Feature photo spread inside
Although much of Corrales appears shuttered, businesses are responding to customers and clients by phone and on line, essential municipal services are continuing and, generally, community spirit remain high.
Tanya Lattin, commander at the Corrales Fire Department, said April 7 that she was not aware of any Corrales resident who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, now sweeping the globe.
At least 1,000 people in the United States died of the illness on a single day, April 3, according to Johns Hopkins University. Nationwide, more than a quarter-million people are confirmed to have the virus, which apparently began coursing thorough humans in an inland Chinese city late last year.
Village government’s new fiscal year begins July 1, which may come before gross receipts taxes rebound from the collapse of commerce here and statewide. Village Administrator Ron Curry had started the budget process for fiscal year 2020-21 before the worst business closures hit.
In early April, he was optimistic that the Village’s finances would hold strong through June. “Our gross receipts tax revenue for the next 90 days looks really good,” he said April 1. “But starting three or four months from now, we will be very cautious” about expenditures.
The Village of Corrales’ annual budget process typically begins in March with the heads of departments (such as police, fire, library, public works and others) reporting what they expect to need for the new fiscal year.
Gross receipts (sales) tax on the sale of goods and services provides the biggest chunk of income for municipal governments, as intended by state statues. But much of that revenue stream is expected to have evaporated due to mandatory business closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Village’s 2019-20 budget, which went into effect July 1, 2019, anticipated more than $3 million coming in from gross receipts taxes. Part of that was to come from sales within Corrales, while other such taxes were to be shared by the State treasury from taxes collected elsewhere.
For Corrales, $1,354,386 was projected to come from “municipal share,” while $1,118,438 would be derived from “gross receipts municipal,” $326,931 was projected from “municipal hold harmless GRT,” $195,600 from “municipal infrastructure GRT” and $55,902 from “environmental GRT.”
In Corrales’ last year budget, the Village was projected to receive $1,623,193 as its share of property tax collected. Issuance of building permits was anticipated to bring in $150,000 during FY2019-20.
Corrales’ budget for the current fiscal year is more than $5 million.
Unless extensions are granted from the N.M. Department of Finance and Administration, Village officials are required to submit a draft 2020-2021 budget by May 31. That would be reviewed and okayed by DFA, so that the Village Council can adopt a final at the end of June.
Corrales may be in better shape financially than many other municipalities since it was discovered late last year that the Village’s investment account held way more than had been thought. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIX No.1 February 22, 2020 “Mystery Continues for Village’s Extra $4.7 Million.”) Curry said April 1 that an audit was still underway to learn the source of the extra money.
Curry said April 6 that DFA officials in Santa Fe had advised that the Village should look at last year’s budget as a starting point for developing the FY2020-21 budget. “But we will be having more conversations with DFA later this week. We have advised Village department heads to submit a flat budget for next year.”
He expects State government will be able to provide the level of funding to Corrales as projected, “although the legislature will be looking at its budget projections, which were based on oil selling for $50 a barrel and it’s now down to $20.”
He said the Village administration is keeping careful track of its expenditures related to costs incurred due to the pandemic. “We’re hoping that some reimbursement may come to us through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“Right now, we’re concerned that the number of COVID-19 cases in Sandoval County continues to rise.”
The Frontier Mart has been sold to a Corrales couple who intend to keep the store going.
The new owners are Gabriel and Elizabeth Holguin; the business was already in existence as “Corrales Market” when Jean Blackmon Waszak and partners took it over in 1976.
For decades, the enterprise, also known affectionately as “the little store” was the setting for a column she wrote for Corrales Comment, “Reflections from a Country Store.” She suspended the column last year after to her husband’s serious injury. John Waszak, a former professional football player, is recovering and undergoing physical therapy.
For years after she acquired the store, it was located in the building next door, now known as “The Bunkhouse.” Jean and John Waszak bought the adjacent property and built the new store in 1997.
Back when Pat Clauser began paying attention to Corrales politics, plans were under way to build what is now Cottonwood Mall on vacant land between Cabezon Road and Corrales Center.
That land, the northern parcels of the old Seven Bar Ranch, instead became the Riverwalk and La Paz apartment complexes.
Earlier this month, Clauser ended her 12-year service on the Village Council when Stuart Murray replaced her to represent District 6. Prior to her initial election to the council in 2008, she had served two years on the Planning and Zoning Commission.
She agreed to a retrospective interview with Corrales Comment April 3 looking back on those 14 years.
Over all, she lamented the relative lack of citizen involvement in Village affairs these days. “I think it’s really important to have more discussion at Village Council meetings and to have more people there.
“We used to have many more work-study sessions about projects than we have now. In previous times, we had much more discussion by residents coming to council meetings.
Two Corrales artists, Bonnie Mitisek and Barb Clark, dove into spring, delighted to be out and about in the sun, clearly en plein air.
The works we share here were done in March, before the coronavirus boom fully crashed down. Once it did, Clark closed down the gallery she runs with Susana Erling, Corrales Fine Arts, and turned to her sewing machine. Clark is turning out face masks until she runs out of fabric.
Mitisek, thankfully, also continues on, ordering up and handling sales of flowers and plants at the Village Mercantile, while doing some pastels indoors. Take a look at the vase filled with sunflowers, which she did from a photo taken last summer.
Clark situated herself mainly near the ditch bank, with another moment at the Old Church annex. In both cases the attraction was a tree in bloom.
Mitisek was driving around Corrales in seek of bloom, too, when she found the house pictured. She asked permission of the owner to take a couple photos, and then turn them into art. Permission was granted.
Both artists sell their works, Clark her oils via bacpastels.com, her personal website, as well as the gallery site, corralesfinearts.com. Clark started an Instagram account called CorralesCreates, and she is inviting all Corrales artists to join in, #CorralesCreates.
Mitisek offers her pastels via email, email@example.com, or by landline, 301-5222.
Clark says some clients of the gallery have asked her to make gift certificates available, to help keep the project afloat, so she is exploring Square, a payment processing/online shop tool found here: http://www.squareup.com/us/en.
Here follow brief write-ups, links, and more, information we think may be of value to Corraleños. Some of this is perhaps well known by now, some not. We will try to keep this information regularly updated on our website at corralescomment-archive.com. Good information about Corrales businesses is provided by Corrales MainStreet.
For cultural links and content, please take a look at “What’s Not On,” —formerly What’s On— in this issue
All Corrales businesses would probably qualify for financial help to weather the strains caused by the virtual shut-down of commerce due to the coronavirus pandemic. The federal economic stimulus program launched by Congress’ CARES Act last month allocates $349 billion for loans across the nation which may not need to be repaid.
Deadline is June 30.
“This money will go quickly, and New Mexico small businesses must act as soon as possible to obtain loans,” the State’s secretary of Economic Development, Alicia Keyes, advised April 4. “Many businesses struggling through this crisis need a financial bridge to help them survive and recover once this crisis eases.”
Two programs rolled out this month could help: the Paycheck Protection Program and the
There's definitely a change in the way we are talking about coronavirus. Yes, it is here in New Mexico, but we are not going to panic. We are going to do what we can to protect ourselves and each other. Our goal is to stop or slow the spread of the virus to ensure New Mexico will have adequate medical resources to take care of those of us who will need help. What each of us chooses to do protects not only us, but those around us, especially our more vulnerable neighbors. Please wash your hands, wipe down surfaces and avoid crowds. Most of us are going to be just fine, even if we get ill, but these safeguards are crucial to those who are most at risk. But what about government? One of its main functions is to safeguard the health and welfare of its citizens. Therefore, following state directives to limit...
The 50th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, comes amid a global calamity for humans caused by a virus thought to have originated in bats. The pandemic demonstrates the truth of environmental interconnectedness emanating from the first and subsequent celebrations of Earth Day. No gatherings have been announced for this year’s anniversary event given the national restrictions to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
The first event was organized by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin who was motivated by a major oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969. The environmental awareness movement in the United States joined with similar sentiments around the globe, culminating in the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden in June 1972.
That watershed event brought about establishment of the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya a year later.
A succession of UNEP intergovernmental conferences followed, leading to what was called “the Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
Participation in that conference inspired two young U.S. senators, Al Gore and John Kerry, to join the growing international consensus that concrete action was imperative to address climate change. The former went on to run for president of the United States, actually winning the popular vote in the ___ race that seated George Bush, while Kerry was named President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Both men took leading roles at the 2015 climate change accord in Paris where nearly 200 governments around the world agreed to (non-binding) limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
You can now buy fresh, Corrales-grown produce and wine at a drive-thru stand at Milagro Winery in its collaboration with Silver Leaf Farms.
The farmstand opened April 2, and there were more than a few contented customers, according to social media.
Products included greens and mini-cukes, potted herb plants and soil from Silver Leaf, as well as wine from Milagro, cheeses and charcuterie and bread from Bosque Bakery, all done up in brown paper bags with handles. Newly added were Heidi’s Raspberry Jam and coffee from Candlestick Coffee.
Customers make their online orders at tinyurl.com/rp8adfs. Orders must be in by early Wednesday morning for Thursday pick-up at 125 Old Church Road, near the intersection with West Ella. Call 459-7163 to have your bag delivered to your car.
While no one is out and about shaking hands, Democratic candidates who have announced to replace State Senator John Sapien, not seeking re-election to the Senate District 9 seat, are Ben Rodefer, Kevin Lucero and Brenda McKenna of Corrales.
Senate District 9 covers all of Corrales, Placitas, Bernalillo, Algodones and parts of Rio Rancho and Sandia Pueblo.
Democrat Jodilynn Ortiz of Placitas recently withdrew from consideration, claiming in a statement that “…one of my opponents, Brenda McKenna and her team, challenged some of the...
Tired of going to Book Club? Yoga? Consider reeling in a few good pals to play around with messy Portland cement and peat moss in order to create your own stone-like planters from hypertufa. Or, if you are self-isolating, dive in by yourself. Tufa is limestone rock, so hypertufa is fake rock that is lighter weight and porous, thus perfect for plants, especially drought-tolerant succulents...
By Meredith Hughes
Sowing to the edges, with no hedges, is an agricultural approach that has decimated what one gardener has called “linear nature preserves,” which once nurtured all manner of creature, including bees. In Britain, once fabled for its healthy hedgerows, this created soil erosion, more impact from wind, and far less biodiversity...
Plant a variety of trees to have flowers throughout the year. Trees in the ornamental pear family will bloom first in the spring, followed by ornamental plums and redbuds. Fruit trees blossom next, with peach and apple being the most reliable for actually producing fruit. Cherry, apricot and nectarines often bloom too early and then get taken down by a late frost. Crab apple trees bloom in late spring. Desert willows and chitalpas bloom in the summer, along with chaste trees.
On April 6, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, along with U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján, Deb Haaland and Xochitl Torres Small announced that New Mexico Tribes will receive over $674,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
The funds are part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that the entire New Mexico delegation voted to pass Congress last week.
The grants are part of $2 billion in emergency supplemental funding for federal programs benefiting Indian tribes. The CARES Act also established a $8 billion Tribal Coronavirus Relief Fund to ensure Tribes have “one stop” access to resources to fund a Tribal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Mexico Tribes will receive $674,279 to fund Tribal public transportation systems for their communities.
“Tribes have made it abundantly clear that the effects of COVID-19 on Indian Country will be devastating if they do not receive necessary public health, ...
A bill pending in Congress aims to help farmers adjust to climate change. The Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA, H.R.5861) is intended to set farmers up with the tools they need to confront the climate crisis. Representative Chellie Pingree, Maine Democrat, introduced a comprehensive policy proposal to facilitate farmers’ access to scientific data.
Here are the key points as described by the congresswoman.
• The ARA takes a systems approach. Climate change is bringing a wide range of challenges to U.S. farmers and food system stakeholders. The vast suite of tools will put support in a range of areas where it’s needed. For example, investments will range from supporting farmers in improving agricultural practices on crop and livestock operations, to expanding renewable energy use in farms across the nation and helping to curb senseless losses of farm and food waste.
• The bill would quadruple agricultural science funding. With its call to massively increase agricultural research and extension funding, this policy proposal should appeal to all who love science, including the farmers who can benefit from it.
The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions released unofficial numbers for new unemployment insurance claims filed for the period March 27 to April 2. The total number of new claims processed for the week was 28,344, but not all claimants will qualify for benefits. The number of weekly certifications for the same timeframe was 44,000. These include people receiving benefits and others who are in the system and awaiting determination. As of April 2, the current trust fund balance was $450 million. Individuals are required to certify every week after they apply for benefits, including the weeks before they receive their first benefit payment. The department encourages those who are able to complete their weekly certification online at www.jobs.state.nm.us or they may call 1-877-664-6984, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A video on how to file weekly certifications has been published on the NMDWS official YouTube channel, www.YouTube.com/NMDWS. “Governor Lujan Grisham wants all New Mexicans to be safe and healthy as we work through the COVID-19 crisis,” said Bill McCamley, secretary of the New Mexico Workforce Solutions Department. “Our staff is working as hard as we can to ensure that...
By Meredith Hughes
A “controlled environment agriculture” project that reuses over 90 percent of its water, gives life to plants and fish, and runs on power from a solar array operates on the Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) campus, as part of the Trades and Advanced Technology Center.
It is the domain of Charlie Schultz, a well-traveled hydroponics and aqua-ponics expert, who, after earning two degrees at Virginia Tech, “found his calling” at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. For 14 years there he specialized in developing aquaponics using tilapia and a variety of plant crops, as well as other fish production systems.
Schultz focused on similar matters at Kentucky State and San Marcos, Texas, as well as in Alberta, Canada.
He finds it amusing that New Mexico Tech is still hesitant to have him as a speaker during its Organic Farming Conference, because the topic is water. But then, farmers devoted to soils may have to be wooed to the world of greenhouse water-recirculating growing.
“In 13 years we used and reused the same water,” he says. He and some of his crew had a “vendor” table at the recent conference, however, featuring healthy heads of romaine.
The setup at SFCC began in a small geodesic dome greenhouse, which is still planted in the parking lot and still in use. “Water-based agriculture as yet is not granted organic status, and there is major anti-water farming bias,” according to Schultz.
U.S. Senator Tom Udall and senators from Oregon wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt urging Interior to immediately suspend any policy proposals or actions unrelated to the COVID-19 emergency that require a public comment period until the threats of COVID-19 have subsided. Udall is the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. The Oregon senators were Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. The senators sent the letter as Americans across the country are focused on the safety and well-being of their families and themselves during this global crisis, meaning public comment periods on policy actions at this time cannot fully reflect public opinion and meaningful participation. In New Mexico, the Department of the Interior oversees approximately 27 million acres, about 34 percent of the state’s total lands. Late last month, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) entered into a public comment period for the sale of federal public land in Eddy, Lea and Chaves counties while COVID-19 confirmed cases had jumped to 403 with seen confirmed deaths across the state. “As the country is addressing the public health emergency of COVID-19, the agencies within the Department of Interior should be focused on how to bolster the response to COVID-19 in communities across America,...
Advocates for the homeless in New Mexico are urging the state and local communities to make preparations to help those without permanent housing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of positive cases in New Mexico remains low compared with many other states, but those who experience homelessness are very high-risk for contracting the disease, according to Hank Hughes, executive director of New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness.
The easiest way to be sure you can participate in the political party primaries June 2 is to use the N.M. Secretary of State’s portal for an absentee ballot. “We have an election coming up, and it is unclear how the pandemic will affect the June 2 primary,” State Representative Daymon Ely explained. “I urge you to make a plan to vote. The best and easiest way will be to order an absentee ballot. You can do so by going online here. “The legislature is currently considering a special session to address budget issues. While we don't know when this will be yet, there are other issues that might be considered specifically around helping small business. Any ideas you have on a special session or examples of problems that need help would be very much appreciated,” Ely said.
The United Nations climate change conference (COP26) that was set to take place in Glasgow, Scotland in November has been postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic. This decision has been taken by the COP Bureau of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with the United Kingdom and its Italian partners.
Dates for a rescheduled conference in 2021, hosted in Glasgow, will be set out in due course following further discussion with parties. “In light of the ongoing, worldwide effects of COVID-19, holding an ambitious, inclusive COP26 in November 2020 is no longer possible,” organizers said. “Rescheduling will ensure all parties can focus on the issues to be discussed at this vital conference and allow more time for the necessary preparations to take place. We will continue to work with all involved to increase climate ambition, build resilience and lower emissions. COP26 President-Designate and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma explained, “The world is currently facing an unprecedented global challenge and countries are rightly focusing their efforts on saving lives and fighting COVID-19. That is why we have decided to reschedule COP26.”
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa added, “COVID-19...