Americans turned out to vote in record numbers for the 2020 general election in an unparalleled demonstration of civic participation. Whether the candidates you preferred won or lost, you and fellow citizens can take pride in an extraordinary achievement for our political system.

The mayor’s new initiative to publicly recognize “local heroes” has produced the first three villagers to be so honored: historian Mary Davis, Red Cross volunteer Linda Crowden and Corrales Comment publisher Jeff Radford.

Mayor Jo Anne Roake started the program last month when in her weekly “Mayor’s Message” she wrote “Hats off to a local hero. Corrales resident and Red Cross volunteer Linda Crowden is in Baton Rouge distributing food and supplies for those devastated by recent hurricanes. Linda said she ‘really wanted to be out in the field, and has the background and experience to do my best for us.’ Thank you to Linda for her efforts.”

At least 18 Corrales businesses have gotten grants of up to $10,000 in COVID-19 economic relief. And the deadline for new applications has been extended to November 10. The cap for such financial aid has been raised to $25,000 for each qualifying business, Mayor Jo Anne Roake announced October 30. Businesses already awarded $10,000 can now request an additional $15,000.

Chip, a five month old miniature donkey, is Corrales’ new Pet Mayor. The winner was announced Sunday, November 1 by organizer Tracy Stabenow, who praised the enthusiasm of Corrales pet owners, as well as donors to candidates’ campaigns. This year’s event raised $2,733, $200 more than last year, remarkable given pandemic restrictions. The money will stay in Corrales to help the two- and four-leggeds in the village.

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 to learn what a child wants and needs.


The recently completed project to prolong the life of the 85 year old wooden culvert siphon that brings irrigation water into Corrales has dramatically transformed the north end of Corrales next to the river. The old barrel stave pipe that delivers water from the east side of the river to the Corrales valley has been threatened by the constantly eroding river bed since about 1974 when Cochiti Dam was built.

The river has washed away about 12 feet of dirt that originally covered the hydraulic siphon when it was laid in 1935. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXII, No.16, October 5, 2013 “River Bed’s Drop Disturbs Buried Irrigation Culvert.”) The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) studied options for a remedy, deciding to cover it with large rocks, arranged in a long line all the way across the river, forming a low dam that over time is expected to cause river water to drop silt and recover the wooden pipe.

By Meredith Hughes
One group riveted on the results of this election is Corrales Indivisible, created on February 15, 2017, and today comprised of 545 members in its Facebook group. The site states, in part, “We model the values of inclusion, fairness and justice.”  Three of the many Corrales members who have been actively getting out the vote this year are Mary Ellen Stagg Capek, Terry Eisenbart and Bert Coxe.

Capek reported with some level of sardonic certainty that she had been mulling “Packing up our camper and moving to Canada,” if Trump prevailed. But her vision post-election is that she “will keep up the ‘town crier’ emails, with input from a lot of folks, and emphasis on local, county and state issues that will need a lot more of our attention. So we can get back to concerns like banning fracking and banning carcinogenic chemicals in public places, especially on school grounds.”

Corrales Harvest Festival 2020 officially completed its first virtual event on Halloween with no final results as yet in the Pumpkin Palooza contest. According to the organizers, “there are some problems with hanging chads and we have late voters still casting their ballots.Therefore, The Supreme Court has moved the voting deadline to November 7.”

All involved indeed cheerfully await the final Palooza votes to be tallied, and are grateful to the Key Clubbers from Cibola and Rio Rancho High Schools whose hard work made the event happen. “They put their hearts and souls into organizing and promoting this event,” as Harvest Festival veteran Tony Messec put it. The contest featured 31 entries from kindergarteners through adults, and ranged from scary to beautiful. The contest has already raised over $200, benefiting the Key Clubs of Cibola and Rio Rancho High Schools, with more expected as ballots arrive and are counted.

With coronavirus infections spreading rapidly, Corraleños are intensifying precautions. Plans for political rallies were halted, trips to grocery stores were kept to a minimum and appointments for clinics and hospital visits were cancelled.

As of October 18, cases of COVID-19 in the zip code 87048 reached 42. In Sandoval County about three percent of people tested were positive for the virus.

Statewide, 934 people had died by that time and 36,788 people had come down with the deadly disease. “COVID-19 is out of control in our state, with 672 cases reported yesterday, Mayor Jo Anne Roake cautioned. “The governor calls it a ‘raging wildfire,’...

The preservation and maintenance guy for the Old Church, John McCandless, is not one to lounge about even as COVID-19 invades captivating Corrales. He reports that “The pandemic has impacted some of our preservation and maintenance activities, but essential maintenance has continued. The biggest impact so far has been on our revenue stream.

“With public gatherings out of the question, events such as music performances and weddings have been curtailed. The funds generated by these events help sustain our preservation and maintenance activities, so we’ve scaled back or postponed some plans. However, necessary work is continuing.” A month or so ago, some creature was spotted tossing odd bits and bobs up into the air from a hole in the ground just east of the church. On further inspection it was seen to be McCandless, who by necessity was ripping out some old plumbing.

A near-neighbor to the woodworking business Dendro Technologies at 4404 Corrales Road has appealed the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval of a site development plan for it. The Village Council will hear the appeal by Antonette Roybal during its November 10 session. The business has been operating along Hansen Road by Rick Thaler and his...

Corrales author Rudy Miera has been named the Village’s poet laureate. Long a resident here, Miera was so designated by Mayor Jo Anne Roake last month, based on his volunteering with the Corrales Library. He is directing the library’s “I Love to Write” youth poetry contest, the results of which will be announced October 30, the birthday of the late Rudolfo Anaya, who Miera considers a mentor. The contest was open to persons in middle school and high school. Each poet was to begin with the phrase “Life in New Mexico is….”

Villagers living in the vicinity of the Wagner Farmland Experience on Corrales Road, now in full swing, have noted almost no pandemic safe practices in place, with overflow parking, groups of more than five people, few masks, many lined up to buy tickets, and nothing close to social distancing. Each fall Wagner’s creates a corn maze, and invites visitors to pick out future jack-o-lanterns from their pumpkin patch.

New this season, a “Vegetable U-Pick,” featuring a variety of vegetables including different color bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, eggplant and chile piquin. Farmland Experience is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through October 31. Admission is charged.

An unprecedented rash of arson fires in the Corrales Bosque Preserve is threatening the beloved forest along the river and nearby homes. “We have had a total of seven fires in the bosque on two separate days,” Corrales Fire Department’s Tanya 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.” Lattin said a fire Thursday, October 8 was discovered near the bridge over the Riverside Drain at the end of Andrews Lane. She described that one as a small fire about 200 feet by 200 feet in area.

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.

Decisions on how Village officials will use the former residence of Harvey and Annette Jones, west of the Corrales Post Office, have advanced little since the property on which it sits was acquired more than four years ago. Village Administrator Ron Curry said in a phone interview October 16 that a final assessment has yet to be made whether the structure can be re-purposed and renovated or should be razed. That is about where things stood in 2016 when the 2,54 acres of land and buildings were purchased.

“A chemical review will be done to see what is in that structure. We’re having Facility Build and another company go in there to look for asbestos and mold and other problems that would diminish the integrity of the structure,” Curry said. Facility Build is a firm owned by Corrales resident Brian Kilcup and which last year renovated the old Corrales Valley Fire Station which now houses the Planning and Zoning Department.

A drone might be handy, in these pandemic times, to slowly drift along high above Corrales Road to look down on what businesses are in, what out, what pending, etc. But, a car must do. The long-debated and awaited medical cannabis retail shop via TopShelf, aka Southwest Organic Producers, or SWOP, is still not open at 4604 Corrales Road in an end space in the former Kim Jew building.

But there are tiny signs of progress. The building itself is still not sold, but SWOP reported on its website October 9 that it had “just started harvesting our first couple of harvests. The results are in and they’re testing better than ever.” Cannabis for SWOP is being grown now in Corrales at 379 Camino de Corrales del Norte, under the guidance of Spencer Komadina. It comprises three greenhouses.

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