If you’re planning to vote by mail this fall, you may want to think about how you’ll manage that. Concerns about voter suppression and/or voter fraud and Russian election manipulation are as rampant nationwide as the coronavirus. Will you stand in line socially-distanced to cast your ballot in person or will you send in a ballot mailed to you? The Sandoval County Clerk can send out applications for absentee ballots as soon as the middle of next month, September 14. Those mail-back ballots will be accepted starting October 6; early voting begins October 17.
Note: Corrales Comment’s story went to press the morning of the APS Board Meeting on August 19. The decision reached later that day was this, according to the APS website: “In an abundance of caution amid the contagious coronavirus, and after a lengthy discussion… that centered on keeping students and staff safe, the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education voted Wednesday to extend remote learning through the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year.”
Back to school this year under Albuquerque Public Schools is not about a snazzy new backpack, but, more likely a more powerful router, and an upgraded laptop. Students all will be learning remotely, at least until September 8, including pupils at Corrales Elementary. Busy Principal Liv Baca-Hochhausler wrote that “we are trying to reinvent public education!”
If you’re miffed by political signs remaining up long after primary elections in June, be advised that Village officials may have to allow them to stay up —forever. At least that’s the contention of former Corrales Planning and Zoning Commissioner Frank Wirtz. In an August 10 email to Mayor Jo Anne Roake, Wirtz argued that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such political signs on private property are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The mayor responded to him in an email that same day: “Our attorney is looking into this right now.” The Village’s sign ordinance clearly states that political campaign signs must be removed within three days after the election. The Code or Ordinances reads at Section 8-97 “Permitted Signs, Size Restrictions:”
A family of bobcats (Lynx rufus) has apparently taken up residence in Corrales. Jasmine Tritten was surprised to find four bobcat kittens lounging on a patio wall at dusk August 9. Their mother had left them to hunt for a rabbit or other suitable supper. “They were there for about an hour at dusk,” Jim Tritten told Corrales Comment. North American bobcats are fairly widespread and commonly seen in wooded areas. They are about twice the size of a normal domestic cat. They have short, stubby (bobbed) tails, for which they are named. Also distinctively, they have black horizontal stripes on their forelegs and a black tip on their tails. Bobcats are considered territorial and generally solitary. They are most active around twilight.
Corrales Comment published an earlier photo of a bobcat in the Bosque Preserve in the July 25 issue, headlines “Close Encounter With Bobcat Here.” A frequent bike rider in the Corrales Bosque Preserve, Guy Spencer came across a less frequent visitor: a bobcat, right on the trail.
“I’m an avid mountain biker, and throughout the years, I’ve certainly come across and run into many cool things and experiences,” Spencer recalled after the July 15 encounter. “This however quite possibly falls into its own little ...
Visit the Corrales Harvest Festival website these days, seeking to know if and when and what, you will encounter a jaunty bit of poetry which begins thusly:
“This Covid thing has just been terrible,
We keep to ourselves, it’s been unbearable.
But taking a peek on the brighter side,
There is a way to have fun and keep our stride.
Webbing and Zooming are the methods of choice,
We can connect to the Village and have a voice.
Some things may be cancelled, some reticking,
But by golly the Harvest Festival is alive and kicking…
Festival board member Cookie Emerson wrote that, and it does indeed sum up the perky and still germinating approach to the festival, scheduled for September 26 and 27. “But not really,” explains Tony Messec, who had thought that in 2020 he was going to bask in the accrued success of the Festival under his guidance the last few years. “We have no head this year, just the seven of us on the Board.” Messec knew he would be leaving CHF better than when he got deeply involved, “But then we were hit by this buzz saw of a pandemic.”
Remember those used Corrales Fire Dept helmets the Sandoval County Master Gardeners painted and planted for sale? To raise funding for the department? The helmet sale at $50 each was to be the first of two to feature decommissioned fire fighting equipment repurposed as plant holders. Boots may come later.
The helmets in red, blue, yellow, contained succulents donated by Plants by Margi, expert grower in Corrales. Organizer Sam Thompson believes about $1,100 have been raised thus far. Thompson says firefighters really like the project and are pleased that the public is stopping by the station to buy them. A delighted mother bird made a fulsome nest in one of those yellow helmets, Chief Anthony Martinez kept an eye on it, and recently the baby birds, house finches, emerged. You still can purchase a repurposed planter, just not this one as yet.
A temporary climate controlled building will be installed in August to shelter county animals short term, according to Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block. He said the $56,000 building is likely to go in near the County’s administration offices off Highway 528. He would like it to be managed by the Community Services Division instead of the sheriff's office. The proposed location is close to community services operations.
At the July 9 County Commission meeting, Block challenged new County Manager Wayne Johnson, who assumes the office July 27, to prioritize the building of a permanent Sandoval County Animal Shelter, starting with the creation of a taskforce to explore the options.
The killing of a large pony in its corral near Cabezon Road and Caminito Alegre at the south end of Corrales late at night June 25 shocked villagers and led to a fundraising effort for a reward for information. The crime is being investigated by the N.M. Livestock Board; donations for a reward are being channeled to Crimestoppers in Albuquerque.
Donations to the “Justice for Rocky” reward fund can be sent to Corrales Horse and Mule People at https://gf.me/u/yc589h or mailed to CHAMP, PO Box 1064, Corrales NM 87048 with Justice for Rocky in the memo line.
Shortly before being forced out as executive director of the N.M. League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) late last month, Ralph Arellanes sent a letter to Corrales Mayor Jo Anne Roake objecting to the dismissal of Village Clerk Shannon Fresquez.
In his July 20 letter, Arellanes, who has also served as chairman of the Hispano Roundtable of New Mexico, wrote that “You were elected mayor in March 2018. At that time, the Village Administrator was a Hispanic male having served in that position for two mayors.
You removed that individual and hired a non-Hispanic in that position. You appointed as Village Clerk a Hispanic female. Recently you have removed that individual and replaced her with a non-Hispanic. In fact, all three of the individuals serving in the exempt positions are white males.”
Municipal governments in New Mexico have three at-will positions: Village Administrator, Village Clerk and Police Chief. Almost immediately after Roake was sworn in as mayor, she dismissed all three and submitted new names for confirmation by the Village Council.
Confident, even a teensy bit formidable-looking in her official portrait, Abigail Fae is the first candidate to enter this year’s pet mayor election. Abigail is “one of our village’s cutest and sweetest dogs,” according to Pet Mayor Contest organizer Tracy Stabenow. Abigail’s campaign slogan? “Building a brighter tomorrow —one tennis ball at a time.”
This year’s election will be handled entirely online due to the pandemic. Anyone interested in entering her or his pet can fill out the application on the Harvest Festival’s website at corralesharvestfestival.com/2020-pet-mayoral-election.
Corrales crops dependent on ditch irrigation should survive to harvest despite the drought, meager flows from southern Colorado’s slopes and extreme temperatures. In mid-July, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District successfully sought permission from Texas and Colorado through the Interstate Stream Commission to use about 38,000 acre-feet of stored water.
Otherwise, MRGCD officials said the Rio Grande would have dried up along this stretch of the river and depleted water flowing to irrigation ditches. On July 17, the MRGCD issued a statement that it “was anticipating running out of its general irrigation water supplies in upstream reservoirs by Saturday morning [July 18] that would have led to extensive river drying and devastating crop losses throughout the middle Rio Grande valley.”
State Engineer John D’Antonio, who serves on the Rio Grande Compact, said the agreement specifies that the “borrowed” water be used judiciously to prevent catastrophic cross losses and minimize impacts to endangered...
With a financial impact analysis in hand, New Mexico legislators may be prepared to make a decision on a long-proposed near-universal health care program during their 2021 session. The Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign, led by Corrales’ Mary Feldblum, responded last month to a report by three consultants tasked to analyze cost-benefits inherent in the plan that would provide health care insurance equivalent to that enjoyed by state employees.
As Feldblum explained, the proposal is for state government “to set up its own health plan to ensure most New Mexicans, exclusive of the military, military retirees and federal retirees. “There is complete freedom of choice of doctors and hospitals, and services can be no less than what State employees have. (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXXVII No.20 January 5, 2019 ‘Health Security Act’ Could Pass N.M. Legislature.”)
The State’s contract with KNG Health Consulting, IHS Markit and Reynis Analytics produced analyses of four scenarios with various assumptions over the time period 2024 to 2028. Feldblum, who holds a doctorate in sociology and economics, pointed out that the analysis demonstrated that under the fourth scenario, implementation of the Health Security Act would yield substantial savings compared to what is now spent on health care in New Mexico.
Crews directed by the owner of the long-abandoned property on Corrales Road’s “Dead Man’s Curve” at the south end of the valley have cleaned out the trash and over-growth that had accumulated since a fire at what was then the Esperanza furniture shop. In the last days of July, Albuquerque pharmacist Joseph Gonzales fielded a small team to clear the parcel near the Corrales Road-Cabezon intersection. He said he has no immediate plans to further develop the parcel nor to sell it. In the 1980s, before the land was incorporated into the Village of Corrales, he built an impressive structure where a motorcycle shop had stood in the 1970s. His daughter, Esperanza, and son, Mark, produced and sold furniture from the new retail shop. Gonzales said he is the grandson of Candido Gonzales, a descendant of the founder of Corrales, Capitán Juan Gonzales Bas. The Candido Gonzales house at 4036 Corrales Road, is the white, two-story wooden structure, also known as the Sears House because it was said to have been constructed from a Sears-Roebuck mail-order shipment around 1900.