Posts in Category: Column


By Steve Komadina

A New Year And New Direction?

Well, here we are 2022! Always a chance for new beginnings as we turn the calendar at the end of another year.

This is a column that talks about horses and the Corrales connection. It was started as an initiative of Corrales Horse and Mule People (CHAMP) to help horse and non-horse owners to think about living in a horse-oriented community.

The name of the column and initial essays were written by Nancy Nelson who was an active member of the board of CHAMP and an avid horse owner and rider. When Nancy ran out of ideas and topics, she asked me to continue writing the column. Many years later, I am still at it.

I have struggled all those years with the name Nancy gave the column. I often asked myself if the casual reader of the Corrales Comment had any idea of what it meant if they did not read Spanish.

“Corrales Para Los Caballos” “Corrales For The Horses.”

As I look to the New Year, it might be a good time for a change. What would you call a column with a horse connection in Corrales? Here are some possibilities:

“Horsing Around in Corrales “ or “Horsing Around in Our Village” or “The Real Poop about Horses in Corrales” or “Corrales Saddles Up” or “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Stable” or “Why We Saddle Up” or “Becoming a Millionaire with Horses by Starting with 2 Million.” At least you would know it had a horse connection!

What will the New Year bring for our Corrales horse heritage? Our population as a world and its interests is continually evolving. Our climate changes. Our free time has evolved.

Will we have more time at home with the shift to virtual offices and more time to spend in the stable without a commute? Will horses return as a necessity for going to the post office and store, with ban on fossil fuels and an unreliable renewable electric grid? Will hitching posts and diapers for buggy and wagon horses keep the poop off main street? Who knows?

This I know. Change is inevitable and often out of our control. Stay tuned and see what we will call ourself the next time this column is printed. Maybe a different language every month!


By Johnny Martinez

Elephant in the Room

I am not a writer, but after speaking with members of old Corrales families, I was prompted to write this piece. I would like to solicit similar stories and sentiments from those who perhaps are reluctant to write about “stuff”, especially our older Corraleños. I will provide my contact information at the end of this article.

I was raised here in Corrales. My family has been here for generations. We are Corraleños. I left in 1982 and was privileged to serve 34 years in the military during my time away.

I had a wonderful career, saw the world, worked on things I cannot speak about, had the opportunity to fly an F-16, spent time on Air Force One, worked on a congressional campaign and even saved a life. However, life has a way of returning one to his roots. I returned to Corrales in 2016 to be closer to my elderly parents who are very much vested Corraleños.

Unfortunately, much of present-day Corrales is not as I remember it. More than anything, I have noticed the type of person in Corrales is what is most contrasting from what I grew up knowing. I want to share a couple of stories to provide a contrast of community and culture. My aim is not to create a divide, but rather to expose the “elephant in the room” so to speak. Please keep in mind that the idea of writing this comes after speaking to members of over 10 Corrales families who have voiced the very opinions I will be voicing in this piece. I am not conveying anything others are not expressing.

When I was a young boy, our neighbor’s cows broke down our fence to graze on the property where I now reside. Back then it was just natural grasses on a rolling hill filled with chamisa (rubber rabbitbrush). My father and that neighbor spatted over repair of that fence for a short bit.

Then one day the other gentleman came over with a six pack of beer and apologized to my father; it was probably Old Milwaukee back then, or maybe even Hamms. In any case, they shook hands and the whole ordeal was considered over. Years later, my father was instrumental in rallying neighbors and contacting our police when this same neighbor’s house was being broken into late at night. The thieving duo was caught on West Ella Road by the Corrales police.

I believe the arresting police officer was Benjie. Everyone knew Benjie. Speaking of West Ella, I remember when Corrales flooded in the 1970s. If you own a house on the south side of West Ella that existed during the aforementioned flood, I have been in your house. The community all rallied together, and we helped those families salvage whatever we could from those flooded houses for one another. I do not know what it was, but I just knew we would be helping because as a boy, I had heard the story of how in 1957, my grandfather’s house burned to the ground.

Harvey Jones, who owned a construction company on the property where the community center, soccer field and Post Office now sit, donated material for my grandfather to rebuild that house which is on Corrales Road just across from the Village Office. You see, Mr. Jones was a Corraleño.

Everyone lived and existed humbly, even those who were affluent, all because they were Corraleños. We looked after one another because that is what Corraleños do.

Today, we have come to find there is a new breed of people who have moved in. They come from elsewhere, build a new house and complain about their neighbors. I see fences going up everywhere because passersby do not like what they see or hear. Then, I read articles in the Comment from those complaining about the “canyon effect” the walls and fences create. Heck, as a kid the only fences we needed were to keep in livestock. And if we could see Mr. Doe’s truck or heavy equipment was broken down in the yard, it was because he may not have been able to afford the fix. Neighbors would trade tractor work and provide rides; not complain about the disabled vehicle. We felt for the fellow Corraleño.

Now, it is apparent that people are forced to build solid fences or walls to keep people from looking in and to avoid continuing complaints from the new neighbors or village officials. Recently, I talked to members of five families that are well established on a certain stretch of a popular road here. Their homes have all been here since before I was born. Their newer neighbor has complained about every one of them.

Why did you move in there?

I read how newcomers have stated they love to embrace our local culture and heritage, but then I cannot help but think: hypocrite! You say you love the “rich Hispanic culture” yet, you cannot stand to see his humble house across from yours because it lowers your property value.

This very house or yard you may be complaining about is most likely older than you. Its cocina has hosted neighbors of all walks, and the matriarch, Doña Josefina once bragged about how her sobrino, Larry, who works at Yonemotos on Fourth Street, joined the Army and will be leaving soon.

“Let’s invite everyone and give him a wonderful send-off!” is what was expressed. Perhaps, a matanza… but oooh, don’t even mention that long standing cultural celebration taking place across from your new estate.

Keen to keep the focus on complaints, I will say that while I may not be 100 percent correct in my perception of things, a likely scenario is: a person who has recently moved here to Corrales complains to a Village employee who does not live here. That employee cites ordinances voted on by people who are new here, and a citation, warrant or whatever you want to call it, follows that conversation and is delivered by the dear, underpaid police officer who can’t afford to live here, to the homeowner, whose family has been here for generations and is doing his best to pay his increasing property taxes to maintain that home and pass it along to future generations. All the riff is external… expat if you would. What unfortunately remains: quarreling neighbors.

Recently, a man I know approached a neighbor who cannot stand to look at him. In a neighborly effort, he said “I know we have our differences, but we need to make this right; we’re neighbors and it’s Christmas time.” The neighbor’s reply was simply: “I’m fine with the way it is.” Boy, somehow that does not read well in a children’s book. You know the one we read to our kids and grandkids about being good citizens? I cannot help but think “Wow, how ugly is that?” I suppose this embittered neighbor is not, and will never be, a true Corraleño.

I also was recently conversing with a long time Corrales farmer. The summation of the conversation is Corraleños do not get involved in our local politics, but in their defense, they are busy being Corraleños; they live simply and place much trust in man’s good nature and honesty.

But you see, trust and honesty are now out the window. In a council meeting a while back, the topic of restricting marijuana growth in our village was discussed. The outcome entailed some restrictions regarding marijuana growth in the village. Many reasons for doing so were shared. I even spoke, as I have many years ministering to youth and even working alongside some of the Tucson Police Department Gang Unit members with troubled youth.

I have personal experience dealing with the consequences of marijuana use by our youth. Trust me, it will find its way to your adolescent children. Perhaps my voice was discounted and not given weight  for lack of being an attorney or not possessing my PhD. In any case, I have learned many do not feel our council cares about the voice of Corraleños as much as they may be interested in, or possibly connected to the supposed money in this industry. The council mysteriously changed their disposition. Since that initial meeting, I believe Steve Gutierrez wrote about this incident in a Comment article and cited the possible dishonesty of the mayor and council.

I challenge readers to watch KRQE’s Dean Staley’s report on the negative consequences legalized marijuana has brought to Colorado. He interviews law enforcement officials, educators and district attorneys regarding the problems legalized marijuana has brought to their communities. A present saying is “listen to the science or statistics.” Well, smart council members of Corrales: Please do so. I say that respectfully. new-mexico/

New Mexico is already at the bottom of education metrics. The last thing we need is to introduce something to our community that is hurting our youth’s education or ability to learn and comprehend as a whole. It is already an issue. As you read this piece, I challenge you to consider your income and where you are from. If you possess higher education levels or are fortunate to earn a significant and above average income, more than likely you’re an expat, meaning, not from here. My point is, we should not effectuate something that has the potential to negatively affect the local education metrics even more than they are.

Corrales property is not “cheap,” and our crime rate is low. There is a reason pot growers want to be in our community. Perhaps the pot growers think the associated crime might be mitigated by centering themselves in a safer community. The projected grow houses are suspiciously near all the older and smaller homes in Corrales. I find it interesting that none of the million-dollar homes in Corrales are likely to have a marijuana grow house adjacent to their property.

Regardless of your belief in the right or wrong of its consumption, I cannot see the benefit of introducing this industry to our farming village… a village that was never divided on whether corn was a good crop to grow. Corraleños back in the day would never have introduced something that caused a disturbance to the community. New Mexico is a vast territory with a sparse population. Do you mean to tell me there is not another place you can grow your weed? Cheaper and with no resistance from the local community? You would not do that in the name of community harmony? Council member, you don’t consider that?

I remember Ann Dunlap singing a song about Corrales: “It’s between Bernalillo and Paradise Hills on a crooked old road by the river… where guitar players croon in the local saloon and the locals play heck with their livers…blah blah blah…one thousand people and two thousand dogs, and three thousand registered horses…” blah blah blah…. (If anyone knows the entirety of that song, I would love for you to share it with me as I have forgotten most of it). I mentioned the song to emphasize that in years prior, we celebrated Corrales because we loved and appreciated each other. So much so that we could even sing about it. What a wonderful place we had! Now, people outside of Corrales think people living in Corrales are full of themselves. I know this because I hear it all the time at work. Sometimes, I cannot even argue their sentiments.

There is a reason Mary Davis wrote about Corrales families. She tapped into something beautiful and historic. I challenge you to buy a copy of her books from our local gift shops or markets…

Read about the families and how they built and shaped Corrales and its neighborly culture.

I am proud to say my family is mentioned in at least one of her books. My grandfather and great uncles worked on paving the road through Corrales in 1946. My father, the nicest man you will ever meet, served on the Planning and Zoning Commission here 1980-86, and a further 18 years with the Sandoval County Planning and Zoning Commission. I even recall that once, Governor Bruce King called our house and sought my dad’s perspective and input on an issue.

When we had that flood in the 70s, I remember my dad firing up a bulldozer left on a neighbor’s property and shoring up the ditch on Loma Larga, ultimately saving many of the homes east of Loma Larga between La Entrada and West Ella. And then there of course is Margie from Alameda who, whenever I see her, tells me of how my father saved her life from drowning in the Rio Grande. I could go on… I mention my dad not only because I am enormously proud of him but because a neighbor told me that code enforcement personnel were complaining about his stuff on his property. Shame on you! What have you contributed to the village outside of your paycheck?

My family name is not the only name having contributed in the building of Corrales. Just look at the roads: Montaño Road, Chavez Lane, Rupert’s Lane, Armijo Lane, and so on. Did you ever ponder those names?

I encourage you to take a drive through beautiful Corrales and take notice of the road names. The names are of the families who owned strips of land and built roads, farmed, and volunteered in the shaping of Corrales. Take the time to learn this and appreciate their legacy. When you see their humble homes consider they never felt the need to have a large home. “Para que? The kids will be grown soon and then it’s just me and the vieja.”

You may not know this, but many of these families own substantial ranches elsewhere in New Mexico. They just choose to live humbly here, in Corrales.

Having worked in technical fields my whole career, I understand change and how it is embraced.

However, not all change is good…. Just ask an aging and sickly person. Even though they may know a lot more now than back then, they will surely admit that sometimes, things were better “back in the day.”

I understand many of you reading this may not appreciate this article. That is perfectly okay. I do not appreciate many of the things I see and hear around town, but I served to defend my right to speech and feel I deserve to voice it. I guess you could say, I have some skin in the game… I am a Corraleño!

What I would love is to hear stories from Corraleños. You can write me at Watch your language and type elephant in the subject line. I’ve spoken with Jeff Radford from the Comment who has graciously said he would accept written communication to me through his drop box for those who do not use email.

ISSUE 01-08-2022 LETTERS

Dear Editor:

My wife Alicia and I have lived in Corrales for over 26 years and have raised our children here.  I am a licensed real estate broker who has been continuously active in my profession here locally for over 35 years. 

We have no objection to the personal use and cultivation of marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal purposes on and in one’s residence.

We are strongly opposed however, to commercial cultivation in residential areas that are zoned A-1 and A-2 and any other zone designations that apply to residential property use in the village. 

Aside from problems associated with increased traffic, noise, and odors that affect many in proximity to such operations —the attractive nuisance of commercial cultivation will attract potential crime and the resulting spillover of non-village people who have no investment or concern for the security of our rural lifestyle that so many have worked hard to preserve.

The property at 3577 Loma Larga and 119 Veronica Court are just two addresses on applications for commercial cultivation permits that are in close proximity to our home, among dozens more that have submitted applications throughout every other residential part of Corrales. 

Upon greenlighting this commercial exploitation of our precious natural resources (water), and our security and comfort, Fire Department Chief Anthony Martinez might want to consider installing a much larger water piping system along Loma Larga, as there is the strong potential for residential-use domestic wells to run dry, and hence, a critical need for city water to flow out of our taps once the commercial growers suck the aquifer empty.

As a real estate professional who has assisted individuals and families with the purchase and sale of their homes in the village for many years, approving the commercial marijuana grow industry will have a significant negative impact on “everyone’s” property value, an undesirable but inevitable effect of our elected leaders ignoring their constituents' welfare in favor of giving preference and support to an industry that will impact our home values, personal safety, and the health and enjoyment we deserve and have come to expect as property owners and stakeholders in Corrales.

We urge our mayor and the councillors to heed the needs and the pleas of the Village residents that they serve, and not enable nor permit commercial cultivation of marijuana in our residential neighborhoods.

Steve and Alicia Murthal

Dear Editor:

I feel compelled to respond to the statements reported by the Corrales Comment in Mike Hamman’s “Exit Interview” as the MRGCD director in the December 18, 2021 issue, as well as his out-of-order pro-commercial cannabis comments during the December 14 Village Council meeting. He used his time under the Village Administrator’s agenda to spend several minutes discussing the errors and misconceptions of those who signed petitions favoring a ban on commercial cannabis operations in zones A-1 and A-2. The public was restricted to two minutes each under a subsequent agenda item reserved for cannabis legislations discussion, but Hamman was allowed to freewheel for several minutes before Councillor Stuart Murray raised a point of order. Even then, the mayor allowed Hamman to continue to “wrap up” his presentation with additional time.

Hamman has used his position and influence as MRGCD director to expound on and misrepresent facts about the Village’s exposure to harmful effects of commercial cannabis operations in residential areas, and he either intentionally misrepresents, or is ignorant about, the science, economics, neighborhood effects and implementation of commercial cannabis grow facilities. Further, he may have used his position and influence to obtain commercial permits for water rights to support a cannabis grow operation on land that he owns in Corrales.

I believe this sort of misinformation is common for the pro-commercial cannabis supporters in Corrales. There has been significant misrepresentation of facts as well as personal misrepresentation from those claiming to be disinterested parties.

For example, Hamman claims that commercial cannabis uses “less water than tomatoes, corn and other crops in California”. What he doesn’t explain, however, is that those studies are for outdoor growth, and not the intensive, high density, high tunnel, greenhouse indoor cultivation of cannabis plants proposed to be allowed in Corrales. It is very well documented that a water usage rate of two to six gallons of water per plant per day is typical for cannabis growers. For 100 adult plants using the median amount, that annual consumption can be as high as 146,000 gallons of water annually, not including water usage for evaporative cooling as well.

Hamman further says that those seeking protection for A1 and A2 who are “fear mongering” might convince the Village Council to take action which would limit opportunities for local farmers to make a “decent living.” This is simply nonsense.

We are not asking to limit any existing abilities of a farmer to make a living. No changes affecting traditional farmers at all. We just don’t want to be subjected to noxious odors and toxic BVOC emissions that are a by-product, along with grow lights, excessive noise, increased traffic, damage to an already diminishing water table, and lowered property values of commercial cannabis cultivation. Realtors now require that persons wanting to transact houses near the two medical cannabis facilities must state the presence of such facilities in the real estate transaction disclosure documents.

The real issue is that commercial cannabis is huge money for a select few Corraleños who are willing to risk the quality of life of the rest of us to make a large profit for themselves in a business fraught with significant threat to others. But the business is extremely lucrative. A master gardener can cultivate 4 to 6 lbs. of product from a cannabis plant. The current spot price for cannabis is $1300 per pound. 100 plants producing 5 lbs. each yields a wholesale price of $650,000.

Quite the “decent living” don’t you think? As long as you don’t worry about the long term effects on neighbors.

Lastly, Hamman in both his farewell write-up in the Comment, as well as during an out-of-order monologue during the December 14 Village Council meeting, represented himself as not “having a dog in this fight” and that he is simply “pro-farmer.” But that simply is not the fact. He does have a dog in the fight.

What Hamman failed to mention is that he and Sally Olguin applied for a water use diversion to create a commercial well during 2021. Sally Olguin has likewise applied for a commercial cannabis license under “Monte Vista Farm and Market Inc.” along with Antonio Olguin for 100 plants, and that both Hamman and Olguin have co-resided at a residence on Mountain View Lane, which is immediately adjacent to the site for the high tunnel cannabis greenhouse they propose. The properties upon which they live, and upon which the proposed commercial cannabis operation will reside belong jointly to Olguin andHamman.

How can this possibly be considered as not “having a dog in this fight”? How does someone so quickly know about and obtain commercial water rights? Well, perhaps it helps to be the director of MRGCD and have all the right connections. How does someone stand in front of the governing body and claim that he is an uninterested party, criticize those of us concerned about livability and quality of life, say similar things to a Corrales Comment interviewer, and yet claim that he is completely Corrales cannabis neutral?

Public officials have been investigated and excoriated for less, and perhaps the Sandoval County Ethics Commission or the newly created N.M. Ethics Commission would have an interest in Hamman’s conduct. An ethics investigation might be in order at both the county and state level.

Frank Wirtz

Dear Editor:

We may be hurting the climate with our climate plan.

It is clear that humans have caused the recent spike in atmospheric CO2, and while some are still arguing about how fast that will affect us, recent weather events and trends are not encouraging.

Synergistic effects like wildfires, release of frozen CO2 from permafrost, and continued loss of forests suggest getting a real plan in place sooner rather than later.  Doing what we can to decrease CO2 emissions is extremely important and Patti Flanagan’s letter (December 18, 2021) highlights simple steps we can take to help.

Substantial emissions are associated with creating the steel, concrete, wiring, transport and earth-moving required unless that manufacturing energy is provided by a zero- or low-carbon means.  Building zero carbon energy sources also produces carbon by using existing fuels to produce the silicon cells, wind generators, cement, rebar and metals required. 

A large, fast, spending program for infrastructure over a short period can cause the manufacturing-carbon cost of fixing prior neglect to produce near-term increases in CO2.  A possible near-term way to decrease this impact is with nuclear power. While avoiding this source may be a good long-term target, ignoring it as a possible transitional way to limit damage to the planet is a disservice.

Legislators seem to be shooting wildly at individual items known to help and ignoring the cost to the environment of producing them or their aggregate results. An all-electric passenger car fleet in the United States assumed by Build Back Better and, using statistics from,, and, would consume roughly 1.5 times the total renewable power produced in 2020 just for vehicular travel.

We would need a huge growth in low-carbon electrical generation just to have power to connect to the charging stations that BBB installs… or a choice between blackouts and stranded motorists, and this ignores the CO2 produced manufacturing and installing that infrastructure. A poor result for a large inflation-fueling expenditure and a big hit in manufacturing carbon emissions.

Are electric cars the proper solution?  Battery minerals are already running in short supply.  Wouldn’t high-speed rail be better for long range travel?  Have we looked at systems that have succeeded like Florida’s rail and people movers in Miami?  Remember it took more than half a century to mess this up. 

Shouldn’t we be working to minimize total additional carbon pollution including the manufacturing carbon cost of infrastructures?  On the other hand, doing nothing is the wrong answer.  These are not Hollywood popularity contests. These are existential questions. Politicians apparently won’t address them unless they become voting issues, and the media is in La-la-land. 

Everyone says we “should listen to the science” regarding climate change, yet no one has asked the scientists “what is the minimum carbon footprint out of this mess?!” 

We need a coherent plan along with low-emission  piecemeal actions, not a shoot-from-the-hip, pollution-generating enterprise aimed at the long term while ignoring short term impacts to the atmosphere.

Denny Rossbach

ISSUE 01-08-2022 WHAT’S ON

By Meredith Hughes

We did it! Made it out of 2021 —thank you, vaxxes, Facetime and Zoom— and into 2022, even though 99 year old phenom Betty White did not, alas. Some of us plan to wander through The Mary Tyler Moore Show to see Ms White, in a show we never watched, because, we were living abroad… sound posh?

Do visit the websites of your favorite museums/galleries/organizations to check opening times/new regulations. Published the first issue of the month, What’s On? invites suggestions one week before the publication date.

• Beginners Floral Design Classes, January 11 – February  22, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. A seven week course Tuesdays, taught by National Flower Show judge and instructor, Shirley Tetreault. $75 for new students, $60 for repeat students. Albuquerque Garden Center, 10120 Lomas.

• The United Nations International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032, kicks off with a free, online festival, January 14-23. The sponsor of the festival is the Endangered Languages Project,,  based at the University of Hawaii. The keynote speaker is Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams, whose “endangered language” is Ucwalmícwts. You can also dip your tongue and brain into Guernesiais, Limbu, Basaa, Secwepemctsín, Yougambeh, Hawaiian, and many more. For info regarding speakers:    To sign up: https://tinyurl. com/2p9fsdwf

• Jewel Cases, starting January 15, celebrates “Albuquerque's incredible wilderness-urban interface and chronicles one man’s daily explorations and the gems found on the way. As a composite, this piece is about looking up, looking down, looking long, and looking in. It is about vitality, about pausing, about quiet, about joy, about curiosity and learning. And ultimately, it is about sharing and creating connectedness.” The artist is George Julian Dworin. Plus, Thoughts on the Rio Grande in Photographs and Haiku, beginning January 22. Works by Clarke Condé. “This series explores the great river and its surroundings as it passes through an ever-expanding city of Albuquerque, where the needs of its people compete with the needs of the plants and animals that rely on its waters for life itself.” Open Space Visitor Center, 6500 Coors. The Center is now open to the public Tuesday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

• Midori, January 15, 6 p.m. performs Korngold’s Much Ado About Nothing Overture; the Brahms Violin Concerto, and Symphony No. 2. Well known to Corrales music lovers, violinist Midori appears at Popejoy Hall, 203 Cornell.  Tickets: 2p83 raxx. Strict COVID protocols will be in place.

• Candelaria Nature Preserve, guided public information tour, January 28, 10 a.m. to noon. This 167 acre section of Open Space in the North Valley was being weeded by goats in November 2021. You can inspect their work via this tour. Sign up: Colleen Langan-McRoberts, , 505-768-4200.  End of Arbor Road, Albuquerque. 

Did You Know?

The Herb Society of America has picked Violet species, Viola spp, as the herb of the month, or, as herb of the year, depending on what area of its website you land on.  The International Herbal Society, in fact, named the viola “Herb of the Year.” The genus Viola includes between 500 and 600 species in the violaceae or violet family, including violets, pansies, heartsease or Johnny jump-ups, other species, and many hybrids within the family. • Viola hybridize freely, which can make identification challenging. • While the flowers across the species vary in color, they generally have four unlike petals arranged in pairs and a fifth lower lobed petal with a spur, on top of an individual stem. • Pansy is generally the common name reserved for the hybrid Viola × wittrockiana, whose complex origin includes at least three species. • Violet, Viola odorata, has been used in the perfume industry as a fragrance source. • The fragrance of violets is said to be “flirty” since it seems to come and go. The presence of ionone causes humans to not be able to detect the fragrance for moments at a time. • Violet, Viola odorata and heartsease, Viola tricolor are two species with a history in herbal medicine for respiratory issues and many other issues including liver disorders and bad tempers according to Hippocrates. • The flowers of violets, heartsease, and pansies can be candied and added fresh to salads, desserts and other dishes. The leaves are also edible and can be added to fresh greens or soups. V. odorata has a sweeter flavor and is the most popular to be added to sweets and teas. The mild pea flavor of V. tricolor pairs well with either sweet or savory foods. • Viola flowers flavor violet liqueurs such as Crème Yvette, Crème de Violette, Parfait Amour, and The Bitter Truth Violet Liqueur. The Aviation, Blue Moon, and Violet Fizz are classic cocktails made with violet liqueur.

The HSofA was established in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1933, but moved into a historic building in Kirtland, Ohio in 1988, after establishing the National Herb Garden in Washington, DC, at the National Arboretum in 1980. See https:/ /

In Corrales

• Corrales Tree Preservation Advisory Committee, January 10, 4:00 p.m.

• Village Council meetings, January 11, 25, 6:30 p.m.

• Corrales Historical Society Speakers series, January 16, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. “Los Arabes of New Mexico: Compadres from a Distant Land”, presented by Monika Ghattas, a history professor, based on her book about Lebanese immigrants in New Mexico. Budaghers, established as an early trading post, was founded by Joseph Budagher, an immigrant from Lebanon.  At Old Church.

• Casa San Ysidro is closed in December and January.

• Corrales Arts Center. Creativity in Photography, January 22, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with Dennis Chamberlain. Corrales Community Center, 4324 Corrales Road. Register at

• De-Spooking Clinic, January 15, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For horses and their people. Near the Rec Center, Corrales.

• Music in Corrales, Hot Club of Cowtown, where country meets jazz. January 22, 7:30 p.m. “Due to public health considerations, we have limited ticket sales to a smaller-than-normal capacity for the Old San Ysidro Church; this concert has reached that limit. If at some point we can safely increase the seating, we will re-open ticket sales, so please check back periodically for availability.” Lance Ozier 505-899-8830

• Corrales Library Book Club, January 31, 2:30 p.m. Contact Sandra Baldonado for Zoom event details.

• Corrales Growers’ Market. Sunday, February 6, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Village in the Village. Focussed primarily on helping villagers, more than social events, until Omicron is booted out. Call 274-6206 or email


‘Tis the season.

Our responses to it were formed when we were very young. It was the happiest of times, of family gatherings, all the colored lights and candles, tinsel, and of presents - a time of accumulation.

Now, for many of us, it’s, well, it’s now; a time more of decluttering than accumulating more stuff. For many of us it’s a time for thinning things out, for giving away, simplifying.

Childhood was our time for receiving. As we grew up, we came more and more to appreciate that this is most importantly the season for giving, for finding the right something to do or share or give to make your friends and loved ones smile, to give them happiness. And for reaching out and helping others including people we may not even know personally.

With time and experience in living, we learn that giving is actually the greatest joy – at any time but especially in this season that is special to so many peoples of different faiths and cultures.

And when one thinks of community, it is the sharing and giving that radiates, that gives everything meaning.

In essence, that is the meaning and the heart of Village in the Village; it’s a community of people brought together in, and because of, the spirit of giving, of helping, of lending a hand – and of spending time in the company of friends who feel the same way.

ViV’s purpose is to enable our neighbors to continue to live independently as long as they are capable of doing so. Providing services like rides to appointments, basic technical help, assistance with small household odd jobs, companionship visits, and a variety of social activities so they can stay active in the community. It’s a cause we all embrace and celebrate.

But the joy of it all comes from the giving.

So at this special season, we want to give our thanks and gratitude to all who make up ViV, those who sponsor our activities, and to everyone who gives of your time and resources to support one another and others.

May you have a joyous Holiday Season and the very happiest of New Years.

- From the Board of Directors and Executive Director of Village in the Village, Corrales


House of Gucci 

Directed by Ridley Scott.

 Plugs: Gucci. Nearest: Cottonwood

House of Gucci tells the true story of the iconic Italian fashion family. The film follows the rise and fall of Guccis (and soon-to-be-Guccis) from 1978 to the 1990s. You can track the era by the hairstyles and cars, as well as Christmas gifts (such as Simon and Teddy Ruxpin). Along the way there’s plenty of melodrama.

Full disclosure: I am no one’s idea of a fashion follower, and I know even less about high-end fashion such as Gucci. Though the film is based on a book of the same title, and by extension a true story, I had no idea what to expect. I vaguely remembered that there was some assassination, or attempted murder involved in the story, but I wasn’t sure who the victim was, so I went into House of Gucci with a clean slate.

Lady Gaga plays Patrizia Reggiani, a middle-class, possible gold digger who marries into the Gucci family via nerdy lawyer Maurizio (Adam Driver), much to the evident dismay of his father, Rudolfo. The dramatic dichotomy is set early on: the indecisive, studious Maurizio and the impulsive, passionate, manipulative go-getter Patrizia. The meet between them is too long and too cloying by half (I suspect to pad out Lady Gaga’s screen time). Gaga’s giggly character, though annoying and one-note at first, eventually wins over both Maurizio and the audience.

The film is filled with excellent performances, perhaps most prominent among them Lady Gaga. She effectively conveys a range of emotions, ranging from vulnerability to guile. Driver is good as her husband, though often so passive it’s not clear he has much to do in the role. Jeremy Irons has a small but savory part as Rodolfo, brother of Aldo Gucci (Al Pacino). Pacino can do this role in his sleep but, to his credit, decided to show up and not phone it in. Maurizio’s cousin, Paolo, played with commitment by Jared Leto, is a talentless oaf with delusions of grandeur largely inspired by his own last name. Yes, Leto’s performance is over the top, but it fits the film. The film is slightly unhinged, but then again the family is unhinged, and the story is unhinged. These are, for the most part, awful people and their fortunes and foibles are writ large.

The Guccis, not surprisingly, embraced the ethos of Leona Helmsley, Donald Trump, and others that only stupid people pay taxes. This is par for the golf course, but sometimes the law  catches up with even the rich — just ask  Wesley Snipes and Martha Stewart—  and sure enough soon the Guccis are swimming in debt and ducking police raids. As if that’s not enough, Patrizia’s marriage is soon on the rocks, and she means to keep it together.

The film follows Patrizia as she unravels into scheming, obsession, and revenge, seeking weaknesses in the family dynamic to exploit for her own purposes. About halfway through the film an important subplot emerges as Patrizia seeks out guidance from a soothsayer. The fortuneteller, played by Salma Hayek, soon become an accomplice to murder (“We’ve run out of spells, it’s time for something stronger,” one says).

For all the genuine drama and melodrama, the film seems curiously unfocused. The cast are interesting —and Irons and Leto, especially, are a delight to watch. But House of Gucci is perhaps excessive in its excesses.

It’s about a back-stabbing power struggle in the Gucci family. It’s about a scorned woman who seeks revenge. It’s about the cutthroat world of high fashion in the 1980s. It’s about two and a half hours long, and it either needed more or less Lady Gaga, depending on which way the story wanted to go.

It would have been a stronger film (with a tighter plot) had the filmmakers figured out which story they most wanted to tell and stuck with it.

Benjamin Radford


Dear Editor:

I would like to comment on the recent articles about Global Warming. I agree we must do something, and I feel strongly we can start right here in our own backyard. Let’s start by getting back to the roots of Corrales by supporting the rural, agricultural village that we are supposed to be. If we return to being a farming, horseback riding, livestock-safe, pedestrian and bicycle friendly village we will be taking a small step toward the greater good of reducing global warming.

Just think of it: we can ride our horses, ride bicycles, and walk to the nearest restaurant, art show, art gallery or store and help save our planet at the same time.

This is what brought us to this a small rural community in the first place. Let’s “get rural” and save our world!

Patti Flanagan

Dear Editor: 

As a scientist, I look for cause-and-effect relationships. Which made me wonder what might explain the unusually high number of COVID cases in Corrales.

A terrible mistake was made when Intel was allowed to build its large chip- manufacturing plants adjacent to pre-existing residential neighborhoods.

There is strong evidence that people who live near Intel have higher rates of many illnesses.  Might decades-long exposure to Intel toxins in the air they breathe also weaken their immune systems, which would leave them less able to fight off COVID and other viruses?

That is at least possible, and may even be probable. But there is no question that breathing Intel’s airborne toxins is a continuing threat to public health.

Fred Marsh


By Joan Morrison

What/Who is the Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission?

The Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission advises the Village Council and administration on issues related to the Corrales Bosque Preserve. Composed of seven members appointed by the mayor, the commission meets on the evening of the second Thursday each month, and meetings are open to the public. The commission is tasked with monitoring activities within the preserve and protecting its health.

In 1978 the Corrales Bosque Preserve was declared a protected area, and it was formally established in 1990 by the Village of Corrales Ordinance Section 11-1, which states “.… there is hereby established a Corrales Bosque Preserve, to be protected in order to preserve its natural character for the use and enjoyment of the residents of the Village in such manner as will leave it unimpaired for future use and enjoyment in its natural and protected condition.”

The preserve is a narrow strip of land containing a natural cottonwood forest and associated riparian habitats bounded by the Corrales Siphon on the north, the Alameda Boulevard bridge on the south, the western low water line of the Rio Grande on the east, and on the west by, 1) the western right of way line for the Sandoval Lateral Canal wherever the canal runs parallel to the Corrales Riverside Drain, and 2) the western right of way line for the Corrales Riverside Drain wherever the Sandoval Lateral Canal does not run parallel to the Corrales Riverside Drain (Corrales Village Code, Section 11-3).

The Corrales Riverside Drain (known as the Clear Ditch) runs the entire length of the preserve, whereas the Sandoval Lateral Canal enters the preserve just south of the Romero Road entrance at its north end and departs close to Bernaval Road and Coroval Road at its south end.

Paths in the preserve available for users include access roads along the Sandoval Lateral and the Clear Ditch and along the top of the levee as well as numerous unmaintained trails throughout the bosque.

In 2013, the Corrales Bosque Preserve was designated as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society because it provides essential habitat year-round for many species of birds.

Riparian habitat is particularly important for avian communities in the arid Southwest. The Corrales Bosque Preserve is an excellent example of relatively undisturbed riparian habitat when compared with other nearby riparian habitats along the Rio Grande.

Along with its value to many species of birds that nest or winter there, including several threatened or endangered species, the preserve is an important stop-over habitat for many migrants that pass through on their ways south and north, and it provides habitat for wintering Bald Eagles.

Each member of the Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission (CBAC) has a designated section of the preserve that he or she visits regularly, walking or riding the access roads and trails looking for dangers such as trees fallen across trails, watching for fires, visiting with users, and reporting hazardous conditions and violations. This past year, the commission successfully installed dog waste stations at many entrances to the preserve, and members keep them filled with bags.

The commission is also responsible for maintaining the entrance signs and providing the public with user information. Members and other volunteers also participate in removal of invasive species, restoration projects and trash removal in the preserve. Because many Corraleños use the bosque in a variety of ways, the CBAC also coordinates with the Village’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission and the Equestrian Advisory Commission.

In early 2021, the commission developed management guidelines intended to provide direction to the Village of Corrales Governing Body, Village of Corrales staff, and the Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission. These guidelines, with objectives of protecting plant and animal life, reducing pollution, conducting fire risk mitigation, promoting educational uses, and facilitating coordination with the Corrales Fire Department and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, were accepted by the Village Council in March 2021.

Recently, commission members provided data and input to the discussion regarding the proposed clearing project in the bosque.

Do you love our preserve and are you committed to its protection? Are you interested in becoming a member of the CBAC or helping with activities? If so, please contact More information can be found at


Glasgow, Scotland November 2021

High anxiety accompanied planning for a trip to Scotland for the United Nations climate conference, but not for fear of catching COVID-19 at what had all the makings of a coronavirus super-spreader event.

Rather, it was doubt that my COVID test results would be reported back from the lab in time to be allowed on the trans-Atlantic flight.

Testing protocol demanded that I do the nasal swab for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test no earlier than 72 hours before the flight, so there was a narrow window to get a negative result back. What if I tested positive for the coronavirus, or the report was a false positive?  Or inconclusive? Or if  the test report came in a  half-hour after take-off?

With very little in the world seeming to function these days —from internet service and macro-economics to my trusty ballpoint pen and my troubled office supply store— I had little faith that my COVID test result would come back in time.

Twenty-four hours passed with no report. Forty-eight, and still no result. Would I be making the trip or not? It had been planned for at least six months, but a modicum of inefficiency at the last moment could crash everything.

Growing desperate, I put my packing aside to head out in search of the quicker but less persuasive antigen test even though it probably would not be accepted by the airline when I checked in. A Walgreens pharmacist in Rio Rancho said what I was looking for was the BinaxNow  kit… but they were sold out and did not expect more for some time.

With little hope, I tried the CVS Pharmacy across the street. Success! So  the night before my flight, I rushed home to take the self-test, and while I was opening the package, my cell phone buzzed. Results for the original PCR were in and negative. I resumed packing, remembering to include those results.

Enormous relief… not that I was COVID-free but that the results had flown in through that narrow window.

Finally onboard and in the air, headed from Dallas to London, I was surprised to find I had a row of seats all to myself, so I had mininal concerns about breathing coronavirus from fellow passengers.

Further COVID protocols in the United  Kingdom required that I take another test before heading to Glasgow’s Scottish Event Centre where the UN meeting, COP-26, was getting under way. A welcome packet distributed by the UN secretariat to accredited news media included a Brisish version of the BinaxNow test… which had to be self-administered and reported via internet every day before admission to the conference center’s “Blue Zone” reserved for national government delegations, news media and invited or approved guests such as Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Al Gore.

What if I had caught COVID on the plane, or in an airport, or in one of the long lines just trying to show a test result, or waiting to go through tight security?  If positive, I was supposed to quarantine for 10 days, basically the remainder of COP-26.

On the second day in Glasgow, I was required to self-administer another PCR  test and find a way to get it to a lab where it would be analyzed. Again, a narrow window to get the test to a lab and get  results back in time to be admitted to the Blue Zone. But again, it worked, just barely.

So every morning for the next 10 days, I swabbed my nostrils, dipped the results in a chemical and waited for results to show before emailing the proof that I was coronavirus free.  At the first of several security gates outside the conference center, I had to call up that day’s antigen test results on my cell phone to show a guard.

And so it went day after day, before mingling with  tens of thousands of people from all over the world, including those from countries where public health safeguards were rudimentary and even grossly inadequate.

Face masks were required everywhere, except when participants were eating, of course.  Long lines prevailed at the mostly cafeteria-style eateries inside the conference center. People sat nearly cheek-to-jowl, to have meals in vast dining areas where no one enforced social distancing, and members of national delegations typically clustered maskless to compare notes or devise negotiating strategies.

To my knowledge, no one attending COP-26 came down with COVID, but I’m not sure that would have been widely publicized if it had happened.

As I prepared to leave Glasgow and return to Corrales, one last COVID-related anxiety lay ahead. I had to take another PCR test no earlier than 72 hours before the flight home.

But nothing had been arranged by the UN secretariat to accommodate that required testing, and no guidance was provided at the conference’s information desks. Finally I was told a pre-departure test could be given at an office just outside the event center’s main entrance. That turned  out not to be true: a security guard there notified me the site was for people who suspected they might have come down with COVID. I left quickly.

A Google search eventually led to an unlikely storefront in the center of Glasgow where massages and other bodywork were carried out. Still, a reassuring attendant said I had come to the right place. After a short wait, he led me and two other people downstairs to  a more clinical setting.

After payment of a steep fee and submitting to an inside-the-cheek swab, I was assured that test results would be emailed to me in time to catch the flight home. Again, just in the nick of time, a negative result did come in.

After a grueling journey home followed by persistent jet lag, I continued to test negative for COVID-19 over the next two weeks.

Jeff Radford


By Steve Komadina

Where To Next?

As November draws to a close and the holidays will whisk December aside in a flurry, we ask what is next for our little horse world of Corrales. As many of us age we are amazed at the speed with which each day and week and month slides by.

Wasn’t it just yesterday we were worrying about Y2K?

Just as every day seems the same in Corrales, it has many subtle and not so subtle changes taking place continually. I often wonder what the village will be like when my great-grandchildren live here as parents. That granddaughter who rode her pony at the farm in the 90s is now the mother of two children! The circle of life continues with the gold in the cotton woods and the return of the sandhill cranes and geese each year. The river rises and falls with the whim of El Niño and raptors look for their lunch along the bosque.

An intriguing question is whether the land is stronger than the people in Corrales?

How long would it take nature to retake the village were we to disappear? When would all evidence of our existence be gone?

Most are aware that there was a bustling civilization in our village prior to the  “discovery” by Coronado. Pot sherds can still be found as reminders when fields are turned, or a new foundation dug. What would be left in 100, 200, 500, 1,000 years if we all were wiped out by biological warfare agents?

I see patients daily recovering from COVID. Last week, a doctor I had employed to join me February 1, died of COVID after a mild disease of a few days. Mark was healthy, vaccinated, young, and with no co-morbidities. What is this crazy virus?

I am given to much reflection as to the nature of our “civilization.”

I have traveled the world and visited many ancient sites and have wondered who they were and what caused them to disappear. Tiahuanaco in Bolivia, primitive cave art in Torres del Paine in the Chilean Patagonia, Egypt, Turkey, the Temples of India and Nepal, Central American ruins, Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, the home of australopithecine, and even our own Chaco Canyon.

Are we on the brink of another mass kill off of the human race? Will Corrales have a future beyond the memory of my offspring?

Lots of weighty questions for the end of the year.

I do know that man is the most dangerous of the animals and to be feared the most. The evils of government are testified in history. Time for each of us to reflect on how we can do our small part to make the world and Corrales a wonderful place to live and even die.

Here is my prayer for each to have a joyous December and then resolve to not let the governments of the world destroy us in 2022.

ISSUE 12/04/21 WHAT’S ON?

By Meredith Hughes

Anticipating rummaging through the bins of free pine branches removed from Christmas trees at Lowes! (The mantle is empty.) And, Ace Hardware began playing Christmas carols before Thanksgiving, but now, okay, anything goes. 

Do visit the websites of your favorite museums, galleries and  organizations to check opening times and any new regulations. Published the first issue of the month, What’s On? invites suggestions one week before the publication date.

  • Holiday Fair and Plant Sale, December 4, 9 a.m. Over 40 vendors. Albuquerque Garden Center, 10120 Lomas.
  • A Very Jazzy Christmas with the Band of Enchantment, December 5, 3 p.m. An afternoon of swinging Christmas favorites featuring Albuquerque’s own Ryan Montaño on trumpet and Amy Faithe on vocals. Purchase tickets at  African American Performing Arts Center, 310 San Pedro. 
  • Hanukkah Together, via Nahalat Shalom, through December 5 via Zoom. Register at Plus, Community Klezmer Band Rehearsal in Sanctuary and on Zoom, 3 to 5 p.m., ID: 711 037 7431. Passcode: KLEZ
  • Santa Fe Symphony: Christmas Treasures, December 12, 4 p.m.  Its annual Christmas Pops concert with holiday favorites such as excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Suite from The Nutcracker, Anderson’s Sleigh Ride, and Berlin’s White Christmas. The Lensic, 211 West San Francisco.
  • Trolley of Lights, December 15-23, weekly, at 6 and 8 p.m. The Trolley of Lights departs from Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town, and tours last approximately 75 minutes. See http://www.tourabq. com/abqtrolley
  • Open Space art show, up through December 18, is ‘New Mexico Light,’ a collaborative show featuring The High Desert Tapestry Alliance and the Tapestry Artists of Las Arañas, two groups made up of tapestry artists. The Center is now open to the public Tuesday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Open Space Visitors Center, 6500 Coors.
  • Santa’s Workshop Fiasco Escape Room, December 18-21. Time is ticking and it’s almost time to pack up the sleigh and leave to deliver presents to all the children of the world. You have 60 minutes to free Santa. For ages 10 and up. Registration is required. 505 857-8321 Each session is limited to 6. Cherry Hills Library, 6901 Barstow.
  • River of Lights, through December 30, other than December 24, 25. The Biopark Botanic Garden is bedecked again. A fundraiser since 1997! Timed tickets are sold online. https://river

Did You Know?

COVID protocols have deeply affected Music in Corrales, which announced it has “significantly limited ticket sales to allow audience members to distance themselves from each other. Ticket sales for all indoor concerts are currently suspended.” This new plan begins with the December 11 performance by Crys Matthews, blues singer/songwriter, at 7:30 p.m., and runs through the last concert of the season with NOVA Guitar Duo, scheduled for April 23.

President Lance Osier posted that “If at some point we can safely increase the seating, we will re-open ticket sales, so please check back periodically for availability.”

“Proof of full vaccination against Covid, or proof of a negative Covid test within 72 hours prior to the concert will be required for admission. And masks must be worn at all times while within the Old Church.

“If you have purchased tickets to any Music in Corrales concert scheduled for the Old Church and cannot comply with these requirements, please notify us at and we will refund the cost of your tickets.”

In Corrales

  • Starlight Parade with St Nick, December 4, 5:30 p.m. From Wagner’s parking lot to the Rec Center.
  • Tree Preservation Advisory Committee, December 6, 4 p.m.
  • Holly Daze Online Auction, via Corrales Main Street, through December 12, at 5 p.m. Participate in the auction here:  Quilts, cooking class with Jane Butel, restaurant meals, NM artsy license plates and more.
  • Village Council meeting, December 14, 6:30 p.m., still posted as via Zoom. 
  • Casa San Ysidro is closed in December and January.
  • Planning and Zoning meeting, December 15, 6:30 p.m., apparently in person. 
  • 33rd annual Winter Craft Show, through December 5, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission. Via the Corrales Historical Society. Old Church.
  • Corrales Library Book Club, December 27, 2:30 p.m. Author series, December 28, 7 p.m.  Please contact Sandra Baldonado for Zoom event details.
  • Music in Corrales has a new system in place, thanks to COVID19 caution. See “Did You Know?’
  • Corrales Growers’ Market. Sundays, December 5, 19, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. January 2, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Dear Editor:

The Village seeks to improve the viewing experience on Corrales Road by implementing a fence/wall restriction. Proponents cite to Los Ranchos as a model. But, setting a height restriction was only a part of Los Ranchos’ solution to traffic and beautification.

First they took over control of Rio Rancho Boulevard from the State and reduced the speed limit to 25 miles per hour for its entire length. Then they had strict enforcement. This got rid of the folks who used that road for rush hour. Even though the lower speed limit did not significantly increase the time to get to work, it acted as a psychological barrier to many drivers (plus all the tickets people got).

Next they put in three stop sign intersections.This effectively broke up the long chains of cars preventing residents from getting onto or crossing over Rio Grande.These stops created gaps in the traffic allowing for safe egress, and again it discouraged those who simply wanted a quick route to work.

Then they had their height restriction on fences to encourage the scenic pleasure of driving in that village.

Today, Corrales Road is clogged with cars, after cars after cars during the rush hours in particular. They are not from here. Our village populaion hardly grew since the 2010 census. They are from Rio Rancho seeking a better way to and from work.They are not stopping to shop. There is such a crush it is hard for anyone to enter, slow down or park to view or visit our businesses.

So I suggest taking over the road. Setting the speed limit at 25 mph for the entire length. Insure a traffic enforcement every day at least for one or the other rush hours including some blitzes with multiple police cars. At least for a year. (That will also allow the Village police to stop, ticket and redirect over-five-ton trucks which constantly travel through the village, often as a shortcut to the Sandoval County land fill).

Next put in three-way stop signs at Camino Todos Los Santos and Corrales Road. This will allow people to have an exit from and onto Loma Larga at Corrales Road, which is now hazardous, difficult and discouraging. This will allow Loma Larga as intended to be the handy bypass around the village center.

Next put in another three-way stop at Target Road next to the elementary school. This will not only make it safer but also slow traffic and create gaps allowing people to stop and shop. Next put in another three-way stop at the corner of Jones Road and Corrales Road allowing safer turning into and from our recreation center.

Do not put a four-way stop at West Meadowlark and Corrales Road.

During rush hour, commuters speed as much as 70 mph on this straight road to and from Rio Rancho. They do not stop to shop. It is just a speeders delight on their way to and from work. These speeders are a serious danger for man and beast. Already this year an endangered great horned owl was killed by a speeder on lower West Meadowlark. These were recently introduced and now their few examples is one less. Rather, since the police cannot both enforce Corrales Road and Meadowlark all the time, put in a speed camera with ticketing like Rio Rancho does.

Many folks would be happy to allow it on their property off to the side of the road. Without enforcement on West Meadowlark, the improvements on Corrales Road will just create a new mess and danger on West Meadowlark. Remember, Meadowlark is designated a bike route with no room for a bike lane. Kids use it to and from school. Addressing all the problems at once will be the smart solution to an ever increasing problem.

Roger Finzel

Dear Editor:

A recent letter to the editor prompted me to write. Rather than respond directly and thus add fuel to an untenable situation, I suggest that any resident interested in the development and improvement of the village take a good look at the opportunities available to participate in the decision-making processes.

The Village is celebrating its 50th birthday. Over that time many good people have served the community, some elected to represent the interests of the community in developing the rules and laws in the master plan, municipal code, and ordinances. Others have volunteered to participate in various boards and commissions to assist in the smooth running of the village, such as the Library Board, the Bosque Commission and Planning and Zoning Commission, and, keep in mind, these folks are not paid for their service.

Still others have created non-profit groups to protect and promote this little village, again, with no thought of being compensated for their service.

Finally, there is a small support staff who, while paid for their service, are nevertheless dedicated to the village, and doing the best they can to facilitate the smooth running of day-to-day operations and emergency services. I am certainly not the only person who has given their time, talents and treasures to this village, but I am proud to have served in a variety of capacities over the years.

Since the recent letter was specific to the Planning and Zoning Commission, it is important to note these folks are volunteers; they rely on the rules and laws of the Village as well as the interpretations of the various attorneys who have served the Village. Sometimes they interpret things incorrectly albeit with the best of intentions.

These volunteers do the best they can with the information available to them at the time. When I served on the P&Z Commission, I was surprised to learn that the Village rarely grants waivers, but in reality, a waiver granted for a particular proposal is a sure way to document why a change was made contrary to an ordinance.

A new commissioner may propose an alternative during the open meeting without the full understanding of the process, which is why the more senior members may need to point out the rules, or the attorney or administrator will provide information to explain why an alternative isn’t an option. Commission terms are staggered for this reason. Then there is the issue of changing the rules. The council is responsible for making the rules, not the staff or the Planning and Zoning Commission. 

Over the years, the Village has struggled with funding itself, yet there has been huge resistance to retail business in the village. New business ventures have popped up that require a review, such as the very popular Airbnb industry. Here is an example of having to create rules and ordinances, which initially created an opportunity to generate gross receipts on a small enterprise of renting an already existing bedroom in your own empty nest home.

Several residents were able to successfully apply for and receive a business license for this, but now the rules have changed, stalling potential income to the village. With an Airbnb, the density doesn’t change as those rooms already exist, so if it’s good enough for some, why is it not now available to others?

Unless you attend the council meetings or read the published documents on the website, you don’t know what goes into these decisions. Look at the variety of topics that never seem to get to a resolution, such as the consideration of casitas in the village, or retirement living for seniors who have spent their lives in service to the community and now can’t care for their large property but want to stay in the village?

I guess what I am saying is this: if you don’t like what you perceive is happening with the direction of the Village, contact your council person, have frank discussions on how to facilitate change. Attend council meetings and get to know all the council members and the mayor. Volunteer for one of the boards or commissions.

Or better yet, if you want to effect change, run for mayor or for one of the open council positions. These are the people who develop and uphold the rules and laws that govern the community. Districts 1, 3 and 4 are open for the upcoming election as is the mayor’s seat.

Suanne Derr

Dear Editor:

To Corrales Village Council:

We, the undersigned, are leadership members of a grassroots political organization (Sandoval County Indivisible) that started in Corrales and now represents all of Sandoval County. All of the undersigned live in Corrales. Although none of us have strong personal opinions about cannabis cultivation in Corrales, nor do we have any financial interest in cannabis, we did all support the passing of the existing state law legalizing recreational cannabis production and consumption in New Mexico.

We are writing to you because we are currently concerned that a vocal minority of Corrales residents, for a variety of reasons, is trying to push the Village Council to do something that it does not have the legal authority to do, and that in doing so the council may be putting the Village and its citizens in jeopardy to pay monetary damages in the future.

Our understanding is that some people in the village are lobbying to have very extensive regulations of cannabis cultivation, and they essentially want the Village government to ban commercial cannabis cultivation in the village. Some people are clearly very worked up about this, and a petition is being passed around.

We have personally talked to a number of village residents and attorneys about this, including our State Representative, Daymon Ely, and we are convinced that, though the Village can write a legal ordinance regulating the cultivation of cannabis around the topics of time, place, and manner of the work of cultivation, the Village cannot ban commercial cannabis, and under state law it must be treated like any other agricultural product (alfalfa, green chile, squash, etc.).

Some of our fellow citizens do not seem to like that answer and want the Village to defy state law, but that is a fool’s game. We have been told by people we trust that if Corrales pursues this regulatory effort, the Village will likely get sued, will likely lose, and will likely be on the hook for not insubstantial monetary damages.

As usual, when the political outrage machine gets worked up, truth and facts often go out the window. If one thinks that cannabis is an “evil” product, then any justification to ban it is legitimate, even if the stated justification is hyperbole or an outright lie. Some examples: cannabis cultivation is an “ultra” consumer of water. Somehow we don’t ever hear that accusation thrown around to pecan farmers who use almost one gallon of water to produce one pecan. On the contrary, between five and 50 doses of marijuana can be cultivated using one gallon of water.

Then there is the issue of the smell, and cannabis certainly has a “skunky” odor at times during processing (and which, by the way, can and should be regulated and controlled). That said, we don’t talk about banning horses in Corrales, but we sure hear a lot of our neighbors and friends complaining about the smell of manure and the flies that come with having horses living next to you. We also don’t talk about ridding our Village of actual skunks which are quite prevalent and certainly pungent.

For the reasons above, we, the undersigned do not support the petition drive  to ban or strictly regulate cannabis cultivation in the Village.

Bert Coxe in Council District 4

Gary Sims in Council District 1

Terry Eisenbart in Council District 3

Nandini Kuehn in  Council District 6


By Bert Coxe

Sneaky Shenanigans in Sandoval County

One of my core beliefs is that bad things happen when nobody is looking.

Right now bad things are about to happen in Sandoval County, the fourth largest county in New Mexico. While the rest of us are worried about COVID, Thanksgiving, Build Back Better, and redistricting at the state and national level, the Sandoval County Commission is trying to work quietly and without fanfare to gerrymander the county’s commission districts for a permanent Republican majority.

Sandoval County is generally assumed by politicos to be “purple.” In the 2020 presidential election, 55 percent went for Joe Biden, but more often votes are closer to a 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats. The current County Commission is divided between three Republican and two Democratic commissioners.

Districts 1 and 5 tend Democratic. Districts 3 and 4 are usually solidly Republican. District 2 has been a swing district in the past, although in the past two election cycles it has been won by the Trump enthusiast and current Republican candidate for governor, Jay Block. Until last week, I had never given a thought to redistricting county commission districts. I am pretty sure that 99+ percent of Americans are in the same boat.

Then someone pointed out to me what was going on in the commission. The Sandoval Commission had hired a “demographic consulting company” run/owned by former GOP State Senator Rod Adair, to come up with potential plans to redistrict the county. The core strategy behind Adair’s plans is to “pack” all Democratic voters into two districts and Republican voters into the other three. He does this by ignoring many of the rules that govern redistricting: keeping districts geographically compact, minimizing the number of split political subdivisions, preserving the cores of previous districts and protecting and taking into account the concerns of like-minded communities within whole districts without splitting them between districts.

His main strategy is to tear the Village of Corrales, whole or in part, out of the very compact District 2 and attach it to Placitas, across the Rio Grande, 20 miles away. His other strategy is to “pack” the widely-dispersed Native American population (seven Indian pueblos and all or portions of six tribal entities/lands) into one giant district over 3,000 square miles in area.

Adair claims he did this to protect the voting power of “Indians” (his words.) Somehow he forgot to ask any of the Native American communities what they actually wanted and whether this proposal was acceptable to the majority of them. (Judging by the Native turnout at last night’s meeting, it is not.) Finally, he massacres the small town of Bernalillo and divides it into as many as three different commission districts.

Apparently the commission, especially Chairman David Heil, thought it could sneak this through without anybody looking. The plans were set to be presented at the Sandoval County Commission meeting on November 18, but when Chairman Heil found out that local Democratic, Native American, other grassroots groups, and individual concerned citizens were planning on attending the meeting, he sent out a hyperbolic plea to local Republicans to fight back, tarring Commissioner Kathy Bruch in the process.

Per the email sent out to Sandoval Republicans, “The Bruch plan is being presented as the fair plan however only a far left Democrat could be so delusional that they can think the plan is fair to anyone but themselves.” By the way, there is no “Bruch plan”. There was another plan, presented by a local citizen, Isaac Chavez, that followed all of the redistricting principles and that Commissioner Bruch had nothing to do with.

In last night’s meeting, Chairman Heil spent 15 minutes cross-examining Chavez like Johnny Cochran defending O.J. Simpson. Although no voting has yet happened, it is apparent that the Republican commissioners (David Heil, Jay Block and Michael Meek) are resolved to ram through these egregious gerrymanders. Commissioner Block’s statement at the end of the meeting’s public comment period was “elections have consequences,” which I interpreted to mean, “we really don’t give a hoot what all of you whiners have to say… we are doing it our way.”

By Steve Gutierrez

Cannabis ventures in Corrales

Once again, Corrales finds itself in the middle of furious activity related to the cannabis industry. Why is Corrales such a target for growers? Primarily, because we are mostly zoned A-1 and A-2 (as opposed to most communities being R-1), which are not protected by the NM Cannabis Regulation Act. In recent weeks, about a dozen applicants have approached the village to provide them with approval to grow in Corrales, which until recently was protected against this activity by Ordinance 18-002. I was previously involved with an attempt for a cannabis operation to setup next to my home and with the help of others and the Village Council a carefully worded ordinance 18-002 was presented and approved in 2018 which disallowed the growth of cannabis in our residential areas (A-1, A-2, H-1). However, with the large influx of applicants for recreational growth of cannabis, and the threat that ordinance 18-002 violated the Cannabis Regulation Act, the administration and council, likely out of fear of being sued, hastily passed an amendment to the existing ordinance eliminating the protections against the growth of Cannabis in our residential areas.

In a recent publication of the Corrales Comment, the administration was spinning their actions to better protect the village. I found this disingenuous as further action is only necessary because they recently eliminated the protections offered by Ordinance 18-002. I presented to the administration and council the following information at a recent council meeting.

I have a close associate who has been heavily involved with the Cannabis Regulation Act and had them review ordinance 18-002 for compliance. Today, I want to share with you the results of their opinion and the provisions from the Regulation Act that highlight that the old 18-002 ordinance was in fact in compliance with the act. The following is their opinion, and I quote “The Village of Corrales has the authority to prohibit the production of cannabis in certain zones so long as there are other zoning categories in which the production of cannabis is allowed, which is what the Village did when it adopted Ordinance 18-002. Sec. 12 of the Act states that a local jurisdiction may “adopt time, place and manner rules that do not conflict with the Cannabis Regulation Act or the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act, including rules that reasonably limit density of licenses and operating time consistent with neighborhood uses.” The ordinance prevents the production of cannabis (and the sale of the cannabis produced on site) in certain areas of the Village; however, it expressly states that it does not “impose any new regulations or requirements relating to facilities in zones other than the A-1, A-2, and H zones of the Village, leaving any regulation related to cannabis and cannabis-derived products in those areas for future consideration.” I believe prohibiting the production in certain zoning categories is allowed by the act, so long as there are other zones where production is allowed. The act does state that a “local jurisdiction cannot completely prohibit the operation of a licensee.”

So, as specified in the ct, a local jurisdiction has many methods available to them to adopt rules governing the production of cannabis. They can restrict allowable locations, limit the density of licenses and/or operating times consistent with neighborhood uses. This gives local authorities a wide range of ways to be in compliance with the act.

I would request that the mayor and council approve the action to further amend Ordinance 18-002.

Time is becoming critical as the state law for recreational growth becomes active on January 2022. If the administration and council does not take further action before that date, there is no recourse to stop the issuance of permits to recreational growers of cannabis. We have attempted without success to get this topic before the council meeting to at least place a moratorium in place until this gets further resolved. Realistically, there is only one council meeting left available to us to get some protections in place for all residents of the village.

If we do nothing, with the current amendments in place, let me give you an example of how this could be exploited. The village has spent a significant amount of expense and effort in acquiring farmland to preserve the lifestyle of Corrales. However, everyone one of those preserved properties could now be used for the intensive activity of cannabis growth. So, instead of having preserved lands from housing developments, we now will have greenhouses larger than any home that could have ever been built, operating night and day. So instead of driving through Corrales viewing large open protected areas, we instead will have row upon row of greenhouses while driving down our streets all of them easily visible day and night with their hot air balloon-like glow associated with their 24-hour lighting requirements.

Lastly, when the previous discussion came up on cannabis growth in the village, the state limited permits to 450 plants per license and the report I presented was based upon that level of production. Today, that number has increased nearly 10-fold to 4,000 plants. The operations potentially arriving here are ten times more intensive and, in my view, should be viewed more as industrial farming activities and governed as such. There is huge money involved for growers and sellers of cannabis, and as  such there is tremendous pressure being placed on communities like ours to force their way into our lives. I would strongly recommend that we take our time to carefully understand the requirements of the act, the impact it will have on the village and the people that live here. Know that we are not alone. Many communities throughout the state are equally being bombarded by strongly worded ultimatums by the cannabis industry. It would be in our best interest to take the time to understand how other communities are facing this pressure before hastily trying to accommodate this industry.

With some 12 applicants already in line for permits, this is no longer a possibility but a reality. If something is not done in the short term to protect our village from the amendments made to ordinance 18-002, we could soon find ourselves with large commercial-like activities taking place next to a significant number of homes within the village. Please contact the mayor and your Village Council representative to get this topic on the next council meeting for discussion and move forward on reinstating the protections enabled by ordinance 18-002.

By Fred Hashimoto

Let’s Approve the QOL Amendment

 In 1975, I got a job in Albuquerque and moved to Corrales.  Why?  Quality of life.  This includes:  open and natural space, clear and clean air, stars at night, peace and quiet, I won’t bother neighbors and vice versa, water easily accessible and safety.

Since then, the population of the village has more than tripled with the large proportion of that increase being people who have moved here. Because relocating to Corrales is rather more expensive than to neighboring areas and very few have to live here, people (like me and probably you) who have moved here, have deliberately chosen to live here.  Why?  Quality of life (or QOL).

 Six months ago, the State passed the Cannabis Regulation Act that threatens QOL in Corrales.  The legislation legalizes recreational cannabis, which is a personal matter for people, but it, unfortunately and perhaps unwittingly, has adversely impacted Corrales by opening up residential neighborhoods here to invasion by commercial recreational cannabis producers.

 Several years ago, commercial medical cannabis greenhouses suddenly appeared next to the Corrales del Norte subdivision. Currently, those greenhouses grow medical marijuana but, in several months, they might also be producing recreational cannabis too —really big profits there.

 This has significantly affected the QOL of neighbors of that growing facility.  A few of their comments are:

“We have experienced and lived with the nuisance of a pot facility, i.e. the odor that is so strong that there were many evenings this past summer when we could not spend time on our portal or sleep with our windows open —one of the beautiful elements of living in Corrales— the traffic on Camino de Corrales del Norte has increased dramatically since the pot farm was constructed a couple of years ago, i.e. employees, customers, partners, etc.  There will be property value issues, crime will increase, roadside trash is already an issue.  We were here first and no one has considered the effects of the pot facility on us.”

“We have again had to suffer the smell from Komadina’s pot facility located 350 yards from my house. It’s just not right. Apparently, there was a favorable Komadina wind the night of Starry Nights.  If not for the wind those of you attending might have gotten to experience it.”

“The bad smell has been a killer for us every night for the past month as we are just one house away from the pot location.  It was nauseating for us at night and we had to close the doors and windows. It is a shame that we cannot enjoy the wonderful cool nights of the fall because of the smelly odor.”

“We have been forced to endure obnoxious and offensive odors produced from the cannabis operations, a tremendous increase in traffic on our once quiet streets, a lack of police enforcement of residential speed limits in our neighborhood, accumulation of trash on our streets and properties, crime and other undesirable consequences of the cannabis operation.”

“We have been overlooked and abandoned by our council for long enough.  It is time for you to pay attention to the residents that are paying the price for one family to prosper greatly. We invested in this neighborhood, and now our investment is suffering, and we can add violent crime to that long list!”

“Two of our neighbors have sold their homes because of the pot facility and/or the newly enacted and very permissive ordinance (21-06).  What do you think all of this has done to our property values?  Realtors, now, not only have disclosed the existence of the facility but also the crime. Probably nothing a potential buyer would want to hear. We have been seriously damaged financially and mentally. This is what our village government is supposed to protect us from.”

Commercial cannabis growing facilities are probably not going to pop up in every neighborhood, but for some, it will happen, and then what can you do?  Grin and bear your loss of QOL and decrease in property values? That stinks, and more.

Large vacant lots aren’t required to house commercial cannabis growing structures. A moderate-sized, intensive commercial greenhouse of 6,000 square feet covers less than 1/6th of an acre, which fits easily in many backyards.

My very close friend’s industrial greenhouse in Colorado has been burglarized.

 In 2018, the Village Council passed Ordinance 18-002, which banned commercial cannabis production, manufacturing and distribution in A-1 and A-2 zones, which comprise 97 percent of the village.

 Sadly, our current Village ordinances, driven by the State Cannabis Regulation Act, allow the invasive, intensive cannabis growing structures and facilities in A-1 and A-2 zones. This is not conducive to maintaining the well-known Corrales QOL.

On December 14, some councilors will propose the publishing and posting of an amendment (the QOL Amendment) reinstituting the ban of commercially growing, manufacturing, distributing and selling cannabis in A-1 and A-2 zones. At its last meeting, the council unanimously passed a moratorium to delay action on commercial cannabis business licenses in the village for 95 days.  This has allowed the re-introduction of the QOL Amendment. Time is of the essence here.

 Please support the QOL Amendment, which helps protect our quality of life and property values and the Village wherein we live.  Please sign the online or hard-copy petition —circulated by a non-partisan group of concerned citizens— supporting the QOL Amendment.

QOL is why we live here.  Let’s keep that.


Antlers Directed by Scott Cooper. Starring Kerri Russell and Jesse Plemons. Plugs: None. Nearest: Cottonwood Mall.

 Antlers is set in a decaying Oregon town, where a single father, Frank, is seen with his young son, Aiden, outside a mine. What at first seems like an innocent father-son bonding moment turns dark, literally and figuratively, as we see that Frank is involved in a meth lab, and promptly is attacked by, well, something terrifying with the titular antlers. 

This situation comes to the attention of a teacher, Julia (Keri Russell), who lives with her brother, Paul (Jesse Plemons), the local sheriff. Julia becomes concerned when she sees disturbing (horror film cliché) drawings of scary monsters from withdrawn outcast Lucas (Jeremy T. Thomas), presumably depicting his troubled family life. Julia eventually realizes that Frank is/was Lucas’s father, and Aiden his brother, and that something sinister and supernatural is going on.

The film, adapted from Nick Antosca’s short story “The Quiet Boy,” was completed in 2019 and its opening delayed several times due to COVID. The plot is based on legends of the wendigo, and the filmmakers hired a professor of Indigenous Nations Studies to serve as its advisor on Native American folklore.

It’s an intriguing premise, but one area where the plot falters is in explaining the origin of the menace. We’re told, in an Ojibwe opening verse, of an evil spirit with a ravenous appetite that possesses humans and causes them to kill and eat others. The wendigo is typically associated with winter, famine, need and scarcity.

This is Screenwriting 101: a hero (or heroine in this case) saves the day using important knowledge gleaned from a wise, often reluctant, source in the second act. In this case the wisdom is imparted from Native American actor Graham Greene, best known for his turns in Dances With Wolves and Wind River. Armed with a Cliff’s Notes-inspired, Wikipedia-summarized understanding of the wendigo, plucky Julia goes above and beyond her contractual teacher obligations to face the fearsome foe as mangled bodies pile up.

It’s all well and good to use a creature as a metaphor for social ills; it’s been done before, for example the consumerism-satirizing zombies in George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978). But translating folklore into cinema is a tricky task because once a menace is fixed in film it’s crystallized.

The wendigo can be seen as a symbol of social and moral decay, in this case drug addiction, child abuse, poverty, environmental degradation and so on. A folklorist or storyteller can evocatively describe what a monster “means” to the cultures that tell its stories.

A filmmaker —and especially a visual effects supervisor— will reply, “Yeah, yeah, that’s great and all, but how do I show it on the screen? I can’t sculpt or animate an idea or metaphor. What, exactly, am I designing? What are audiences going to see and hear?” In the end, Antlers is a monster movie, and the monster is terrifying indeed, with effective special effects.

Working from the premise of the wendigo, as audiences are required to do in suspending disbelief, the question naturally come up: why now, in the context of the story? There’s nothing new about economic hardship or drug abuse, especially in small rural towns. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if that’s all it takes to create a wendigo, then why aren’t they commonplace? Why isn’t the community’s response a jaded “Oh, another one?” instead of “I’ve never seen anything like this before”?

Questions like these become even more relevant when the film concludes and the conflict is (seemingly) resolved; if the wendigo is indeed possessing people more or less at will then all is lost because it will never be destroyed. You can keep killing its hapless hosts, but that’s not really going to solve the fundamental problem as long as there’s still someone alive to possess.

This leads to a bit of a contradiction (or plot hole, depending on your point of view) at the end. There’s also a bit of a red herring involving native American medicine bags, which are key to the plot because they make the connection between Frank’s death and the wendigo, but whose presence are never explained…

I strongly suspect that important material was cut for a leaner run time of 99 minutes —a common occurrence in films. Around the sixth or tenth edit, and with pressure from theaters and distributors for films to be shorter to allow more screening per day, editors and directors often second-guess their decisions: do we really need to have this dialogue in the film, or does another scene serve the same narrative function?

How many scenes that have the same theme do we need to drive the point home? There’s no right or wrong answer —and finished films are inevitably the result of hundreds (or even thousands) of decisions and compromises made along the way— but it may explain the mediocrity of Antlers. I suspect that a longer director’s cut, if one is ever released, will offer a more satisfying storyline.

The considerable narrative power and potential is squandered a bit in the last act, which abandons its folkloric and social themes in favor of routine horror film cliches. There are a few bits of clumsy expositional screenwriting, such as when dialogue explains things the characters already know (early in the film Frank tells his son that they’re going to pick up “your brother Lucas,” in case the boy wasn’t sure what his brother’s name was, or which of several Lucases they’d be picking up).

But it’s a low-budget horror film so let’s not get too pedantic because there’s a lot to be said for Antlers, starting with the cinematography and setting.

You can feel the grey dampness of rural Oregon creep off the screen. The fog mirrors the gloomy bleakness of the town, shrouded with decay and secrets (a teacher grimly tells Julia that many children in the small community don’t attend school because their parents make methamphetamine and don’t want their kids to smell of it in class, thus triggering a mandatory police check).

It’s an ideal setting for a gothic horror film, and it’s not surprising that that writer/director Guillermo del Toro is a producer on the film, as his cinematic sensibilities are (thankfully) everywhere onscreen. The special effects are impressive, in all their gory glory. The acting is effective, especially from the lead characters including newcomer Jeremy T. Thomas; unfortunately most of the other characters are underdeveloped. In interviews director Scott Cooper lamented that Greene’s part in the film, which was originally more robust, had been significantly cut in the final version.

Like many horror films that end with a climactic battle with some supernatural presence (usually at night, for dramatic effect) and then a short coda or epilogue taking place the next day, I always have to wonder how everything that happened (homicides, monster carcasses, etc.) was satisfactorily explained to authorities. It’s one thing for outsiders to be skeptical of whatever astonishing claims the heroes are reporting until the climax, but the aftermath would typically leave mountains of incontrovertible proof that would raise more questions than answers.

Antlers is a middling monster movie with missed potential, worth a watch on a dark night but wait for a director’s cut if you can.

Benjamin Radford


By Barry Abel

Village in the Village

Giving Thanks

Some of us grew up here, or close enough to want to live here “one day.” Many others found Corrales after spending years and years in other places, often several other places. In other words, Corrales is our chosen place.

But what turns a place into a community, a community into home?

Lots of answers to that, of course. But among them, certainly, is caring – for the place and for the people we share it with.

Certainly, the members of Village in the Village/Corrales (ViV) hold caring for their fellow Corraleños high among their values. Doing something to help enable others —friends, neighbors, others who share our love for the place we call home— is among their foremost motivations.

So, in this time of Thanksgiving, you may join us in honoring and giving thanks to those business owners who feel the same way and have chosen to sponsor ViV and its activities.

ViV’s Joseph Henderson, who interacts with businesses and about joining the ranks of our Sponsors, has a different approach to his mission. He doesn’t talk with them about publicity they will get from their sponsorship of ViV. He doesn’t talk about them getting additional business for their sponsorship efforts.

He talks with them about what ViV is all about, what it does, and how it’s possible for them to play a very important role in helping us accomplish what we do —assisting our fellow Corraleños in continuing to live independently, even as the years go by and challenges arise, just as long as they want to and it is still physically possible.

Joseph tells us it is that to which these community-minded organizations and businesses respond. And they do respond, with their contributions and their hearts.

“As a volunteer with Village in the Village over the last several months I have had the honor and privilege to visit some Corrales area businesses to invite them to participate in our sponsorship program. I want to say that, without exception, these business owners are some the kindest and most compassionate people I have ever met.

“They all exhibited generosity and community consciousness as they joined with us to help provide assistance to that segment of the population, here in our own village,  that needs a little help. They exemplify the true spirit of Corrales, that heartfelt kindness that causes us to enjoy helping each other.

“They have stepped up and committed to be a part of our efforts and deserve to be recognized. They have our profound gratitude and respect. I want to encourage everyone who is reading this article to consider stopping by and thanking them personally. They are truly a big part of what makes Corrales the wonderful place it is.”

While we’re giving thanks in this season, we hope you will join us in expressing our thanks to:

  • 3C’S Bistro
  • Corrales Bistro
  • Corrales Realty
  • Cottonwood Family Medicine
  • Harris Jewelers
  • Ideum
  • Road Runner Hospice
  • SWOP (southwest organic products)
  • Village Pizza

And may we wish you the best possible Thanksgiving season.


Dear Editor:

Climate change is a massive problem among our world making landfills and dumping nuclear waste are not helping. Humankind could go extinct by us destroying rainforests, oceans and making densely-populated cities are having us over-populate and run out of space on earth.

My opinion is that we need to save animals, stop dumping nuclear waste an stop cutting down  trees.

Odin Bader

Fourth grade, Corrales Elementary

Dear Editor:

Is earth’s climate change? Earth’s climate is always changing. There have been times when earth’s climate has been warmer than it is now. There have been times when earth’s climate has been cooler. These times can last over 1,000 years! People who study Earth see that Earth’s climate is getting warmer. Earth ‘s temperature has gone up about one degree Fahrenheit warmer in the last 100 years.

Colter Juan Tacksman

Fourth grade, Corrales Elementary

Dear Editor:

I am concerned about climate change because it is killing all the polar animals. I hope everyone will switch to electric vehicles. I love that out plant is very green. I want t stop climate change to protect my family.

Cam, Corrales Elementary

Dear Editor:

As a businessman and a longtime Corrales resident one of my first priorities for my family and for our community is making sure that we do everything in our power to drive economic development and attract and grow businesses. Access to reliable and high-speed internet has become one of the key drivers of business growth and economic development, which has only been made more important by the need to work and do business remotely during the pandemic. 

 With all of the opportunities to leverage the billions of dollars in federal money that is earmarked for broadband infrastructure —along with the many local providers that have resources to invest in broadband— the prudent choice is to prioritize investing in fiber optic broadband technology wherever it is feasible. 

It’s clear that fiber optic broadband technology is superior to fixed wireless, copper and cable broadband. Fiber optic broadband is faster, offers symmetrical speeds, works even in severe weather events, and has a lower 30-year cost of ownership relative to other broadband technologies. 

I worry that if we in Sandoval County choose instead to install fixed wireless, copper or cable instead of fiber optic broadband, we will be choosing to settle. And I don’t want to settle. Our community deserves the best technology to prepare us for the future. 

We have to seize this opportunity to really invest in this critical infrastructure. I’m hoping you’ll join me in urging our Sandoval County commissioners to prioritize investing in fiber broadband as they determine future investments in our internet infrastructure.

David Smoak

Dear Editor:

I am writing with a suggestion hoping that the Comment might find a way to have a follow-up article on the Bosque clearing topic.  In the last issue there were many quotes from advisory committee members, but none from Village officials. 

In talking with a number of neighbors, all of us are a bit confused as to whether the clearing project might, in fact, be going forward using many of the common sense suggestions from community members.  It could be that the formal approval to go ahead was adopted with an understanding that the Fire Department will have discretion to adopt many modifications. 

For example, will the project simply clear cut all trees and vegetation along the entire length of the levee in Corrales?  Or will this project be implemented with the idea that cuts will be made at periodic intervals to allow access for the fire department to easily access a fire?  Perhaps the village officials could shed some light on this?

Or is the real purpose to eliminate tree roots that could cause buckling and erosion of the actual levee? I and the friends and neighbors who I spoke with are confused as to the exact purpose of this project.  My wife and I live somewhat close to Romero Road at the north end of the bosque and, like so many others, treasure our frequent visits. 

We have learned that many cottonwoods in the bosque are at risk because of the drought. Will this project spare cottonwoods even if they are close to the east side of the levee? I have the sense that many of your readers would appreciate a follow-up article especially if you were able to get Village officials to clarify some of these and other questions about the clearing project.

Jerry Sterner

Dear Editor:

As a resident that lives on Corrales Road I would like to weigh in on your new proposal.

So far I have received conflicting information about how this came about and am truly fascinated by the run a round.

It was reported by the Corrales Comment that the councilors were looking into this possible change. Then I was told by my councilor that it was because of the scenic byway designation; coming from COG, the Rio Grande Council of Governors, and that the council had nothing to do with this new proposal. Who knew the scenic byway designation was going to affect how rules were applied to just us on Corrales Road. Then I talked to P&Z for the village and was told that the reason the council was looking at this again was because Councilor Zachary Burkett made the request.

See above mentioned run around.

Everyone keeps citing the Los Rancho ordinance on fences, the issue is they only want to apply it to homes on Corrales Road. This is what came up, a decade or so ago, and it was pointed out that we could not be discriminated against. But I guess they can now, using the scenic byway designation. The Los Rancho ordinance applies to the whole village, not just Rio Grande. Although Rio Grande does have a 150’ setback that applies only to Rio Grande, can you imagine applying that here? Think they can take our property and homes away so Corrales Road will be more scenic? What else is in the designation that we don’t know about?

I have a taller fence which I need for my animals plus quite honestly we were tired of staring at an unrelenting parade of traffic. If you think about how Meadowlark got massive speed bumps and a lower speed limit because of traffic, it seems a bit odd and cruel to insist that we on Corrales Road open up our homes, yards and lives to all the noise and sights of traffic.

It is a major thoroughfare, perhaps we would like to think of it being scenic but it is still a major road with some lovely and not so lovely spots. Perhaps we need to leave well enough alone. Please think about how you personally would feel if rules in the village only applied to an isolated portion of the population, which included you. We kind of keeping getting put in this position, ie , the sewer.

I am not wild about the concrete block walls along Corrales Road either but it seems there should be a better way to address this issue.

Ginny and Timothy Lodge

Dear Editor:

What you are about to read is only a short version of what has happened to us in the last four years, and the Corrales Comment says they cannot post our 23-page commentary to them.

We, long time resident Suzanne Huff-Flora and I, her husband Curt Flora, are calling out the Village. Her parents bought their property here in the village in 1953, and she has been a resident since she was born here in 1958.

We have been in a battle with the Village of Corrales for 3½ years, and the corruption has gotten deeper than you can imagine. We were trying to subdivide our property —we have 6.12 acres— in two separate lots. We should have been able to do a lot line adjustment and split one of those using a summary plat. We were forced to do a preliminary plat instead. There was one mistake on the plat that was fixed before we even went to our first meeting. We went to our first Planning and Zoning meeting and were denied to speak in the meeting, and it was tabled because the Village Attorney was not there to render an opinion.

A commissioner asked for Village Attorney opinion during the meeting. The Village Administrator, Suanne Derr, and Laurie Stout, Community Development Coordinator at that time, wrote the Village Attorney an email asking for the Village Attorney to supersede the ordinance we are using. He wouldn’t do it.

The Village Attorney wrote his opinion and gave it to Village Administrator Derr, stating that the Village obey what the ordinance states; that we could subdivide our property using “gross” acre instead of “net” acre. Derr wrote us an incorrect letter saying the Village Attorney denied us using gross acre and we would have to use net.

We filed a request for inspection of public records (IPRA) to get the denial letter; the Village Administrator says they don’t have one (although they really did.) They refused to give it to us for 811 days, after many requests for it.

After finally obtaining this letter, we found a reference in it to what he called a note from Laurie Stout, asking him to override the ordinance. In the meantime, we filed an appeal on the letter we received and paid for the appeal. We were never given an appeal hearing, so we consider the Village to have extorted the money.

After our first meeting, a Planning and Zoning commissioner resigned and sent her resignation letter to the mayor, dated August 4, 2018. In this letter she states, “The lack of clarity and communication on ordinances even affected our last meeting” (meaning our meeting.) “I was personally embarrassed. Anytime I have asked a question about zoning or subdividing I get a roundabout unclear answer.”

She states she expressed this to Laurie Stout and her response was, “I’m taking it on a case to case basis.” The commissioner states “there was no call to the Mayor or the Village Attorney to get clarification.” She also states “I have seen some subdivisions on gross acres approved while others have been aggressively tabled or denied.”

We IPRA requested this resignation letter, and the mayor refuses to hand it over to this day. There is more to this letter.

In the next meeting we fought the “net” vs “gross,” and were then told they wanted opinion letters from our attorney and the Village Attorney on “net” vs “gross.” At this meeting, Stout stands up saying the application is not correct and wants a resubmittal of the application. She doesn’t tell the commission that the application has already been fixed, even before the very first meeting. Our surveyor tells the commission the plat was already fixed, and they refuse to acknowledge this.

Under Ordinance 18-86 and 18-87, also Resolution 16-006, they state you can have three mistakes on a plat before you have to resubmit it. Our surveyor was charged $1,000 and we were charged for the mailing fees to re-submit this new application.

By the Village doing this, they have now extorted more money from us. If you all remember the Corrales Comment article of August 11, 2018, “Amendment tweaks ‘Net vs. Gross”, we fought the Village for all of your rights to build on your gross acres that the Village was refusing to let you do.

We have seen time and again that Laurie Stout’s minutes don’t match what was said in the meetings, so we started getting the audio from the meetings and transcribed them ourselves, to find out she is not correct in her transcribed minutes. Changing words around —for example “we” (referring to the Village), was changed to “They or he” “wanted to wait to fight “Net vs Gross” before there is a resubmittal of the application.” That is not what was said, why would we even think of doing something like that?  

We had over 120 signatures on a petition signed and turned into the Village that they refused to show the commission in the meeting, hiding it in someone else’s packet. In this meeting, our deed was kept out of the packet on purpose as well.

At the next meeting, the Village Attorney agrees on the “Net vs Gross” in our favor. This has now cost us over six months lost time and attorney fees so far, to force the Village to obey its own ordinances.

Then there were hours of argument on our private road easement. We agreed to a “hammerhead”-style cul de sac for the Fire Department, and challenged their Ordinance 18-81 (2)(d) under “Lane” that states we can have a 20-foot road easement. The ordinance reads 20-30 feet for five acres or five dwellings. Even though we have 6.12 acres, we fall under the ordinance having less than five dwellings on our private property.

We thought we won this, as Commissioner Sawina states in his motion he is using the plat dated October 5, 2018. Even before he made the motion, he states two different times that he wants to be sure the commissioners are all looking at the plat dated October 5, 2018, which has a 20-foot road easement. Laurie Stout conveniently left that out of her written minutes.

There were three conditions in the meeting: 1) that the hammerhead be 120 feet long by 26 feet wide; 2) that Laurie Stout learn the weight-bearing capacity of the culvert and 3) that Net and Gross be shown as the same on the plat.

On November 30, 2018, after that meeting, our surveyor received an email from Stout stating the Village expects a 30 foot road easement. Did the Village have a meeting after our meeting to determine this, or is Laurie Stout acting as Village Czar? She refused to work with the MRGCD, and did not tell us. She had since November 14, 2018 to do this. We should have been put on the January 16, 2019 agenda to be heard, so that the Village did not pass its 60-day deadline to have this heard, but apparently the Village does not have to follow its own Ordinance under 18-87.

We were then scheduled for the February 20, 2019 meeting. We were then told that we didn’t get the weight-bearing capacity on the culvert, and now they wanted it certified by an engineer. This was not part of the motion, and they are now trying to force a 30-foot road easement. We appealed this, and next were scheduled to have a special appeals hearing that was set for April 19, 2019. We got to this hearing and were not given the packet for this hearing until almost 10 minutes into the hearing. The Village refused to let Commissioner Sawina testify on our behalf. He was the one who made the motion with the 20-foot road easement.

Their reason was that they have the testimony from Suanne Derr, (the one who wrote the questionable document) and Laurie Stout, (the one who has changed all of our meeting minutes in every meeting, and asked for a resubmittal of the application after it was already fixed.) So they don’t need Commissioner Sawina’s testimony. What kind of kangaroo court is this? Then, they tried to throw in another condition that was not even on the agenda.

We filed an appeal on their decision in the special meeting in district court and had a hearing on June 11, 2020. Right away, the judge says there is a page missing from the Village Finding of Fact, and was apparently told there was no motion made on the 20-foot road easement. I see why the judge doesn’t see the 20-foot being approved in the meeting, as Laurie took the statement Mr. Sawina said in his motion out of her written minutes —to use the Plat dated October 5, 2018— that showed the plat being approved.

By Stout taking statements out of a motion deliberately is “spoliation” and could be considered a felony act, and the mayor is letting her get away with this and a lot more. Not only in our case, but in many other cases being brought against the Village.

Since Stout and the Village Attorney have misrepresented in their records to the district judge, and he believes them, we are now heading to the Court of Appeals.

These criminal acts the Village is doing have to stop. We filed a lawsuit on the Village May 14, 2020, for $350,000 for falsifying documents, extortion, and IPRA and Open Meetings Act violations. This case was stayed until our other case goes to court. As I stated in the beginning of this letter, you are not hearing half of what we have been going through with the Village corruption.   

Curt Flora and

Suzanne Huff-Flora 


ISSUE 11-06-21 WHAT’S ON?

By Meredith Hughes

Hello, Standard Time, bye-bye grasshoppers, which have been leaping about distracting my terrier on walkies…. Anybody have a celebrant of the recent “dark time of the year” show up at the door dressed as a dying Earth? Really? No? These kids today….

Do visit the websites of your favorite museums, galleries, organizations to check opening times/new regulations. Published the first issue of the month, What’s On? invites suggestions one week before the publication date.

  • Meow Wolf event: November 12, 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. Negativland plus SUE-C, with guest Steev Hise. “….the legendary sound collage group's new audio-visual performance project is about the world we live in, the minds that perceive it, and all of the evolving forms of media and technology that inevitably insert themselves between those two things.” 1352 Rufina Cir, Santa Fe.
  • River of Lights, November 27-December 30. The Biopark Botanic Garden will be bedecked again. Timed tickets will be sold online; members will have first dibs.
  • Unique Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources of American Indians and Alaska Natives in the US, November 17, 7 p.m. Webinar with Dr. Karletta Chief via NMSU. “…an overview of climate change impacts on tribal water resources and the subsequent cascading effects on livelihoods and cultures of American Indians and Alaska Natives living on tribal lands.” Register here: https://nmsu.zoom. us/webinar/register/WN_4FL7zqn1Q7Wh0W049k4X7w
  • Overview on Climate Change in New Mexico, via 350. https://350
  • NM Philharmonic, November 20, Pianist Tetiana Shafran plays Ravel, plus Faure, Debussy, etc. 6 p.m. Popejoy Hall. 203 Cornell. Tickets:
  • Open Space art show, up through December 18, is ‘New Mexico Light,’ a collaborative show featuring The High Desert Tapestry Alliance and the Tapestry Artists of Las Arañas, two groups made up of tapestry artists. Open Space Visitors Center, 6500 Coors.
  • Cooking with Chef Mia, November 9, 23, 6-8 p.m. Asian spices and techniques at Sawmill Market, 1909 Bellamah. Tickets: at https://addmi. com/e/cooking-with-chef-mia-MkNcVFWJXoGr3srrNrU/tickets.
  • ABQ Art Museum, through January 23, 2022. Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style includes “166 remarkable works of art and design, the majority of which will be on public display for the first time in North America. Characterized by taut lines, stylized natural forms, sleek curves, and emphatic geometries, the Glasgow Style was unique – the only British response to the international Art Nouveau movement of the late 1890s – 1900s.” 2000 Mountain.

Did You Know?

Editor/publisher Jeff Radford is in Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Conference which runs to November 12. His reports will be posted online at   His dispatches from the 2015 conference in Paris are referenced in this issue.

While multiple websites exist for following COP-26, to view “live” coverage, consider diving into YouTube. One source is the UK’s Channel 4 News:

And, of course, BBC News:

The conference website itself is here:

In Corrales

  • Village Council meeting, November 9, 6:30 p.m., still posted as via Zoom.
  • Casa San Ysidro, November 13, 1-3 p.m. (A Second Saturday event.) Civil War History in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, with Russell Skowronek, professor at the Rio Grande Valley Texas University and a member of the Society for Applied Anthropology. “Long known as a place of cross-border intrigue, the Rio Grande’s unique role in the history of the American Civil War has been largely forgotten or overlooked.” Online. Contact
  • Corrales Arts Center, Exploring Artful Places, November 14, 3 p.m. Explore the sculpture gardens and artwork of Angelique and Jim Lowry. Via Zoom. Register here:
  • Planning and Zoning meeting, November 17, 6:30 p.m., apparently in person.
  • Corrales Historical Society speaker series, November 28, 2 p.m. Saving Grace: How the Old Church Survived and Thrived, a tribute to Ward Alan Minge. Free. Info:
  • Corrales Library Book Club Author series, with C.S. Merrill, November 30, 7 p.m. Please contact Sandra Baldonado for Zoom event details.
  • Music in Corrales forges ahead, with two upcoming concerts already sold out. Everybody’s fave Irish trio, Socks in the Frying Pan, will appear between November 20 and 28, via video on demand. Tickets:
  • Corrales Growers’ Market. Last seasonal event, November 7, 9-noon. First Winter Market, November 21, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Next, December 5, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Village in the Village. Coffee hour, Fridays, 9 to 11 a.m. in person at Corrales Bistro. Reservations are required. Call 274-6206 or email corrales. Book Club, November 15, via Zoom, 3-4 p.m. The Night Journal, by Elizabeth Crook. A novel about four generations of women in the American West.


Dear Editor:

If climate changes does  not stop, broughts and wildfires will increase, and our future family member will have to pay the price of death.

There are so many ways we could stop climate change, so why don’t we save our future children and grand-children? If we don’t, the very kids you know could die. But we can slow it down by a lot.

In 2050, if we do not cut carbon emissions in half, we will live a terrible life or even die. We can do this; we just have to take the first step.

Cruz Steven Padilla

Fourth grade, Corrales Elementary


Dear Editor:

My  hopes and dreams are to have my kinds and grandkids to live in a world with no climate change. I want the world to be a place where human generations are able to know what the world is like with no climate pollution.

I may be young, but there is no sin caring about the world early. What I love about earth is its people and mysteries. Its trees and animals. I want to protect the people of the world. I want to say to all people that we will never be able to stop climate change, but we can slow it down. To all adults, I want to say ‘There is only one way to stop climate change: to work together, young and old, small and big, poor and rich, we all have a part to play. It is now or never.”

Climate change is deadly: it is now or never.

Elliana Joy Robinson, 10 years old


Dear Editor:

Climate change is a natural disaster, and I am very concerned about it. So many things could happen, for example, humans could go extinct. I  hope that we could work together and  help make climate change less dangerous. I want to protect the people, animals, plants and insects.

Together, we can change thew world.

Rudy Schaller,  10 years old,

Corrales Elementary


Dear Editor:

We need good air to breathe. If we don’t slow down, we could all possibly get lung disease and the air pollution could lead to asthma, and it could affect  human health. My  hope is to slow down climate change. If it happens, I want to protect all of the people and I love everything about the earth. I think we should be ready for climate change at any time.

Nick, Corrales Elementary


Dear Editor:

In my opinion, climate change is very concerning because of how much it affects many lives, and not just humans, but animals too.

My hopes are that climate change gets held back as much as humans can get it to. I love the rainforests and all nature on earth.

I would protect plants, animals and nature, and, of course, humans. I’d like to say, in my opinion, climate change affects our daily lives. I am concerned. Thank you for reading this paper.

Ava Denson

Fourth grade, Corrales Elementary


Dear Editor:

I live in Corrales, New Mexico. I think we can work together to slow down climate change. We can do simple things like ride in one car to the store. My point is if we all work together, we can show down climate change. Thank you for listening.

Karli Webb, nine years old



Dear Editor:

The Village seeks to improve the viewing experience on Corrales Road by implementing a fence/wall restriction. Propoents cite to Los Ranchos as a model. But, setting a height restriction’was only a part of Los Ranchos' solution to traffic and beautification.

First they took over control of Los Rancho Boulevard from the State and reduced the speed limit to 25 miles per hour for its entire length. Then they had strict enforcement. This got rid of the folks who used that road for rush hour. Even though the lower speed limit did not signifcantly increase the time to get to work, it acted as a psychological barrier to many drivers (plus all the tickets people got.)

Next they put in three stop sign intersections. This effectively broke up the long chains of cars preventing residents from getting onto or crossing over Rio Grande.These stops created gaps in the traffic allowing for safe egress, and again it discouraged those who simply wanted a quick route to work.

Then they had their height restriction on fences to encourage the scenic pleasure of driving in that village.

Today, Corrales Road is clogged with cars, after cars after cars during the rush hours in particular. They are not from here. Our village population hardly grew since the 2010 census. They are from Rio Rancho seeking a better way to and from work.They are not stopping to shop. There is such a crush it is hard for anyone to enter, slow down or park to view or visit our businesses.

So I suugest taking over the road. Setting the speed limit at 25 mph for the entire length. Insure a traffic enforcement every day at least for one or the other rush hours, including some blitzes with multiple police cars. At least for a year. (That will also allow the Village police to stop, ticket and redirect over five-ton trucks which constantly travel through the village, often as a shortcut to the Sandoval County land fill).

Next put in three-way stop signs at Camino Todos Los Santos and Corrales Road. This will allow people to have an exit from and onto Loma Larga at Corrales Road, which is now hazardous, difficult and discouraging. This will allow Loma Larga as intended to be the handy bypass around the village center.

Next put in another three-way stop at Target Road next to the elementary school. This will not only make it safer but also slow traffic and create gaps allowing people to stop and shop. Next put in another three-way stop at the corner of Jones Road and Corrales Road allowing safer turning into and from our recreation center.

Do not put a four-way stop at West Meadowlark and Corrales Road. During rush hour commuters speed as much as 70 mph on this straight road to and from Rio Rancho. They do not stop to shop. It is just a speeders delight on their way to and from work.

These speeders are a serious danger for man and beast. Alrready this year an endagered great horned owl was killed by a speeder on lower West Meadowlark. These were recently introduced and now their few examples is one less. Rather, since the police can not both enforce Corrales Road and Meadolark all the time, put in a speed camera with ticketing like Rio Rancho does. Many folks would be happy to allow it on their property off to the side of the road.

Without enforcement on West Meadowlark, the improvments on Corrales Road will just create a new mess and danger on West Meadowlark. Remember, Meadowlark is a designated bike route with no room for a bike lane. Kids use it to and from school. Addressing all the problems at once will be the smart solution to an ever increasing problem.

Roger Finzel



Dear Editor:

As a businessman and a longtime Corrales resident one of my first priorities for my family and for our community is making sure that we do everything in our power to drive economic development and attract and grow businesses. Access to reliable and high-speed internet has become one of the key drivers of business growth and economic development, which has only been made more important by the need to work and do business remotely during the pandemic.

With all of the opportunities to leverage the billions of dollars in federal money that is earmarked for broadband infrastructure —along with the many local providers that have resources to invest in broadband— the prudent choice is to prioritize investing in fiber optic broadband technology wherever it is feasible.

It’s clear that fiber optic broadband technology is superior to fixed wireless, copper and cable broadband. Fiber optic broadband is faster, offers symmetrical speeds, works even in severe weather events, and has a lower 30-year cost of ownership relative to other broadband technologies.

I worry that if we in Sandoval County choose instead to install fixed wireless, copper or cable instead of fiber optic broadband, we will be choosing to settle. And I don’t want to settle. Our community deserves the best technology to prepare us for the future.

We have to seize this opportunity to really invest in this critical infrastructure. I’m hoping you’ll join me in urging our Sandoval County commissioners to prioritize investing in fiber broadband as they determine future investments in our internet infrastructure.

David Smoak


Dear Editor:

“I don’t want cannabis commercial operations next to my house, and I don’t think readers do either. Village officials refused to put critical Councilor-proposed legislation on the last Council meeting’s agenda. The legislation would temporarily halt cannabis license processing, and reinstate previous restrictions on commercial cannabis operations in zones where we live. Councilors represent constituents and bring legislation for public debate. If one person in the administration can stifle legislation by not putting it on the agenda, then our representative democracy is in jeopardy. I strongly encourage residents to urge administrators and the Village Clerk to include this legislation on the Council meeting agenda. Let your voices be heard by participating in the 11/9/21 Council meeting!


George Wright

Former District 2 Councilor and Certified Municipal Official”


Very respectfully,




By Josephine Darling

Citizens’ Climate Lobby -NM

We know that climate change is already here, that it has been caused by our choices, and that it can only be solved by our actions. What’s more, we know that unless we figure out how to stop or reverse course in the near term, the long-term consequences are predicted to be nothing short of devastating —for New Mexico, our nation, and our planet.

What seems most disheartening to me is that we, collectively, seem willing to kick the can down the road, content to leave the mess for our children, grandchildren and future generations to clean up. If they even can. It certainly doesn’t have to be that way. We have better options.

Let’s focus for a moment on that whole “it is here” thing. If we have been fortunate enough to live in the beautiful state of New Mexico for more than a few decades, we have witnessed the creeping increases in our yearly temperature range and decreases in yearly precipitation and snowpack. That combination means our state is not just hotter, it is drier.

The change has impacted our gardens, our farms, our livestock, our natural resources, plant and animal life, our recreation and in some cases our health. A recent headline from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce read, “Climate change turns Southwest drought from bad to worst.”

The NOAA-led drought task force found that although the 2021 summer monsoon was good —well above average in some places— it was not enough to counter the cumulative shortfalls of the preceding years. The cumulative precipitation for the 20-month period was the lowest on record, dating back to 1895. 

As climate change worsens, dangerous weather events are becoming more frequent or severe around the globe, with wildly divergent results. While we are experiencing drought in our own backyard, other regions are struggling with increases in flooding, storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and warming oceans. These impacts can directly harm animals, destroy the places they live, and wreak havoc on people’s livelihoods and communities. It is for these reasons that concerned eyes are turning to the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP-26) and looking for solutions.

How did we get here? In short, by burning fossil fuels. It is how we have conducted business since the industrial revolution. By doing so, we have made our country a world leader, we have grown our economy, and increased our standard of living. For a very long time we had no awareness that there would be a subsequent price to pay… and a very steep one.

But that was then and here we are now, in the midst of what can only be described as an existential climate crisis. The only way to reverse course is to slow down and eventually stop burning the fossil fuels that got us here. 

Fortunately, we have some exciting options available for changing how and where we get our energy. Just as New Mexico has become a leader in fossil fuel production, we are well positioned to swerve and become a strong leader in the clean energy economy. We have abundant natural resources (sun and wind) along with scientific and policy leaders with the know-how and determination to move our economy to the clean energy forefront.

The 10,000 panel, three-megawatt, solar array collaboration between New Mexico State University and El Paso Electric company comes to mind. The vision to turn NMSU’s campus into a lower-carbon footprint learning lab will both create abundant clean energy, with battery storage capacity, as well as hands-on learning opportunities for students, faculty, community leaders and policy-makers. New Mexico can demonstrate beyond our borders what is possible in the transition to clean energy. In addition, this project is an economy-stimulating job creator. More of this, please! 

And while our state budget revenues are currently tied to our fossil fuel revenues, this can be de-coupled over time. Smart policy can smooth this move away from fossil fuels to clean energy. After all, states that have done so much to provide the energy that our country has long relied on, should not be penalized as we make the necessary transition to cleaner forms of energy.

Our own Senator Martin Heinrich, who is a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has authored legislation to assist fossil fuel-producing states like New Mexico as revenues decline in the coming years due to market forces and policies to curb carbon pollution. His proposed legislation, The Schools and State Budgets Certainty Act, would provide federal resources to create a predictable transition for states, counties and tribes,  and give those governments time to transition their budgets to more sustainable and reliable sources of revenue.

The last piece to this puzzle is a national policy to put a price on pollution. With a predictable rising price on carbon, combined with a monthly dividend check for American families, we can blunt household impacts as we make a fair transition to clean energy. Fossil fuel use becomes more expensive and therefore less desirable across economic sectors.

After all, rising seas, extreme weather events, wildfires, drought and flooding are not free. Weather and climate disasters in 2021 have cost over $100 billion, according to an October NOAA report. American taxpayers are shouldering the burden of clean-up, recovery and mitigation. Let’s put those costs where it makes sense —on the fossil fuels that underlie the problem. This in turn sends a strong market signal that the time to transition to clean energy has come. 

Fortunately, Congress is looking closely at solutions right now. They need to hear from their constituents that we want them to take meaningful and effective action. The non-partisan organization, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, has easy-to-use tools that help ordinary citizens to have a voice. Its website,, is a rich resource for concerned citizens who want to act.

We will not be content to leave a mess for our children to clean up. They will look back and judge how we responded to protect their futures and our planet at this critical moment. We can see the problem and we have real options. It is our job to reach for a solution.


By Steve Komadina

The End of a Long Ride

Life has its seasons and new chapters begin daily. October brought an end to one of those chapters. Many of the horse lovers of Corrales lost a friend, a heroine, an example when Bernice Ende saddled up for the last time and rode into the sunset.

She was known around the world as the “Lady Long Rider.” With her dog and two Norwegian fjord horses, she rode alone across North America. She logged over 29,000 miles from September 2005 until October 2021.

She died peacefully, in bed, with her two horses just outside the window at her sister’s house in Edgewood. She had stayed there the last year, as her body tried to fight cancer and finally surrendered for her final ride.

In 2019 she spoke, at our home, to a large group of Corraleños. I was captivated by her true grit. How many of you, whether man or woman, would ride alone and camp by the side of the road in America today? She taught balspring to fall in the early years. Her trips frequently brought her south to visit her sister and relish in the beauty of the Southwest and Rocky Mountains, rather than miles of corn fields.

Her book Lady Long Rider is a marvelous work of philosophy as well as adventure. She was always welcomed to sleep in a barn or camp on a front lawn, as she found new friends everywhere she went. She talked to thousands of school children as she lived her dream and inspired them to live their dreams.

I thought her talk that night would involve the technicalities of carrying out a long ride. What was the best saddle? What kind of packs? What to do for food? Where to safely stay? How to pack and carry food for the animals? What is the best tent? What about personal hygiene?

It was just the opposite. She challenged me that night to select my priorities and live for life, not having to win at every endeavor.

To enjoy each step of the trail. It was the journey not the destination that mattered.

Make the best of every unforeseen thing that happens. Be positive. Never settle for less than you can do. I don’t know if that was what she said, but that was what I had heard.

I felt like I had visited a legend in her day, and I had.

Every horse owner who reads this will admit they have dreamed of just saddling up and taking off for a long ride. But we never do it. We are just too busy. Or perhaps too scared! Well, that is how dreams are destroyed and never fulfilled.

I will never do that long ride, but Bernice did. And she did it over and over. She did it for all of us! As I talked to her sister, MaryAnn, she shared the blessing of having Bernice with her to the end and the special year they experienced while she fought cancer.

My heart aches for the loss of a friend. She probably would not have remembered me, but I will never forget her. She indeed was the stuff legends are made of.

Why don’t I have the courage to follow in her tracks? Too old? To weak? To scared? Do I have the true grit manifested by Bernice Ende? There may never be another Lady Long Rider. Treat yourself to her book still available online. Your life may never be the same as a result. I am so grateful she recorded her thoughts for generations of adventure seekers to come.

Ride on Bernice! You made a difference in many lives. I cherish having met you.


No Time to Die  Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga . Starring Daniel Craig and Léa Seydoux. Plugs: Bond film bountiful. Nearest: Cottonwood Mall.

 Ian Fleming’s fictional (and phenomenally successful) superspy James Bond returns in the new film No Time to Die. In the course of over 50 years, 25 films, and six actors, the spy code-named 007 has gone through many adventures, from the bottom of the sea to the moon and all points in between.

Along the way he’s foiled many outrageous plans (including hijacking a space shuttle and contaminating the gold in Fort Knox); battled many outrageous villains (including Jaws and Dr. No); and met many outrageously beautiful women with outrageously creative names.

 Film studios are always looking for ways to breathe fresh life into venerable franchises. Audiences —not to mention Bond fans specifically— have come to expect a certain formula. There’s nothing inherently wrong with formulaic films —note the presence of Halloween Kills, currently in theaters, a retread of the 1978 horror original— but it does create a challenge to make it “the same but different” (as the whimsical Hollywood axiom goes).

 No Time to Die checks all the requisite boxes: dashing actor, beautiful women, double-crosses, high-tech gadgets, amazing stunts, maladjusted villains, exotic locations and so on. This time the action skips around from London to Italy, Norway, Cuba and Jamaica, with a correspondingly diverse range of transport —plane, boat, submarine, you name it.

His iconic Aston Martin car does a turn that would make anyone who played the video game Spy Hunter proud. This time out Bond is slightly less reliant on technology, though there’s still plenty on display (and the phrase “Blofeld’s eyeball unlocked” will leave an impression).

 Speaking of gadgets, I especially noticed the sound design. This is an element of many television shows and films that’s easy to overlook but is nonetheless an integral part of the experience. Sure, the sliding doors on the starship U.S.S. Enterprise look cool when they slide open, but what really makes them memorable is the iconic swoosh! And Darth Vader wouldn’t be quite as menacing if his voice sounded like Bobcat Goldthwait instead of James Earl Jones on a ventilator. In No Time to Die there’s a plethora of countdown beeps, gizmo whirs and weapon clicks; they don’t distract from the film but are fun to note when you pay attention to them.

 The first 15 minutes is pack full of shooting, sex, spies and ‘splosions, not necessarily that order. The plot is a bit convoluted, perfunctory and doesn’t make a lot of sense anyway so I won’t spend much time on it.

But basically the story begins with a masked man menacing a woman and her daughter at a remote, snowy home. Arch-nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz, reprising the role from the last film) is imprisoned in one of those Hannibal Lecter-type contraptions but is still somehow managing to enact his dastardly plans. There’s a Russian scientist who has developed a terrifying DNA-based nanobot pathogen, a menacing Rami Malek who oversees an island with a giant pool of toxins and neon lights sticking out of it —because it looks cool— and much more.

 Daniel Craig’s James Bond is more down-to-earth and vulnerable than previous versions. It’s well known that this is Craig’s last turn as James Bond, and the filmmakers have imbued No Time to Die with a weary but engaging wistfulness that reflects this. His is an agent who keeps being pulled out of retirement to rejoin Her Majesty’s Secret Service and save the world yet again.

This time out he’s a bit more introspective and socially enlightened. Bond is joined this time by not just one but several ass-kicking female companions, one of whom (played by Lashana Lynch) —at least temporarily— replaces his 007 designation. This is nothing new, of course, and fierce females have been a trend for years, including in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Kill Bill (2003), Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), La Femme Nikita (1990), and many more. But it’s not everyday that strong women hold their own alongside Bond.

 Craig retiring the role is implicit in the plot, though contrary to memes suggesting that a sexism double standard prevented questions from being raised about how old is too old to play James Bond, there was indeed considerable controversy in 1985 about whether Roger Moore, then 58, was too long in the tooth to portray Bond in A View to a Kill. Speaking of acting anomalies, for an interesting, breezy look at how George Lazenby (a car mechanic turned model with no acting experience at all) came to play Bond —just once— see Becoming Bond, streaming now on Hulu.

 Bond movies, like Academy Awards shows, are known for often being bloated beasts. No Time to Die is a long film that to its credit doesn’t show its two-hour, 43-minute runtime because it moves along briskly enough to keep our attention.

The film is well done all around: the acting is impeccable, the direction assured, the stuntwork spectacular, and so on. It’s well-crafted engaging escapism that reflects and pays tribute to Bonds of both past and future.

Benjamin Radford


By Barry Abel

Building A Solid Foundation for our Health

There’s a fundamental approach to living long and well.

A society will pass along its wisdom generation to generation, often through stories more easily understood and internalized by children. Among the more obvious examples, the tale of the three little pigs who built houses to protect them from the “big bad wolf.”

The lazy one built his house of straw; the one who hadn’t thought the problem through built his of sticks; the one who wouldn’t take shortcuts built his of brick and only the latter survived – a lesson more easily accepted because it came as a story of cute animals. But if, for the wolf, we substitute Covid-19 or any of the tests that come in life, especially as we reach our senior years, the parallel is obvious.

Looking at a more modern teacher, legendary basketball coach John Wooden famously began each season teaching his players how to put on their socks. These young men, being among the very best at playing their game, viewed their teacher with amusement. This was a quirk to be tolerated to get to the point when he would offer his real wisdom about how to improve their skills and more effectively play the game they loved.

Those who needed to understand things, to know the why in addition to the what of them, figured this odd introduction to this famed coach probably was so they would avoid getting blisters on their feet which would, of course, hinder their ability to play.

It wasn’t until years, even decades later that they began to realize that wasn’t the message at all. Coach Wooden’s message was there are no shortcuts. If you want to do something right, you have to do it right from the beginning, every step of the way. You can’t build something solid leaving weaknesses in its foundation, not if you want it to be successful or as strong as you need it to be.

If we all want to successfully navigate the years, and especially these times of pandemics and constantly changing variants of Covid-19, we need access to solid, valid information. In a time rife with the intentional seeding and spreading of misinformation, in some cases in operations launched by nations antagonistic to our country, where can we find what is correct?

As part of our Discovery series, Village in the Village/Corrales (ViV) explored this important subject and we gained some guidance from experts.

There are good sources of sound medical and health information, places to check and verify things we hear and read about our health. Based on expert recommendations, ViV has prepared a handout on the subject and will email it to you upon request. Write to us at for a copy.

The hand-out includes advice from the Medical Library Association (MLA) on how to check the credibility of websites purporting to offer medical advice as well as the URLs (internet addresses) of highly credible sources of medical information.

Corrales is a place where many have been blessed with longevity. But with age come additional questions —how do I best take care of myself? Could this latest challenge be a sign of something more serious? Is this really the best way to avoid more serious complications?

You are a marvelous, even miraculous, success story —just by being. You are in charge of that story – the story of yourself. Having ways to find and take advantage of the information you need to continue that story is essential. Helping you to do so is why ViV exists in the first place.

Barry Abel is a ViV member and active volunteer. For more information about ViV, visit the website at


An Editorial

The next issue of Corrales Comment, the November 6 paper, will come out as world leaders are convened for crucial negotiations aimed at collectively reducing detrimental man-made changes to the atmosphere.

Nearly every national government in the world is expected to make some degree of commitment to take further steps to cut emissions of greenhouse gases that, if present trends continue, will raise average global temperatures enough to make climate inhospitable for future generations.

Those higher temperatures have implications far beyond Corrales homeowners’ considerations whether to switch from swamp coolers to refrigerated air. Across the  globe in 2020-21, climate disruptions have produced, or exacerbated, devastating droughts and crop failures, hellish wildfires, extraordinary flooding and the phenomenon of climate refugees.

For Corrales, global warming has meant, among other things, that diminished snowpack in Colorado this year delivered less water into the Rio Grande to irrigate fields… and less recharge to the aquifer from which homes here draw their water.

Surely Corraleños care about efforts to limit the destructive effects of climate change. Few would likely shrug shoulders and say “OK, but what does that have to do with me?”

A lot more would furrow brows and say “Yes, but what can I do that would make any difference?”

Fortunately, Corrales has an abundance of two essential resources: political influence and the expertise of villagers with in-depth experience addressing issues at the core of climate change.

Real-life, practical examples of what you can do are all around you, from the solar electric-topped sun shade at the recreation center to the Corrales Library’s heat-gathering trombe wall, electric cars moving silently along our roads and innovative architectural designs at homes throughout the community.

It’s time for Corraleños to take action  —politically, innovatively and personally committing to significant lifestyle changes.

Some would say it’s now or never. But not to worry: life will go on. It just may not include humans and hundreds of other fellow creature species.


Dear Editor:

At the most recent Village Council meeting, during the discussion about the $62,500 fuels reduction project in the Bosque Preserve between Village and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, the figure 3 percent kept coming up.

The argument was made to the council that the 24 acres of clearing and thinning represents “only three percent” (actually it’s closer to four percent) of the total area of the Bosque Preserve.

This sounds small, (probably it did to council). It might be relatively small in area but not in value. For its area, it has a higher density of native trees than other parts of the bosque.

Some other three percent-ers include: fresh water comprises three percent of the world’s water; and tropical rainforests cover less than three percent of Earth’s area, yet they are home to more than half our planet’s terrestrial animal species.

While not freshwater or tropical rainforest, this three percent is border habitat in a fragile, threatened ecosystem. It may be that the downplaying of cutting native trees was due to lack of awareness and/or because the money seemed attractive. It will result in cutting most trees and shrubs out from 10 feet of the bottom of the east side of the levee for its entire length. This is an enormous loss of food and shelter for birds and other critters at a time when they are already in trouble.

There is a huge amount of dead and down wood in the Bosque Preserve which is a significant fire threat; it’s increasing because of auto-pruning of cottonwoods and dying trees.

Why don’t we spend State money getting rid of dead and down wood rather than cutting native trees?

Joan Hashimoto, chairperson

Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission

Dear Editor:

CAFANOW (Clean Air for All Now) was previously known as CRCAW (Corrales Residents for Clean Air and Water). 

Since our decades-long efforts to hold the New Mexico Environment Department and Intel Rio Rancho accountable, we discovered Corrales was not the only community to suffer the onslaught of chemicals Intel Rio Rancho is legally allowed to emit. Rio Rancho and northwest Albuquerque have also reported odors and/or illnesses related, more likely than not, to the chemicals pouring from the Intel/Rio Rancho facility. 

Please know these facts: 

Intel operates under a minor source air pollution permit granted by the New Mexico Environment Department  (NMED). Under a minor source permit, Intel is allowed to hire its own companies to test for air pollution,which are never verified by an independent and disinterested party. In other words, Intel is always in compliance.

1) Intel is allowed to emit 95 tons of hazardous air pollutants and due to minor source permit, without oversight.

2) Intel is a chemical plant, utilizing approximately 250 volatile organic compounds, many of which are extremely dangerous to human health.

3)A study is currently being conducted about cancer in the 12 census tracts near the Intel plant. 

4) A study is currently being conducted by a UNM professor to assess the vegetative die-off in and around Intel. 

5) Intel continues to use emissions abatement equipment that is nearly 25 years old in some cases.

NMED must require that Intel operate under a major source air permit to provide oversight and protection. Intel must install new and updated emissions abatement equipment.

Corrales, Rio Rancho and Northwest Albuquerque residents demand a safe environment!

Intel is vastly wealthy. Given all the perks New Mexico has provided to Intel, the least it can do is be a good neighbor.

NMED should protect residents by approving only a major source air pollution permit, not the “sham air permit” currently in place. (That is the term used by a retiring and brave NMED employee.)

No matter where you reside, air pollution affects us all! 

Please sign our petition at (Clean Air for All NOW). 

The website is still under construction so stay tuned for cancer research and vegetative die-off data available soon. 

Marcy Brandenburg

Rio Rancho


By Meredith Hughes

With cool air startlingly in abundance, the balloons are up, and safely down, we trust, through October 10 at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which returns after two years with Corrales’ Matt Guthrie continuing as president of the board. A new entry? 

Remote-controlled  (RC) balloons. These are considerably smaller than the ones flooding the skies, around 12 to 18 feet high, as compared to 100 to 120 feet tall.

On October 9 catch a mass ascension, night glow and fireworks. October 10, naturally, is the “Farewell Mass Ascension.” Sounds sweetly Biblical…..

You also can follow the fiesta live via YouTube, and catch up after the Fiesta as well.

Do visit the websites of your favorite museums, galleries and organizations to check opening times/new regulations. Published the first issue of the month, What’s On? invites suggestions one week before the publication date.

  • The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History streaming program, October 13, 5-6 p.m. Eastern, How to Be Animal: A New History of What It Means to Be Human, by environmental philosopher Melanie Challenger. “A new approach to the story of what it means to be human. She argues that “at the heart of our psychology is a profound struggle with being animal.” Sign up for this free Zoom event:
  • Indigenous Peoples’ Day, October 11. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, offers an overview here as to why IPD is a good replacement for Columbus Day. It also offers online educational material for teachers and students. See: edu/nk360/faq/did-you-know  Last year Smithsonian Magazine published this: “Research showing that the majority of state and local curriculum standards end their study of Native American history before 1900, the importance of celebrating the survival and contemporary experience of native peoples has never been clearer.”
  • Adobe Theater returns live, October 15, with a production of “Dinner with the Boys,” by Dan Lauria, through November 7. It involves the mob. Get tickets at It’s at 9813 4th St. NW.
  • Home Composting Basics, October 16, 10 a.m. Register: Open Space Visitor Center, 6500 Coors.
  • Encantada, through October 24. It’s the annual exhibition of the Rio Grande Art Association, featuring more than 100 works. Thursday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. North 4th Art Center, 4904 Fourth.
  • Pueblo Legacies, at Open Space. October 16, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Pottery demonstration, hands-on activity, and sale, presented by Stephanie Zuni, Isleta Pueblo potter. At 2 p.m., Traditional Medicinal Plants, presented by Dara Saville, founder and instructor at Albuquerque Herbalism. October 17, Talk and Tour of Pueblo Piedras Marcadas, 10:30 a.m. to noon. With archeologist Matthew Schmader. Learn about one of the most significant cultural sites in the middle Rio Grande Valley, part of the Petroglyph National Monument. Please call the Visitor Center 768-4950 to register. The new Open Space art show, up through December 18, is ‘New Mexico Light’ a collaborative show featuring The High Desert Tapestry Alliance and the Tapestry Artists of Las Arañas, two groups made up of tapestry artists who both design and weave. Open Space Visitors Center 6500 Coors.
  • Madame Butterfly, October 22-24, via Opera West. A chamber orchestra version of Puccini’s hit, even involving students from the Santa Fe School for the Arts. Tickets: St. Francis Auditorium, 107 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe.
  • Albuquerque Art Museum, October 30, 2021 through January 23, 2022. Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style includes “166 remarkable works of art and design, the majority of which will be on public display for the first time in North America. Characterized by taut lines, stylized natural forms, sleek curves, and emphatic geometries, the Glasgow Style was unique – the only British response to the international Art Nouveau movement of the late 1890s – 1900s.” 2000 Mountain.

Did You Know?

With Day of the Dead on its way,  Corrales’ Poet Laureate, Rudy J. Miera, is inviting submissions of poetry from all ages for what he calls a Corrales Community Altar.  The poems might include themes such as amor/love, recuerdos/memories, honor/recognition, and so on, in English or Spanish. And in haiku, free verse, or any style.

Type your work on a page 8 1/2x11 and include your name.

Poems will be  accepted on  Wednesdays and Thursdays this month from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Casa Perea Art Space, 4829 Corrales Road. 503-7636.

Also, October 25, from 10 to 5 p.m., consider bringing photos, mementos, toys, and such for the Community Altar. Corrales Elementary students are working on artwork for this project.

The poems will be displayed on the altar at Casa Perea from October 28 to November 3. The grand opening is October 30, from 6 to 9 p.m. Miera reports that there will be an opening blessing by Mapitzmitl Xiukwetzpaltzin, aka Paz, founder of the Albuquerque-based Aztec dance group Ehecatl, ( named after the Aztec god of the wind,)  which includes the ritual “four directions” blowing of the concha.

The altar will come down by November 4, so plan to retrieve your items before that.

In Corrales

  • Corrales Bistro Brewery, October 18, 6 p.m., spotlights Californian Jonathan Foster, whose sound has been described as “Folk-Country-Americana with a strong vocal presence woven with imaginative lyrics, rootsy acoustic guitar, harmonica, and engaging songs that make you feel at home.” What better?4908 Corrales Road.
  • Trick r’ Trunk, October 31, at a time yet to be determined. That All Hallows evening, at the Rec Center. Usually attracting hundreds of costumed participants, decorated haunted vehicles and truck beds,but no hot air balloons this year.
  • Corrales Arts Center, October 22, 7 p.m. Virtual salon. Travels with My Cello: Encouraging Social Harmony in a Discordant World, with musician Janet Anthony, founder of BLUME Haiti, “Building Leaders Using Music Education.” Register here:
  • 33rd Annual Old Church Fine Arts Show, in person through October 10. Then online through October 31 at It’s a juried show, featuring works by 63 artists. Here are the Blue Ribbon Winners for each category: Ceramics, No entries this year; Collage, Virginia Primozic, Albuquerque, “Raul”; Jewelry, Kenneth Martinez, Corrales, “Silver & Turquoise Bracelet”; Media Making, Darryle Bass, Rio Rancho, “Mimbres Shaman”; Painting/Drawing, Deborah Paisner, Santa Fe, “Sunday Morning in Cerrillos”; Photography, Dennis Chamberlain, Corrales, “The Church of Golden New Mexico”; Printmaking, Greg Lasko, Placitas, “Doel Reed’s Home”; Sculpture, Mark Levin, Albuquerque, “Applelicious Wall Sculpture.”
  • Casa San Ysidro, October 9, 1-3 p.m. ( A Second Saturday event.) “From Spain to New Mexico: The Journey to Keep a Secret,” a free online program with historian Norma Libman. “Who are the Crypto-Jews and Conversos? Why are they in New Mexico? This presentation traces the history of the Jews during Spain’s Inquisition, including how Crypto-Jews kept their secrets in very dangerous times.” Zoom:
  • Village Council meetings, October 12 and 26, 6:30 p.m., still posted as via Zoom.
  • Planning and Zoning meeting, October 20, 6:30 p.m., apparently in person.
  • Corrales Library Book Club, Author series. Contact Sandra Baldonado for Zoom events details.
  • Music in Corrales is on a roll, with two upcoming concerts already sold out. But, you still can catch Friction Quartet on October 23, at 6 p.m. This Bay Area group will premiere “El Correcaminos,” a new piece by Albuquerque native Nicholas Lell Benavides. To buy tickets: To view all  the season’s offerings,  see http://www.musicincorrales. org/current-season/  Old Church.
  • Corrales Growers’ Market. Weekly Sunday sessions in October, 9 to noon. October 10, 17, 24, 31. Wednesdays, also 9 to noon, through this month. October 13, 20, 27. Still no dogs allowed…no music, either.
  • Village in the Village. Coffee hour, Fridays, 9 to 11 a.m. in person at Corrales Bistro. Reservations are required. Call 274-6206 or email corrales.viv Book Club, October 18 via Zoom, 3-4 p.m. “ A Tale for the Time Being,” by Ruth Ozeki. As described on Goodreads: “In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying, but before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century.”


By Mary Davis

West Ella at Old Church Road, 1963

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

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

Ella, for whom the road was named, was the youngest daughter of Alejandro Gonzales, a prominent Corrales resident who had farmed the entire stretch of land for decades. From this 1963 photograph, it appears that little of the western portion of the large Vista Corrales Subdivision had been filled in during the previous eight years. However, an aerial mid-1970s photograph shows at least 20 houses had been built between the old Corrales Acequia and the Main Canal, and even a few had appeared west of the canal.

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

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

This information was provided by Corrales Historical Society (CHS) Archives Committee. Want to learn more? Visit New CHS members are always welcome.

Photograph courtesy of Jane Green


By Steve Komadina

Fall and Balloons Are in the Air

Love them or hate them, they returned to the skies over Corrales for the 49th year. 

First, as a pilot and Balloon Fiesta board member, I want to thank the many Corraleños who welcomed balloons to their fields and made our visitors from across the country welcome. We have admonished the pilots every morning to respect your airspace and to follow your notifications of desire for balloon or no balloons. 

Horses are prey animals, and are always on the lookout for danger. The shadow of a balloon passing over a pasture, followed by a dragon breath blast from a burner, can be pretty scary. The pilots are aware of that, and try to watch out and avoid sensitive properties. 

Thank you again for your tolerance or celebration of the 10 days of balloon flights. 

Same goes for fireworks shows.  Dogs and other animals react in a variety of ways and, again, let me extend our thanks to allowing the show to go on for the 10 days of fiesta.  Many Corrales pilots participate in running the fiesta, being a part of the show and financing the event with their sponsorships.  Thank you again to all. 

By the time you read this, we will be halfway through this year’s event, and peace will return quickly to the early morning skies and all we will have left will be the memories.

We do live in a magical place and I for one will keep celebrating being a member of this community and your neighbor. 

May we continue to have gentle breezes and soft landings. 


Dear Editor:

Carol Levy’s column, “Golden Years in the Village” in the September 25 issue, makes a compelling case that our dear village begin not simply thinking about, but taking action to expedite the availability of age-friendly housing for our senior population here. She cited, “In less than 30 years, the number of adults age 65 and older will double.” Now is the time to expedite the five-unit housing structure, as she described, at what is the present Sunbelt Nursery property.

Michael Baron

Dear Editor:

After reading a few articles, it’s very apparent the Village leadership likes to pass laws and ordinances like they are a home owners association. Big issue topics that affect the entire village should be put to the voters of the village, not a panel of a few that decides these topics with an iron fist.

Things like commercial canabis farms, the proposed fence ordinance along Corrales Road and casitas are topics the village should decide by vote. The opinion of a few shouldn’t be the authority for deciding what a home owner can do with his property he pays taxes on and is simply trying to enjoy life.

The Village Council and mayor have grown to have far too much power over peoples’ lives.

Matt White


By George Wright
Former District 2 Councillor

We cannot become “The Cannabis Capitol of New Mexico.”

Former Councillor Fred Hashimoto rightly points out in his September 11 Corrales Comment opinion piece the dire consequences of unregulated and unrestricted proliferation of cannabis production.

Most municipalities that have typical residential “R” zoning are not threatened by cannabis production within residential lots. Without appropriate legislative restrictions, our unique zoning of A-1 and A-2 for combined residential and agricultural areas makes us vulnerable.

We as a Village needn’t passively accept a potential future of residential “potification” caused by passage of the N.M. Cannabis Regulation Act. We must do all we can to protect Corrales and Corraleños from encroachment of pot production into our residential neighborhoods. And it is up to the Village Council to protect us through legislation.

Evidently, because of untoward Village Attorney input and influence during legislative debate, and because of specious administrative guidance, the Village Council in August revoked the restrictive provisions of Ordinance 18-002 that protected residents from cannabis-related production. Without those restrictions, anything goes, anywhere within the village, and any area can be “potified.”

All residents are at risk of having a pot production facility adjacent to their living quarters. Former  Councillor Pat Clauser and I co-sponsored and spent many months coordinating Ordinance 18-002 through four associated resolutions and multiple refinements to converge on and pass an acceptable solution to pot restrictions in A-1 and A-2 residential zones.

During our deliberations, we heard from many residents. They overwhelmingly supported these restrictions! Our Village Councillors must protect us by passing legislation to reinstate restrictions for areas zoned A-1 and A-2.

While the State statute implies that cannabis is a natural, agricultural plant, it doesn’t give carte blanche to unleash commercial facilities in residential areas. Per Village code, the Village must “…promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the residents of the Village by controlling the use of land so that it is developed in harmony with existing uses.” And the Cannabis Regulation Act provides that, “The local jurisdiction can limit density of licenses and operating times consistent with neighborhood uses.”

We can and should restrict pot production while at the same time preserving the State statute’s provision for growth of a few cannabis plants for personal use.

It is up to the six members of the Village Council to pass legislation that protects home owners and residents from the encroachment of pot production adjacent to their homes. We need at least four councillors, and preferably all six, to be stalwarts and find the courage and pragmatism to pass legislation that protects all Corraleños. Time is of the essence, and legislators need to act soon. If residents would like to contact councillors in this regard, here is an internet pointer to their email addresses: page/governing-body.

2021 SEPTEMBER 25 ISSUE Letters

Dear Editor:

Many of us former New Yorkers were walloped by 9/11, understandably. My husband and I lived on the Lower East Side off the Bowery back in the early 70s.

But my old college pal had lived in Manhattan far longer when the planes hit. I asked him for his memories on this 20th anniversary.  His recollection follows.

“I got a phone call from friends in Ohio while I was getting ready for work.  “What the hell is happening in New York?  Turn on your TV.” My windows face west and uptown from my place in the West Village, so I couldn’t see anything from my apartment.  But when I left for work, from the sidewalk I could see the first building on fire. By the time I got to the Japanese gallery on the Upper East Side, the second tower had been hit. 

Then I got a call from my sister. Her friend, Barbara, from Seattle and Barbara’s two traveling companions were sightseeing in New York. They had just arrived from Washington, DC. As it happened, they were on the subway heading to the Statue of Liberty with plans to visit the World Trade Center in the afternoon.  When they got to Chambers Street, the announcement came to leave the train and exit the station.  They came above ground to see the burning buildings and the crowds heading quickly away. Unfortunately there was no public transportation, and their hotel was at Broadway and 74th Street.  So they ended up walking all the way uptown.

We closed the gallery, and I walked across Central Park to their hotel. We sat glued to the TV the entire day until partial subway service resumed, and I could get back home. Barbara and friends couldn’t get flights out of New York, so they took Amtrak to Albany and stayed with my sister until they could get flights from the Albany airport.

My friend Sarah’s brother was an emergency medical technician stationed across from the Trade Center that morning, and was the first to call in for help.  He set up triage centers in nearby stores and spent the next several days picking up body parts.  Needless to say, he retired with PTSD shortly afterwards. I had the opportunity to visit with him two days after September 11, and that was eye-opening. 

My friend, Kristen, was scouting for photo shoots downtown on September 11, got a shot of the second plane hitting the building, and sold the photo to Newsweek which put it on the cover.

So those were my six-degrees of 9/11.  Unfortunately my roof was closed for restoration, or that would have been a bird’s eye view. 

The next few weeks were somber. It was upsetting to see all the posters of missing people and the sidewalk shrines. People coming into town wanted to see the site, while New Yorkers avoided the area.  I could understand why tourists wanted to see in person what they had watched on TV. New Yorkers, however, experienced the day first hand, and it was too painful to relive.”     

Meredith Hughes


The Lost Leonardo Directed by Andreas Koefoed.Plugs: None. Nearest: Cottonwood, the Guild (9/26-9/30), or streaming.

The Lost Leonardo is a documentary film about the Salvator Mundi, the most expensive painting ever sold, claimed to be a long-lost masterpiece by none other than Leonardo da Vinci.

First appearing —suspiciously— a at New Orleans auction house, its two buyers paid a few thousand dollars for it, and apparently became convinced it was not what it first appeared to be (one of countless paintings done in Leonardo’s style) but was in fact painted by Leonardo himself. As it changes hands and experts (or “experts”) take sides about the painting’s authenticity, the price climbs and the stakes rise. Soon the world’s most famous art museums are involved, along with shady dealers and sketchy billionaires.

The Lost Leonardo is about art, but it’s even moreso a human story of psychology, deception, greed, commerce, and —strangely— international finance and money laundering. Even those who think that Thomas Kinkade is the pinnacle of painting talent will appreciate this film.

The film deftly moves around the globe, following experts and money, with stops in Berlin, New York, London, Geneva, and, well, let’s just say points further east. Though The Lost Leonardo is technically a documentary, it’s really more of a real-life mystery and thriller, due in large part to the film’s clever structure. It’s got a cast of characters ranging from nerdy to flamboyant, erudite to arrogant. I won’t give away too much of the story here, as the twists this film takes are best unpredicted.

The Lost Leonardo is partly about how and why people believe. As one expert notes, “Expectations are dangerous because you see what you want to see.” In this case people —including art historians, museum curators, and art dealers— wanted to see a long-lost painting by Leonardo, along with the accompanying publicity and quickly escalating price tag.  In the case of Salvator Mundi, there’s clear financial and psychological incentive for many people along the way to endorse it as real. Many things —and art in particular— are worth what people believe they’re worth, and have little inherent value. You may assume that your mint-condition Cabbage Patch (or chupacabra toy) collection is worth a fortune, but you may be in for a shock when you try to sell it.

At its heart, the film raises interesting questions of authenticity and legitimacy. What does it mean to be a “real” Leonardo da Vinci anyway? There’s art (strongly) believed to be painted by him, of course, such as the Mona Lisa. But there’s also art done by his students under his direct supervision. Then there’s art produced in his style, intended not as fraud but instead as tribute and for practice. In many cases of old works, including Salvator Mundi, the painting has been professionally restored, adding a complicating (but unavoidable) element of artistic authorship.  

For a more low-brow example, take your favorite band from the 1970s or 1980s that’s still touring today. It’s likely had multiple line up changes, and may not even have a single remaining original member of the band. Is it still really Lynyrd Skynyrd or Chicago or the Beach Boys? Yes? No? Maybe? Does it really matter? (Rock fans should check out the documentaries Quiet Riot: Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back and the Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey for a look at the perils of replacing members.)

 The same can be said for art: if it brings you pleasure, does it really matter if it’s an original or not? What if you paid a fortune for it? Does it matter if a shiny stone is a $10 cubic zirconia or a $100,000 diamond, if they look identical to the naked eye?

To extend the analogy even further, we can look at the placebo effect in medicine. There are some conditions under which placebos can be as effective as an active ingredient. But that’s not the whole story, because it’s a very limited list. For some minor and temporary ailments, such as minor pain relief and insomnia, a placebo can be effective. But the placebo effect can’t set a broken leg or reduce blood sugar levels. In other words, it’s true that we view and understand much of the world through our own prisms and filters, but it’s an overstatement to suggest that our perceptions create or change reality, or that the gap between perception and reality is irrelevant. Believing you took an Advil instead of a TicTac may make your headache fade, but believing you’re cured of cancer won’t reduce a tumor; believing you’re rich won’t add zeros to your account balance; and believing you’re looking at an original Leonardo doesn’t mean you are.

 There’s also the argument that even if it’s fake, the controversy surrounding it elevates its importance, sort of like Kim Kardashian being famous for being famous. Even if at some point somehow conclusively proven to not be painted by Leonardo, it’s still the painting that was once thought to be the titular Lost Leonardo, and that by itself makes it an object of interest, for the same reason that the alleged diaries of Adolf Hitler or Howard Hughes are still of historical interest despite being definitively debunked.

 As the film goes on the painting itself becomes secondary to an investigation into the opaque world of art auctions, where much is smoke and mirrors. Buyers of art have the right to remain anonymous, and often choose to do so. But at the price that Salvator Mundi fetched ($450 million), the list of potential buyers becomes pretty short. When the stakes are that high, international police agencies become interested because of potential tax implications (for more check out the documentary The Panama Papers, currently on Netflix), and because rare art is sometimes used as collateral to secure loans at international banks (who knew?). With a process as intentionally murky as art auctions, the hallowed halls of Sotheby’s is rife with shady shenanigans. Who, then, is the authority? Can we even know with any certainty what the truth is? Does it even really matter to anyone but the buyer and art historians who painted Salvator Mundi?

The Lost Leonardo is one of several recent documentaries dealing with high-end fakery and forgery, along the lines of Art and Craft, Sour Grapes and Made You Look. Like the documentary Misha and the Wolves, which I recently reviewed, the film gets into the on-the-ground detective work, not only investigating the provenance of the painting but also how it changed hands.

Even the current (apparent) owner has not confirmed its purchase, and as of this writing the location of the world’s most expensive disputed painting is not publicly known. The Lost Leonardo is top-notch documentary filmmaking that offers a revealing glimpse into both the rarified art world and the human condition.  

Benjamin Radford

2021 SEPTEMBER 25 ISSUE GOLDEN YEARS Village in the Village VIV

By Carol Levy

Whether our golden years are far down the road, around the corner, or in the here and now, if we were asked, “Where will you spend your golden years?” Most of us would answer, “Corrales, of course!” After all, we love Corrales, the community where we have grown roots, raised children, volunteered, made friends and chosen to live.

For all of us who hope to age in Corrales, there are three important questions to consider: 

Will it be possible to stay in our beloved community as we age?

Do we want Corrales to be an age-friendly community?

Are we willing to support housing that allows us, as well as our friends, neighbors, and relatives to continue to live in this community as we age?

When communities address the needs of the young and old, everyone in between benefits.

Livable places for people of all ages are commonly referred to as age-friendly communities. These inclusive communities address the varying needs and abilities of those on both ends of life’s continuum. Age-friendly environments enable people to be active, connected and contribute to their community.

They promote relationships and a sense of belonging among generations and allow older residents to remain socially involved. Becoming age-friendly makes a community a viable choice for all generations —a great place to live, have a family and grow older.

Rural villages like Corrales have special challenges to becoming age-friendly. While we value our rural character, well-spaced homes and large lots, navigating distances to services and neighbors can be daunting. As we age, some of us will face life events that make it difficult if not impossible to continue to maintain our homes and their surrounding property. We find ourselves wondering how we will manage when our partner gets sick or dies, it becomes too difficult to keep up with our home and yard maintenance, or we just can’t get around like we used to.

These are legitimate concerns for many Corrales residents given that our median age is almost 55, and 30 percent of our population is over 65. When we find it too difficult to stay in our current homes, where can we live?  What will we tell our parents, friends, or neighbors to do?  Like 86 percent of adults 50 and older, most of Corraleños want to remain in their community. We do not want to move in with family members, relocate, or move into assisted living when we are capable of living independently.  We want to stay in Corrales, maintain our social connections here, and continue contributing to our community.

Yet, we find we have few housing options that make that possible.

Age-friendly housing is a necessity for keeping seniors in Corrales. Village in the Village (ViV) supports efforts to help seniors stay in Corrales as they age. Building an age-inclusive community is an important component of this goal. Therefore, we encourage all residents and our elected Corrales officials to support the senior-friendly housing initiative proposed for Corrales’ commercial district. This plan is for five small, single-story handicapped accessible duplexes located a walkable distance to many amenities including restaurants, shops, the bosque, health care, a pharmacy and a church.

The proposed project will enhance our scenic byway by replacing Sunbelt’s truck and machinery parking lot with attractively landscaped southwest-style homes maintained by the landlord. The project will connect to the Village wastewater system and have state of the art methods for sewage processing and gray water recycling of 50 percent of total water usage. Since the project is in the business district, it does not impinge on the one house per acre ordinance for our residential area. Density and traffic will be less than if the property was developed as a retail business.

In less than 30 years, the number of adults age 65 and older will double. Right now, Corrales has a unique opportunity to take a small step toward the greater challenge of making our quaint Village more inclusive. Please let your Village Councilor know you support this project.

Carol Levy is a member of the board of directors of Village in the Village as well as an active volunteer and supporter. For more information about ViV,  visit or call 274-6206.

What’s On 9-11-21

By Meredith Hughes

For many Americans, September 11 is not just an ordinary day in the month, alas. In 2001, nineteen men hijacked planes and flew them into the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in Manhattan, plus the Pentagon, and were foiled by heroic passengers from blasting into the White House or the Capitol. That plane landed in a field. Fifteen of the hijackers were Saudi Arabians, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt and one from Lebanon. None from Iraq or Afghanistan. Much to explore from the 9/11 Museum in New York. See http://www.911memorial. org/learn/resources/digital-exhibitions

FYI. Corrales author Patricia Walkow produced a book titled New Mexico Remembers 9/11, which came out October 13, 2020 via Artemesia Publishing.

Consider getting out to the State Fair this month to eat pie and forget about floods/fires/wars/Covid et al…..

Visit the websites of your favorite museums, galleries or organizations to check opening times and new regulations. Published the first issue of the month, What’s On? invites suggestions one week before the publication date.

  • Xeric Garden Club, September 11, 10 a.m. Taking Care of the Winter Landscape, with state horticulturalist, Marisa Thompson. A free event. ABQ Garden Center, Piñon Room, 10120 Lomas Boulevard NE. 
  • The NM State Fair runs through September 29, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday to Thursday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Seniors and kids 5-12 pay $8; adults are $12. New this year: “MindWorks! is a 6,000 square foot exhilarating attraction featuring a collection of giant classic games, construction zone and bubble arena, puzzles and brain teasers, as well as toddler area that will tease and challenge minds of all ages. Many of the displays in this fun and interactive exhibit are STEM/STEM-based and involve critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork.” More on special attractions  can be found at https://statefair.exponm. com/p/things-to-do/spectaculars.    Buy tickets  at p/buy-tickets
  • Constitution Day 2021: New Mexico’s Journey to Statehood, September 17, a free Zoom presentation by the NM Humanities Council, 12:30 p.m. The discussion will be led by Rick Hendricks, state historian emeritus, and will be followed by a Q & A session. Register at
  • Art Exhibit. NM Landscapes, is the current exhibit at Open Space. Artist Gwen Entz Peterson works predominantly with serigraphy (also known as silkscreen).  Since 1973, Peterson has worked on images great and small. The body of her work is predominantly contemporary landscape, but sometimes also is totally abstract. The exhibit runs through September 18. Open Space Visitor Center, 6500 Coors.
  • Placitas Garden Tour, its fifth annual, is on September 19, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Seven gardens, plus three painters and a bronze sculptor, a glass mosaic artist, a welding sculptor, and a weaver all creating their works in the 2021 gardens.  Buy your tickets online here or via the merchants mentioned:
  • A Shakespeare play or two took a bow in Santa Fe at the Botanic Garden last month and other plays are on stage again in Albuquerque. Vortex Theatre opens its seventh year of outdoor summer Shakespeare with free performances of Hamlet and Twelfth Night O Lo Que Quieras. This year 15 performances will take place at the NM Veterans’ Memorial Park, 1100 Louisiana Blvd SE, through September 19. Twelfth Night will be presented at the Open Space Visitors Center September 10. 6500 Coors.
  • Another World: The Transcendental Painting Group, on exhibit through September 26 at the Albuquerque Museum. Take a meditative stroll through this exhibition —the “group” came together in Taos in 1938, “to discuss and perpetuate an alternative to the social realism and homespun Americana that had been promoted by Regionalism and the Ash Can school.” While the artists involved kept working, Agnes Pelton having moved to California, the group itself disbanded after the Second World War. 2000 Mountain.

Did You Know?

El Palacio, the magazine of the Museum of New Mexico, is the oldest museum magazine in the U.S. Its current issue, Fall 2021, features the building of the Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, and all issues from 2014 to today are available online here:

In Corrales

  • Corrales Art and Studio Tour, September 11-12, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See Scroll down to view maps, artist locations.
  • Corrales Harvest Festival, September 25 and 26. All day, both days, throughout the Village. Hootenanny at night on Saturday, featuring Bad Habit and the Enablers, from 7 to 10 p.m. At Old Church, both days 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Heart of Corrales Fiesta, featuring pie, quilt raffle, photo ops, and kiddie stuff. Admission? If you’re 12 and under, free! Otherwise, $10. Get tickets here:
  • Corrales Arts Center announces “Got Art, Corrales.” September 11, from 5 -7 p.m.  “Each ticket holder is guaranteed the opportunity to select a piece of art to take home at the end of the event. The order in which you get to select a piece of art will be left to chance, and will not be known until you arrive that evening.” Register at
  • Village Council meetings, September 14 and 28, 6:30 p.m., still posted as via Zoom.
  • Planning and Zoning meeting, September 15, 6:30 p.m., apparently in person.
  • Corrales Library Fall Book Sale October 2, 3, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also, Book Club, Author series. Please contact Sandra Baldonado for Zoom events details.
  • Music in Corrales kicks off its 35th season with the Bobby Shew Jazz Sextet, September 18, at 7 p.m. in La Entrada Park, near the Corrales Community Library. Shew is a “big band” veteran, now a Corrales local focussed on his sextet. To buy tickets see To view the season’s offerings,
  • Corrales Growers’ Market. Weekly Sunday sessions in September, 9 to noon. September 12,19, 26. Wednesdays, also 9 to noon. September 15, 22, 29. Still no dogs allowed… no music, either.
  • Village in the Village. Coffee hour, Fridays, 9 to 11 a.m. in person at Corrales Bistro. Reservations are required. Call 274-6206 or email corrales.viv@ Book Club, September 20 via Zoom, 3-4 p.m.“City of Thieves,” by David Benioff, set in Leningrad during WW2.

Traveler’s Notebook 9-11-21

Nowhere, 2020-2021

I have not traveled internationally since 2019 and it has been hard on me. I have loved to travel since I began in 1962, heading on my own to Ecuador and Peru as a 20-year-old. I have returned multiple times to both countries since. I’ve traveled around the world 360 degrees east-west and nearly half-way around the world north-south. Mostly I’ve visited so-called Third World countries, primarily in Latin America, Africa and Asia.  I return again and again to countries that fascinate me… or more precisely, to countries that I struggle to understand.

I find it exhilarating, energizing to plop myself down in a culture, environment or setting in which I have no idea what’s happening around me. Sometimes I think I understand my own culture too well —even when society seems to go off the rails— and therefore I crave the incomprehension that people in foreign lands offer.

Sometimes it’s the words that are incomprehensible. Fondly now, I recall landing in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on my first foreign trip. Frugal by necessity, I had asked the cab driver at the airport to take me to a cheap hotel —”algo muy barato, un pensión, tal vez”— so he delivered the turista americano to a boarding house a block away from the bustling but dingy port docks.

The pensión owners or managers gracously accommodated the unexpected boarder. They sat me down with my corralled luggage at the kitchen table and said something from which I could extract absolutely no meaning. The sound coming repeatedly from the owners and other boarders was “yacomiste.” I thought I detected an inflection at the end of the word that implied a question, but without knowing the question, how could I answer except to say again and again “No comprendo.” This went on for what seemed a long time. I searched my brain but could find nothing like “yacomiste.” Finally my hosts and fellow boarders gave up in frustration and led me to a room where I went to bed hungry.

The next day I decyphered what had been spoken. It was probably the most common question asked of a just-arriving passenger after a long flight: “Have you eaten?” “Ya comiste?” The verb “comer,” which I certainly knew, had been used in the familiar form (“comiste”) which we high school Spanish students rarely, if ever, used in class, and definitely was not used when speaking to a total stranger.

So there I was ignorant and hungry on my first  night in a foreign country. But the people were so friendly! The next morning, one of the boarders who had taken an interest in me approached over breakfast to ask another question I found perplexing even though I understood each word.  The young man a little older than I asked in Spanish what I easily translated as “Do you like great emotions?”

I hesitantly replied “I guess so, but what do you mean?” He wouldn’t explain, saying it would be a pleasant surprise. He said he would pick me up in his truck around mid-afternoon. At the appointed time, more or less, off we went in his well-maintained pick-up truck. I grew a little uneasy when we passed the outskirts of the city and kept heading farther and farther into the boonies. What “great emotions” could I possibly expect in that desolate site? No homes, vehicles or other people could be seen. We were miles from the paved road from which we had turned onto a gravel road. He stopped in the middle of the extremely wash-boarded road, and turned to me with a big grin. “Estas listo? Are you ready?” he asked.

I gave some indication I was ready… but for what?

He floored the gas pedal, and we shot off top-speed down the terribly rutted, bumpy road. I went flying all over the truck cabin. About 50 yards later, we stopped. He turned to me again and grinned.  And I understood. “Great emotions” meant “thrills.” Admittedly, the afternoon joy ride was more “emocionante” than touring a Guayaquil museum which another tourist might have experienced. From those days to these, I’m always ready for a new adventure in a foreign land. But I  have  little interest in European destinations; I travel there to research subjects of interest, such as the background of the man for whom both continents of the Western Hemisphere were named, Amerigo Vespucci.

Planning a trip is deeply enjoyable, but the plan nearly always must include big unknowns. I enjoy arriving in a city where I have no hotel reservation (unless my arrival is late at night) and no defined itinerary. On that first trip to Ecuador and Peru in 1962, I  traveled by train to Puno, on the shore of Lake Titicaca. It was near midnight when we rolled in. I had no hotel reservation, nor any idea what hotels, if any, were in Puno. At the end of that long ride, I wanted to find a place to lie down and recover. Among the passengers was a group of soldiers  headed to their base in Puno.

I asked them to recommend a hotel, but they had no suggestion. Realizing my dilemma and discussing the option among themselves, one of them told me it would be okay to follow them to the cuartel where I could spend the night. Gratefully, I accepted the offer and was led to a bed —in the jail. I was given a sheet, but no blanket. It was winter and Puno is very high, 12,550 feet.  One of the soldiers had ordered a small boy, an orphan whose job it was to look after incarcerated drunks, to see to my needs as well. To keep me from freezing in the cold, dark cell, the boy piled several criss-crossed layers of mattresses on top of me.

I survived, and was grateful. I was 20.

—Jeff Radford

Letters 9-11-21

Dear Editor:

I think my liberal Democrat card is about to be revoked. I’ve watched with concern the rescue and recovery effort in Louisiana. And I've been in awe of the volunteers who've shown up to make a horrible situation even slightly better. I give you The Cajun Navy as an example.

Video after video and still shot after still shot shows them carrying young folks, old folks, disabled folks and pets to their boats and ferrying them off to safer places. All this with zero expectation of remuneration. All this because someone needs help, they’ve got the gear to help and it’s the right thing to do. Most, if not all, of the folks needing help were black and most, if not all, of the Cajun Navy were white.-

Now I guaran-damn-tee you most, if not all, of the Navy have a MAGA hat at home. And when they told their MAGA hat-wearing boss where they were going, they said, “See you when you get back. You need any gas money?” The point to all this is. These MAGA hat-wearing, Trump-loving, mouth-breathing crackers have put Black Lives Matter into action. Action well beyond carrying a sign in a demonstration (as long it's a pretty day and there is a Starbucks en route).

Imagine that. A MAGA hatter wading through snake and alligator infested water to help an old Black couple get to a shelter where they can get the help they desperately need!

So I proffer the following.

Stop with this relentless stigmatization that sophomorically jumps to “If you’re X that automatically means you’re Y.” I know I’m plenty guilty of that, and I resolve to stop it. It’s  time to tell the “leaders” of both persuasions to STFU. It’s time to turn off the judgement switch. It’s time to embrace our common humanity.

In short, we are not our parts. We are the sum of our parts. That sum equals millions upon millions who joyfully give of themselves when called on. Yes, there is a minority of scum-bags (Kevin McCarthy, Orange Don, Jim Jordan, Al Sharpton… the list goes on) who profit from the “parts,” but don’t be discouraged. The Cajun Navy stands ready to sail again.

Ray Radford,

Anchorage, Kentucky

Dear Editor:

I have been pro-choice since I first knew about abortion, and when I lived in Detroit from 1951-53, my husband and I spent much time with a physician who very often told us about his women patients who had tried unsuccessfully to abort themselves. Those gruesome stories made me even more convinced that I was pro-choice. And so, I was very happy when Roe v. Wade became the law of the land. Yet, I know something was wrong about that decision —it was based on privacy and I knew that privacy’s not in the U.S. Constitution.

Griswold v. Connecticut, an earlier Supreme Court ruling that struck down state bans on contraception, was also based on privacy. In that case, Justice Douglas said in his majority opinion, “We deal with a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights.” However, the right of privacy is not in the Bill of Rights either. Nor is it even in The Declaration of Independence (which I realize is not law).

That the privacy right established in the Griswold decision seemed a terribly weak foundation is what Sarah Weddington (the attorney for so-called “Jane Roe,” a Texas woman who had sought an abortion and who was asking the court to legalize it in Roe v. Wade) said when asked where in the Constitution she placed her argument. However, she accepted the Supreme Court’s January 22, 1973 decision to uphold Roe v. Wade based on the basis that “the right of privacy... is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy” —even though the right of privacy was, and still is, not in the U.S. Constitution.

The marvelous writer Jill Lepore tells us in her great book, These Truths, that the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and other groups made arguments for abortion rights based on equality that the Supreme Court ignored in Roe v.Wade, and that Ruth Ginsburg “found the court’s opinion in Roe wanting for a number of reasons, but among them was its failure to pay any attention at all to discrimination against women, or to a woman’s “ability to stand in relation to man, society, and the state as an independent, self-sustaining, equal citizen.’”

Being equal is at least in the Declaration of Independence and equity is in the U.S. Constitution. And equity probably should therefore be the basis on which the Supreme Court decides in favor of abortion.

But what bothers and disgusts me most of all is that the Supreme Court says that unborn fetuses with a heart beat cannot be aborted, while it remains silent about guns being available to kill so many children.

Reverend Judy Deutsch

Commentary 9-11-21

By Fred Hashimoto

Corrales, a Cannabis Capital?

 Four years ago, Verdes Foundation, a regional cannabis business, proposed growing medical cannabis on four acres in a Corrales A-1 zone.  The neighborhood was upset, citing issues of decreased quality of life and decreased property values.  Over 300 signatures were obtained on a petition opposing the proposal and the neighbors hired an attorney to help with their efforts.  Verdes decided to back out, in part because of stiff neighborhood opposition and also, they did not have Village Council support. In 2018, the council passed Ordinance 18-002 explicitly banning cannabis growing (along with manufacture and distribution) in A-1 and A-2 zones.

Since then, commercial cannabis growing has generally become more intensive and, in some ways, more invasive. Thousands of plants can be grown in an intensive greenhouse, converted warehouse or other totally enclosed structure with 24-hour high-intensity grow lights in tightly controlled environments and accelerated harvesting.  These commercial cannabis structures are water and electricity ultra-consumers.

Growing cannabis emits a pungent, skunky odor, which neighbors do not like. Ask the residents in the Corrales del Norte subdivision which abuts medical cannabis greenhouses in the north end of the village. Some neighbors smell the odor from 1,000 feet away.  Googling “cannabis growing odor” yields over 10 million results. Because of the monetary value of cannabis products, many intensive growing structures get burglarized.  Security walls and fences and barbed wire, barred windows and security lights are common.  Also, the growing structures themselves are usually not aesthetically pleasing.

Although one might like cannabis products (and/or beer), one would not like to live next to an intensive cannabis growing structure (or a brewery). Choosing to buy a house next to such a structure is one thing, but living in a home for 25 years and suddenly having one show up next door is quite another. For several years, all was well enough with Corrales and its stance on cannabis until early this year when the State Legislature passed its cannabis act (House Bill 2).  Yes, it legalized recreational cannabis consumption and allowed the personal and household growing of six and 12 plants respectively.

However, perhaps inadvertently, it might have superseded Corrales’s ordinance banning commercial cannabis growing on A-1 and A-2 because it considered cannabis as a usual crop and usual crops can be grown in agriculture zones (A-1, A-2 and Neighborhood Commercial) in the village.  Needless to say, usual crops are not grown intensively in enclosed facilities with 24-7 grow lights and greenhouses with massive wet-walls (wall-sized swamp coolers) or have pages of State and local regulations and specific licensing.

Not only might cannabis be grown commercially in an agriculture zone in Corrales, but a grower won’t need several acres to do it. Your neighbor can grow it commercially in the backyard of his one-acre lot.  For sure, your current friendly neighbors wouldn’t think of doing that, but when they move, the new neighbors very well might feel differently. They might think, “Hey, I spent a lot of money getting some extra land in Corrales so I might as well build a few extra structures in the back and grow cannabis to help defray the cost.” 

If they do, you currently have little or no recourse.  In Colorado, commercial cannabis growing structures are generally isolated to industrial zones or to land with plenty of acreage, but alas, this does not seem to be the case in Corrales.

At this time, very few residents have any inkling or idea of what has quickly befallen us. Do you think potential commercial growers are interested? In the first few hours after the State began accepting growing applications, almost 400 companies lined up. A legislator and a State official from the State Cannabis Control Division have said that the State will not do neighborhood regulating, which will be up to the local governments.

Last month, the Village Council passed an ordinance which seems to bend over backwards being permissive for the cannabis industry, allowing intensive commercial growing in A-1, A-2, and Neighborhood-Commercial zones, miniscule setbacks of 25 feet and only 200 feet between retail stores in the commercial district.  Nuisance laws have been softened by using the hedge modifier “reasonably” so if a grower is “reasonably” conducting business and causing a noxious odor (or noise or lighting), that can’t be considered a nuisance.

Those council proceedings were orchestrated by attorneys. It was a hard sell, doom and gloom if you don’t pass it tonight, back against the wall and deadline. The pressure was palpable.  Considerations were deflected by “this should be researched later.”  Attorneys said that there had been three revisions already, but each of these revisions were only for non-substantive, attorney tweaking.  Suggestions by the councilors —such as increased setbacks in the residential neighborhoods— were not incorporated. Usually, three council meetings are used to pass an ordinance; this ordinance was fast-tracked in only two meetings.

Yes, the ordinance was passed (not unanimously) by Village Council.  But don’t blame them.  They were pressured big time and given little time to get facts and input.  I (a former councillor) perhaps would have voted for it too.  When you sit at the table, and attorneys say that you have to pass it now, that is significant pressure.

Some councillors probably would like to amend this hurriedly-passed ordinance; they have ideas on how to give residential neighborhoods some protections from intensive growing structures next door.  At the council meeting, the attorneys said that the ordinance was a dynamic document and it can be amended when appropriate; we’ll see.  Hopefully, the governing body will keep it moving and not necessarily delay critical amendments.  Other farming states of Colorado, Oregon and Washington have measures protecting residential neighborhoods from intensive and invasive cannabis structures.  Why can’t we?

Yes, the cannabis industry can bring some revenue into the Village coffers, but at what price?  Residential neighborhoods should not be paying a price with a decrease in quality of life and decrease in property values.

Perhaps, the Village is at a tipping point. How Corrales deals with cannabis and, specifically, this ordinance might define it for the future.  It can put a different slant on our Harvest Festival.  Harvesting intensively grown cannabis occurs several times a year, not necessarily only in the fall as it does for usual crops. Hopefully, Corrales will make the right decisions, and not become known as a Cannabis Capital.

CHS Corrales Historical Society Column 9-11-21

By Mary Davis

Gilbert Lopez

Another longtime resident is gone and will be greatly missed. Gilbert Lopez, whose death was reported in the August 21 Corrales Comment, was a font of information about Corrales, an electrical engineer, and a farmer almost to the end. Luckily for us he was also an artist who painted two large pictures of Corrales before World War II when the freeway, the bridges that span the Rio Grande today, and the paving of Corrales Road were far in the future. The painting was titled: “Threshing Wheat with a Threshing Machine, Summer 1935.” His other picture was of a water wheel that moved water from the old Corrales acequia to the family property. Both are safe at his home.

Happily he also left notes about where the threshing took place and who was doing the work. The location was his grandfather’s property located east of Corrales Road between Mariquita and Sanchez Roads; it’s now the Corrales Compound. He added that the property extended through the bosque to the river. The wheat sacker was Don Angelo Salce. The persons on the stack were Angelo Salce’s daughters Dulcelina, Ida and Lena. The person on the thresher cutting the wheat bundles loose was Gilbert’s uncle, Maxmillianlo (Max) Lopez. The person on the hay rake driving the team of mules —the bay was named Jenny and the black was Jack— was Gilbert himself.

He noted that “Three other stacks had already been threshed belonging to Don Juan Cristobal Lopez (my grandpa), Don José Griego and Don Victor Sandoval.” The man sitting on the tractor was the owner of the thresher. Gilbert didn’t know his name, only that “he was just following the wheat harvest.” His notes concluded with the information that “the wheat was mostly taken to the 4 Star Flour Mill, on South Second Street, next to the Santa Fe Railroad tracks, just south of Trumbull Avenue, about where now the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District service yard is located in Albuquerque.”

What a treasure! He proudly shared his genealogy: his parents were Perfecto Lopez and Anita Gonzales. Perfecto’s parents were Juan Cristobal Lopez and Anastacia Montoya, and Anita’s parents were Daniel Gonzales, brother of Herman Gonzales (Hector Gonzales’s father) and Rafaelita Sandoval from Cebolleta, north of Laguna Pueblo. Gilbert told us that his father, Perfecto, ran cattle and sheep near Cuba, and that his dad would often take him when he traveled to trade with the Navajos. He also remembered when the Navajos came to Corrales to trade; they would camp in their wagons for a week under the big cottonwood that stood by Gilbert’s old house (now demolished) near the Corrales Acequia not far north of the Old Church.

These memories of Gilbert Lopez were provided by Corrales Historical Society (CHS) Archives Committee. All of the “I didn’t know that!” articles previously published in this newspaper may be accessed at Want to learn more? Explore the CHS website! New CHS members are always welcome.

Caballos Column 9-11-21

By Steve Komadina

The Times They Are A Changing!

It is amazing how every week brings new surprises as to the style of pandemic life! Intellectual honesty seems to have been thrown to the winds. Rules are selectively applied, and the word “science” has a whole new definition. My horses have been off the farm for some time on an extended working vacation. Their letters home are heart-warming as they work the wilderness,  taking riders of variety of skill, on Old West experiences. They are so happy to be working. They would not even consider being on unemployment.

I laugh as I hear complaints about proof of vaccination. I have said for years that it was discriminatory for horse events to require equine proof of vaccination but not those of owners and riders. I feared the humans far more than the horses! I have loved the social distancing of pandemic since I have a very large personal bubble and it has been great keeping people away. Now, as a physician actively seeing patients daily, what about this pandemic? It is real. It is a bad virus worse that the common flu. From that point on there is nothing but disagreement.

We had a two-day staff retreat last month at the Tamaya. It was inside and we had social distancing in the conference room. Masks were mandatory except while eating and drinking. The pandemic had not cranked up yet and there were no complaints, and we did not become a hot spot for COVID-19. Then this month we have mandatory vaccination proof for the State Fair and concert venues, and threats of another lockdown is whispered in hushed voices. Daily positive test results lead the nightly news reports, and the surge is on!

Then just a week ago, one of the highest profile elected official’s wedding-of-the-year is held at the Tamaya indoors with no masks and no social distancing. Is it that difficult to follow the governor’s and CDC’s guidelines? Can’t we just all follow the rules? How do I explain this to my horses, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren? To quote Dr. Scrase: “We are looking into it.”

Well, for me and mine, we will follow the rules. It is a lot easier to sleep at night. My horses continue to sleep well since they all took their ivermectin, and I am happy to report no positive test results in the herd. Please social distance when you see me on the trail. By the way, I do not buy your your honest attempt to social distance from your canine friend by having your dog off a leash in the bosque.


By Barry Abel

Why ViV? Many of us have chosen Corrales as the community in which we wish to live now that we have retired and can settle wherever we choose. That means we come here without family or the benefits of our long-time support groups. Corrales is exactly where we want to be. We build a network here of friends; we find so much to do. But later in life, we will need something more.

To many of us, Village in the Village, Corrales (ViV) helps in both areas: we form many friendships with other Corraleños in and through ViV and, in times of need, we find the assistance we require through ViV which provides volunteer friend- and neighbor-like services to members who need them. Recent events involving friends and extended family have underscored this for me, especially the need for support and help when the time arises.

Two couples were involved: in one, the husband was stricken by a profoundly serious affliction and hospitalized, very ill, sedated. His recovery will be long and will require significant speech and physical rehabilitation. In the other couple, the husband’s cancer, which he had had for three years hardly showing any evidence thereof, finally reached his brain. He died about a week later. In both cases, the wife isn’t able to continue to live independently without a partner to help carry the burden.

In one situation, there really wasn't any backup or helping community group where they lived. The full burden fell onto family members – a grown child who lived a four or five hour drive away in the neighboring state and a sister, now 80, at the far end of the country. In the other situation, the couple belonged to ViV. Despite the unanticipated death of the husband, ViV stepped in to help. We visited our friend in her own home, took her to lunch, helped her process what had happened and focus on her future. Those services from ViV gave precious time for the couple’s grown children to put affairs in order, proceed with cleaning out the house, make arrangements for their mother’s future, and so on.

It just underscored the point about why we choose to be members of ViV. Another ViV member and long-time Corrales resident who, at 95, has lots of friends in the community and especially in ViV, comments there is simply no way she would still be alive and functioning without the support she gets and has received from ViV and its volunteers, much less still be living in her own house at this age. For some, active church groups can fill that role. For some, family members who live in the same area can do it. For many of us, ViV fills that role. And the fact is, making sure one has that network of support becomes more and more important the older we get.

We believe it is essential, especially if you are single and “not so young anymore,” to make some sort of arrangement for yourself. Do it for what ViV offers in the present, or simply for just in case. For many of us, Village in the Village provides the answers. ViV offers social opportunities —weekly gatherings in person and via Zoom like Friday morning coffee or breakfast and a monthly Happy Hour, learning opportunities, active activities like bocce ball. And ViV significantly expands the number of our friends in our chosen community - Corrales.

Barry Abel is an active member and volunteer for Village in the Village. For more information about the organization go to


Written and directed by Sam Hobkinson. Plugs: None. Newly available streaming on Netflix. The new documentary film Misha and the Wolves examines the story of a Holliston, Massachusetts, woman named Misha Defonseca who stunned her congregation on Holocaust Remembrance Day by breaking her silence about her past: 

She was not only a Holocaust survivor, but as a young girl had fled her home in Belgium and walked through forests to Germany in search of her parents, last seen in concentration camps. That was remarkable and brave enough, but she hadn’t done it alone; she was joined (and adopted) by a pack of wild wolves who helped her in her journey.

Misha’s incredible life story caught the attention of a friend who ran a small publishing house, and was soon turned into a best-selling 1997 book titled Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years. It caught the influential (if not particularly discerning) eye of Oprah Winfrey, and would soon be published in several languages and optioned for films. Misha became a celebrity, touring the world telling her inspiring story of courage and overcoming adversity.

Eventually, however, some suspected that her story was in fact literally incredible —not credible. Misha and the Wolves expertly tracks the rise and fall of Misha’s story. Even though I’d read basic outlines of the events, the film contains some surprising plot twists that I won’t reveal, as there are enough spoilers already. It’s not just the story of a strange story of a (suspected) hoax, but perhaps more importantly, it’s the story of determined people who joined forces to reveal the truth.

The public is of course widely —and rightly— counseled to “believe the victim” in many circumstances. That is the appropriate default position, and the vast majority of the time the victim is as exactly as claimed. But in some cases it’s not clear who the victim is, and the film explores the continual trepidation of those who questioned Misha’s claims: what if they were wrong? No one wanted to be in a position of casting doubt on the account of a true victim, and especially not of the Holocaust.

This deception would likely have never been revealed but for the tenacity of not only the book’s original publisher, who was sued (and, as it turns out, wrongfully awarded millions) by Misha, but also a genealogist, a journalist and others.

The fact that Misha was invited to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show to promote the book but declined was, ironically, one of the early red flags that something wasn’t right. (Oprah, it should be noted, has a long history of promoting heart-tugging memoirs that were later revealed to be largely or wholly hoaxed, along with untold numbers of other dubious and discredited topics.) The film builds suspense as each new piece of information is revealed.

Misha and the Wolves is a story of detective work, deception, and gullibility. It unfolds like a series of Russian dolls, spinning into several smaller mysteries: Is Misha’s story mostly true, like anyone’s subjective recollections and allowing for mistakes, memory lapses, and biases?

Within about 20 minutes (or sooner, if you’ve seen any coverage of the case) it’s clear that Misha’s story isn’t true —or at least isn’t entirely true. But is that significant? Authors James Frey and Joe Mortensen, among many others, eventually admitted to fabricating key parts of their bestselling memoirs, A Million Little Pieces and Three Cups of Tea, respectively. So did Nobel Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu in her book I, Rigoberta Menchu, but all insisted that their books were essentially true.

Or is Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years entirely fabricated, and if so, to what end? Was it akin to the influential 1971 young adult memoir Go Ask Alice, which was completely made up by an evangelical middle-aged Mormon woman trying to teach moral lessons? Or is Misha delusional, perhaps (understandably) traumatized? In any event there should be independent corroborating evidence one way or the other. If Misha didn’t spend some of her childhood living with wolves and walking through forests to find her parents, then where was she? Surely there would have to be some record, somewhere…

It is perhaps fitting that the real heroine of the film —the person who does indeed find the smoking gun (though where and of what I won’t reveal) —is herself a Belgian Holocaust survivor named Evelyne Haendel. Holocaust memorial organizations are in fact among the most skeptical of such claims, precisely because a handful of people have falsified their Holocaust experiences, and accepting claims without due diligence dishonors real victims.

Writer/director Sam Hobkinson does a masterful job of letting the participants speak for themselves, with one notable exception (revealed in a twist reminiscent of the 2019 documentary Wrinkles the Clown), illustrating conflicting agendas at virtually every turn. Publishers and journalists want a good story; historians and genealogist want the truth; and documentary filmmakers want a blend of both.

For more on Misha’s case see Telling Tales: A History of Literary Hoaxes, by Melissa Katsoulis, and Popular Trauma Culture: Selling the Pain of Others in Mass Media, by Anne Rothe (full disclosure: I’m referenced in the latter book). Misha and the Wolves is curiously reminiscent of another documentary series, also on Netflix, titled The Devil Next Door, out in 2019. That five-part series tells the true story of another elderly, otherwise unremarkable American citizen with murky (and contested) ties to the Holocaust: Ivan Demjanjuk. The retired autoworker settled in Cleveland and was later accused of being a prison guard at a Nazi concentration camp nicknamed “Ivan the Terrible” by his victims. But was he? As the series reveals, the answer is yes and no.

Misha and the Wolves is an excellent piece of documentary filmmaking, and about much more than one woman’s audacious hoax or delusion; it’s about history, identity, authenticity, and why we choose to believe.

Benjamin Radford


By Lisa Brown

Support Saving Farmland

As the Village finalizes documents for purchasing conservation easements on two additional properties with the remaining farmland preservation bond funds, some ask, where does our program go now?

Three things immediately come to mind. We are central to connecting farmers with landowners. (In fact, we did introduce One Gen, currently farming there, to the Trosello fields.) We can help facilitate development plans that include land conservation. We educate landowners about the benefits —tax and environmental— of donating their development rights and placing conservation easements on their land.

While this important work remains to be done, our commission is short one member in spite of at least one qualified application to the administration. This makes doing our job harder. Ostensibly, the reasoning goes that our funds are spent, there is no appetite for passing another farmland bond, and we need to save our bonding capacity to build infrastructure.

In Corrales, farmland is infrastructure. It provides the foundation for continuing agriculture here, which is fundamental to who we are and where we must be headed if we want to preserve the character and economic base of our home. What is a harvest festival without farms? What is our community without a source of local food? What is our environment without open space?

There will always be roads to improve. There will always be equipment to buy. But there will not always be farmland unless we choose to protect it. Instead, there will be fields of single-family houses with garages, demanding our resources.

Two of our most visible and iconic farms remain unprotected. We should act while we can. In fact, our farmland bonds have been more popular with our voters than any of our mayors elected at the same time. We just used our last bond in record time and protected another 26 acres of prime soil as open space forever, adding to the 50 acres conserved by the first bond. We can pass another farmland preservation bond while there is still land and farmers to protect. Why not try?


Dear Editor:

I’d like to recommend that the Village use whatever means possible, including bond funds or last year’s windfall money, to buy the property on the corner of Huff Road and the Interior Drain. It  creates a beautiful link between the Sandoval Lateral and the Interior Drain. It has a couple of buildings on it that could be made into a visitors’ center in the future, or converted to affordable housing for Village employees, or half a dozen other uses. If it is sold for development, it will mean two or three more mega-mansions that we don’t need. If we act and buy it, it could become an integral part of the commons for our village. If you agree with me, please write your Village councillor or the mayor and let them  know.

-Rick Thaler

Dear Editor:

The Unitarian Universalist Westside Congregation is composed of open-minded, thoughtful and friendly people from many religious and philosophical backgrounds. We are a community of people who work to adhere to these seven principles:

• The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
• Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
• Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
• A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
• The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
• The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all; and
• Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

We are part of the Unitarian Universalist Association which adopted these -run general assemblies after grassroots input from members in its congregations across the nation. Our members include people of all religious traditions as well as those with none. We welcome people of all races, ethnic backgrounds and sexual preferences. We ask only that they believe in, and try to adhere to, our principles. To help people develop their own spirits, we offer classes, sociability,  opportunities to work for justice, counseling and weekly services, Sundays 11 a.m. at 1650 Abrazo Road NE Rio Rancho. Our minister is the Reverend D. Nancy Hitt, an American Baptist minister. I think she is wonderful.

-Reverend Judy Deutsch,
UU minister emerita


By Sandi Hoover

As one of many birders in the United States, I can attest to what a weird bunch we are. Behavior can be extreme in pursuit of our avocation. Some are occasional, casual birders, content to see birds in their backyard or nearby. Others are fanatics to the point of obsession. Here are some things to know if you take up birding. Today, birders add an unbelievable $85 billion to the U.S. economy every year! These dollars are spent on equipment and clothing, travel, food, lodging, plus professional guides to help locate birds. According to estimates, nearly one in four Americans considers him or herself a bird watcher.

In appearance, you can expect to be dressed in specialized attire never shown on designers’ runways. It’s amazing how many dollars can be spent to look dorky. Starting at ground level, shoes range from tennis shoes to expensive hiking boots built to repel water and muck collected from trekking through marshes and swamps. Footwear is like a field vehicle —choose carefully because it will get dirty or ruined. The truism about the perfect car for a field trip —take someone else’s— works when thinking about shoes as well. Wear those you would toss.

Moving upward, another essential item is a pair of pants with pockets to carry the necessities of life to ward off the wilderness —even if venturing into the backwoods only 50 feet. The pants should be made of lightweight, quick-drying material with pockets upon pockets to hold sunscreen, bug repellent, lip balm, car keys, a birding guide, identification, tissues, water bottle (hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!), lens cleaner for binoculars, and possibly an iPad. Those pants usually have a zipper to convert them into unflattering shorts. However, in parts of the world where chiggers and ticks exist, one never removes the bottom, no matter how hot it might be. People have a valid concern about ticks, but they are far more visible than chiggers, and it’s relatively easy to eliminate them with a thorough check at home after a day pursuing birds. The real fear is the pain of chiggers.

So the pant legs stay on, tucked into white cotton socks (a look not imitated on fashion pages) to minimize the opportunity to provide a meal for those microscopic mites. Known as red bugs or %@!!*# chiggers, these tiny arachnids worm their way into garments, and onto skin, where they travel until they find a constricted spot —underwear edges preferred. There they bury their proboscis in tasty flesh and inject their digestive mix. If this sounds awful, it is! After dissolving part of a person, they suck up the juices —another lovely image.

The aftermath is worse, leaving you itching for several days with a reaction to mite saliva. If you have never met a chigger, you cannot understand the lengths one will go to avoid being lunch for those almost invisible creatures. Bug sprays on socks, sulfur powder, clothes soaked in DEET (rather death by poisons than the misery of itching and scratching for days on end), all are fair game for chigger avoidance. The wilderness demands toughness —or chemicals. Moving upward. You will want a long-sleeved shirt. Best if sun-and-bug-repellent coated, as well as water-resistant, and anti-microbial, so fellow birders are not offended by odors. Color? Beige or green, and the least flattering shades. Birds won’t smell you coming soaked in bug repellent. Most —excepting vultures have no sense of smell.

Next, a vest replete with pockets, homes for whatever didn’t fit in the pants. Pencil and notebook and at least one zippered pocket for money or keys. Who knows what you can tuck in one of the innumerable inner pockets —a several-course meal at the very least. A hat, again beige, or dull green; camo is mostly taboo, since it has been taken over by gun-toting non-birders. Large picture brim hats are verboten. Now you are properly attired and can proceed to hunt the feathered creatures. No longer do you hunt them as John James Audubon did, with shotgun or rifle. You go afield with ‘bins’ (binoculars) and spotting scopes.

Behavior is the way to identify fanatics. They are beyond the “committed” birders, defined as those who can identify forty different birds. They are unstoppable in pursuit of birds, perhaps obsessive-compulsive. They are the tickers. The movie, The Big Year, poignantly funny, was based on real people who were well-known in the birding community. Tickers need to count the different birds they see and tally them on their score card. The yearlong record was broken in 2016 when one person saw 783 species, dramatically surpassing the previous record of 749.

Scoring these rarities on the owner’s life list counts more than other sightings. Is it the thrill of the chase…perhaps the difficulty involved in spotting? Many people collect coins, stamps, porcelain, antiques, or tractors, if they live in Corrales. These are things occupying space, requiring dusting or maintaining in some way. Birders also collect —experiences and an assemblage that, while it grows, takes no dusting and no space other than bytes on a computer or words on paper. The goal is not just a number; this collection reminds us of our connection to the natural world, and the fragility of its ecosystems.

Birding is a way to observe creatures as they go about their lives. It is voyeurism of a sort, as we peer through binoculars to have a magnified look at their activities. We grab a snapshot of their world; a brief time when we glimpse their abilities. There is irony in that the number of birders is increasing while the number of birds is declining rapidly. The populations of many bird species have dropped by seventy percent or more based on data gathered for a century. This decrease is felt in ways people are not aware of. Birds play important roles in pest control, in pollination, and some are intimately entwined with the creation or propagation of forests. All will be missed if they disappear.

Do we only value things as they become rarer?


By Meredith Hughes
Green chiles are roasting! And—-was it only last month that masks were tossed overboard? Remember? They are back, strongly suggested for indoor use in both Sandoval and Bernalillo counties. That Delta variant —remember “Delta is ready when you are”, from 1968 and 1984? ( Also back, ban on tossable plastic bags in stores.) But this pesky pandemic is no joke. Masks are required inside all APS schools, and Corrales municipal buildings. Positive local news? The redoing of Corrales Road is complete. Bye bye July’s go-to road, Loma Larga.

Do visit the websites of your favorite museums/galleries/organizations to check opening and closing times under the once again revised guidelines. Email event suggestions to Published the first issue of the month, What’s On? invites suggestions one week before the publication date.

• Entry to the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) in Santa Fe is free the entire month of August thanks to a generous donation from Jeff Bezos’ ex, MacKenzie Scott, and her husband Dan Jewett. Experience this remarkable gallery at 108 Cathedral Place.

• The Santa Fe Indian Market is on, August 21 and 22, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. But, visitors must buy tickets online. This is a COVID-19 precaution, as numbers must be controlled, alas. Masking up is not confirmed, as the market will be outdoors. Check here for FAQ:
Go here for tickets: https://tickets.

• Art Exhibit NM Landscapes, is the current exhibit at Open Space. Artist Gwen Entz Peterson works predominantly with serigraphy (also known as silkscreen).  Since 1973, Peterson has worked on images great and small. The body of her work is predominantly contemporary landscape, but sometimes also is totally abstract. The exhibit runs through September 18. Open Space Visitor Center, 6500 Coors.

• Shakespeare in the Garden returns to the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, after a 2020 hiatus, with As You Like It. (The garden is open Thursday-Monday, 9 to 5 p.m.) Seats are available Thursday-Sunday through August 22. 715 Camino Lejo. Seating is limited so get your tickets at The performances begin at 6:45 p.m.

• Albuquerque Concert Band Summer Concert, August 11, 7 p.m. Free and easy! New Mexico Veterans Memorial Park, 1100 Louisiana.

• The 27th annual Santa Fe Wine Festival at Las Golondrinas, August 14 and 15, starting at noon each day. 334 Los Pinos Road, Santa Fe. Tickets: https://tickets.holdmyticket. com/tickets/376047

• Steven Michael Quezada’s Comedy Showcase, September 2, 7:30 p.m. at Tableau in the Hotel Albuquerque. Best known for his work in "Breaking Bad,” Quezada introduces stand-up comics from all over, once a month, as well as himself. Tickets are $25:

• Another World: The Transcendental Painting Group, on exhibit through September 26 at the Albuquerque Museum. Take a meditative stroll through this exhibition—the “group” came together in Taos in 1938, “to discuss and perpetuate an alternative to the social realism and homespun Americana that had been promoted by Regionalism and the Ash Can school.” While the artists involved kept working, Agnes Pelton having moved to California, the group itself disbanded after the Second World War. 2000 Mountain.

• Albuquerque Little Theatre has resumed live performances, through August 29. Its third production, Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, runs August 19-29, Thursday- Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. 224 San Pasquale SW. Tickets: https://click4

• Ready, Set, Grow, via NMSU. August 18, 3 to 4 p.m. Planning for Fall Vegetables, with John Garlish. Register at

Did You Know?
It’s back, the longest running, biggest such event here, Albuquerque Home & Garden Show at Expo New Mexico—plants and garden plans, home improvement/decor, demos, artisans (?), food, and multiple promotions…hot tub sales! Masks likely will be encouraged. August 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. August 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $5 admission, unless you are a child 12 and under. 265-3976.
Plus: Be sure to explore the colorful, clear, and completely new and revised website for Corrales Main Street. Brava and bravo to those involved.
In Corrales

• Corrales Arts Center is bursting with offerings this month. Into wine? Visit each of the four Corrales wineries, experience interviews of the owners by Jim Hammond, enjoy tastings. $75. And/or try “The World of Japanese Sumi-E Painting with George Leone,” Japanese ink painting, August 7,14 and 21, 9 a.m. to 4 the Community Center, 4324 Corrales Road. Fee is $50. Register at

• Village Council meeting, August 17, 6:30 p.m., still posted as via Zoom.

• Heidi’s Raspberry Farm has opened for U-Pick, but, it’s possible few spots will be available by this issue’s publication date… Still, people drop out, so there’s always hope. Saturdays, 9 a.m. Check 62xfhws3

• Planning and Zoning meeting, August 18, 6:30 p.m., still posted as via Zoom.

• Corrales Library Book Club, August 30, 2:30 p.m., “The Sparrow,” by Mary Doria Russell, a 1996 provocative sci fi and philosophy tale centered on a Jesuit priest exploring a new planet. Author series, August 31, 7 p.m., Paul and Carlos Meyer on their book “Under the Cottonwood Tree.” A full color Latinx children’s adventure graphic novel set in Algodones, New Mexico, illustrated by Margaret Hardy. Please contact Sandra Baldonado for Zoom event details.

• Music in Corrales is ready to sell you tickets to its 35th season, kicking off with the Bobby Shew Jazz Sextet, September 18, at 7 p.m. “Our current plan is to hold the first two concerts – September and October – in La Entrada Park, near the Corrales Community Library, then move into the Old San Ysidro Church in December.” To buy season tickets see To view the season’s offerings, see http://www.musicincor

• Corrales Growers’ Market. Weekly Sunday sessions in August, 9 to noon. August 8, 15, 22, 29. Wednesdays, also 9 to noon. August 11, 18, 25. Still no dogs allowed… no music, either.

• Village in the Village. Coffee hour, Fridays, 9 to 11 a.m. in person at Corrales Bistro. Reservations are required. Call 274-6206 or email corrales.viv Book Club, August 16, via Zoom, 3-4 p.m.“City of Thieves,” by David Benioff, set in Leningrad during WW2.


Dear Editor:
Just read the 24 July issue of Corrales Comment, and found it to be an especially good read, with articles that were not only interesting, but informative on issues of the day.
The climate change article was especially interesting to me, and let’s hope that the increasing prominence in the press will finally convince the public to get serious about it.
Thanks for the good work!
Paul Stokes

Dear Editor:
Because of preexisting medical conditions in my family, I have been, and continue to be, very cautious to avoid exposure to COVID and its variants.  I was recently referred to physical therapy due to some spinal problems.  During my evaluation, I answered the many questions of the therapist, then I asked her a question: are all the therapists here fully vaccinated?  I was quite surprised when the answer was “we don’t ask our employees if they are vaccinated.”  I was shocked. 
I followed up with Presbyterian Healthcare to find out if that was indeed their policy and the answer was yes and it’s not clear if patients are discouraged from asking.  I have had Pres Healthcare for many years, and never had a complaint with them before now. 
I find their policy to be outrageous.  I appreciate that we each have rights.  But physical therapy is not a procedure that can be done safely distanced and the sessions are not quick. Pres has put me in an untenable situation, and I find it to be unacceptable.  Pres is not taking account of their patients’ right to be treated in safety.  
I suggest that you ask questions of your healthcare providers. Take nothing for granted.
Sam Thompson


Pig *** Co-written and directed by Michael Sarnoski. Starring Nicolas Cage and Steve Tisch. Plugs: None. Nearest: Cottonwood Mall.

The story in Pig cleverly unfolds piece by piece as the setting gets increasingly larger. The film begins with one man in front of a fire by a stream deep in the Oregon wilderness. His name is Rob, and the story expands to his hermit cabin, and to his pet pig, who he uses to find —or, rather, with whom he finds— expensive truffles in the forest undergrowth. The story expands further with the appearance at the cabin of a young hotshot aspiring restaurateur named Amir (Alex Wolff) who arrives to buy Rob’s truffles and bring supplies.

All goes well until Rob’s pig is stolen. This happens early in the film, and the bulk of the story is basically about a man trying to get his pig back. The story opens up even wider when Amir joins Rob (providing transportation to the city, and companionship) as they search high (tony restaurants) and low (scrubby back alleys) in search of information on who took the pig with the specialized truffle-scouting snout. For those wondering how this is going to sustain a feature-length film, writer/director Michael Sarnoski breaks his story down into parts and uses these characters to symbolize larger themes of loss and authenticity, with mixed success. Pig is reminiscent of films such as Captain Fantastic (2016) and Leave No Trace (2018) —both also set in the Pacific Northwest forests— as well as Susan Orlean’s book The Orchid Thief, the basis for the film Adaptation (2002), starring none other than Nicolas Cage.

 This is the sort of story where a character sets out to see someone and it magically happens. The person seems to somehow be in just the right place at the right time to catch the other person alone, unoccupied, and in a receptive mood. It’s tricky to criticize the film for this, however, because the story is essentially a fable, and characters in fables are typically shallow and stereotyped: the villain, the handsome prince, and so on. Here we have a rugged, truth-living mountain man and his fake city slicker friend, and others who are various shades in between this yin and yang. While Pig may at its heart be a fable, it’s a filmed fable and thus audiences (and critics) have a reasonable expectation that the characters will be more fleshed out, for narrative purposes if no other.

There are two pivotal scenes which are played achingly earnest yet unfortunately ring false. I won’t detail them, but they involve Rob confronting people from his past and making them face their inner Truths over the course of a few minutes. Encounters with Rob tend to leave people reflecting on their lost dreams, a theme which may have read great on the page but on the screen comes off as pat, forced and unconvincing. Overall the performances are good, and Cage manages to avoid chewing the scenery; I just wish the script gave the actors more to work with.

You can see why Cage —who, let’s be honest, has not been the most discerning of actors— was drawn to the film. He gets to play a mysterious recluse, a man of few words but a reservoir of wisdom. He gets to play off of a series of foils including Amir, who offers a study in (often ham-handed) contrasts. Amir’s ostentatious, consumerist-driven, highfalutin’ life in Portland is seen as vacuous compared to Rob’s simple, rustic, idealized life of dubious hygiene and porcine-assisted truffle rustling. Truth is in the freedom and wilderness, while the city life is full of evil and deceit. We get it —and so does Rob, because as we come to learn he was once in that world. Pig is an odd, mediocre film; it’s better than its premise suggests, but often a bit too precious and ponderous, taking itself much too seriously.

—Benjamin Radford


Ourzazate and Erg Chebbi, Morocco
A few days after arriving in Marrakesh, on a lark I joined a handful of fellow travelers staying with me at the Hotel Afriquia —including a young female yoga instructor and her manager/boyfriend; a pleasant Irishman named Conor who spoke impenetrable brogue; and four Aussie girls on a three-day tour of the Central Atlas Valley, east of the city. We’d be seeing gorgeous gorges and classic casbahs as we wound through the mountains toward the Sahara, finally ending up among the most picturesque parts of the desert, the famed Erg Chebbi dunes. It’s been the backdrop to many films, perhaps most memorably The Mummy, which starred Brendan Fraser and had come out several years earlier, in 1999. It’s the beautiful, if stereotypical, image that most people have of the Sahara.

 We headed out in a van, which was decent but with a total of 18 of us, a bit tight. Marrakesh has its exotic charm, but we were all eager to get out of the city and see the countryside. That enthusiasm was soon sapped by heat and tedium; for about half the trip we were all pretty tired. The van’s air conditioning did its best given the head count and the fact that we were headed toward one of the world’s greatest deserts, but between that and the engine droning all of us were asleep at some time or another —including, I suspect, the driver. We weren’t bored, but there were long stretches between points of interest, and usually a helpful neighbor would nudge me when something interesting approached, for a photograph if not a nodding, bleary acknowledgement.

It cooled a bit as we headed into the High Atlas’s sheer rocky cliffs. Further along the land flattened out into desert, and strongly resembled New Mexico in many ways. The lack of water thwarted any farming, and the strong winds would likely blow any seedlings away. The main industry was tending sheep, and we saw at least a dozen shepherds tending flocks of a few dozen sheep listlessly scrounging scarce scrub. The occasional buildings were usually in earthtones, and were in fact earth —not cement and certainly not wood. Along the road huge cactus plants grew in long rows, marking off property boundaries, as did piles of rocks which reminded me of the stone figure inukshuks I’d seen on the Canadian tundra along Hudson Bay.

Unfinished construction was common; about one out of every five buildings I saw lacked some important structural feature —usually a roof, or one of the walls. At times a would-be property was introduced with a large metal or wooden painted sign optimistically advertising (and often depicting) a lush hotel or resort which didn’t seem to have gotten much past pouring a foundation or planting a few (long since dead) trees. It was a sad and poignant scene that might have inspired Shelley’s lines about Ozymandias, king of kings. Despite the heat everyone got excited as the giant sloped dunes of Erg Chebbi came into focus through the wavering desert haze and heat, like a giant light pink slug on the horizon, lying in wait as we approached. About 40 minutes later we arrived at a small parking area that seemed to be surrounded by nothing but high sand dunes. We disembarked —reminded to bring our all-important 10-dirham quarts of bottled water— and were led around an otherwise invisible space between dunes where we found a waiting camel train.

We were each handed a wool blanket saddle and told to stand near the camels. All this was handled by a pair of Berbers, who were dressed in brilliant, deep blue cloth and, improbably, barefoot. I first noticed it when Conor, who was nearby, shouted some Irish gibberish to me. I smiled and pretended I understood him, but I think he was onto me and pointed at his, and then their, shoes (or lack thereof). The Berbers, both likely in their thirties, were deeply tanned, with pitch black hair and fierce mustaches that stood in contrast to their friendly grins and rudimentary English. One by one each tourist was placed on a correspondingly-sized camel. There were two camel trains, each characteristically surly (yet grudgingly dependable) animal tied with rope around their mouths, stomachs, and tails.

Off we went, leaving any torpor to the wind and sand. We were on a Grand Adventure, and each lurching plod of my camel shook off lingering drowsiness as we headed into the desert. Since I was a young boy I’d always fantasized about crossing the Sahara. We weren’t technically crossing it, of course… we were, at best, getting a tiny, touristy take on it. But it was still as close as I’d get, and I savored every second of it. I tried to get some photos of the desert and camel train behind me, but the disruptive dromedary made it impossible to steady the camera. The dunes were a delightful creamy pinkish tan, dotted only with the occasional small shrub and walnut-sized lumps of camel shit.
After about an hour covering perhaps two miles we came upon a Berber camp consisting of three low tents (the edges were about three feet off the ground and only accessible by crawling) surrounded by a large carpeted area. Our bags were stowed under the tents, and we were told we’d sleep outside on the carpet, unless a sandstorm came up, in which case we’d head to the tents.

Our camp was surrounded by dunes and at the base of the largest, probably 50 feet high. I was eager to explore the area in the waning hours of the day. I was told that was fine, but not to wander too far from camp. So —minding a compass and heading toward the setting sun for orientation— I immediately tried to test both my endurance and our guides’ patience. Unlike the Berbers I was wearing hiking boots, which protected my feet but whose weight made walking more arduous. Nevertheless I climbed about two or three big dunes before deciding I should turn 180 degrees and head back, following my tracks (as the only sign of where I’d come, there being nothing but blue skies and identical dunes all around me). A sudden sandstorm could be dangerous, if for no other reason than by erasing all traces of my return path, hence the compass.

As I walked back I noticed another camp, one I hadn’t seen when hiking the other direction, partially hidden by dunes. At first I thought it was another tourist camp, since many different tours often take customers to more or less the same places. But as I drew closer I realized it was a real Berber camp, and there was indeed a real Berber family living in it, with a small herd of goats nearby. This pleased me immensely, as it closely resembled our own camp. Tourists, of course, would never truly experience a desert nomad’s life after a single night on the edge of the Sahara, but it seemed reasonably authentic.

Upon returning I wandered a bit more, though staying within sight of the camp. I soon heard a bell ring and joined everyone for a dinner of bread with a bowl of peas, potatoes and goat meat. After desert dessert consisting of an orange, people broke into groups. Some swapped travel stories, and pretended they knew what the hell Conor was saying. Others discussed politics, while still others shared lame jokes. All was fine until a guitar somehow materialized and some idiot decided that everyone should sing songs. That was my cue to call it a night. I didn’t mind the butchered “Yellow Submarine,” but I didn’t come all the way to the Moroccan Sahara to hear “American Pie” sung by people who stumbled through everything but the chorus.

 I took a sleeping pill and tried to fall asleep, picking a place on the edge of the carpet just outside the campfire light, but the goings-on were too distracting. I decided to sleep on top of the big dune, by myself, under the star-sprinkled night sky. I slowly edged out of sight, hoping the Berber twins didn’t take a head count. I brought only a bottle of water and my glasses, and made my way up the sliding sand to the crest of the dune. I settled in and had a front-row seat to the heavens. I could see for miles, nothing but dunes, stars, and the occasional faint glow of what might be other camps in the far distance —maybe a few hundred meters away, maybe many miles. No cities, no light pollution, no nothing. I soon stripped down to my underwear, carving out a small sand hollow for my shoulders and hips. A welcoming Saharan breeze cooled me off, sometimes sprinkling sand into my eyes, nose and ears. I didn’t care; I savored that as well. I made a pillow of my rolled-up pants and shirt and drifted to sleep with a smile, another childhood dream realized.

Benjamin Radford


By Barry Abel
Welcome back! The last year was difficult for so many we all know —relatives, friends— all over the country.  Activities curtailed, restaurants closed, isolation the reality of each day. Now we celebrate another beginning. Corrales and the rest of the country are open for business. Restaurants are busy and social and recreational activities resume. How will our reawakening look and feel? For those of us in Village in the Village, we are slowly getting back to in-person social activities. We had our first happy hour outside at Casa Vieja. The setting was lovely. Coffee hours on Friday mornings at the Bistro are ongoing, and by now we’ve held our first monthly lunch for members. Our board had its first in-person meeting in over a year.

ViV is planning a “Discovery” lecture series in the early fall —we don’t have the venue yet but hope to find a place in the village. We already have terrific speakers lined up to discuss resiliency, the new law in New Mexico that allows Medical Aid in Dying, caregiving and caretaking, and more. Stay tuned. As I’ve noted in my last two columns, we joined ViV to give back, to make our neighbors’ lives easier, to enable seniors to continue living independently in their own homes as long as they wish and are still physically able to do so.  We get the rewards of participating in that mission all the time. But the best and most unexpected reward is finding a whole new group of good friends and companions through ViV. All the social functions (some noted above) enable us to find the community that makes life easier and so much more rewarding.  Those who grew up in the area still have that network of family and friends from childhood to call on in good times and bad. But many of us found Corrales, and even New Mexico, later in life. We have family and childhood friends scattered all over —they’re just not here.  For us, ViV has been key to building our own support and friendship network right here where we choose to live.

I’m convinced that the peacefulness and lack of stress to living in Corrales are significant factors in enabling so many we know to extend their lives significantly beyond the lifespans enjoyed by the last generation, back where we grew up. Having a group of good friends and a support network is an important part of that reality. We hope you will join us as members of ViV.  You don’t have to provide services to be a member —just being a member, you help support our mission. Plus, you should know that all members have the opportunity to request services when needed.

Need help hanging that new large screen on-the-wall TV?  Need a ride to the airport or to the eye doctor for that appointment where they dilate your eyes?  ViV members can call or email and our friendly call manager will find a fellow ViV member to provide the service that you need.  And all the friendships and group support, the learnings from the “Discovery” series, exploring new places for lunch or coffee, all that is just a wonderful bonus. We’re looking forward to getting to know you.

Barry Abel is an active member and volunteer in Village in the Village. For more information, visit our website at


By Barry Abel
Why ViV
Many of us have chosen Corrales as the community in which we wish to live now that we have retired and can settle wherever we choose. That means we come here without family or the benefits of our long-time support groups. Corrales is exactly where we want to be. We build a network here of friends; we find so much to do. But later in life, we will need something more.

To many of us, Village in the Village/Corrales (ViV) helps in both areas: we form many friendships with other Corraleños in and through ViV and, in times of need, we find the assistance we require through ViV which provides volunteer friend- and neighbor-like services to members who need them.

Recent events involving friends and extended family have underscored this for me, especially the need for support and help when the time arises. Two couples were involved - in one, the husband was stricken by a profoundly serious affliction and hospitalized, very ill, sedated. His recovery will be long and will require significant speech and physical rehabilitation. In the other couple, the husband's cancer, which he had had for three years hardly showing any evidence thereof, finally reached his brain. He died about a week later.

In both cases, the wife isn't able to continue to live independently without a partner to help carry the burden. In one situation, there really wasn't any backup or helping community group where they lived. The full burden fell onto family members —a grown child who lived a four or five-hour drive away in the neighboring state and a sister, now 80, at the far end of the country. In the other situation, the couple belonged to ViV.

Despite the unanticipated death of the husband, ViV stepped in to help. We visited our friend in her own home, took her to lunch, helped her process what had happened and focus on her future. Those services from ViV gave precious time for the couple’s grown children to put affairs in order, proceed with cleaning out the house, make arrangements for their mother's future, and so on.

It just underscored the point about why we choose to be members of ViV. Another ViV member and long-time Corrales resident who, at 95, has lots of friends in the community and especially in ViV, comments there is simply no way she would still be alive and functioning without the support she gets and has received from ViV and its volunteers, much less still be living in her own house at this age.

For some, active church groups can fill that role. For some, family members who live in the same area can do it. For many of us, ViV fills that role. And the fact is, making sure one has that network of support becomes more and more important the older we get.

We believe it is essential, especially if you are single and “not so young anymore,” to make some sort of arrangement for yourself. Do it for what ViV offers in the present, or simply for ‘just in case’. For many of us, Village in the Village provides the answers. ViV offers social opportunities —weekly gatherings in person and via Zoom like Friday morning coffee or breakfast and a monthly Happy Hour, learning opportunities, active activities like bocce ball. And ViV significantly expands the number of our friends in our chosen community - Corrales.

Barry Abel is an active member and volunteer for Village in the Village. For more information about the organization go to


Cuyabeno, Ecuador 2015
As destructive as oil development in Ecuador’s Amazon region has been, we would not have been able to experience the remarkable headwaters of the world’s mightiest river system without it. Exploitation of the country’s petroleum reserves opened up the vast, flooded rainforest in the northeast corner of Ecuador, near the convergence of its boundary with Colombia and Peru.

Roads carved into the “impenetrable” forest brought in hordes of oilfield workers and pipeline installers so that the black treasure could be pumped away, over the daunting Andes range and on to the Atlantic for export.

World attention has been fixed on the rampant deforestation of Brazil’s Amazon region, which is finally recognized as an unparalleled crisis for the planet’s ecosystem. But the 2.9 million square- mile basin —the world’s largest, draining about 40 percent of the continent— covers much more than the expanse in Brazil where the burning of cleared land has exacerbated carbon accumulation in the atmosphere.

Ecuador is one of the smaller South American countries, especially compared to Brazil, but devastation of its rainforest derives from extraction of fossil fuel rather than burning of trees or the clearing of land for grazing. Ecuador has oil reserves estimated at eight billion barrels.

International concern over wanton destruction of Ecuador’s Amazon region gave rise to an ambitious program for a 2007 deal by which the Ecuadorian government would prohibit oil development in the Yasuní Reserve if the international community would pay $3.6 billion in exchange. When only $13 million was raised, the deal was cancelled and petroleum exploitation began in 2016.

As a result, swathes of Ecuador’s Amazonian rainforest have been cleared, the equivalent of 110 football fields a day on average. To service some 3,400 oil wells there, more than 6,000 miles of roads were carved into the jungle, especially around Cuyabeno. In one of the region’s indigenous languages, Siona Secoya, “cuyabeno” means “river of kindness.”

For various reasons —one suspects they include the remote location, bribes to regulators, and the powerlessness of native tribes —oil companies contaminated surrounding waterways with dumped petroleum waste and spills. In 2011, an Ecuadorian court levied a settlement of $9.5 billion against Chevron, which had acquired Texaco’s disastrous oil extraction legacy here. That judgement dampened the industry’s interest for a while. But in 2019 more oil fields were acquired in the area around the Reserva de Producción Faunística Cuyabeno.

The lakes and waterways here in the eastern foothills of the Andes receive an average of 180 inches of rain yearly —often more than 15 feet —which pours into the vast Amazon floodplain.

Easily ranked among the most biologically diverse regions in the world—especially considering that so much of the surface is water—the reserve is home to 10 species of monkeys, two species of river dolphin, jaguar, puma, boa constrictors, anaconda and nearly 600 species of birds.

Getting around is limited almost entirely to boat during much of the time and to visit some parts, paddles are the chosen method of propulsion to maintain serenity for wildlife. Gliding slowly beneath the jungle canopy, we can see monkeys crossing the waterways in single file except for the occasional rebel who leaps from a high branch to land on a cushy mat of vegetation at water’s edge and rejoin the troop.

I first visited Ecuador’s Amazonas territory in 1962, a young journalist invited to accompany two government officials inspecting rain-eroded roads into the jungle. Passing Shell Mera, the oil exploration outpost established by Royal Dutch Shell in 1937, we continued on to the very end of the unpaved road where we did, indeed, find severe damage.

Shell abandoned the village and its airstrip after about ten years, but both were revived in 1954 by missionaries determined to spread Christianity to the jungle tribes. Five of the missionaries were killed with spears by members of the Huaorani tribe (also known as Aucas) six years before my first visit. The region’s Jivaro tribes were also thought to still produce shrunken heads, known as tsantzas, in those days.

The lure of oil riches soon attracted more intense exploration by U.S. companies which announced in the early 1960s that they had found nothing of interest. But Ecuadorians were convinced that was false—that the oil companies had simply capped the wells to await more favorable market conditions. That inflamed anti-American sentiment while I was there in 1962.

That suspicion proved justified; by 1980 Ecuador produced an estimated 230,000 barrels of crude oil daily. Now most of it comes from wells around, and even inside, Cuyabeno Reserve.
Jeff Radford


By Steve Komadina
Out of the Pandemic? I have met with veterinarians and trainers in the last three months, and it is satisfying to witness the great awakening in the horse world. As restrictions have been cautiously raised, the interaction of equine fanatics has begun to unfold. It has been a tough year with loved ones lost and others weakened by the COVID-16 virus. Therapeutic riding programs closed, and stables were on lock-down. But we are waking up and coming alive and the excitement is palpable. Most encouraging is the excitement for many big shows like the Arab Youth Nationals in Oklahoma this month. A scan of the entrants shows many New Mexicans and classes with 40-60 entrants. These numbers have not been seen for several years even pre-COVID. There was time for training and private lessons during the lock-down and now everyone is anxious to try for that ribbon or trophy or even the roses!

Rodeo also is alive and well. Rodeo events are springing up in every little community and the kids are ready to ride. Horses and children: not ready to go away yet! Sure, there are some who would rather jump on an ATV, or just close the door to their room and spend hours immersed in a video game killing hoards trying to storm the castle or outrun the police as they make their heist of millions. But there still are those youth who saddle up and learn to work with another breathing, living, thinking being who will take them to their dream destinations. For eons, humans have partnered with these great animals to explore the world and find new horizons of opportunity. The horse youth of today can experience the same thrills and hard work and yes, even discomfort known to those who lived in the past.

My grandpa Pollock was a cowboy in Tropic, Utah and he gathered cattle in Bryce Canyon and moved them to new pastures in the late 1980s. He never quite left that life behind as he married and moved to Salt Lake City, where he worked as a barber and raised a family. I have looked at his picture leaning on his saddle horn and found it easy to close my eyes and imagine him riding along with me through the bosque and sharing thoughts as we watched the sun come up over the Sandias. I never knew him, but I think we were soul brothers when it came to love of a good horse between our legs.

Here is to the horse youth of today! Ride on and win that ribbon or capture that dream. Do not be afraid to hit the trail and follow the paths of those who went before. You are blessed to live in Corrales and do not miss the opportunity to wave if you see me on the trail. Saddle up! Tomorrow may be too late.