Posts Tagged: corrales; New Mexico; NM; news; village; corrales comment

2020 APRIL 25 ISSUE: BETTER START NOW WITH CHOICES IN PRIMARIES

You may need to hire some help…
… to cast your ballot in the June 2 primary elections.

A plethora of candidates want your vote to fill local, state and federal offices. For starters, 12 names are shown running for president of the United States on Democrats’ ballot, including those who have withdrawn already. Libertarians will have 12 presidential candidates to choose from, including Daniel Behrman of Las Vegas, New Mexico, whose email address is taxationistheft@behrman2020.com.

A total of eight Corraleños will be on the party primary ballots. Running for a variety of positions are Jane Powdrell-Culbert, Bob Perls, Daymon Ely, Ben Rodefer, Brenda McKenna, Kevin Lucero, Tania Dennis and Audrey Mendonca-Trujillo. Perhaps the most populous ballot category for New Mexicans will be choices for New Mexico’s Third Congressional District to replace Congressman Ben Ray Lujan who is running for retiring Senator Tom Udall’s seat.

Registered Republicans will be asked to choose from six candidates running in the Third Congressional District: Harry Montoya of Santa Fe; Karen Evette Bodonie of Navajo; Alexis Johnson of Santa Fe; Anise Golden-Morper of Angel Fire; Audra Brown of Portales; and a write-in, Angel Morales of Rio Rancho.
In the same race, Democrats’ choices are: Teresa Leger Fernandez of Santa Fe; Laura Montoya of Rio Rancho, Marco Serna of Santa Fe, Joseph Sanchez of Alcalde; Valerie Plame of Santa Fe, John Blair of Santa Fe; and John Tisdale of Taos.

In the First Congressional District, Democrat incumbent Deb Haaland has no challenger in the primary. On the Republican side, candidates for that seat are Michelle Garcia Holmes of Bernalillo, Jaren Vander Dussen of Albuquerque and Brett Kokinadis of Santa Fe. For the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Udall, the following Republican candidates have entered the race: Elisa Martinez of Albuquerque; Mark Ronchetti of Albuquerque; Gavin Clarkson of Las Cruces; Richard Montoya Sr. of Rio Rancho; Mick Rich of Albuquerque; and Louie Sanchez of Albuquerque.

Libertarian Party candidate Bob Walsh of Santa Fe is also seeking that seat.

The sole Democrat on the primary ballot for the U.S. Senate seat is Ben Ray Lujan.

Fields are also crowded for seats in the N.M. Legislature.

In N.M. Senate District 9, four candidates are from Corrales; one Republican and three Democrats. Corrales Democrats running to replace State Senator John Sapien of Corrales are: Brenda McKenna; Ben Rodefer and Kevin Lucero. A fourth who had filed for that race, Placitas Democrat Jodilynn Ortiz, has withdrawn.

Republicans seeking the State Senate District 9 seat are: Bridget Condon of Rio Rancho, John Clark of Placitas; and Tania Dennis of Corrales.
Running for the N.M. House District 44 seat are Republican incumbent Jane Powdrell-Culbert of Corrales; Rio Rancho Libertarian Jeremy Myers; and Rio Rancho Democrat Gary Tripp.

Another Corrales incumbent seeking re-election is Daymon Ely, the Democrat who now holds the N.M. House District 23 seat. He has a Corrales challenger in the June 2 primary: Audrey Mendonca-Trujillo.

The sole Republican running for the House District 23 seat is Ellis McMath of Albuquerque.

Yet another Corraleño will be on the ballot: Democrat Bob Perls is running for Sandoval County Clerk. He is competing against Anne Brady-Romero of Algodones and Pete Salazar of Bernalillo in the Democratic primary. The sole Republican seeking election as Sandoval County Clerk is Lawrence Griego of Rio Rancho.

For the position of Sandoval County Treasurer, three Rio Rancho Republicans want the job: Jennifer Taylor, Benay Ward and Carlos Sanchez. For Democrats, Ronnie Sisneros of Bernalillo is the sole candidate for Treasurer. For Sandoval County Commission District 2, incumbent Republican Jay Block of Rio Rancho has no challenger. The Democrat seeking that position, Leah Michelle Ahkee-Baczkiewicz of Rio Rancho also has no opponent.

2020-APRIL 25 ISSUE: COVID-19 INVADES CORRALES; 4 CASES REPORTED HERE

As of Monday, April 20, four cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 had been recorded in Corrales. That information was available through the N.M. Department of Health’s website for the first time on Friday, April 17. Continual reporting of cases by zipcode can be found at the department’s website: http://www.cv.nmhealth.org.  On that homepage, find the “Click here to view positive cases by county,” and then choose “View map by zipcode.” All of Corrales, and only Corrales, has the zipcode 87048.

As of April 20, 1,971 people in New Mexico had been confirmed with the disease, out of a total of 36,784 who had been tested at that time. Fifty-eight died. One hundred sixteen COVID-19 patients were hospitalized.  It had not been disclosed how those four cases in Corrales had contracted the virus.

Tanya Lattin, the Corrales Fire Department’s emergency management coordinator said April 20 that the total coronavirus cases in Corrales still stood at four. “The State has told me that the zip code mapping ‘should’ be updated two times weekly, probably Mondays and Thursdays. I have put in a request to the State to find out more on days and times of the updates. I do know it does not look like it has been updated since the launch.”

Lattin said Corrales fire-rescue personnal have adequate personnel protective gear so far. “We have not changed anything since the four cases have been reported. The department has had strict protocols going back to March on response to all calls. “As I am sure you know, there are people who can be actively infected with COVID-19 without showing signs and symptoms, All patients, if capable, are asked by dispatch to come outside of their home. Surgical masks are given to all patients to wear, if they do not already have them.

“Responders use N-95 masks or P-100 on all calls along with eye protection and gowns if needed,” Lattin added. “Gloves are always worn on calls so this is not new. After every call, the crew will shower and wash their uniforms.

“We have a good amount of PPE as we started planning in January for COVID-19. We do look daily for available PPE from our vendors to replace what has been used. We also have requested and received some PPE from the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The Corrales EOC also secures and transfers neede supplies to other Village departments when requested.

“The fire department has a good supply of disinfectants for the station, vehicles and equipment. We have more disinfectants on order and purchased in February UVC equipment to add to the cleaning protocols in place in the fire station. The UVC has also been used at Village Hall by Chief Martinez.” She said the department staff has a health check protocol, under which each person checks for fever several times a day, and signs of any illness for all entries into the station are logged on a sheet. “Crews follow social distancing guidelines while at work as well.”

Call volume is holding steady from last year’s numbers from April 1, 2019 to April 19, 2020 as compared to the same time frame for 2020, she reported. “We are eight calls lower this year than last, but we had two structure fires, a car fire, a storage shed fire, a vegetation fire, a stove top fire and three more motor vehicle accidents than we have this year.”

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham continued to impose relatively strict demands for business and institutional closures and stay-at-home instructions to prevent further infections. She declined to lift those restrictions, while officials in other states acted to ease those for a return to business as usual.  In her remarks April 17, Mayor Jo Anne Roake urged villagers to stay the course in holding down spread of the infection which is most dangerous for the elderly and people with conditions such as diabetes and heart ailments.

As villagers remain cooped up at home, concerns over mental health stresses have mounted. Among opportunities for help is the Agora Crisis Center which can be reached by calling 277-3013 or by internet at http://www.agoracares.org. A spokesman for the N.M. State Police issued the following directive about reporting businesses that remain open despite restrictions imposed by the governor. “There is some misunderstanding percolating through the public and media regarding the method to report businesses that are not in compliance with the public health orders.

“Please help us spread the word that anyone wanting to report a business should not contact any of the state hotlines.  The correct method to report is to send an email to nmsp.covid19@state.nm.us.

“A report should include the name and location of the business, and date and time the violation was noted.  Reports can also be sent to a local law enforcement agency.” Along with other news media, community newspapers such as Corrales Comment are specifically exempt from mandatory closures since the governor designated them as essential services. While the Comment office remains closed indefinitely, operations are continuing more or less normally via telephone interviews and photo-taking.

2020-APRIL 25 ISSUE: SALCE BASIN PROJECT READY BEFORE MONSOONS HIT

Corrales Lake won’t be open for waterskiing or swimming later this year, but mosquito-feeding might be. The long-envisioned stormwater detention pond along Sagebrush Drive is now substantially complete. The enormous basin excavated in what has been the north half of the Village’s Salce Park is the terminus for extensive drainage improvements to cure disastrous flooding in sandhill neighborhoods below the abandoned Dam No. 1 on the escarpment between Rio Rancho and Corrales. (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXXVII No.16 November 9, 2019 “Long-Awaited Salce Basin Project Will Control Flooding.”)

Village Administrator Ron Curry said in a phone interview April 17 that “We are very happy with the work that was done up there,” and that the project is deemed “substantially complete” under the contract. The $2 million-plus project was engineered by Huitt-Zollars, of Rio Rancho, and constructed by Meridian Contracting.

Curry said the work went smoothly except for damage to a wall as the five-foot diameter culvert leading to the Salce pond was installed under Loma de Oro Road under tight conditions. The Village Administrator said he is confident the drainage system will be finished before monsoon season.
Much of the funding comes from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).

Although the project’s purpose has never been stated as such, it may represent the final chapter in needed stormwater drainage controls for much of Corrales’ Northwest Sector. The terrain being protected was unincorporated territory (not annexed into Corrales) when four large dams were constructed along the escarpment by Rio Rancho developer Amrep Southwest which were supposed to control major run-off into Corrales.

Problems arose almost immediately, as Rio Rancho developers contended (unconvincingly) that drainage from their projects did not exceed “historic flows.”
As Corrales subdivisions crept higher into the sandhills on this side of the boundary, Amrep’s worries over potential liability intensified. Mysteriously, ownership of one or more of those dams was transferred to Sandoval County.

A continuation of steps taken to shift the escarpment drainage problems to taxpayers and their public institutions came when in 2007 a project was launched to pipe stormwater from Dam 1 all the way to the Montoyas Arroyo. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXV No. 24, February 10, 2007 “Stormwater Projects Under Way for Corrales Escarpment.”)

In part, that long drainage pipe was a response to the severe flooding that hit Corrales as Sagebrush Subdivision was going in. As part of his development agreement with the Village of Corrales, builder Ed Paschich promised to dedicate five acres of land along Sagebrush Drive to the Village in exchange for getting slightly higher residential density.

Two and a half acres were dedicated for a park, specifically soccer fields, on the south side of Sagebrush Drive and another 2.5 acres just across the road on the north side. But within weeks of installing the irrigation pump, irrigation system and seeding the field, a huge flood of water from Dam 1 raged down the escarpment and buried the would-be soccer field in deep sediment.

Since that day, Village officials have made several half-hearted attempts to rehabilitate the land dedicated for public recreation, although in recent years those five acres have served only as a materials dump for gravel and recycled asphalt. The current Salce Basin Flood Hazard Remediation project’s main feature is a five-foot diameter pipe that begins in an arroyo near the top of Loma del Oro Road north of the Sagebrush Subdivision and ends at spillway into the huge Salce Basin pond.

The Corrales Fire Department’s Tanya Lattin has been the Village’s primary interface with Meridian Contracting, which has built the infrastructure to address chronic erosion and flooding in that terrain.

At an October 30, 2019 pre-construction conference in the Village Office conference room, Battalion Commander Lattin dramatically recalled the flood damage that occurred from the July 26, 2013 “once in a thousand years” storm that saturated parts of Rio Rancho and Corrales. “A lot of these people were horribly, horribly impacted,” she told the Meridian representatives. The entire first level of one family’s home was filled with water and silt.

Lattin said she would try to keep homeowners fully informed throughout. “Five or six homes will have a very big impact” from the construction project, she pointed out. In addition to the crucial work along Loma del Oro, the northern end of Calle de Blas has been re-designed and rebuilt so that storm water will drain into a series of roadside catchments referred to as Noah’s Ponds.

The project has 14 specific construction parts, or tasks. Another of those is a future pond at the northeast corner of the Sagebrush and Griego Court intersection. Total construction price project according to the contractor’s bid is $2,176,825. After the July 2013 storm event and the enormous damage it caused, Village officials successfully got funding from FEMA and state government, which allowed the current project to get underway.

A homeowner hard hit by storm water run-off from that downpour told the Village Council at its June 24, 2014 meeting that her home had 10 feet of storm water and silt. The flooding “completely ruined our office, library, sewing, exercise room, guest bedroom and guest bathrooms” in the home’s basement area, one-third of the structure, according to Kate Bogart, whose home is just west of Calle Blanca between Loma del Oro and Camino Rayo del Sol.
The water also reached the main floor with damage to the kitchen, bath, hallway, dining room, living room and breakfast room. “We have estimated losses over $100,000 from this one flooding event.

“During the night of July 26, my husband barely made it out of our home alive, had to abandon our home, and had to evacuate with the Corrales Fire Department —they all got stuck on Calle Blanca del Norte,” Bogart wrote. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIII No.10 July 5, 2014 “Monsoon Storms Begin; Repairs Not Finished From 2013 Flooding.”)

In early 2007, David Stoliker, then-director of the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA) explained earlier attempts to address the problems within the Salce Basin watershed. He outlined two projects related to the old Dam 1 on the Rio Rancho-Corrales boundary that were supposed to control run-off to the terrain along the escarpment from Sagebrush to Angel Road. “On the Thompson fence line [boundary] there’s an old dam up there that the County received from Amrep, who told them it was a park and the County didn’t realize it was a dam,” Stoliker explained.

“In the area west of the Thompson fence line, there’s an outlet of the old Dam 1 that cuts across the escarpment to the Montoyas Arroyo,” he continued. But run-off coming in south of the dam has been running into Corrales unchecked. So, Stoliker said, “we’re going to grade that whole thing so all that water will not flow into Corrales.” Instead, it will flow down into the drainage feature installed at the old dam.

“That is one of the last places where storm water still flows into Corrales from Rio Rancho. What happened this past rain event [in 2006] is that we have an emergency spillway on the south side of the old dam of about five to ten acres that can still flow into Corrales.

“Well, in the big rains last summer, it cut [erosion] like you wouldn’t believe.

“When you have a steep slope like that, and the water gets up a strong velocity, it will cut right through.” Stoliker said his agency had retained two lots at the extreme west end of the Sagebrush Subdivision at the time the parcels were delineated in the mid-1980s. “On the cul de sac at the end of Sagebrush, we own two lots, and we wanted to keep those so that nobody would get hurt [if they built a home below the old Dam 1]. Well, the storm water from that 5-10 acres ended up cutting through our two lots.

“It cut right down into Salce Park. Instead of cutting through the original arroyo, it cut away from the arroyo… don’t ask me how it did it, but it was pretty heavy velocity.

“So right now, we’re issuing a task order for $37,000 of the $250,000” earmarked in the [2006] bond election to grade the land south of the old dam to direct run-off into the drainage pipe that leads to the Montoyas Arroyo. The second, related, project was to the north of the old Dam 1. “There’s a steep escarpment in here, and the run-off came down near Tierra Encantada, so we’re going to take a look at that, too.

“In one place, the run-off broke out a couple of little ponds the Village had. We think with a little bit of new piping and putting in a little bigger drop inlets [into the existing drainage pipe that leads from the old Dam 1 to the Montoyas] we can solve that problem.”

Stoliker explained that when his agency installed the pipeline from Dam 1 to the Montoyas Arroyo in 1998, that project included inlets for flows coming from the escarpment itself. Those original inlets along the pipeline route did function, he explained, “but either the inlets were not big enough, or somehow we got a lot more sediment coming in than we expected. “I think what’s happening is that people are building up there and they’re covering their lots so it increases the run-off.

“Or it could have been simply that someone had done a lot of grading up there. Remember, this was a horrible storm event. This was what I consider to be a greater-than-one hundred year event. So they had enough run-off from these lots [in Rio Rancho], and maybe they did have ponds in there, but the ponds over-topped and it came down and broke out a couple of the structures that were in there.”

Most of those erosion problems identified more than a decade ago may finally have been addressed by the Salce Basin project now being completed.

2020- APRIL 11 ISSUE: AGRICULTURAL RESILIENCE ACT AWAITS APPROVAL

A bill pending in Congress aims to help farmers adjust to climate change. The Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA, H.R.5861) is intended to set farmers up with the tools they need to confront the climate crisis.  Representative Chellie Pingree, Maine Democrat, introduced a comprehensive policy proposal to facilitate farmers’ access to scientific data.
Here are the key points as described by the congresswoman.
• The ARA takes a systems approach. Climate change is bringing a wide range of challenges to U.S. farmers and food system stakeholders. The vast suite of tools will put support in a range of areas where it’s needed. For example, investments will range from supporting farmers in improving agricultural practices on crop and livestock operations, to expanding renewable energy use in farms across the nation and helping to curb senseless losses of farm and food waste.
• The bill would quadruple agricultural science funding. With its call to massively increase agricultural research and extension funding, this policy proposal should appeal to all who love science, including the farmers who can benefit from it.
This is especially true considering that the US investment in public agricultural research has been in decline in recent decades. Further, the USDA’s leading competitive grants program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), has not yet received anywhere near the full $700 million dollars authorized for it (the maximum amount appropriated so far was $415 in 2019).
Other key research programs, such as the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, which funds critical participatory research, receive far less funds. The new proposal would ensure that these and other programs have a better chance of getting the most effective solutions into the hands of farmers.
• The ARA aims to boost sorely needed funding for agro-ecological and climate change science. The new proposal is a big win for agricultural research overall, but what’s really exciting is the emphasis on research tailored to agroecology and climate change. While some recent investments have been steps in the right direction, the new proposal would prioritize relatively untapped areas. It expands such research within the competitive grant programs at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (including AFRI) and at the Agricultural Research Service (the USDA’s internal research branch).
It would also fund the Climate Hubs and the Long-Term Agro-ecosystem Research Network that could serve as a foundation for the multi-year, regionally focused science that is essential, particularly during changing times.
• The ARA supports science-based, time-tested programs. Wisely, the ARA doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Given the need for swift action, the commitments to invest heavily in proven programs is a smart approach.
An important example is the planned expanded investment in the Conservation Stewardship Program, a program that we have found has a high return on investment due to the practices that it incentivizes as well as its holistic approach. The new proposal would also leverage other popular and highly effective programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

     • The ARA commits to establishing new, science-driven initiatives. While the new proposal builds on and leverages a wide range of existing programs, it doesn’t stop short of innovating. Fortunately, proposed new areas of work incorporate strong science. For example, the bill calls for a new National Academy of Sciences study investigating the connections between human health and soil health, to help identify the most promising agricultural pathways for people and planet.
It also directs the USDA to establish science-based criteria for new incentives, to ensure that such efforts deliver the best possible outcomes.
• The ARA is anchored in science-informed goals.
The new proposal puts forward a dozen specific goals for 2040, all of which are highly ambitious, and based in science. The top line goal is to require U.S. agriculture —which currently contain nine percent of the nation’s heat-trapping emissions— to achieve net zero emissions by 2040.
To get there, the multi-pronged approach includes: restoring at least half of lost soil carbon (scientists have identified several ways to work toward this, and achieving it brings co-benefits), maintaining year-round cover on at least 75 percent of cropland acres (a goal which already has momentum, and which can help with both soil carbon storage and building resilience to increasingly extreme weather), eliminating farmland and grassland conversion (which often leads to soil carbon loss, and threatens future farming legacies), reducing food waste by at least 75 percent. That is a reasonable goal considering that up to 40 percent of food in the United States is currently wasted, which causes climate emissions at landfills and also represents preventable emissions and other environmental consequences all along the supply chain), and more.
“In short, this new policy proposal leads with science to set out a bold and inspiring vision for a world in which farmers are key players in combating climate change,” the congresswoman said. “It recognizes that the science, practice, and policies we have today give us a lot to work with, while also acknowledging the need to accelerate our learning, investments and actions along the way. It may just be a first step, but it puts our best foot forward.”

2020- APRIL 11 ISSUE: MAKE YOUR HYPERTUFA

Tired of going to Book Club? Yoga? Consider reeling in a few good pals to play around with messy Portland cement and peat moss in order to create your own stone-like planters from hypertufa. Or, if you are self-isolating, dive in by yourself. Tufa is limestone rock, so hypertufa is fake rock that is lighter weight and porous, thus perfect for plants, especially drought-tolerant succulents. The creative director of Burlington,Vermont-based Gardener’s Supply, Susan Romanoff, developed this recipe: Materials: 1 part Portland cement 1.5 parts peat moss 1.5 parts perlite Water Tub for mixing ingredients Rubber gloves Dust mask 2 cardboard boxes, one about 2" smaller than the other Mix one part Portland cement with 1.5 parts each of peat moss and perlite in a large tub. Add just enough water so that when you form a ball in your hands and squeeze it, it holds its shape and little or no water drips out. Pack the hypertufa mixture into the bottom of a box in a two-inch thick layer, creating the floor of your container. The size and shape of this larger box will define the exterior footprint of your container. Insert a smaller container inside the larger box, on top of the base layer of the concrete mixture. The difference in the sizes of the boxes determines the thickness of the walls. Ideally, the walls should be at least two inches thick. Fill and pack the gaps between the boxes with the hypertufa mixture. Wrap your mold in plastic and keep in a shady location overnight. Remove the plastic and allow to cure for another few days before planting. Plant. For full details, see gardeners.com.

2020- APRIL 25 ISSUE: HEDGEROWS TO AID BEES

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. Thankfully, a return to hedgerows and their preservation is turning this around. Traditionally Americans grow hedges, not hedgerows, which tend to be comprised of one shrub, rather than the mixed plantings of a hedgerow. And yet bee expert and pollinator promoter Anita Amrutz of Albuquerque thinks it’s possible hedgerow plantings in the Southwest could well aid threatened bees, and other creatures, providing nesting, forage and shelter. And inviting predators, too, to hunker down. Amrutz summarized a recent article in The New Yorker magazine that profiled Jake Fiennes, who has taught himself to encourage “the messy,” to re-wild the land. He took 1,000 acres out of food production on one huge estate for that purpose, and the result was a major increase in farm production on the remaining land. Fiennes decries “Taliban farming,” wherein hedges are slashed low instead of pruned intelligently. And is promoting restoration of wetlands. Amrutz recently completed a short documentary on the Rio Grande watershed, which focuses on Lorenzo Candelaria, a South Valley farmer who has lived along the acequia for most of his life. He considers bees “the most essential creatures we have in our agriculture,” with water the key to their and our survival. The film is titled Harvesting Consciousness, and Amrutz prefers you view it by going to her website on this page: thinklikeabee.org/2019/ 12/09/christmas-for-the-bees. Following her eclectic talk at the New Mexico Organic Farming Conference last month, a farmer from the Belen area approached Amrutz, saying he had been considering planting cactus along his fence lines, as a beginning response to the benefits of hedgerows. Possibly, prickly pear. This mixed in with other arid country plants might well come together as a new western American hedgerow. When a hedgerow is planted perpendicular to the prevailing winds, it can reduce wind speeds by up to 75 percent at distances up to ten times the height of the hedgerow on flat land, according to Jude Hobbes, an agroecologist, permaculturist and hedgerow specialist based in Oregon. Buffering the wind is not as easy to accomplish in the high desert, but still, one can try. And hedgerows/or mixed hedges do much more. According to Amy Stross, of Tenth Acre Farm in the Midwest, if you’d like to see more beneficial insects patrolling your garden or more pollinators coming in for a visit, “a hedgerow can do more than a wildflower planting all by itself.” “That’s because mixed hedgerows consist of trees, shrubs and ground covers in addition to herbs and wildflowers, all of which flower and fruit at different times and provide a variety of options for pollen, nectar, food and shelter. More leaf litter will increase habitat for important insects, and more insects may increase the bird and bat populations. Butterflies will also be attracted to hedgerows for protection.” The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in the United Kingdom reports that “hedges may support up to 80 percent of our woodland birds, 50 percent of our mammals and 30 percent of our butterflies. The ditches and banks associated with hedgerows provide habitat for frogs, toads, newts and reptiles.” The Audubon Society here in the United States is not particularly hedgerow oriented, but its focus is firm on native plantings and their benefits to birds, bees and us.

Its Native Plants Database is a remarkable resource: audubon.org/plantsforbirds. Just type in your zip code and up come detailed listings. The zip code 87048 yielded 67 “best results,” and 437 “full results.” Advocate Amrutz of Think Like a Bee took her deep dive into bee-ness a few years back and discovered that “pollinators, including some 20,000 species of wild bees, contribute to the growth of fruit, vegetables and many nuts, as well as flowering plants. Plants that depend on pollination make up 35 percent of global crop production volume with a value of as much as $577 billion a year. The agricultural system, for which pollinators play a key role, creates millions of jobs worldwide.” And fairly recently she also learned of the millions of bee deaths in California’s almond fields, because professional beekeepers bring in their hives to pollinate the trees there. A Guardian newspaper report in January 2020 stated that “a recent survey of commercial beekeepers showed that 50 billion bees —more than seven times the world’s human population— were wiped out in a few months during winter 2018-19. This is more than one-third of commercial U.S. bee colonies, the highest number since the annual survey started in the mid-2000s.” “Beekeepers attributed the high mortality rate to pesticide exposure, diseases from parasites and habitat loss. However, environmentalists and organic beekeepers maintain that the real culprit is something more systemic: America’s reliance on industrial agriculture methods, especially those used by the almond industry, which demands a large-scale mechanization of one of nature’s most delicate natural processes. “Environmental advocates argue that the huge, commercially driven proliferation of the European honeybees used on almond farms is itself undermining the ecosystem for all bees. Honeybees out-compete diverse native bee species for forage, and threaten the endangered species that are already struggling to survive climate change. Environmentalists argue a better solution is to transform the way large-scale agriculture is carried out in the United States.” Why so keen on almond milk? There is so much water involved, but, true eco-edible patriots can make their own, at home. The link is here: minimalistbaker.com/how-to-make-almond-milk/ Meanwhile, much as the honey bee is appreciated and loved, maybe we need to learn more about native bees, in particular the blue orchard mason bee, Osmia lignaria, This is the dark blue bee that gathers pollen on its belly, not its legs, and is a highly efficient pollinator of native crops, according to the U.S. Forest Service. There are 140 species of the genus Osmia in North America, and Osmia lignaria is the bee for whom you might have bought that bee hotel on line… the one filled with the hollow bamboo tubes. Maybe this spring its “No Vacancy” sign will go up. To read The New Yorker piece, get the issue of February 17/24 2020, or visit the website newyorker.com/magazine/2020/02/17/can-farming-make-space-for-nature. For the Tenth Acre Farm writeup “10 Reasons to Plant a Hedgerow,” go to: tenthacrefarm.com/10-reasons-to-plant-a-hedgerow.

2020- APRIL 11 ISSUE: UNEMPLOYMENT RISES WITH COVOID-19

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions released unofficial numbers for new unemployment insurance claims filed for the period March 27 to April 2. The total number of new claims processed for the week was 28,344, but not all claimants will qualify for benefits. The number of weekly certifications for the same timeframe was 44,000. These include people receiving benefits and others who are in the system and awaiting determination. As of April 2, the current trust fund balance was $450 million.  Individuals are required to certify every week after they apply for benefits, including the weeks before they receive their first benefit payment. The department encourages those who are able to complete their weekly certification online at http://www.jobs.state.nm.us or they may call 1-877-664-6984, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  A video on how to file weekly certifications has been published on the NMDWS official YouTube channel, www.YouTube.com/NMDWS.   “Governor Lujan Grisham wants all New Mexicans to be safe and healthy as we work through the COVID-19 crisis,” said Bill McCamley, secretary of the New Mexico Workforce Solutions Department. “Our staff is working as hard as we can to ensure that New Mexicans get the benefits they need and we very much appreciate the patience and kindness of our neighbors as we get through this together.” In recent weeks, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions Unemployment Insurance filing system has faced an unprecedented increase in volume. In order to address this surge, the department has:
• Implemented a new, more efficient filing system based on the last number of the applicant's Social Security number: 0 - 3 : Mondays; 4 - 6 : Tuesdays; 7 - 9 : Wednesdays; if you missed your day, you can call on Thursdays and Fridays.
• Streamlined the account creation process for New Mexico Workforce Connection Online System, resulting in over 95 percent of initial claims being filed online; • Waived the work search requirements;
• Dedicated 115 staff to the NMDWS Unemployment Insurance Operations Center telephone line, with plans to bring an additional 61 staff on board;
• Added a chat bot feature to the NMDWS website to provide guided information serving 96,973 sessions since 3/23, and;
• Waived the charges for new claims related to COVID-19 separations for both reimbursable and contributory employers.
Additional information for workers affected by COVID-19, including frequently asked questions, can be found at www.dws.state.nm.us/COVID-19-Info. For the latest announcements and updates, follow NMDWS on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

2020- APRIL 11 ISSUE: CONGRESS GRANTS $674,000 TO TRIBES FOR TRANSPORT

On April 6, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, along with U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján, Deb Haaland and Xochitl Torres Small announced that New Mexico Tribes will receive over $674,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
The funds are part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that the entire New Mexico delegation voted to pass Congress last week.
The grants are part of $2 billion in emergency supplemental funding for federal programs benefiting Indian tribes. The CARES Act also established a $8 billion Tribal Coronavirus Relief Fund to ensure Tribes have “one stop” access to resources to fund a Tribal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Mexico Tribes will receive $674,279 to fund Tribal public transportation systems for their communities.
“Tribes have made it abundantly clear that the effects of COVID-19 on Indian Country will be devastating if they do not receive necessary public health, economic stabilization, and infrastructure resources,” said Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. “As Tribally-owned and operated businesses are forced to shutter to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, the federal government must now more than ever stand shoulder to should with Tribal governments to continue to provide essential services. Reliable access to transportation is especially important for Tribal communities during this public health crisis so that families can get the resources and health care they need, especially because transportation infrastructure in many Tribal communities is severely inadequate and in disrepair. This additional funding is a step in the right direction. As the vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, I will keep working to ensure Tribal communities have the full support of the federal government to stay healthy and financially afloat in this challenging time.”
"Tribal governments are facing unique challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to confronting a public health crisis with already strapped medical resources, they are also losing much of the revenue they rely on from Tribal enterprises disappearing,” said Heinrich. “This federal funding support will help make up some of those losses and ensure tribal communities can continue maintaining their transportation services, which is absolutely critical right now for connecting health care workers to those who need medical attention. I will continue doing everything I can to deliver the lifesaving resources tribes in New Mexico need to get through this emergency and rebuild thriving communities when it is over."
“Tribes are among the hardest hit of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s critical that we support investments that will support Indian Country’s public health, economy, and infrastructure. This critical grant for Tribal Nations will help keep essential services running during this public health crisis,” said Luján. “As Congress negotiates another coronavirus response package, I am continuing to work with Tribal leaders to address the needs of their communities.”

“Transportation infrastructure is important to ensuring Native Americans have access to the health care and resources to combat the coronavirus, however Tribes have been left behind for decades. The delegation and I worked hard to make sure the transportation funding available in the coronavirus stimulus package included dollars specifically for Tribes, so they have what they need to support public health, safety, and economic stability during this trying time,” said Haaland, Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus.
“First responders across Pueblo of Isleta, Pueblo of Laguna, and Zuni Pueblo depend on safe, reliable public transportation options as they rise to meet the challenges from the current public health emergency. I’m proud to share this funding will support frontline essential workers by keeping our public transit systems in operation and I will continue to ensure Tribes and Pueblos are not left out of Congress’ response to COVID19,” said Torres Small.
The full breakdown of the $674,279 grants is below, distributed under Section 5311(c), Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Formula Apportionments:
• Jicarilla Apache Nation, $36,605
• Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, $86,691
• Pojoaque Pueblo, $16,893
• Pueblo of Isleta, $38,990
• Pueblo of Laguna, $88,113
• Pueblo of Nambé, $10,033
• Pueblo of San Ildefonso, $16,452
• Pueblo of Santa Ana, $56,079
• Pueblo of Santa Clara, $123,759
• Tesuque Pueblo, $19,791
• Zuni Pueblo, $180,873

2020- APRIL 11 ISSUE: SENATE DIST. 9 SEAT ATTRACTS ANOTHER CANDIDATE

While no one is out and about shaking hands, Democratic candidates who have announced to replace State Senator John Sapien, not seeking re-election to the Senate District 9 seat, are Ben Rodefer, Kevin Lucero and Brenda McKenna of Corrales.
Senate District 9 covers all of Corrales, Placitas, Bernalillo, Algodones and parts of Rio Rancho and Sandia Pueblo.
Democrat Jodilynn Ortiz of Placitas recently withdrew from consideration, claiming in a statement that “…one of my opponents, Brenda McKenna and her team, challenged some of the signatures in my nomination petition form, and because of that, a judge decided that I did not meet the minimum requirement to have my name appear on the ballot.”
McKenna responded that her “campaign team looked at Ms. Ortiz's signatures and she only filed 180 signatures (the threshold was 176). The rest of the candidates in SD-9 filed over 300. When we looked at who signed her petitions there were several registered Republicans and many people who signed from outside of District 9. All candidates for office have to abide by the same rules and the judge agreed.”
She added that she, “along with wonderful volunteers, worked hard to secure over 300 signatures and I will work with the same tenacity for the people of District 9.”
McKenna had just posted on her campaign website an endorsement by Congresswoman Deb Haaland, representing New Mexico House District-1, for whom McKenna has worked as a field representative. Haaland said in part, “I’m excited to endorse Brenda McKenna for State Senate. Brenda is a lifelong Democrat and proud Pueblo woman. I’ve seen her work ethic and determination firsthand. I know Brenda will fight for all of us in the State Senate.”
As Ortiz withdrew from the District 9 primary race, she endorsed Rodefer. “I will be supporting Ben Rodefer as I believe he is the progressive voice of the remaining candidates in this race.”

Rodefer served in the N.M. House of Representatives from 2008 to 2010, and twice was president of the Renewable Energy Industries Association of New Mexico. While  in the state legislature, he was rated as voting 100 percent with the Conservation Voters of New Mexico, the Sierra Club and animal protection advocates.
He has founded several companies, including the solar energy firm Rio Grande Renewables, GoBox Software and Vibeway Games. He grew up in Corrales.
Lucero, a member of the Corrales Village Council, is a fourth-generation rancher/farmer in northern Sandoval County, “who grew up in Sandoval County and knows Senate District 9. He has 27 years of public service experience in city, county and state government.” He has had a career in law enforcement.
Republicans seeking the District 9 seat include Tania Dennis of Corrales, described as a business owner and member of the board of Family Promise of ABQ, a transitional shelter for homeless families. taniadennisfornm.com/
John Stahlman Clark of Placitas is also listed as running, but appears to have no web or Facebook presence.
Bridget E. Condon of Rio Rancho has worked for former Congressman Steve Pearce, and also the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.
The 2020 primary is June 2. For those interested in voting absentee, visit the N.M. Secretary of State’s website. You may request such a ballot through May 28.
The Republican Party of NM, as well as Republican House and Senate caucuses, filed a motion March 31 to block the mail-in effort for the June primaries. The State Supreme Court set a hearing on this for April 14.
Long-time Corrales Republican Jane Powdrell-Culbert survived a challenge to her petitions last month in her bid for re-election to represent N.M. House District 44. She has no opposition in the June 2 Republican primary, although she will face Democrat Gary Tripp and Libertarian Jeremy Myers in November’s general election.

RETIRING COUNCILLOR PAT CLAUSER LOOKS BACK AT 14 YEARS

Back when Pat Clauser began paying attention to Corrales politics, plans were under way to build what is now Cottonwood Mall on vacant land between Cabezon Road and Corrales Center.
That land, the northern parcels of the old Seven Bar Ranch, instead became the Riverwalk and La Paz apartment complexes.
Earlier this month, Clauser ended her 12-year service on the Village Council when Stuart Murray replaced her to represent District 6. Prior to her initial election to the council in 2008, she had served two years on the Planning and Zoning Commission.
She agreed to a retrospective interview with Corrales Comment April 3 looking back on those 14 years.
Over all, she lamented the relative lack of citizen involvement in Village affairs these days. “I think it’s really important to have more discussion at Village Council meetings and to have more people there.
“We used to have many more work-study sessions about projects than we have now. In previous times, we had much more discussion by residents coming to council meetings.
She recalled that the last standing-room-only discussions were whether the Village of Corrales should become a “sanctuary village” for undocumented immigrants and whether to allow firearms in La Entrada Park.
“I believed it was important that we not become a ‘sanctuary village’ because the council’s role is to decide how to spend public money and we have to be very careful that we don’t have a problem with the federal government.”
Another major issue that recently brought out lots of discussion was whether to buy the vacant acreage next to Wells Fargo Bank for an arboretum and other public activities. Part of the problem with that proposal was that advocates had variously stated specific desired uses, when it might have been better to stress its intrinsic value to the community.
Clauser pointed out that former Albuquerque planner Ed Boles advised her that the important thing was to identify such properties. “The land north of the bank, owned by the Gonzales family, is a property just like that… it has potential for what it could one day be for the Village of Corrales.”
During candidates’ campaigning ahead of the last municipal elections, she said, villagers urged Village officials to devote more attention to long-term planning. “Some long-term planning would be a really good thing to do, with a lot of discussion and a lot of participation.”
Clauser said the long-time director of the N.M. Municipal League, Bill Fulginetti, who died recently, “definitely believed that a village council needed to have good people on it and also needed residents who were involved and interested and actually spoke out about projects. Having more discussion and more long-term planning is a good idea.”
Among the most pressing ongoing issues that needs to be addressed, she said, is traffic. “We need to decide what is the best way to control traffic, if we can.” Integral to that is to assure that Corrales drivers have adequate green light time at the Corrales Road-Alameda Boulevard intersection. “We need to have more studies on that and more discussions with the City of Albuquerque.
“Albuquerque has really worked on raising the speed limit on Highway 528 to get drivers across to Interstate 25. We ought to be much more a part of those discussions. And we should try to find ways to make Corrales Road safer,” she added.
Clauser feels the Village and its citizens need to move ahead with an update to the Corrales Comprehensive Plan. “It is somewhat overdue.” She is certain that the plan, and the ordinances that implement it, should retain restrictions on residential density.
She pointed out that during the election last month “nearly everyone campaigning wanted to keep Corrales rural and have open space.”

Village Council meeting agendas seem much less full than in years gone by, the long-time councillor observed. “I think that’s because a number of things are being given for the staff to do rather than having residents involved.
Asked to specify what issues have gone unresolved for lack of discussion and action by the council, Clauser listed the potential purchase of the Gonzales field next to the bank and farmland preservation.
“A lot of people would like to see the Trosello property at the north end of the valley saved as farmland. And a lot of villagers want to see the Corrales Road Scenic Byway retained. I think those things are important to Corrales.”
When she and her husband, the late Milton Clauser, bought property at the south end of the valley, they soon discovered that Albuquerque was advancing northward. “When we moved into our house, we were really pleased that the land was so open and there weren’t as many houses around as there are now. We were just thrilled to be there —and then, it turned out that the City of Albuquerque was building out toward Corrales.”
At that time, the south end of the Corrales Valley was unincorporated Bernalillo County territory to which Albuquerque developers requested approvals. So Clauser and other residents of “Baja Corrales” pressed County officials for transitional buffer zoning between high-intensity development (as proposed for the Seven Bar Ranch) and the open tracts of Corrales.
“We had a hard time getting them to understand what we were trying to do. So in the late 1970s and early 80s, we went to the Village of Corrales with petitions asking to annex to them. That was something that Corrales also wanted because they wanted a stronger population base for the things they wanted to do politically. We signed several petitions to try to come in. One of those petitions included all of the property north of Highway 528, which would have brought in the grocery store [now Sprouts] and land east of there.
“That would have brought into Corrales a bit of commercial activity that would have helped Corrales with gross receipts tax. But there was opposition to that, so we re-wrote the petition with just the residential portion, which makes Cabezon Road now the southern boundary of the Village of Corrales.”
Later, the Seven Bar Ranch developers attempted to subdivide the bottomland pasture east of what is now Las Tiendas de Corrales Center at a residential density of five homes per acre.
Then-Mayor Gary Kanin vigorously fought that proposal and prevailed. The Village Council approved that subdivision at one home per acre.
Clauser recalled the developers’ other aborted plan to locate the proposed regional mall, not immediately north of Cabezon, but farther south where it is now. “It was basically determined more by the road going up to Intel,” she said, referring to Coors Bypass.
When Phil Gasteyer became mayor, filling in behind Kanin, he appointed Clauser to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Among the thorny problems the commission had to address was what to do about the dozens of home-based businesses —such as auto repair shops, welding and construction yards— considered “grandfathered” when such properties were annexed into the Village. “We did a lot of work on what could be done that would not be a concern for other residents. I thought that went fairly well. It gave Corrales a very strong way of having people work from their homes and not be a bother to their neighborhood.”
At that point, P&Z commissioners had to give particular attention to increased traffic in a residential area caused by the home business. “Now, when we have people wanting to have Airbnbs and casita rentals, that brings in new concerns for the Village from extra traffic.”
Clauser acknowledged that Corraleños have always fretted, even fought, about the conflict inherent in the desire to keep the community rural and residential and the need for gross receipts taxes from business.
The P&Z commission attempted to circumvent that conflict by designating a new commercial area in the then almost entirely vacant northeastern corner of Village territory, along the Rio Rancho boundary north of the Montoyas Arroyo. With ample public involvement, the commission produced a Far Northwest Sector Plan with 70 acres delineated for a “neighborhood commercial, office zone (NCOD).
“There were virtually no homes up there, but anyone who went up there realized how beautiful the views were. Of course, it backs up to the industrial park in Rio Rancho. The property that was designated for potential commercial use backs into the sewage plant and the Waste Management operation and all that.”
Clauser was also involved in establishing a new zoning category for Corrales, the professional office zone, referred to as the O-zone. “It was designed for businesses like doctors and dentists, because they don’t need a large parking lot. Corrales has always had small roads, so we didn’t want large parking lots for the most part.”
She joined the momentous decision-making process regarding a sewer system along Corrales Road. Unfortunately, she said, villagers were never really offered the wastewater project as one that would use grinder pumps that could take both solids and liquids. “Basically, the South Valley did go with that, and have been very successful with it.” What was chosen here, sending liquids-only wastewater to a sewer line but retaining septic tanks “has been a concern.” she said.
A watershed event for Corrales came during Clauser’s time on the Village Council: approval of a senior living project. “We determined that we could have a senior housing development down by Sandia View Academy,” she pointed out.
In fact, it never materialized —not because it was rejected by the council or by the public, but because the developers could not secure financing for it.
“During my years on the council the Corrales Bosque Preserve has had several record successes. In 2013, Janet Ruth, a Bosque Commission member, worked with the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District to have the Audubon Society recognize an ‘Important Bird Area’ in the Corrales Bosque Preserve.  Showing that the many years of volunteer work in the preserve has been fruitful in providing excellent habitat,” Clauser said.
“Just this year, in the Middle Rio Grande Song Bird Study by Trevor Fetz with Hawks Aloft, it was found that three survey transects in Corrales were found to have the highest number of wintering birds in the study area.”
She said the chair of the Corrales Bosque Advisory Commission, Joan Hashimoto, reported that the Army Corps of Engineers’ restoration project has brought great quantities of water when the river is running full into the Corrales bosque by lowering the riverbanks for the willow swales and their native plantings are doing very well.
And, she pointed out, Fire Chief Anthony Martinez  worked with Trenton Koger whose Eagle Scout Project to put in nine river mile marker signs to orient persons on the river needing assistance so that they could give rescuers their correct locations.”
Clauser also played a key role in implementing Corrales’ Trails Master Plan. “Work on the Corrales trail project has allowed more work on trails throughout the village.  Plans continue to add connections carefully for us all to use.”
She recalled the economic downturn in 2008 that brought closures in the Corrales Road commercial area. “I’ve been totally impressed with the work that Corrales MainStreet started during Mayor Scott Kominiak’s time getting those buildings sold and successful again. From that, Sandy Rasmussen [of Corrales MainStreet] did an incredible job getting Ex Novo in on that property across from the fire station after the T-House burned down.
“And then we saw the old Perea House redone so beautifully. We’ve had really great progress. I can remember even having the gasoline station empty, and we got that back. Now I believe the Frontier Mart has been sold. I know Jean Waszak was quite happy about it. That store has been really marvelous for Corrales.
“And I believe Corrales Pharmacy has been a real plus for the village as well.”

AS BUDGET STARTS FOR FY20-21, SALES TAX PLUNGE HITS IN JUNE

Village government’s new fiscal year begins July 1, which may come before gross receipts taxes rebound from the collapse of commerce here and statewide.
Village Administrator Ron Curry had started the budget process for fiscal year 2020-21 before the worst business closures hit.
In early April, he was optimistic that the Village’s finances would hold strong through June. “Our gross receipts tax revenue for the next 90 days looks really good,” he said April 1. “But starting three or four months from now, we will be very cautious” about expenditures.
The Village of Corrales’ annual budget process typically begins in March with the heads of departments (such as police, fire, library, public works and others) reporting what they expect to need for the new fiscal year.
Gross receipts (sales) tax on the sale of goods and services provides the biggest chunk of income for municipal governments, as intended by state statues. But much of that revenue stream is expected to have evaporated due to mandatory business closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Village’s 2019-20 budget, which went into effect July 1, 2019, anticipated more than $3 million coming in from gross receipts taxes. Part of that was to come from sales within Corrales, while other such taxes were to be shared by the State treasury from taxes collected elsewhere.
For Corrales, $1,354,386 was projected to come from “municipal share,” while $1,118,438 would be derived from “gross receipts municipal,” $326,931 was projected from “municipal hold harmless GRT,” $195,600 from “municipal infrastructure GRT” and $55,902 from “environmental GRT.”
In Corrales’ last year budget, the Village was projected to receive $1,623,193 as its share of property tax collected. Issuance of building permits was anticipated to bring in $150,000 during FY2019-20.
Corrales’ budget for the current fiscal year is more than $5 million.
Unless extensions are granted from the N.M. Department of Finance and Administration, Village officials are required to submit a draft 2020-2021 budget by May 31. That would be reviewed and okayed by DFA, so that the Village Council can adopt a final at the end of June.
Corrales may be in better shape financially than many other municipalities since it was discovered ­late last year that the Village’s investment account held way more than had been thought. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIX No.1 February 22, 2020 “Mystery Continues for Village’s Extra $4.7 Million.”) Curry said April 1 that an audit was still underway to learn the source of the extra money.
Curry said April 6 that DFA officials in Santa Fe had advised that the Village should look at last year’s budget as a starting point for developing the FY2020-21 budget.  “But we will be having more conversations with DFA later this week. We have advised Village department heads to submit a flat budget for next year.”
He expects State government will be able to provide the level of funding to Corrales as projected, “although the legislature will be looking at its budget projections, which were based on oil selling for $50 a barrel and it’s now down to $20.”
He said the Village administration is keeping careful track of its expenditures related to costs incurred due to the pandemic. “We’re hoping that some reimbursement may come to us through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“Right now, we’re concerned that the number of COVID-19 cases in Sandoval County continues to rise.”

HUNKER DOWN, BUT STAY VIBRANT & PRODUCTIVE

Although much of Corrales appears shuttered, businesses are responding to customers and clients by phone and on line, essential municipal services are continuing and, generally, community spirit remain high.
Tanya Lattin, commander at the Corrales Fire Department, said April 7 that she was not aware of any Corrales resident who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, now sweeping the globe.
At least 1,000 people in the United States died of the illness on a single day, April 3, according to Johns Hopkins University. Nationwide, more than a quarter-million people are confirmed to have the virus, which apparently began coursing thorough humans in an inland Chinese city late last year.
A statistical projection made in early April indicated more than 2,100 New Mexicans may die of COVID-19 over the next 12 months. The state’s death toll stood at 13 as of April 7, although New Mexico had 794 confirmed cases at that time.
Sandoval County had the second highest number of people testing positive for the virus, 128, while Bernalillo County had 307 as of April 7.
“Together we must reduce the rate of spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Jo Anne Roake urged. “Our state has a ‘C’ grade for social distancing, but Sandoval County has a strong ‘B’ because we have reduced our interactions by 37 percent.
“C’mon, if we get over 40 percent, we’ll not only get an ‘A’ but we’ll literally save lives. Let’s step up our game and then stay the course. Corrales is a special place. So many are doing things to help each other, like food donations, phone visits, ‘rainbow tours’ and a boy named Braeden doing back-flips for his neighbors, to name just a few,” the mayor added.
“We’ll get through this. Stay strong and stay safe, Corrales style.”

The Rainbow Trail project is a global movement primarily for kids to paint a rainbow for display in a home’s window to cheer passersby. Photos are taken of the bright artwork which is posted on social media to be viewed worldwide.
Elsewhere, New Mexico maintained its quirky status when Albuquerque Tea Party President Leland Taylor filed a lawsuit in federal court against Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for violating his right of freedom of assembly and freedom to worship when she issued emergency orders for closures to halt the spread of COVID-19 last month.
From a different perspective, Albuquerque folk music authority Dave Dunaway, a University of  New Mexico professor, penned an opinion published in the April 3 Albuquerque Journal which concluded, “The virus that condemns and sickens many of the world’s inhabitants has slowed climate change to give us time for the major transformation to green transportation and industry, and to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
“COVID-19 could teach us to hoard or to share; to shun or to find new ways of connecting. It could turn us suspicious or hostile; or finally compassionate. It is almost as if the virus was sent from above to allow us to become the more humane society we could be.”
Corrales businesses are expected to move quickly to seek loans or grants through the federal small business program to stay afloat during the current enormous economic recession. Local bank branches are accepting applications to the Paycheck Protection Program funded by Congress’ $2 trillion appropriation to re-start the economy.
But while some Corrales businesses are hit hard by the mandatory shut-down, others are experiencing a boom.
Founded less than a year ago, Candlestick Coffee’s Zack Smith said his business is doing well from on-line orders. A customer reflected, “I guess New Mexicans can’t get by without chile, coffee and toilet paper.”

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