Archive for May, 2008

Workforce Connection Meetings Announced

Editor’s Note: A source who wishes to remain unidentified has indicated that the final decision is made by the WIA Board, and that interested parties should contact Pat Neumann at MRCOG for more information and to register complaints. Another source suggests that it would be more appropriate to contact Lawrence Rael at MRCOG. We have also learned that the Valencia County Workforce Connection in Belen is slated for closure, with the apparent intent that people needing support will need to travel to Albuquerque from both areas. We have received some conflicting reports of committee membership; we encourage anyone who has more up-to-date information to post a comment here. We have heard that Dave Tixier resigned from the MRCOG Board some time ago.

Guest Commentary by Flo Maze

The WIA Board makes the final decision, but the office closures come at the recommendation of the MRCOG. The Executive Committee of the WIA Board is the one that approved the closure of both offices. It has to go to the full board for final approval. This is an open public meeting at the MRCOG board on June 16th, and if anyone wishes to speak they need to contact the MRCOG to get on the agenda at 247-1750. There will be another MRCOG Executive Committee Meeting on June 5th at 7:30 a.m., and again they need to register if they want to speak. The MRCOG Executive Committee can still be influenced to overturn their original decision. We strongly encourage the community to attend the June 5th meeting to see if they can influence the original Executive Committee to reconsider the closure of the Torrance and Valencia offices. The MRCOG Executive Committee consists of:

  • Bob Davey – Valencia
  • Keith Franklin – Unknown
  • Mike Swisher – Unknown
  • Mayor Patricia Chavez-Sandoval County
  • Dave Tixier – Torrance County Representative
  • Carol Sanchez – Bernalillo County
  • Rita Logan – Valencia County
  • Judy LeJeune – Unknown
  • Mary Lee Martin – Unknown
  • Virginia Murphy – Unknown
  • John Sapien – Unknown.

Beware of Unlicensed Contractors – And Let The Unlicensed Contractor Beware

by John Weckerle

In a letter to the Independent on May 13, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department provided information on an unlicensed pavement company that has apparently been working illegally and doing poor quality work, leaving homeowners with a mess afterward. My own recent experience in a dispute (now in its 20th month) with a contractor who turned out to be unlicensed has required me to learn a few things about protecting oneself against predation by contractors who appear legitimate, but who may be something else entirely. is happy to share some potentially useful information on avoiding and/or rectifying problems with unlicensed contractors.

»» Beware of Unlicensed Contractors – And Let The Unlicensed Contractor Beware

Parker’s Farm Greenhouse

by John Weckerle

For years, Spring and Summer would see a portable sign standing at the corner of NM 344 and Church Road in Edgewood and proclaiming that Parker’s Farm greenhouse was open for the season. The sign is gone now, whether as a result of development or prohibitions against off-premise signs contained in Edgewood’s rather lengthy and complex sign ordinance, but Parker’s remains, selling quality plants every Saturday and Sunday from 9 to 5 during the planting season. »» Parker’s Farm Greenhouse

Racing Commission Approves Albuquerque Downs Move To Moriarty

by John Weckerle has just received word that the New Mexico Racing Commission has approved the Albuquerque Downs application to relocate from the New Mexico State Fairgrounds in Albuquerque to Moriarty, New Mexico.

Plans for the facility, as presented by the Downs’ representatives at the recent Moriarty public meeting, include the racetrack, Las Vegas-style slot machine casino, food court, upscale steakhouse, advanced veterinary facility, stables, and other features. Congratulations are in order for the Downs, the governments of Moriarty and Torrance County, the Town of Estancia, which supported the project, and the local and regional organizations such as EVEDA who worked hard to demonstrate the community’s support for the project.

Fighting Poverty by Yanking Rural Services?

Guest Commentary by Flo Maze

Editor’s Note: Ms. Maze asks that anyone wishing to assist with this issue, including but not limited to signing petitions and providing other support, contact her at As stated in the article, a meeting on this issue is scheduled for June 12, 2008 at the Moriarty Civic Center. Members of MRCOG’s Workforce Connection Executive Committee are listed here. The July 2007 roster of the Workforce Connection Board can be found here. We have been advised that Pat Lincoln is no longer on the Board, reportedly having resigned in April. We note that only two of the remaining 35 members are listed with an address in the East Mountains and Estancia Valley, although Moriarty City Councilor Steve Anaya is listed with an Albuquerque business address. We do not currently have any confirmed information on the makeup of a local Board for the Workforce Connection.

On June 30, 2008, the Workforce Connection of Central New Mexico will be closing its doors to the citizens and businesses of Torrance and Southern Santa Fe County and Eastern Bernalillo County permanently. The Executive Board for the Workforce Connection under MRCOG (Mid Region Council of Governments) has made the final decision for this closure. »» Fighting Poverty by Yanking Rural Services?

Look, Up In The Sky

by John Weckerle

Photo - UltralightAs I was hand-watering the trees I bought last year from the Edgewood Soil and Water Conservation District (with harvested rainwater) at around 8 a.m. this morning, I heard a loud, droning sound coming from the East. Curious, I looked out over the land below, and for the life of me, I could not figure out what was making the noise.

Finally, I looked up, and found my explanation. By the time I got the camera, it was fairly far away. It was certainly something to see! I’m not sure if all the residents in the area enjoyed it quite as much – especially those who might still have been trying to sleep. Then again, how many people sleep past 8 on a Sunday?

A Storm Brewing, And A Meeting On The Horizon

Photo - Lightning over the Estancia Valley by John Weckerle

Here in New Mexico’s real Central Valley, ominous rumblings echo across the landscape. It’s not just the rather unusual late Spring weather, however; word has reached of an alleged attack from the West – with rumored foreknowledge of local leaders. »» A Storm Brewing, And A Meeting On The Horizon

Concert In The Park!

Editor’s Note: We received this announcement this morning from Margarita and Marty Hibbs this morning. Arthur Park is a very attractive setting, with tall trees and a small lake. For those who have never visited Estancia, it is perhaps unique within the valley with respect to its multitude of tall, deciduous trees, and it’s a short and pleasant drive from I-40. We wish Estancia the best of weather for the event!

It is the beginning of the summer season for Estancia and I wanted to make sure that you all heard about the first event of the season.

Please print the attached flyer and of course, please share with your network of people. »» Concert In The Park!

A Few Questions For Our Readers

In preparation for an upcoming article, we have some questions on regional development. We would like to ask our readers:

What does economic development mean to you?

What does sustainable development mean to you?

Should a regional plan for economic development, infrastructure, wildlife corridors, transportation, resource management, etc. be developed?

What values would you wish to see incorporated into regional development philosophies? Which do you think need more attention?

What role should municipal and county governments, business organizations, etc. play in setting the course for economic and other regional development?

Please feel free to provide us your thoughts as comments. It would be helpful if you include the part of the region in which you live and work, whether you’re a business owner, government employee, commuter, etc., and what type of work you do.

A Lawyer’s Time and Advice Is What?

by Chuck Ring

I guess that law schools must inject some of their graduates with chameleon DNA. How else to explain Edgewood’s very own attorney changing legal color at the drop of a suggestion? I am referring to his inability to support the funding of contracts with Wildlife West Nature Park, the Edgewood Library and the Edgewood Chamber of Commerce as reported in The Independent of May 21, 2008. All three entities have, in the past, contracted with the Town of Edgewood to provide services to the Town of Edgewood. Our attorney, Mr. Marcus Rael, Esq. seems unable to grasp the concept of contractual services, although he previously made no apparent protest regarding agreements with each of the aforementioned organizations. It seems Mr. Rael almost delights in referring to the contract payments as contributions in violation of the State Of New Mexico’s Anti-Donation Clause. »» A Lawyer’s Time and Advice Is What?

Be Ready

by John Weckerle

The Trigo fire that devastated over 13,000 acres in the Manzanos and destroyed dozens of homes is a grim reminder that fire wildfire is an ever-present threat in our part of the world. A dry Winter followed by a dry Spring makes it that much important that residents in the area be prepared for whatever may come their way. »» Be Ready

Grow Your Own

by John Weckerle

As gas prices continue to rise and our economy softens, more and more people are looking for ways to cut down on driving and save money on essentials. Anyone who has bought fresh vegetables recently knows that vegetable prices have been climbing, and it’s likely to get worse based on fuel price increases and other factors. It takes gas (and money) to get food to the grocery store, as well as from the grocery store, so it seems that it may be time for us all to think about returning to something that has perhaps faded in popularity: the home vegetable garden. »» Grow Your Own

Reminder is dedicated to presenting a broad range of perspectives.  If you have an article you’d like to submit for publication, we’d be glad to consider it.  If you have a topic you’d like to see examined, please feel free to let us know.  You can contact us through our e-mail submittal form.  We look forward to hearing from you!

A Small Diversion

by John Weckerle

One of my favorite hobbies, albeit one I do not have time to indulge in all that often, is what I call “zootography.” I’ve visited a number of zoos – for example, Wildlife West, Albuquerque Biopark, Bronx Zoo, Houston Zoo, Palm Beach Zoo, Cameron Park Zoo (Waco, TX), Lowry Park Zoo (Tampa), Los Angeles Zoo, Boston Aquarium, and the Aquarium of the Pacific – and have always had a great time. This past Wednesday was my birthday, and I have a zoo just minutes from the house, so I decided to take a little time off and stroll around Wildlife West with the camera. Today, I’ll share a few of the photos with our readers. Have a great Sunday!

Photo - Moonshadow the Mountain Lion by John Weckerle

»» A Small Diversion

A Town Is More Than Pavement and Pipes

by John Weckerle

In recent letters to The Independent (May 14; letter not available online) and the Mountain View Telegraph (May 15), Janelle Turner and Kathryn Cleaver make the case that municipalities should wait until all infrastructure projects are completed, police forces are fully staffed, and libraries are in their final stage of completion before providing funding for other things like Town events and other community initiatives. I respectfully disagree. »» A Town Is More Than Pavement and Pipes