Purchase of a conservation easement on 12 acres of farmland at the north end of Corrales is expected to be approved at the June 16 Village Council meeting. Exactly which tract would be preserved in perpetuity as farmland or green belt open space was not identified as of June 1.

“I would prefer not to identify the property or owner yet since the deal isn’t done and neither party has 100 percent committed,” said Michael Scisco of Unique Places LLC who is negotiating the arrangement. “But I can say that it is a 12-acre property on the north side of Corrales, and will use up a little under half of the available bond funding.

“The property will have a public wildlife viewing platform looking over the irrigation portions of the farm.” At the Village Council teleconference meeting May 26, Mayor Jo Anne Roake said a recommendation on the transaction from the Corrales Farmland Preservation and Agriculture Commission will be considered at the June 16 session.

Corrales voters approved $2.5 million in general obligation bonds for farmland preservation in March 2018. This will be the first use of the new round of GO bonds; villagers’ first bonds to save farmland from development, also for $2.5 million, were approved in 2004. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXIII No. 14 September 11, 2004 “Corrales Approves Bonds to ‘Save Farmlands’ By 5-to1 Margin.”)

Fighting off stir-craziness, some villagers have found creative, enriching ways to fill their stay-at-home, isolated days. Most often, Corraleños have continued or intensified existing hobbies, such as bird-watching or long walks in the Bosque Preserve. Others have finally taken up long-delayed self-improvement tasks.

Members of the Village in the Village non-profit were asked to submit photos of their activities during these isolationist days. “Our administrator, Sarah Pastore, has been collecting pictures from members depicting activities they ae doing around Corrales during this stay-in-place time,” ViV member Laura Smith wrote. Here are a few of those photos.

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The Health Security Act would enable the state to set up its own health insurance plan to ensure universal coverage. Proponents say it would provide comprehensive, quality services, fully protect those with pre-existing conditions and offer freedom of choice of health care providers, regardless of network.

In an emailed newsletter May 28, Feldblum said her organization has “some serious concerns about the report’s technical integrity.” In a statement May 31, she clarified, “The report makes numerous assumptions in order to come up with its financial projections. Several of these assumptions differ from what is specified in the Health Security Act. In addition, there are serious mathematical errors that need to be corrected.”

The statement points to “a critical discrepancy of over $3 billion in the preliminary draft report.” That discrepancy appears in two tables of numbers showing amounts for total health care spending on benefits and administration if the program were implemented in New Mexico. One of the tables states the amount for 2024 would be $12.3 billion, while the other table shows$9.2 billion for the same sum.

The chairman of Health Security for New Mexicans, Max Bartlett, pointed out that with the state’s existing health care system today, the amount is $12.1 billion. “The accompanying text provides no explanation for this enormous discrepancy, resulting in a major difference in the projected costs of the program,” Barlett said.

The draft report’s introduction points out that “Under the Health Security Plan (HSP,) the state’s uninsured rate would likely fall well below one percent, and the vast majority of the population would receive coverage through a public insurance program. The plan would also improve health care affordability for low- and middle-income families that would otherwise receive coverage through the non-group market.

“Over the initial five-year period, the overall economic impact of the HSP is expected to be small. However, the role for private insurance would be diminished, and some segments of the private insurance market would likely disappear altogether.” While use of health care services would increase if the plan were implemented, “long-term total health care spending could fall if reductions in payer-side administrative costs are achieved to the level specified in the Health Security Act.

Most of the cost of the HSP could be financed by re-directing public funding from duplicative health programs, requiring contributions from employers not offering coverage, and requiring enrollees with the means to pay a portion of their own premium costs. Still, significant additional funding sources would likely be needed to fully cover the cost of the plan.”

 

Former Village Councillor John Alsobrook, now director of a medical research laboratory in Seattle, thinks the industry’s rapid response to the COVID-19 crisis will likely set the stage for how future pandemics are addressed.

In a telephone interview with Corrales Comment May 30, Alsobrook said he has been very impressed with how rapidly the scientific community produced results to protect the public here and around the world against invasion by the novel coronavirus.


The wide shoulders of upper Meadowlark Lane have sat cleared and presumably ready for construction of bike paths and horse trails (as envisioned, and re-envisioned) more than a decade ago. Those components of the over all plan were bumped to a later phase as the driving lanes with medians and integrated drainage features were constructed last year.

But Village officials have been engaged in a protracted dispute with the contractor who took on the job. Village Administrator Ron Curry, who inherited the troubled project last summer, said May 8 that the matter should be resolved no later than next month.

Curry has maintained the second phase with trails should not be started until the first phase is completed and disputes resolved. Earlier this year, Curry said the stormwater drainage features have not been connected to the area where collected water would be ponded along Loma Larga.

With party primary elections behind us, will victors’campaigns leading to November rachet up vicious attacks or adopt the anti-coronavirus refrain “We’re All In This Together?”

Top-of-ticket outcomes were known before polls closed even on the East Coast, so Joe Biden will challenge Donald Trump in the general elections. While primary elections elsewhere around the country captured some New Mexicans’ attention, intense focus was on which candidates will face off to take Congressman Ben Ray Lujan’s seat in Washington. And State Senator John Sapien’s seat in the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.


A special session of the N.M. legislature convenes June 18 to address impacts of the pandemic-related economic collapse on the State budget. “At the state level, it’s not as dire as you may think,” State Representative Daymon Ely said May 28. A big part of the discussion will center on grants that may come from the federal government to aid stricken state budgets.

“My concern is not this fiscal year or next fiscal year… it’s the fiscal year after that. The federal delegation is very optimistic that we’re going to get that money. If we’re able to get that support, we will be fine.”

Corrales’ State Representative said in a May 28 virtual “town hall”meeting called by Mayor Jo Anne Roake that N.M. state government is in better shape than neighboring states. “Arizona and Utah are in much worse shape statewide than we are.”

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham eased up pandemic-imposed restrictions on “non-essential retailers” May 1, indicating that such retailers “may provide curbside pickup and delivery services if permitted by their business license. Liquor licenses, for instance, do not allow for curbside or delivery service. Child care may now be extended to people operating non-essential businesses.”

As of May 1, five cases of the coronavirus were reported in Corrales. The Fire Department’s Tanya Lattin said “Currently no first responders are ill with COVID-19 or have been within the village. The fire department is fully staffed. We have PPE [personal protective equipment] but we spend hours a day, both Chief Martinez and myself, looking for items as they become available to restock and maintain our level.

Aligning with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s pandemic reopening strategy, Mayor Jo Anne Roake released a plan to restart the local economy and return to normal operations at Village facilities.

“The Village is committed to helping our government and businesses reopen in a safe, responsible manner, recognizing that public health and safety is always our number one priority. Our goal is to return to normal government and economic activity, when deemed safe to do so, while taking steps to...

Reopening Albuquerque Public Schools in August will depend on many factors, including an acute need for more school custodians, given the sanitization issues during a pandemic, as well as a lack of school nurses, in many cases. Revitalizing the state’s economy is dependent in part on parents who cannot work from home, and want their kids back in the classroom.

The New Mexico Public Education Department has convened a School Re-entry Task Force comprised of administrators,...

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and his team have put together COVID-19 Phase One re-opening documents similar to those recently wrestled into shape by Corrales Mayor Jo Anne Roake. And some of the material included should interest Corraleños.

For one, the Cultural Services Department is creating “Summer Camp at Home” activity kits, to be distributed beginning about May 24. The APS school year ended May 22. The kits will be created by the Albuquerque Museum, BioPark, and Balloon Museum. The Public Library is also planning a completely...


As instructed by the N .M. Department of Finance and Administration in Santa Fe, Village officials have submitted the same preliminary municipal budget for the coming fiscal year as it has for this year. Village government’s projection for revenues during the fiscal year that starts July 1 is a repeat of that for FY 2019-2020 —despite the nationwide economic collapse in March-April.

Part of the rationale is expected financial relief from the federal government for local governments. The Village Council adopted a preliminary budget for FY 2020-21 at its May 26 session.

Bon Bagley, Janet Blair and Patty Carroll have been appointed to the Corrales Equestrian Advisory Commission. Their appointments were confirmed at the Village Council’s May 26 meeting. The commission makes recommendations to the mayor and council regarding horse-related activities, including trails, public safety and large animal rescue efforts as well as management of the TopForm Arena at the Corrales Recreation Center.

In recent years, Bagley has organized training sessions with the Corrales Fire Department on how to safely respond to equine emergencies. Those have included simulated rescue in the Rio Grande. She is currently a member of the board of directors for Corrales Horse and Mule People (CHAMP), and is a member of the N.M. Horse Council. Carroll is also a member of the N.M. Horse Council, and has shown quarter horses for about 10 years. She has been a project leader for the Corralitos 4-H Club for horses. Blair is also a member of the N.M. Horse Council and CHAMP. She is active in Back Country Horsemen of New Mexico. Blair has owned and ridden horses in Corrales since 1984. She ran for a seat on the Village Council in March and regularly attends council meetings.

Memorial Day weekend visits to the Corrales Bosque Preserve led to restrictions to prevent forest fires and the Fire Department’s lack of access to respond to emergencies. “Over the past several weeks, the Corrales Bosque parking lots at both Siphon Road and Romero Road have been filled with cars, and not all of the people in those cars have been parking in appropriate areas,” The Fire Department’s Tanya Lattin said.

Although Mayor Jo Anne Roake declined to explain the departure of former Village Clerk Shannon Fresquez, Aaron Gjullin has been hired to replace her. Gjullin has been assisting Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Siverts over the past two years. He started working at the rec center as a life guard at the pool in 2008. In 2017, he was named head life guard. Gjullin earned a degree at the University of Portland after studying biology and mathematics. In the Portland area, he was general manager of a large farm from 2014 to 2017.

In 2018, he was an administrative assistant in the Village Office. In recent years, he has also managed the Village’s website and other digital media tasks.
He applied for the position of Village Clerk on May 22. At the May 26 Village Council meeting, discussion about Fresquez’s departure was guarded and brief, since it was said to be a personnel matter.

Councillor Kevin Lucero asked for some discussion about the change, saying he was concerned about the rate of turnover in the Village Clerk position. ...

The ups and downs and in and outs of Corrales businesses and owners is as fluid as ever, perhaps even more so given the pandemic. Some places are slowly reopening, under the latest guidelines from Governor Lujan Grisham. Others are moving largely online, at least for the foreseeable future.

A plan is under way to get signs reading “Mask Wearing Required for Entry” for Corrales businesses that request them. Fire Department Commander Tanya Lattin and Mayor Jo Anne Roake are working on the idea to help proprietors gain compliance among their customers for an action still in place throughout the state. The sign wording has not yet been finalized.


By Scott Manning

The Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission and Sandia Pueblo are in talks to collaborate on bosque maintenance efforts.

According to Fire Chief Anthony Martinez, collaboration between the Village of Corrales and Sandia Pueblo would consist of dialogue between the two parties to coordinate bosque maintenance and to secure more funding.

Martinez has plans for several bosque maintenance projects this year. First, he intends to complete maintenance work on pre-existing fuel breaks in the preserve. This entails removing new plant growth to preserve the integrity of the fuel breaks.  Second, dead trees and vegetation must be removed from the bosque to reduce fire danger and to improve recreation on the hiking trails. This cleared wood is in turn sold to local Pueblos in need. Third, to improve the health of the ecosystem, workers must remove invasive Ravenna grass.


The Swainson’s Hawk now residing in the Corrales Bosque Preserve was finally satisfied with tree-top real estate conditions here. As reported in a front-page article and photograph in May 9 issue, a Swainson’s Hawk has been documented as having nested in the Corrales bosque. Hawks Aloft Director Gail Garber said May 1 that “the most exciting thing just happened today: a large nest we have been watching for years now has a Swainson’s Hawk.

Artwork by Corrales silversmith Juan Lopez was highlighted in an online “virtual salon” presentation May 31 featuring Albuquerque Museum Director Andrew Connors for the Corrales Arts Center.

Connor’s topic was “How Did New Mexico Filigree Lose Its Sparkle?” The illustrated talk was made available to CAC members through a video link. The salon series is a members-only event. Annual membership is arranged through http://www.corralesartscenter.org.

Connors was the museum’s curator of art from 2009 through 2018, and was formerly chairman of the Visual Arts Department at Albuquerque Academy. Lopez, son of the late Rupert Lopez, has been featured in the pages of Corrales Comment several times over the past 30 years.

Plant and shrub suppliers may not be going to hell in a handcart, an apt phrase derived from the dumping of the dead in carts during the plague in London in the 1600s, but they seem increasingly to be going to hemp growing,...

To assist New Mexico’s Pueblo people during the pandemic, the All Pueblo Council of Governors has establish a relief fund. The Pueblo Relief Fund campaign is coordinated with the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. “Donations to the Pueblo Relief Fund will be used to immediately begin addressing supply and service needs of the Pueblos in order to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus and lower the infection rate among tribal members,” the council's chairman, J. Michael Chavarria, said. “These needs include essential disinfecting supplies, personal protective equipment, and food distribution. APCG and IPCC will use the funds to immediately begin purchasing these essential items and delivering them to the Pueblos for distribution to tribal members.

"As the Pueblos are being impacted by COVID-19, we, as tribal leaders, continue working around the clock advocating for our communities’ needs and resources as it is our responsibility to protect the health and safety of our people. “Our tribal communities are very tight-knit, and we have multi-generational housing within our Pueblos, so the immense scale of this pandemic has created intricate challenges in the delivery and expansion of preparedness resources to our tribal members. Now is a time where we have come together to support one another in this crisis, and appreciate any support that can be afforded to our communities as we collectively address this emergency.” The fund can be contacted at http://www.pueblorelieffund.org.  Donations are fully tax deductible. Separately, conutritions are needed for the hard-hit Navajo Nation. Funds are being directed to the Native American Relief Fund.

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 to https://portal.sos.state.nm.us.

“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...

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