Archive for November, 2008

The Lion’s Friend Sleeps Tonight

Photo - Bill Brownby John Weckerle

The memorial service for Bill Brown took place at the Wildlife West Nature Park Bean Barn.  Friends, acquaintances, fellow volunteers, and others joined Bill’s family to celebrate the life of Edgewood’s mountain lion man (seen here with his friend in this photo provided by Judy Hudgins).  In attendance were a broad spectrum of area residents: former Edgewood Town Council members Chuck Ring and Frank Lasky; former Edgewood mayor Howard Calkins; and current Edgewood Town Council member Rita Loy Simmons, just to name a few.  The service was officiated by Roger Alink, founder and director of the park and long-time friend of Bill’s.  On hand were many of Bill’s friends and those who held him dear, several of whom shared anecdotes about their experiences with Bill during his years as a volunteer and president of the Park’s Board of Directors. »» The Lion’s Friend Sleeps Tonight

Scam Some Ham, Or My Attempt To Double-Up On Thanksgiving

by Chuck Ring (GadAbout-BlogAlot ©2008)

Quote Freely From the Article — Leave The Pseudonym Alone

After having a great meal with my friend Jim Smith at Katrinah’s East Mountain Grill (KEMG) on this date, Jim and I were privileged to have Katrinah’s grandmom (Kathy Shuit,co-owner of KEMG) grace our table. Jim’s satiated eyes were glazed over due to the effects of the giant chicken-fried steak he had just experienced; but I of the grand abdomen, had given my stomach a reprieve having recently experienced fusion of L-4/L-5 and needing less strain on the back, I had taken the ignoble, but sensible path to satisfaction … I quit eating.

But, I did not quit listening. I heard that Kathy would close the grill on November 25 (tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day) and that she would be open for approximately sixty family members and friends. Knowing that my lovely Carol would not open the Ring Kitchen until Thursday at around 3:00 PM, I was quite sure that I was friend enough to throw myself on Kathy’s mercy. »» Scam Some Ham, Or My Attempt To Double-Up On Thanksgiving

Thankful Before Thanksgiving

by Chuck Ring (GadAbout-BlogAlot ©2008)

Quote Freely From the Article — Leave The Pseudonym Alone

Not me. I’m thankful most all the time. You become so automatically when you reach a certain stage in life, years or experience. The subject of the title is, or at least should be, a twenty-one year old, Roy Aguilar arrested by the New Mexico State Police after a series of stupid tricks performed by Mr. Aguilar. You can click on this link to read about the events reported in the Santa Fe New Mexican ME AND MY PU TRUCK BECOME ONE

Mr. Aguilar managed to use his weapon of choice, to self-inflict an injury for which he should be most thankful, while making himself the cannon fodder of various critics and commentators. As if, this mixed bag of metaphors was not poetic justice enough, Mr. Aguilar managed to hoist himself by his own petar (petard) LIFTED ALONG BY A SPELL OF HIS OWN

This turkey was saved to serve (or swerve) another day. Thanks to the New Mexico State Police for their service and to the media for reporting.

Bill Brown, Dedicated Community Servant, Passes at 68

by John Weckerle

We have just received word that Bill Brown, president of the New Mexico Wildlife Association (the organization that manages Wildlife West Nature Park) , died Friday night at his home.  He was 68 years of age.

Bill, known to many as the “Cat Guy” because of his daily work inside the mountain lion enclosure at Wildlife West, was a retired firefighter from Houston, Texas.  We will be featuring an article on Bill later this week, once we have obtained more information about his life before Wildlife West.   A memorial service will be held in the Bean Barn at Wildlife West at 3:00 p.m. this Wednesday, November 26, 2008.  The barn is heated and very large; however, we recommend bringing appropriate outer wear in case of a large turnout, and also because there is a bit of a walk from the Park entrance to the barn.  Bill’s son, David Brown, has requested that donations be made to Wildlife West Nature Park in lieu of flowers.

Times Of The Signs

by John Weckerle

Or, more accurately, places of the signs – ours.  On Saturday, November 15, Chuck Ring, Bob Steiner and I were at the Wildlife West Community Appreciation Day, complete with fliers for the blog.  Bob relayed some information last week: a local business has posted one of our fliers in their window!  After a little thought, it seems reasonable that we should at least give some mention to those who are helping get the word out – so each week, on Monday, we will be listing the places where our flier has been seen (and publicly visible) during the previous week.

This week, the nod goes to:

  • Local resident Sue West, who has posted a notice about the blog on the notice board at the entrance of her subdivision since long before we made the fliers
  • Katrina’s East Mountain Grill, located at the corner of Dinkle Road and SR 344
  • D.J.’s Dog House, an eatery in Edgewood (southeast corner of Dinkle and SR 344 in the old John Brooks shopping center at the old TechSmiths location)

If you’re posting signs or see them somewhere, please drop us a line at and include the name, address or physical location, and where in the business (etc.) that the flier is posted. Thanks for your support!

Signs Of The Times?

By Bob Steiner

The town of Edgewood, like all towns, has a lot of signs. There are traffic signs  mandated by state and federal authorities which provide essential information to those traveling through our fair valley.  Information signs alert us to the location of historical sites and other points of interest to visitors (please note here, for future reference, “visitors” - can also be defined as “tourists, who spend money!”).  Large and small retailers have signs. Realtors have signs. There are even signs identifying various streets and roads in the town though, please don’t expect to find any on the South side of State Road #333, just West of  the town’s administrative offices.  Although the most recent election  is over and the votes have been tabulated, there still seems to be an abundance of  the “stick in the ground” political cardboard signs around. There are even a few of these  “adorning” some of the more prominent barbed wire  fences hereabout.  What seems pariticularly hard to understand is that some merchants have had to resort to “stick” cardboard signs to identify their locations. While milk carton signs announcing week end garage sales are posted,  they, at least, do seem to be removed in a timely manner. »» Signs Of The Times?

Wildlife West Announces 2009 Music Festival Headliners And Event Schedule

by John Weckerle

Last year’s Wildlife West Music Festival may have been a tough act to follow, but this year’s lineup looks like another crowning achievement.  Internationally known folk musician John McCutcheon will return to delight the audience with his incredible and varied repertoire. With over 30 albums to his credit and the ability to play about a dozen instruments, John McCutcheon’s performances are an uncommon treat among musical experiences.  His songs tell stories of American life with a rare insight, and his instrumentals are often unparalleled in both skill and the enjoyment they bring to the listener.  The Badly Bent – an award winning bluegrass band from Durango, Colorado  – will be welcomed by those who return to Wildlife West year after year for bluegrass that, as phrased on the band’s web site, “never strays far from the roots established by the fathers of the genre.” Dave Firestine and Round The House – another award-winning band, but this time from Tucson, Arizona – will regale us with “authentic Irish music, with a twist of Tucson.” Syd Masters & The Swing Riders, the headliner for Wildlife West’s regular Chuckwagon Suppers, will entertain us with their unique blend of traditional and original cowboy music and humor.  Also returning will be The Squash Blossom Boys, a local band that should be remembered by last year’s attendees. More bands will be announced soon!

Online ticket sales will commence soon on the park’s web site, as will a new series of sponsorships directed specifically toward those who would like to show their support for the festival.

Wildlife West has also released its event schedule for 2009, with events listed as follows:

  • Wind Festival May 2, 3
  • Chuckwagon Dinner Shows Saturday nights – June 20 through Sept. 15.
  • Bear Fair July 11
  • 7th Annual Music Festival August 7 – 9
  • Harvest Festival August 28, 30
  • Melodrama TBA

‘Tis The Season…

by John Weckerle

As the end of the year approaches, we find ourselves contacted more often than usual by charities and other nonprofits asking for financial support either for holiday-oriented  initiatives or for their operations for the coming year.  In a time of economic downturn, these organizations feel the pinch just as we do; if people have less, they have less to give.  I’m not going to identify the nonprofits I plan to support next year in this article (although regular readers can probably guess at least one), or the ones I don’t (and many of you can probably guess a couple of those), but as I give pause to think about where the support for the coming year will be going, I find myself asking questions and formulating responses that I thought I might share.

  1. What are our priorities in giving? Are we focused on charitable giving, business organizations, clubs, or others?  Are there specific missions – education, conservation, job creation, and assisting the poor, to name just a few examples – that rise to the fore when we think about what we want to accomplish?  Knowing our own personal “mission”  can be a deciding factor in figuring out where to send our support. »» ‘Tis The Season…

Their Loss Means We Keep Losing

by Chuck Ring (GadAbout-BlogAlot ©2008)

Quote Freely From the Article — Leave The Pseudonym Alone

Poor Santa Fe County and Santa Fe City. According to recent reports in the Santa Fe New Mexican, both will have to initiate cost-cutting measures due to their lack of economic bounty in these down times.

They propose to cut items in their existing budget to make up the loss. It really struck me as odd that they intend to take a 10% bite out of their travel category. The odd part was the 10% amounts to some $240,000. We can do the math and find that their travel budget is over $2,400,000. One wonders if they plan to travel to outer space. In this day and time, what could possibly justify a travel budget of over two million dollars for an entity the size of Santa Fe County?

Oh well, little Edgewood will continue sending their hard earned money to both Santa Fes. Maybe we can keep them out of the hole they keep digging for themselves.

Click here for the County’s story  POOR SANTA FE COUNTY

An After-Christmas Wish List?

By Bob Steiner

Now that the presidential election is over, it’s hard to realize but the January  New Mexico Legislative Session is but a little more than a month away. This is where your elected representatives get together in Santa Fe and decide how many (if any) of the tax dollars you’ve paid in  will be returned to your area to finance roads, buildings and other capital  projects.  No matter where you live in the Estancia Valley, it is important that your town council come up with a “wish list” (Capital Outlay Request) of projects that  voters would like to see undertaken in your area. In the event that your local governing body has not yet put together a list, or if you, as an individual,  have any ideas on how to best spend the money  (some of it, anyway) that you send to Santa Fe, now is the time to makes your wishes known!

Our regular readers know that we previously reported  that the town of Edgewood hosted a meeting with their legislators last week for the purpose of briefing them on that community’s “wish list”.  In view of projected lower tax revenue due to current economic conditions, as well as the fact that the Governor has directed budget cutbacks in all state agencies, The representatives cautioned the town to expedite any projects which are currently being worked on. They believe  that any activity  where some  funds have  already been expended and  is already in progress, would be less likely to be curtailed.  This assumption makes sense,  so if you have visions of any of your tax money being returned to your community, you may want to put a bug in the ear of your local council members to insure they are cognizant of what is going on.

In any event, while you may not be getting much of your tax money  allocated back to your town this year, “Some” is better than None”.

To Spin In the Wind … Or Not

by Chuck Ring (GadAbout-BlogAlot ©2008)

Quote Freely From the Article — Leave The Pseudonym Alone

Fresh off of $4.00 a gallon gas, some folks in New Mexico still question the wisdom of wind generated power. The questioning comes from many points of observation, but the three main objections seem to be:

  1. the giant turbines will spoil my or our view
  2. the low-level noise will disturb or harm those (human and animal) in close proximity
  3. the energy produced will be utilized outside the State of New Mexico

The newest proposed wind farm in the state is being considered for San Miguel County.  If final approval is given, the wind farm will be located on 7063 acres of state land on the surface of a prominent mesa.

Hopefully, as New Mexico continues to sort itself out as one of the largest wind energy states (in overall wind energy produced) the ordinary citizens and energy producers can come to common ground that will  satisfy all concerned and serve to move our nation toward energy independence (EI). Or, will EI just continue to be something we talk about, but never really move to accomplish.

Click on this colored text Spin The Turbine to read an article from The Santa Fe New Mexican, along with the mixed pro and con comments regarding this wind farm and wind driven energy in general.

Same Ol’ Song – Just Whizzin’ Along

by Chuck Ring (GadAbout-BlogAlot ©2008)

Quote Freely From the Article — Leave The Pseudonym Alone

Santa Fe City (City) seems to be feeling the wind in its face as an effluent (not affluent) customer just whizzes on by, while refusing to pay the city for 150,000,000 plus gallons of effluent water from their waste water system.

Seems the customer, who along with three others, owns a horse park of some eighty acres located in Santa Fe, is more or less mired in potential litigation after the City filed a lien against the property for non-payment for the effluent water.  According to City officials the amount owed is $189,481. One of the owners disputes this figure and says that the City owes the park, i.e., the owners, $60,000. An article in the Santa Fe New Mexican provides more detail regarding this contest. Click For Whizzin’ Match

Time To Pack Up And Go Home

by John Weckerle

Like many area residents and business owners, I find myself making several trips a week to Albuquerque.  For what seems to be about sixty years, but is probably somewhat less, I have been driving through a reduced speed zone (45 mph) associated with the I-40 Sedillo Hill construction.  The work appears to be essentially complete, and there is little or no activity, especially in the westbound direction.  While the new pavement and especially the long-awaited third lane in the eastbound direction are greatly appreciated, it is time now for the NMDOT to have their contractor pack up the equipment, pick up the barrels, and let us enjoy the new highway at the speeds for which it was designed.

A call made Wednesday to New Mexico Department of Transportation official Phil Gallegos to check on the status of the project has not been returned.  However, we checked, and find that the projected completion date is Tuesday, November 18.

A Meeting Was Held, Yet No One Came.

By Bob Steiner

At 3:00 P.M. last Wednesday the town of Edgewood hosted a meeting for our elected legislators from the local legislative districts.  The purpose of the gathering  held at the Community Center, was to brief our representatives on projects(“Capital Outlay Requests”) that the town would like to see funded during the forthcoming January legislative session.  The ladies representing our area, King, McCoy, and Beffort-Wilson, were present and in good form. They readily answered  the questions asked of them and did their best to clarify how they believed the legislature will respond to the  projects requested.  It was  unfortunate that Mr. Campos could not make the trip to Edgewood and be in attendance. I would like to have heard his input.

Perhaps the most important points raised by our representatives was the issue of fewer tax dollars being available to finance our requests and that the Governor is already exhorting the various state agencies to drastically cut back on spending. In view of this situation the town council was advised to insure the town’s expeditious participation in  any of the projects  they could, the rationale being any project in progress would be less likey to be curtailed  if a funding shortfall were to occur.

For the information of those not in attendance, The council , wisely,  seems to be giving the public works facility its highest priority.  We really need to have a facility with a roof for our road crews to maintain their equipment out of the weather. Finally, it looks like something will be started in Section#16.  If the reader desires more information on other potential projects, please contact  Ms. Mahalick at the town headquarters.

Karen Mahalick, Roger Holden, and the rest of the town staff are to be commended for the professional manner in which the town conducted its briefing of the legislators. The charts and written handouts were especially well-done. Any questions raised by the representatives were quickly answered.

It was unfortunate, though, other than the actual participants, only four members of the public, including this writer, were  present.  In fairness to the town staff, this meeting had been announced at the last council meeting. I suspect though,  the local print media didn’t find it worthy of mention?

First, Do No Harm (Part Two)

by Chuck Ring (GadAbout-BlogAlot ©2008)

Quote Freely From the Article — Leave The Pseudonym Alone

This Is Part Two Of A Two Part Article

Click Here For Part One Of This Article

Next to be examined are two big water projects known as the San Juan – Chama Diversion Project and the Buckman Well Field Project.  The scope of these two projects alone demonstrates the shear gall of those who have planned these projects with their use of taxes from Edgewood to fund a large portion of the projects. Whether the projects prove to be viable and cost effective at this juncture is speculative, but it can be said that in the eyes of many Southern Santa Fe County and Torrance County citizens, the deal or deals, smell of selfishness and disregard. Memories of the City of Santa Fe’s attempt to import some 7500 acre feet of salty water from mid-Torrance County to Santa Fe still leaves a brackish taste in their mouths. One of our Santa Fe County commissioners seems so enamored of the tax and the straws that could be placed in the rivers and aquifers that he wrote a letter extolling the virtues of the project to the Santa Fe City governing body. Here is an excerpt from the February 6, 2003 letter:

….Santa Fe County government and the public took a big step toward dealing with the water shortage last year with the approval of a ¼% gross receipts tax increase, 75% of which will be used for water system and supply improvements. Fully one half of the total county tax proceeds will go to projects that are in the City or that serve City residents. City projects are reviewed and recommended for funding by the Regional Planning Authority (RPA).  Already the RPA will go to projects that are in the City or that serve City residents. City projects are reviewed and recommended for funding by the Regional Planning Authority (RPA). Already the RPA earmarked $1.25 million, or one half of the total expected gross receipts tax for the current fiscal year for the construction of Buckman wells 10 through 13 to supplement the existing Buckman well field during drought conditions , and to rest existing wells during normal years….”

The entire letter can be accessed here by clicking Santa Fe Twins Water And Other Projects Deal  The excerpt above is just a very small sample of the revelations to be found in the letter. 

If the letter and the ordinance are studied with a clear head and sharp eyes, it can be determined that most of the funds accrued or accruing from the tax will be spent by and for the County and City. Reading the entire letter, the mind of the reader can be transported to the Los Angeles of the Owens Valley era  and its erstwhile superintendent of the Los Angeles Water and Power Department, William Mulholland. Visions of the movie, Chinatown, which is loosely based on Los Angeles’ rape of Owens Valley and Los Angeles’ hand in the final demise of the water once to be found there, Maps,Photos And General Information About Owens Valley also rise to the mind’s surface. But, a read of he book or a look at the PBS series of the same name, The Cadillac Desert, The American West And Its Disappearing Water, will perhaps meld the Santa Fe events with those revealed  in the book and tell a much broader story of how big money and bad politics often destroy those with whom they play fast and loose. A Google © search can provide links to suppliers of the book and video.

Has anyone in the Edgewood area heard of the Top Of The World Farms (TOW). If not, be assured that folks in Taos County have heard about Santa Fe County and their purchase of at least 588 acre feet per year (afy) of water rights from TOW. I say at least, because it is not clear when and exactly how much water was actually purchased by Santa Fe County.  An article from the La Jicarita Times of Northern New Mexico has indicated the transfer, if approved, will be for a minimum of 588 afy Click For Article but could be for substantially more. An article from the Taos Daily Horse Fly  has indicated that   Click For Article  Taos County has stated they will protest these transfers and have passed a resolution to do so.

The entity created by Santa Fe City and County that handles the disbursement of most of the many millions of dollars generated by the tax is known as the Regional Planning Authority (RPA). The RPA has an executive director and five additional staff; though to be fair some staff members serve through their regular employment with the City or County.  A  board consisting of four county commissioners and four city councilors governs the RPA. Conspicuously and suspiciously, there are no board members from the other taxed entities that contribute to the pie. Other disbursements of money can occur outside the purview of the RPA should individual County commissioners put forth projects for funding. There have been several such projects, but none have been finalized for Edgewood. At one point, over two years ago, there was to have been a $400,000 allotment for Edgewood to assist with the completion of the Edgewood wastewater treatment facility, but the County insisted on an ownership scheme in the facility and no funds were ever forthcoming.

»» First, Do No Harm (Part Two)