Despite restrictions on businesses here during the past eight months, Corrales’ gross receipts tax revenues are holding steady compared to last year. Declines in holiday shopping are expected to ravage the bottom lines for retailers here as elsewhere this month and last, but so far sales tax revenues have stayed relatively strong, according to Village Administrator Ron Curry. “Gross receipts tax revenues for us are running about the same as last year. In fact, it’s up about two percent, so we’re really happy about it.”
Gross receipts tax revenues for Corrales for the month of September were “within a couple of thousand dollars, one way or the other, of last year’s numbers,” he reported. Curry was asked why he thought this year’s gross receipts taxes are about the same as last year, given the recent months of business closures and restrictions. He didn’t know, because local governments do not have access to information from the N.M. Department of Taxation and Revenue regarding taxes paid by specific businesses. “That information is not available to us.
“However, as I’ve gone around the village talking to people, some of our businesses, like Frontier Mart, have told me business was good for them during the COVID.
“Apparently, some of our businesses have not suffered, because month over month, the numbers have been pretty stable.” Throughout New Mexico, a severe clamp-down on business activity has been ordered by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. All except businesses designated as essential were ordered to close this summer while some were told to curtail the number of patrons who could be served at any one time. When the daily infection rate declined, presumably due to those restrictions, the governor relaxed the measures. But then, late last month, infection rates skyrocketed in New Mexico, so the governor imposed the tightest restrictions yet.
The Collapse of Complex Societies, a book written in Corrales more than 30 years ago, may be the perfect tome for contemplative pandemic reading. Caught up in an all-encompassing, crushing, arguably inescapable downward spiral, our personal and even institutional relationships seem to be unravelling. It’s not a stretch to link the need to “make American great again” to a perception of societal disintegration.
Might escalating armed hostilities in the Middle East lead Donald Trump to bomb nuclear facilities in Iran before he relinquishes command of the nation’s arsenal January 20? Iran vowed to retaliate after its top nuclear scientist was assassinated November 27, presumably by Israeli commandos with close coordination from Washington. Corrales’ Paul Stokes, who directed nuclear inspections in Iraq for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) prior to the U.S. assault on that country, was asked for insights that might have bearing on the current conflict with Iran.
How confident can the American public be that any U.S. preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would be justified, given the erroneous assertions made about Saddam Hussein’s alleged “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq?
Although the state highway department wants Village government to take over Corrales Road, officials here are still hesitant. A big issue is timing. The transfer of ownership and management of State Highway 448 would happen only after Corrales Road were thoroughly upgraded with paving and other maintenance of the right-of-way —but that would cause major disruptions to Corrales businesses, Village Administrator Ron Curry said.
Squaring the Strange is a podcast co-hosted by Corrales Comment contributor, author and folklorist Ben Radford, Las Vegas-based artist Celestia Ward, and former Santa Fe musician and producer Pascual Romero.
The podcast began on April Fool’s Day 2017 and is released every two weeks, bringing evidence-based analysis and commentary to a wide variety of topics, ranging from the paranormal to the political, the mysterious to the mundane.
Topics often include investigating ghosts, listening to legends, tracking chupacabras and defusing media hype. “And calling shenanigans where appropriate,” Radford said.
“If a claim seems strange, the team will try to square it with the facts. Not just another current events podcast, Squaring the Strange goes deeper. It’s a show about critical thinking and evidence-based analysis, using science and logic to examine the world around us. Listeners will learn about skepticism, psychology, myths, hoaxes, folklore, investigation, science, media literacy and all the things that add up to strange experiences —both real and unreal.”
A bill before Congress would establish protection for whistleblowers who report abuses and fraud in the disbursal of COVID-19 relief funds. The federal government is pouring trillions of dollars into programs that distribute relief funds through legislation such as the CARES Act. In June, Senator Kamala Harris, now vice-president-elect, introduced the COVID-19 Whistleblowers Protection Act to strengthen protections for employees of businesses that receive such funds.
Among other provisions, the bill would establish a legal framework for the U.S. Labor Department to investigate claims of retaliation by non-federal employees or contractors. It would also shield whistleblowers from civil or criminal liability for what they report. The Government Accountability Project, which lobbies for the bill, points out that whistleblowers are credited with having significantly reduced waste, fraud and abuse during the federal government’s spending surge of 2009. “The current spending surge is over five times as large, so there is much more that could potentially be lost to corrupt acts this year. Whistleblowers, if protected through this legislation, will save the government vast amounts of money.”
The organizer of the Corrales Library “I Love to Write Poetry Contest” and Youth Services librarian Melisa Chandler recently announced the winners. High School. First Place: Analisa Ortiz; Second Place: Addison Fulton. Middle School. First Place: Hannah Opel; Second Place: Shane Yara. Distinguished Poets. Jayden Tode, Laurel Nash-Jarecki, Giovanna Almanzar.
According to Chandler, the last category was for those poets “recognized for their admirable work,” though they did not win the contest. Chandler also stated that “The Corrales Community Library would like to thank all of the participants in the 2020 ‘I Love to Write’ Poetry Contest. We recognize and appreciate the efforts each writer put forth. We look forward to more youth poetry contests with the Corrales Library in 2021.”
Corrales’ Mary Feldblum is confident of progress toward passage of the Health Security for New Mexicans bill in the next session of the N.M. Legislature.
“This election has brought major changes to the state senate, and support for Health Security has unquestionably increased,” she said in mid-November. New senate leadership, along with additional supportive senators, means that we finally have the opportunity to pass legislation that will create the Health Security Plan.
In addition, strong support remains in the state house.” She said on the federal level, some challenges remain, although a Biden presidency is cause for optimism.
Eager to scurry out from their coyote-proofed hut on a November morning at Chris Allen’s livestock-rich spread were an array of ducks and hens. But mostly, and appropriately, turkeys. Allen and her husband, Paul Knight, have lived on their Corrales plot since 1981, the year they bought the land and built their home. And turkeys have long been part of the mix.
It’s a well-gardened place, with vineyards, plots of freeze-killed chiles. Plus two horses belonging to Allen, a gaggle of goats and a mix of sheep. The sheep largely provide wool for Allen’s yarn and knitting activities, rather than chops. She’s been a member of Las Arañas Spinners and Weavers Guild for years. Her mom taught her to knit way back in the day when the family lived in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where she also was on horseback from an early age.
The Corrales Fire Department’s annual holiday food drive and collection of children’s presents is under way. “As we head in to the holiday season, things will be different this year to help keep everyone safe from COVID-19,” the Corrales Fire Department’s Tanya Lattin explained.
“We still have a need for food and presents for Corrales families, but cannot do a normal food drive and setup a “giving tree.” We will not have groups help with food sorting, food box setup or present wrapping. What we will be able to do as a community is help support those in need.” Lattin suggested that people who want to get gift tags this year, or to adopt a family for food, should contact her directly by calling 702-4182 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn what a child wants and needs.
The pandemic is affecting families and local businesses, but also Corrales institutions that depend on fundraisers to support their work. For example, Friends of Corrales Library (FOCL), which normally holds two major book sales a year, has done neither. But it has created an online “giving tree,’ to which you may contribute.
Now through January 15, visit corrales library.org/donate to give online. Designate the category you would like to support: DVDs and music CDs; Spanish collection; children’s collection; general adult collection; adult programs, including author series, craft kits, ukulele lessons and similar; kids’ programs, including summer reading, craft/science kits, holiday event materials, writing contest prizes and the like.
A blockage in Corrales’ sewer line, now cleared, was caused by wastewater from the Ex Novo beer brewing operation across Corrales Road from the fire station. The business owner, Joel Gregory, said the clog was caused by waste hops particulate that apparently settled in the six-inch sewer line along the east side of Corrales Road near Perea’s Restaurant.
He said that seemed strange since the wastewater containing the residue seems to have passed through the two-inch effluent line from the brewery’s septic tank, yet clogged up when it was in the much larger diameter sewer line. The material apparently settled from the wastewater stream a quarter-mile away. Gregory said a strainer already in the effluent discharge line had not proven adequate for the waste hops, so he is now installing a more elaborate —and expensive— remedy. The brewery here is trucking cans of Ex Novo beer about once a month to his outlets in the Pacific Northwest where his business began. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXVII No.10 July 21, 2018 “Ex Novo Brewery: Big Leap for Commercial District?”)
Although arson in the Corrales Bosque Preserve had stopped by mid-November, the culprit had not been apprehended. The Corrales Fire Department’s Tanya Lattin said November 22 that no additional fires in the bosque had been reported. She had reported earlier this fall that several fires had been deliberately set in the preserve.
Seven fires had been set over a two-day period. “We have had a total of seven fires in the bosque on two separate days,” Lattin told Corrales Comment October 18. No evidence was found to suggest any of the blazes was caused accidentally by campers or squatters. In Mayor Jo Anne Roake’s message to villagers days before, she flatly stated, “Corrales has an arsonist in the bosque. Numerous fires have been started in the last week. The Corrales Fire Department has successfully responded to each one, helped by neighboring first responder organizations.”
The Village of Corrales began offering free COVID-19 face masks to village residents and businesses November 10. “We want to do everything we can to encourage mask use. That is an enormously powerful weapon against the current surge of cases,” said Mayor Jo Anne Roake. “We want to be sure everyone who needs one has one.”
Businesses that need a supply can call Sandy Rasmussen at the Corrales MainStreet office, 350-3955. Individuals can get masks via the fire station at 898-7501. If you need them delivered as you are staying home, this can be arranged, according to the mayor.
Coming soon, a video that covers the importance of masks, social distancing and protecting each other, first responders and other essential workers. Look for it on the Village website website, corrales-nm.org, under “COVID -19 Resources.” And don’t miss the COVID-19...
An old farmhouse, considered one of the oldest structures in Corrales, has been designated a historic property by the Corrales Historical Society. The old residence at 4655 Corrales Road, now owned by Susanna Chavez and Doug Findley, was listed in the State of New Mexico’s Register of Historic Properties in 2010. “The Elias Martinez Farmhouse reflects its status as the home of a hard-working farmer who took advantage of existing walls to expand his home. It provides a window into Corrales before it succumbed to mid-20th century development pressures and helps tell the story of the village’s long Hispanic agricultural history,” according to the description for the State Register.