Posts in Category: 2022 – May 7

ISSUE 05-07-22 CORRALES HERITAGE DAY SAT., MAY 14 AT OLD CHURCH

Corrales Heritage Day will trace this community’s history from 10,000 BC to the late 20th century through a display at the Old Church Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is presented by the Corrales Historical Society and its Archives Committee, in collaboration with Casa San Ysidro Museum across the road.

A highlight of this year’s event is a display of some of the contents of the time capsule unsealed for the Village of Corrales’ 25th anniversary of incorporation asa municipality. Anne Van Camp, a retired progressional archivist,  worked with the water-damaged items recovered from the time capsule. She will be on hand all day to explain what was found, and what is planned to go into a new time capsule to be opened in another 25 years. Among other activities  are a demonstration on how to make chile ristras and showing children how to grind corn as it was done in the old days.

At Casa San Ysidro Museum, dancers from Acoma Pueblo will perform from 10 to 11 a.m., as will Ramon, Lydia y Linda from 2 to 4 p.m. Kevin Kinane, the Recycle Man, will demonstrate from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Spanish colonial crafts such as tinwork and spinning and weaving wool will be demonstrated throughout the day.

ISSUE 05-07-22 WILL ANIMAL CONTROL COME UNDER FIRE DEPT.?

One by one, villagers spoke up during the April 26 Village Council meeting’s Corraleños Forum to demand that Animal Control functions be transferred from the Police Department to the Fire Department.  Neither the police chief nor the fire chief spoke publicly to say they like the idea that was broached earlier this year by the founder of Companion Animal Rescue and Medical Assistance (CARMA), Barbara Bayer, who addressed the mayor and council again at the April 26 meeting.

Patti Flanagan said she spoke for Corrales Horse and Mule People(CHAMP) which would like to see the Animal Services Division be managed within the Fire Department.

Former Village Councillor Melanie Scholer explained why she liked the idea as well.

ISSUE 05-07-22 CORRALES GARDEN TOUR JUNE 5 HIGHLIGHTS 6 HOME LANDSCAPES

Tickets are on sale by Corrales MainStreet for the 2022 Corrales Garden Tour June 5.  The six gardens were chosen for their relative uniqueness, and, according to the Garden Tour website, “…different soil types, water access, tree coverage and temperature ranges…. The goal each year is to provide a variety so everyone who visits will find a garden that appeals to them.” First established in 2010, the event was  cancelled in 2020 and 2021.

All funds raised will continue to go to the landscaping part of the pathway project for Corrales’ business district. See the tour website at :http://corrales-gardentour.com/

ISSUE 05-07-22 CORRALES LIBRARY BOOK SALE JUNE 4-5, LA ENTRADA PARK

The Friends of Corrales Library Spring Book Sale returns June 4 and 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in La Entrada Park, next to the library. Thousands of adults’ and kids’ books, CDs, DVDs and other items will be available for $1 to $2 each. And on Sunday, the $5 “bag sale” will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Bring your own shopping bag or purchase one from the volunteers, and fill the bag for just $5.

All proceeds from the two-day sale go to support the library’s programs, subscriptions, DVD purchases and other needs. Cash (small bills appreciated) or credit cards accepted.

ISSUE 05-07-22 ARTICLE FOR NEXT TIME CAPSULE LOOKS BACK 50 YEARS

By Jeff Radford

If the new time capsule is opened in 2046 or 2047, it will have been 75 years since this village incorporated as a municipality in 1971. Its existence as a community named “Corrales” goes back much, much farther, as well documented by the Corrales Historical Society, and farther back still to the time when it was called “Puraika,” the place of butterflies, by the Native American people in what is now known as Santa Ana Pueblo.

As editor of Corrales Comment newspaper for the past 40 years, I was asked by the Corrales Historical Society to trace developments in Corrales over the past 25 years, since the previous time capsule was sealed commemorating the Village of Corrales’ 25th anniversary of incorporation.

The account  below for the period 1997 to 2021 is far from exhaustive or inclusive, but instead highlights some of the milemarkers and accomplishments that came so slowly that residents may have overlooked them, or more likely, failed to realize just how recently some of those came about.

For example, in 1997 Loma Larga was still a deeply rutted, ditch bank road nearly impassable after summer rains. Back then, the future road along the west side of the Main Canal was referred to as “the north-south road.” Officially, the first mile of Loma Larga was paved in 1997: actually the first part of it was paved in trespass on Conservancy District right-of-way by the developer of the Pueblo los Cerros condos. The Conservancy District board seriously considered making the developer tear out all the asphalt.

And back then, the Corrales Post Office was at the corner of Corrales Road and West La Entrada, where it shared a parking lot with Wells Fargo Bank. In January 1997, the current post office existed only on paper, as a site development plan submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission. The current Corrales fire station had not been built; the Fire Department operated from the building which now houses the Council Chambers and Municipal Court, across Corrales Road from the bank.

The first part of the Jones family’s pasture adjacent to the site of the new post office was purchased for a recreation center in 1995. The last remnant of the Jones tract, between the post office and the TopForm riding arena, was acquired by the Village government in 2016 to relocate the Village Public Works Department and its heavy equipment. For years, the Village’s only Public Works vehicle was then-Public Works employee Tony Tafoya’s personal pick up truck.

High up in the sandhills, on the border between Corrales and Rio Rancho, a solution was implemented for the ill-conceived  Dam 1 on the escarpment that was supposed to hold back arroyo flood water from destroying property in Corrales. It was in 1997 that a pipeline was begun to carry water from Dam 1 to the Montoyas Arroyo. Destructive flooding from the escarpment has continued to this day, but the pipeline was a much-needed protective measure.

Corrales’ first Comprehensive Plan in 1973 (referred to as a master plan) stressed the community desire to retain the valley’s farming tradition, but an official program for farmland preservation did not begin until 2004 when villagers overwhelming voted to approve general obligation bonds worth $2.5 million to purchase conservation easements.

At the time, Village government’s bonding capacity was only slightly more than $8 million. The first conservation easement on Corrales farmland came, not through that program, but with a private transaction on land at the south end of the village owned by the son of acclaimed photographer Elliot Porter.

Since those early days of the effort to preserve farmland, approximately 55 acres have been saved from residential development here. The most recent acquisitions were in 2021, using proceeds from the sale of a second round of GO bonds to raise another $2.5 million approved by voters in 2018.

After decades of confusion, political turmoil and technical and bureaucratic delays, the Corrales sewer system went into operation in early 2014. With no fanfare, the controversial liquids-only, pressurized sewer system began sending waste water toward Albuquerque’s sewers around 2:15 p.m. February 3, pumping  from the Corrales Recreation center’s septic tanks and those at the Village Office. A trench along East La Entrada to pipe water from the Corrales Library’s septic tank to the sewer line was dug the same day. Later that month, septic tanks for the Municipal Court and Council Chambers, Community Center and Senior Center were hooked up.

The biggest single generator of waste water, Corrales Elementary School, did not connect to the sewer line until 2020. Before that, the school’s  sewage was treated at an innovative solar-powered wetlands at the extreme west end of the school property.

In 1996, the Village was successful in gaining designation of Corrales Road (State Highway 448) as  a “Scenic and Historic Byway,” but there was little follow-through toward implementing a corridor management plan. By 2015, probably most Corrales residents were not even aware of the designation nor how to benefit from it. In around 2020, attempts were under way through Corrales MainStreet, Inc. to have an “Corrales Arts and Cultural District” designated.  That had not been accomplished as of April 2022.

In 1998-99, Corrales Elementary School underwent a 30,000 square foot expansion that added more than a dozen new classrooms, library, offices and other features, which shifted its orientation to a Target Road entrance.  The original school, oriented toward Corrales Road, had been  part of the Town of Bernalillo’s school system, and was called Sandoval Elementary.

The Corrales Library underwent three significant expansions during its third and fourth decades in the current location. The first added office space in 2001,  followed by a Teens’ Room in 2006, and in 2014, a “quiet reading room” was built next to it, along the east side of the “Library That The People Built.”

A regional shopping mall, equal in size to the state's largest, opened on vacant land south of Corrales on the Black family's Seven Bar Ranch where a private airport had operated. The shops inside Cottonwood Mall were nearly all national retailers, but still Corrales shopkeepers worried that the new shopping mecca would cause their own businesses to shrivel.

That didn't happen; shops such as Ambiente, Just For Looks and Frontier Mart  churned right along and more small businesses continued to open here (although not all survived). Then in summer 2021, the owner of Cottonwood Mall filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy followed by foreclosures in February 2022.

As incredible as it seems now, Cottonwood Mall was first planned for the then-empty land just south of Cabezon Road, where the apartment complexes are now.

A high-density residential project that would not likely have been permitted in any other part of Corrales was approved in 2009 on Seventh Day Adventist property because it was presented as a component of a proposed 22-acre senior living complex. The Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission approved a site development plan for the acreage that included the Sandia View Academy facilities and vacant land to the south where “independent living”  housing was to be developed at a density of approximately eight dwelling units per acre. The project collapsed when the developer could not finalize financing. But the old Academy school building was demolished in around 2015.

A much smaller senior living project within the village’s commercial district slowly gained support in 2018 at the corner of Corrales Road and Dixon Road, but had not been formally approved by 2022.

But a dramatically larger and far more dense housing development at the south end of Corrales on the Black family's bottomland pasture was  thwarted when the Village prevailed in district court to block a 20-acre subdivision that would have created more than eight dwellings per acre. At that time the land had recently been annexed into Corrales' jurisdiction by the N.M. Boundary Commission; it is now developed on one-acre homesites.

Corrales’ current Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2009, still emphasizes preservation of rural lifestyles and farming. In 2022, Village officials increasingly spoke of  revising and updating the Comprehensive Plan. At least two perennially divisive issues will almost certainly be addressed: whether Village government should allow housing developments with greater residential density and/or more commercial and light industrial uses… unless avoidance of those controversies precludes an update of the 2009 Comprehensive Plan. Villagers apparently maintained their resolve to preserve Corrales' agricultural heritage.

The village’s population still had not reached 10,000 in 2020, as recorded in the U.S. Census that year.

Over the 40 years that Corrales Comment has been published, the community newspaper has maintained tight focus on local affairs; any future researcher will find its news coverage indispensable to learning what happened, and why, in this quixotic town from 1982 to 2022. Yet a Comment hallmark has been reporting that connected world affairs to local concerns, especially the threat of climate change.

I covered the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro for the Comment, and published a special edition explaining its relevance for Corrales. Similarly, Corrales Comment was the only New Mexico news medium to report from Paris about the crucial 2015 United Nations conference on climate change, and again from Glasgow in 2021.

An archive of past issues is being maintained by the Corrales Library, and online at the newspaper’s website, http://www.corralescomment.com.

ISSUE 05-07-22 I NEVER KNEW THAT! CORRALES HISTORICAL SOCIETY WEST ELLA AT OLD CHURCH ROAD, 1963

By Mary Davis

West Ella at Old Church Road, 1963

Did you know that this is what the intersection of West Ella and Old Church Road looked like in 1963?

Few or no houses, dirt roads, a pony cart and a solitary fence. The entire length of Ella Drive from the Sandoval Lateral on the east to the Main Canal on the west had been platted (subdivided) in 1955 by Ella Gonzales Silva.

Ella, for whom the road was named, was the youngest daughter of Alejandro Gonzales, a prominent Corrales resident who had farmed the entire stretch of land for decades. From this 1963 photograph, it appears that little of the western portion of the large Vista Corrales subdivision had been filled in during the previous eight years.

However, an aerial mid-1970s photograph shows at least 20 houses had been built between the old Corrales Acequia and the Main Canal, and even a few had appeared west of the canal.

Corrales began to grow significantly in the 1970s. The completion of the I-25 freeway in 1966 certainly made it an easier commute into Albuquerque.

John Green took this photograph. He had built his home in 1952 near West Ella on 25 empty acres between Old Church Road and the Main Canal. The woman on the buggy is Matilda Palladini who lived on La Entrada and was one of the Green family’s closest neighbors. Today, Milagro Winery sits on the southwest corner of the intersection.

Photograph courtesy of Jane Green

ISSUE 05-07-22 WHAT’S ON

By Meredith Hughes

Hope you were able to skip paganly around a May pole somewhere May 1, as well as whirl gracefully May 5 in celebration of Mexico defeating a French army contingent back in 1862, though in truth the French hung around for another five years. Quelle affaire…

And don’t forget to “Call Your Mother” May 8… or remember her fondly, unless she was not nice. A fab Jewish deli in Washington, DC pokes its bagel customers with that memorable name.

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. corralescomment@gmail.com

  • The Central New Mexico Audubon Society notes that May 14 is World Migratory Bird Day. It is setting up a 2022 Birdathon, between May 8 and May 15.  “Individuals or small teams (give yourself/selves a name) will choose one 24-hour period between May 8 and May 15 to record all the birds you see in New Mexico, whether from your home or farther afield. We will tally your lists to declare two winners: the individual who sees the most species and the team that sees the most species. Two modest prizes will be awarded, as well as bragging rights!  Each individual and team can solicit pledges of donations from their colleagues, friends and family, often based on the number of species seen. Birdathon proceeds go towards conservation and education projects in central New Mexico. Again this year our proceeds will go to Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area in Valencia County. Whitfield is doing important work not only restoring and preserving valuable habitat but reaching young people and families who might have few other opportunities to experience nature.” Donations can be made on the CNMAS web page, http://cnmas.new mexicoaudubon.  org, with a note that the donation is for Birdathon and the team name. Checks can be mailed to CNMAS, P.O. Box 30002, Albuquerque, NM 87190-0002, again with a note. Compile your checklist for the day, including the locations you birded and your team name, and email it to cnmasreg@gmail.com.. Please have your checklists submitted by May 22, 2022. Happy birding!
  • Somos ABQ, May 8, 5-6:30 p.m. “Somos ABQ and Spanish Broom present Somos la Maquina (Scape): a live interactive performance art piece guided and amplified by the desire to listen, move, create, explore and be informed by the surrounding ecosystem - the Bosque and the Rio Grande. Somos la Maquina delves into a setting where humans can dream to exist cohesively with the natural world; to question and escape, to be unconfined, unconsumed, and unpressured by society, culture, or the machine and return to nature.” Info: 505-768-4950, Open Space Visitor Center, 6500 Coors.
  • Leaving soon, at the ABQ Museum. The Printer’s Proof: Artist and Printer Collaborations closes May 15. This unusual exhibition focuses on the collaborative process of printmaking and celebrates several printers based, or formerly based, in New Mexico as well as the artists they have worked with. Often the printer receives less recognition than the artist for their role in making prints! The Printer’s Proof features over 120 artists with works spanning from the 1970s to the present. 2000 Mountain Road.
  • Come From Away, May 11 - 15, the musical based on the 9/11 rerouted planes that landed in Canada, postponed from June 2020, is set to roll. “The remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.” If you are ready to walk inside a theatre, this could be an engaging choice. https://www. popejoypresents.com/events/detail/come-from-away Popejoy Hall, 203 Cornell Drive
  • Last day of school for APS, May 31! Hence, you may want to study up on possible summer activities for kids. Arts, Sports, Academic pursuits, Gardening, specifically Science…camps for everyone except maybe stand-up comics, though we hope we will be proved wrong. Check this website: https://albuquerquesummercamps.com/

Did You Know?

Via brittanica.com.  Re: the US day “Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia, whose mother had organized women’s groups to promote friendship and health, originated Mother’s Day. On May 12, 1907, she held a memorial service at her late mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia. Within five years virtually every state was observing the day, and in 1914 U.S. Pres. Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday. Although Jarvis had promoted the wearing of a white carnation as a tribute to one’s mother, the custom developed of wearing a red or pink carnation to represent a living mother or a white carnation for a mother who was deceased.

Over time the day was expanded to include others, such as grandmothers and aunts, who played mothering roles. What had originally been primarily a day of honour became associated with the sending of cards and the giving of gifts, however, and, in protest against its commercialization, Jarvis spent the last years of her life trying to abolish the holiday she had brought into being.”

How about that last sentence?

And should it be Mothers’ Day? Please advise.

In Corrales

  • The Corrales Tractor Club. Antique tractor show, May 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Corrales Rec Center front field. Contact Grif Newcomb with questions at 505 803-8484.
  • Looking ahead. The Friends of Corrales Library Spring Book Sale returns June 4 and 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day in La Entrada Park, next to the library. Thousands of adults' and kids' books, CDs, DVDs and other items will be available for $1 to $2 each.
  • Looking farther ahead, Corrales Art and Studio Tour, August 27-28, June 10  Artist pages and map sent out to artists to review; June 17  Deadline for artists to report mistakes on artist pages or map.https://corralessocietyofartists .org/
  • Looking even farther ahead: the 34th Annual Juried Old Church Fine Arts Show and Sale is scheduled for October 1-9, but artwork submissions are requested between June 1 and July 15.
  • Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission, May 12, 6:30 p.m.
  • Planning and Zoning Commission, May 18, 6:30 p.m.
  • Senior Advisory Board Meeting, May 18, 1:45 p.m.
  • Village Council meetings, May 10, 24, 6:30 p.m.
  • Corrales Equestrian Advisory Board, May 25, 6:30 p.m.
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, May 26, 5:30 p.m.
  • The Corrales Community Seed Library is now open inside the Book Library.

“To ensure as many people as possible can enjoy seeds from the Corrales Community Seed Library, we are limiting check-outs to 1 packet per variety. At the end of the growing season, borrowers may save seeds from their harvest, label them and return a portion of the seeds to the library during our hours of operation.”   And, for a recorded course in seed starting from Master Gardener Judy Jacobs, go here: https://tinyurl.com/tj9yjdbn

  • Corrales Bosque Gallery’s May featured exhibition theme is Wildlife. And artists continue to donate the proceeds from selected works to the Ukraine Relief Effort. Each piece will be marked by a card showing the yellow and blue national colors of Ukraine. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 4685 Corrales Road.
  • Corrales Historical Society Speakers Series, May 8, 2 p.m. “Amazing Woman of the Wild West, Susan Shelby Magoffin,” whose 1846-1847 journal detailed the rigors of travel, among other topics, in the brand new territory of New Mexico. Magoffin, who died young after two pregnancies, is interpreted by historian VanAnn Moore, with guitar accompaniment by Luis Campos. Info: swinstead15 @gmail. com CHS Treasures Sale Fundraiser, May 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Drop off your treasures at Old Church May 19 or May 20. But please, no junk, no clothing, no books! All $$$ goes to benefit the Old Church.
  • Casa San Ysidro, Heritage Day, May 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 10 a.m.–11 p.m.: Acoma Pueblo Enchanted Dancers; 11:30 a.m.– 12:30 p.m.: Kevin Kinane, Recycle Man ; 2 p.m.– 4 p.m.: Ramon, Lydia, y Linda. As well as…: Myra Chang Thompson, Spanish Colonial Weaving; Carla Wackenheim, Knitting, Spinning, Weaving; Diane Wilhoite, Loom Weaving; Rosalie Chavez, San Felipe Pueblo Pottery; Jerry Montoya, Crosses & Retablos; Louie Garcia, Tewa Pueblo Fiber; Adrian Montoya, Retablos; Kathryn Leon, Acoma Pueblo Pottery & Earrings; Carol Lucero Gachupin, Jemez Pueblo Pottery; Sandoval County Master Gardeners, Gardening; Las Arañas, Spinning and Weaving Guild; Dave Sabo,Blacksmith; Martina Rosetta, Kewa Pueblo Horno Bread and Pies; Larry Marken, Old Bill Williams, Heritage Games and Activities; Richard Sanchez,Grandson of Tony Garcia;  Info via Aaron Gardner, agardner@ cabq.gov, 505 898-3915.
  • Corrales Arts Center. May road trip! Visit 23 Central New Mexico churches and buildings, with an overnight stay in Truth or Consequences. Meals and lodging are not covered by the $85 participation fee. May 10-11; or May 17-18. Limited to 13 CAC members each tour. Contact Dennis Chamberlain for info: denchamber@me.com
  • Corrales Library. Ukulele lessons return, Wednesdays through June 22. 4 to 5 p.m. With Auttem Foglia. Author series, May 31, via Zoom. Cloak and Dagger, Sisters in Crime NM, 7 p.m. Plus, Thursdays at 6 p.m. Spanish Conversation. Contact Sandra Baldonado for event details. sandra@ corraleslibrary.org
  • Corrales Growers’ Market. May 8,15, 22, 29, 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Village in the Village, Book Club May 17, May 31, 3:00 p.m., on Zoom, Movie Club, 5:00 p.m. on Zoom (Film “Eye of the Needle” by Ken Follett.) Info: Call 274-6206 or email corrales.viv @gmail.com.

ISSUE 05-07-22 CORRALES LAW ALREADY BANS ATVs, CARS, MOTORBIKES FROM DITCHES

When school lets out at the end of this month, Corrales’ ditch bank trails are expected to see more users —but those should not include people on motor bikes, ATVs or cars and trucks. Even before summer recess, increased motorized vehicles along the ditches have villagers concerned about the risks of serious injury when drivers encounter horse riders, cyclists and walkers.

“We are having a serous problem with motorized vehicles on the ditch access roads,” according to Corrales Equestrian Advisory Commission’s Janet Blair. “Lots of folks apparently don’t know the law, or choose to ignore it.”

Corrales ordinances and Conservancy District regulations have outlawed driving on the ditch banks, but such abuses have persisted and grown worse in recent years.

“Someone could be killed or seriously injured with all these motorcycles and ATVs and golf carts careening around,” Blair cautioned.

ISSUE 05-07-22 BUDGET WORK-STUDY SESSION MAY 17, 3 PM

A budget is still being worked out for the Village of Corrales’ fiscal year 2022-23 which starts July 1.  A Village Council work-study session will be held Tuesday, May 17 at 3 p.m. Village officials intend to submit a preliminary budget to the N.M. Department of Finance and Administration in Santa Fe by June 1 after the council adopts it May 24. At the work-study session, councillors will discuss how they want to spend expected revenue during the next fiscal  year; in FY 2021-22, Corrales budgeted income to the general fund at $5.6 million, mostly from gross receipts taxes and property tax.

Proposed expenditures have come from the various municipal departments, such as Public Works, the library, police, fire-rescue and parks and rec. This year, for the first time, the boards and commissions —such as the Bosque Advisory Commission and the Bicycle, Pedestrian Advisory Commission— were instructed to make funding requests through a corresponding Village department.

By tradition, members of the general public are not allowed to speak  during work-study sessions, unless specifically requested to do so. But public comment will be solicited during the regular council meetings on May 10 and 24. Those meetings begin at 6:30 p.m.

As always, the biggest chunks of last year’s preliminary budget were designated for the Police Department ($1,216,796) and Fire Department ($753,026).

Last year, Parks and Recreation was expected to spend $440,198; Corrales Library $260,218; Public Works $440,854; Planning and Zoning $336,938; and Municipal Court $172,429.

ISSUE 05-07-22 CORRALES WATER PLAN PROPOSED 18 YEARS AGO

Water is flowing in Corrales’ irrigation ditches despite failure of the siphon that is supposed to bring water from canals east of the Rio Grande to the west side, and despite serious multi-year drought. Corraleños’ attention to water availability is focused as rarely before, especially due to increased understanding of climate change and what it may mean in the Corrales Valley. Corraleños produced a 40-year water plan in  2004. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXIII No.21 December 18, 2004 “40-Year Water Plan Could Change Corrales’ Scenic, ‘Oasis’ Look.”)

Village officials then “accepted” the 40-year water plan which could, if rigorously implemented, drastically change the community’s appearance.

Among many other provisions, the plan called for an “aggressive program” to remove elm and Russian olive trees from Corrales, while exempting “large, specimen trees.”

It also stated that “xeriscaping is encouraged, but is not mandatory,”  for existing residences east of Loma Larga, and that “xeriscaping is recommended for all municipal and commercial locations,” although “existing large specimen trees and mature plantings may remain in all areas.”

At their October 26, 2004 meeting, Village Council members formally accepted the plan produced by the appointed Corrales Water Advisory Commission over the previous two and a half years.

Corrales’ 40 Year Water Plan in 2004 had a set of 15 recommendations, a number of which were controversial. The Corrales water plan recommended laws and voluntary programs to encourage water conservation by homeowners.  It would also force Village officials to consider water availability before committing to new public facilities and before approving private developments.

Among those are removal of elm and Russian olive trees throughout the village, encouraging xeriscaping in the business district, encouraging installation of water meters on domestic and irrigation wells and not encouraging grey water re-use and rain harvesting.

Seven pages of recommendations  contain the following:

  • “Ordinances to Insure Adequate Water Availability. Planning and Zoning should confirm that all new commercial, municipal and residential construction has adequate water permits and/or rights. This would include requiring well permits from the Village for all new or replacement wells.

“A two-tiered structure of permit fees would be to permit replacement wells at a relative small fee, new wells at a standard fee, and fee waiver for replacement wells where residents are 65 years or older. Adding septic permit fees should also be investigated by Planning and Zoning.

  • “Xeriscaping and Green Zone. Xeriscaping should be practiced throughout Corrales consistent with horticultural legacy, history and topography of the various areas in Corrales.

“West of Loma larga, in keeping with the Village Comprehensive Plan and topography, xeriscaping should be mandatory for all new construction and strongly encouraged for existing residences.

“East of Loma Larga, in keeping with the Comprehensive Plan and historical precedent, xeriscaping is encouraged but is not mandatory.

“Municipal and commercial locations… existing large specimen trees and mature plantings may remain in all areas.…

“Water usage based on location will be controversial. Further, continued water use for the ‘green zone’ east of Loma Larga will not significantly affect consumption due to aquifer recharge.”

A recommendation against rain water harvesting and re-use of domestic grey water which appeared in the draft plan has been deleted from the final. It read: “Rain water harvesting, grey water reuse and low-flow appliance should not be encouraged in Corrales. The Village water system is currently almost entirely based on individual wells and septic systems. None of the above actions would result in meaningful reductions in water consumption.

  • “Bosque Restoration. Develop an aggressive program to reduce evapotranspiration water losses from the bosque by removing non-native phreatophytes (especially salt cedar, Russian olives and Chinese elms).
  • “Village Wide Removal of Phreatophytes. Develop an aggressive program to reduce evapotranspiration water losses throughout the village by removing non-native phreatophytes (especially salt cedar, Chinese elms and Russian olives).

“Large specimen trees may be exempted. Prohibit planting of these plants by residents and advise area nurseries and other outlets.

  • “Village Wide Water Quality Testing Program. Implement a village wide water quality testing program. Each year, sample a percentage of the wells geographically distributed throughout the village. Measuring static well levels at the same time should be considered. Data will be incorporated in a data base that will provide the Village with current data and trends on our water status.
  • “Village Well Metering. Implement a voluntary well and ditch water metering program for each residence. This will help the Village determine what actual water usage is. If implemented, this will help evaluate the effectiveness of planned conservation programs. Without measurements, water conservation progress and effectiveness will be difficult to assess.

“Actual water use is also a defensible position against reduction of permits and certainly of rights. A program that includes Village education will be required. this program should be voluntary and made mandatory if State mandated or as part of a severe drought plan.

“Installing well metering could cost $500 or more per residence. This cost, if borne by the resident, will not be well-received. Further, the metering could be viewed as a first step that could lead to usage restrictions and even water usage [reduction]. However, any resident who believes they may have ground water rights should have a well meter in order to properly establish those rights with the State Engineer.

  • “Irrigation of Residential and Commercial Property. Implement a program that maximizes watering effectiveness while minimizing water consumption. Restrictions on time of day that spray watering is permitted should be implemented.

“Drip/spray watering education should be developed that emphasizes maximum water conservation through optimal duration and timing of watering, use of drip wherever possible,  selection of large-drop, lower pressure spray whenever possible, careful design and monitoring of system to ensure only intended areas are watered.

“Minimizing the use of water for irrigation is a complex task that may not be well understood by village residents.”

This recommendation has the following “Action Required” advice: “Enact ordinances restricting time of day for spray watering. Require a permit for new underground irrigation systems.”

  • “Irrigation Efficiency for Cultivated Fields. Implement a program that maximizes irrigation effectiveness while minimizing water consumption. Incentives and/or education for laser leveled fields irrigated by flooding should be considered.
  • “Improve Well Drilling Regulations. Establish well drilling requirements that minimize water contamination from ground water. This includes proper capping and casing sealing. This could be implemented through a Corrales Well Permit process. Well drilling requirements in New Mexico do not minimize exposure to ground water contamination.… While we believe that village wells are not contaminated, there is a significant contamination exposure. Implementing this program will increase the cost of new or re-drilled wells.              
  • “Adult Education Outreach Programs. Establish adult education outreach programs that include topics not otherwise specified above.…
  • “Student and Child Outreach and Education Programs. Establish children and school education outreach programs that include topics not otherwise specified above. Topics would include how the river affects the water in our homes, the inter-relationship of water and farming, the river, and wells.
  • “Legislative Impact. Establish a response system to the citizens on legislative issues or rule making that affects the Village or residents. Currently there is no timely way to determine what changes may affect all citizens in Corrales in relationship to water.…
  •  “Well Level Measuring. Implement a voluntary program to regularly measure static well levels in selected areas in the village. The number of wells required, their depths and their locations would have to be determined based on a review of the village’s aquifers.

“These measurements may be required as often as weekly. The information would be stored in a database that will provide the Village the status and the trends of our aquifer levels.… A program administrator will be required to co-ordinate the program.

  • “Maintain Open Space and Preserve Farmland. Implement programs to maintain open space and farmlands in Corrales. By maintaining open space and farmlands,fewer wells and septic systems are required. slow percolation into the aquifer from this land also improves water quality.
  • “Establish Active Water Management for Recreation Center. Install and maintain a system that monitors rainfall and/or sensors that override automatic watering systems (well-supplied).

Corrales’ John Brown was a co-founder and director of the N.M Water Dialogue and long time participant in water policy discussions.

A preface to the recommendations in “Making the Case for Change: seeking solutions to important New Mexico water problems” states the problem this way. “New Mexico is faced with, but has not faced up to, important water resource limitations: downstream delivery obligations, federally-mandated requirements, and state-permitted water uses and authorizations that substantially exceed sustainable supplies.

“Without action to address articulated problems, New Mexico’s current and future water supplies, as well as our pocketbooks, are at risk.

“Specific significant flaws identified from the most recent attempt at regional water planning were the impetus for 2017 House Memorial 1. The memorial requested the Interstate Stream Commission to convene a task force to address these flaws. That has yet to take place. In response to this memorial, however, a working group of volunteer water planners prepared this proposal on how New Mexico should address its water issues.”

The working group’s recommendations noted that “These solutions are presented to seek the necessary leadership and pressure by the Executive and the Legislature to cause them to be implemented. All of these problems and solutions have been raised repeatedly, most recently as the ISC’s December 2017 Town Hall. But progress has not been made or has stalled. Financial support for water planning has been consistently far less than in neighboring states. Funding, staffing, water resources data collection, and the capacity of agencies to deal with New Mexico’s water problems are all currently diminished from previously inadequate levels, while, at the same time, our water supplies are facing increasing pressures.

“One solution —administration of New Mexico’s water use to keep it within interstate stream compact limits — Active Water Resource Management (AWRM) became state law in 2003 and was upheld by a 2012 N.M. Supreme Court decision. The Office of the State Engineer (OSE) has not met its commitments to the Legislature to make substantial progress. Another solution — making water planning effective — needs emphasis because the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) treats water planning as an end in itself, rather than a thoughtful means to seek and implement solutions to problems.

“The N.M. Constitution requires that water be administered by priority, ‘first in time, first in right.’ While such priority administration is required, it has rarely, if ever, been put to use. That has allowed too many demands to be placed upon a shrinking resource.

“Priorities must be administered so as not to exceed the physically and legally available water within the stream or basin, if planning doesn’t result in better solutions.”

An immediate cause for action is the U.S. Supreme Court decision that New Mexico must comply with Texas’ demands for more water flowing through New Mexico. “That will mean our Rio Grande water use will be cut back and our future water use will be explicited limited. 

“The attendant adverse consequences and risks not only include a demand to deliver more water, but carry a potential billion-dollar damage assessment,” the group’s report advised.

The report blasts the State’s “hand-off approach to water administration. Neither history, hydrological facts, existing law, recent state law authorizations, nor agency initiatives have proved sufficient for New Mexico’s state and regional water management and planning agencies to confront our water problems. Left to fester, the problems are doing just that. State water management agencies have authorities fractured, and leadership lacks political support to admit and solve problems. The entire water administration program lacks accountability.”

The document warns conditions affecting water scarcity will only get worse. “To minimize the impact of climate change and build resilience, it is imperative that New Mexico plan for dealing with variable water supplies, including a focus on water-energy nexus, drought planning and preparation for extreme precipitation events to minimize their adverse impacts.”

But it’s not as though the state’s water dilemma has just been realized. Regional water plans got under way more than a decade ago with the convening of a Middle Rio Grande Water Assembly by then-Corrales water economist Lee Brown. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXIV No.8 June 11, 2005 “Regional Water Assembly June 11, UNM Campus.”)

But those efforts were mostly futile, the report asserts. “Changes are required to make the state-funded regional water planning programs productive.

“Plans are needed for compliance with compacts and improved sustainability of groundwater supplies.The State’s water planning since the 1987 statutory establishment of regional water planning has not met these needs.

“Water planning should strive to protect our water supplies and make our uses of them more resilient. Planning should seek to collaboratively identify and implement balanced realistic solutions to solve real problems. Water plans should integrate goals and policies, including land-use decisions, water quality standards, recreational needs, environmental protections, agricultural uses, urban growth demands, tribal requirements, and climatic changes.

“Water planning at all levels must identify opportunities for conservation and seek to stop waste and non-conserving uses. To minimize the impact of climate change and build resilience, it is imperative that New Mexico plan for dealing with variable water supplies, including a focus on water-energy nexus, drought planning and preparation for extreme precipitation events to minimize their adverse impacts.”

The submission by the working group insisted that “The Interstate Stream Commission must change its processes to approve, modify, or reject regional water plan recommendations rather than only ‘accepting’ submitted plans. Approved recommendations must be implemented.

“Those charged with carrying out adopted strategies must be able to make credible commitments to do so, and the regional planning entity must have the ability to monitor both implementation and its effect on the water resource.”

ISSUE 05-07-22 TALK ON LAND GRANTS AND ACEQUIAS IN PLACITAS MAY 15

A talk at the Placitas Library Sunday, May 15 will explain Spanish land grants in this part of New Mexico along with the traditional acequia irrigation system. The presentation by land grant heir  Rebecca Correa Skartwed and land grant historian Jacobo Baca will begin at 2 p.m. The two presenters will talk about the irrigation system and those people entitled to used them, known as parciantes, as well as activities taking place in Placitas over the past 10 years.

 Baca’s lecture is titled “Las Mercedes Que No Mueren: Land Grant History in New Mexico.” It includes an overview of land grant history in New Mexico, and how land grant recipients had a complex relationship with the region’s indigenous nations. 

 A land grant heir raised an acequia parciante, Baca has studied and taught courses about acequias for nearly 20 years. He holds degrees in history from the University of New Mexico, where he wrote his dissertation “Somos indigena: Ethnic Politics and Land Tenure in Modern New Mexico, 1904-2004, which examined changes in Hispano and Pueblo Indian land tenure in the Tewa Basin of north central New Mexico across three centuries. 

ISSUE 05-07-22 JERRY ALLEN DIES

At 92, Jerry Allen died March 29 at his Corrales home where family members say his 35  hummingbird feeders probably changed the local ecosystem. He retired in 1990 from a 35-year career with the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he conducted research for weapons testing.

His father had moved the family from Texas to Los Alamos in 1947 to work for the Los Alamos Fire Department.

Allen is survived by wife Phyllis Allen, daughter Bridget Swahlen and sons Paul and Scott Allen and step-son Larry Luna and their mother, Devaun Allen, as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Burial was at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.

ISSUE 05-07-22 LETTERS

Dear Editor:

Benjamin Franklin felt we would regret admitting Jews to the United States because they would take over. What could be more ominous than the silence about this by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and PBS given all the attention afforded to Franklin?

Steve Baer

ISSUE 05-07-22 CORRALES ROAD TAKE OVER WON’T HAPPEN

State highway officials want Village government to take over Corrales Road, and it would solve several problems for the Village if it did, but it just won’t happen. That was the bleak, but definitive, assessment that Village Administrator Ron Curry gave to the mayor and Village Council at their April 26 meeting. If that’s reality, it has several important, far-reaching implications —for the long-planned pathway in the business district, for the speed limit, for crosswalks for pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists, and for historic buildings in the most congested stretch of Corrales Road.  Village officials are scheduled to meet again with N.M. Department of Transportation May 19.

“Their proposal, if we were to take over the road, is that they would provide no maintenance whatsoever going forward,” Curry reported from the previous meeting with NMDOT. “And if we take over the road, we also have to take over the liability for it.”

Discussions about transferring State Highway 448 to the Village have taken place for more than a decade, always with the highway department anxious to get rid of it. Corrales has said it would not take the road unless the department improved it up to state standards.

But, as Curry explained it at the council meeting, what the highway department would have to do to achieve that  upgrade would be unacceptable because it would probably mean widening the road right-of-way, taking a lot of private property and destroying historic structures.

In light of all that, Curry said, the Village’s take over of Corrales Road “is not going to happen.”

If the old farm-to-market road were brought up to today’s standard for a state highway, it would forever change what the central part of the village looks like. “If the highway department gives us the road or we take it over, after they brought it up to specifications, Corrales Road would never again look the way it does now.”

Mayor Jim Fahey emphasized that point. “They showed us what the road and its right-of-way would look like, using what  happened in another small community where they had done that same thing, before and after.

“Before, it looked like Corrales Road does now —with two lanes, gardens, parking, orchards— and what it looks like after, with four lanes, sidewalks and wide shoulders. A totally different appearance.

“Now, they weren’t trying to scare us. They’re trying to give us the road, so they sure weren’t trying to sell the idea to us,” the mayor reasoned. “They would have made it sound very good if they wanted us to go that route.”

The rural feel of Corrales and the historic nature of community’s business district would be destroyed, he pointed out.

Councillor Stuart Murray asked whether NMDOT might be willing to grant a waiver to avoid such drastic changes, at least in the commercial area where buildings are very close to the pavement.  Murray was told that is not considered a possibility.

Another councillor asked whether it would be possible for the Village to take over just the commercial area —Meadowlark Lane to Wagner Lane— and leave the remainder of State Road 448 in NMDOT ownership.  He was told Village officials had asked about that, and the response was negative.

The mayor underscored the kinds of difficulties the Village faces with continued state ownership of Corrales Road. “I asked, ‘Can we lower the speed limit?’ They said, ‘Well, sure, but we would have to do a test to see how fast people drive it now. We did this before, and the last time we found that people drive it at 40 miles an hour. So you probably don’t want us to do it.’

“They said you need to be careful what you ask for because you may end up seeing an increase in the speed limit.”

Mayor Fahey said similar problems with the highway department continuously arise in trying to implement a pathway project in the commercial area. Over the past 27 years, he said, “Everybody has tried every way they can imagine to make this happen. It’s terribly frustrating.”

The narrow right-of-way has meant no space exists for a pathway along some parts of the road in the business district, such as the historic building that juts nearly into the roadway across from Perea’s Restaurant. Early on in planning for the pathway, the idea was to shift the path from the west side of the road to the east where more unobstructed space exists, and then perhaps back again at another tight location.

But that concept also ran into NMDOT opposition. “They don’t like crosswalks,” the mayor pointed out.

Councillor Zach Burkett said NMDOT might be persuaded to relax its objections since, as it stands now, it is extremely hazardous for people to walk or bike along Corrales Road in that area.

Fahey replied the same argument is made by NMDOT officials as to why it needs to insist on its guidelines for such a “pedestrian access route” (its terminology for such a pathway). The department has insisted that the path has to be a certain width and it has to be a certain distance from the pavement. “And then you have to have a buffer space between the road and the sidewalk or path.”

After listening to the discussion and the pervasive frustration, Councillor John Alsobrook concluded “We have to help them find a way to allow this kind of thing to happen.”

ISSUE 05-07-22 INDEPENDENTS CAN VOTE IN JUNE 7 PRIMARY ELECTIONS

With party primary elections just ahead, you won’t be shut out just because you’re not registered as a Democrat, Republican or Libertarian. Come June 7, for the first time, New Mexicans who aren’t D, R or L will be allowed to vote in the primaries under new provisions in state law. Anyone who is registered to vote in the general election can temporarily switch from “decline to state” affiliation to Republican, Democrat or Libertarian to choose  candidates in one of those parties’ primaries —and immediately switch back to “independent” or “DTS” if he or she so chooses.

Corrales’ Bob Perls, founder and president of New Mexico Open Elections, held an online press conference with N.M. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver April 26 to explain how the same-day registration rules now allow any “independent” or “decline to state” voter  to participate in one of the major party primaries.

Toulouse Oliver clarified that New Mexico remains a “closed primary” state, so no one can vote in a party primary unless he or she is registered with that particular party… but the law now allows a person to register with that party on election day to get the ballot for those races. But it doesn’t mean that voter will have to remain in that party a moment longer than it takes to go online and switch back.

“We now have an option for non-major party voters to participate in these primaries for the first time ever in New Mexico,” she added. “That is because, for the first time ever, we will allow same-day voter registration not just in early voting in a County Clerk’s Office but we are also now pursuant to legislation offering the option of same-day registration in every single election day polling location.”

That means anyone who is not registered to vote or wants to update their voter registration can do so on election day where they normally vote.

“Same day registration works only at a polling place,” she added. “You can either go to your County Clerk’s office where every County Clerk’s office will have same-day registration available during early voting, or  at every polling location on election day.

“A voter will have to bring a New Mexico driver’s license or N.M. identification card issued through the Motor Vehicle Division along with any document that shows an address in the county. The voter has to come in person.”

All that’s required then is a few minutes wait for the clerk to process the registration, and then they receive their ballot to vote. “From they minute they walk in and start the voter registration process to the minute they get their ballot should not take more than five or ten minutes,” Toulouse Oliver estimated.

“Now that takes us to the interesting part of how this applies to people who are not members of any major party. Since we are a ‘closed primary’ state, you have to be a member of a major party —Democrat, Republican or Libertarian— to vote in the primary.

“However, due to the same-day registration law, Senate Bill 4, which was passed during the special session in 2020, we now have a provision that allows minor party voters and ‘decline to state’ voters the ability to change their registration using same day registration to vote in a primary,” the Secretary of State explained.

After that introduction, Perls said this change is one of a series of measures meant to decrease America’s extreme polarization. “As a former U.S. diplomat, I recognize that political polarization of the country as a national security issue.

“Our country is not functioning the way it was designed to function. If we can’t listen to each other and work with each other, our country becomes ungovernable.

“The hyper-partisanship is more than just a frustration for some people, it’s really an existential threat to America. So what my group, and other groups around the country have been doing is trying to create a system where as many eligible voters as possible can vote without barriers and therefore candidates and elected officials must reach out and listen to all voters all of the time, not just the party base.”

Perls said a continuum of electoral reform campaigns is occurring all around the country. “What Senate Bill 4 did is just a small part of that effort. What it will do is allow 25 percent of the voters in New Mexico to vote for the first time.”

As it stands now, he pointed out, 25 percent of eligible voters in this state are affiliated with minor parties, identify as independents or are citizens who “decline to state” a party affiliation —all of whom could not previously vote in primaries.

Perls was quick to concede that the change brought by SB4 did not yield an ideal result. “We still don’t have ‘open primaries,’ but let’s just use me as an example. I am a ‘decline to state’ voter. I’ll be able to walk up on primary election day, present myself as a ‘DTS’ voter and say ‘I’d like to vote.’

“I’ll have to change my party registration on the spot, which I hope will only take five or ten minutes. Let’s say I want to vote in the Democratic primary, so I’ll have to ask for the  Democratic ballot. And I won’t be able to mix-and-match. I can’t vote for some candidates on the Democratic ballot and some on the Republican or Libertarian ballot; I’ll have to choose one partisan ballot.

“At that point, I will be registered as a Democrat, and I can either stay that way after primary election day, or I can go online and re-register as a ‘decline to state’ voter.”

Perls said his nonpartisan group, New Mexico Open Elections, sees the new process as a baby step forward to help independent voters and independent candidates. The group has begun to re-focus on more sweeping electoral reforms, such as what is being implemented in Alaska.

He described that as a ‘unified primary’ in which all candidates run on the same ballot; the top four candidates advance to the general election in November where ranked choice voting is used.

A few days after his virtual press conference with the Secretary of State, Perls was interviewed by Corrales Comment about why these and future reforms are important.

Since he resigned from the U.S. Foreign Service and returned to Corrales in 2014, he has devoted much of his time and effort into reforming the American political system.

Corrales Comment: To what extent is the public’s growing lack of faith and appreciation for government a factor in the dysfunction of the political system:

Perls: “That’s a complex question, but I think the root cause of it is the decline of the middle class. There are so many people who are struggling to make a living, maybe working two or three jobs, they are so overwhelmed that it’s hard to tune into anything other than trying to feed your family. America has become much less upwardly mobile; that our middle and working classes are in decline.

“A lot of that is due to policies that are passed by parties that are very much in bed with special interests. So you take that economic piece, where people are struggling, and then this other piece, where you have these warring factions as political parties that leads to gridlock, and we see nothing getting done.”

He thinks changing how political campaigns are run and financed and how primary and general elections are organized can begin to solve those systemic problems. “I don’t think we should underestimate how we elect and finance candidates can radically change the outcome of legislation and radically change how people will perceive a legislature that functions and a Congress that functions, and a president and a governor who seem to honestly want to represent all people and not just a narrow, political elite.”

 He offered more details about how opening up New Mexico’s primaries will help.

Perls: “I am registered as an independent, and my group is scrupulously nonpartisan —or as some would say, ‘transpartisan’— but what I’m going to say now is going to sound a little more partisan, only because there are Republican state legislatures that many of your readers are aware of that are really rolling back pretty fundamental laws dealing with expanding the franchise. Those would make it harder to vote absentee, harder to vote by mail and precluding County Clerks and others from setting up ballot drop boxes. And part of that is to roll back open primaries legislation. We’re seeing that trend.”

But he sees elements of both the Republican and Democratic Parties “very uncomfortable with the idea of expanding the franchise. They’re very comfortable with having the regular voters turn out and vote regularly.

Corrales Comment: Is the number of independent voters going up in New Mexico? If so, why is that?

Perls: “The number of registered independent voters is going up dramatically in all states. It’s because people are feeling so frustrated with the warring two-party system. They feel like both major parties are primarily concerned about winning but not necessarily about governing; they’re not at all interested in compromise and coalition-building. So, it’s a major turn-off.

“When you look at all the negative campaigning and the tens of millions of dollars spent on U.S. Senate and House races, 90 percent of that money is spent on running extremely negative ads against the opponent on television and social media. One of the greatest voter suppression tools right now is negative campaigning. People just tune out; they stop listening.

“So many people de-register from the major parties and become independents.”

Perls said a well-documented result of ranked choice voting is that it decreases negative campaigning, because the candidate wants to be most voters’ first choice, but the second choice of all the other voters. “If I start trashing your first choice candidate, you’re  not going to rank me as your second choice or maybe even rank me last.”

Perls said all of the volunteer work he has done over the past six years to bolster the democratic process is meant to lead to “competitive elections so that we’re creating a system that requires candidates to talk to all voters from all walks of life all the time, and then once elected, they represent everybody.”

As it is now, he added, “90 percent of elected officials pretty much just represent the party base, whether they are Republicans or Democrats.”

In an interview April 7, 2015, Perls explained, “What I see in international relations reinforces what I see in domestic policies; that there’s not sufficient dialog between the left and the right. The great dysfunction in American politics is driven because we have politicians who don’t meet to talk to each other any more. They raise money from the far left and the far right, and that directly impacts our international relations.”

He pointed out that he had a similar view 30 years ago as he butted heads with entrenched Democratic politicians as a young State Representative for then-District 44 in 1993-97.

ISSUE 05-07-22 TASK FORCE TO RECOMMEND USES FOR PROPOSED PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

After years of vague talk about establishing a performing arts facility here, there is finally movement… and it could eventually bring the Adobe Theater back to Corrales. At the April 26 Village Council meeting, Village Administrator Ron Curry reported he will move ahead with demolition of the Jones family residence west of the post office. Presumably that is where a new facility would be built for concerts, stage productions, dance and other performances.

To gain input for what would be needed in such a structure, Mayor Jim Fahey will convene a seven-member Performing Arts Task Force to make recommendations. The council is expected to establish that task force at its May 10 session. Curry said he had spoken to a representative of the Adobe Theater who expressed interest in using such a facility. “That was a real plus, hearing from them,” Curry reported.

Actually the Adobe Theater had signaled such interest more than five years ago when it was approached about the possibility. But that was back when such a “black box” performance space was discussed for inside the old Corrales Valley Fire Station, just west of the Community Center. That has since been remodeled for the Planning and Zoning Department and Animal Services.

The renovation came after the Village Public Works Department relocated from the old fire station to the Jones family land between the post office and the recreation center’s TopForm Arena. Village officials wanted the last remnant of the Jones property to  accommodate all the Public Works heavy equipment, such as graders and dump trucks, but had little notion what to do with the family home.

From the beginning, they thought the best option was to tear the home down and use the space for another purpose. And that was what Curry relayed to the mayor and members of the council April 26, explaining that its floor plan is not conducive to public meetings or performance spaces —and it had asbestos and other toxic materials which made it unusable for public functions without expensive remediation.

The Adobe Theater was started in Corrales in the 1950s, when it was called the Corrales Adobe Theater and staged productions in the Old Church. It leased the old, de-sanctified and deteriorating church from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

At some point, the troupe staged plays in the building where Prized Possessions is now.

ISSUE 05-07-22 GLOBAL BIRD COUNT MAY 14: ARE WE LOSING FEATHERED FRIENDS?

May 14 is when bird lovers around the world will get outdoors to count. It’s also World Migratory Bird Day, for which this year’s theme is reducing night time light pollution. The first of these efforts, the bird count, is organized in the United States by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology with its website ebird.org/globalbigday. It is a global citizen science project to gather data on how birds are faring, and how they may be adapting to factors such as climate change.

Agricultural intensification, pollution, habitat destruction, insecticides, urbanization and climate change are all driving declines in bird populations, according to reports in New Scientist. Since the 1970s, 2.9 billion birds have been lost in North America alone, or 29 percent of the total population.

That data were assembled by the Cornell team and Canada’s National Wildlife Research Center.

“With three billion birds lost in North America since 1970, we are in a bird emergency —and we know that if they are in trouble, so are we,” said Sarah Greenberger, senior vice president for conservation policy, National Audubon Society. “The priority species identified by the Fish and Wildlife Service provide a common playbook for federal, state and tribal leaders as well as many other stakeholders to align their conservation investments. We will all need to work together in order to bring birds back and with them the lands and waters we all need to thrive.”  

The Cornell study found that population decline was not limited to a few species but a wide range of species across every biome. Population loss in each biome ranged from grassland bird populations suffering the greatest loss at 53 percent to eastern forest birds with the lowest loss at 17 percent.

Researchers also found that common birds from just 12 families, such as blackbirds, sparrows and finches, account for over 90 percent —or over 2.5 billion birds— of total population decline.

Other research indicates that the Piñon Jay has suffered an 80 percent decline over the last five decades.

Experts believe that habitat loss due to agricultural development and intensification is most likely the driving factor.

Readers can also help protect birds by taking a simple actions such as installing window screens or eliminating window reflections with film or paint. A 2014 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Smithsonian study found that between 365 million and one billion birds die each year across the United States as a result of window strikes. I

Another way, if you’re a cat owner, is to keep the family cat from roaming freely outside. The U.S North American Bird Conservation Initiative has estimated that our household cats kill some 2.6 billion birds annually in this country.

In 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the Birds of Conservation Concern Report, the first update published since 2008. The list includes 269 bird species, none of which are currently listed under the Endangered Species Act. By publishing this report, the USFWS aimed to set priorities and spur cooperative efforts to avoid the need for an endangered listing. 

“All of the birds in this report are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), which underscores the importance of the administration’s effort to reinstate longstanding protections under the law and drive proactive conservation before birds become endangered or threatened,” said Erik Schneider, policy manager, National Audubon Society. “Restoring and strengthening the MBTA is a key step, but we need a suite of legislative and administrative actions that can lay a foundation for more successful, collaborative conservation efforts across the board whether public or private.”  

The National Audubon Society, American Bird Conservancy, and several other groups have drafted a policy agenda that lists the kinds of actions needed. They include: 

  • Reinstate and strengthen the Migratory Bird Treaty Act through administrative and legislative action.  
  • Increase funding and coordination for federal and state wildlife agencies to address the needs of vulnerable species and landscapes they manage. 
  • Revitalize and enhance the framework for national and international conservation of migratory birds through a suite of actions to improve coordination, planning, partnerships, monitoring, research and more. 

  “Birds are an indicator of the threats we face, and the birds included in this report in particular will tell us over time if threats continue to worsen or if conservation actions are working,” said  Chad Wilsey, chief scientist with the  National Audubon Society. “Many of the birds identified in this report are facing the same threats as people, like drought, extreme weather and habitat degradation on land or at sea.” 

Cornell’s 2021 global ebird count revealed that Peru ranked number 1 for the most bird species observed: 1,361. The next two countries, Columbia and Ecuador with 1,233 and 1,130 respectively, also include Amazonian, Andean and coastal habitats.

The United States ranked 10th with 727 bird species.

ISSUE 05-07-22 SAN YSIDRO FIESTA HIGHLIGHTS STREET PROCESSION MAY 15

Corrales’ oldest recurring fiesta, honoring the community’s patron saint, San Ysidro, will return May 14-15. Saint Ysidro is known as the patron saint of farmers. A procession accompanying a statue of the saint from the Old Church to the new Catholic Church on Corrales Road will follow a 10 a.m. outdoor mass in front of the Old Church that Sunday. The procession along Old Church Road and Corrales Road will be led by the colorful  Matachines dancers.

The fiesta that follows at the parish hall behind the church will include traditional food, music, a 50-50 raffle and  a cake-walk referred to as a “sweets-walk.” An online silent auction fundraiser for the church will be conducted at sanysidroparish.org. Among the many items to be auctioned are: a chainsaw carved chair, silver candlesticks, a belt buckle,  a bow and arrow wall hanging, a clock and several gift certificates. Admission to the fiesta is free and open to the general public.Saturday events are highlighted by bingo and fiesta food arranged by the Knights of Columbus.

Corrales’ first Catholic church was built around 1750 at a site north of Dixon Road, well east of what is now Corrales Road. That adobe-terrón structure was destroyed by a flood from the Rio Grande in 1868. It was replaced by what is now known as the Old Church, well west of Corrales Road, which was, in turn replaced by the current San Ysidro Church on Corrales Road in 1962.

As in  most past years, the Sunday procession  will be led by dancers from the Bernalillo-based Matachines de San Lorenzo which has performed for more than 300 years. The dance is thought to have originated in Spain in the mid-1600s to enact the classic battle between good and evil, or more specifically, between Christianity and non-Christians.

ISSUE 05-07-22 LOMA LARGA SEWER LINE COULD SERVE WEST SIDE

Planning has started for the possibility of a gravity-operated sewer line along Loma Larga’s ditch bank that might eventually send sewage from west side homes to Albuquerque’s sewer and on to the wastewater treatment plant in the South Valley. An agreement with the City of Albuquerque would be needed. A contract to design such a sewer has not been developed, and the Village Council has yet to endorse the proposal. But at council meetings over the past six months, Public Works Director Mike Chavez has indicated, without details, that preliminary planning has gone  into the idea.

When Corrales Comment urged Chavez to more fully explain what he has in mind, he replied with the following description. “The Village of Corrales will start looking at the feasibility of a gravity sewer system. The new sewer would run from the Old Church on Old Church Road south to La Entrada, then west to Loma Larga.

“From the intersection of Loma Larga and La Entrada, it would run south along the Corrales Main Canal to the City of Albuquerque.”

Chavez said as currently envisioned, a 12-inch sewer line would receive wastewater from homes along roads that run west from Loma Larga. “We would also look at running a sewer line from Todos los Santos and Loma Larga south along Loma Larga to La Entrada to extend our service area.

“We have discussed the possibility of running even farther north, under the Harvey Jones Channel to service the Far Northwest Sector.”

He said the first step will be to produce a technical memo with which a request for proposals (RFP) would be generated.

The idea has advanced over the past three years as Village officials have grown ever more disappointed with results from the three-inch diameter pressurized sewer line along Corrales Road meant to serve the business district. Even so, the Village has moved ahead with extending that earlier system from Corrales Road to the Old Church and Casa San Ysidro Museum. Under the new concept, the small-diameter sewer  line to the Old Church would keep going south along Old Church Road to its intersection with La Entrada and then head west to Loma Larga.

Chavez said the proposed sewer line from the Old Church to La Entrada would operate by gravity, but would then be pumped westward to the Main Canal ditch bank where it would tie in to the new 10-inch line.

Increasingly, Village officials found that attractive as a bypass for the Corrales Road line at times when the earlier installed line is blocked or otherwise not functioning.

Chavez clarified that option as follows. “The sewer line along Old Church Road would connect to the existing STEP system [“septic tank effluent pressurized,” the one along the east side of Corrales Road] so we would be able to send effluent into the new sewer if need be. This would act as a bypass, and not take the place of the existing STEP system.”

Corrales’ new mayor, Jim Fahey, is thought to be supportive of such a project. As a member of the Village Council 14 years ago, he reluctantly went along with the proposal to install the STEP system we now have.

On then-Mayor Phil Gasteyer’s tie-break vote May 13, 2008, the Village Council decided to start a municipal sewer system that sent wastewater from Corrales’ business district to the South Valley sewage treatment plant. The motion to approve the contract to design it was made by then-Councillor Fahey. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXVII No.7 May 24, 2008 “Corrales Set To Send Sewage from Business District to Albuquerque.”)

Back then, the design for the liquids-only sewer line was supposed to have capacity to collect wastewater from neighborhoods east and west of Corrales. Chief among those areas were the Priestly-Coroval neighborhoods (east of the recreation center) which had been subdivided into half-acre and even quarter-acre home sites long before Corrales incorporated as a municipality and adopted laws requiring at least one-acre per dwelling.

But the planned expansion of sewer service to that high-density area has been delayed repeatedly, although Chavez said April 27 that an engineering design to accomplish it is nearly complete. “Design for a STEP system expansion to the Priestly-Coroval area is almost complete.

“When complete, we will seek funding to install the STEP system to said area. Design is for a wastewater main line only; services can be connected as they are requested.”

Other subdivisions at less than one acre include Mockingbird Lane on the east side of Corrales Road and Mountain Shadows Road west of Corrales Road. They are among more than a dozen higher density neighborhoods which eventually are supposed to be served with future wastewater main lines.

He said engineering for the Priestly-Coroval area is about 95 percent complete; once it is finished and funds are found, perhaps from the federal American Rescue Act fund, construction on the sewer main to that area might begin within a year, he estimated.

More than 30 years ago, the Village contracted with its Village Engineer, Larry Vigil,  for a study and recommendations whether it should try to build a  sewer system for the entire community or skirt the ground water pollution problem by installing a municipal water system.

Vigil recommended a water system, rather than a sewer system, because he estimated the latter would cost around $70 million.

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