Corrales, Capitán Juan Gonzales Bas.
In March 2018, Corraleños overwhelmingly approved that second issuance of $2.5 million in GO bonds to acquire new easements. That first round of GO bond funding was used as the local match for more than $1 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
That federal source of funding dried up, so subsequent acquisitions of conservation easements were achieved with Village funding alone.
In 2004, Corrales became the first municipality in the state to approve bonds to save farmland through purchase of conservation easements. If the Phelps farm and Lopez farm easements are completed, Corrales will have preserved nearly 55 acres in perpetuity.
Approximately six acres of that total protected by a donation by Jonathan Porter at the south end of Corrales before the Village’s program started. Porter, son of acclaimed photographer Elliot Porter, donated an easement on his land to the Rio Grande Agricultural Land Trust, gaining substantial tax benefits. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XX, No. 1, February 24, 2001 “First Conservation Easement Here Saves 6 Acres of Farmland.”)
Each day across the United States more than 3,000 acres of farmland are lost to sprawling development, according to the Washington, DC-based American Farmland Trust. But over the past 45 years agricultural conservation easement programs have protected about two million acres of such threatened farmland, with programs operating in more than 15 states.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as of April 2021, more than 1.9 million acres in the United States have been preserved as farmland, and another three million acres in wetlands and grasslands have been protected with easements.
About 17 years ago, Corrales was urged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program to request up to $1 million to continue the Village’s farmland preservation program.
By a margin of nearly 5-to-1, Corrales voters approved issuance of municipal bonds to buy conservation easements on farmland here to keep it out of development.
The bond election August 31, 2004 was the first major success in a decades-long commitment by villagers to keep their community rural.
Participation in the program is entirely voluntary. The intent is to give landowners an option for not selling their acreage to developers.
The landowner still retains all the other rights that came with his or her ownership. He or she could sell the farm, sell the water rights, sell the mineral rights, leave it to heirs or do anything else one might normally think of —except develop it as home sites or other non-farm uses.
Once the development right is sold, the land in question would thereafter, in perpetuity, have a deed encumbrance with recorded easement that legally specified that the parcel could not be developed.
On May 12, 2005, the Village Council made its first easement acquisition by formally approving purchase of an easement on two acres owned by Shirley and Jack Kendall.
The parcel on which development rights were purchased sits at the northeast corner of the intersection of West La Entrada and the Corrales Acequia, or ‘first ditch.” It is adjacent to the Gonzales family fields.
The Kendall easement, and all acquired later, is held and administered for the Village by the Santa Fe-based N.M. Land Conservancy.
Easements were later purchased for the field adjacent to Casa San Ysidro Museum, and for a portion of Dorothy Smith’s farm south of Meadowlark Lane between the first and second ditches.
A fourth easement was acquired on a portion of the Koontz family’s Trees of Corrales property at the north end of the valley.
In recent years, villagers have expressed interest in acquiring conservation easements for the scenic Trosello tract or at least parts of it, as well as for the equally iconic horse pastures of CW Farms at the south end of the village.
Although the Village acquired no easements on the Trosello tract using the 2018 GO bond proceeds, the land is thought to be protected from development at least in the near term by a lease agreement between the landowner and the Albuquerque-based One Generation Fund, in association with the Native American Community Academy (NACA). (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXX No.4 April 10, 2021 “Trosello Field Leased as Non-profit Demonstration Farm.”)
Before easements on the Haslam, Lopez and Phelps farms, the most recent purchased were on three acres of the 4.7-acre Boyd property east of Corrales Road in 2015.
The Village of Corrales paid approximately $185,000 from the general obligation bonds to purchase an easement on the Boyd property at the end of Candi Lane, according to Beth Mills, of the N.M. Land Conservancy.
A preview of a film about Martha Egan’s unique collection of antique religious relicarios will be screened at Casa Perea Artspace June 17, 6-8 p.m. It is co-located with the Pachamama folk art shop across from the fire station and south of Ex Novo brewery. Egan, a former Peace Corps volunteer, began collecting the antiques in the 1980s after discovering the small objects in a shop in Lima, Peru.
The shopkeeper who sold her three two-sided, hand-painted pendants described them as 18th century silver-framed relicarios. She later discovered they were not antique and not framed in silver. Intrigued nonetheless, she began to search for the real ones, asking many questions and researching them in libraries. Some authentic frames held simple prints or portraits of saints, done in oils or gouache, while others were bas-relief carvings in wood, bone, wax, alabaster or ivory.
Egan has given presentations on her collection and the art form in Spain, Portugal, Mexico and around the United States. The collection has been exhibited at the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Spanish Colonial Art Museum, among other venues.
Her 2020 book Relicarios: the forgotten jewels of the Americas, won a Silver Foreward Indies Book of the Year award.
By Jeff Radford
Among the memorable retirement gifts bestowed at the “Jeff Radford Day” celebration at Perea’s Restaurant June 1 were abundant donations for a travel fund; a large bowl crafted by Santo Domingo’s Manuelita Lovato; another by an Acoma potter; a large Pendleton “Circle of Life” blanket with an appended label bearing the Comment masthead; an epic poem by Carol Merrill; a song about the retiring journalist by Ben Daitz; a cartoon portrait by Kent Blair; a 1908 copy of Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography with a title page notation from my arch-hero reading “I would rather have it said ‘He lived usefully,’ than ‘He died rich;’”a wire sculpture by the late Andrew Nagen which resembles me; an enormous banner with the Comment masthead; a mountain plateau-size birthday/retirement cake; and a plethora of high praise from a multitude of well-wishers.
What I was not given, thankfully, was COVID. Under instructions from my physician, Alyson Thal, I tested for the coronavirus two days later and emerged negative.
Primary planners and organizers for the party in the restaurant parking area were Marg Elliston and Fred Harris; Mick and Suzanne Harper; Chris Allen; Sam Thompson; Carol Merrill; and Karen Dunning and Howard Higgins.
My son, Ben (named after the aforementioned role model,) recounted what it was like growing up as brother to a home-based newspaper. One of the party-goers recalled learning about Corrales Comment when a kid was hawking papers outside the old post office.
I fell short of living up to another role model who I encountered early in my career as a reporter on the world stage. On my first or second reporting trip to Ethiopia, I went to the Addis Ababa office of the Reuters wire service to file a dispatch. There, the only person was an old guy busily tapping out a news article —with one finger, which was not so unusual. But then I noticed he had only one arm to work with. From some misfortune, probably a stroke, his left arm was completely limp by his side.
Then I noticed that he had only one eye. And still he pecked out the story with the frenzy of an old, one-eyed, one-handed newsman. I never learned his name, since he was too busy.
I was pretty sure back then that one day that would be me.
For at least a decade, Corrales folks have known that I can’t hear anything through my left ear, and increasingly I can’t see worth a damn either. My typing fingers are gnarled; the finger that produces the letter “L” drags so that unwanted “Ls” appear regularly. Still I persisted, until it was clear that the time had come to retire.
So after 40 years of publishing Corrales Comment every other week, I am stepping down as editor and publisher next month. A new owner and publisher have been found, offering assurances that this community newspaper will continue.
They have requested that details be delayed until later this month, although they have said they intend to retain the current Comment crew including long-time reporter Meredith Hughes, editor-reporter Stephani Dingreville, graphic artist Katie Neeley, advertising traffic manager Michele McDonagh, ad salesperson Bonnie Mitisek and cartoonists Kent Blair and Adam Wick.
During a transitional period, I have agreed to continue most of my usual editorial functions, but without the burdens of ownership. I hope to continue suggesting what articles should be written and what photos might be taken. But I won’t work until two or three a.m. in the future. At least I hope not.
I did my share of those during my undergraduate years at Syracuse University where I majored in journalism and international relations. Having been editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper in upstate New York, I won a scholarship from that university’s Maxwell School of Citizenship. Some Comment readers may see a continuing thread.
While there, in 1962 I won my first national journalism award, along with two other students; we used the prize money to launch an off-campus magazine, The Sword of Damocles, specializing in investigative reporting.
Other awards followed, including a fellowship from the Interamerican Press Association to Brazil in 1970; a “best feature story” trophy from the Albuquerque Press Club in 1978, and a “Top of the Rockies” competition first place for environmental investigative reporting in 2010 presented by the Society for Professional Journalists for the region covering New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
My reporting career included a rapid rise within the Associated Press wire service, culminating as an editor on the AP World Desk at headquarters in Rockefeller Center. I resigned in protest over the AP’s self-censorship on reporting from Saigon in 1970.
But the reporting of which I am most proud was done in apartheid Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1968, in Chile under President Salvador Allende in 1971 and in Costa Rica in 1975.
Add to that a 40-year body of work that is Corrales Comment.
After relinquishing the editorship here, I’m headed back to Chile with my son this fall, possibly back to Bolivia and Colombia, and then on to Mozambique and South Africa where I have strong, emotional memories of past struggles and victories.
About six months before she died in 2016, Evelyn Losack summoned me to her kitchen to tell me “I’m going down, Jeff.” Together, we had fought the good fight for a long time, but I was going to have to carry on without her.
Well, I’m not going down anytime soon.
Dispose of yard waste and other discarded material at the Corrales Public Works yard west of the post office Saturday morning, June 11. Most unwanted items will be accepted, but not hazardous materials, televisions, electronic screens, refrigerators, freezers, tires, construction materials or commercial waste. Hours are 8 a.m. to noon; access from Corrales Road is at Jones Road.
Camargue region, France 2022
Last month we were fortunate to visit the South of France, observing and photographing the famous horses of the Camargue region. The Camargue is actually the delta of the Rhone River. When you see films and photos of white ponies galloping through water in France, they are the Camargue horses.
We survived mosquitoes, falling in deep mud, and getting up at 5 a.m. each morning for the experience, but to quote the workshop leader, “Camargue without mud and mosquitoes is not really.... Camargue”. He did not mention the 5 a.m. part.
The exact origin of the Camargue horse is not well established, but researchers believe it descends from those depicted in the Lascaux Cave paintings of the Upper Paleolithic period. The horses are thought to have migrated from the Iberian Peninsula, have been in France for over 2,000 years and are considered one of the oldest horse breeds in the world.
Surviving the severe environment of marshy wetlands and extreme temperatures in the Camargue created hardy, agile animals with incomparable stamina. They even take time out to enjoy rolling in the water! Because of these characteristics, Camargue horses helped build the Suez Canal and were exported to many areas of the world.
In fact, the cross breeding that resulted from these exports resulted in the French government establishing standards to preserve the purity of the breed in 1976. Two years later the government implemented a breed stud book.
Camargues are known for living in a semi-feral state and now are bred, branded and maintained by gardians, French cowboys. However, in order to be registered as a pure Camargue horse, the foal must be born in the wild with no assistance from humans and observed nursing from a registered mare. How the French enforce these rules was not explained.
Born black or brown, Camargue horses turn light gray by age four. They are famously referred to as the white horses of the Camargue, however. Interestingly, their light hair reflects the sun’s rays, imparting a needed insect repellant effect.
Camargues are used for agricultural and recreational purposes, and are the last ridden work horse bred in France. Camargues are linked with semi-feral bulls, and help manage the bovine herds. Like sheep dogs, for them it’s not work, it’s instinct.
Importantly too, they are an integral part of the traditional sport of the course camarguaise, the French version of bull fighting. It is a type of bull-running in which bulls have ribbons placed between their horns, and in the ring, raseteurs, French matadors, must try to remove them. The bulls are not killed as in Spain, and in fact are celebrated as heroes.
Famous bulls are the draw to the arena, not the matador. The bulls are driven on foot to the arena by mounted guardians on Camargue horses and returned in the same way to their pastures. Thus, the triumvirate of the gardian, horse and bull is a deep cultural aspect of the Camargue.
Deborah and Lawrence Blank
Competing in the 75-80 age category at the National Senior Games in Ft. Lauderdale last month, Corrales’ Kent Blair brought home the gold while his wife, Janet Blair, won a silver in the long jump and the high jump. He took two silvers as well, for the 400-meter and the 1,500-meter races. The 2021 games, previously referred to as Senior Olympics, were postponed due to the pandemic. At the last meet, held in Albuquerque, Kent Blair also took first place in the triathlon. He has competed each year since 1999, while she has skipped just one of those.
The next will be in Pittsburgh.
Village officials expect to spend nearly $7 million during the fiscal year that starts July 1. The Village Council approved a municipal budget submitted by Mayor Jim Fahey at its May 24 meeting; it has been further submitted to the N.M. Department of Finance and Administration in Santa Fe. That $6,846,084 is projected revenue into the Village’s general fund. Even more will be spent from several special funds, mostly provided through state agencies. Last fiscal year’s revised budget was $5,680,026.
Money for the Village traditionally comes from its share of property tax collected by Sandoval County and from four streams of gross receipts taxes (GRT). Combined, those expected GRT payments in FY 2022-23 reach $3,935,424.
Property tax revenue that Corrales anticipates in FY22-23 amounts to $1,736,621.
Other income for the general fund derives from fees charged for such services as site development plan reviewing, rental of municipal facilities and noise permits. Still other income is projected from fines imposed in municipal court ($40,000 in FY22-23), and investments.
Where does all that money go? As usual, most of it will go to the Police Department ($1,500,432) and the Fire Department ($1,105,463).
Public Works is expected to get $500,154, while the library would get $319,283 and Parks and Recreation $435,847. Animal Control, which remains within the Police Department so far, would get $132,624. Some villagers have urged the mayor and council to transfer animal control to the Fire Department.
Projected revenue from the general fund for the Planning and Zoning Department hit $333,219. A budget line item for “Finance/Administration” is $739,110.
Seven villagers have been named to the newly established Performing Arts Center Committee, which will make recommendations to the mayor and Village Council for a proposed space for stage productions, music and other presentations. In earlier discussions, Village officials have indicated such a center would probably be constructed where the Jones residence stands west of the Corrales Post Office. The home would be demolished, and a new facility would go in its place. The committee would recommend what would be needed.
Named to the committee at the May 24 council meeting were: Jim Wright, Linda Parker, Tony Messec, John Schumann, Jon Young, Bonnie Gonzales and Ken Duckert. The concept for a municipal performing arts center has morphed into a mixed use facility that could even include a community kitchen for farmers and growers to use to process foodstuffs for sale. That was Mayor Jim Fahey’s guidance during brief remarks at an earlier council meeting ahead of the Village Council’s adoption establishing an ad hoc committee “to explore the possibilities of the Corrales Performing Arts Center.” He said members were likely to be drawn from Music in Corrales, Corrales Society of Artists, the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Corrales Arts Center, Corrales MainStreet, Inc. and villagers engaged in agriculture. One at-large member was to be named.
Fahey said the committee’s mission is “to identify and help to implement a plan to create a performing arts center that could be used for a variety of events and classes in the village of Corrales.”
Before councillors voted to establish the committee, the mayor suggested perhaps the new group’s name might be changed because it is no longer being thought of as exclusively for performances. “It would really be more of a mixed use facility.”
In that context, Fahey suggested the proposed structure might accommodate a “commercial kitchen,” the need for which has been recognized for more than a decade. Such a kitchen would be used to process food from Corrales farms and gardens that is certified by the N.M. Department of Health for sale to the public.
Discussion at the May 10 council meeting also included possible use of a performance space by the Adobe Theater. “We want them coming in from the very beginning,” he told councillors, explaining that he would like an ongoing revenue stream from use of the facility such as the theater might provide.
Although it started in Corrales more than 50 years ago, the Adobe Theater now stages productions in the North Valley, north of the Alameda Boulevard-Fourth Street intersection.
(See Corrales Comment Vol.XXX VIII No.15 October 19, 2019 “CAC Seeks Performance Space, Possibly at Old Jones Residence.”)
In 2019, officers with the Corrales Arts Center held preliminary talks with the Adobe Theater. “They’re interested and we’re interested,” the Corrales Arts Center’s Jim Wright reported in a Corrales Comment interview October 11, 2019.
Providing a better arts-related facility here would be a crucial component of the Village’s proposed designation of an arts and cultural district (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXXII No.19 November 23, 2013 “Arts & Cultural District Must Wait.”)
Since early 2017, CAC has worked from leased space in the commercial space at 4940 Corrales Road, just north of the fire station. Arts related meetings, exhibits, talks and small performances have been held in that space.
The Village bought the 2.65-acre Jones property in June 2016. A barn and shed farther west on the parcel are now used for Corrales’ Public Works Department.
Back in March, the Village Council adopted an ordinance that included protections for scenic quality along Corrales Road. The amendment to Chapter 18 of the Code of Ordinances established height limitations on opaque walls and fences along State Highway 448 so that views of Corrales’ pastures, horses, gardens and wildlife are maintained. Although Corrales Comment previewed the proposed amendments in March, it failed to report specifically that the restrictions had been enacted. The new regulations are similar to those enacted by the Village of Los Ranchos for Rio Grande Boulevard across the river. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXXI No.3 March 19, 2022 “Chapter 18 Land Use Regulations Approved.”)
“Wow! Wow! Wow!” former Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Terry Brown exclaimed when he learned from Councillor Stu Murray that the ordinance was adopted.
“I was excited to learn the Corrales Village Council recently passed a new fence ordinance for properties along Corrales Road. This historic farm-to-market road meanders through the heart of the most important semi-rural historic village in New Mexico, and we nearly lost our Scenic Byway designation by the proliferation of solid six-foot tall walls.
“Views of our agricultural fields and farm animals, to include horses, donkey’s, llamas and cattle, geese, Sandhill Cranes, Mallards, and the Sandia Mountains has been slowly eroding away by the construction of solid six-foot-tall walls creating a ‘canyon effect’ blocking the views of our beautiful village.”
Brown explained the new ordinance’s Chapter 18 at (m)(1) states that for properties along Corrales Road, no solid fence exceeding four feet in height shall be constructed within the front setback line. Paragraph (2) says that open fencing, with at least 65 percent of the top being open, may be placed upon the four-foot solid wall/fence to a maximum height of six feet. This means, no more six-foot tall solid concrete block walls will be built along Corrales Road. One can drive through neighborhoods in Rio Rancho to see what this creates.
“My last year as chair of the Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission in 2018 was wrought with frustration when the Village Council at that time would not pass a similar ordinance our commission’s proposed to maintain Corrales Road as a scenic byway.
“The intrinsic value of this monumental decision will greatly improve property values in the village and create unique opportunities for economic development. People don’t visit our beautiful village to see our six-foot tall concrete walls. They drive to Corrales to see our farms and the Sandia Mountain, visit our art galleries, enjoy our country scenery, and enjoy the atmosphere of our restaurants and breweries. This new ordinance will ensure these important characterizes for our children’s children.”
“This ordinance means a lot for the future of the village.”
He commended Councillor Zach Burkett for guiding the council’s action on the new regulations. “I commend you for your leadership and tremendous support for the new fencing regulations for Corrales Road. I have seen many changes over the 26 years I have lived in Corrales… however, this ordinance modification will do the most to protect what little we have left of our scenic byway. When I was the chair of the P&Z commission, I could not get the support of the Village Council to make this important decision. You succeeded. Thank you.”
A vote by the Village Council in March changed Corrales laws about fences and walls along Corrales Road, construction of casitas, permitting of group homes and senior living projects, and several other chronic controversies.
The changes proposed to Chapter 18 land use regulations were developed by a committee appointed by the mayor working with planners from the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG) and the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Concerned citizens gave most scrutiny to land use policies regarding cultivation of cannabis here, senior living facilities and construction of casitas, or guest house, rather than restrictions on the height of walls and fences along Corrales Road.
By Meredith Hughes
Yes, there will be a July 4 parade this year in Corrales, starting on the dot of 10 a.m. And, remarkably, one can choose to participate in a wet or a dry version.
For years the fun option of tossing water about was forbidden, but now, in the depths of drought, that option has returned.
One must register for the parade at the “registration” tab on the Parks and Rec website, https://campscui.active.com/ orgs/VillageofCorrales#/selectSessions/3164836.
The categories or groups under which you can sign up are these: antique cars; color guard; dry float; horses/cleanup; MainStreet; military; political group wet; water; wet float.
Just a tad confusing, but, the website explains, “Spectators are not to spray water until the water/wet groups begin 10 minutes after the horse clean-up crew. There are two groups dividing the wet and dry sections of the parade. When registering (if applicable) choose to be in the wet or dry groups. If you do not wish to get wet, then do not sign up for the wet groups.”
“Water and the water groups will begin 10 minutes after the horse clean-up crew. Please focus on the waivers and rules and regulation when signing up. This will inform you of all information as well as meeting places.”
Should you wish to be wet, but not ride a soggy float, choose “water.” Otherwise, choose “wet float.”
Assembly areas for parade floats, vehicles, horses and other participants are explained on the Parks & Rec website, primarily are between the Wagner’s Farm parking lot and Corrales Elementary.
As for Fourth of July fireworks, on April 25 Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham urged municipalities to ban them. Bernalillo County supposedly did, as did the City of Albuquerque. Sandoval County apparently has not yet done so.
On May 11, the Corrales Village Council passed Resolution 22-26, “declaring an emergency, recognizing the existence of extreme drought conditions in the Village of Corrales, prohibiting the sale or use of fireworks within the Village during the continuation of drought conditions, authorizing the officers of the Village to enforce the prohibition on sale or use of fireworks, and providing for administrative review when climatic conditions improve.”
A similar resolution was adopted at the May 24 council meeting.
Aside from concerns over the fire hazard, many knowledgeable sources have stated that fireworks affect animals adversely, and also are troubling to people with PTSD, especially veterans.
Twenty-seven years ago, traffic on Corrales Road was so jammed that a consulting engineer ominously predicted its intersection at Meadowlark Lane soon would “fail,” and that a stoplight would be imperative within five years. Granted, that was back when the new Corrales Post Office was proposed for the southwest corner of the intersection, where Village Mercantile is now. And that was before Loma Larga was constructed as a reliever for Corrales Road, which was —and still is— State Highway 448.
Intense discussion engulfed the community. Some villagers insisted it was time to face reality and abandon the notion that Corrales was a quaint rural village. It was now a suburb, and steps must be taken to facilitate metro traffic. Other villagers stubbornly insisted we needed to maintain the farming tradition, and that if commuters and grocery shoppers didn’t want to stack up behind a tractor and hay baler, well —too bad. Move to Rio Rancho or the Northeast Heights.
A compromise was advanced: a traffic circle, or roundabout. A consensus began to solidify around that option, so engineering plans were ordered and submitted. But enthusiasm faded when the designs showed it would take large chunks from the Frontier Mart land, the Mercantile and the then-daycare center. Besides, traditionalists within the Highway Department were skeptical. Roundabouts just weren’t done. Maybe in California or Massachusetts, but not here: what about horse trailers? What about hay balers? And what about horse riders? (See Corrales Comment Vol.XIV No.14 September 9, 1995 “Council Must Decide on Turn Lanes, Stoplights.” and Vol.XV No.24 February 8, 1997 “First Stoplight Urged For Meadowlark Intersection.”)
Despite the flurry of traffic solutions proposed in 1995, nothing was done except for construction of the reliever road, Loma Larga. Subsequent studies have shown that accomplishment alone has made a huge difference, especially after then-Councillor Jim Fahey (now mayor) finally convinced others on the council to take down all the stop signs at Loma Larga crossroads. But now, it seems like that dreaded Corrales Road gridlock looms again.
Pandemic-induced stay-at-home behavior is receding, Corraleños are out shopping, visitors are returning, fearless bike riders are pedalling. Over all, in recent months the pace is quickening and cars and trucks are nearly bumper-to-bumper on Corrales Road at some hours.
Corrales Comment requested the most recent traffic count data for Corrales Road from the Mid Region Council of Governments (MRCOG). The multi-municipal agency’s report indicates no traffic counts have been done for Corrales Road since June 1, 2020.
“We try to count every roadway in the region every three years, so the locations you’re looking for may not have very recent data,” Willy Simon, MRCOG transportation planner replied.
Traffic counts are done for the same month over time, so the next one for Corrales Road probably would come in June 2023.
On June 1, 2020, vehicles heading south on Corrales Road north of Meadowlark Lane tallied 5,753. A little more were headed north, 6,004.
On the same day, southbound drivers on Corrales Road south of Meadowlark were counted at 5,476, which is actually less that might be expected from an assumption that traffic from Rio Rancho was heading down to Corrales Road for the drive south into Albuquerque. More likely, though, is that Rio Rancho drivers would hang a right at Loma Larga.
Northbound drivers south of Meadowlark were counted at 5,914.
Southbound traffic on Loma Larga, south of West Ella. was 2,004 vehicles. Just 330 of those hit the tube count recorder on Loma Larga during morning rush hour (6 to 9 a.m.).
In December 2019, southbound drivers on Loma Larga south of Meadowlark were counted at 4,466.
Over the years, traffic density on Corrales Road has seemed to ebb and flow, sometimes due to external conditions, such as construction on Highway 528 in Rio Rancho, and clearly due to parents delivering students to and from Corrales Elementary School.
For villagers trying to pull onto Corrales Road from side roads and driveways during parental deliveries and retrievals, the wait can seem interminable.
One of the studies done in 1995 suggested the average wait time to pull onto Corrales Road was 20 seconds. It’s unknown what that might be now. But those school bus stops and starts probably have at least one desirable effect in lieu of a stoplight: creating traffic gaps ahead of the bus.
Corrales Comment has sometimes included in its page layouts little suggestions for how to create gaps in traffic that allow drivers to nudge their way onto Corrales Road. Insert as fillers on the newspaper pages are small advocacy notes saying “When Driving Corrales Road, Speed Up or Slow Down to Create Traffic Gaps.”
The problem is that too many villagers adopt higher speed driving behavior that leaves five to 10 car lengths between his or her vehicle and the one ahead. With traffic moving at 30 miles an hour, that’s just not enough time, for a cautious (possibly read “elderly”) driver to merge into traffic.
So speeding up slightly can increase space behind your car or truck. Conversely, slowing down a little can create a gap ahead of you that might allow someone waiting at a driveway or crossroad to pull in ahead of you.
Courtesy is a winning strategy.
The 1995 traffic study “NM 448 [Corrales Road] Scoping Study” produced for the Highway Department by consultant JHK & Associates includes a section titled “Create Gaps in Traffic.”
It reads as follows. “Objective: Create gaps in platoons of vehicles to provide access to NM448 from cross-streets and private driveways along the roadway.
“Alternative Option 1: Install traffic signals at the intersections of NM448/Meadowlark Lane and NM448/La Entrada. Construction cost: $150,000.
“Alternative Option 2: Install stop signs at two locations along NM448. Construction cost: $2,000.
“Discussion: Traffic signals installed on NM448 would improve the orderly movement of traffic and would interrupt NM448 traffic at intervals to allow pedestrian, equestrian, bicycle and side street traffic to cross or enter the NM448 traffic stream.
“Stop signs would increase delay for vehicles traveling through the intersection (less than 20 seconds on average per vehicle) and may increase rear-end accident occurrence on NM448 approaches.…
“Stop signs would result in higher delay to motorists by requiring all motorists to stop, whereas a traffic signal would allow the majority of NM448 traffic to travel uninterrupted.”