Archive for October, 2008

Isn’t There Good News Anymore?

by J.A. Ueckert

This is usually a time of year when it seems especially  relevant to talk, discuss or openly rant about what is wrong, who is wrong or who is to blame for everything that is wrong about our community and our country.

In the midst of all this, I’d just like to take a moment to reflect on the things that are right about our little community and why I’m especially proud to live in Edgewood.

Every time I see a patrol car with “Edgewood Police” written on the side, I remember what a long, uphill grind it was to get here. I would have never imagined that I would be as proud of a Police Department as I am of Edgewood’s own.

I remember when nobody would respond to calls in Edgewood, and many folks around today still recall the line, “That’s not in our jurisdiction”, an excuse used so often, it was as if the same script had been delivered to all dispatch centers. »» Isn’t There Good News Anymore?

Not Your Normal Thrift Store!

By Bob Steiner

Over the past several years many of us have taken used clothing and other donations to  the  Bethel Community Storehouse  in Moriarty.  The “Storehouse” has an impeccable reputation for assisting those  valley residents who number among the “less fortunate” and has been around for some twenty two years.  In the past I had always  noticed  how  clean and orderly the store appeared. The used clothing for sale was always neatly hung. The used book section was organized and the furniture on display always appeared to be freshly-dusted.  No matter when I was there, it  always  seemed to be a “well-run”  operation (What more can a person say about a thrift “retailer”?) and up until now  I had no reason to give this activity any more thought.

Last Monday, with friends in the car, I  wanted to stop by the store and drop a donation off.  Unfortunately,  arriving at the store parking lot we found  the store to be closed.   We had forgotten to check the operating hours  and on Mondays, it seems, this is when a lot of the “behind the scenes ” work gets done.   Nonetheless, seeing a young man coming out of a side door, we approached him and asked if there wasn’t some way we could go inside.  He  smiled and escorted us in.  We soon were talking to Linda Smith,  a pleasant lady, who  happens to be the facility  director. We gave her our donation and were on the verge of leaving, when she proceeded to give us a guided tour of the  building.

She first brought us to a large  processing area where some twenty  or thirty volunteers were sorting clothing  and other donations. The workers seemed to be in a jovial mood and were laughing and joking among themselves as they worked.  We were then shown a “warehouse area” where  we found shelves of dried foods and canned goods  neatly stored in family sized boxes, ready to hand out to those in need.  She pointed towards a massive refridgerator for fresh foods and then led us to the administrative area.  Here, persons requesting assistance can be interviewed in an “office” environment while other family members wait in a large lounge area. »» Not Your Normal Thrift Store!

Community Appreciation Event Offered By Wildlife West Nature Park

by Chuck Ring

One might, or certainly should know, that those that are generous are bound to generosity through their hearts and souls. Such is the case, in the opinion of many,with Roger Alink, Founder of Wildlife West, Roger’s wife Terry and the many volunteers and employees who work at and for Wildlife West Nature Park (WWNP).

WWNP has not had an easy time of it during the last 7-8 months, having had promised funding jerked from their coffers by the nimble fingers of fate. That WWNP and the folks who run the park were able to complete their mission for another year is testimony to their ability to overcome the seeming silliness of bureaucracy and still remain sane and decent folks.

So, what does the above have to do with generosity. It has much to do with generosity of spirit, and as mentioned above, the generosity of heart and soul. Generous, committed people do not stop at obstacles that are selfishly erected by their detractors. They surpass them. Either over, under or around; true devotees will always out over ignorance or the faint of heart.

Which brings us to an event sponsored by Roger Alink and his crew in appreciation for individual and community support offered to WWNP this year. See the flyer below which was designed by Mail & Copy Business Center, Inc. Hope to see you there!




Tired Of Political Commercials?

by Bob Steiner

Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or an Independent, you do share something with all other citizens of this land.  Due to the failure of reform legislation  designed to  curb the financial impact of  special interest groups on our electoral  process, you, the voter, have become the target of the most massive political ad campaigns ever seen.

Have you recently watched an enjoyable family-oriented program on TV with those you love, only to have it interrupted with at least  one (sometimes more than one!) loud, crude political attack commercial ?  After a hard day’s work, resting in your easy chair, listening to your favorite FM station, has the sanctity  of your home  been suddenly violated by a  rapid-fire verbal assault on a political candidate, asserting that he/she is eligible for residence in a “state-run corrections facility”?  As Americans, we must respect  the first amendment rights of  even   those who perpetrate such intrusions, despite the fact that their efforts are full of innuendos, half-truths, non-current information, and outright lies. Let’s face it. This year has been a particular trying  time in the realm of  political  advertising.

All of us are pretty well fed up with the depths that both major parties  have sunken to in selling their candidates! Both parties are equally guilty of polluting the environment with their “mud-slinging”. It seems that no political figure is above reproach.  Despite repeated public pledges by all candidates NOT to engage in negative campaigning, every news broadcast and political interview seems to just add to the “poison” being disseminated on the airwaves. »» Tired Of Political Commercials?

Canines In Abundance — Human Companions Drag Behind

by Chuck Ring

Volunteers, Edgewood Town Staff, volunteer canines, along with State Representative Kathy McCoy, Edgewood Mayor Robert Stearley and wife Diane, Edgewood Councilor Rita-Loy Simmons, along with Susan Simons (Susan G. Komen, CNM Executive Director) helped to make the annual  Walk To Save A Life — Save A Pet  sponsored by the Town of Edgewood and The Susan G. Komen folks Click Here For Susan G. Komen For The Cure  event a  great success.

Of course, the event was made even more successful through the participation of the many canines and their human friends who “tagged” along without tags of their own. There was nary a harsh word exchanged among or between the canines and the people persons were equally well-behaved. The crossovers made from one side of Old 66 to the opposite side were made safely thanks to the able efforts of Edgewood Police Department officers who held-up or directed traffic at various spots along the walking course.

In addition to the walk of approximately three miles, a silent auction was held. The fees for the walk along with the silent auction proceeds will go to benefit efforts to find a cure for breast cancer and for animal welfare activities in and around the community. The folks from Edgewood Animal Control offered computer chipping at reduced rates; a bargain my wife sought to obtain, but I let her know that I was not keen on having a chip of my own. Although, it might not be such a bad idea for those mornings when I wake up and can’t seem to find my way to the facilities located just off of the bedroom. Anyway, our Shorty dog received his chip and Pugsley the Puganator received his in the past.

Here’s hoping for a larger turnout for next year’s event. Look to the upcoming issue of the Mountain View Telegraph for more information and photographs of the participants … women, men  and beasties.

New Mexico Sex Offender Registry Site

by Chuck Ring

I am not by nature an alarmist. But, I also believe forewarned is forearmed. With Halloween and other holidays coming very soon, it might be valuable for parents and others to know more about some of the areas and individuals to avoid during trick or treat and other activities where children and adults are placed together.

The New Mexico Department Of  Public Safety (DPS) maintains a website known as the Sex Offender Registry. The site is user friendly and there is no need to provide detailed information in this article. You can get to the site by clicking here Sex Offender Registry (State Wide) and then you can search using various criteria. You can also subscribe for email notification for offenders moving in close proximity to your area (within limits), but you may find that the function is inoperable. I tried to subscribe and could not due to an internal error on their website.  I did report the problem to DPS, so hopefully the problem will be resolved as soon as possible.

Be sure to read all of the warnings contained on the various pages of the website and recognize that the information provided on the website is provided as a public service and there is a disclaimer for accuracy. In other words, please use the information as it was intended to be used. Do not use it to intimidate, harass, or to take any action outside the bounds of propriety.  Nor should individuals or groups do anything that would be a violation of any law regarding any information found on the website.

Early Voting: The Great American Ripoff – Unless…

by John Weckerle

Yesterday after work, my wife and I went to the Edgewood fire station to exercise our constitutional right to participate in government.  We cast our votes for the candidates of our choice, and went out for pizza to celebrate a successful conclusion to our involvement in this year’s elections.

Our elation was to be short-lived, however.  When I arrived home this evening, the television was already on – and when the first commercial break came on, I discovered the horrible truth…

They’re still there.

What, pray tell, is still there?  The multitude of attack ads, complete with unflattering, doctored photos; vilification; personal attacks; disinformation; misinformation; and misdirection.  Everything I thought I was leaving behind when I voted was still right there in my living room.  The only other thing that seems to get through are prescription drug commercials and those idiotic Alltel ads – and maybe a Geico ad here and there.  Not even the ones with the gecko, though; just the caveman spots.  Phooey.

Suddenly I realized: Early voting is a ripoff unless we all do it, and fast.  That’s why I want EVERYBODY who hasn’t already voted to get out there and do so tomorrow.  If all the campaign organizations realize that more or less everybody in New Mexico has already voted, they’ll stop buying ad time, and we can go back to the blissfully monotonous attempts to sell us automobiles, frighten us with the fiberglass-headed Burger King, or convince us that Coke tastes a little less like malted battery acid* than Pepsi.

I’m John Weckerle, and I approve this message.  Yeesh.

*With thanks to Berke Breathed’s Bloom County.

A Howl Of Glee And A Meow Of Appreciation

By Chuck Ring

Edgewood Mayor Robert Stearley hosted a meeting on Friday, October 17, 2008 in an attempt to determine if the regional animal shelter idea previously scuttled in March of this year might be worth further study.

New Mexico State Representative Kathy McCoy (R) whose district covers a great deal of Edgewood and who previously saw that $150,000 was appropriated for a feasibility study of the shelter was present to lend her support and suggestions for the project. Representative McCoy pointed out to those present that the New Mexico State coffers are likely to be quite empty if the present economic downturn continues, so it might not be prudent to depend on much help from the State of New Mexico during the upcoming legislative session. Susan Simons, who is largely responsible for the new impetus given to the issue was present and presented information on shelters that might be adaptable to this region should the effort continue. Official representatives and staff from Bernalillo County and staff from Edgewood were present as were representatives from the animal humane sector of the region.

In spite of some negative aspects, i.e., present economic problems, the meeting conducted by Mayor Stearley was upbeat and the mayor promised to carry a request to the Edgewood Council that would seek funds for Ms. Simons and Edgewood Animal Control Supervisor Vickey Murphy to travel to an appropriate location to view previously constructed animal shelters.

A future meeting has been scheduled for Friday, November 21, 2008, 9:30 AM at the Edgewood Community Center. All interested individuals are encouraged to attend to lend their opinions and ideas toward the effort.

Several canines and a couple of felines waiting outside the community center after the meeting were seen to swish or wag their tails in apparent approbation for the mayor’s and other attendees’ actions during the meeting.

If you do support this effort, please let Representative McCoy, Mayor Stearley, the Edgewood Town Council and other potentially interested officials know of your desires.

The Effrontery Of Those Rascally Citizens

by Chuck Ring

At the October 8, 2008 meeting of the Edgewood Town Council, Councilman Glenn Felton was heard to lament (in effect) that a reasonable person would not object and apparently could infer, that the discombobulated action of the council at its October 1, 2008 meeting on a particular resolution was understandable and proper. The action in question was covered in this previous article on this blog Click Here For The Issue and in an article in the Mountain View Telegraph (MVT). The MVT reported that this writer had been ruled out of order by Mayor Stearley, when it was pointed out by this writer, that the action taken with the council vote on a formed out of thin air resolution was not proper.  While it matters little, whether I was out of order, it matters considerably whether our council’s actions are proper and “in order.”

It is elementary that the public has a right to expect that their business will be conducted in a clear, open and above-board manner. Councilman Felton has often rightly stated the same in so many words. The citizens should not have to ponder the meaning of the actions of their governing body and governing body members should not expect them to guess or second-guess their actions as a governing body. Instead of veiled “gotchas” maybe an apology to constituents (all constituents … even those who may not support individual governing body members) would be both proper and refreshing. The public is not to blame for the council’s hasty and erroneous action of October 1, 2008. In an apparent drive to secure the library space, the action taken was responsible for a couple of missteps which ended up costing time and and perhaps some reputation.

Of course, subsequent lamentations about the public’s not recognizing the council’s intent amounts to nothing more than disingenuous icing on a crumbling cake. Maybe when sitting before the public in a position that should garner respect, it might be more prudent to swallow a margin of pride than to try to have the last word when the first words or actions taken were absolutely outside the bounds of proper government.  As I pointed out in my previous article, the solution or fix to the incorrect action was simple, but absolutely necessary.

Any person who serves in a position of authority or official contemplation is bound to make a mistake if they are trying to do their job. But, the mistake is compounded if the mistaken party insists on shifting the blame to innocent people or marginalizing his or her personal involvement and responsibility for a particular action or actions.

Farewell To A Community Leader And A Wonderful Neighbor

by John Weckerle

On Monday of this week, Mark Jensen – native New Mexican, benefactor of the Edgewood Library and  my next-door neighbor – passed away after a long illness.  Mark, a genuinely positive person and the best one could ask for in a neighbor, will be fondly remembered as somebody who was always looking out for others.  Whether it was a road in need of repair, a neighborhood project, or just someone who needed snow removed from their driveway, Mark was always there to lend a hand.  His dedication to the community can be seen in his support of the library and the other community initiatives he supported.  The world was a better place for having Mark Jensen in it, and will remain a better place for his having been here.

According to another neighbor, Doug Schramm, the Albuquerque Journal may not have properly conveyed the information on the memorial service for Mark.  Doug drove into Albuquerque to get the facts straight and informs us  that the memorial service will be at the French Mortuary on Lomas Blvd, just east of Eubank, at 2:30 tomorrow, Saturday, October 18.

Our neighborhood, Edgewood, and New Mexico have all lost a great friend in Mark Jensen – and gained a great memory.  Let us hope that his generosity and positive outlook on life will live on in each of us.

All Hail To The “Weedsters”

by Chuck Ring

If we in Edgewood are not noted for our deeds — we are certainly known for our weeds. But, just in time to prevent the alien weeds from  taking over our small community, “weedsters” have appeared and made significant progress toward ridding State Road 344 of most of the noxious Christmas tree size devils.

Those of you who have been around New Mexico for a long time can recall or have heard, that former Albuquerque Mayor and New Mexico Governor Clyde Tingley, was responsible for awarding New Mexico thousands of Siberian Elms, sometimes mistakenly called Chinese Elms. He did so in a sincere desire to help beautify Albuquerque and other areas of New Mexico. The elms were planted for crop windbreaks  and at many other places for both municipal beautification and erosion control. They worked toward accomplishing both;  sometimes modestly, but more often, with limited success. Albuquerque and Hobbs are two locations in New Mexico that have managed to make their Siberian Elms living legacies because they have carefully pruned and nourished them. Many people are allergic to the blooms of the trees, the roots of the trees can invade sewer lines and if they are not properly cared for they look like ugly has sprouted out all over their bulk. They also love to drink their share and more of water while making sure that they perpetuate themselves by tossing their single seed pods to the four winds. Perhaps, the foregoing explains why you will hear many old timers refer to the Siberian Elms as Tingley Weeds.

Many concerned community members and tourists from far and wide have had to wonder if our mayor was attempting to practice “thrice-upmanship” and use the Russian Thistle (tumbleweed), the Amaranthus palmeri (Careless Weed) and the Puncture Vine (Goathead) as his plant legacies.  Fortunately, or at least hopefully, thanks to Ms. Karen Mahalick’s efforts in securing the “weedsters”, we will no longer have to puzzle over the mayor’s objectives or lack thereof in allowing the weeds to hide our new and expensive landscaping.

We do heartily congratulate Ms. Mahalick for carrying through on her promise from the last town council meeting.

Weedsters” = those who weed weeds, whether large or small

“thrice-upmanship” = three times one-upmanship

Alright, so Webster will not add either of these words to their dictionary, next year or any year.

Extra-Cheap Entertainment For The Excessively Bored Young Person

by Chuck Ring

Yes, gas is cheaper than it was a month ago, but no one can say for how long. Even so, it is still an expensive proposition to drive to Albuquerque for movies or other entertainment. Then, when you get there, you’ll likely bust a twenty dollar bill for admittance and popcorn for two people and you haven’t taken into account the cost for gasoline and the wear and tear on the family buggy. What to do?

Don’t fall back on the couch and watch that big screen that has somehow managed to deliver everything that has become important to you and most of your family. Instead do what your grandparents did before television and computer games inserted themselves into every corner of their lives and brain containers. To further clarify, for those of you lost in space or just spaced-out, I’ve lifted a little content from “Radio Lovers.Com” to better explain where we’re going.

“We offer hundreds of vintage radio shows for you to listen to online in mp3 format, all for free. Before the days of video games, shopping malls, MTV, and the Internet, families used to sit in their living room each night to listen to radio shows such as Superman, Groucho Marx, The Avenger, Gunsmoke, Sherlock Homes, and many others. When TV become popular in the 1950’s, most of these shows went off the air, but they now live on at websites such as this one and on weekly nostalgia radio broadcasts worldwide.”

Find yourself one or more URLs that will direct you to “old time radio shows” which can be downloaded to an IPOD© or an MP3 player for a listening time of your choice. If you wish you can listen from your computer, but knowing that you would want to get outside for fresh air, exercise and Starbucks, I listed the players first.

To help you get started, here’s one of the most extensive and free download sites to be found are many other sites for this kind of content, both free and fee. Just grab a Google and find them using old time radio show for the search term.

One last hint for the older crowd. This was really subterfuge meant for your eyes. Armed with in-depth information after listening to countless hours of old time radio, you should be able to answer the following question. Who ended his show with, “Good night, Mrs. Calabash … wherever you are.” And, why did he use the phrase? Using the preceding information will allow you to enjoy life a little more and actually force you to be secure in your oldness. Maybe we can look at it as the first step in the “12 Step Program To Growing Old And Almost Liking It.” Nah!

In any event, check it out, young or old. Nostalgia does not have to mean “a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition” as Webster would say.�

We Are Known By Our Deeds – Not By Our Words

by Chuck Ring

One can find allies in the oddest places. Take most any war or human conflict. It seems there is always someone to be found that will agree to ally themselves with another for a price or the sake of a credo. So it is with Santa Fe Commissioner Jack Sullivan and myself – although the Commissioner is likely oblivious to our partnership.

I first met Jack Sullivan just after he started his first term as a Santa Fe County Commissioner. I suppose it was around the beginning of 2000 when he attended our first town event approximately one year after Edgewood’s incorporation. I was a neophyte Edgewood Town Councilor and found Sullivan’s then stated concepts regarding taxation and assistance from the county to Edgewood, to be akin to my own. The ensuing years were to offer less than positive reinforcement to my opinion of Commissioner Sullivan’s actual taxing policies.

Fast forward to 2002 when Santa Fe City and Santa Fe County initiated efforts toward placing a quarter cent gross receipts tax on a referendum for or against the tax which was commonly referred to as a water/wastewater tax. This referendum passed and with what appeared to be a “hands across the waters” attempt, Commissioner Sullivan penned a letter dated February 6, 2003 wherein he enumerated what each of them (county and city) could have if they could but agree one with the other. Click Me To See The Letter The goodies subsequently received and action taken by each entity is a study in provincialism and greed on the part of Santa Fe City and Santa Fe County. An in-depth study of Commissioner Sullivan’s letter will leave no doubt that the process of doling out the money to Santa Fe County and Santa Fe City, along with a few paltry crumbs to to other Northern Santa Fe County entities, was meant to be tight-fisted unless the benefactors were “real” players in the process.

A cursory examination of the minutes and work history of the Santa Fe County/Santa Fe City Regional Planning Authority (RPA) Some Examples Of RPA Work will serve to reinforce what is stated above. Additionally, the governing board of  the RPA consists of Santa Fe County Commissioners and Santa Fe City Councilors. What’s the point in all of this nagging?

Here’s the point. In all the years that the “water/wastewater tax” (actually titled “County Capital Outlay Gross Receipts Tax”) has been in place, no monies from the fund created by the tax has accrued to Edgewood or the greater Edgewood Community. Instead, to put a twist on an old observation, the money has flowed uphill. It has flowed uphill to the two Santa Fe entities’ joint projects. Edgewood tax proceeds have unfortunately proceeded post-haste to Santa Fe to the tune of close to a million dollars.

In several letters and observations made by Commissioner Sullivan in recent months, the eighth cent gross receipts transportation tax has been denigrated by Commissioner Sullivan as “taxation without representation.” Commissioner Sullivan cites the one-sided composition of the Regional Transit Authority’s board as proof of under representation from Santa Fe City and County. Of course, I agree that the tax is another case of taxation without representation and I am opposed to the tax for that reason and a few other reasons. But, I have to wonder where Commissioner Sullivan and the rest of the Santa Fe County Commission (excepting Commissioner Mike Anaya who has fought an uphill battle for Edgewood) have been when Edgewood Town Government members and staff have journeyed to Santa Fe to get a thin slice of the pie that we in the Edgewood Community have helped to bake.

I will vote against the eighth cent transportation tax on November 4, 2008 and will work to convince others to oppose the tax, but just as important, I will continue to “rail” against the unfair taxing policies of Santa Fe County and their city partner regarding the water/wastewater tax and other similar taxes where Edgewood gives, but Edgewood does not receive.

Anyone desirous of stopping the unfair treatment of Edgewood in the future might consider penning their own letter or email to their county commissioners, state representatives and senators pointing out the sheer inequities foisted on Edgewood through taxing policy that allows taxing of small communities for the sole benefit of counties and larger communities.

Winter Is Coming

by Bob Steiner 

The main focus of the Edgewood Town Council meeting last Wednesday night (October 8, 2008) was to resolve the remaining questions concerning the lease of the Pittman building (former fitness center) as a temporary location for the town library. This agreement could potentially be extended for a period of up to three years. Councilors Hill and Simmons were particularly effective in helping to clarify several minor points which have seemed to plague past council  discussions on the lease. Barring some last minute difficulties, it appears the Edgewood Library will finally be getting more space.  While I am happy that the library staff will now have a somewhat better work environment, this writer’s only regret is that the funds expended on the lease could not have directed toward the ultimate final location in Section#16. 

   While most people present at the meeting were still absorbed by the euphoria of the moment, Councilor Simmons directed the group’s attention to the subject of snow removal during the coming winter season. Taking note that a harsh winter is being forecast, as well as the fact that the current economic situation may have a negative impact on our tax income. She implied we might want to be more frugal in our expenditures. She further indicated she was concerned about the lack of a suitable all-weather maintenance and parking facility for our road crew’s heavy equipment. I also seem to recall her mentioning that such a facility is part of the plan for Section#16. Once again, that “piece of real estate” is brought up. I, personally, almost wonder if some higher power is trying to tell us, “You own it! why not use it now?”

   We long-term residents of Edgewood well know  what four feet of snow with eight foot drifts can do to our local environment. In the past, due to the hard-working road crews we employ, this problem has been manageable. We should however note that in years past our heavy equipment was parked at a more central location then today. Today the designated equipment “park” is located on a dirt road some three miles away from the closest main street. Would it not seem “awkward” if our heavy equipment became snowed in and couldn’t make it to our major roads during a heavy snow storm?  Councilor Simmons should be commended for her farsightedness. Let’s hope the other councilors are listening!

A Brief Autumn Interlude

Photo - Woodpecker at Wildlife West Nature Park, Edgewood, New Mexicoby John Weckerle

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take a break and walk around Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood on a crisp Saturday morning.  I always enjoy Wildlife West in the fall, in part because the cool weather seems to trigger more activity on the part of the animals and in part because I just like being outdoors in the fall.  With the many new habitats now at Wildlife West, some of the residents are easier to see and enjoy than ever.  Over the last couple of years, the Park has added new habitats for the roadrunner (finished just a few weeks ago), foxes, raccoons, bobcat, golden eagle, and pronghorn. This time around, I was lucky enough to find the roadrunner enjoying the perch in her new, expanded home and catch a couple of the other residents in mid-yawn.

Wildlife West will be holding its final Chuckwagon Dinner for the season, featuring the Bar D Wranglers, this Saturday. Reservations must be made by 1 p.m. the day of the show.  For more information, see the Park’s event page. »» A Brief Autumn Interlude