Archive for Moriarty

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

Public Service Announcement: Mountainair Drug Take-Back Day

by John Weckerle

Checking in once again with our friends at Mountainair Announcements, we find that there will be a drug take-back day tomorrow, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Mountainair and Moriarty.  This will provide an opportunity for people to drop off unused medications anonymously so that they can be disposed of properly.  Drop-offs are at May’s Pharmacy in Moriarty and the Salinas Pueblo Missions in Mountainair.  For more information, including drop-off addresses, see the Mountainair Announcements article.

Economic Development Association Gets New Web Site

Editor’s note/disclosure: The web sites referenced in this announcement were developed by your editor’s company, WeckTech, but the community web sites have since been discontinued.  While WeckTech was an investor-level member of the Estancia Basin Economic Development Association at the time this article was published, the firm has since terminated its membership in EVEDA.  

by John Weckerle

The Estancia Valley Economic Development Association (EVEDA) web site has been given a facelift, including a full redesign and short photo slideshows for each of the valley’s  communities.  Virtual tours have been given a new look and feel, as well.  Community web sites developed by WeckTech – Moriarty, New Mexico and the Surrounding Area and Edgewood, New Mexico and the Surrounding Area – have been updated to include the revised links to the EVEDA virtual tours.

Moriarty Mudd Mania

by John Weckerle

Moriarty’s First Annual Moriarty Mudd Mania will be held Saturday, June 4, 2011 at the Heritage Rodeo Arena. The event will include monster truck competitions and rides, jumpers, and kids’ foot mud races. Driver’s meeting begins at 10 a.m., and the race begins at 11 a.m. Registration is $65, and prizes for the various classes in the competitions range from $100 to $400. Admission: adults – $8, kids ages 5-6 – $4, under 5 – free. Bring a non-perishable food item (benefits the Bethel Community Storehouse) and receive a dollar off admission. Vendors are welcome. For more information, contact Larry Irvin at (505) 934-0425 (day) or (505) 832-4513 (evening), or Steve Hernandez at (505) 269-9400.

Public Service Announcement: Estancia Basin Resource Association Annual Meeting Tomorrow

The Estancia Basin Resource Association (EBRA) will hold its annual membership meeting Saturday, January 15th, beginning at 2 p.m. at the Moriarty Civic Center.  Refreshments will be provided, and door prizes will be available.  The schedule includes:

  • Chuck DuMars will speak on the subject of Water law concerning junior Water rights, irrigation wells, and domestic wells.
  • David Lightfoot will give a presentation on monitoring taking place in the Manzano foothills.
  • Find out about the results of the fires and thinning in the watershed.
  • Election of new directors.

For more information, contact Art Swenka at 384-0176, Ted Barela at 705-5049,  or Jace Alderson at 269-2658.

Stand Up For Local Charities

by John Weckerle

As our readers might imagine, it is with a great deal of interest that we have observed the developing story of the East Mountain Tea Party’s (EMTP’s) latest brouhaha, this time involving the Moriarty Lions Club and Wildlife West Nature Park.  Both organizations recently discontinued the practice of leasing space to the EMTP.  As reported by some, reasons given were public perception issues, threatened loss of donations, and potential concerns with respect to the groups’ status as charitable organizations in the context of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) policies.  The latter is the official position given by both organizations.

In reality, we can see where there is likely a combination of these three factors at work.  Let’s face it: the Tea Party in general, and the EMTP in particular, can be rather pugilistic in their approach to activism, and this has gained them a reputation for divisiveness and combativeness.  Some of the positions they have taken have elicited concerns, including some expressed here, regarding bigotry.  Both on the national and local front, the movement has indulged in a great deal of name-calling and denigration, excoriating those with whom they do not agree and insinuating that those with opposing viewpoints are somehow less American than those on the “right” side of the fence.  Somehow, those affiliated with the Tea Party have taken the position that they are the (self-appointed) heirs to the Founding Fathers, the Sons of Liberty, and so on in terms of patriotism and American values.  One need only read through some of the articles on the EMTP’s web site or read last week’s letter from Sylvia Bokor to the Mountain View Telegraph (or the much nastier diatribe on her blog) to get a feel for the tone of the “dialogue.”  There are a substantial number of Americans who likely find this kind of invective extremely offensive, and probably a great deal more who are simply tired of hearing it.  In short, while the EMTP and other similar organizations are very enthusiastic about their cause, they have expressed that enthusiasm in such a manner as to turn off a large number of people, some of whom are likely donors to the organizations in question.

»» Stand Up For Local Charities

Wherein, We Apologize

by John Weckerle

We  have received a response from one Brady McElligott to an article (Would You Like Some Apples With Those Oranges) we posted in in the relatively distant past (September 26), which indicates that some apologies are in order:

  • To our readers, for apparently confusing the issue at hand with a typo in the first paragraph, inadvertently adding an “e” to the end of Valeri McElligott’s first name one out of the three times we used it in the article.
  • To the Moriarty Public Library, for our apparently incorrect thinking that Valeri McElligott was the head librarian.  We’d like to point out to the City of Moriarty and the library that this page suggests that this is the case, and recommend that the City do something about updating and/or removing it.
  • To the Mountain View Telegraph for not linking to their Letters to the Editor, which contained Valeri McElligott’s observations on the subject of the Muslim community center proposed for downtown Manhattan.

We have replied to Mr. McElligott’s specific comments in detail.

Would You Like Some Apples With Those Oranges?

by John Weckerle

The “debate” (such as it is) does some less interesting form of raging this week in the Mountain View Telegraph as Valerie McElligott of Moriarty responds to a letter by Patty Walsh which raises the issue of whether all Christians are terrorists because Timothy McVeigh, the key figure in the Oklahoma City bombing, was a Christian – an issue we brought up in our September 2 article on the subject.

Now, this is not why all Christians are terrorists.  All Christians are terrorists because discredited, fraudulent blogger Andrew Breitbart has been unable to procure video footage of each and every Christian not being a terrorist.  The lack of video evidence, creatively edited or otherwise, is damning in the eyes of at least a few, and far be it from us to argue.

All kidding aside, though…

»» Would You Like Some Apples With Those Oranges?

What’s A Chamber For?

by John Weckerle

One of our readers sent us an e-mail message from Debbie Ortiz, executive director of the Moriarty Chamber of Commerce, sent out this past Monday, March 15.  The message, with the title “FWD: transformation in the marketplace,” reads as follows:

Dear Chamber Members,

Please open the attachment.  Leanne the Chairman of the Chamber requested
this be sent out.  Please join her at Shorty’s on March 17, at 5:30 for her
presentation on “Transformation in the Marketplace”.

Thanks – Stay warm and have a wonderful rest of the day!

The attachment, which we will absolutely not post here, promotes an event called “Transformation in the Marketplace” – which, as it turns out, was a dinnertime prayer meeting held yesterday at a restaurant reputedly owned by Santos and Leanne Tapia (the Leanne referenced in the e-mail).

Where do we start? »» What’s A Chamber For?

Moriarty Election Results

by John Weckerle

It’s official – Ted Hart has been elected as Mayor of Moriarty and Larry Irvin and Dennis Shanfeldt were elected to serve on the Moriarty City Council, which also includes Bobby Ortiz and Steve Anaya.  We wish them all the best of luck!

We just discovered that all the election results for the region can be found on this Mountain View Telegraph page.

Young Eagles Event in Moriarty This Saturday

by John Weckerle

Checking in on our friends at Mountainair Annoucements, we find that the Moriarty Chapter of the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association, an international aviation association founded in 1953) Chapter will be sponsoring a Young Eagles Event and providing free airplane rides at the Moriarty Airport this Saturday, February 27, beginning at 8:30 a.m.  In the case of bad weather, the event will take place on Sunday, February 28. For more information on the event, see the City of Moriarty Municipal Airport Page.

Formerly chaired by actor Harrison Ford, and now co-chaired by Sully Sullenbirger and Jeffrey Skyles, the Young Eagles Program was founded in 1992 to give young people ages 8 to 17 the opportunity to go flying in a general aviation airplane.  The flights are provided by volunteer pilots throughout the world.  For more information, check out the Young Eagles Program’s web site and the EAA Young Eagles web page.  While you’re at it, have a look at the other programs, including but not limited to the Young Eagles Air Academy and scholarship/internship programs.  These seem like great programs for young people interested in aviation, and we wish the Moriarty Chapter good flying this weekend.

Public Service Announcement: Moriarty FFA Alumni’s Annual Pie Auction

by John Weckerle

The Moriarty FFA (Future Farmers of America for newcomers) Alumni will hold their Annual Pie Auction this Friday, February 26, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Moriarty Lions Club.  The evening will include door prizes, a silent auction, light refreshment and drinks, and an auction of delicious homemade pies, all in support for FFA and agriculture education.

The Moriarty FFA is in need of silent auction items.  Businesses and individuals willing to donate goods or services, gift certificates, or store merchandise are asked to drop their donations off at Broome’s Feed in Moriarty or call the pie auction coordinators (Yolanda VanDyne, 220-1286; Pam Ball, 286-4656) to coordinate pickup.  They need all donations by Friday morning, the day of the auction.

Public Service Announcement: 4th Annual Authors For Literacy Event

by John Weckerle

The Moriarty Library and the Read “Write” Adult Literacy Program in Moriarty will host the 4th Annual Authors for Literacy event on Saturday, February 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Moriarty Civic Center. Nearly 30 authors will be on hand, each with a table with books for sale/signing and literature on any classes or workshops they present.  For more information and a list of participating authors, see the event flier.