Corrales already has two influential representatives in the N.M. Legislature —Republican Jane Powdrell-Culbert and Democrat Daymon Ely— and five more are running for a seat up there in the June 2 party primaries. Three of the five are facing off to fill the N.M. Senate District 9 vacancy left when Corrales Democrat John Sapien declined to seek...

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Ninety-two members of a new group formed through social media, Corrales Rocks! are decorating the village’s byways with painted rocks left in conspicious places. One of the organizers, Annette Hoffmann-Rodden writes that “We created this group to promote community, health, and art. Hope you have a chance to walk the ditch bank and enjoy the beautiful treasures.”

Hoffmann-Rodden says she always has loved collecting rocks. She adds that her son attends Colorado College in Colorado Springs, where “the community has a similar rock painting group as a way of art promotion. One day I was walking on a path there and found a painted rock. It was fun just coming across it.”

A fan of walking Corrales’ ditchbanks, Hoffmann-Rodden thought that “decorating and placing rocks would be a great way to encourage our community, art, health, and adventure all at the same time.”

She and her family painted 50 rocks and planted them along the Corrales Acequia, the ditch between Corrales Road and Loma Larga. Then they created the Facebook group, Corrales Rocks!, to which a handful of friends who live in Corrales were invited to join.

“More people are painting and planting rocks. Some people just move them along the ditch. Some collect and keep them, too. I’ve seen rock villages, animal designs, and words spelled out in rocks! It’s truly a delight seeing the creativity of what folks are doing.”

Painted rocks are reported to have started appearing along the Interior Drain, the drainage ditch east of Corrales Road as well.

The municipally-owned Juan Gonzales Bas Heritage Farm hasn’t looked this good in years. Purchased and preserved in perpetuity in 2008 by the people of Corrales, the 5.5-acre tract west of Wells Fargo Bank is at its most green in a decade, perhaps even more than when it was cultivated by the founder of Corrales himself.

The entire tract is planted in a cover crop while Village officials continue to explore leasing it. For more than a year, a lease transaction has awaited installation of an irrigation well and distribution lines. Historically and  currently, the farm has been irrigated from the adjacent Corrales Acequia.

The land acquired by the Village of Corrales using municipal general obligation bonds approved by voters in 2004 is the middle portion of a much larger swath of green belt in the heart of Corrales. A three-acre parcel fronting Corrales Road next to the bank is bare this spring, but a larger segment west of the acequia is beginning to sprout a crop.

It’s costing the Village to find out why we have nearly $5 million more than we thought we had. The Village has hired a forensic accounting firm, McHard Accounting Consulting LLC of Albuquerque, to discover how its investment account came to hold around $4.7 million.

“We are working with an accounting firm just to identify the funds, to make sure those funds are not encumbered,” Village Administrator Ron Curry said May 12. “We don’t think there is any money in there that shouldn’t be there, and we don’t anticipate that any of that money is encumbered.

Corrales began re-opening business and social activities May 15 in line with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s statewide policies regarding public safety during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Even as the governor announced the easing of restrictions, the state’s death toll rose to 253 due to COVID-19. Fifty-five were reported killed from the coronavirus disease in the four-day period ending May 15. As of May 18, the State had reported 265 deaths from COVID-19, with 5,938 positive cases.

Although the governor mandated use of face masks or coverings for all people in public, she made it clear no police action is to be expected. Some...

With Democrat Ben Ray Lujan, first elected to the Third Congressional District seat in 2008, vying to become one of New Mexico’s two U.S. senators after Tom Udall’s retirement, there’s action aplenty already. Lujan’s congressional seat has drawn many would-be successors, including Democrats John Blair, Teresa Leger Fernandez, Laura Montoya, Valerie Plame, Joseph Sanchez, Marco Serna and Kyle Tisdel.

Among Republicans in the June 2 primary are Karen Bedonie, Alexis Johnson, Harry Montoya and write-in candidate Angela Gale Morales. New Mexico’s Third District comprises Colfax, Curry, Harding, Los Alamos, Mora, Quay, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Taos and Union Counties along with areas of Bernalillo, McKinley, Roosevelt, Sandoval and Santa Fe Counties.

Information for the brief candidate profiles below primarily was drawn from the website of each...

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, according to people close to the operations of the Village Mercantile. That means at a time when many more people are turning to gardening, a pandemic pastime on the rise, plants are harder not only to keep in stock, but harder to source.

“Hemp and hemp products are increasingly in demand,” said one gardener. “And they must be bringing in more revenue than tomato starts.”

“Business is booming in the garden center, especially as customers can walk around fairly safely and look at what we have,” a villager affirmed. “And right now, demand for geraniums is high,” especially as the La Paloma greenhouse of ARCA, once a local source of geraniums, was forced to close, due to N.M. Department of Health regulations. Its annual late April geranium sale was cancelled, so ARCA apparently gave away or tossed out many plants. “The Merc was not even allowed to pick them up,” said a source with regret.

Aligning with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s pandemic re-opening strategy, Mayor Jo Anne Roake released a plan to re-start 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 protect the public,” she announced May 15.

Local factors that will be involved in re-opening decisions, she said, include:
• The trajectory of positive cases in Sandoval County;
• Statistics of data related to positive cases, particularly as it relates to our ZIP code 87048  and those close to us in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque;
• Current local conditions and the governor's directives; and
• Awareness that many workers come from larger populated areas to work in our businesses and in our government.

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.

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.

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 digital summer reading program.

The Open Space Visitors’ Center on Coors re-opened on May 19, subject to occupancy limits set by the State. Its new hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

COVID Safe Practices signs are strategically posted throughout facility, and Parks and Recreation is limiting the number of people in the building to 25...

Kiss the guacamole good bye. Researchers in Mexico warn that the avocado is becoming an endangered species due to climate change. It has been identified as an endangered fruit due to the climate-driven spread of fruit flies, Anastrepha ludens. A New York Times article March 13 noted that an exhibit in the American Museum of Natural History about ...

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.

Can Corrales’ fabled civic participation survive amid the pandemic-motivated transition to online sessions of Village government? Can allegiance to the flag and to the Constitution of the United States of America be assured if the pledge that starts all Village Council meetings is chronically garbled and virtually unintelligible?

At the May 12 council meeting, Mayor Jo Anne Roake apologized again for the jumbled Pledge of Allegiance, saying, “We’re going to get the pledge eventually!” For months now, Mayor Jo Anne Roake has gaveled council meetings open from her home while members of the governing body look on from their homes. Is such a meeting really a meeting? Presumably municipal governments around New Mexico and around the nation have conducted the public’s business in similar situations. It’s unlikely that legal challenges will ensue as alleged violations of the Open Meetings Act.

But there’s little doubt that such sessions inhibit public participation in the Village’s decision-making processes. To “attend” the May 12 meeting, a citizen had to place a telephone call to 1-669-900-6833 and key in ...

“Congress passed the bipartisan  CARES Act to deliver critical relief to our nation in this moment of crisis,” Congressman Ben Ray Lujan said. “It is clear, however, that we need to get more resources to our small businesses, our hospitals and frontline health care workers, and our local, state, and tribal governments.

“We also need to provide additional SNAP funding to ensure that no family in New Mexico goes hungry during this crisis.

 “The Trump administration has struggled to implement the CARES Act, especially the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program. Too many community lenders, mom-and-pop small businesses and underserved communities are being left behind,” the congressman said.
“Small businesses need more funding from the SBA loan and grant programs, and these programs need reforms and greater transparency to ensure that New Mexican small businesses get the support they need and deserve.

“The pandemic has dealt a serious blow to our public health and economy. While we would all like to get back to normal, there must be a substantial increase in the production in rapid testing and personal protective equipment. That is why we need more resources now.”

The stalwart volunteers who keep Corrales’ non-profit Seed2Need project going are stepping up again this growing season, but with a difference. According to Manager Dom Tafoya, coronavirus circumstances meant the typical spring gathering of students and others at the usual greenhouse to plant seeds in seed beds could not happen. Instead, a few masked people picked up the plastic seed beds, plus seeds for tomatoes, chiles and some...

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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