Posts in Category: Article

CRIME ALERT – SLAUGHTER OF CORRALES PONY PROMPTS OUTPOURING OF DONATIONS FOR REWARD


The killing of a large pony in its corral near Cabezon Road and Caminito Alegre at the south end of Corrales late at night June 25 shocked villagers and led to a fundraising effort for a reward for information. The crime is being investigated by the N.M. Livestock Board; donations for a reward are being channeled to Crimestoppers in Albuquerque.

Donations to the “Justice for Rocky” reward fund can be sent to Corrales Horse and Mule People at https://gf.me/u/yc589h or mailed to CHAMP, PO Box 1064, Corrales NM 87048 with Justice for Rocky in the memo line.

Rocky, the Welsh pony owned by Carrie Atkins, was butchered in its pen that night and much of its meat was hauled away. “It would appear from the way the horse was butchered that it was for consumption,” a Corrales horse owner reported.

Suspicious activity around livestock pens should be reported to the Corrales Police Department’s dispatch by calling 891-7226.

The Crime Stoppers phone line is 505-843-STOP.

2020 JUNE-20 ISSUE: CORRALITOS 4-H CLUB ADAPTS TO PANDEMIC


Corralitos 4-H had “so many plans for this year and so many new members, it is really a bummer we have not been able to meet or do any of our community service projects,” reported 4-H leader Lacey Bendzus. New Mexico State University 4-H “cancelled all face-to-face 4-H activities until August 8, so we have not been able to do anything together, even with social distancing, at all,” she added. The Sandoval County Fair, a key event for Corralitos 4-H members, scheduled to run in Cuba from July 29 through August 2, has been cancelled. So organizers are creating a Virtual Livestock Show and Virtual Junior Livestock Sale.  The sale will be open to everyone.

Full details are available at: https://sandovalextension.nmsu.edu/documents /2020-virtual-show-guidelines.pdf

Entries can be filed from July 1, with everything in by July 20. Winners in assorted categories will be announced July 29, 30, 31 and August 1. Bendzus said “We are really hoping we can have a successful sale so that the kids that did decide to purchase animals will have a chance of making back some of their money.”   Used to seeing the 4-H kids on a weekly basis during the summer months, Bendzus commented that “it has been hard. I miss my 4-H family so much. Still, the kids that did still purchase their animals are working hard with them during this downtime. Their commitment to the 4-H is amazing.”

2020-JUNE-20 ISSUE: COUNCIL HEARS PLAN FOR TRAIL CONNECTIONAT TOP OF SAGEBRUSH


A long-proposed trail connection between the City of Rio Rancho’s paved Thompson Fence Line trail along the edge of the escarpment and the end of Sagebrush Drive in Corrales was presented at the June 16 Village Council meeting. The plan was explained in a Powerpoint presentation by the Corrales Bicycle, Pedestrian Advisory Commission. The council meeting was held via internet, as such meetings were over the past two months.

The commission has held discussions with Rio Rancho officials, the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority and Corrales Public Works several times over the last five years. Public Works has estimated the trail link could cost around $74,000 including engineering and installation.

“The time is now,” the commission’s presentation urged. “A Parks and Recreation survey indicated residents want opportunities to exercise outside as individuals and as families. Trail connectivity is an important tenet of the Trails Master Plan. A loop trail is a great way to enjoy our village.”

The south end of Rio Rancho’s trail terminates at Corrales’ Meadowlark Lane, although just south of that is Intel’s recently improved Skyview Trail which extends on southward to the Skyview Acres Subdivision.

“Together, they provide a three-mile path along the border between Corrales and Rio Rancho that offers sweeping views of the village and the Sandias,” the commission’s report stated. “Attempts to connect the north end to the village via Sagebrush have been ongoing for 30 years.”

It noted that “ad hoc” paths at the end of Sagebrush Drive to reach the Thompson Fence Line Trail have existed for years across private property. Now an opportunity to build the long-proposed trail connection can be achieved using Village-owned land adjacent to the cul de sac at the end of Sagebrush. “The Village owns the land on which the potential trail connection would be constructed,” the Powerpoint says. “Nearby lots are for sale. We have an agreement among current neighbors that the connection is a good idea. Benefits are significant: health, quality of life, potential economic boos for local businesses.”

The commission’s introduction notes that “the idea of a loop trail around Corrales was first imagined in the 1980s. Rio Rancho completed the Thompson Fence Line Trail, and Intel built their trail in the 1990s.

“A few years ago, a lot in that area that would serve as a t rail connection was deeded to the Village from the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority. Mike Chavez, Village Public Works director, viewed the possible connection, indicating it was doable and providing cost estimates. This link is on the Master Trails Plan.”

The commission seeks a commitment from the mayor and Village Council to proceed with the trail connection when funding becomes available.

2020 – JUNE 20 ISSUE: EL PORTAL BUILDING GETS HISTORIC PLAQUE


What may be Corrales’ most iconic historic commercial building, El Portal, now has a plaque proclaiming it. A blue plaque was attached to the facade by the Corrales Historical Society in early June. Research indicates it was built as a two-room trading post around 1860. Over the years, the building has been used as a general store, dance hall, Sunday afternoon poker venue, art gallery, community theater and coffee house. The U-shaped structure at 4686 Corrales Road, adjacent to the elementary school property, is known locally as “El Portal.” It’s historical name is the Lopez Building, after Octaviano Lopez who bought it from Jennie Weiner in 1910.

Corrales Historical Society records trace the building’s owners and uses over the years. “With the exception of Kris Dale’s completion of a partial second-story addition during the late 1970s, the Lopez Building has not changed significantly since 1927.”

“Earl Works ran a grocery store here after World War II where locals would often convene for a Sunday afternoon of poker. The Adobe Theater used the north hall for a while. In the 1960s, David Dale bought the building and called it the ‘House of Maya.’” Dale also bought the building on the other side of Corrales Road which today is still known as “Mercado de Maya.”

“As he and his wife raised their family here, they leased parts of the building for an art galley and coffee house in the early 1970s.” Architect designer Gay Wilmerding bought the building in 1983 and undertook a major restoration that included installing interior beams and posts to relieve weight on the original adobe or terrón walls. El Portal is now owned by Mike and Adriana Foris who bought it from Wilmerding in 2004.

“Gay won an award for historic preservation/restoration of the building,” Mike Foris recalled.  “Recently we converted the entire building to a heat pump system such that each suite has refrigerated air conditioning as well as an upgraded heating system.  Previously it had evaporative cooling and radiant heat panels.  This has significantly reduced the building's electrical demand, a savings which we have passed on to our tenants.

“We installed a mini-split system which allows each tenant to control the temperature of their suite and which had a minimal impact to the esthetics of the building, which was a major consideration when we did the upgrade.  “The building is fully occupied and almost all of our tenants have been with us for a number of years.”

2020 – JUNE 20 ISSUE: RIVER FLOATERS RUN BIG RISK; MORE CALLS FOR CORRALES RESCUE


The call of the cool waters of the Rio Grande recently has brought to its shores people launching swimming pool floats… flotation devices utterly unsuitable for river rafting. Some haven’t worn life vests, something required by state law. The result? Urgent calls to Corrales Fire Department and Rio Rancho Fire and Rescue, who aided people who had become stranded or injured while attempting to float down the river. The combined efforts of Corrales and Rio Rancho personnel rescued two people May 7, one of whom had a minor injury, and five people on June 2.

Corrales Commander Tanya Latin reported that although the water flow in the river has yet to reach peak run-off flows, the Rio Grande still poses a significant danger to boaters, rafters and swimmers. That’s especially true for people not using kayaks, canoes, actual rafts or shallow-bottom boats, for example, since those crafts are created for use in moving water, usually equipped with paddles or oars for steering around obstacles.

If you cannot steer, you are more likely “to be hung up on trees or caught in hidden debris under the water,” Lattin said. Fire-rescue personnel from both Corrales and Rio Rancho have witnessed many people using the river not only with inappropriate flotation devices, but also without wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs) or life jackets.

Rafters and others are risking injury or death by not wearing those. When rescuers reach the river, they are often faced with adults and frightened children hanging on to branches of downed trees, or stuck on a sandbar, unable to cross the moving water. Firefighters often must deploy boats and kayaks to shuttle them to safety on shore. In extreme situations, rescue personnel may have to swim to victims, which puts these first responders in danger.

“People underestimate the power of water,” said Paul Bearce, fire chief for Rio Rancho. “Even moderate flow rates can knock down an adult and hold them under the water,” he added.

Recreational swimming in the river is firmly discouraged. You can be caught and dragged under the water by the current, and torn up by debris hidden below. Both departments have responded to injured boaters this year, and recovered drowned bodies in years past.

As Corrales Fire Chief Anthony Martinez put it, “While my crews have had to assist seven people to safety so far this season, all of whom were using pool floats, you can still end up needing to be rescued.”

Even if wearing a life vest and paddling a kayak, stay alert, note the flow of the river and also observe the river-mile markers along the Rio Grande’s west bank, from the Highway 550 bridge, south through Albuquerque. Knowing your location on the river if you need to call for assistance greatly helps responders locate you.

2020 – JUNE 20 ISSUE: CLARA MAXAM HEADS FOR CAREER IN VETERINARY


A career in veterinary medicine and/or research awaits a young Corraleña who reigned as New Mexico’s “Miss Rodeo Teen 2017.” Clara Maxam’s interests led to a summer project with Los Alamos National Laboratories studying the effects of the lab’s work on wildlife in the area. That was during her first year at New Mexico State University, from which she recently graduated with concentrations in animal sciences, chemistry and horse management.

In subsequent NMSU years, she was a paid research assistant, which led to a Howard Hughes Medical Institute scholarship for gifted students in biomedical sciences. Maxam is now enrolled in Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Pullman, Washington.

Her career has included an internship at a wildlife sanctuary in Ecuador, as well as a presenter-delegate spot at the Women in Economics Forum in New Delhi, India. As president of NMSU’s pre-vet club, she facilitated members’ visits to the Veterinary Teaching  Hospital at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins. Maxam graduated from Sandia Preparatory School in 2016. She is the daughter of Garth and Barb Maxam of Applewood Road.

2020 – JUNE 20 ISSUE: COMPETITOR TO CENTURY LINK OFFERS BROADBAND SERVICES


Nearly two years ago, Village officials signed an agreement with a rival to Century Link, Unite Private Networks (UPN), which was supposed to offer better, cheaper broadband service to Corrales businesses. So far, no businesses here have taken UPN up on the offer. In fact, it’s not clear the offer was ever actually extended.

In June 2018, a UPN representative and its attorney drew up a franchise agreement that would allow the 20 year old Kansas City firm to use the Village’s right-of-way along Corrales Road to lay fiber cable in the road shoulder to reach Corrales Elementary School.

UPN has a contract with Albuquerque Public Schools to connect its schools to the internet with high-speed broadband service. That was accomplished in Corrales, but since then, the only other client UPN has added is the ARCA La Paloma facility on East La Entrada.

Contacted by Corrales Comment June 11, the firm’s regional sales director, Josanne Cossio, explained “We have fiber to an ARCA location and Corrales Elementary. We have spoken to some business folks, but no takers thus far. We would love to change that.”

She did not reply to q uestions about the cost and reliability of such service. In presentations to the mayor and Village Council in summer 2018, UPN assured that better, more affordable broadband service would be available to all businesses in Corrales’s commercial district. UPN does not provide service to residences.

“UPN provides high bandwidth, fiber-based communications network services to schools, governments, carriers, data centers, hospitals and enterprise business customers across a 22 state service area,” the company’s web site explains. “Service offerings include dark and lit fiber, private line, metro optical ethernet, internet access, data center services and other customized solutions.”

The franchise agreement signed with the Village of Corrales included a provision that UPN would pay the Village a fee of four percent of its annual gross revenues from cust omers here, but not less than $6,000 a year. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXVII No.12 August 25, 2018 “Franchise Approved For Century Link Rival.”)

The franchise agreement with the Village will continue through mid-2023. It was essentially written by an attorney for Unite Private Networks LLC (UPN). But at the council meeting, Councillor George Wright wanted it changed to require that UPN provide the Village Office with free high-speed internet access.

But some councillors balked at that idea, because imposition of that demand significantly altered the deal. Councillor Dave Dornburg objected to inserting that requirement for franchise approval at this stage; he made a motion to postpone approval of the franchise until the Village negotiated that with UPN.

His motion to postpone a vote on Ordinance 18-005 regarding the franchise failed.
Then Dornburg joined all the other councillors in voting to approve the ordinance as written, while urging the mayor to try to persuade UPN to provide free high-speed internet access for the Village Office. That approach, councillors said, would give the firm “the opportunity to demonstrate their stated intention to be of assistance to the community.”

Councillors were very receptive to a presentation by the firm’s representatives June 12, 2018 especially upon hearing that more revenue would likely flow to the Village, and with fewer hassles from Century Link.

Then-Village Administrator Suanne Derr reported that more fees might be coming. “The Village anticipates entering into future franchise agreements with at least two other companies who want to use Village right-of-way for their optic or network expansions,” she wrote in her report to the mayor and councillors.

Winter told the mayor and council in June that UPN will comply fully with terms of its franchise. Without going into details, Village officials indicated they have had ongoing disputes with Century Link.

Winter pointed out that the more business customers UPN takes away from Century Link, the more revenue will flow to the Village of Corrales. The company said it expects to soon have 500 miles of fiber network encompassing the entire metropolitan area.

2020 – JUNE 20 ISSUE: 4TH OF JULY PARADE IS ON! BUT NOT ON CORRALES ROAD


As the coronavirus spreads deeper into Corrales, and around New Mexico, the Village of Corrales has cancelled its planned Fourth of July parade. Mayor Jo Anne Roake announced the cancellation June 30, after saying in her June 26 “Mayor’s Message” that a modified parade would be held.

As of July 1, twenty Corralenos had come down with COVID-19. In Sandoval County the tally was 728 resulting in 29 deaths. Statewide, 12,147 people had tested positive for the disease, and rates were rising rapidly presumably caused by relaxation of measures meant to control its spread, such as gradual re-opening of businesses. Under the governor’s orders, certain closures were reinstated.

As of July 1, experts were predicting that medical research is “about one-third of the way” toward delivery of a coronavirus vaccine. “The brightest minds in the world are in this fight, and they are moving with an incredible sense of urgency,” said researcher Michelle McMurry-Heath, president of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

2020 JUNE 6 ISSUE: MERCANTILE RESUMES PLANT SALES, SUPPLIES


Plant and shrub suppliers may not be going to hell in a handcart, an apt phrase derived from the dumping of the dead in carts during the plague in London in the 1600s, but they seem increasingly to be going to hemp growing, according to people close to the operations of the Village Mercantile. That means at a time when many more people are turning to gardening, a pandemic pastime on the rise, plants are harder not only to keep in stock, but harder to source.
“Hemp and hemp products are increasingly in demand,” said one gardener. “And they must be bringing in more revenue than tomato starts.”

“Business is booming in the garden center, especially as customers can walk around fairly safely and look at what we have,” a villager affirmed. “And right now, demand for geraniums is high,” especially as the La Paloma greenhouse of ARCA, once a local source of geraniums, was forced to close, due to N.M. Department of Health regulations. Its annual late April geranium sale was cancelled, so ARCA apparently gave away or tossed out many plants.

“The Merc was not even allowed to pick them up,” said a source with regret. Trees of Corrales recently delivered about 350 perennials to the Mercantile, including native plants. And a local grower said, “The garden center was slammed, immediately.” Color is prized, “to brighten up yards,” with plants such as impatiens, cosmos and zinnias favored. So are vegetable starts like lettuces, peppers, tomatoes and herbs, along with seeds.

Suppliers in Farmington, Las Cruces and Corrales grow and deliver most of the plants currently sold in the Mercantile, whose employees scramble to get products up, priced and on display before eager gardeners swoop in on them. But, at least gardeners can access much of what they need. Park your car, put on your mask and stroll, with appropriate distancing, through the outdoor garden center. Place your choices on the table near the door, call the store at 897-9328, give them your credit card information and then await delivery to your vehicle. Or, with more restrictions lifted, put on a mask and go inside. And should you need or want a comfortable mask, one that carries the Village Mercantile logo, and also contains an inner pocket for a filter, you can order one on the company website. The first batch sold out almost immediately.

>2020 JUNE 6 ISSUE: CONGRESS CONSIDERS FEDERAL LOAN FORGIVENESS BILL

2020 JUNE 6 ISSUE: MAYOR SENDS PRELIMINARY BUDGET UP FOR APPROVAL


As instructed by the N .M. Department of Finance and Administration in Santa Fe, Village officials have submitted the same preliminary municipal budget for the coming fiscal year as it has for this year. Village government’s projection for revenues during the fiscal year that starts July 1 is a repeat of that for FY 2019-2020 —despite the nationwide economic collapse in March-April.

Part of the rationale is expected financial relief from the federal government for local governments. The Village Council adopted a preliminary budget for FY 2020-21 at its May 26 session.

Revenues for Village government are projected at $5,368,050 for the general fund while expenditures were expected to be $5,103,878. That preliminary budget anticipates $3,051.255 in revenue from various kinds of gross receipts tax.

Presumably, the collapse of retail sales (which yield gross receipts tax) due to closures related to the coronavirus pandemic will have recovered by the time the new fiscal year gets under way.

Property tax paid to the Village is projected at $1,623,193 during FY 2020-21. The preliminary budget had to be submitted to Santa Fe by May 31. The final budget is due June 30.

2020 JUNE 6 ISSUE: COMMERCIAL ROUND UP; SOME BOOM, SOME BUST

The ups and downs and in and outs of Corrales businesses and owners is as fluid as ever, perhaps even more so given the pandemic. Some places are slowly reopening, under the latest guidelines from Governor Lujan Grisham. Others are moving largely online, at least for the foreseeable future.

A plan is under way to get signs reading “Mask Wearing Required for Entry” for Corrales businesses that request them. Fire Department Commander Tanya Lattin and Mayor Jo Anne Roake are working on the idea to help proprietors gain compliance among their customers for an action still in place throughout the state. The sign wording has not yet been finalized.

Del Rio Plaza at 4436 Corrales Road has lost at least two tenants in recent months, with Laura Balombini moving her Red Paint Studio out, and Karleen Talbott of Talbott Auctions “reconstructing my business without a retail store front.” To contact Talbott email talbott@talbottauctions.com.

Balombini has set up shop at her home, and recently participated in a project called Art Gone Viral, presented by Rio Grande Festivals. This essentially presented a lineup of artists, showing off their work online, and allowed sales as well as interaction with each one. http://www.riograndefestivals.com

As Balombini wrote, “Now that the gallery is empty, cleaned and closed, I settle back into my tiny studio work space in a garden shed in the back yard. Houses in New Mexico very seldom have basements or attics so storage space is at a premium. Luckily many collectors and friends purchased work on sale as I made videos as I was packing up the gallery… so less to store.”

For the time being Balombini does not plan to take on a new physical studio. As she put it, “This virus could have us in a muddle for quite a long time so planning anything long term is quite difficult and not prudent.” You can contact her regarding paintings and other works via redpaintstudio art@gmail. Her reimagined women’s clothing line is for sale on Etsy under Coraline’s Closet.

Repercussions of the pandemic’s sensible self-isolating dictates persuaded Denise Stramel and Keith Buderus, owners of the Corrales bed-and-breakfast, Chocolate Turtle, that “the hospitality business was not coming back any time soon,” and so they sold the building that was Chocolate Turtle to a private homeowner. They decided it was not sensible to “stay in business for another six years in order to make up for one lost year,” and so will move to Rio Rancho, close enough to stay involved in Corrales activities, including the Harvest Festival, still scheduled for September 26 and 27.

One thing the pandemic apparently has stimulated is an interest in cooking, although Jane Butel of Jane Butel Cooking Classes reports that she hasn't given a class since March 12. She did “go ahead with face masks for the barbecue class with only four participants, instead of two classes of 12 last year.” A July “Chiles and Chocolate” class has had a number of cancellations also, “but I have decided to go ahead and give it.” Butel says she “honors any class to be rescheduled with no fee.”

Even a long planned cooking and eating trip to Oaxaca, Mexico rescheduled for September 15-21 has taken a hit. “All ten of the Corrales people who signed up have cancelled, but I still have five people and maybe will get a few more,” said Butel. Contact her at 243-2622 or via info@janebutelcooking.com.

Another pursuit revved up in pandemic weeks is biking. Stevie Kuenzler of Stevie’s Happy Bikes took some time off after the recent deaths of his parents, but now is happy to tackle your broken down bike, or possibly even find you a reasonable replacement.

“My main focus now is on my family, on my own biking, and on helping people out as I can.” He says he is not intent on drumming up big business, and is enjoying time with his 12-year-old. And, he points out, due to the surge in biking, the biggest regional supplier of bike parts, based in Denver, is “completely sold out of everything.” All they stock is made in China.

However, working out of his home garage, Kuenzler says he still is well supplied with gear. All work must be done by appointment, all payments done in cash or by check. You can call or text him at 450-8366.

Pandemically homebound people also are looking around at their “stuff,” and wondering if grandmother’s old china cabinet is worth keeping, especially as grown children seem less interested in things than their elders were. Consignment shop Et Cetera’s owner Beth Salazar said she “couldn’t wait to reopen June 1” and had been sanitizing and cleaning for hours ahead of time. Located at 4514 Corrales Road, Et Cetera is now open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 10 a .m. to 3 p.m., with Wednesdays open by appointment only. Call 899-0287. Closed Sundays.

Prized Possessions’ jeweler Janet Pugh reports self-isolation has resulted in her damaging a tendon in her leg, but more positively, producing a major inventory of items, including 168 pairs of her button jewelry. “We were down to 50,” when COVID-19 hit. Pugh’s daughter Julie DeVault, with whom she runs the business, thinks a show like Downton Abbey is good for business, and that younger people do discover that Ikea furniture falls apart. “Some of them realize that one good piece is worth having.”

DeVault is sending out photos of new jewelry by Pugh, and also doing sales involving regular trips to the Corrales Post Office. “I wait in the car until the idiots with no masks leave,” she said, clearly irritated not only by that, but also by the lack of financial support for small businesses like theirs. “Fifty-two businesses owned by people I know in Albuquerque have closed, maybe forever.”

The “little loans” that do come in are high interest, according to DeVault, and prices charged small businesses for masks and hand sanitizers are higher than those for the big box stores. DeVault also reported Prized Possessions had been inundated with calls from scammers, with calls from supposed customers wanting major discounts, and such.

While the shop at 4534 Corrales Road may reopen this month, the notion of opening and then having to close down again with a resurgence of the virus is daunting. Both Pugh and DeVault are grateful for their regular customers, even those from out of state, however, and will continue to sell through the US Mail. Get in touch at 899-4800.

Eateries like Corrales Bistro are entertaining customers judiciously on their outdoor deck, while coffee people are now sitting outdoors imbibing at Candlestick’s Coffee Roasters, but Las Ristras Restaurant in that same location, at 4940 Corrales Road, thus far has shown no signs of reopening.

Alas, ExNovo reports the “amended patio order” laid out by the governor May 26 does not cover them, but still, Ex Novo Corrales celebrated its one year anniversary May 24, and is collaborating with a Brooklyn brewery to raise funding for beer industry types affected adversely by the pandemic. They remain open noon to 6 p.m. for beer pickup.

Corrales Bosque Gallery at 4685 Corrales Road in Mercado de Maya has revamped its online shop substantially. Take a look at https://corralesbosquegallery.com/store. Their website suggests a possible reopening after June 15. Thus far, its neighbor, Corrales Fine Arts, appears closed. Call 818-7919 for more info. Ambiente looks as if it is getting ready to reopen in the Mercado but no confirmation as yet.

Two large “For Sale” signs have gone up fairly recently, one in front of the former Kim Jew Photography studio building on Corrales Road, which had housed assorted small businesses in the past months. The name on the sign is Roger Cox and Associates, with Will Stribling noted as well. A new sign is in place where the former thrift shop sat, too.

A definite new business is installed where Coddiwomple once vended its wares. Coddiwomple’s Kristen Wilcox-Hatch said she sold much of her inventory to Circle Round, which now inhabits her former space. Coddiwomple is selling entirely online at https://coddiwompleshoppe.com or by phone at 897-8109.

Circle Round, opened on or about April 15 by a therapist who had worked with Wilcox-Hatch, then was hit by the pandemic, then reopened May 16. Timing is all. See http://www.circleroundnm.com/ Info via 897-7004. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

>2020 JUNE 6 ISSUE: CHILD CARE IS ESSENTIAL ACT

2020 JUNE 6 ISSUE: SWAINSON’S HAWKS HAVE HUNTED HERE FOR YEARS


The Swainson’s Hawk now residing in the Corrales Bosque Preserve was finally satisfied with tree-top real estate conditions here. As reported in a front-page article and photograph in May 9 issue, a Swainson’s Hawk has been documented as having nested in the Corrales bosque. Hawks Aloft Director Gail Garber said May 1 that “the most exciting thing just happened today: a large nest we have been watching for years now has a Swainson’s Hawk.

“That is the first documented Swainson’s Hawk that we’ve found in the Corrales Bosque. I’m super-excited about this.” It was spotted by Joan Hashimoto, a long-time Hawks Aloft collaborator. It is much larger than the more common Cooper’s Hawk. At least one other Corrales birder has captured excellent photos of Swainson’s Hawks here previously.

“I’ve never recognized a Swainson’s nest in the bosque, but I’ve seen the hawks every year multiple times since 2016,” Guy Clark told Corrales Comment May 17 after seeing the May 9 article and photo. He finds them to be beautiful birds. “Red Tailed Hawks have a fierce-looking face, but Swainson’s have beautiful faces.”  The large raptor Garber and Hashimoto saw has taken over a long-vacant, deteriorating nest at the top of a tree close to the levee. In weeks before, they had noticed that new sticks had been added to the old nest, so they were expecting a new occupant.

It’s at the top of a tall cottonwood where it likely will be invisible from the ground once the tree is fully leafed out, Garber said. She had suspected larger hawks might be visiting the preserve here, but could never determine which. “The reason, I think, is that the nests are so well hidden in the tops of the trees.”

This year, the new hawk was spotted in the improved nest before the cottonwoods had fully leafed out. Garber said the Swainson’s Hawk spends part of the year in Argentina, some 6,000 miles away, migrating round trip every year. Among raptors, Swainson’s are among the last to arrive in New Mexico in the spring, Garber added.

“During the spring, they feed their young the same things the other raptors feed theirs. They eat lizards, snakes and other birds and small mammals and things like that. But when the grasshoppers bloom in the summer, they switch their diet to almost exclusively grasshoppers. So their nests are generally adjacent to open fields because that’s where they would find the insects they would normally eat. In the fall, when the grasshoppers die, they migrate back to Argentina, leaving here by September."

2020 JUNE 6 ISSUE: ROMERO ROAD ENTRANCE TO PRESERVE GETS MAKEOVER


Memorial Day weekend visits to the Corrales Bosque Preserve led to restrictions to prevent forest fires and the Fire Department’s lack of access to respond to emergencies. “Over the past several weeks, the Corrales Bosque parking lots at both Siphon Road and Romero Road have been filled with cars, and not all of the people in those cars have been parking in appropriate areas,” The Fire Department’s Tanya Lattin said.

“They have been blocking emergency access gates, the road, and even are parking at ‘No Parking’ signs. This has blocked emergency personnel,  animal control officers and Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District personnel from entering.” The Siphon Road parking area was improved to help eliminate the issues with cars, but people still are not following the rules, she reported. With increased activity, emergency responses have also increased and the responders must be able to get to the area.

Lattin noted that “As we get hotter and drier, we must also be able to get fire personnel in not only to patrol, but to access the bosque if there is a fire. The Corrales police have increased their patrolling of the areas and have issued parking citations, with no improvement in the blocking of the areas.”

The Village has also received reports of gatherings of more than five people from citizens who are out enjoying the preserve as a safe place to maintain physical fitness with appropriate social distancing.   A decision was made May 19 to close the gates to the parking areas at both Siphon Road and Romero Road entrances. The Bosque Preserve itself is not closed.

Vehicles should not be parked at the two areas. Walk, ride your horse, or bicycle to one of the bosque entrances.

2020 JUNE 6 ISSUE: SANDIA PUEBLO, CORRALES COORDINATE BOSQUE EFFORT


By Scott Manning

The Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission and Sandia Pueblo are in talks to collaborate on bosque maintenance efforts.

According to Fire Chief Anthony Martinez, collaboration between the Village of Corrales and Sandia Pueblo would consist of dialogue between the two parties to coordinate bosque maintenance and to secure more funding.

Martinez has plans for several bosque maintenance projects this year. First, he intends to complete maintenance work on pre-existing fuel breaks in the preserve. This entails removing new plant growth to preserve the integrity of the fuel breaks.
Second, dead trees and vegetation must be removed from the bosque to reduce fire danger and to improve recreation on the hiking trails. This cleared wood is in turn sold to local Pueblos in need. Third, to improve the health of the ecosystem, workers must remove invasive Ravenna grass.

Sandia Pueblo has many of the same concerns to address on the east of the river.  Firefighting efforts during a fire can involve both the Corrales and Sandia Pueblo because a fire on one side of the river could jump the river and spread to the other riverbank. Given these shared interests, Martinez suggests that collaboration with Sandia Pueblo provides a new opportunity for coordinated bosque maintenance efforts.

Collaboration would mainly consist of regular dialogue between the Village of Corrales and Pueblo officials. By improving communication, the parties would be able to coordinate management plans and resources and discuss the effectiveness of bosque maintenance efforts. This kind of coordination would allow all parties involved to maximize their limited resources and limited personnel.

Martinez said that under a collaborative plan Sandia Pueblo and the Village of Corrales would still be responsible for maintenance in their respective regions of the bosque; proponents of the plan only intend to organize efforts, not shift maintenance responsibilities.

A collaborative management plan would also make the parties more competitive for state and federal grants to fund operations. Martinez explained that grants often reward maintenance projects that serve larger regions. By working together, the parties working on bosque maintenance will be eligible for a greater array of federal funding opportunities.

Martinez says that these avenues of funding are critical for bosque maintenance efforts. For the past few years, the village of Corrales has been fortunate to receive yearly funding from New Mexico State Department of Forestry. Some of this funding is allocated to help the Corrales Fire Department perform maintenance and fire prevention in the bosque. For example, this past year workers used funding to test out a tractor to remove Ravenna grass in place of traditional shovel work.

For the collaboration to come to fruition, other groups must be involved in the decision-making process. The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District regulates much of the bosque, and any collaborative plan would involve the district. In early 2020 the two parties began initial communication, and Martinez is confident that the village of Corrales will continue to collaborate with Sandia Pueblo. But since March the COVID-19 crisis has stalled collaboration efforts, and the parties will need to reconnect.

Martinez plans to re-connect with Sandia Pueblo over the summer so that the parties can prepare for grant proposals in the fall. No maintenance work can be done during the summer months when birds are nesting, meaning that the fall is also a promising time to begin coordinating maintenance efforts.

Martinez says that the Village has a responsibility to make the preserve safe for Corrales residents and safe for local wildlife in the ecosystem.

2020 JUNE 6 ISSUE: AARON GJULLIN REPLACES SHANNON FRESQUEZ AS CLERK

Although Mayor Jo Anne Roake declined to explain the departure of former Village Clerk Shannon Fresquez, Aaron Gjullin has been hired to replace her. Gjullin has been assisting Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Siverts over the past two years. He started working at the rec center as a life guard at the pool in 2008. In 2017, he was named head life guard. Gjullin earned a degree at the University of Portland after studying biology and mathematics. In the Portland area, he was general manager of a large farm from 2014 to 2017.

In 2018, he was an administrative assistant in the Village Office. In recent years, he has also managed the Village’s website and other digital media tasks.
He applied for the position of Village Clerk on May 22. At the May 26 Village Council meeting, discussion about Fresquez’s departure was guarded and brief, since it was said to be a personnel matter.

Councillor Kevin Lucero asked for some discussion about the change, saying he was concerned about the rate of turnover in the Village Clerk position. “I want to make sure that none of my comments, in any way, shape or form, are derogatory to Aaron. I know he’s smart and everything about him. These comments are specifically about the Village Clerk.

“For whatever reasons, this particular dismissal has caught a little traction, with me anyway. I’ve had several conversations, some were emails, from around the village who are kinda wondering why the turnover is the way it is.

“I don’t like to see turnover, and probably nobody does, but with this particular position, we have to consider the amount of experience that has left [Village government]. Granted, personnel issues are always very tough and I understand that. I know there may be some issues that can’t be discussed in this forum, but maybe in a closed session,” Lucero added.

“I think it would be appropriate if we at least got everything clarified and out in the open so that I can discuss with people who are coming to me [about the turnover], that we should maybe postpone the approval of the appointment of the Village Clerk upon discussion in a closed session.” Lucero said the discussion should include Village personnel turnover generally. “This has nothing to do with Aaron; I know he’s a smart guy and I’m sure he will do a great job.” Mayor Jo Anne Roake interrupted him. “You should be kinda careful on this issue, okay?”

She asked Village Attorney Randy Autio to join the discussion. He said he understood the mayor’s concern about the discussion Lucero initiated. “Everybody is always concerned about situations like this.” But the mayor’s choice of Gjullin to replace Fresquez is uncomplicated, he said. “Councillors can act with their vote. In other words, you either support the mayor in the person’s appointment or not.”

Lucero ended the discussion by pointing out, “It’s not that I don’t want to support the mayor. I just want to ask some questions that have been posed to me, and maybe not with this particular position, but just in general. It’s just that I would like to get some of this cleared up before we move forward.”
At the vote to approve Gjullin’s appointment to replace Fresquez, Lucero joined in the unanimous assent.

2020 JUNE 6 ISSUE: SPECIAL SESSION STARTS JUNE 18; FISCAL HURT MAY NOT BE SO BAD


A special session of the N.M. legislature convenes June 18 to address impacts of the pandemic-related economic collapse on the State budget. “At the state level, it’s not as dire as you may think,” State Representative Daymon Ely said May 28. A big part of the discussion will center on grants that may come from the federal government to aid stricken state budgets.

“My concern is not this fiscal year or next fiscal year… it’s the fiscal year after that. The federal delegation is very optimistic that we’re going to get that money. If we’re able to get that support, we will be fine.”

Corrales’ State Representative said in a May 28 virtual “town hall”meeting called by Mayor Jo Anne Roake that N.M. state government is in better shape than neighboring states. “Arizona and Utah are in much worse shape statewide than we are.”

Even so, the House District 23 representative said, local governments could find themselves in dire straits. He said already the City of Santa Fe “is $100 million in the red.”

When State legislators convene later this month they will likely pull back into the State treasury any appropriations from previous sessions that have not already been spent or encumbered. “Money not spent is coming back.

“But the truth is, we put aside a 26 percent reserve. The State has never done that before, not in those kinds of numbers. So roughly $1.9 billion were set aside within the budget that has not been spent. For this fiscal year ending June 30, we’ll be $400 million in the red and a lot of that is going to come back in capital outlay not spent.

“And for next fiscal year, we’re going to do a combination of cutting and using the ‘rainy day’ fund. I think we’ll get there.” Ely said the session may be conducted by Zoom, using interactive computer screens, although the opening day will almost certainly be in person in the Round House. He thought the entire session may be finished within four days.

2020 – JUNE 6 ISSUE: CANDIDATES PREPARE FOR NOVEMBER

With party primary elections behind us, will victors’campaigns leading to November rachet up vicious attacks or adopt the anti-coronavirus refrain “We’re All In This Together?”

Top-of-ticket outcomes were known before polls closed even on the East Coast, so Joe Biden will challenge Donald Trump in the general elections. While primary elections elsewhere around the country captured some Mexicans’ attention, intense focus was on which candidates will face off to take Congressman Ben Ray Lujan’s seat in Washington. And State Senator John Sapien’s seat in the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.

In the Democrats’ primary for New Mexico’s Third Congressional District, replacing Lujan, Teresa Leger Fernandez won. In the Republic primary, the race was neck-and-neck with Alexis Johnson and Harry Montoya at midnight.

In the N.M. Senate District 9 race to fill in behind John Sapien, Democrat Brenda McKenna led with more votes than Kevin Lucero and Ben Rodefer. All three are Corrales residents.

In the Republican primary, John Clark bested Bridget Condon and Tania Dennis in late night tallies. For N.M. House District 23, incumbent Democrat Daymon Ely had no challenger, so he will face the Republican winner, Ellis McMath. Similarly, the incumbent in House District 44, Jane Powdrell-Culbert had no challenger. Only one Democrat, Gary Tripp, ran in the primary and only one Libertarian, Jeremy Myers, signed up for that race.

The Sandoval County Commission District 2 race was also a peaceful affair. Incumbent Republican Jay Block had no challenger; nor did Democrat Leah Michelle Ahkee-Baczkiewicz. Running to be the Democratic Party’s candidate for Sandoval County Clerk were Anne Brady-Romero, Bob Perls and Pete Salazar. Ahead at midnight was Brady-Romero, with Salazar and Perls trailing.

The Republican running for County Clerk, Lawrence Griego, had no challenger. In the Sandoval County Treasurer’s race, Democrat Jennifer Taylor led Ronnie Sisneros, while Benay Ward led Carlos Sanchez in the Republican primary.

2020 – JUNE 6 ISSUE: MAYOR ANNOUNCES PLAN FOR REOPENING FACILITIES

Aligning with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s pandemic reopening strategy, Mayor Jo Anne Roake released a plan to restart the local economy and return to normal operations at Village facilities.

“The Village is committed to helping our government and businesses reopen in a safe, responsible manner, recognizing that public health and safety is always our number one priority. Our goal is to return to normal government and economic activity, when deemed safe to do so, while taking steps to protect the public,” she announced May 15.

Local factors that will be involved in reopening decisions, she said, include:
• The trajectory of positive cases in Sandoval County;
• Statistics of data related to positive cases, particularly as it relates to our ZIP code 87048 and those close to us in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque;
• Current local conditions and the governor's directives; and
• Awareness that many workers come from larger populated areas to work in our businesses and in our government.
She said portable hand washing stations will be installed along Corrales Road for our guests and locals and stand-alone hand sanitizer stations would be available as appropriate.
Roake said the Village will adhere to all current directives from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state health officials.
The mayor’s plan urges residents and visitors to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, wash and sanitize hands and limit travel outside home.

Phase one:
• Village personnel will continue to work through modified operational processes currently in place to serve citizens. The Village will follow health and safety and CDC guidelines and protect our employees. Village Hall will continue to be closed to the public. Citizens will be able to conduct business online and by phone.
• Public meetings will continue as defined by the Attorney General guidelines and will be conducted via teleconference.

Phase two:
• Village staff will be back to work but continue to limit public access to our facilities. We will follow the Governor's health orders for safeguarding employees, while continuing to provide services to the public through phone, online, and by email. Certain in-person meetings may also be permitted by appointment only and by following social distancing practices.

Phase three:
• The Village plans to reopen Village Hall, with some modifications to protect visitors and employees from the spread of COVID-19.
People will have to enter the building through the main entry doors, and only two customers will be allowed at the payment and Planning and Zoning areas at a time. There will be no waiting in the lobby area, and overflow waiting will be outside.
• The Village recommends visitors to Village Hall wear gloves and a mask.
•Appointments will be required to meet with Village staff members, and customers are encouraged to utilize online services or mail to conduct business with the Village.
• Public meetings may resume in person.
• B&Bs, phases one and two - no rentals to out of state visitors.
• Parks and Rec, phases one and two - limit gatherings to ten people or less
• Maintain social distancing when allowable
• Benches and other high traffic areas will be sanitized daily
• Outdoor restrooms will be sanitized daily
• Play equipment will remain closed until otherwise stated
• Tennis courts will be limited to four people at a time If full, time limits will be set on players so that others may use the courts. Entrance gate will be sanitized daily
• Liam Knight Pond is not a state park and will be considered as a Parks and Recreation facility. That means it falls under the statement above and will remained closed until allowed to open. When allowed to open: maintain social distancing protocol; benches will be limited to one person each; capacity limits (20 persons); benches will be sanitized daily
• Corrales Swimming Pool: We are unable to get our annual inspection and a permit to operate until the Environmental Department gets approval from the state to resume operation. Until that time, the pool will remain closed. When allowed to open: Limits to capacity (50 persons); Time limit on patrons at the pool facilities (2-hour sessions) ; Glass barriers between patrons and cashier; Social distancing markers for entrance line; Sanitizing measures will be taken in between patron sessions (four times daily); Temperature checks of all patrons entering pool area. Everyone must shower before entering pool
• Robert Bell Skate Park: Maintain social distancing protocol; Benches limited to one person each; Benches and high traffic areas will be sanitized daily
• Corrales Library: Phase one - Starting June 1, 2020, Monday through Friday, 2 to 6 p.m. the library will offer patrons curbside delivery of items on hold. The library remains closed. For online website services see http://www.corraleslibrary.org.

2020 – JUNE 6 ISSUE: JOHN ALSOBROOK DIRECTS MEDICAL RESEARCH LAB

Former Village Councillor John Alsobrook, now director of a medical research laboratory in Seattle, thinks the industry’s rapid response to the COVID-19 crisis will likely set the stage for how future pandemics are addressed.

In a telephone interview with Corrales Comment May 30, Alsobrook said he has been very impressed with how rapidly the scientific community produced results to protect the public here and around the world against invasion by the novel coronavirus.

Anyone in the medical research community “who could switch gears to focus on COVID did, and has continued to do so. “This really speaks to why we have to maintain research budgets for the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation,” he said. “All of this basic research is there as a body of knowledge, and you never know what is going to happen that will make you go back to that knowledge.”

The Adaptive Biotechnologies lab at which he works continues to focus primarily on the human body’s response to cancer cells, particularly leukemia. The basic idea is to learn from the body’s adaptive immune system how to detect and battle invaders. But given the current pandemic, Alsobrook explained, the firm also is collaborating with Microsoft “to decode the immune system’s response to COVID-19” and possibly develop a more sensitive diagnostic method.

A second strategy is collaborating with Amgen, a pharmaceutical company, to use Adaptive Technologies’ capabilities to “develop potential anti-body therapies for COVID-19.” His firm has committed to make its findings freely available to all researchers around the world through its “ImmuneCODE” project.

Alsobrook explained that the term “adaptive” refers to a specialized type of white blood cell in the body which “learns” and adapt to new situations.” He thinks society should expect other pandemics in the future. “I’m certainly not an ‘end times’ or doomsday person, but I think we will see more of this kind of thing. I think it’s bound to happen, mainly because… it’s a small world. There is more and more physical mixing due to travel more than anything else.”

Alsobrook hopes science’s response to the pandemic will set a precedent for future collaborations. “It is precedent-setting and really sets the stage for how we react when something like this happens in the future.

“So many places came out rapidly with diagnostic tests. although unfortunately there were some bad actors. Certainly big drug companies always have their bottom line in mind, so they rarely do things for free. But a vaccine is not a big money maker. Yet so many have turned their resources to that, saying they’re ready to turn out a billion doses —that’s pretty amazing.

“And so many in the research community have turned and collaborated, because usually there’s a spirit of friendly competition among academic scientists. It has become more of a collaborative spirit.

“I think that will prepare us for something like this in the future. We will look back on this time and say ‘Yeah, this is the right way to respond.’” The scientific and technical capabilities with ongoing improvements should allow this kind of rapid-response, he said. “All it takes is for us to decide is that this is the thing we want to take care of. It takes some leadership to point us in that direction, but then it’s amazing what we can do.

“Look at what we’ve accomplished in a really short period of time… so what can we really get done.” After five years as a bio-medical research scientist at the Yale Medical School, John Alsobrook jumped into the burgeoning gene-focused bio-tech industry in 2000, getting more involved in the management of medical research projects.

In 2005, he was hired as “director of discovery” for the Albuquerque-based Exagen Diagnostics firm. He moved his family into a home on Corrales’ Coronado Road in spring 2006. Alsobrook was something of a science prodigy; he graduated from high school at 15, while taking university courses in symbolic logic, psychology and meteorology.

In college, he was funded with a National Science Foundation fellowship to “design molecules to detoxify heavy metals.” He finished his degree in bio-chemistry in 1981 still not sure what field of science he wanted to pursue.

So he enrolled for another bachelor’s degree in physics at Cal State-Los Angeles. In 1985 he headed to Yale University for a doctorate bestowed in 1995. His dissertation was on genetic links to obsessive-compulsive disorders. While working for the Albuquerque medical research firm, he ran for a seat on the Village Council in 2008, serving two terms.

Funding medical research in a private corporation is risky, he pointed out. “There are probably 100 different companies that are working on a vaccine, or a diagnostic or a therapeutic. We’ll see which ideas come to the fore and which can be sustained and have the impact we’re looking for.’

That research activity was sparked largely by a ruling from the federal Food and Drug Administration which relaxed standards for rigorous testing before use on humans. “Now they’re saying you can start using them as long as you say you did the right stuff, and you show it to us later. So look at what happened, just last week. The FDA pulled 27 different tests off the market that were being used for COVID because the tests didn’t perform well, or the companies didn’t follow up with the data.”

Alsobrook said he has been somewhat amazed by response from the general public to the pandemic. “It’s amazing that people will find any reason to spark controversy… masks or not masks, you name it.

“But people can have a lot of confidence in the science that’s being done. I’m seeing what lots of other scientists and companies are doing. But the wild card in any infectious disease outbreak is the social side. Someone is saying that requiring them to wear a mask abridges their freedom; it’s fine to think what you want to think about that independently. ‘I don’t want to wear a mask. Should I really? What is really the truth about a mask?’

“So then we get into these weird areas about what is truth and social media and fake news. But what I would say is that generally with scientists in this day and age, there’s no hidden agenda.

“It’s true that scientists, like everybody else, want to keep their jobs. But for scientists, it’s because they love what they do. To spend as much time as they do in training and learning how to do these things, they do it because it’s what they love to do. There’s a certain amount of faith and integrity that goes with that.
“So for me, it’s interesting how people decide what they want to question.”

2020 JUNE 6 ISSUE: UPPER MEADOWLARK CONTRACT DISPUTE NEARS RESOLUTION


The wide shoulders of upper Meadowlark Lane have sat cleared and presumably ready for construction of bike paths and horse trails (as envisioned, and re-envisioned) more than a decade ago. Those components of the over all plan were bumped to a later phase as the driving lanes with medians and integrated drainage features were constructed last year.

But Village officials have been engaged in a protracted dispute with the contractor who took on the job. Village Administrator Ron Curry, who inherited the troubled project last summer, said May 8 that the matter should be resolved no later than next month.

Curry has maintained the second phase with trails should not be started until the first phase is completed and disputes resolved. Earlier this year, Curry said the stormwater drainage features have not been connected to the area where collected water would be ponded along Loma Larga.

He has said getting satisfactory closure on the first phase is important to avoid the Village of Corrales paying for completion or remediating flaws left by the contractor.
For months now, the Village Administrator has voiced optimism that the dispute could be resolved soon. At the mayor’s town hall teleconference event May 28, Curry said “We are in contact every day with our attorneys as of late and we are still trying to come to closure on it.

“We’re exchanging paperwork on it right now and we feel the Village is in the right position, but it’s not resolved yet.

“If I’m being optimistic, it will be resolved in the next two to three weeks. If I’m being pessimistic, it could go on for another 90 to 120 days.” Councillor Dave Dornberg, who lives along West Meadowlark and represents the area on the council, asked for an update on the project at the June 16 council meeting.

Earlier this year, Curry said he anticipates that another round of public comment and brainstorming will be needed to begin a second phase for the bike and horse trails. The project is not just stalled, it is essentially out the window. What the objectives will be when and if it resumes is still to be determined. When the proposal began more than a decade ago, its primary goal was to construct a bike path connecting Corrales to Rio Rancho along upper Meadowlark.

That was funded by the Mid-Region Council of Governments, but Village officials turned the money back when upper Meadowlark residents objected that funding was insufficient to address anticipated stormwater drainage problems into their adjacent property.

In 2016, the Village was ready to hire an engineer to design the over all project including trails from Loma Larga to the Rio Rancho boundary. The project funded through the Mid-Region Council of Governments and the N.M. Department of Transportation (NMDOT) was to realign and rebuild upper Meadowlark to include bicycle paths and horse trails as well as improved drainage and traffic safety features. (See Corrales Comment, Vol.XXXIII, No.3, March 22, 2014 “Upper Meadowlark To Get Improved Drainage.”)

But only the driving lanes and drainage features actually got underway, since the engineering work ran into a problem with the federal Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The N.M. Department of Transportation refused to approve Corrales; design for the bicycle-pedestrian path along the north side of the road because the terrain was so steep at the top of Corrales portion of Meadowlark.

That design obstacle was never overcome. So that’s where prospects for the bike trail and horse path ended. Curry has said the Village may have to find its own funds to complete the project, bypassing the need to comply with ADA.

In September 2013, the consulting firm hired to suggest ways to improve upper Meadowlark Lane, Architectural Research Consultants, called for bike riders to use the same downhill driving lane as autos, or divert to the future pedestrian path along the south side of the re-configured roadway.

Appearing before the mayor and Village Council at their September 10, 2013 meeting, the firm’s Steve Burstein presented a revised “Option A” that showed a five-foot wide bike lane adjacent to the westbound driving lane, while eastbound bike riders would be expected to come down in the same regular traffic lane used by motor vehicles.

If cyclists did not want to “take the lane” with regular traffic coming down hill, they would be encouraged to bike along the proposed pedestrian path along the south side of Meadowlark.

Among the advantages of that revised plan, cyclists using the bike paths along the Rio Rancho section of Meadowlark Lane would have a continuous connection to designated routes coming down into Corrales. Downhill bike riders would be informed to merge with regular vehicle traffic, or veer off onto the pedestrian trail.
Then-Mayor Phil Gasteyer said he thought the revised recommendation would be “much more acceptable to the whole neighborhood.”

Some residents along the north side of upper Meadowlark had objected to routing both uphill and downhill bike riders to a future path on the north side of the road. They said they feared pulling into the path of fast bike riders as they left their driveways and tried to enter traffic.

In that plan, downhill cyclists would use the eastbound driving lane or use the proposed pedestrian path along the south side of the road. The change was endorsed by the Corrales Bicycle, Pedestrian Advisory Commission as well, following communications with Burstein and his planners.

At that point, the plans were almost purely hypothetical since no funds had been allocated to tackle the re-make of upper Meadowlark, estimated subsequently at $1.18 million.

2020-JUNE 6 ISSUE: DRAFT REPORT ON COST OF NM ‘UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE’ PLAN


The Health Security for New Mexicans plan, driven primarily by Corrales’ Mary Feldblum over decades, has finally received rigorous financial analysis. Commissioned by the N.M. Legislative Finance Committee in 2019, a draft report was released May 22 to lay out what the anticipated economic impacts would be over the first five years if the universal health care system is implemented. Written comments on the draft report are due June 8. The final report is expected by the end of this month.

The fiscal analysis was contracted out to KNG Health Consulting, IHS Markit and Reynis Analytics. While KNG is based in the Washington DC area and IHS is headquartered in London, Reynis Analytics is led by Albuquerque’s Lee Reynis, former director of the N.M. Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

“If implemented, the Health Security Act would be the most ambitious state-based health reform ever carried out in the United States,” the report states. Feldblum’s Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign has won support for the plan from municipal and county governments around the state. (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXXVII No.20 January 5, 2019 ‘Health Security Act’ Could Pass N.M. Legislature.”)

The Health Security Act would enable the state to set up its own health insurance plan to ensure universal coverage. Proponents say it would provide comprehensive, quality services, fully protect those with pre-existing conditions and offer freedom of choice of health care providers, regardless of network.

In an emailed newsletter May 28, Feldblum said her organization has “some serious concerns about the report’s technical integrity.” In a statement May 31, she clarified, “The report makes numerous assumptions in order to come up with its financial projections. Several of these assumptions differ from what is specified in the Health Security Act. In addition, there are serious mathematical errors that need to be corrected.”

The statement points to “a critical discrepancy of over $3 billion in the preliminary draft report.” That discrepancy appears in two tables of numbers showing amounts for total health care spending on benefits and administration if the program were implemented in New Mexico. One of the tables states the amount for 2024 would be $12.3 billion, while the other table shows$9.2 billion for the same sum.

The chairman of Health Security for New Mexicans, Max Bartlett, pointed out that with the state’s existing health care system today, the amount is $12.1 billion. “The accompanying text provides no explanation for this enormous discrepancy, resulting in a major difference in the projected costs of the program,” Barlett said.

The draft report’s introduction points out that “Under the Health Security Plan (HSP,) the state’s uninsured rate would likely fall well below one percent, and the vast majority of the population would receive coverage through a public insurance program. The plan would also improve health care affordability for low- and middle-income families that would otherwise receive coverage through the non-group market.

“Over the initial five-year period, the overall economic impact of the HSP is expected to be small. However, the role for private insurance would be diminished, and some segments of the private insurance market would likely disappear altogether.” While use of health care services would increase if the plan were implemented, “long-term total health care spending could fall if reductions in payer-side administrative costs are achieved to the level specified in the Health Security Act.

Most of the cost of the HSP could be financed by re-directing public funding from duplicative health programs, requiring contributions from employers not offering coverage, and requiring enrollees with the means to pay a portion of their own premium costs. Still, significant additional funding sources would likely be needed to fully cover the cost of the plan.”

A summary of key findings produced by the analysis reads as follows. “In this study, we examined the cost of the HSP under different scenarios and whether existing revenues would be sufficient to cover the cost of the plan. Under our base model, we assumed premium costs similar to a typical employer plan, where employees are only responsible for a relatively small share of premium costs.  We assumed that low-income individuals would pay no premiums, similar to their premium costs under Medicaid or Marketplace coverage. Employers whose employees received coverage under the HSP would pay into the plan so that total payments from employers match their contributions under baseline. Although we assumed significant reductions in costs to administer the program (such that total program spending is less than baseline in the last year), we found that the HSP would be underfunded by approximately $1.5 billion a year in the first five years of the program.

“In addition to our base model, we examined several other scenarios, including ones where the program is fully funded either through contributions from participating employers or a tax levied on all firms. In these two scenarios, the program is fully funded but costs would increase for firms.

“We considered a less generous cost-sharing scenario where we assumed premiums and cost-sharing (e.g., coinsurance, deductibles) would be similar to the limits established in the ACA Marketplaces. The HSP would be under-funded, but by less than in our base model. Excluding Medicaid enrollees would not significantly impact the funding shortfall, although it could affect the potential payer and provider administrative savings.

“In general, we found relatively small economic impacts from the HSP, with impacts going from slightly positive in the first year to slightly negative in the fifth year. These small effects are due to the fact that by year five, the HSP would leave health care spending relatively unchanged because administrative savings offset higher spending for health care services.

“While overall economic impacts are small, the private insurance industry and its employees would see significant negative impacts as private insurance in the state would be greatly reduced. The private health insurance industry is a source of employment for several thousand workers in New Mexico. The HSP would limit the role of private insurers as insurance coverage and associated administrative activities for the HSP are done by the state.

As a result, many workers in this industry would likely lose their jobs. While resources currently being devoted towards insurance administration could be redirected towards other productive economic activities, including additional public administrative duties necessary for the operation of HSP, the HSP could produce financial hardship to New Mexican families and businesses associated with the private insurance industry. “In the long term, if administrative costs are compliant with the five percent cap established by the HSA, we estimated that health care spending would be lower by year 5 of the plan than under the baseline.

“While lower long-term health care spending would have a negative economic impact on the state, lower health care costs due to lower administrative spending could benefit employers and New Mexicans. With lower health care spending, employers and individuals could spend more on other goods and services that may yield increases in New Mexicans’ welfare.

“While our economic analysis assumed that budget shortfalls as a result of the HSP would be closed through a tax or similar mechanisms, HSP funding could be enhanced through establishing higher premiums. Using higher premiums to help fund the HSP could be economically beneficial in the long run as compared to taxing payroll, which could impact productivity. However, higher premiums could run counter to the goals of affordable health care coverage under the HSP.” The draft report considers how continuation of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA), would affect implementation of the Health Security Plan.

“Our results assumed that the ACA and associated federal funding will continue to be available to the state, which is significant. Under the ACA, the Federal Medicaid Matching Rate applied for newly eligible adults under Medicaid expansion is 90 percent for 2020 and beyond. In addition, the ACA provides for federal financial assistance to those eligible on the Marketplace. Together, these federal assistance programs contribute an estimated $2.1 billion to New Mexico. If the ACA was repealed and not replaced with a similar program, the costs of the HSP to New Mexico would be significantly higher.”

The fiscal analysts’ conclusion are stated this way. “Our analysis finds that the HSP would create near-universal health insurance coverage in New Mexico. The plan would also improve health care affordability for low- and middle-income families that would otherwise receive coverage through the non-group market.

“Usage of health care services would increase, but total health care spending would fall due to reductions in payer-side administrative costs. Most of the cost of the HSP could be financed by redirecting public funding from duplicative health programs, requiring contributions from employers not offering coverage, and requiring enrollees with means to pay a portion of their own premium costs. Still, significant additional funding sources would likely be needed to fully cover the cost of the program.”

County governments that have called for passage of the act include Bernalillo, Sandoval, Cibola, Valencia, Doña Ana, Grant, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Los Alamos, Luna, Mora, Otero, Rio Arriba and Taos, among others.

Municipal governments endorsing the bill are: Corrales, Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Bayard, Belen, Carlsbad, Deming, Ft. Sumner, Grants, Hatch, Las Vegas, Los Alamos, Los Lunas, Mesilla, Roswell, Taos and Silver City. More than 36 N.M. municipal and county governments have passed resolutions supporting the Health Security Act.

In the Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign statement May 31, Bartlett said the $3 billion discrepancy in charts accompanying the report “calls into question the reliability of the basic methodology used by KBG. Every number they produce relies on what they term ‘microsimulation’ modeling.

“We have two basic concerns with their approach. First, the text of the report does not clearly specify how any of the data presented in the two critical tables is actually generated. Their model functions effectively as a mysterious ‘black box.’

“Second, we believe that a macroeconomic overview must be included in order to project accurately the impact of a system-changing approach such as Health Security. Their exclusively microsimulation approach is better suited to projecting changes and modifications that occur within one over-arching system, such as our current employer-based, private insurance system.

“The Health Security Act is designed to eliminate reliance on that system, replacing it with a system that places about 84 percent of New Mexicans in one large, public health pool where everyone shares risk equally.”

2020-JUNE 6 ISSUE: 12-ACRE TRACT HEADED FOR CONSERVATION EASEMENT


Purchase of a conservation easement on 12 acres of farmland at the north end of Corrales is expected to be approved at the June 16 Village Council meeting. Exactly which tract would be preserved in perpetuity as farmland or green belt open space was not identified as of June 1.

“I would prefer not to identify the property or owner yet since the deal isn’t done and neither party has 100 percent committed,” said Michael Scisco of Unique Places LLC who is negotiating the arrangement. “But I can say that it is a 12-acre property on the north side of Corrales, and will use up a little under half of the available bond funding.

“The property will have a public wildlife viewing platform looking over the irrigation portions of the farm.” At the Village Council teleconference meeting May 26, Mayor Jo Anne Roake said a recommendation on the transaction from the Corrales Farmland Preservation and Agriculture Commission will be considered at the June 16 session.

Corrales voters approved $2.5 million in general obligation bonds for farmland preservation in March 2018. This will be the first use of the new round of GO bonds; villagers’ first bonds to save farmland from development, also for $2.5 million, were approved in 2004. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXIII No. 14 September 11, 2004 “Corrales Approves Bonds to ‘Save Farmlands’ By 5-to1 Margin.”)

With the new easement, Corrales will have about 50 acres protected. The first such easement established was a private transaction by Jonathan Porter in 2001 on six acres at the south end of the Corrales Valley. At the May 26 council meeting, the Village’s bond counsel, Jill Sweeney, said funds from the GO bond sale should be available in August.

Scisco said May 27 that he hopes to be able to purchase other conservation easements with the remainder of the $2.5 million by the end of 2021.”We have a few other projects in development, but they are nowhere near ready for prime time, and with COVID, it has slowed everything down. We are lucky to have the one project to work on during these times.”

Applications from Corrales landowners to take advantage of the remaining bond money are still being accepted at the Village Office. Twelve acres of prime soil east of the Wagner family’s corn maze at the north end of the valley went on the real estate market back in 2017. When a realtor’s “for sale” sign went up on the Trosello tract north of Alary Farm in early February that year, it produced a flurry of concerned conversation, community determination and strategizing.

Since then, members of the Corrales Farmland Preservation and Agricultural Commission have discussed with the landowners options for bringing at least part of that 30-acre tract under conservation easement.

The children and grandchildren of Gus and Arlene Wagner have expressed interest in the Trosello tract which they have leased and cultivated for nearly 40 years. Jim Wagner told Corrales Comment February 16, 2017 he would like to acquire the entire acreage and put a conservation easement on it. He noted the 12 acres then on the market were just phase one of the proposal to convert it all to home sites. He said retaining that tract as farmland would be a great asset, not just for Corrales, but for the larger metropolitan area. “It is really good fertile soil, and it has good irrigation from the river water. It makes good food!”

Wagner said Corrales had recently lost another tract of good farmland to developers. He was trying to buy the seven-acre tract just north of the Trosello land, the Gruber property, but RayLee Homes bought it instead. Lisa Brown, co-chair of the Farmland Preservation Commission, can be contacted by email at lisadb@q.com.

The drive to save the Trosello tract should appeal not just to people who support local agriculture, she said, but to those who value open space, bird watching, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities, including trail links into the Bosque Preserve.

In 2004, Corrales became the first municipality in the state to approve general obligation bonds specifically to fund farmland preservation. Proceeds from the sale of those bonds were used as the local match for grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) program helped bring more than 34 acres of farmland here under conservation easement, including the outright purchase of 5.5 acres of the Gonzales farm field west of Wells Fargo Bank. In 2010, a new, presumably permanent source of funding for farmland preservation efforts was created by the N.M. Legislature.

Then-Governor Bill Richardson signed into law the 2010 Natural Heritage Conservation Act which was seen as an effective tool in Corrales’ efforts to save farmland for agricultural use rather than letting it go to home sites. It could also have helped fund historic preservation efforts here.

“Under the Natural Heritage Conservation Act that I signed today, New Mexico for the first time will have a permanent mechanism for funding conservation projects across the state,” the governor said. “I am also pleased that we were able to secure nearly $5 million for restoration projects and conservation easements, so we will be able to start funding these important initiatives right away.”

Corrales has not applied for grants from that initial funding.

2020 – June 6 ISSUE: ABQ RE-OPENING

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and his team have put together COVID-19 Phase One re-opening documents similar to those recently wrestled into shape by Corrales Mayor Jo Anne Roake. And some of the material included should interest Corraleños.

For one, the Cultural Services Department is creating “Summer Camp at Home” activity kits, to be distributed beginning about May 24. The APS school year ended May 22. The kits will be created by the Albuquerque Museum, BioPark, and Balloon Museum. The Public Library is also planning a completely digital summer reading program.

The Open Space Visitors’ Center on Coors re-opened on May 19, subject to occupancy limits set by the State. Its new hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

COVID Safe Practices signs are strategically posted throughout facility, and Parks and Recreation is limiting the number of people in the building to 25 at a time. No groups larger than five may be inside, and everyone must wear a mask. Volunteers are allowed to return to assist with garden maintenance.

The Albuquerque BioPark will open to the public at a limited capacity with physical distancing, engineering controls, administrative controls and cloth masks for all on June 2, if state limitations allow. During the first week, only members will be allowed in.The BioPark will open to the general public on June 9. Timed ticketing with 300 tickets will be available per hour at the zoo, estimated possibly 25 percent capacity. Three hundred tickets will be available per hour at the Botanic Gardens, open seven hours per day. The staff will shepherd visitors in an organized flow and disrupt any potential mass gatherings. Admission prices may be reduced to reflect these changes. All indoor spaces will remain closed, including the aquarium. Notably, the BioPark estimates it will need $50,000 in additional support per month, since it has lost 75 percent of its revenue from closures and other limitations this calendar year.

The Albuquerque Public Library will open to the public at a limited capacity June 2, if the State permits. This follows one week of staff training prior to re-opening, focused on infectious disease control. The public will not be able to use computers, nor will seating be available. Sanitation stations and supplies will be readily available everywhere, and staff will clean on an hourly basis.

Customers may access physical collections, and returned items will be quarantined for a time based on expert opinion, between 24-72 hours. Ernie Pyle Library and Special Collections Library will remain closed.

Museums will open to the public June 2, if State limitations allow, at a limited capacity with physical distancing, and cloth masks required. The first week will be for members only, and museums will open to the general public on June 9. Museum stores will open for limited visitors.

Vinyl markers will be placed on the floor to space visitors, with customer barriers installed at the cashier desk. There will be no public or docent guided tours, or public programs or in-person classes. Exhibits and surfaces will be disinfected a minimum of four times per day. Explora will re-open to 25 percent capacity, or 50 people per hour. Staff will monitor interior traffic flow and adjust as needed.

2020-MAY 23 ISSUE: JUAN GONZALES BAS WOULD BE PROUD

The municipally-owned Juan Gonzales Bas Heritage Farm hasn’t looked this good in years. Purchased and preserved in perpetuity in 2008 by the people of Corrales, the 5.5-acre tract west of Wells Fargo Bank is at its most green in a decade, perhaps even more than when it was cultivated by the founder of Corrales himself.

The entire tract is planted in a cover crop while Village officials continue to explore leasing it. For more than a year, a lease transaction has awaited installation of an irrigation well and distribution lines. Historically and  currently, the farm has been irrigated from the adjacent Corrales Acequia.

The land acquired by the Village of Corrales using municipal general obligation bonds approved by voters in 2004 is the middle portion of a much larger swath of green belt in the heart of Corrales. A three-acre parcel fronting Corrales Road next to the bank is bare this spring, but a larger segment west of the acequia is beginning to sprout a crop.

Over the years, both the frontage and the western parcel have attracted wistful eyes of villagers who want them preserved as green belt or at least open space. But a significant campaign to buy the frontage —or at least to pay for an appraisal on it— was unsuccessful about three years ago. Even so, strong community sentiment remains for it to be acquired for public use. In a guest commentary for Corrales Comment in 2019, former Village Councillor Fred Hashimoto made the following argument. His op-ed article was titled “A Central Heritage Park.”

“The primary objective of the Heritage Park Project proposal is to have the Village purchase the Gonzales three-acre property —which lies along Corrales Road and is nestled in between the library, La Entrada Park, the Gonzales-Bas farmland and the municipal complex —for a multi-use public park and recreation open space with opportunities and benefits for the whole village.

“Although much thought and effort has been put into drafting the Heritage Park Project proposal, it is a general proposal and conceptualization of the park has purposely been painted with broad brush strokes. Specifics can be put on the table and discussed and the project can be modified to best suit the needs of the village.

“During the past year, the Heritage Park planning committee has held a dozen or so design charrettes. Attendees have been a diverse group including representatives from Corrales Community Farms, Corrales Arts Partners, Corrales Growers’ Market, Village Council, Parks and Recreation, Bikeways/Pathways, Sandoval County Master Gardeners, Friends of the Corrales Library, and CHAMP.  Professional landscape designers, tree nursery persons and the Corrales Tractor Club have said they would be willing to help.

“Notably, a recurring theme has been:  get the land first and then planning can be more focused including: designated paths for walking and jogging, bicycling and horse riding; paths connecting the various Village holdings and the commercial district along Corrales Road to the east and the Acequia Madre to the west; drinking fountain, horse trough, tables and benches; extending La Entrada Park and the children’s playground; trees and gardens (heritage plants, pollinator, school children’s garden, etc.); structure(s) for shade and outdoor events; parking and access to the library, La Entrada Park and the Gonzales-Bas farmland from Corrales Road; and workout apparatuses, kiosk, restroom facilities, well and watering, and signs for history and education and tourism information.

“Once the Village makes the commitment to pursue purchasing the land, things can happen. Design specifics will be examined. Possibly legislative help can be enlisted to help gain some components of the project. The Heritage Park Planning Committee has many volunteers in its midst. Some of the committee’s volunteers already have worked on similar projects in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.  We feel that volunteers can supply much of the people power for the Heritage Park plan’s implementation and maintenance.”

Because the time window on purchasing any piece of land has limits, we have recently submitted a formal proposal. However, it is a flexible means to the end of the Village owning the property which will give Corrales a “Village Center” presence and visual cohesiveness and identity that will benefit many.

“Once the Village makes the commitment, then all interested parties can convene and discuss  project details. We all can work together and celebrate our village commonalities, not differences.  Let’s start the new year right and positively.”

Those three acres adjacent to Wells Fargo Bank have been zoned for commercial use since the 1980s;  a site plan for an office complex there was presented in 2008 by developer Jack Westman. The  project never happened, and the land reverted to ownership by the Gonzales family, descendants of Juan Gonzales Bas.

In 2017, a proposal was made for the mayor and Village Council to transform it into a botanical garden, a year-round growers’ market and a food canning facility for local produce.

At a work-study session on an Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP) for the Village of Corrales  June 27, 2017 several villagers advocated that the land be purchased as the site for a produce market, an irrigation well for the  adjacent Juan Gonzales Bas Heritage Farm and a two-acre botanical garden.

Speaking for the Corrales Tree Preservation Committee, John Thompson suggested the acreage could be used to grow heritage grapes and fruit trees as part of the botanical garden.  He urged that the project be added to the Village’s ICIP to boost opportunities for future funding, and asked that a municipal bond proposal be put to Corrales voters the following March for those purposes.

According to the proposal at that time, two of the Gonzales’ three frontage acres might be used for the botanic garden and the remaining acre along Corrales Road could become a permanent growers’ market and food processing or canning facility, he suggested.

Several other citizens asked that a general obligation (GO) bond question be placed before voters for farmland preservation. The citizens included Amba and David  Caldwell,  Lisa Brown, Stacia Spragg-Braude, Elan Silverblatt, Sandi Hoover, Chantelle Wagner, Jimmy Wagner and Claudia Smith Miller.

During the public comment portion of the ICIP work-study session, Amba Caldwell asked councillors to give high priority to saving farmland from development as housing. “We are highly benefitted by the farming that takes place in our community.”

Her husband, David Caldwell, underscored that by adding, “Our agricultural heritage is integral to who we are.”

Spragg-Braude made the point  that saving land for farming “is not just about buying land —it’s about saving open space for all kinds of activities that benefit the people here.”

Thompson addressed the mayor and council to explain how his committee’s goals would require some priority in the Village’s ICIP. If the council allowed a GO bond proposal to be put before voters, funds could be raised for the infrastructure associated with a heritage vineyard and orchard. Elan Silverblatt, co-owner of Silver Leaf Farms here in Corrales, also supported acquisition of the front three acres as a “multi-purpose space.”

“It seems like all the pieces are here to make this a reality, so I would encourage you all to take leadership to achieve this,” he urged. But the project died soon after Mayor Jo Anne Roake was elected amid an attorney’s opinion that proposed general obligation bonds  likely could not be used for such an acquisition.

2020-MAY 23 ISSUE: VILLAGE FACILITIES REOPENING

Aligning with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s pandemic re-opening strategy, Mayor Jo Anne Roake released a plan to re-start the local economy and return to normal operations at Village facilities. “The Village is committed to helping our government and businesses reopen in a safe, responsible manner, recognizing that public health and safety is always our number one priority. Our goal is to return to normal government and economic activity, when deemed safe to do so, while taking steps to protect the public,” she announced May 15.

Local factors that will be involved in re-opening decisions, she said, include:
• The trajectory of positive cases in Sandoval County;
• Statistics of data related to positive cases, particularly as it relates to our ZIP code 87048  and those close to us in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque;
• Current local conditions and the governor's directives; and
• Awareness that many workers come from larger populated areas to work in our businesses and in our government.

She said portable hand washing stations will be installed along Corrales Road for our guests and locals and stand-alone hand sanitizer stations  would be available as appropriate. Roake said the Village will adhere to all current directives from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state health officials.

The mayor’s plan urges residents and visitors to wear fact coverings, practice social distancing, wash and sanitize hands and limit travel outside home.

Phase one:
• Village personnel will continue to work through modified operational processes currently in place to serve citizens. The Village will follow health and safety and CDC guidelines and protect our employees. Village Hall will continue to be closed to the public. Citizens will be able to conduct business online and by phone.
• Public meetings will continue as defined by the Attorney General guidelines and will be conducted via teleconference.

Phase two:
• Village staff will be back to work but continue to limit public access to our facilities.

We will follow the Governor's health orders for safeguarding employees, while continuing to provide services to the public through phone, online, and by email. Certain in-person meetings may also be permitted by appointment only and by following social distancing practices.

Phase three:
• The Village plans to reopen Village Hall, with some modifications to protect visitors and employees from the spread of COVID-19.

People will have to enter the building through the main entry doors, and only two customers will be allowed at the payment and Planning and Zoning areas at a time. There will be no waiting in the lobby area, and overflow waiting will be outside.

• The Village recommends visitors to Village Hall wear gloves and a mask.
•Appointments will be required to meet with Village staff members, and customers are encouraged to utilize online services or mail to conduct business with the Village.
• Public meetings may resume in person.
• B&Bs, phases one and two - no rentals to out of state visitors.
• Parks and Rec, phases one and two - limit gatherings to ten people or less
• Maintain social distancing when allowable• Benches and other high traffic areas will be sanitized daily
• Outdoor restrooms will be sanitized daily
• Play equipment will remain closed until otherwise stated
• Tennis courts will be limited to four people at a time  If full, time limits will be set on players so that others may use the courts. Entrance gate will be sanitized daily
• Liam Knight Pond is not a state park and will be considered as a Parks and Recreation facility. That means it falls under the statement above and will remained closed until allowed to open. When allowed to open:  maintain social distancing protocol; benches will be limited to one person each; capacity limits (20 persons); benches will be sanitized daily
• Corrales Swimming Pool: We are unable to get our annual inspection and a permit to operate until the Environmental Department gets approval from the state to resume operation. Until that time, the pool will remain closed.  When allowed to open: Limits to capacity (50 persons); Time limit on patrons at the pool facilities (2-hour sessions) ; Glass barriers between patrons and cashier; Social distancing markers for entrance line; Sanitizing measures will be taken in between patron sessions (four times daily); Temperature checks of all patrons entering pool area. Everyone must shower before entering pool
• Robert Bell Skate Park: Maintain social distancing protocol;  Benches limited to one person each;  Benches and high traffic areas will be sanitized daily
• Corrales Library: Phase one - Starting June 1, 2020, Monday through Friday, 2 to 6 p.m. the library will offer patrons curbside delivery of items on hold. The  library remains closed. For online website services see http://www.corraleslibrary.org.

2020 – MAY 23 ISSUE: VIRTUAL COUNCIL MEETINGS


Can Corrales’ fabled civic participation survive amid the pandemic-motivated transition to online sessions of Village government? Can allegiance to the flag and to the Constitution of the United States of America be assured if the pledge that starts all Village Council meetings is chronically garbled and virtually unintelligible?

At the May 12 council meeting, Mayor Jo Anne Roake apologized again for the jumbled Pledge of Allegiance, saying, “We’re going to get the pledge eventually!”  For months now, Mayor Jo Anne Roake has gaveled council meetings open from her home while members of the governing body look on from their homes. Is such a meeting really a meeting? Presumably municipal governments around New Mexico and around the nation have conducted the public’s business in similar situations. It’s unlikely that legal challenges will ensue as alleged violations of the Open Meetings Act.

But there’s little doubt that such sessions inhibit public participation in the Village’s decision-making processes. To “attend” the May 12 meeting, a citizen had to place a telephone call to 1-669-900-6833 and key in the meeting ID number 87214076769.

Is your eyesight good? Your fingers nimble? Your anti-transpositional skills sharp? What do you do if you still have a rotary dial phone?

Ten minutes before the May 12 meeting was supposed to start, the mayor’s screen indicated just two persons had logged in to participate. As the seconds ticked down, a quorum emerged, and the mayor led the traditional pledge in what is now the usual cacophony.

As councillors’ pixilated visages appeared, the meeting was about to begin when Councillor Stu Murray pointed out that Meeting ID number posted on the Village’s website to which participants were supposed to dial in, 87214076769, was wrong.
The incorrect number shown was 87514076769.

Within seconds, the Village’s website manager, Aaron Gjullin, corrected the error. At any rate, villager had not flocked to the good, or bad, Meeting ID number as the meeting got under way.

No one had signed up to speak (present) during the Corraleños Forum portion of the traditional council agenda, and no one except Village officials and Corrales MainStreet Director Sandy Rasmussen chimed in on any topic.

The mayor and council breezed through their light agenda until, under the normally uncontroversial “Consent Agenda,” Murray asked the mayor to withdraw one item, appointment of members to the Planning and Zoning Commission, from the intended grouped motion to approve.

He said he wanted an opportunity to ask the mayor’s nominees individually what their positions are on four topics, including residential housing density and relaxation of restrictions on home construction on steep slopes.

The nominees may or may not have been Zoomed in for the virtual council meeting, but the councillor’s request to question them was denied. All appointees were approved with a single voice vote covering 13 appointments to the Library Board and the Bosque Advisory Commission as well as P&Z.

At the virtual meeting Mayor Roake pointed out that members of the public are invited to submit comments before meetings by email to the Village Clerk through the website, http://www.corrales-nm.org or to sfresquez@corrales-nm.org.

In response to Councillor Murray’s request that the public be given better instructions on how to participate in Village meetings, Roake said anyone can join in the virtual council meeting, and that any comments submitted before the meeting would be read into the meeting minutes.

“We do want to hear from folks,” she added.

In her “Mayor’s Message for May 15,” Roake reported on a “Virtual Town Hall” meeting May 14 and urged, “It’s crucial that citizens have an opportunity to speak with the government in these challenging times.” She invited villagers to join in the next “Virtual Town Hall” meeting May 28, 5:30 p.m.

Approximately 50 logged in for the first of those meetings.

2020-MAY 23 ISSUE: CANDIDATES FOR CONGRESS


With Democrat Ben Ray Lujan, first elected to the Third Congressional District seat in 2008, vying to become one of New Mexico’s two U.S. senators after Tom Udall’s retirement, there’s action aplenty already. Lujan’s congressional seat has drawn many would-be successors, including Democrats John Blair, Teresa Leger Fernandez, Laura Montoya, Valerie Plame, Joseph Sanchez, Marco Serna and Kyle Tisdel.

Among Republicans in the June 2 primary are Karen Bedonie, Alexis Johnson, Harry Montoya and write-in candidate Angela Gale Morales. New Mexico’s Third District comprises Colfax, Curry, Harding, Los Alamos, Mora, Quay, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Taos and Union Counties along with areas of Bernalillo, McKinley, Roosevelt, Sandoval and Santa Fe Counties.

Information for the brief candidate profiles below primarily was drawn from the website of each.

Democrats
John Blair “got a humble start in politics as a legislative correspondent for Senator Jeff Bingaman,” his campaign material explains. “Working alongside New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Edward Chávez, John witnessed the principles of justice and fairness firsthand. John continued his service by working with then-U.S. Representative Martin Heinrich.  John is proud to have played a role in the fight to make healthcare more affordable and accessible, and in Senator Heinrich’s efforts to make it easier for Native Americans to buy homes on tribal lands. And he was New Mexico Deputy Secretary of State for Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who has been fighting to make it easier for New Mexicans to vote.” http://www.johnblairfornewmexico.com

Teresa Leger Fernandez, Yale undergrad, Stanford law degree, founded Leger Law and Strategy in 2013. “A public impact law firm with an entrepreneurial and social impact culture. Areas of expertise include: impact litigation, financing, tribal law, business development, leasing, policy development, civil rights, voting rights, and cultural preservation. Together with our of counsel attorneys, we also address environmental and sustainability issues. We bring a sense of strategic thinking and in depth experience (and joy) to all our work.”

Prior to that, she worked 24 years with Nordhaus Law Firm, “serving as general counsel to Native American sovereigns and their business and social development entities. Drafted and implemented a wide range of tribal and state laws and legislation, from taxation to voting rights.” http://www.teresaforall.com

Laura Montoya’s campaign points out that “I believe our country is at a crossroads and we need to get back to the basics. We need public servants who encourage love, fairness, and equality instead of hate and divisiveness. We should celebrate our similarities and respect our differences.”

Montoya was elected Sandoval County Treasurer in 2012. She has been a public servant for more than 17 years, having worked in several capacities in both the New Mexico House of Representatives and the New Mexico Senate. Montoya got her start in government in 2001, working for a ranking member of the N.M. Senate Finance Committee. Following that, she worked as a constituent services representative for U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman. “I challenge all the candidates, Democrat and Republican, who filed to run for Congress in the District 3 race to donate 10 percent of what they have in their campaign funds as of end of quarter to a New Mexico non-profit.” http://lauramontoya4nm. com

Valerie Plame emphasized “What sets me apart is my national security experience, my leadership experience, crisis management in the CIA. And look, it's not something I asked for, but I do have national recognition, I have a national platform and national megaphone and I want to use that for the good of New Mexico.

“I want a brighter future for New Mexicans. Some of the issues I am determined to advance include lowering healthcare and prescription drug costs, protecting our clean air and water, ensuring voting and equal rights for all, combating gun violence and crime, building a brighter future for all our children and grandchildren through better public education, strengthening our economy, reducing poverty and homelessness.” https://valerieplameforcongress.com

Joseph Sanchez is The New Mexico State Representative for House District 40. He is a lifelong Democrat, and a 12th generation New Mexican from Alcalde. He “is committed to making sure the nation knows that New Mexico matters!”

Sanchez has over 20 years experience working at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Eight of those years were as an engineering manager where he helped oversee projects with budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars. He also managed the largest electric cooperative in the state of New Mexico, Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative, which serves five counties and over 30,000 meters. During this time he took the cooperative from near bankruptcy to the best financial position in its history. As an engineer with an MBA, he knows how to listen, and solve problems, his campaign asserts. http://www.josephsanchezforcongress.com

Marco Serna has served as a New Mexican Assistant Attorney General prosecuting Medicaid fraud and elder abuse, and also as an Assistant District Attorney in Valencia and Sandoval Counties where he prosecuted domestic violence and DWI misdemeanor offenses. He currently serves as First Judicial District Attorney in Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Rio Arribo Counties.

“Marco’s lifelong commitment to public service provides him with an understanding of the unique challenges facing our families. As First Judicial District Attorney, he has worked tirelessly to solve many of the problems facing our communities. From a treatment-oriented approach to our deeply entrenched drug problems, to cracking down on violent crimes, Marco has been on the front line defending and protecting our communities.” http://www.marcoforcongress.com

Kyle Tisdel is a public interest environmental attorney. His campaign said he has dedicated his career to “fighting for the environmental rights of people and communities in New Mexico and across the country. Currently, he directs the climate and energy program for a non-profit law firm from his office in Taos, New Mexico. His innovative work is at the nexus of public lands and fossil fuel exploitation, and he has achieved significant victories against the most environmentally reckless administration in American history, utilizing novel legal strategies to uphold climate science and to halt federal giveaways to the oil and gas industry.

“We are in a climate emergency, representing an existential threat to people across New Mexico, our country, and the entire planet. We need leaders in Congress who will make climate change a top priority, and recognize that the work we do to solve this crisis will help to bring greater equity and prosperity to all Americans.” http://www.tisdelforcongress.com

Republicans
Karen Bedonie, a member of the Navajo Nation, states on her website that she is “an American. When my feet step outside my front door, I am a patriot chasing that American Dream just as freely as anyone else chooses. I fear no man, and when I see Old Glory in the wind, my heart knows that we are all equal, and this is the land of the free and the home of the brave…. I am here to help save our America from socialism, protect our rights, and fly our nation’s colors as freely and proudly as intended. With the strength of a Navajo woman and the heart of a patriot, and I shall lay my arms down never again.” http://www.karenbedonie.com

Alexis Johnson, an engineer who has worked in “the energy sector,” lives in Santa Fe, “and my family frequents Las Vegas, NM. Our family has cattle in Harding County. I was raised in Roswell and graduated high school in Las Cruces. Like so many N.M. families, I was reared by my grandparents. I went to college at Vanderbilt University and N.M. Tech. I graduated with an engineering degree in Socorro at N.M. Tech and have been married to my spouse, after college, and we have four beautiful children.” Her platform emphasizes economy, education, environment, entry into United States , and ensuring life. https://alexisjohnson nm.com

Harry Montoya is “running for Congress because I believe we need a conservative champion fighting for our future generations. I grew up here, I was educated here, and I became a counselor here to help New Mexicans suffering from addiction.” A former Democrat, Montoya founded Hands Across Cultures in Espanola, “with a mission to educate our youth on substance abuse prevention.” He currently is employed as constituent/legislative affairs director for the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department. His website states he offers “Bold Leadership: Christian. Conservative. Counselor.” https://harrymontoya.com

Angela Gale Morales of Rio Rancho will not be on the primary ballot. She appears to have no campaign website. Meanwhile, Lujan, aiming to fill Udall’s seat, has no challenger in the Democratic primary.

According to his website, he is “a passionate supporter of the Equality Act. Ben Ray believes that all individuals, regardless of how they identify or who they love, should be protected from discrimination under the law. Ben Ray has also worked to combat the opioid epidemic in New Mexico by securing millions of dollars in treatment, education, and prevention funds for rural communities plagued by addiction.”

“A staunch advocate of campaign finance reform, Ben Ray has refused to accept corporate PAC money for his U.S. Senate campaign. He is proud to be endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, End Citizens United, and Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence.”

Lujan chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, “leading the Democratic effort in 2018 to take back the majority in the U.S. House while electing the most diverse and youngest Congress in history.” https://benraylujan.com

2020 – MAY 23 ISSUE: 8 CORRALENOS ON BALLOT FOR JUNE 2 PRIMARIES


Corrales already has two influential representatives in the N.M. Legislature —Republican Jane Powdrell-Culbert and Democrat Daymon Ely— and five more are running for a seat up there in the June 2 party primaries.

Three of the five are facing off to fill the N.M. Senate District 9 vacancy left when Corrales Democrat John Sapien declined to seek re-election. They are Brenda McKenna, Ben Rodefer and Kevin Lucero.

Another Corraleño, former State Representative Bob Perls, is running for Sandoval County Clerk this time, and he faces three opponents in the Democratic primary. Candidate profiles for these and other races are published below. Due to restrictions wrought by the need to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 pandemic, Corrales Comment was not able to conduct the in-depth, revealing interviews with each candidate as have been presented prior to local elections since 1982. At the editor’s request, no candidates sat for a recorded interview.

Instead, the profiles presented here, in alphabetical order, are based on materials available through the candidates and other sources.

N.M. Senate District 9
Three Democrats and three Republicans are on the June 2 ballot. Seeking the Republican nomination are Bridget Condon of Rio Rancho, John Clark of Placitas and Tania Dennis of Corrales.

Democrats running for the Senate District 9 seat are all Corrales residents: Brenda McKenna, Ben Rodefer and Kevin Lucero.

Democratic Candidates for Senate
Kevin Lucero
Now a Corrales Village Councillor, Kevin Lucero is a deputy sheriff with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department where he has specialized in enforcing laws against drunk driving.

He has more than 20 years in law enforcement; criminal justice reform is one of his top priorities. “I’m running for the State Senate because I’m going to fight for court diversion programs and reform our criminal justic system so we can fight this fight from the inside out and stop the revolving door our prison and jail systems have become.”

The candidate said his experience “puts me in a position to advocate for criminal justice reform that focuses on reversing the dismantling of New Mexico’s mental health and addiction assistance programs.”

Lucero is a fourth generation rancher and farmer in northern Sandoval County. Before getting into law enforcement, he was a cattle inspector for the N.M. Livestock Board, helping protect the industry from theft, abuse and disease.
Among other priorities, he ranks transition to a clean energy future and improving public education.

“I believe the science of climate change, and also believe we are seeing the effects in our life time. I will work with utility companies and co-ops to implement energy programs that create jobs, stimulate the economy and lead New Mexico into a clean energy future.

“I support the Energy Transmission Act because it will protect consumers and reduce electricity costs as New Mexico moves away from coal.” Lucero said the state’s “reliance on fossil fuels has limited our economic potential and put dangerous pollutants into our air and water.”

Regarding public education, the candidate would emphasize early childhood learning and boosting teacher pay. “We need to provide enough spaces and funding to ensure that all New Mexican children from birth to five years old have access to early childhood education programs. Year-over-year investment in and improvement of these services will result in increased educational outcomes across the state including reading and math scores, which will grow exponentially.”

Brenda McKenna
A field representative for Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Brenda McKenna is a member of Nambe Pueblo and has lived in Corrales with her husband and rescue cats since 2018.

She has been resoundingly endorsed by the Rio Grande Sierra Club’s Healthy Communities committee which paid for several flyers reaching Corrales mailboxes in recent weeks.

After graduating from Pojoaque High School, McKenna earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Syracuse University and then a master’s in organizational development from Central Washington University.

Her campaign platform includes ending the state’s boom-bust cycle of oil and gas extraction. “We can take steps now to diversity our economy by focusing on New Mexico’s strengths. That means welcoming wind, solar and battery storage facilities, cannabis legalization, outdoor recreation and local food production and agriculture.”

McKenna describes herself as a “progressive Democrat who will work with the governor to restart the economy, invest in our kids’ future and ensure we don’t neglect our responsibilities to seniors and veterans.”

She said she “will bring passion and a tireless work ethic to moving our state forward from the pandemic. I know how to work well with others, even those without I disagree, and will serve our neighborhoods with integrity, energy and strength.”

Ben Rodefer
Elected to the N.M.  House of Representatives in 2008, Ben Rodefer is now seeking to fill the vacancy left by retiring State Senator John Sapien.

He was a small child when he moved with his mother to Corrales in 1967 when he attended Corrales Elementary, Taylor Middle School and Cibola. He took a full scholarship to Cornell University where he studied physics, government and pre-law and then launched a career in music. He is now owner of a small business in solar energy.

He was twice elected president of the N.M. Renewable Energy Industries Association.

“To me, there are two major considerations in this race: experience and viability. Viability, because John Sapien won all three of h is elections by tiny recount margins, and there is this a very real chance now that the Republican will win in November if we do not put forth the strongest candidate.”

He said a nationwide study after the 2018 elections revealed that the biggest any candidate could have was having prior elected experience. “Now more than ever, I think experience matters. My time in the N.M. House, as well as being president of the N.M. Renewable Energy Industries, puts me in a unique position to be able to hit the ground running in January and really get some good things done for our community and our state.”

Rodefer lost his bid for re-election in 2010, saying he was especially targeted to Republican strategists as a first-term representative in a swing district. When Rodefer returned to Corrales in 2002, he started a firm which sells large-scale photovoltaic systems, Rio Grande Solar.

Republican Candidates for Senate
John Clark
Placitas Republican John Clark describes himself as a “common sense conservative and life-long Republican with a tenacity to take on complex issues in pursuit of creating effective and practical solutions that are fair and good for New Mexicans.”

He moved to New Mexico in 1994 to start JC Blinds which continues in business. “I am running for public office to thwart partisan politics in government, get our budget balanced and our economy ticking again, and to prevent government over-reach and control of our businesses, schools, liberties and our inalienable rights.”
Clark said he will work to “remove the stigma of ‘worst’ on a national average list for violent crime, education, poverty, places to raise children, places to live and retire, and instead impart a safer, stronger New Mexico.”

The candidate earned a bachelor’s degree i political science at the University of Northern Colorado where he also served as a legislative intern for Colorado State Senator Al Meiklejohn.

Clark said he would work tirelessly with legislators to “develop a realistic budget, cut taxes, stimulate the economy, improve education and health care, decrease crime and halt repeat offenders, restore our collapsing infrastructure while protecting, defending and preserving our U.S. Constitutional rights and the safety and security of New Mexicans.”

Posted to his campaign website in early May was an endorsement by the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. It read, in part, “On behalf of the NRA’s Political Victory Fund and our members in New Mexico Senate District 9, I am pleased to announce your AQ rating for the 2020 primary election.” The May 7 letter said the endorsement was based on the candidate’s responses to a questionnaire.

Clark said his 26 years as owner of a small business and his prior ten years in the corporate world has given him “the knowledge and integrity to create jobs and opportunities that will keep New Mexicans and their families here, both employed and successful, so that they, too, can embrace and appreciate the heartbeat of economic growth, which is small business.”

Bridget Condon
Now director of business development for Sandoval Economic Alliance, which promotes economic development, Bridget Condon of Rio Rancho said she is “running for the N.M. Senate because I am frustrated with the silos that lawmakers operate in, and because I know that we are almost out of time to ensure New Mexico has a change for economic prosperity and stability.

“I am the only candidate who has experience not only promoting common sense policies, but more importantly, pushing against and defeating the agenda that take away the rights and freedoms of New Mexicans.

“I am tired of companies ruling out New Mexico as a place to do business I am tired or our citizens ruling out New Mexico as a place to start their career and families because of the lack of opportunity; and I am tired of common sense being ruled out at the decision-making happening in the Roundhouse.”

Condon was born and raised in New Mexico. She graduated with a degree in political science from the University of New Mexico. In her final year, she was a Capitol Hill intern for Congressman Steve Pearce; she continued on as paid staff for more than two years after graduation. Returning to New Mexico, she worked as a field representative for the congressman who is now Republican State Party chairman.

That 18-month stint was followed by a job as director of public policy for the N.M. Association of Commerce and Industry. “While working on behalf of businesses at the Roundhouse, and now interacting with legislators on behalf of economic developers and Sandoval County, I have seen far too many examples of lawmakers choosing the ego and political affiliation over the communities they are supposed to represent. In addition to losing sight of the purpose of public service, there is a glaring spending problem in Santa Fe that is sure to risk our financial stability in the future, which ultimately leaves our most vulnerable citizens directly in harm’s way.”

In the aftermath of the pandemic, she said, the choices our lawmakers in Santa Fe make in the next months and years will decide whether we give our citizens and small businesses the tools to stand back up or turn our backs on the people who have dedicated their lives to their communities and accept their downfall. “I want to be a leader that relies on the voice of my constituents and not the political whims of the Roundhouse.”

Tania Dennis
The Corrales Republican running in the primary for the N.M.Senate District 9 seat, Tania Dennis, is a former intelligence analyst who is now owner of a small business, a franchise that markets skincare products.

She is also on the board of directors for Family Promise ABQ which helps homeless families. She has lived in the metro area since 2009. “I am not a politician, and I feel that’s one of my biggest strengths. I’m running because I want to be a change-maker in my community and make New Mexico stronger. I want this state to be a place full of opportunity so that our children want to stay here and grow.”

Dennis said her priorities are family and children, education, homelessness, small business and veterans. “We are a proud military family as my husband is a retired Marine, disabled veteran and Purple Heart recipient.”

She was raised in rural Michigan and lived in the Washington DC area while working for the federal government in intelligence matters. The candidate feels it is time for the state and national economy to move beyond the state of lock-down due to the pandemic; she thinks the threat posed by COVID-19 may be overblown. “If the mainstream media reported what is actually happening, the public would be able to let go of the fear and move forward.”

She feels preparations are adequate to re-open the economy. “I believe that we need to have a stockpile of PPE reserved for our emergency and medical response teams here within our state. We cannot depend on the national government for handouts.

Dennis is convinced the State budget must be restrained. “Our budget needs a complete overhaul. I'm looking forward to jumping in and working together to fix our current situation. I feel that we are heavy on taxes for small businesses and have made it extremely hard for New Mexicans to catch up and get ahead. We are spiraling out of control.”

N.M. House District 23
Democratic Candidate
Incumbent Representative Daymon Ely of Corrales has no challenger in the primary.

Republican Candidates
Ellis McMath
Seeking a seat in the N.M. House of Representatives, Albuquerque native Ellis McMath was an air traffic controller here from 1985 to 2002. He flew as a commercial pilot for N.M. State University, and served as an Albuquerque reserve police officer. Having retired from that, he is now a certified instructor for concealed carry firearms and is a team leader for Sagebrush Church.

He has also served as a counselor for jailed or imprisoned inmates. In 2004, he founded a non-profit, Better Together Missions, which partners with an Intel club to provide food for the needy.

McMath said he is running for office now because he saw what happened when his daughter, Brenda Boatman, lost to Democrat Daymon Ely for the District 23 seat in 2018. “In helping her campaign, I met some amazing people in Santa Fe, Corrales, Rio Rancho and Albuquerque. I met legislators that give up much of their time; people who volunteer long hours to better the lives of New Mexico citizens. In was inspired, not only by my own daughter’s devotion and hard work, but other public servants that give so much.

“I want to be like them when I grow up!”

“I am dedicated to common sense, compassionate, conservative causes. I support right to life, Second Amendment rights, small government, less taxes and more personal freedom for law-abiding citizens.”

Among his strengths, McMath listed his ability “to set aside things that normally divide people. I have learned to be friendly, listen, and understand before speaking and persuading.”

His top priorities are allowing rebates, vouchers or tax credits for school choice; eliminating a state tax on Social Security payments; and repeal of the “red flag law” allowing removal of firearms from persons considered likely to harm others or themselves.

Audrey Mendonca-Trujillo
The Corrales resident who describes herself as a life-long constitutionalist believes her background in business, parent-teacher associations and criminal justice are what is needed for House District 23.

“After watching the current representative for District 23 disrespect local sheriffs and deceive constituents about his unconstitutional ‘red flag’ bill, I decided to run for the N.M. House of Representatives and return power back to the people of District 23,” she said in campaign literature.

Born and raised in New Mexico, she earned a dual degree in criminology and Spanish and Portuguese languages from the University of New Mexico. That was followed by a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in justice administration.

“I am a firm believer in small government, and I will vote against any legislation that abuses or infringes out rights as citizens. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we should be supportive of our mon-and-pop shops. We should not allow cookie-cutter businesses to destroy hard working family-owned stores or services.

“The Village of Corrales thrives on small businesses and farming. I will do whatever is in my power to protect them. People first always.” Mendonca-Trujillo said she has been a small business owner, a community activist and volunteer for many years. She served as a PTA president and treasurer while her children were in elementary and middle school. Her PTA fundraising efforts brought in more than $60,000, she reported.

“Let’s make sure our high school graduates have choices to succeed and stay in New Mexico. We must have competitive training in our community colleges, including vocational training programs, internships and on-the-job training programs.”

The candidate said individual responsibility is a key “We need to reset the thinking that the government should take care of us, and realize we hold that responsibility.”

N.M. House District 44
Republican Candidate
Jane Powdrell-Culbert
The incumbent, Jane Powdrell-Culbert of Corrales, has no challenger in the primary.

Democratic Candidate
Gary Tripp of Rio Rancho has no opponent in the June 2 Democratic primary.
Libertarian

Jeremy Myers of Rio Rancho, has no opponent in the Libertarian party primary June 2.

Sandoval County Commission
District 2
Republican Candidate
Jay Block of Rio Rancho has no challenger in the primary.

Democratic Candidate
Leah Michelle Ahkee-Baczkiewicz has no opponent in the primary.

Sandoval County Clerk
Republican Candidate
Lawrence Griego of Rio Rancho has no opponent in the June 2 primary.

Democratic Candidates
Anne Brady Romero
Algodones Democrat Anne Brady Romero is now Sandoval County Chief Deputy Clerk and wants the top job. She has worked in the Clerk’s Office since 2009; she was appointed by the current County Clerk to be chief deputy in 2013.

If elected, Brady Romero said she will ensure that all voting locations comply with provisions of the federal Americans With Disabilities Act; add more voting locations, including a mobile voting unit; implement an election awareness outreach program; establish a Native American voting advisory committee; tighten cyber security for voter rolls and voting systems including an annual risk assessment; start processing U.S. passports at the Clerk’s Office; and complete the implementation of on line records with Tyler Eagle Recorder.

At an early age, Brady Romero was involved in the family business, Abuelita’s New Mexican Kitchen in Bernalillo. Her campaign literature points out that she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in February 2019 and continued to work at the Clerk’s Office while undergoing chemo, radiation and other treatments.  She reported she is now a cancer survivor.

Bob Perls
Previously elected to the N.M. House of Representatives, Bob Perls is a Corrales resident who says his experience managing voting as a U.S. State Department consular official abroad will be crucial to protecting election integrity in Sandoval County and statewide.

As a Foreign Service Officer, Perls led the federal voting assistance program for the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt. He resigned from the State Department in 2015 and returned to Corrales. He founded and led a medical technology firm, Monitech, in Albuquerque for 25 years. After selling the business, Perls was increasingly interested public service. He served one term in the N.M. House, and made an unsuccessful run for Congress.

In recent years, Perls co-founded and led the non-profit group N.M. Open Primaries and co-founded the Public Academy for Performing Arts. He has also worked for a corrales-based start-up firm specializing in cyber security. His candidacy has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, Corrales Indivisible and N.M. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and State Auditor Brian Colón, among other high profile elected officials.

Perls said he intends to make his cyber security expertise available statewide. Other top issues for him are starting passport service at the Clerks Office, online access to property records and opening mobile voting vans around the county.
Pete Salazar

A former two-term Sandoval County Commissioner, Pete Salazar has switched parties to run for County Clerk in the June 2 Democratic primary. He is shown on the ballot as Ignacio Pedro Salazar. “I switched from being a Republican to a Democrat because of ongoing blatant voter suppression issues promulgated by the Republican Party,” Salazar said.

A life-long resident of Bernalillo and Placitas, he served as president and CEO of New Mexico SER for more than 30 years. In that capacity he administered severn different programs for at-risk youth and seniors, supervising more than 350 employees.

“If elected, my priorities as County Clerk will be to enhance access to voting by taking a proactive stance against voter suppression, especially now with mail-in ballots in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We need a program of ongoing voter education. People need to be comfortable with voting processes so they can take a more active interest in the election process.”

Salazar said he would work with the N.M. Association of County Clerks to lobby the N.M.Legislature for legislation to further enhance voter participation in all elections, including mail-in ballot systems.”

He holds a degree in guidance and counseling from the University of New Mexico as well as a bachelor’s degree from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas and an associates degree from Indian Hills Community College in Centerville, Iowa.
The candidate said he is “proud of my extensive volunteerism,” including as chairman of the LULAC Scholarship Committee for 22 years during which more than $1.5 million in scholarships were awarded. He has served as a member of the board for N.M. Senior Olympics over the past 26 years.

In addition to serving on the Sandoval County Commission, Salazar was on the Bernalillo School Board for six years.

Sandoval County Treasurer
Democratic Candidates
Ronnie Sisneros
With experience in the Sandoval County Treasurer’s Office and the County Assessor’s Office, Ronnie Sisneros now seeks election as County Treasurer, adding to the 22 years he has already served as an elected official. He worked in the Assessor’s Office for more than 26 years, including two terms as its head from 1983 to 1986.

“My many years of political experience and working with the County Commission, the public, legislators and community” will serve the public well if he is elected, he assured. Employees in the Assessor’s Office and the Treasurer’s Office work closely, “hand in hand on a day to day basis on many taxpayer issues,” he explained.

“Through my working career, I have developed strong supervisory, administrative and management skills,” the candidate said. “I have experience working with large budget amounts in the Assessor’s Office and with the Town of Bernalillo.

“Working with the public and elected officials for those years has allowed me to gain valuable communication and interpersonal skills.” He said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham recently asked him to serve on a committee to recommend names for appointment as district judge.

Jennifer Taylor
Rio Rancho Democrat Jennifer Taylor is currently the Sandoval County Deputy Treasurer. Her work in the office since 2017, has included preparation of the monthly Treasurer’s Report that provides transparency for the collection, allocations and investments of County money.

“We need to ensure the County elects a qualified and knowledgeable individual to oversee and manage our public funds for the next four years,” she pointed out. “I have the certifications through the N.M. State University Edge program and I have real-world experience serving as chief deputy.

“Integrity, transparency and accountability are essential qualifies that every County Treasurer should have. I have demonstrated these qualities throughout my tenure in the Sandoval County Treasurer’s Office.”

Among other duties, Taylor helps prepare for the County’s Investment Committee sessions and the Board of Finance’s quarterly meetings. “I have been trained in the distribution process, and I have been responsible for initiating the County’s bond payments.

“As Treasurer, I will be fair, consistent and equitable when it comes to dealing with our taxpayers and constituents. I will also encourage a positive and united work environment for the Treasurer’s office staff.”

Republican Candidates
Carlos Sanchez
With a political science degree from the University of New Mexico and an associates degree in business administration, Carlos Sanchez seeks election as Sandoval County Treasurer. The Rio Rancho Republican said he has been an advanced tax examiner for both the public and private sector.

Sanchez has served three years on the City of Rio Rancho’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Among his credentials, he points to four years on the board of directors for the Northern Meadows homeowners association for which he was vice-president and treasurer.

“I feel it is crucial that on June 2, the candidate with the best community performance record in Sandoval County wins. This is the time to perform, the time to be knowledgeable of Sandoval County, not the time for great speeches. A time for renewed leadership with a solid track record in Sandoval, not another county.”

Benay Ward
Formerly quality control supervisor for the San Juan County Assessor’s Office, Rio Rancho Republican Benay Ward promises to enhance Sandoval County’s investments by investing idle funds to a greater benefit for our future.” That will be necessary, she said, because Sandoval County “is slated to continue to be the fastest-growing county in New Mexico. With this growth is a need to project and plan for the needs of our community.”

Ward has more than 15 years experience in county government, mostly in San Juan County. She was Deputy Chief Assessor which involved all aspects of managing the office. “This on-the-job experience has given me a well-rounded perspective of assisting members of the public but also working with commissioners and County leadership.”

She hold a master’s degree in business administration from N.M Highlands University. While there, she co-authored a scholarly article in the Journal of Finance and Accountancy about taxpayers’ expectations.

“The laws which affect the Treasurer’s Office must be applied reasonably and accurately to everyone, and not ignored or waived for special interest groups.” Voting on Election Day June 2 will be at the Corrales Recreation Center from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters are asked to wear face masks or coverings to protect poll workers.

2020-MAY 9 ISSUE: SEED2NEED STAYS FLEXIBLE

The stalwart volunteers who keep Corrales’ non-profit Seed2Need project going are stepping up again this growing season, but with a difference.

According to Manager Dom Tafoya, coronavirus circumstances meant the typical spring gathering of students and others at the usual greenhouse to plant seeds in seed beds could not happen. Instead, a few masked people picked up the plastic seed beds, plus seeds for tomatoes, chiles and some eggplant, cucumbers and zucchini, as well as soil, and carried everything home for planting.

They then dropped them off at the greenhouse, about a week later. “Everybody had to rinse off the outside of the returned beds —with about 32 slots per bed— in soapy water. And we used an alcohol spray as well.”

Remarkably, volunteers produced about 8,000 seed starts, similar to totals from years past, in spite of restrictions. “It was a big coordinated effort,” reported Tafoya.

Soon, a few Eagle Scouts will do the first drilling of the soil, separated and masked. It’s then likely that the founders of Seed2Need, Penny and Sandy Davis, will begin the planting, along with Tafoya, possibly joined by another small group of scouts. This year it will be scouts only, no family members joining in, no invited grandparents, no fun with little kids and dogs racing around.

And, all those working in the fields will be masked. “And it’s so tough to work outside in a mask,” as Tafoya put it.

Yet, as Tafoya underscored, “Never has there been a greater need for the produce Seed2Need grows and donates to area food banks. Many food banks really are hurting this year.” Tafoya aims to begin planting earlier than usual, after last year’s heat badly pummeled a good portion of tomato plants, which refused to form fruit. But since the farmers will be few, while Tafoya expects tomato plants will be caged, eventually, he doubts any will be covered in row cover this year, as that has to happen on day one or not at all. And that requires many coordinated hands. As he explained it, “Get one leaf hopper in there, and that’s like trapping a bull inside a china shop.”

Instead, the team will use neem oil or mineral oil on the plants as needed to combat pests. Seed2Need has donated over 500,000 pounds of produce to food pantries in both Sandoval and Bernalillo counties since 2010.

2020 – MAY 9 ISSUE: VETERANS’ CEMETERY FOR SANDOVAL COUNTY?

At a Village Council teleconference session last month, Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block said the County landfill —which the Village of Corrales started more than 40 years ago— may be nearly full. Corrales started the landfill because Rio Rancho was not yet incorporated as a municipality but Corrales was, and State law mandated that local governments had to provide a sanitary landfill for their citizens. So Village officials made arrangements for Amrep Southwest to dedicate then-remote terrain for the dump under Corrales’ jurisdiction.

Another project the commissioner mentioned was that the U.S. Veterans Administration has proposed buying 200 acres in Sandoval County to establish a second large Veterans Cemetery, since the 78-acre Santa Fe National Cemetery also is running out of room. Earlier this month, Block clarified that he and a fellow commissioner were exploring options for the operation of the landfill in Rio Rancho along Iris Road, investigating whether to turn its operation over to a private contractor, instead of the County directly handling it.

While the landfill is getting crowded, it’s likely to be adequate for the next few years, Block said. A large Sandoval County Solid Waste Regional Center was proposed in 2017 as a solar-powered liquid extraction system, geosynthetic clay and a monitoring probe that would go 30 feet into the earth. That proposed project on a 500-acre remote Rio Rancho site evidently is still undergoing vetting.

The cemetery project, should it occur, would go in near the Rio Rancho National Guard Armory installation on Northwest Loop off Highway 550. A major obstacle to the establishment of the cemetery is the question of mineral rights beneath the surface. According to Block, the Veterans Administration wishes to buy a parcel of land from the New Mexico State Land Office (SLO) and the parties have agreed on the price and legal description of the site.

“However,” as Block put it, “The SLO, pursuant to State statutes, cannot transfer “mineral estates” to anyone except the Department of the Interior, or any connected agency. The SLO has only worked with the Bureau of Land Management on previous exchanges, except those for tribal transactions when they worked with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.”

Without those mineral estates in hand, the VA cannot begin the project. Block said the Bureau of Land Management team from New Mexico told the SLO and VA that it could not guarantee the delivery of the mineral estates to the VA within five years, and even mentioned it might be as long as 20 years.
“I have been in contact not only with our lobbyists in Washington, DC, but also our congressional delegation regarding this issue. This is unacceptable, and the VA was not happy about this bureaucratic red tape.”

He said it is “entirely a federal issue, not a County issue,” as Block put it, “This is a huge win-win for Sandoval County, and the City of Rio Rancho if we are selected as the next site to inter our nation’s veterans.”

The Santa Fe National Cemetery was established in 1870, along with many others in the country, designated initially for the burial of Union soldiers post-Civil War. Today the Veterans Administration operates 142 national cemeteries and 33 soldiers’ lots and monument sites in 40 states and Puerto Rico.
According to its website, “More than four million Americans, including veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in VA’s national cemeteries. VA also provides funding to establish, expand, improve and maintain 115 veterans cemeteries in 48 states and territories including tribal trust lands, Guam and Saipan. For veterans not buried in a VA national cemetery, VA provides headstones, markers or medallions to commemorate their service.”

Currently, due to social distancing requirements, the Santa Fe cemetery is not able to provide military honors, though burials continue. As for who can be interred in a national cemetery, burial is open to all members of the armed forces and veterans who have met minimum active duty service requirements, as applicable, and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.

“Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty under certain circumstances are also eligible for burial, as are service members and former service members who were eligible for retired pay at the time of their death. “A veteran's spouse, widow or widower, minor children, and, under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities, may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the veteran.”

Back when Susana Martinez was governor of New Mexico, she started a veterans cemetery program in 2013 under the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services “to serve as a complement to larger national cemeteries. Her plan called for the construction of four veterans cemeteries over five years,” according to a report in the Santa Fe New Mexican. Her administration selected Gallup, Angel Fire, Fort Stanton and Carlsbad as possible sites. Apparently, three of the four cemeteries have been completed. In the interim Taos, not selected, initiated its own 20-acre Veterans Cemetery, beginning with a ground-breaking ceremony in the summer of 2017.

2020 – MAY 9 ISSUE: UPDATE ON PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham eased up pandemic-imposed restrictions on “non-essential retailers” May 1, indicating that such retailers “may provide curbside pickup and delivery services if permitted by their business license. Liquor licenses, for instance, do not allow for curbside or delivery service. Child care may now be extended to people operating non-essential businesses.”

As of May 1, five cases of the coronavirus were reported in Corrales. The Fire Department’s Tanya Lattin said “Currently no first responders are ill with COVID-19 or have been within the village. The fire department is fully staffed. We have PPE [personal protective equipment] but we spend hours a day, both Chief Martinez and myself, looking for items as they become available to restock and maintain our level.

“Due to COVID-19 all EMS supplies and medications are difficult to locate and we are looking ahead several months to ensure we have the needed items for the village.”

But New Mexico set a single-day record for COVID-19-related deaths on May 3, when 12 more people were added to the death toll. At least 118 new cases of the disease were reported, bringing the total to 3,650 amid mounting pressure to ease restrictions imposed by the governor.

Mayor Jo Anne Roake is gathering input from local businesses regarding a gradual relaxation of restrictions. Frame-n-Art’s Suanne Derr said the mayor and Corrales MainStreet director Sandy Rasmussen had begun to survey business owners about re-opening. “I imagine Mayor Roake is in constant communication with the surrounding communities as well as with the Governor”s Office, and the responses we get from our own people will give her a better understanding of our particular needs, as well as how they fit with our neighbors,” Derr said.

On May 1, the mayor said, “We are entering a new era in our fight against COVID-19. Starting today, we are in the preparation phase. “The good news: non-essential businesses can do curbside pick-up and delivery, and you can play golf or get vet and pet grooming services.

“Harder news: from now until May 15 is a test for each and every one of us. If we do not adhere strictly to COVID-19 safe practices —if we flunk this test— we will not be able to move onto phase one and more openness.

“We are too smart to get caught in a cycle of re-infection and closures. We will show that we care enough for each other to control our own actions and keep others safe. We must do it together and for each other.”

Directives from the Governor’s Office applied to non-essential hair salons and cutteries as well, but Corrales’ Gail Horan, owner of Just For Looks Salon and Barbershop, was not eager to leap back into the up-close-and-personal world of hair styling, much as she loves it.

Horan, who said she was a germ-phobe who followed her kids around with Lysol back in the day, said the protocols for salons were intense, involving shoe covers and plastic face masks, as well as full body coverings. This would apply to customers as well as staff. Her colleagues and friends in Los Angeles and Colorado doubt the wisdom of opening up their shops, given the circumstances.

Horan has pondered more than once inviting customers just for haircuts, outdoors in the sun. But that is hard to arrange, too. “And even if the county were able to supply us with the gear we need to reopen safely,” Horan said, “the time and expense involved, with fewer customers, likely would not be worth it.” She added, “And my barber is 86, with a pacemaker, and with asthma so he cannot even wear a mask!” Look for Horan’s business to reopen, possibly, by the end of June.

With a much less intimate connection to its customers, even local electronics seller Best Buy, closed for weeks, took a day to get directives from corporate about re-opening. The company will take orders online and deliver that latest iPhone to your car in the parking lot. And when things evolve in another two weeks or so, the plan is for customers to make online appointments, get assigned to a specific employee, and then be allowed to enter the store and visit the appropriate department with that employee. Masked, presumably.

Additional changes in “non-essentials” via the State of New Mexico include the reopening of State parks “on a modified day-use-only basis, as staff is available. Camping and visitor centers are still closed. The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department will notify the public of the parks that will be open in the near future.”

Federally licensed firearm retailers may open by appointment “only as needed to conduct background checks and to allow individuals to take possession of firearms ordered online.”Golf courses may open to golf only, so no dine-in or retail service.

Pet services —including adoption, grooming, daycare and boarding— are permitted to resume working, as are veterinarians.
A separate public health order addressing New Mexico’s June 2 primary election will allow polling locations to open, with limits. The order says no more than four voters or 20 percent of capacity may be inside a polling place at a time; mobile voting units may have no more than two voters at a time.

A third public health order “allows medical facilities to gradually resume non-essential but medically necessary procedures (including ambulatory and inpatient surgery) based on extensive guidelines from the Department of Health. The guidelines are designed to prevent a shortage of personal protective equipment and to safeguard the health of patients and healthcare workers.”

At its May 7 meeting the Sandoval County Commission considered a resolution urging the governor and secretary of the Department of Health “to allow those businesses, including non-profits to reopen immediately that do not fall within the Secretary’s definition of essential businesses and allow those businesses to implement those safeguards that have been imposed on essential businesses. These safeguards include, but are not limited to, setting numbers of persons per square foot permitted to occupy an office or business, setting numbers of persons who may gather, setting distance requirements, requiring the use of face masks and gloves when interacting with other persons, and any other safeguard necessary to ensure social distancing.

“These safeguards would further support the Health Secretary’s position that ‘social distancing’ is the sole way New Mexicans can minimize the spread of COVID-19, and currently constitutes the most effective means of mitigating the potentially devastating impact of the virus.”

But support for the governor’s new directives was not shared by all. New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce challenged the governor’s position. “Today’s comments by Governor Lujan Grisham continue to demonstrate that she favors out-of-state corporate giants over the little guy, the locally-owned mom-and-pop stores that drive New Mexico. While we appreciate that the governor is trying to move forward and ease some restrictions, her new changes fall far short of what’s needed.

“There is no equity of treatment for our businesses. Until small businesses have the same rules as the national chains, there’s favoritism and discrimination.

“This is something that not only cannot be tolerated, but will continue to destroy livelihoods and lives in New Mexico.”
The governor issued the following statement May 3.

“I know how badly each of us wants to reopen New Mexico so we can see our loved ones, get back to work and send students back to school. But as much as I want to tell you that New Mexico will fully reopen soon, local and national public health experts have indicated that the coronavirus itself will determine when we can safely open, and we must follow the science.

“Here’s the good news: We’re going to start the preparation phase of reopening certain parts of the state and economy. But let me be clear, data will determine the course of everything we do. Too much is on the line for New Mexico families whose health, safety and economic security depend on every one of us being diligent and using precautionary measures that keep us all safe.

“Fully reopening too quickly would be disastrously shortsighted. It will cost us more lives, and should we open too soon and be forced to return to shut down orders, it would devastate New Mexico’s economy, squandering all of the hard-won progress we’ve already made. It’s not just how New Mexico’s economy reopens: it’s how we stay open, and that means maintaining vigilance against the spread of this deadly disease.

“So here’s what’s new: I’ve extended the stay-home order to May 15. Pending that we continue to ‘bend the curve,’ after that date New Mexico will assess if we can enter ‘phase one’ of allowing certain parts of the state to reopen while continuing to use precautionary measures to keep people safe.

“During this preparation phase, we are allowing the reopening of non-essential retailers for curbside pickup and delivery, state parks (with limitations), animal services and golf courses. Let me be clear: If we see a backward trend, stricter stay-at-home restrictions may be necessary. The safety of our communities will remain our top priority.

“There are some important restrictions that will stay in place during the preparation phase until we ‘bend the curve’ enough to go forward on ‘phase one.‘ Offices, workspaces and retailers, dine-in restaurants and bars, indoor malls, gyms, salons, theaters, and casinos, and mass gatherings are still prohibited from opening. Once we reach ‘phase one,’ New Mexico will be able to reopen gyms, salons and other in-person businesses.

“Fortunately, there has been progress, thanks to folks like you working hard to limit contact with others, we are ‘bending the curve.’ Because of the dedication of New Mexico's medical and public health professionals, we’re ahead of the curve on testing too, after months of hard work securing critical supplies and setting up free testing across the state.

“But, even though we’ve moved the needle, to move on to the next phase of reopening, we need to continue to mitigate the spread of this virus  This means making sure we have adequate and stable testing, contact trace infections and keep our health care capacity and PPE levels stable. I’m proud of the work all of us have done, but we still have a long way to go, particularly in the Northwest corner of the state.”

The governor’s May 3 message continued: “In fact, things are so serious there that I have honored the emergency request of the incoming and outgoing mayors of Gallup and ordered a lockdown of the City of Gallup in McKinley County to help stop the unmitigated spread of the virus.

“McKinley County as of Thursday had reported 1,027 positive cases of COVID-19, more than 30 percent of the state’s total positive COVID-19 cases and the most positive cases in the entire state, outstripping even far more populous counties. It is clear evidence that the fight against the virus is ongoing everyday and we are giving enormous support to Gallup, McKinley County and the neighboring county of San Juan, and we will not let up until we bend the curve there as well.

“We have a duty to our loved ones, our neighbors and our communities to keep up this fight every day— a fight that won’t be fully over until a vaccine and a treatment are accessible to everyone. We will be patient and deliberate, leading with data-backed advice from the public health professionals on the front lines.

“Our obligation is to safely and gradually reopen our businesses while maximizing practices to keep people safe from this virus. That’s why I created the Economic Recovery Council with public health experts and industry leaders to make sure we create a plan that gradually lifts regulations over time to mitigate the spread of this virus and prevent any future outbreaks. We’re also working day-in and day-out with the bipartisan mayors council to respond to the local needs of all New Mexico’s communities.

“I wish I could point to a date in the future when things will be back to normal. I promise to always be honest with you: about what we’re up against, and what we’re going to do about it. Our shared responsibility is to keep as many New Mexicans as we can safe from this deadly disease. But what is happening in the Northwest could happen in any part of our state. We must remain vigilant.

“Your support in this fight means so much to me, and I can’t thank you enough for helping our state to get through this crisis.

“If you’re in a position to give and want to help out New Mexico communities, make a donation to the All Together NM Fund, which is offering support across New Mexico.

2020 – MAY 9 ISSUE: REC CENTER FIELDS NEVER LOOKED BETTER

Have you noticed how green the soccer fields are at the recreation center? Always a source of community pride, the athletic fields are now spectacular after recent re-seeing and grooming. Even Corrales Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Siverts thinks so.

“I’ve never seen them looking better,”  he said at the end of April. But that’s partly because the fields are getting far less wear-and-tear than normal. The rec center has been closed since mid-April in compliance with directives by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Mayor Jo Anne Roake.

Soccer teams are not playing, or even practicing, so the grass is recuperating during the coronavirus closures. “Being able to keep new grass seed moist by watering in small amounts more times day and lower foot traffic has got us looking better than ever,” Parks and Recreation Specialist Aaron Gjullin said April 29. “However, we are excited when people can start coming back and using our parks and facilities.”

Villagers are greeted by an eye-pleasing expanse of greenery as they drive past the field, but it’s not just the athletic fields that have been pampered this spring. Siverts said La Entrade Park, outside the library, is also especially green and healthy at this time, as is the Juan Gonzales Bas Heritage Farm adjacent to the park and west of Wells Fargo Bank.

All of the grassy areas have been top-dressed with compost provided an anonymous donor, Siverts said. With these public areas closed, Siverts and staff have been able to give more attention to improving the grass as well as other projects such as improving parking areas at the library and the Growers’ Market area.

Gjullin explained, “We added eight trees at La Entrada Park. We planted 33 trees at the Gonzales field, and we have started to mow the Gonzales fields as well. “We trimmed branches at the library parking lot; we added another entrance from the library parking lot tho the library breezeway and we fixed the parking lot fences at the library that had been hit by cars.

“Parks and Recreation has never had an opportunity like this to be able to do any of these projects before,” he added. But preparations to open the rec center swimming pool were put on hold to learn when it might be able to open to the public. “We are not really sure what the summer holds for us yet, but we are preparing case we do get the chance to open later this year. As of right now, we have delayed our registration that would normally begin on May 1 until we have more information about our ability to open, and what kind of restrictions we may be facing.

“We won’t have a good idea of anything until May 15 or possibly even later than that, depending on what the governor decides.” He invitee villagers with questions to contact him by email at agjullin@corrales-nm-org.

 

2020-MAY 9 ISSUE: CORRALES’ ALEX KNIGHT’S IMPROV THEATER STALLS

By Meredith Hughes
It’s a classic coronavirus tale. A guy hops a quick flight home to the Albuquerque area from Los Angeles to celebrate his niece’s fourth birthday, and to nd preside over a couple days of workshops.

But over a month later, he’s still there. And he has not yet seen his niece. Her mom, his sister, is a doctor, so there are lockdown issues. We’re talking about Corrales’ Alex Knight, son of Chris Allen and Paul Knight, improv meister who headed to LA about three years ago to find fame, fortune, or maybe just a few good parts in television and film.

He has not fared too poorly, laughing in a phone interview that his agent wishes he were younger. He’s 35. Right before COVID-19 hit, Knight and some fellow improv actors were building a stage in a rented space, getting set to commit to a decent lease. They were readying “The Improv Space” to open on Santa Monica Boulevard in West LA, busy defining the roles of assorted board members… but everything went belly up.

Knight began his acting career playing an alien in a Corrales Elementary school show at 10, then sang and danced in “A Chorus Line” at Sandia Prep. He jumped from elementary ed, to theater ed, to finally just theater, as his major at the University of New Mexico, from which he graduated in 2007.

Thereafter he worked for several years with Tricklock, an Albuquerque theater company established in 1993, which is dedicated to collaborative “innovative devised theatre,” as in creating plays/performance pieces, as well as international cultural exchange.

As a core company member of Tricklock, Knight traveled to Uganda, Poland, Ukraine and Serbia, acting, directing and teaching. He also tried out for a range of films made in New Mexico. appearing in a few of them. His latest gig was a role in “Narcos: Mexico,” a Netflix production.

Then came an unexpected prize for his role in an 11-minute film called “Home Movies,” created by Albuquerque filmmaker and director Keagan Karnes. It’s about a brother and sister who uncomfortably discover their recently deceased father had a hoard of porn films hidden in his belongings. The Las Cruces International Film Festival dubbed the flick “Best New Mexico Film.”

Improvisational, creative spontaneity is not a bad tool for these times, is it? Living for the time-being in Albuquerque with his girl friend, Knight has launched what he calls Alex Knight’s Weekly Improv Digital Bootcamp, a Zoom gathering focused on scene study and group discussion. It’s on Tuesdays, six p.m. MST. To sign up, email scaryknightmare@gmail.com.

There’s also “The One Night Stanleys,” a gang of improv guys including Knight whose work turns up on twitch.tv, a live stream service. And the Home Alone Film Challenge on Instagram, wherein “you make a five-minute short in 50 hours.”

“Each filmmaker must write, direct, edit, act and submit a short by themselves.”

Knight’s is called “The Big Day.” He plays a handful of people, bearded, has murderous thoughts, and allows a cat and a dog a few seconds screen time as well. View “The Big Day” at https://www.instagram.com/p/B_QUAN5F7LY Another project in which Knight was to have had a role, that just has not (yet) happened, is a television series called “Evel,” starring Milo Ventimiglia. The USA Network limited project is based on the life of daredevil Evel Knievel, “as he prepares for his greatest death-defying feat —the legendary Snake River Canyon jump in 1974.” (Knievel broke only his nose on that one.)

Evidently two episodes were shot this year before everything imploded. More executive producers are listed in connection to the series than actors, but still, Knight said that most of his expenses, including rent on a shared small apartment in LA, are being covered by the residuals from his array of assorted TV and film appearances in recent years.

2020 MAY 9 ISSUE: EMERGENCY EQUINE FEED ASSISTANCE OFFERED

Any resident of New Mexico with personal equines who is struggling related to COVID-19 or other emergency circumstance may apply for assistance with feed. Animal Protection of New Mexico, the state’s leading advocate for the humane treatment of animals, set up a program for equine emergency feed assistance for those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Apply online at APNM.org/HorseHelp or call 803-3770.

Since 2010, Animal Protection of New Mexico’s Equine Protection Fund has provided crucial assistance to over 1,300 equines in homes and sanctuaries across the state. Over the last month, the organization’s helpline has responded to a substantial increase in requests for emergency feed assistance due to the COVID-19 crisis, and it wants to continue to provide support to the community during this time.

2020-MAY 9 ISSUE: ‘YOUNG IN ART’ EXHIBITION WINNERS

The People’s Choice Award for Corrales Elementary School’s submissions for this year’s “Young in Art” show was won by fourth grader Delilah Muxworthy.

The award presentations and reception that traditionally have culminated the event had to be cancelled this year due to the pandemic. But judges were still able to evaluate submissions and declare winners in each grade level.

Taking first place were:
Joseph Wesslowski, kindergarten;
Duke Brodehl, first grade;
Zoe Padilla, second grade;
Layla Jabest, third grade;
Dixie Brodehl, fourth grade; and
Odin McKeown, fifth grade.
The Principal’s Choice award went to Dixie Brodehl.

Judges were Sandra Corless, Rick Snow, Mariana Roumel Gasteyer and Gail Tunberg. Organizer Sueanne Derr, of Frame-n-Art, said artwork would be available to be picked up at Corrales Elementqry after May 15 or when the governor’s stay-at-home order is lifted.

For this year’s competition and exhibition, four works of art were selected from each grade level, kindergarten through fifth. Subjects ranged from mermaids to pigs and colorful birds to flowing abstractions.

Among the subject matter was a fox with wings and a sleeping dragon.
Showing in this year’s exhibition were: Kindergarten: Lily McWenie, Nina Ward, Avary Werth and Joseph Wesslowski.

First grade: Duke Brodehl, Ondine Fehr, Janvi Kalsikam and Lyla Ward.
Second grade: Bellaluna Findley, Mary Grady, Elle Hanchett and Zoe Padilla.
Third grade: Annelise Daniels, Allessandra Gonzales, Layla Jabest and Devina Maestas. Fourth grade: Addilyn Blickinstaff, Dixie Brodehl, Chloe Langdon and Delilah Muxworthy. Fifth grade: Ella Burkett, Asia Chadwick, Isabella Holmberg and Odin McKeown.

2020 MAY 9 ISSUE: IDEUM’S ROLE AS ‘ESSENTIAL BUSINESS’ EXPLAINED

By Meredith Hughes
Back a month or so ago, one of Corrales Comment’s readers was puzzled by all the action at Ideum, the touch table/screen software and hardware builder with two locations in the village. ‘How is this essential business?” he asked.

Its essential nature swiftly was verified by the Governor’s Office, as Ideum’s multi-touch tables and displays are used “by many government agencies, all branches of the U.S. military, national laboratories, municipalities and first responders. In addition, numerous other businesses considered essential by the State of New Mexico, such as the company’s customers in transportation, utilities, and medicine and research, rely on Ideum hardware.”

As the Ideum website puts it, “We are proud to support the government agencies, scientific institutions, municipalities, and first responders across the nation who rely on our hardware. In just the last few weeks, we’ve been working with the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, several national laboratories, police and fire departments, healthcare facilities, and utilities and other essential services. … Our hardware is being used for situational awareness, scientific visualization, telepresence and emergency response.”

Which means that company founder and chief Jim Spadaccini is not doing jigsaw puzzles at home. He’s working 50-plus hours a week, responding to change. “When these things happen,” he said, referencing COVID-19, “They change the world.”

And change ironically means that “touch” may no longer have the appeal it once did. A touch table in place in an education tent during the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, a large interactive table for an exhibition called “The Great Inka Road” at the National Museum of the American Indian in DC, and many other projects here and abroad may be segueing to what sometimes is called “high fidelity hand gesture” units.

Obviously, when people worldwide are wearing masks, and workers and other personnel are encased in full plastic body suits, touching is discouraged. “This is a real challenge because a lot of time and money has been invested in touch,” admitted Spadaccini, “And in a year or two it’s likely that touch exhibits will be back.”

And touch, whether for museums or corporations or national laboratories, is more efficient, according to Spadaccini, who has long worked with Intel and still talks with their engineers about twice a month. “From the start we have worked with organizations like Boeing, the U.S. Army, and a steady stream of clients from all branches of government.”

“Even the White House!” Sometime in 2016 a non-high security Ideum touch screen was installed right outside the Situation Room, the room made famous in 2011 by the photo of President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and others, observing the actions that led to the demise of Osama Bin Laden. Spadaccini has no idea if it is still there.

The U.S. Navy, a client for three to four years, just acquired an Ideum installation that determines where planes should be placed on an aircraft carrier. “For years naval personnel moved around tiny model planes to complete this task,” said Spadaccini.

He added that Ideum makes mobile versions of such gear, installed in travel cases, and “it’s pretty fun, because there are thousands of them around the world. They have secret lives.” Even cruise lines have them, for “situational awareness of engine rooms,” apparently.

But increasingly, touchless interfaces are key. One motion and gesture-based exhibit Ideum produced has been in place at the Albuquerque Biopark BUGarium since 2015. The $8,000 “Be A Bug” setup was donated by the company, and the idea for it is this: choose a critter, either the bee, the beetle or the damsel fly, and then see a life-sized mirror image of the bug which tracks and replicates your own movements using a Kinect sensor, developed by Microsoft. You then flap your wings and take a 60-second flight through a fanciful imagined environment to find food.

One flaw, though: the visitor must indeed touch a screen to choose what insect it wishes to be. A newer project called “Chow Time” for the Biopark’s Penguin Chill exhibition is all motion-directed. As Ideum describes it, “Although the imagery and content are different, the structure of ‘Chow Time’ is similar to ‘Be a Bug,’ with visitors swimming to find food and leaning to control their direction. However, we also added predators and other dangers to the environment, so guests need to avoid those unpleasant surprises. A special pose gesture in which guests raise a hand and lean prompts the penguin to spin to evade danger.”

The company points out, however, that both these exhibits, and others like them, are single-user. Highly educational and fun, too. The next stop seems clear: “multi-user motion-based exhibits and immersive environments.”

Here again, “moving from single to multiple users in a gesture-based experience presents intriguing challenges. Depending on scale, it may be necessary to use two or more more motion-sensing devices, and the data gathered by these sensors will need to be combined so that tracking is consistent across devices. A social exhibit space with numerous visitors roaming freely, and perhaps gesturing and pointing, can present formidable programming challenges as movements are detected by several devices simultaneously.”

Dinosaurs are behind a 2016 project using all of the above, which was installed at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. It’s called DinoStomp, and it’s uncertain whether visitors or dinosaurs are in charge.

A 2019 setup in Santa Monica at the Caton Children’s Museum moves from day to night and back again in a continuing cycle. “During the day, flocks of butterflies appear, along with a watchful frog and curious dragonflies. By nightfall, the butterflies leave and fireflies begin to appear.”

“The overarching concept is that some natural cycles, such as the movement of the sun and moon, can’t be controlled, while we can affect other natural events. All of the insects and animals in the experience are characters in a dynamic scene and are affected by motion and sound. If visitors are too active or loud, the butterflies and dragonflies fly away, the frog disappears into the water, and the fireflies stop flashing.”

While touch seemingly is touch-and-go right now, Spadaccini is happy to say that there have been no layoffs among the 45 employees of Ideum, and no reduction of hours. Software, exhibit design, and administrative staff are working remotely. Hardware builders are wearing masks and respecting distancing requirements.
“In this culture, we are not afraid of change,” said Spadaccini. “We reinvent ourselves so often.” Familiar with laser cutting of plastic, recently the company attempted to get into the manufacture of plastic masks for medical personnel, which it planned to donate, but there literally was no raw material available.

“We’re making adjustments, the software group is pivoting, we’re expecting a PPP, Paycheck Protection Program, loan soon, touchless is the primary focus, but thanks to existing clients —and we even are gaining new clients— we will keep everyone employed.”

2020 MAY 9 ISSUE: OLD FIRE STATION, STEEPED IN CONFLICT, WILL BE P&Z OFFICE

A crucial bit of Corrales history likely will be stuccoed over in the weeks ahead as renovation of the old Corrales Valley Fire Station concludes. The frame-and-stucco building erected in the late 1970s as a fire-rescue station for the unincorporated territory in the Corrales Valley is being converted to house Village government’s planning and zoning offices as well as animal control operations.

The project is expected to be complete in July. Construction is being done by the Albuquerque-based Facility Build, which is led by Corrales’ Brian Kilcup, who also oversaw extensive renovation of two old structures in the Jones property adjacent to the Corrales Recreation Center. Those two shed are now used by the Village Public Works Department.

Decades before the property west of the post office was acquired by the Village, the barn and shed were used to house and maintain heavy equipment for contractor Harvey Jones’ construction operations. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXV No.12 August 6, 2016 “Jones Parcel Purchased.”)

Jones moved his business to Corrales, it was said, to avoid zoning restrictions in Bernalillo County. At that time, the Jones property of more than 20 acres between Corrales Road and Corrales Acequia was not within the Village limits, so Corrales’ regulations did not apply.

The Joneses quickly became respected and influential here, especially on flood control issues and the volunteer fire department. Both Harvey and Annette Jones were leaders on the old Corrales Watershed Board which was later absorbed by the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority.

But shortly after the community incorporated as a municipality in 1971, Corrales’ first mayor, Barbara Christianson, tried to annex the Jones property, along with all other Sandoval County territory along Corrales Road and west to the Main Canal.
Then-Mayor Christianson tried to pressure property owners, including the Joneses, to annex into the Village by threatening to withhold fire-rescue response to areas outside Village limits.

That implied threat enraged Annette Jones. She made a special lobbying appeal to the N.M. Legislature for funds to erect a separate fire station independent of Village government. She was successful, so the Corrales Valley Fire station was built. For years, it operated relatively autonomously, but became irrelevant when Village officials went ahead and annexed the Jones property and nearly all of what is now considered “Corrales” through a petition to the N.M. Boundary Commission.
(See Corrales Comment Vol.VII No. 7, 8 and 11, June 11, 1988, June 25 and
August 6, 1988 “Boundary Commission Will Be Asked to Annex Up to Rio Rancho.”)

The old sign along the facade remained even though the building has not had a use related to the Corrales Fire Department for decades. Instead, it has been a general purpose space used mainly by the Public Works Department.

Former Mayor Phil Gasteyer assigned high priority to relocating Public Works away from the municipal complex at the corner of Corrales Road and East La Entrada, which was the prime motive for purchasing the Jones property in 2016.

As prospects arose that the old building would be vacated by Public Works, a proposal was advanced that perhaps it could be converted into a “black box” performance space suitable for theater, concerts and other artistic functions.
Proponents envisioned the building connected to the old Community Center just east of it to create a Corrales arts center. But that idea fell amid concerns a few years ago about potential conflict with the N.M. Constitution’s “anti-donation” clause, prohibiting private parties from using public facilities without charge.
About a year ago, Mayor Jo Anne Roake decided to use the old Valley Fire Station for the Planning and Zoning Department and the Animal Services division of the Police Department.

2020 – MAY 9 ISSUE: INTEL DRAINAGE PROJECT MAY PREVENT FLOODING BELOW

Stormwater run-off from the east side of Intel’s property onto Corrales homes may finally be controlled. Extensive drainage control improvements, including concrete block walls, grading, plantings, spreading of gravel and creation of ponding areas and check dams, have been completed over the past year after consultations with engineers.

Intel’s Erika Edgerly have a presentation to Corrales’ mayor and Village Council at their council meeting April 28. After describing the tasks and showing photos of the work along the paved trail that separates Intel property from Corrales neighborhoods, Edgerly said Intel will continue monitoring how those changes function during expected monsoon rains this summer.

Mayor Jo Anne Roake later praised those efforts to address chronic problems created for Corrales homeowners in the sandhills below the escarpment. “The Village thanks Intel, and in particular Erica Edgerly, for her commitment to this project to not only preserve the trail but also increase resident’s protection against flooding during the monsoon season.”

A major stretch of the recreational trail, variously known as the Intel Trail or the Skyview Trail, has been graded and re-paved to direct stormwater run-off to the west rather toward Corrales.”The trail is canted slightly toward the west and a curb has been added along the east side,” she explained for the council meeting. “That will create a long holding area if water were to accumulate. Rocks have been added at the base of the wall to prevent erosion.”

Areas north of the new pavement have been terraced to slow run-off as well. Her presentation included a photograph of a new stairway from the Pueblo los Cerros condos up to the Intel Trail. “We’ve added in stairs to get to the trail, with a fence on either side to keep folks on the trail,” she said.

After he briefing, Councillor Stu Murray asked for how great a storm was the project designed. She replied: “It’s designed for a 100-year flood. And that was afser the designed was reviewed by Sandoval County as well as by Albuquerque.”
She did not specify, but the reference probably was to the Southern Sandoval County Arrohyo Flood Control Authority and the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority.

Murray was concerned that the new construction included a break in the curbing that might allow flows into Corrales in the vicinity of Windover. Intel closed off its paved hiking and biking trail while construction and landscaping was underway. “For safety considerations, the trail has been closed, and the associated access points have been fenced off so that only those performing the work have access,” Erika Edgerly said January 15.

Corrales homeowners had complained for more than a decade about stormwater cascading down the east-facing slope into neighborhoods along Morning Sun Trail, Hop Tree Trail and other roads, causing thousands of dollars in flooding and sediment deposition. Finally, last year Intel called in consultants, including the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority, to assess the chronic problem for recommendations.

Intel’s Edgerly had given a detailed council at their June 18, 2019 session. The problem had existed for many years but apparently had worsened after Intel constructed the paved trail basically right on its property boundary with Corrales. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXVII No.18 November 24, 2018 “Homeowners Appeal to Village to Take On Intel Run-Off.”)

Edgerly said then that the new project should “get us back to our historical flows” leaving Intel property. She is Intel’s public affairs director for New Mexico and Texas.

On November 25, 2019 she responded to a Corrales Comment inquiry, saying, “As you know, one of Intel’s goals is to be an asset to our community, which includes engaging with our neighbors to address their concerns. This year, we updated our quarterly maintenance procedures for the east slope of our property based on recommendations from a third-party engineering firm.

In early summer 2019, she said, “We worked with our landscaper to install additional hay bales along the east slope to reduce erosion and control sediment. At that time, we also used sediment from key areas to make berms to catch storm water.

“We also had an Intel engineer walk the east slope weekly this summer to identify areas that need to be addressed. For the fall and winter, the engineer will walk the area monthly,” Edgerly explained.

“As I presented at the June 18 Village Council meeting, we have been working with local authorities and the third-party engineering firm to identify additional actions to maintain the east slope of our property in accordance with local ordinances. The engineering firm has completed their design and we have reviewed them with several interested neighbors and officials, including Ron Curry, the Village Administrator. We are hopeful that a majority of the work included in the design will be completed in the first half of 2020.”

A major improvement was to be achieved by grading land adjacent to the paved trail toward Intel, away from Corrales. In the past, Intel mainly had tried to stop the flow of stormwater into Corrales by placing a long row of straw bales along the property line.

In her presentation in June 2019, Edgerly said a new engineered check dam above Palacio Road “will stop the run-off from coming down and catch water and catch sediment and help the water to soak in a little bit,” preventing further flows downhill into Corrales neighborhoods.

An important component of the plan would be to re-visit the problem and solutions a year later, she said. “This will be a learning curve for us,” Edgerly said at the June council meeting. “We will likely do some work and see how it goes this summer. We want to make sure we are getting the results we want, and then go back and do some additional work next year.”

She described the proposed work above Hop Tree Trail this way last year. “For this section of the trail, especially since it is close to the property line now, we will end up having to move the trail so that work isn’t being done right up against the fence line. We will do more contouring here. We are also looking to increase the size of the ponds in this are as well as install a new pond once we move the trail.”

The mayor and council members seemed satisfied with the plan, which was a sharp contrast to Intel’s usual response to Corrales homeowners’ complaints. Typically, Intel officials would refuse to take responsibility for flooding damage into Corrales, but would offer to compensate for damage with a few thousand dollars.
In November 2018, two CorraIes homeowners appealed to Village officials to help them persuade Intel to effectively address the ongoing problem of stormwater run-off from Intel’s property.

Loren Keller and Allen Nickelson made their case to the mayor and Village Council during the Corraleños Forum portion of the meeting agenda November 13, 2018.
“I am here this evening to appeal to the Village for help with a problem we are experiencing with our neighbor… Intel,” Keller began. He is a homeowner along Palacios Road.

“The rains of late July [2018] showed just what their uncontrolled water run-off can do,” he continued. “We experienced considerable damage and flooding, and thus incurred significant expense in repairs. They did allow us to file an insurance claim resulting in a settlement of $4,000.

“That seems to be their answer to the problem, since not one thing has been done to prevent a reoccurrence of our specific problem. They have placed strawbales in certain locations, but they simply do not work.”

He said the erosion from Intel’s property has created a channel as deep as four feet in one location. Keller said he had talked to an Intel representative, “but there seems to be little she can do.

“We built our home on this property in 2007. Our builder explained to us that we were legally responsible for controlling our own water run-off. We built holding ponds to accommodate that, and have made other adjustments as we learned the nature of the water flow. Does Intel not have that same responsibility?” Keller asked the mayor and council.

“This event showed I could not control both my property run-off and Intel’s. I have rough estimates from both an engineering company and a landscaper to address this problem. Their solution amounted to me making adjustments on my property to control Intel’s runoff at an estimated cost of $50,000.

“That simply does not make sense to me that I pay $50,000 to control their run-off.
“I know others in the village have experienced this problem. I also realize Intel is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, and we, acting individually, have little chance of getting their attention. We need your help!” he pleaded.

Nickelson said he has owned his property here for around 35 years. He pointed out that some time back, after the asphalt trail was constructed along Intel’s boundary with Corrales, straw bales were placed along the east side of the trail to mitigate run-off. “The walking path was built adjacent to our property with no consideration as to what that would mean about drainage,” he explained.

He was told Intel installed about 1,400 straw bales to be placed along its eastern property line. But only three bales were placed along his property, he contended.
Nickelson said then he was convinced that Intel “has no interest in correcting the problem.”

The men asked that the Village send a representative, along with council members for districts affected by the Intel drainage issues to an upcoming conference with Intel. It was suggested that someone from the Southern Sandoval Country Arroyo Flood Control Authority might also attend.

The authority’s executive director and chief engineer, Chuck Thomas, did participate.

2020-MAY 9 ISSUE: NEW CORRALES RESIDENT ARRIVES, SWAINSON’S HAWK

There’s exciting news in the Corrales Bosque Preserve although not all critters will be thrilled. An active Swainson’s Hawk nest has been documented here, possibly for the first time ever, according to Hawks Aloft Director Gail Garber.

On May 1, she told Corrales Comment about occupants of a Great Horned Owl nest, Cooper’s Hawks and visiting osprey, “but the most exciting thing just happened today: a large nest we have been watching for years now has a Swainson’s Hawk.

“That is the first documented Swainson’s Hawk that we’ve found in the Corrales Bosque. I’m super-excited about this.” It was spotted by Joan Hashimoto, a long-time Hawks Aloft collaborator. It is much larger than the more common Cooper’s Hawk.

The large raptor has taken over a long-vacant, deteriorating nest at the top of a tree close to the levee. In weeks before, Garber and Hashimoto had noticed that new sticks had been added to the old nest, so they were expecting a new occupant.
It’s at the top of a tall cottonwood where it likely will be invisible from the ground once the tree is fully leafed out, Garber said. She had suspected larger hawks might be visiting the preserve here, but could never determine which. “The reason, I think, is that the nests are so well hidden in the tops of the trees.”

This year, the new hawk was spotted in the improved nest before the cottonwoods had fully leafed out. Garber said the Swainson’s Hawk spends part of the year in Argentina, some 6,000 miles away, migrating round trip every year. Among raptors, Swainson’s are among the last to arrive in New Mexico in the spring, Garber added.

“During the spring, they feed their young the same things the other raptors feed theirs. They eat lizards, snakes and other birds and small mammals and things like that. But when the grasshoppers bloom in the summer, they switch their diet to almost exclusively grasshoppers. So their nests are generally adjacent to open fields because that’s where they would find the insects they would normally eat. In the fall, when the grasshoppers die, they migrate back to Argentina, leaving here by September.

“The ones we spotted today will have 32 days from now tor their eggs to hatch and the young will be fledging in mid-July, and by September, they’ll be gone. And the young go before the parents.” As exciting as that discovery is for Corrales birdwatchers, they were a-flutter earlier when a Great Horned Owl nest near the Corrales Riverside Drain (“Clear Ditch”) produced newly-hatched chicks in early May.

“Eggs in the nest have hatched and the young owls are starting to come out of the nest,” Sarah Sadler reported May 4. “It has been quite the community event. I’ve been calling them the ‘royal owlets because their births were so highly anticipated. Best times to see them are about 7 to 8 p.m. before sunset. Best time to see the people seeing the nest are pretty much all day.”

Sadler said the nest is along the Sandoval Lateral irrigation ditch that parallels the Riverside Drain, south of Dixon Road. Garber had anticipated this past winter would be a “really good one for birds” as a result of prolonged flooding in the bosque. “We were expecting a bumper crop of berries on the Russian Olives and New Mexico Olive. But really that didn’t happen.

“Consequently bird number across the bosque were very, very low,” she said, cautioning that her observation is anecdotal, not based on statistical bird counts.
She and Hashimoto regularly survey the preserve for raptors from Dixon Road south to Alameda Bridge since 2004. But it’s hard to produce comparable numbers because conditions in the bosque change considerably from year to year, she explained. “Last yeat, of course, the bosque was largely flooded in that area, so we couldn’t even get to some of the areas very well.

“This year, we’re out there looking for raptors, and Cooper’s  Hawks are just now starting to sit on their nests. That’s the most common raptor that we have in the bosque here.” Great Horned Owl chicks can scramble out of their nest within a few weeks of hatching. Using claws on their feet, they can climb into trees and shrubs to hide, Garber explained.

When grown, the owls “can eat everything, including people’s cats.They don’t see Fluffy as anything other than food. They also eat skunks… they have a very poorly developed sense of smell.”

2020-APRIL 25 ISSUE: ENDANGERED AVOCADOS?

Kiss the guacamole good bye. Researchers in Mexico warn that the avocado is becoming an endangered species due to climate change. It has been identified as an endangered fruit due to the climate-driven spread of fruit flies, Anastrepha ludens.

A New York Times article March 13 noted that an exhibit in the American Museum of Natural History about unexpected results of climate change include a threat to avocado trees. The museum’s SciCafe will “feature Mexican research on how the climate-driven spread of fruit flies affects an endangered fruit: the avocado.” The article goes on to say that “Already, rising temperatures are disrupting the avocado supply chain, causing price increases across the United States that have also been exacerbated by trade uncertainty.”

Scientists are trying to head off the avocado calamity by altering avocado DNA. “As climate change intensifies, however, the challenges facing the avocado industry are becoming increasingly urgent,” the Times article cautions. “Over the next few years, heat waves will become more common, scientists and industry experts predict, potentially leading to even more severe shortages. A recent study by scientists in California estimated that climate change could reduce the state’s avocado production, which last year totaled 300 million pounds, by 40 percent over the next three decades.”

Last year, the United States imported nearly two billion pounds of avocados from Mexico.

2020-APRIL 25 ISSUE: THE JOYS OF INSTACART SHOPPING

By Meredith Hughes
Insta has a nifty ring to it, right? The best part of horrible “instant” coffee, for example. Insta-gram, that place where online photos demand your attention, especially from the family you hold dear, albeit from a distance.

So Instacart caught your eye, especially after having decided not to venture inside grocery stores awash in virus droplets for a while, given this period of plague. And with zero interest in lining up in the old fogie shopping line, pre dawn.

Instacart was started in San Francisco in 2012 by Apoorva Mehta, a guy who grew up in Canada, trained as an electrical engineer, worked two years as a supply chain engineer for Amazon, needed a bigger challenge, quit, started assorted online businesses, failed at them all, until… he liked to cook, had no car, and wanted food from assorted places.

You, like Mehta, want groceries, and you want them delivered to your door, instantly. Because you are busy bingeing old episodes of Rumpole of The Bailey, or playing “grab the mousie" ad nauseam with your cat, or trying to teach your grandniece in Maine basic world geography via Zoom. ( Don’t get me started on the baffling intricacies of Zoom…) Or whatever.

So you seize hopefully/haplessly on the insta part of the remote grocery cart thing, and download the cute carrot-emblazoned app onto your phone. You excitedly discover that the human Instacart shopper doing your bidding will trot around not only Smith’s, Albertson’s and Sprouts, but also Costco, Natural Grocers, Sam’s Club, Target, and CVS. Even Petco. Your choice.

And while in many other states of these United ones, Instacart is allowed to deliver alcohol from the grocery store of your choice, that is not possible in New Mexico, whose booze laws are such they might well have been written by the Puritans.

But. Beware. Choose one store and stick with it, especially on your maiden voyage. ( Thank the gods you are not on a bloody cruise.) Put in your zip code, and create an account. For free delivery, you can sign up for Express, at $9.99 a month or $99 a year. If you choose more than one store at a time, you may find yourself mis-juggling carts, putting cucumbers into the CVS cart, and having to wrestle them back out. With Express, however, your shopper actually can dart from one outlet to the next, and bring a combined order to you.

If you are a tech fan you likely will admire the rollout of goodies, which is remarkably well done, and visually appealing. Easy to use.

You begin by choosing free-range eggs, you add it via the plus sign, you decide no, no kale, you subtract, you choose replacement items just in case, or tell the shopper “no”, there is no replacement for organic ginger snaps, and Instacart pops in to inform you your delivery will not exactly be instant, more like, uh, four days from now…

The enticing bit is that you now have four days in which to add or subtract items. Naturally, you add. Talenti ice cream is on sale, and your old favorite flavor when you were a child sitting in a booth with your family at Howard Johnson’s, mocha chip, is available! Talenti calls it Coffee Chocolate Chip, but so what. Plus 2, by gum.

Eventually, you must stop fiddling with the list, because a few days have passed and your carrot phone app is telling you that Paulette has begun shopping. You can “chat” with Paulette, though you hesitate to impede her progress, but you urge her subliminally to check the sell-by dates of those eggs, and to take note of the shaggy edges of the chard, and pick another, but hey, back off.

Now Paulette is choosing a replacement for the pepper jack cheese, you are putty in her hands, but she comes through with dill havarti for the win, more or less. And so on. You can watch your list of 31 items sink slowly down, as Paulette does her thing. At one point, there is a notable pause between item 15, and 14, and you assume Paulette has heeded nature’s call, as one must. Or perhaps is clueless as to what broccoli rabe is. So be it.

Then once again Paulette is on the move, and you watch the shrinking of the list down to zero.

Now you picture Paulette masked and gloved, pushing the actual shopping cart to her car, and disgorging the contents, all in paper bags, into the backseat. Where her hound Roscoe normally lounges. OMG.

The phone app picks up Paulette as she drives smoothly out of the parking lot and heads for your home, and while it’s a bit vague as to where Paulette is, your address is firmly and accurately in place. You watch the map and wait.
And you do give in to the “chat” possibility, thanking Paulette profusely for doing your shopping, and asking if she would please place the shopping bags in a battered-looking red wagon parked in front of your door. The wagon once belonged to your son, now 36.

You ponder wistfully the fact that were said son nearby, there would be no need for Paulette. You wonder how best to wash the virus bits off four containers of ice cream without melting the contents.

A masked Paulette has arrived, hurriedly lugging bags. You enthusiastically wave out the window at her, delighted by this Insta shopping success, while at the same time convinced that the tip you added to the order could not possibly have been enough.

2020-APRIL 25 ISSUE: MEALS, FOOD DISTRIBUTION IN CORRALES DURING CLOSURE

By Meredith Hughes
It appears that hungry yet independent seniors, deprived by the horrific virus dubbed “ novel” of hanging out at their usual eateries, are lining up in their cars to partake of the meals programs Sandoval County makes possible.

A longtime staffer for the County’s Senior Services said “we are busier than ever before,” as the numbers continue to climb. “Cooking and serving cafeteria style is much easier than having to package or box everything up,” she said. “Our expenses definitely are up, and certain foods, including milk, are harder to source.”

Most of the food served up to seniors comes from Cisco and Shamrock, with some shelter-in-place seniors helped out by foodboxes from Roadrunner Food Bank, the New Mexico-wide organization comprised of multiple food partners.
The Corrales Senior Center continues to distribute meals prepared at the Meadowlark Senior Center in Rio Rancho, and the Sandoval County staffer said she was astounded when the number of meals requested in Corrales jumped from about 60-70 to 150 per day.

“Demand clearly has doubled.” Back in March, hot meals still were offered up daily. Now, heading into late April, the now drive thru arrangement gives out hot meals on Mondays and Wednesdays, with frozen meals for the other days tacked on. Centers suggest a $2 donation per meal, but no one is turned away for not paying. The Corrales center hands out meals from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Among those occasionally taking advantage of those drive-up, take home meals is Corrales Comment Editor Jeff Radford. “Carol Merrill and my son, Ben, do a great job of keeping me supplied with groceries and cooked meals, but occasionally the pantry and fridge are a little bare when I start thinking about lunch,” Radford said.

“It’s convenient to stop by the Senior Center on my way to the Post Office around noon. The portions are a bit meager, especially for someone trying to put on some weight… without ingesting too much carbs, which are not good for someone with diabetes.

“You won’t get fat on these meals, but you won’t starve either. Even so, I’d rather have a beef burrito with green chile at Perea’s,” Radford acknowledged.

The drive-up also provides an opportunity to see friends also waiting for their trays. “We don’t really talk to one another there, but we can at least wave.”

The center’s staff does not impose any means-testing, but date of birth is recorded to determine age eligibility. You can access the senior menu for April using the internet at http://www.sandovalcountynm.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/seniorcentermenu.pdf

“I really notice that these days we are getting calls from people who never needed us before. Now they do,” the staffer commented. In theory, you can call Senior Services Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 867-7535. In reality, any call to that number at any time of day or night will be forwarded to an individual’s cell phone, so that “anyone in the community can be helped.” Most county employees are working remotely, or under in-person restrictions.

The County employee said she was weary, after overseeing 645 meals served up in one and a half hours. “The drive-thru lines at Meadowlark were astonishing,” she said, “Cars and trucks jammed up in the parking lot, and leading to it.”

Demand for meals means the 400-450 plates prepared in Rio Rancho have jumped into the 700s, of which 150 currently are slated for Corrales.

Food shortages have not yet greatly impacted senior programs, but dollar shortages have. Donations are welcomed.

Food banks across the country are the logical recipients of the overflow of vegetables, milk and canned goods, that big ag/food no longer can deliver to its markets, nor reroute back to grocery stores. And these banks typically are designated as essential non-profits. Thanks to the ramifications of COVID-19, the food industry has lost its two primary customers, schools/universities and a range of businesses, including cruise lines, airlines and many, many more.

We likely all have seen images of piles of freshly-picked zucchini rotting in the Florida sun, and milk being poured into the dirt at dairy farms, while at the same time knowing of the multitudes of food-insecure people across this country.

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church on Academy Drive in Corrales has been operating its food pantry for those in need since 2008. It is open the third Wednesday of the month, at 3:30 p.m., back in 2017 the effort involved from eight to 12 volunteers, according to then pantry head Al Montes de Oca.

Roadrunner Foodbank was providing most all the food handed out then. Roadrunner and its 500 partners across New Mexico report they are operating normally, but have made some adjustments. As noted on its website, “A Coronavirus Planning Task Force, led by Roadrunner’s senior team leaders, has been meeting regularly and is actively supporting our hunger relief agency and partner distribution agencies across New Mexico as they prepare to continue their operations and distribute food to the people and communities they serve, as is done with other disaster response activities.

“Roadrunner Food Bank is also actively consulting with the Coronavirus Contingency Planning Task Force led by the Feeding America Disaster Services team and leaders from member food banks across the nation, and with the State of New Mexico Department of Health, State of New Mexico Health and Human Services Department, NM VOAD, the USDA and CDC.” Roadrunner invites actual donations of food. You can learn more at http://www.rrfb.org/give/give-food.

While food banks such as the Adventist Church in Corrales eagerly welcome vegetables, meat and canned goods, some are impeded in that many of the volunteers on whom they count to handle the sorting and distribution of food, are either ill and at home, or determined to stay well by staying home. One long-time volunteer for Storehouse West on Veranda Drive in Rio Rancho deeply regrets he is more or less forced to self isolate, both for his sake and for the well-being of his fellow volunteers, and food recipients.

Storehouse is now operating via a drive-thru service, Monday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 1:30, and Wednesday, noon to 4:30. p.m. Assistant to the Director Ann Conrad says they do indeed need more volunteers, especially people able to provide muscle. And while they are awash in little needed baby food, deliveries from Roadrunner of late have been uneven, given COVID-19 issues, and Storehouse West is low on dried beans, ramen, toilet paper and bars of soap.

Conrad heads to Sam’s Club regularly but can only buy one case of toilet paper and a few bars of soap each visit, yet the need is urgent. She reports she frequently buys about 60 gallons of milk at Smith’s, along with eggs.

Remarkably, Latitudes gas station, on Rio Rancho Boulevard, has come through for Conrad and Storehouse West. Through them, Conrad is able to buy pasta, tuna, crackers and powdered milk, for example, at wholesale prices, from their distributor. She emails them a list, pays, and returns a week later with a truck to pick up supplies.

St. Felix Pantry in Rio Rancho on Barbara Loop, a non-profit operated by the Felician sisters, was established in 1992. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, it is currently open Thursday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon, only for distribution of food. Virginia Garcia, administrative assistant to St. Felix’s powerhouse president and CEO, Sister Mary Angela Parkins, says the pantry is receiving about five to 15 new guests a day now, as compared to the norm of two per day. They are counting families now, rather than individuals, and Garcia reckons traffic is up 50 to 80 percent, reflecting 130-180 families per day.

Garcia too noted that many of their regular volunteers are among those who currently need to stay at home to be safe, and the pantry also reports it needs dried pinto beans, that they are “hard to find anywhere.”

A major St. Felix fundraising effort, a golf tournament scheduled for May 15, has been cancelled, though its 27th annual Thanksgiving gathering is still in place. St.Felix asks that people “Please consider donating monetarily to the pantry. We are in desperate need of procuring food for our guests.”
Donors can do so online at http://www.stfelixpantry.org/donate.

2020 APRIL 25 ISSUE: MORE HELP PROMISED FOR N.M. SMALL BUSINESSES

“Congress passed the bipartisan  CARES Act to deliver critical relief to our nation in this moment of crisis,” Congressman Ben Ray Lujan said. “It is clear, however, that we need to get more resources to our small businesses, our hospitals and frontline health care workers, and our local, state, and tribal governments.

“We also need to provide additional SNAP funding to ensure that no family in New Mexico goes hungry during this crisis.

 “The Trump administration has struggled to implement the CARES Act, especially the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program. Too many community lenders, mom-and-pop small businesses and underserved communities are being left behind,” the congressman said.
“Small businesses need more funding from the SBA loan and grant programs, and these programs need reforms and greater transparency to ensure that New Mexican small businesses get the support they need and deserve.

“The pandemic has dealt a serious blow to our public health and economy. While we would all like to get back to normal, there must be a substantial increase in the production in rapid testing and personal protective equipment. That is why we need more resources now.”

The governor’s office took responsibillity for a slow roll-out of state programs.

“We will take responsibility for state systems being behind the ball in responding to this pandemic,” Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said. “We are fixing these systems and getting assistance out to New Mexicans as expeditiously as we can. As we navigate this public health crisis, we are mindful every day of the incredible strain on our workers and businesses. We will be proactive and responsive.”

The N.M. Department of Workforce Solutions reports that 55,140 workers were receiving unemployment benefits with $24.2 million paid out during the week ending April 17. The agency has 234 employees, in addition to workers from eight other state agencies. providing telephone assistance.

“At this time the Department of Workforce Solutions is constantly focused on how we can get financial resources to New Mexicans more quickly,” Ricky Serna, deputy secretary for Workforce Solutions said. “This effort includes partnerships with other state agencies who have come together to answer more calls, extend hours of operations, and process more claims. Each day we hear the sense of urgency directly from thousands of claimants and we will do everything possible to ensure we connect them with their benefits.”

He pointed out that the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, an additional benefit of $600 per week per person, is in effect until July 31, 2020. The benefit will automatically be added to the regular unemployment amount; individuals do not need to apply separately or give any additional information.

For business owners, two state programs have been authorized through the Economic Development Department: the COVID-19 Loan Guarantee Program and the no-interest LEDA loan program, which targets economic base manufacturing businesses.

Lenders participating in the COVID-19 Loan Guarantee Program have approved $1.7 million in loan money so far to 35 businesses with 326 employees in Bernalillo, Colfax, Curry, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Union, and Valencia counties.

Loan proceeds are flexible and can be used for (but are not limited to) working capital, inventory, and payroll. Borrowers must work with their lender to file an application, but can apply online. For more information contact EDDFinance@state.nm.us.

The Economic Development Department has also created a website to link customers to their favorite local businesses during this time of economic hardship. The “Buy for Tomorrow Today” site includes over 500 businesses throughout the state and encourages shoppers to purchase items for delivery or pick up today, or to buy vouchers for goods or services to be used when the business reopens.
“We know these programs are an important piece of the puzzle for business owners,” Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said. “They are providing some stability and bridge funding until federal assistance arrives.”

The State has also launched the NM Recovery Fund, a $100-million lending program for medium-sized companies with money from the Severance Tax Permanent Fund. The program was approved by the State Investment Council and is managed by Sun Mountain Capital. For more information and an application go to sunmountaincapital.com.

Secretary Keyes emphasized that the bulk of money available to New Mexico is from the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), which authorizes $349 billion for the U.S. Small Business Administration in grants and loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Preliminary information released by the SBA on April 13 showed that 5,365 New Mexico business had received PPP loan approval, with total lending in the state at $1.1 billion. The PPP has currently reached its loan capacity and is pending further Congressional action.

The State is also urging business owners to apply for the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program under which a small business can borrow up to $2 million with an immediate grant advance up to $10,000.

2020-APRIL 25 ISSUE: EXPLORE CORRALES LIBRARY ANEW DURING CLOSURE

The fish are being fed, the plants looked after, and the dropbox checked daily at the Corrales Library, even if villagers cannot enter to snatch up Hilary Mantel’s final book about poor dear Thomas Cromwell, or snag a DVD of an old Fred and Ginger flick.

Technical Services boss, Brynn Cole, wants to assure us that one library staffer stops by each day. Still, “we all are working remotely but have weekly staff meetings via Zoom, which allows us to brainstorm and plan as best we can for this uncertain future.”

Otherwise, Cole is answering your emails about tech issues, and can help you navigate Overdrive, the portal for accessing e-books and audio books to download onto your phone or tablet. She will also chat with you via email, if you want to connect with another human.

Said Cole, “I have been getting emails from people, some have been for tech help and some have been just people reaching out to connect.”

With her colleagues at the library, Cole started a YouTube channel in order to provide a new platform to get programs and resources out to the public. “We are still working out some of the kinks with it, so hopefully we will have a lot more to offer there soon.” Youth Services person Melisa Chandler has been reading to kids on You Tube, and also showing off some recently acquired baby chicks, which may or may not become part of the Children’s Garden project at the library. The channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1VPdpbdxUhBhRCx0LWYLNQ

Cole hopes that people will send her “short videos of themselves to post, sharing something they've been doing or learning during this period of isolation that they think others in the community would be interested in.”

She expects that “we can get this project up and running to allow people to share and interact safely. People are creating and exploring amazing things despite these trying times.” She is keen for everyone “to stay engaged with the community.”
“At the Shelter in Place Library page, we are trying to put up useful resources that people can use remotely, dealing with schooling, unemployment resources, things to do, including filling out census forms, and COVID19 updates. I add things to the page as I find them or people send them to me, so it's an ongoing project.”

In fact, if you don’t yet have a library card, as long as your Corrales address is verifiable, you can sign up for a virtual one. The library’s Saturday Stitch Club now has a social media presence, CCL Saturday Stitch on Facebook.

Cole is pleased that the library is getting a T-Mobile mobile hotspot set up this week, to provide internet access to people that usually rely on the library for that, and for anyone else who might need it. “We will be setting up in parking lots and public spaces so that people can use the internet in places where they can also maintain social distancing and other safety norms.” With the ongoing economic hardships resulting from the pandemic, Cole expects the number of potential users will rise.

“We are also working on getting some other programs up and running,” she added, and there was a hint from the mayor during the Village Council teleconference that this might include card holders ordering library books online, and picking them up in the parking lot.

Primarily, Cole suggested, “we all are working to find solutions to provide library materials and resources to the public during the lock-down and even into the future, when libraries likely are going to be more important than ever before.”
Reach brynn@corraleslibrary.org.

2020-APRIL 25 ISSUE: THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATIONS

Many diligent and generous readers responded to an appeal published in Corrales Comment’s April 11 issue seeking financial support amid the extraordinary economic collapse accompanying the global pandemic. Heartfelt thanks to all who did so.

Advertising revenues have begun to dip, as expected, since many, if not most, businesses have been stricken by coronavirus closures. In the work week ending April 17, Corrales Comment received more checks or credit card payments from loyal readers than from our advertisers!

Those gestures of support and good will were often accompanied by sympathetic comments, a few of which are published below.

“I couldn’t live without the Corrales Comment. I hope this helps a bit.”

“I am so grateful for your work at the Corrales Comment. I am a better citizen of Corrales because of the information you provide. I believe the Comment is part of the adhesive of our community, as we are made aware of our government’ actions, volunteer opportunities in the community, fun events happening, and so much more. Thank you for your dedication and expertise.”

“Thanks for keeping Corrales alive! Please accept this small donation in this time of crisis.”

“Thanks for our newspaper!”

Donations are accepted via credit card by calling the Comment office, 897-3700, or by mail to Corrales Comment, PO Box 806, Corrales NM 87948.

Thanks again.

2020 APRIL 25 ISSUE: BETTER START NOW WITH CHOICES IN PRIMARIES

You may need to hire some help…
… to cast your ballot in the June 2 primary elections.

A plethora of candidates want your vote to fill local, state and federal offices. For starters, 12 names are shown running for president of the United States on Democrats’ ballot, including those who have withdrawn already. Libertarians will have 12 presidential candidates to choose from, including Daniel Behrman of Las Vegas, New Mexico, whose email address is taxationistheft@behrman2020.com.

A total of eight Corraleños will be on the party primary ballots. Running for a variety of positions are Jane Powdrell-Culbert, Bob Perls, Daymon Ely, Ben Rodefer, Brenda McKenna, Kevin Lucero, Tania Dennis and Audrey Mendonca-Trujillo. Perhaps the most populous ballot category for New Mexicans will be choices for New Mexico’s Third Congressional District to replace Congressman Ben Ray Lujan who is running for retiring Senator Tom Udall’s seat.

Registered Republicans will be asked to choose from six candidates running in the Third Congressional District: Harry Montoya of Santa Fe; Karen Evette Bodonie of Navajo; Alexis Johnson of Santa Fe; Anise Golden-Morper of Angel Fire; Audra Brown of Portales; and a write-in, Angel Morales of Rio Rancho.
In the same race, Democrats’ choices are: Teresa Leger Fernandez of Santa Fe; Laura Montoya of Rio Rancho, Marco Serna of Santa Fe, Joseph Sanchez of Alcalde; Valerie Plame of Santa Fe, John Blair of Santa Fe; and John Tisdale of Taos.

In the First Congressional District, Democrat incumbent Deb Haaland has no challenger in the primary. On the Republican side, candidates for that seat are Michelle Garcia Holmes of Bernalillo, Jaren Vander Dussen of Albuquerque and Brett Kokinadis of Santa Fe. For the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Udall, the following Republican candidates have entered the race: Elisa Martinez of Albuquerque; Mark Ronchetti of Albuquerque; Gavin Clarkson of Las Cruces; Richard Montoya Sr. of Rio Rancho; Mick Rich of Albuquerque; and Louie Sanchez of Albuquerque.

Libertarian Party candidate Bob Walsh of Santa Fe is also seeking that seat.

The sole Democrat on the primary ballot for the U.S. Senate seat is Ben Ray Lujan.

Fields are also crowded for seats in the N.M. Legislature.

In N.M. Senate District 9, four candidates are from Corrales; one Republican and three Democrats. Corrales Democrats running to replace State Senator John Sapien of Corrales are: Brenda McKenna; Ben Rodefer and Kevin Lucero. A fourth who had filed for that race, Placitas Democrat Jodilynn Ortiz, has withdrawn.

Republicans seeking the State Senate District 9 seat are: Bridget Condon of Rio Rancho, John Clark of Placitas; and Tania Dennis of Corrales.
Running for the N.M. House District 44 seat are Republican incumbent Jane Powdrell-Culbert of Corrales; Rio Rancho Libertarian Jeremy Myers; and Rio Rancho Democrat Gary Tripp.

Another Corrales incumbent seeking re-election is Daymon Ely, the Democrat who now holds the N.M. House District 23 seat. He has a Corrales challenger in the June 2 primary: Audrey Mendonca-Trujillo.

The sole Republican running for the House District 23 seat is Ellis McMath of Albuquerque.

Yet another Corraleño will be on the ballot: Democrat Bob Perls is running for Sandoval County Clerk. He is competing against Anne Brady-Romero of Algodones and Pete Salazar of Bernalillo in the Democratic primary. The sole Republican seeking election as Sandoval County Clerk is Lawrence Griego of Rio Rancho.

For the position of Sandoval County Treasurer, three Rio Rancho Republicans want the job: Jennifer Taylor, Benay Ward and Carlos Sanchez. For Democrats, Ronnie Sisneros of Bernalillo is the sole candidate for Treasurer. For Sandoval County Commission District 2, incumbent Republican Jay Block of Rio Rancho has no challenger. The Democrat seeking that position, Leah Michelle Ahkee-Baczkiewicz of Rio Rancho also has no opponent.

2020-APRIL 25 ISSUE: GROWERS’ MARKET OPENS APRIL 26 FOR REGULAR SEASON

The Corrales Growers’ Market kicks off its regular season April 26, from 9 a.m. to noon, with about 14 masked vendors, and a small crew of volunteers, also masked.  Much as the market did successfully April 11, its volunteers Lisa, Jeanine, Mimo, Ryan, Tim and Dan, will assist vendors, and direct traffic, as the market once again uses a drive-thru setup.

The guidelines below established by the Corrales Growers’ Market for the April 11 experiment also apply to the upcoming market April 26. “This will be a drive-thru market only. All customers must remain in their vehicles. The market will setup in the rear Rec Center parking lot,” an organizer said. Customers will be directed to enter using the Post Office entrance, and leave using Jones Road.

Volunteers will be on site to direct traffic, get purchased products to your vehicle, and help with payments. Follow their directions. And if possible, order products before you come to the market. Anyone showing visible signs of illness associated with coronavirus will be asked to leave. You may also contact growers to arrange for direct purchases. Find information for growers here: corralesgrowersmarket.com/vendors. Any questions? Please call 898-6336 or 414-6706.

Farmers’ markets large and small are adapting to the social distancing requirements of their communities. One of the biggest markets in the Southeast, the St. Petersburg, Florida, Saturday Morning Market, involves over 150 vendors of vegetables, crafts and prepared meals, and it, too, has managed to turn a socially popular, community hang-out event, into an order-ahead drive-thru project. All participants are encouraged to wear masks and wash their hands.

2020-APRIL 25 ISSUE: COVID-19 INVADES CORRALES; 4 CASES REPORTED HERE

As of Monday, April 20, four cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 had been recorded in Corrales. That information was available through the N.M. Department of Health’s website for the first time on Friday, April 17. Continual reporting of cases by zipcode can be found at the department’s website: http://www.cv.nmhealth.org.  On that homepage, find the “Click here to view positive cases by county,” and then choose “View map by zipcode.” All of Corrales, and only Corrales, has the zipcode 87048.

As of April 20, 1,971 people in New Mexico had been confirmed with the disease, out of a total of 36,784 who had been tested at that time. Fifty-eight died. One hundred sixteen COVID-19 patients were hospitalized.  It had not been disclosed how those four cases in Corrales had contracted the virus.

Tanya Lattin, the Corrales Fire Department’s emergency management coordinator said April 20 that the total coronavirus cases in Corrales still stood at four. “The State has told me that the zip code mapping ‘should’ be updated two times weekly, probably Mondays and Thursdays. I have put in a request to the State to find out more on days and times of the updates. I do know it does not look like it has been updated since the launch.”

Lattin said Corrales fire-rescue personnal have adequate personnel protective gear so far. “We have not changed anything since the four cases have been reported. The department has had strict protocols going back to March on response to all calls. “As I am sure you know, there are people who can be actively infected with COVID-19 without showing signs and symptoms, All patients, if capable, are asked by dispatch to come outside of their home. Surgical masks are given to all patients to wear, if they do not already have them.

“Responders use N-95 masks or P-100 on all calls along with eye protection and gowns if needed,” Lattin added. “Gloves are always worn on calls so this is not new. After every call, the crew will shower and wash their uniforms.

“We have a good amount of PPE as we started planning in January for COVID-19. We do look daily for available PPE from our vendors to replace what has been used. We also have requested and received some PPE from the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The Corrales EOC also secures and transfers neede supplies to other Village departments when requested.

“The fire department has a good supply of disinfectants for the station, vehicles and equipment. We have more disinfectants on order and purchased in February UVC equipment to add to the cleaning protocols in place in the fire station. The UVC has also been used at Village Hall by Chief Martinez.” She said the department staff has a health check protocol, under which each person checks for fever several times a day, and signs of any illness for all entries into the station are logged on a sheet. “Crews follow social distancing guidelines while at work as well.”

Call volume is holding steady from last year’s numbers from April 1, 2019 to April 19, 2020 as compared to the same time frame for 2020, she reported. “We are eight calls lower this year than last, but we had two structure fires, a car fire, a storage shed fire, a vegetation fire, a stove top fire and three more motor vehicle accidents than we have this year.”

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham continued to impose relatively strict demands for business and institutional closures and stay-at-home instructions to prevent further infections. She declined to lift those restrictions, while officials in other states acted to ease those for a return to business as usual.  In her remarks April 17, Mayor Jo Anne Roake urged villagers to stay the course in holding down spread of the infection which is most dangerous for the elderly and people with conditions such as diabetes and heart ailments.

As villagers remain cooped up at home, concerns over mental health stresses have mounted. Among opportunities for help is the Agora Crisis Center which can be reached by calling 277-3013 or by internet at http://www.agoracares.org. A spokesman for the N.M. State Police issued the following directive about reporting businesses that remain open despite restrictions imposed by the governor. “There is some misunderstanding percolating through the public and media regarding the method to report businesses that are not in compliance with the public health orders.

“Please help us spread the word that anyone wanting to report a business should not contact any of the state hotlines.  The correct method to report is to send an email to nmsp.covid19@state.nm.us.

“A report should include the name and location of the business, and date and time the violation was noted.  Reports can also be sent to a local law enforcement agency.” Along with other news media, community newspapers such as Corrales Comment are specifically exempt from mandatory closures since the governor designated them as essential services. While the Comment office remains closed indefinitely, operations are continuing more or less normally via telephone interviews and photo-taking.

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