By Scott Manning
The executive director of the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA) is confident that its facilities protecting Corrales can withstand increasingly severe storms caused by climate change —in the near term.
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.
Several years of negotiations to save the Trosello tract as farmland in perpetuity have been unsuccessful. With heavy hearts, villagers need to accept that the iconic view of that wide expanse of corn and chile fields along Corrales Road almost certainly will disappear. That somber outlook follows the Village Council’s approval to use much of the $2.5 million in municipal bonds to purchase a conservation easement on more than 12 acres of the Haslam farm near the intersection of Corrales Road and King’s Road, between the Corrales Lateral ditch and the Main Canal.
The council voted unanimously at its July 21 session to take the next steps to acquire the easement and accompanying water rights. A closing on the transaction is expected by the end of November, according to the Village’s realty agent, Michael Scisco of Unique Places LLC who negotiated the terms.
Subsequently, Corrales Comment asked Scisco whether he had given up trying to gain an easement on the Trosello tract. He replied, “We have not given up, but the expectation of land values of the landowners and the documented appraised value for vacant farmland in Corrales are fairly far apart. And the current landowners of the Trosello tract are not interested in doing a conservation easement, they are only interested in selling.
“We tried multiple creative ways to finance the deal, bringing in third parties, trying different configurations, etc., but it typically ended in someone paying more than fair market value for the property or having the current landowners do the conservation easement, both of which were not possible at the time. We will continue to search for solutions.”
He said “We exhausted our options on Trosello before Haslam became a potential project.” Lisa Brown, co-chair of the Corrales Farmland Preservation and Agricultural Commission, held out some hope that the Trosello land might remain cultivated rather than turn into mega-mansions on one acre home sites.
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 long-proposed trail connection between the City of Rio Rancho’s paved Thompson Fence Line trail along the edge of the escarpment and the end of Sagebrush Drive in Corrales was presented at the June 16 Village Council meeting. The plan was explained in a Powerpoint presentation by the Corrales Bicycle, Pedestrian Advisory Commission. The council meeting was held via internet, as such meetings were over the past two months.
The commission has held discussions with Rio Rancho officials, the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority and Corrales Public Works several times over the last five years. Public Works has estimated the trail link could cost around $74,000 including engineering and installation.
“The time is now,” the commission’s presentation urged. “A Parks and Recreation survey indicated residents want opportunities to exercise outside
A frequent bike rider in the Corrale Bosque Preserve, Guy Spencer recently 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 bucket.
“I was out on the bosque this morning, getting a cool, quiet ride in around 6 a.m. I often ride during this time, selfishly taking advantage of the solitude and grace the bosque so unselfishly offers to many of us early bird-ers.
Night time recreational use of the Corrales Bosque Preserve has been restricted due to ongoing concerns over fire danger. On recommendation from the Bosque Advisory Commission , Mayor Jo Anne Roake set an earlier closure time for visits to the preserve. From April to October, evening use must end by 9 p.m.
The revised closing time is now 7 p.m. from November through March. Signs are being posted at entrances to the preserve. The commission wanted to change to be consistent with rules for the Rio Grande Valley State Park to the south.
Commissioners noted that reports have come in about small fires being started in the bosque and about people entering the preserve around midnight and even later. The preserve had been posted with a closure time of 10 p.m. At their June 11 meeting, commissioners were reminded that no allowable uses of the bosque need to be done after dark. Concern was also expressed that visits to the preserve at night raise potential for personal injury with diminished capacity for public safety personnel to respond.
Commissioners have also learned that someone deliberately damaged the most popular footbridge into the preserve. Metal straps securing...
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.
As Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham juggles the complex demands of the pandemic and its conflicting effect on small businesses, restaurants, public health and schools, parents, teachers and students across the country warily eye a return to in-person education.
A junior high school in Indiana opened up to students on one day, a student tested positive, and within hours, plans changed. According to an article in the New York Times, August 1, “Of the nation’s 25 largest school districts, all but six have announced they will start remotely, although some in places like Florida and Texas are hoping to open classrooms after a few weeks if infection rates go down….” New Mexico will start remotely. The Albuquerque Public Schools Re-entry Plan “calls for school to begin the week of August 12 with the distribution of technology to all students, virtual home visits, and guidance for staff, students, and families on safely attending school and effectively learning at home.”
“Under the plan, which is subject to change depending on the spread of the coronavirus and public health orders, students would return to the classroom after Labor Day, September 7, on an every-other-week rotation Tuesdays-Fridays.” The rotation chosen “allows for more continuity of instruction with fewer transitions for students,” according to APS.
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.