Archive for Edgewood

On Electricity and Communications

By John Weckerle

We join you after a bit of a hiatus (nearly four months) from New Mexico Central Headquarters, which has now been without electricity for something on the order of 29 hours, give or take a few. This has been one of the longest outages in recent memory – we recall one some years ago that made it to about 30 hours – and it is beginning to take its toll on some of the frozen food, at least; there’s only so much ice can do.

We write, though, not so much to lament the loss of foodstuffs as to express deep concern as to how the communications have been handled by our friends at the New Mexico Central Electric Cooperative (NMCEC). We’re seeing a pattern here with respect to getting information out during outages, and we respectfully suggest that there is room for improvement.

Consider this: Several hours after the outage began on Friday, a call to CNMEC led to a recording that 13 transmission-line poles had been blown down by a weather event, and that restoration of power was anticipated sometime Saturday. Another call on Saturday morning brought us to a message that the damage had now reached 18 poles, and that no estimate for restoration was available. And shortly after that, any meaningful channel for obtaining information on the situation simply went dark. We attempted all options on the CNMEC phone system. All went unanswered – even the dispatch line that includes reporting emergencies. That’s right – CNMEC had essentially shut itself off from the world, and had another part of the grid experienced a problem (perhaps in Torrance County, which was essentially unaffected by the situation according to the cooperative’s website), there was no way CNMEC could have received the report.

It was not until 6:40 p.m. Saturday that the following message appeared on the CNMEC site:

We had reports of a Funnel Cloud that hit in the area and with it a roof of a building and it tore down 16 transmission poles. These are 80 feet tall transmission poles with distribution line built under.
Along with the mud and all the debris, it can cause a small army to descend down on the scene to clean up and then put back up the power line.
We apologize for the extended time with out power but our men and women are working tirelessly and some with out time off to get the lights back on.
Estimated time of power to come back in is the evening.

We suggest that this is rather too little information, too late, and as we are now well past “the evening” for most purposes we are beginning to wonder just which evening to which the cooperative was referring. We digress, however, because the main issue here is that CNMEC is missing – and has been missing for some time – the boat in terms of communicating with its members during extended outages.

First, regardless of call-in volume, there should always be some way to report additional outages and emergency conditions. The idea that there is simply nobody picking up the phone – we let it ring several times for five to ten minutes – is entirely unacceptable. There are any number of emergencies that can arise from electrical power or the lack thereof, and the fact that the cooperative was unreachable during this outage is of serious concern.

Second, members should always be able to get reasonably up-to-date information on extended outages so that they may prepare to deal with them. We understand that, while websites based on older technologies may be difficult to update “on the fly,” there are options that allow this – for example, WordPress-based sites (essentially free) or establishing a Facebook page (absolutely free) linked from the CNMEC website that would allow more-or-less real-time updates on outages that members could easily access from cell phones, tablets, etc. even while without power.

We strongly recommend that CNMEC develop a strategy for bringing its communications with its members during outages into the twenty-first century, and do it quickly. It seems absurd that an organization that seeks to sell Internet services to its members would delay in doing otherwise.

A Picture Isn’t Always Worth Many Words

by John Weckerle

We continue to peruse the internet in search of local political commentary, and came across this post on Sandia Tea Party Official Internet Spokesman Chuck Ring’s blog.  With our curiosity in a state of pique, we decided to poke around the web and learn a little about the photograph contained within the post.

As it turns out, this image has reportedly been used in disinformation campaigns, including a posting of the photo by President Elect Donald J. Trump’s attorney in October suggesting that he had received an award from the NAACP.  We found this article from the Huffington Post to be very interesting.  The article points out that the award, correctly named the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, as well as the organization that awarded it (the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, or NECO) came into being as an outraged reaction to then-President Ronald Reagan’s decision to award the Medal of Freedom to 12 naturalized citizens.  NECO was formed by Mr. Trump’s real estate broker, William Fugazy, and Mr. Trump received the award in its first year.  We have found no specific reason for Mr. Trump’s receipt of the award.

According to the Huffington Post article:

Officially, the medal criteria are broad and inclusive: Winners should “uphold the ideals and spirit of America,” while “maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage.” In practice, the winners are mostly white Americans of European descent.

They certainly were the year Mr. Trump received the award; as reported by the Huffington Post and as documented in this New York Times article, only four of the 80 recipients that year were African Americans.

The NECO website states: “The Ellis Island Medals of Honor embody the spirit of America in their celebration of patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood and diversity.” It is perhaps rather ironic that, as the Huffington Post article points out, “At the time, Trump and his father held the dubious honor of having been the defendants in one of the largest-ever housing discrimination lawsuits, a case sparked by a Justice Department civil rights investigation that found the Trumps discriminated against prospective tenants who were black.” And it is perhaps even more ironic that the person dead-center in the photo posted on Mr. Ring’s site is none other than anti-gay activist Anita Bryant, whose name had by that time become synonymous with that particular form of bigotry.

We’ll leave it to our readers to form their own opinions (and, of course, post them here; unlike the Sandia Tea Party site and Mr. Ring’s, we allow comments) as to whether or not Mr. Trump is a racist.  We’ll simply observe that standing next to a civil rights icon in a photo doesn’t make one “not a racist” any more than standing next to an oak makes one a tree.

In closing, we note that the NECO website lists Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a past awardee.

Edgewood Chamber Director Resigns

by John Weckerle

Word has reached New Mexico Central that the Edgewood Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director, Brenda Murray, has resigned to accept a sales and marketing position, leaving the Chamber’s Board of Directors with the unenviable task of replacing a person who will likely be a tough act to follow.  Ms. Murray’s efforts were noteworthy enough for us to allow a glimmer of cautious optimism with respect to the Chamber, and it remains to be seen whether the Chamber’s Board will be successful in hiring a similarly capable and dedicated executive director.

Small Chamber of Commerce executive director positions can be hard to fill, or at least to fill well.  A good part of the reason for this is financial as budgets tend to be very limited.  Looking at the Chamber’s web site, we see about 110 members.  Assuming that they all pay $95 (unlikely, as a number of members listed are individuals and nonprofits, who pay less), this amounts to $10,450 in membership fees, which doesn’t go far in acquiring a capable and dedicated executive director – at least not for long.  The Town of Edgewood’s Economic Development page indicates that the Town contracts with the Chamber for economic development services; however, the most recent budget posted (which, like much of the information on the site, is out of date) appears to contain no funding for economic development and both the Chamber’s and the Town’s economic development pages appear not to have been updated for a long time.  While we are sure the Town is spending some money on economic development, the information on the two entities websites suggests that this is not a major source of revenue for the Chamber.

Your editor has been a member of three local/regional nonprofit organizations: The Edgewood Chamber of Commerce, the Estancia Basin Resource Association (EBRA), and the Estancia Valley Economic Development Association (EVEDA).  Of these, EBRA stood out in terms of meeting its goals and fundraising and your editor remains a supporter, having resigned from the Board only for reasons associated with earning a living.  At one point, your editor received training on the responsibilities of a nonprofit Board of Directors member, which have evolved over time, and we think it timely to discuss at least some of those roles and responsibilities in the hope that the information may help the Chamber and other organizations increase their probability of success.

During one of your editor’s Board adventures, the opportunity arose to take a class on Board roles and responsibilities provided by Jean Block, Inc.  The class was quite revealing, and we recommend it to Board members of nonprofits of all kinds.  Of chief interest to the current situation is the role of Board members in fundraising: in short, that is one of the chief responsibilities of Board members.  As articulated on the Bridgespan Group’s (and numerous others’) web site, “One of the board’s foremost responsibilities is to secure adequate resources for the organization to fulfill its mission.”  That means fundraising.  However, many nonprofits, Chambers included and perhaps especially, tend to delegate this function to the executive director and/or staff, who then are forced to essentially find the money to pay themselves – leaving less time for work associated with the Chamber’s actual mission.

Of course, there is often confusion on what that mission is. Both the Edgewood and East Mountain chambers’ web sites have what amounts to mission statements, although these tend to be a bit short on language associated with implementation.  What we’ve observed at times is that chambers appear to view themselves more as community organizations than business organizations, and efforts seem to focus disproportionately on community events, placing fundraising, business advocacy, economic development, and member recruitment/retention in subordinate positions.  Many events do little to bring in revenue for the Chamber and perhaps benefit only a few businesses that may see some increased traffic as a result.  Events are good for the community, and it is appropriate for the business community to “give back” to the community at large, but when resources are scarce it makes little sense to focus strongly on community events at the expense of building/maintaining a strong Chamber.

We wish the Edgewood Chamber Board good luck in securing a new executive director – and in focusing on the fundraising activities so greatly needed to acquire and retain a competent and capable individual for the position.

Edgewood Will Leave The Light On For You – Finally

by John Weckerle

In a September 17, 2015 article, the Mountain View Telegraph reports that the Edgewood Town Council has taken formal action toward bringing a hotel to the Town. According to the article, the hotel will be a Comfort Inn (yes, we know our title for this article suggests a different chain) built on Marietta Court by Aspire Hotels.  The Town acted to approve an ordinance and a contract to allow the project to move forward.  As the Telegraph reports, the hotel is projected to results in 10 full-time equivalent jobs, $26,000 in gross receipts taxes, and $3,718 in property taxes.

This is great news for Edgewood; the local business community has long cried out for a hotel. As with Estancia’s wishes to bring in a hotel to house people visiting inmates at the nearby prison, these cries seemed unheard by the regional economic development community.  At one point, however, Edgewood apparently decided to pursue the concept, and the Town began working with the Edgewood Chamber of Commerce to assess the feasibility of bringing a hotel to the Town.

Edgewood is entering the hospitality arena – and given the Town’s closer proximity to Albuquerque as compared to Moriarty, shifts in the region’s economic configuration remain an item of interest.  Moriarty has long held a monopoly in the lodging arena in the region, and a solid entry into the market on Edgewood’s part could seriously erode Moriarty’s primacy in the lodging sector.  Moriarty holds certain advantages with respect to road infrastructure, especially regarding truck traffic, but if old proposals for an exit between Edgewood and Moriarty resurface, the value of that advantage could decrease.

Of course, Moriarty holds one other distinct advantage that Edgewood refuses to take away: the ability to have a cocktail with dinner ( we will note that we gave up on dinner in Moriarty several years ago, with or without cocktails, so we may be a bit behind the times in this regard).  Edgewood has only one establishment – Pizza Barn (which we recommend) – that offers beer and wine with dinner.  And of course lodgers will be unable to purchase wine, beer, or other alcoholic beverages to take back to the room on Sunday, unless of course they drive to Moriarty. Regardless, the arrival of Comfort Suites in Edgewood is good news for local businesses and attractions. Perhaps this will renew Estancia’s interest in obtaining a hotel, as well.

Everyone Knows It’s Windy

by John Weckerle

In a September 4, 2015 article, The Independent’s Leota Harriman reports on a Moriarty City Council meeting at which the Estancia Valley Economic Development Association (EVEDA) provided a semi-annual report on economic development activities.

The article is replete with opportunities for our admittedly nerdy penchant for looking things up and analyzing them – so many so that they simply cannot be covered in a single article, so we suppose we’ll have to call this one the second of a series, with the first being Saturday’s article.  At a minimum, we envision examining the following issues:

  • The Iberdola El Cabo project and wind energy impacts on county economies (today’s article)
  • The concept of amenities as a means of “attracting millenials” and, as a result, technology/manufacturing businesses
  • The Local Economic Development Act, including what it says (and perhaps more importantly what it doesn’t say), and the status of the Certified Communities Initiative and other State economic development programs.

And that’s probably just a start; economic development is a complex subject.

For today, we focus on the first item in the list above.  This comes in two parts; statements on the El Cabo wind energy project contained within the article, and some interesting studies involving economic impacts on county and state economies as a result of impacts.

El Cabo, or Not El Cabo

From The Independent article, reporting on a presentation by Myra Pancrazio, Executive Director of EVEDA discussing the potential for Torrance County obtaining a hospital using Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT):

Those PILT funds will expand greatly with the Iberdrola wind farm project, which is still “alive and kicking very hard,” she said. Iberdrola recently entered a 25-year contract agreement with Tri-State Generation and Transmission for purchase of wind-generated electricity.

According to that press release, the wind farm is expected to be completed in 2017, when it will produce 76 megawatts of energy, all of which will be purchased by Tri-State.

The idea that the Iberdrola project was moving forward (acknowledging that having a power purchase agreement [PPA]) is no guarantee that a project will be completed) was certainly new information; as reported in an August 28, 2014 Albuquerque Journal article, construction on the project had stopped and there has been little heard about it since.   This would be great news for at least some part of the local human population – although potentially less so for local birds and bats – hoping for the economic benefits arising from wind projects.  We enthusiastically scoured the web, including the sites of both Iberdrola and Tri-State, both of which post their press releases, and were disappointed to find no indication of a press release announcing a PPA for the Iberdroga El Cabo project in Southern Torrance County.  The text in The Independent’s article appears to refer to a press release involving Iberdrola’s  Twin Buttes project in southeastern Colorado (previously reported by the Mountain View Telegraph).

While the press release is at least a little good news for the good folks of Bent County, Colorado and renewable energy advocates within Tri-State’s region of influence (and perhaps the aforementioned Torrance County birds and bats), we fail to understand how this development would affect PILT funds, or any other aspect of economic development, in the Estancia Valley.  And we also have to wonder how news that Iberdrola is focusing successfully on a project elsewhere, while the local project is halted, is cause for optimism here.

Of course, if we’re wrong about this, we’d invite anyone with information to that effect to click the comment icon (the little word bubble at the top right of the article) and let us know.  We’ll be glad to acknowledge the error.

Hang Your Hat on the Wind

At the outset of this discussion, we refer our readers to two sources: Economic Development Impact of 1,000 MW of Wind Energy in Texas published by the National Renewable Energy Technology Laboratory (NREL), and this summary of Ex post analysis of economic impacts from wind power development in U.S. counties. As the latter article states: “…total county personal income increased by $11,150 over the 2000 to 2008 period…  And, for every megawatt of wind energy installed in a county, one half of a job was created.”  Of particular interest are Tables 3 and 4 of the NREL report, which show that the “local” share of the project tends to represent a relatively small percentage of the total project cost.  According to the State Land Office, of the 80,000 acres envisioned for the project, 39,000 would be State land.  In terms of acreage essentially half is owned by the state- so it is unclear just how much revenue would be collected by local landowners in terms of leases for tower locations, and how that would relate to local economic benefits in terms of increased economic activity and tax revenue for Torrance County.  Unfortunately, as the NREL article notes, the inputs into the JEDI model, which projects economic impacts of wind projects, are often proprietary, so we can’t easily apply it here.  While we agree that the project would be of benefit to economic development at the county and state level (assuming that it restarts), we caution that the benefits of wind energy projects may not be what is sometimes envisioned.

We’d like to let our readers know that we will probably be taking a few days off to attend to other things, but should be back next week.

A Titanic Sinking: Google Drones Fly Away

by John Weckerle

In April 2014, your editor and a number of other people received an e-mail message containing very good news: Titan Aerospace, a solar-powered drone startup operating at the Moriarty Municipal Airport – had been purchased by Google, and the project was to stay in Moriarty. As reported in the Mountain View Telegraph less than sixteen months later, Google abruptly announced its decision to abandon Moriarty and move the operation to California, reportedly so that it could better facilitate coordination with its other aviation-related operations.  Google leaves behind a $15 million, 60,000 square-foot facility at the airport, and will be repaying a $1 million dollar grant for water and sewer upgrades.

State and local officials, while expressing disappointment, have variously downplayed the negative and emphasized the positive, seeking to find a silver lining in this particular cloud.  Governor Martinez was reported to have called the move disappointing and expressed support for the community (KOAT), while U.S. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham was somewhat more pointed in her expression of disappointment (Albuquerque Business First).  New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela emphasized that the State would recover its million-dollar infrastructure investment, and noted that the situation leaves Moriarty with assets that “will be able to benefit from water and sewage lines built with the state grant. Barela said the structural improvements ‘can help attract future projects to the state.'” (Santa Fe New Mexican). Moriarty Mayor Ted Hart, quoted in several of the previously referenced articles, characterizes the economic impacts as minimal (and in a direct and immediate way, at least, he may be right) and cited some apparent, though vague, commitment by Google to work with the City to find a use for the facility.

Reactions, at least in the form of responses to news stories, have been varied.  Some cite problems with in-state higher education, others point to workforce issues, others mentioned inexperience in aviation and excessive optimism on Google’s part, and still others blame Governor Susanna Martinez (while our positions often do not align with Ms. Martinez’s, we acknowledge that blaming her directly for this one is similar to blaming her for a meteorite strike or the weather.  More likely suspects would include the Easter bunny, Godzilla, or extraterrestrials. Or maybe the East Mountain Tea Party.).

It’s clear that much of the general reaction was surprise.  Our reaction was two fold: surprise (we were surprised by all the surprise, because we were surprised by Google’s initial decision to operate here in the first place) and something more typical…

A drive to look at some data.  We admit it; we’re nerds. Acknowledging that Google’s decision election to move was clearly business-based, we wondered what local factors might have influenced the decision and started to pull some economic data together.  As we worked through the data, we recognized that one of our regional economies is clearly in distress.

That’s right; we said one of them.  There are, at the very least, two.

»» A Titanic Sinking: Google Drones Fly Away

Edgewood Loses Fast-Food Franchise

by John Weckerle

After receiving a tip from a local business owner, a team of New Mexico Central investigators made a beeline to a location in Edgewood to confirm the demise of another local establishment – the Subway® sandwich shop on George Court.  There, indeed, a sign in the door advised us that this location had closed, and asking us to visit their Moriarty or Tijeras locations.  Confounded – primarily because the shop seemed chronically busy – we initiated contact with Subway® to inquire as to why we had been deprived of the six-inch tuna sandwich on 9-grain wheat with everything on it that we enjoyed so well, and whether or not a new Edgewood location was planned.  On May 7, we received the following reply from Subway:

Thank you for contacting SUBWAY® Restaurants. Your feedback is important
to the SUBWAY® brand and your recent inquiry has been forwarded to the
appropriate areas for further review.

The Customer Care Team
SUBWAY® Restaurants
325 Bic Drive
Milford, CT 06461 USA
Note: This e-mail message is automatically generated as part of our automated e-mail system. Please do not reply to this e-mail address as this mailbox account is not monitored.

More than a week later, we have heard nothing else from Subway®.

We have, perhaps unsurprisingly, a few thoughts.  First, let us recognize that a Subway® sandwich, in addition to whatever enjoyment it may provide, is a convenience, and likely primarily a convenience, to most purchasers.  Adding what amounts to a 30-minute minimum round trip to the procurement has the potential to turn the grinder adventure into a grind – and if there is a long line at the alternate location, the entire hero-ic enterprise could become a hoagie horror.

Second, we wish to make it clear that we did not hear from “The Customer Care Team.”  We received an autoresponse from an autoresponse application.  If there were actually a “team” at Subway(argh) that cared about customers in Edgewood, we should have heard from them by now.  Then again, the indication that our inquiry was forwarded to the appropriate areas (Sandia Knolls? Piscataway? The Caribbean?  Narnia?) rather than the appropriate people or department suggests that Subway(argh) is perhaps less concerned with the care of its customers than the customers themselves might be.

As some may have noticed, the denizens of NM-Central tend not to engage in a range of colloquialisms, seeking alternatives to even those that are only mildly vulgar and/or part of the commonly accepted parlance, acknowledging that some of our readers would prefer headier discussions.  Therefore, we will refrain from such machinations as inviting Subway(argh) to “bite me” or “eat it,” in the mode of accepted vernacular.  However, we will note that we will likely be biting and eating less of Subway’s(argh) products in the foreseeable future, both here and elsewhere because – for Edgewood area residents, at least – they are no longer convenient, and to date we’ve seen no indication that the corporation is the least bit concerned with the interests in its once-upon-a-time customers in Edgewood. It’s not as if Edgewood area lunch patrons don’t have options – if you have an extra half-hour, there are good, non-sandwich lunch options locally, and if you’re really wanting a great sandwich and have time on your hands, there’s always Albuquerque.

Of course we can always make our own sandwiches.  After all, it’s not as if it’s submarine science…

Annual Permaculture & Rainwater Harvesting Gathering – Saturday, October 4, 2014

Editor’s note: As Autumn approaches and we delight in an unusual bounty of rainfall, let us not forget that it is unusual, and there are strategies that can bring us great benefit during normal times.  This is an excellent event and we encourage everyone to attend, learn, socialize, and enjoy one of the tastiest and most interesting potlucks of the year!

by Christian Meuli

Saturday, October 4, 2014

 12:00 PM         Site Tour                         Visiting culverts, raintanks, and woodchip berms this year

2:00 PM             Potluck                            Great food every year!

3:00 PM             Climate Scenarios       Dr. Dave DuBois, New Mexico State Climatologist

4:00 PM             One Minute Announcements

4:05 PM             The Peregrine Falcon  Tom Smiley

Dr. Dave DuBois is the New Mexico State Climatologist. His interests include applying tree ring dating to large climate cycles. Rather than “forecasting” what the climate will do in our future, he is trying to anticipate various climate scenarios and how they might play out in real time.

Tom Smylie shares with us for the third time his lifelong learning of raptors. He is the retired Assistant Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He played an integral role in the peregrine falcon’s recovery from near extinction in North America and continues to be actively involved with the Peregrine Fund.

This free gathering will include a site tour and discussion of culverts, raintanks, and woodchip berms. Please bring friends and children, your favorite dish to share and your finest sunhat. Please car pool and leave pets at home.

Take I-40 to exit #187 (25 miles east of Albuquerque and 8 miles west of Moriarty). At the end of the off-ramp, go south two blocks to the stoplight at the intersection with H #333 (Smith’s Grocery will be on your left). Go straight up the hill on Edgewood Road #7 and turn right in ½ mile onto Moriarty Road (now paved). Go ¼ mile to #24 and turn right into my driveway or go straight ahead down the hill and park on your left.

I look forward to seeing everyone and meeting new friends! If you need a map or a timely update, please e-mail me or call me at (505) 331-0245.

Christian Meuli

Sponge and A-Frame Workshop, Saturday, March 22, 2014

by Christian Meuli

The sponge is a useful rainwater harvesting technique that needs little maintenance. A sponge is a hole dug into the ground and filled with moisture-holding household waste. I find sponges to be invaluable in establishing tree saplings on windy, dry sites with poor soil and in reinvigorating old trees.

Sponges made of carbon materials passively hold winter snows and summer rains for months afterward, storing moisture efficiently in the soil and recycling carbon back into our depleted desert soil. Sponges retain moisture safely out of the harsh sun and drying wind right next to growing roots. Sponges are a simple and convenient way to very-locally recycle newspapers, cardboard, magazines, phone books, junk mail, confidential papers, yard cuttings, clothes, etc.

First we will visit a variety of mature sponges and their effects on nearby plants. Next we will dig and install several sponges with the carbon material that each attendee will bring with them. We’ll use an A-frame to identify the contour and to design how to harvest the rainwater most efficiently, dig and fill the sponge, and mulch it to look as natural as possible.

Then we’ll form groups of three to make state of the art A-frames that are durable, light-weight and foldable. I aspire for these groups to share an A-frame together, using them in varied conditions over the seasons and sharing outcomes with each other. I’ll give everyone marking flags so you can immediately begin implementing sponges on your own site!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

 9AM – 1PM  at La Resolana, Edgewood

 9 AM                       Site tour of successful sponges and a sponge ladder

10 AM                    Make several sponges: identify contour, dig hole and berm the

downhill side, fill with carbon waste, step down the materials,

mulch, armor the downhill berm, water(?), extend arms of berms,

and take pictures


11 AM- 1 PM              Make A-frames (the rainbarn has a woodstove)(I have tools and materials


$25 with scholarships available.  Limited to 18 people. Please e-mail me your contact information including a current e-mail and phone number. Participants will bring a large bag of sponge material, gloves, and a shovel.

I cancelled the sponge workshop last fall due to a 14” snow. I hope each of you that had signed up previously will be able to attend this next workshop. I plan on having a woodchip berm and A-frame workshop before the summer rains begin.

I look forward to sharing this simple rainwater harvesting technique that is extremely beneficial,


Christian Meuli

Annual Permaculture Gathering At La Resolana In Edgewood – Saturday, October 5

Editor’s Note: The Annual Permaculture Gathering is a personal favorite of ours, and we strongly recommend it.  There will be plenty to learn, and the potluck always provides a delightful assortment of creative dishes.

by Christian Meuli

12:00 PM         Site Tour
2:00 PM          Potluck
3:00 PM          “Trees are Killing our Forests” — George Duda
4:00 PM          One Minute Announcements
4:05 PM          “I Started with Nothing but a Dream” — Roger Alink

George retired from the New Mexico State Forestry where he served as our Urban Forester. He continues to actively volunteer throughout New Mexico and will join us on the site tour at noon to identify the differences between drought stress and disease in pinon and juniper trees. He will present his video “Trees Are Killing Our Forests!” before entertaining questions.

Roger is Founder and Director of Wildlife West Nature Park, an un-releasable native animal zoo in Edgewood. He taught for ten years at my alma mater, Valley HS, before beginning WLW in 1992 “because I didn’t know any better.” He is a passionate teacher of young adults and a long-practicing rainwater harvester. WLW also holds a number of musical and other community events.

This free permaculture gathering will include a site tour of evolving passive rainwater harvesting practices (including culverts) and George will show us how he reads the effects of drought on trees while identifying pests and diseases.

Please bring friends and children, your favorite dish to share and your finest sunhat. Please car pool and leave pets at home.

Take I-40 to Exit #187 (25 miles east of Albuquerque and 8 miles west of Moriarty). At the end of the off-ramp, go south two blocks to the stoplight at the intersection with H #333 (Smith’s Grocery will be on your left and Walgreens’s on your right). Go straight through the intersection, up the hill on Edgewood

H #7 and turn right in ½ mile onto Moriarty Road (now paved!). Go ¼ mile to #24 and turn right into my driveway or go straight ahead down the hill and park on your left.

I look forward to seeing everyone and meeting new people! If you need a map or a timely update, please call me at (505) 281-4871.

Christian Meuli

Public Service Announcement: Wildlife Festival at WLW in Edgewood, June 15

Join the celebration of New Mexico’s native wildlife and plants at Wildlife West Nature Park’s Wildlife Festival in Edgewood on Saturday, June 15, 2013.  

Wildlife West’s zoo is one of the few places where people can be close to and observe Mexican Wolves in their natural habitat, get a behind the scenes tour of Koshari, a 500 pound black bear, and learn about 24 other species of wildlife that are native to New Mexico. Tours start each hour during the day.

Representatives from wildlife and environmental organizations will present, including Elke Duerr, Albuquerque filmmaker and conservationist, on Mexican wolves in the wild; Dr. Scott Altenbech on bats; Doug Scott, author of “Waterfalls in New Mexico”, on amazing waterfalls in our arid state; and Dr. Christian Meuli, permaculturalist, on water harvesting.  Visitors will also learn about the life cycle of monarch butterflies presented by Tatia Veltkamp from Wings of Enchantment, and the wonderful world of native bees and other pollinators by Laurie Lange from the Pollinator Nation and Bee Collaborative. Laurie will also bring orchard mason bee houses, seeds for pollinator gardens and seed plan kits.  Plus, join an herb-walk through Wildlife West lead by Mary Jo Hoven.

Participants are invited to stay for the Cowboy Chuckwagon and Western Swing Dinner Show beginning at 6:00 p.m. with a free-flight Peregrine Falcon show, then the barbeque dinner, followed by a live western-swing music performance by Holy Water & Whiskey. Show ends at 9 p.m. The dinner and show are in a covered all-weather amphitheater and includes a free hayride.  Reservations for the dinner show are required by 2 p.m. on the day of the show.  Chuckwagon tickets are $25 for adults, $23 for seniors, $12 for children 5-11, and kids under 5 are free.

All activities throughout the day, except for the Chuckwagon Dinner Show, are included with regular admission to Wildlife West:  $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 students and children under 5 are free, plus free parking.
Wildlife West is located just 25 minutes east of Albuquerque, off Interstate-40 and legendary Route 66 in Edgewood. For more information at visit or call 505-281-7655 or toll-free 1-877-981-WILD (9453).
Schedule of Events:

10am – Gates Open to Wildlife Zoo

11am – Black Bear tours start/repeats hourly plus Butterfly presentation by Tatia Veltkamp/Wings of Enchantment

 Noon – Herb-walk by Mary Jo Hoven

1pm – Waterfalls by Doug Scott

2pm – Mexican Wolves by Elke Duerr

3pm – Water Harvesting by Dr. Christian Meuli

4pm – Bats by Dr. Altenbech


by John Weckerle

In the November 1, 2012 edition of the Mountainview Telegraph, Edgewood resident and Tea Party organizer Bob Steiner provides a letter to the editor titled “Property Rights and Edgewood.”  In the letter, Mr. Steiner opens with a lament with respect to the multiplicity of jurisdictions to be encountered near the borders of a small town located near the borders of three counties.  These focus on the multiple jurisdictions as they apply to emergency services and animal control, and the duplication of services.  About halfway through the letter, Mr. Steiner gets to the main point: that Santa Fe County has proposed a Sustainable Land Development Code (SLDC) and “that may really hurt some county residents.”  Mr. Steiner, after stating vaguely that the ordinance “will force land owners to strictly adhere to severe new restrictions that limit where they could erect housing and industrial buildings,” declares that “It also dictates that some multi-family housing (apartments) must be built.”

A sentence or two further on, after suggesting that the County has assembled a sort of ideological goon squad to market the ordinance, Mr. Steiner states: “According to another local press source, this “simple” ordinance has some 350 pages and has still to be vetted by legal authority.”  This would, on the face of it, seem to suggest that Mr. Steiner had not actually seen the ordinance, and we figured that we should take a look.  Employing more of the advanced research techniques that are available to us and not the Tea Party – the County web site, Adobe Reader, and the CTRL and F keys – we were able to isolate all uses of “multi” in the document (there are 75), and determine that there is absolutely nowhere in the document where the use of “multi” involves a requirement to build anything.  Neither do references to “apartments” (7 instances).

There is, however, a requirement that a certain percentage of housing be affordable, which might be part of the confusion, as such requirements tend to cause some heartburn in certain circles – especially circles that have gone on record with the opinion that sustainability is some sort of international socialist conspiracy.  This section of the ordinance – Chapter 13 – also causes some indigestion here, although for different reasons.  Chapter 13 contains references to terms not defined or used in any other place in the ordinance (for example, Major Project and Minor Project).  The ordinance requires the Affordable Housing Administrator to “recommend and present to the Board proposed Affordable Housing Regulations” and appropriate amendments.  The affordable housing requirements in the ordinance rely on income ranges “specified in the affordable housing regulations,” which of course would appear not to have been passed, at least based on the wording of the ordinance.  Proper definitions and regulatory references are vital to any ordinance and, based on this and a quick perusal of other parts of the ordinance, we find it difficult to argue against Mr. Steiner’s suggestion that it has not benefited from a thorough legal review – which we think should happen before, and not after, release to the public.

While we agree that the County should proceed slowly, it is not because of unspecified, probably fictitious, egregious requirements but because the ordinance as currently worded simply does not appear to pass muster as a well-organized and enforceable document.  Because we are staunch supporters of sustainability (which probably brands us as socialist conspirators from Planet Ten), we’d like to suggest that the County engage their attorneys and other specialists in developing sustainable development codes, rework the document to a greater degree of completion, and reissue it for public review.

In case Edgewood residents are concerned about where they fall in all this: we feel it important to point out that this ordinance specifically applies, as pointed out in Section 1.8, to the unincorporated portion of the County, which does not include Edgewood.

Monkeys On Trial In The Estancia Valley?

by John Weckerle

We found ourselves not-too-terribly surprised to read recent articles (“Charter School Warned,” “PED warns charter school against religious teachings“) regarding accusations by the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) that the Estancia Valley Classical Academy (ECVA) may have strayed over the line between religious and secular education.  Our lack of surprise – and, to some extent, our amusement – stems from the fact that both articles mention an individual who was featured in the context of his views on “science” (including an apparent bent toward creationism or, at least, anti-evolutionism) in one of our previous articles (See our August 11, 2011 article, An Article About Articles).  That individual, Roger Lenard, is variously described as “one of the school’s founders” and the president of the school’s governing council.

Given the subject of these stories and the concerns reportedly expressed by parents regarding what their children are being taught about science, we find ourselves perplexed that Mr. Lenard’s fame in the creationist universe has thus far been ignored by the journalistic community.  In addition to our article and the New Mexicans for Science and Reason (NMSR) article cited therein, we find references to Mr. Lenard as a “creation scientist” (here), and a “celebrated creationist,” (here).  He is prominently figured in the NMSR article Creationism In New Mexico, and quoted here as saying “Creation scientists hold revealed Truth as supreme, other forms are subordinate.”

Given the many references to Mr. Lenard’s reported creationist beliefs and purported attempts to insert them into academic curricula, we certainly understand why parents would be concerned about what may be taught in science classes at a school over whose curriculum Mr. Lenard likely wields substantial influence.  We urge parents to get involved and continue to engage the PED on this issue and get to the bottom of the matter.


Edgewood Considers Relinquishing Section 32 Open Space Back To State Land Office

(Editor’s note: We recommend that the Town Council hold on to this property for at least another year, and make a good faith effort to resolve the access issue.)

From Roger Holden:

Note item 10. E. on the Town of Edgewood meeting agenda for May 2nd at 6:30 at the Community Center.


A.  Right of Way for Paving Projects.

B.  Wastewater Report.

C.  Selection Committee for RFP Evaluations.

D.  Public Hearing – Adoption of Emergency Ordinance Declaring Hazardous Fire Conditions and Fire Hazards.

E.  Relinquishing Section 32 back to State Land Office.

 see attached map for location

Voice your concern by emailing your councilors and/or attending and signing up to speak at the meeting tomorrow night.

Sherry Abraham

John Abrams

Chuck Ring

Rita-Loy Simmons

Remember, this is 695 acres of land with trails.  Granted, access has always been a concern however, this acreage along with the adjacent 80 acres of BLM land and 165 acres of City of Albuquerque Open Space makes a total of 940 acres of Open Space for hiking, biking and horseback riding which is adjacent and accessable from the SASS (Single Action Shooters Society) Founders Ranch.

This is a resourse that once relinquished, may not be available again.  The lease is $1,500 per year.

Please voice your concern.


Thank you,

Roger Holden

If You Build It…

by John Weckerle

We noted this week that the Edgewood Town Council meeting agenda for Wednesday included presentation of a preliminary design for the new Town Center and recommended sites for the center as well as an Animal Shelter.  We were not able to attend, but Edgewood Mayor Bob Stearley was kind enough to send us a copy of the proposed Town Center plan, the layout for Section 16, and his transmittal e-mail to the Council.  While the plan appears relatively uncontroversial at first glance, upon further examination it does raise a few eyebrows, theoretical and otherwise:

  • New Public Works Site – Where, exactly, is the OLD Public Works Site – and what’s on it?  When is the “New” (and for what it’s worth, nothing’s “new” until it exists) Public Works Site coming on line?  Let’s face it, folks; it seems as if every time the Town of Edgewood drops a budget item, the image of Town employees working on equipment in the mud is invoked (correct us if we’re wrong, but wasn’t this bandied about when the Wildlife West Music Festival was de-funded and a children’s summer program eliminated, the latter when the Town had a couple of million in “reserve?”).  Enough, already – let’s get these guys a garage, some office space, and the associated amenities, and find our excuses elsewhere.
  • New County Fire Station Site – By all accounts, the County emergency response folks need a new building.  Your editor owes these folks more than most, and would like to see them get it.  In this regard, we’d like to suggest that the Santa Fe County government remember that Santa Fe County continues beyond a 15-minute commute to the City Different, and we pay our share of taxes down here in the hinterland.  So give our local life-savers a new building. Now.  Don’t make us come up there.
  • Community Garden – In terms of acreage, the Town’s proposal falls far short, here.  Given the Town’s population, the need for consolidated infrastructure, and the educational parts, 5.7 acres seems a bit short – but the 0.0 acres proposed by the Town falls shorter than that.  One of the best ways to support locally grown food is to give people a place to learn to grow, and to grow their own if their circumstances don’t provide them the best opportunity at home.  Let’s not forget the community spirit aspect – everybody’s friendly where gardening’s concerned, regardless of their other differences.
  • Possible Animal Shelter Site – What, exactly, is a Possible Animal?  Is this some sort of creature in an indeterminate state?  And what would we construct for them – some sort of Schrödinger’s Shelter?  All kidding aside, the animals needing shelter and the need for an animal shelter are very real.  The first annual Woofstock event was outstanding, but it would take a lot of Woofstocks to get the facility built.  We’d like to see the Town exhibit a little leadership and pay to build it.
  • Municipal Way? – We’re sorry, but this is about as boring as it gets.  We recommend Wilson Avenue as a more attractive alternative.

All things considered, the plan doesn’t look half bad.  We’re a little skeptical about the “if and when” part of it, though; it’s going to cost money, and Edgewood seems intent on having at least eight digits in the bank before spending any of it.  Let’s hope they prove us wrong!