Archive for March, 2009

Partnership For A Healthy Torrance County

by John Weckerle

Our friend Vanessa Crary Vaile from Mountainair Arts informs us that the Partnership for a Healthy Torrance County (PHTC) will meet this Wednesday, April 1, from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m.  For more information about the PHTC meeting, see the meeting agenda.

PHTC, a cooperative effort among various state, county, municipal, and private health organizations,  is another of the array of interesting programs offered by the Torrance County Project Office.  Other community programs include the founding of KXNM FM, currently in progress; child car seat distribution; domestic violence and child abuse prevention programs; youth services; a bus system providing local service as well as service into Albuquerque (with stops throughout Torrance County and Edgewood; see the schedule); and more.  For more information, see the TCPO web site or contact them at (505) 832-0332.

Get It In Gear, Walmart!

by John Weckerle

We’ve been very favorably impressed by Walmart’s corporate citizenship in the Edgewood area, and hope they’ll continue.  However, we’ve recently had a few experiences that we would prefer not to repeat.

One class of experiences involves the purchase of alcoholic beverages – specifically, in our case, wine – and the checkout experience.  We seem to repeatedly find ourselves in situations where we have to wait at the checkout line because a) the cashier does not have the required State certification; and b) there is no manager nearby to complete the sale as required.  This problem reached the ridiculous stage yesterday.  After waiting nearly ten minutes, I went over to the customer service counter and asked them to send someone to the the register.  The person on duty said she would “send somebody right over.”  I returned to Register 5 and resumed my wait, along with my wife, mother-in-law, and the people behind us.  Finally, a rather unapologetic manager-on-duty named Phyllis arrived and told us that she had been “busy in the office.”  I told her that I thought the wait was unreasonable – we were standing there with people lined up behind us for at least seventeen minutes after everything else had been rung up – and she replied that “someone decided that she should be doing something else.”  I told her that, if they were going to have uncertified people working the register, there should be a manager nearby.  She responded curtly that “he’s at lunch.”  This was at 4:30 p.m. on a Saturday.

This didn’t just affect us, it affected the people behind us who had already loaded their items onto the conveyer.  Walmart should either stop using  uncertified cashiers or make sure that managers are available to assist.  In fact, they should do the latter regardless of the former; nobody dissatisfied enough to ask for a manager should have to wait a long time to see one.

Is Forward Looking The Same As Looking Forward?

 by John Weckerle

Edgewood Mayor Bob StearleyIn a Mountain View Telegraph Guest View this week, as well as in The Independent, Edgewood Mayor Bob Stearley outlines some of the accomplishments of the first year of his tenure as Mayor and of the current Town Council’s term.  While there has certainly been progress in some areas, some of these statements bear a little closer examination.

Among the accomplishments listed are passage of a new sign ordinance, relocation of the library, some unspecified progress on the sewer, and a projection that funds will be sought for other uses in the future.

On the subject of the sewer – Mr. Stearley writes: “The sewer system, which is designed to serve the Highway 66 business corridor, is due to be constructed this year. The project was delayed by the inability of the first contractor to do the work to the specifications contained in the bid package. In the next few weeks our engineer will provide the council with proposed sewer rates. I will be working on your behalf to set rates which are comparable to the rates set by other towns within commuting distance of Albuquerque.”  We point out that Mayor Stearley stated in a June 19, 2008 Mountain View Telegraph Guest View that “We are currently working on setting the costs which users of the sewer will pay for sewer hook-ups and monthly sewer rates. The sewer should be in operation in January.”  We have also seen no information regarding exactly what specifications the contractor was unable to satisfy. Further, rumors have surfaced that the western branch of the sewer will have to be redesigned because the New Mexico Department of Transportation will not grant an easement in the I-40 right-of-way – a potential pitfall that should have been exposed by the work of the design engineering firm.  It seems a little unrealistic to suggest that the engineer has been working on setting rates since last June without having them ready. »» Is Forward Looking The Same As Looking Forward?

Road Closures, etc.

by John Weckerle

According to NMDOT, as of 5 a.m. this morning, I-40 eastbound was still closed from Tramway to Santa Rosa (according to KOBTV, this stretch was still closed at about 6:30), and there have been closures at Santa Rosa as well.  Travel is discouraged fromTramway to Santa Rosa.  The Moriarty-Edgewood School District is closed for today.  We encourage people to stay where they are this morning if they can, and proceed with extreme caution if they must use the roads.

Grow Your Own – Hang ‘Em High, Bury ‘Em Deep

by John Weckerle

Photo - Hanging TomatoesAs we restlessly await the beginning of growing season, we’ve decided to reinvestigate the prospect of upside-down tomatoes.  Previous experiments were of mixed success.  Most resulted in very tasty, but very small, fruit.  We learned in the meantime that it is important NOT to use standard house plant food or potting soil fortified with house plant food.  Our prior efforts involved both.  This time, we’re trying an unfortified potting mix, which wasn’t that easy to find (after checking Lowes and Home Depot, we finally found one by Hyponex, an old favorite from many years ago, at the Edgewood Walmart).   Houseplant formulations contain too much nitrogen and not enough phosphorous, which results in small fruit.  We want big ones this time; last time, our cherry tomatoes were about twice the size of peas, and the beefsteaks were about twice the size of regular cherry tomatoes. »» Grow Your Own – Hang ‘Em High, Bury ‘Em Deep

Stray Dogs and Cats In Jeopardy?

By  Bob Steiner

With a  73%  adoption rate, the  town of Edgewood is presently doing a commendable job in saving  the lives of dogs and cats brought in by town animal control staff.  While the success of this program is largely  due to the diligent efforts of Vicki Murphy and Mike Ring, the fact that the current temporary animal control facility is at a central, easily accessible location has been a contributing factor to the results achieved.  Wisely, looking ahead to the time when  the town would consolidate  most of its functions at the municipal center at the area known as Section 16,  the previous town administration recommended that the animal control facility  be also located at that site. They recognized the importance of a central location  and how it would impact on the number of  potential “adoptive parents” visiting  the facility.

Unfortunately, our present mayor seems to be uncomfortable with anything associated with the animal shelter or Section 16.  He  seems reluctant to initiate any action to get any of the projects at the future municipal complex moving.  His lack of focus on the property has gotten another local blog to compare the area to the”promised land” in Old Testament biblical times.  In that case the Israelis were forced to wander in the desert for many years because they hesitated to enter in when they had the chance. I truly wonder why WE are hesitating!  How long will we wander?

»» Stray Dogs and Cats In Jeopardy?

Friday Night In Mountainair

by John Weckerle

Checking in on our friends at Mountainair Announcements, we find that there are some interesting events in Mountainair tomorrow night.  Dr. Joseph Sanchez of UNM’s  Spanish Colonial Research Center and Superintendent of Petroglyph National Monument will give a lecture on “The Mystery of the Lady in Blue: Maria de Agreda and the Jumanos in 17th c. New Mexico” beginning at 7 p.m. at the Shaffer Hotel Conference Room.  Arts enthusiasts will enjoy an opening at Mountainar Clayworks  from 5-9 p.m., featuring “coiled pottery, architectural constructions, clay masks and other objects of art” created by the gallery’s students and studio artists.  For more information, see the full announcement at Mountainair Announcements.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come – Here

by John Weckerle

Back in the 1980s, during a 5-year soujourn in Tampa, Florida, I enjoyed a great way to do dinner and a movie – cinema pubs.  The idea was simple – the cinema pubs showed movies that had just completed their runs in the major theaters but were still showing in the discount theaters and at midnight shows, but they also offered dinner as well as beer and wine.  Patrons sat at tables, and were served throughout the movie by waitstaff who seemed incredibly adept at minimizing their time between the patron and the screen.  Both the movie and the food were reasonably priced, and well-suited to those of us who were students and/or in their first job out of school, and it was a nice experience.  Depending on the film, I sometimes waited for movies to hit the cinema pubs because it was simply a better place to see them.  And now, you can see them that way, too.

Following the recent success of movie showings at Mustang Mudd’s, in the former Le Barn building, entrepreneurs Maria Braendle of Le Barn and Miki Anaya of El Comedor Restaurant have teamed up to bring the experience to Moriarty.  This weekend’s feature, Twilight (your editor, who has read the books and seen the movie, recommends it to fans of the Stephanie Myers series of vampire novels)  will be the opening event (for details, see the flyer).  Next week’s offerings, with shows from Wednesday to Sunday (with weekend matinees!), include Gran Torino, starring Clint Eastwood; Taken, starring Clint Eastwood; Bolt (voice of John Travolta); The Wrestler, starring Mickey Rourke; and Defiance, starring Daniel Craig (see next week’s flyer for show times and other info). For more information, call LeBarn at 832-9481 or El Comedor at 832-4492.

A Bunch Of Clowns

by John Weckerle

Well, maybe we’re assuming something, but it seems like smoke and fire – where there’s a circus, there are usually clowns.  The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus will be at the corner of Route 66 and NM 344 in Edgewood on Tuesday, April 7, 2009.  The show is sponsored by the Edgewood Chamber of Commerce, and proceeds will be split between the Chamber and several area schools.  Two show times are scheduled at 5:00 and 7:30 p.m.  For more information, contact the Chamber at 286-2577 or the Circus at 1-866-BIG TOP 6.

Wildlife West Summer Job Application Date Changes

by John Weckerle

The deadline for applications for Wildlife West Nature Park’s Youth Conservation Corps positions has been extended to May 1, 2009.  Young people ages 14 to 25 may apply.  For more information on a great summer job opportunity, see the Park web site or contact Wildlife West at 281-7655.

The Roads Ahead, For Now

by John Weckerle

The New Mexico Department of Transportation has alerted us to the following road information in the area:

  • Monday 3/16 through Friday 4/3 from 9am to 3:30pm each weekday, NM333 from Zuzax to Sedillo will have various lane closures and work on the shoulders to install utilities. Be alert for flagmen in some locations.
  • I40 / Zuzax to Tijeras Interstate Reconstruction, Sunday 3/15 from 10pm to 3am – The I40 eastbound off ramp at Tijeras (exit 175) will be closed to remove overhead structure. Use Carnuel exit as alternate route.
  • Sunday 3/15 through Friday 3/20 from 9pm to 5am – I40 westbound from Zuzax to Tijeras will have the left lane closed.
  • Monday 3/16 through Friday 3/20 from 9pm to 5am – I40 eastbound from Tijeras to Zuzax will have the left lane closed.
  • Ongoing through Saturday 4/4 from 7:30am to 7pm weekends and from 7am to 3:30pm weekdays – I40 eastbound at mile marker 170 (Carnuel) will have various lanes closed for bridge deck repair. One lane closed on Saturday 3/14 and weekdays and two lanes closed on Sunday 3/15. Expect delays and use NM333 as an alternate route.

Happy driving!

Is There One Less Chamber In The “Gate?”

by John Weckerle

Yesterday, your editor met with Edgewood Chamber of Commerce president Kelly Krauth and briefly with Board member Renee Willes to discuss a variety of subjects related to the past, present and future of the Chamber.  While much of that conversation is not ripe for publication, there are a few bits that bear examination.

Among the subjects we discussed are the Chamber’s plans for restructuring its relationships with other entities, and it appears that some good progress has been made in that direction.  According to Ms. Krauth, the Chamber has already begun reaching out to the Town government and other organizations, and the effort has been well received.  Edgewood Mayor Bob Stearley is reportedly working cooperatively with the Chamber on several initiatives, as is Town planning and zoning administrator Karen Mahalick.  The Chamber is working in cooperation with the Estancia Valley Economic Development Association and the New Mexico Economic Development Department to present a small business workship featuring micro-lenders for immediate assistance for struggling businesses (we will post information on this workshop, scheduled for April 9, 2009 when it becomes available).  »» Is There One Less Chamber In The “Gate?”

Public Service Announcement – City of Moriarty Seeking Call Center Applications

The City of Moriarty is seeking applications for positions for a potential employer at the Moriarty call center.  For more information and a copy of the call center application, see the City of Moriarty web page for the recruitment.

Walmart Comes Through For Nature Park, Education, Kids

by John Weckerle

Reminder: Applicants age 14 to 25 who wish to be considered for employment at Wildlife West under the Youth Conservation Corps program this summer must submit a resume and two references to the Park no later than March 15, 2009.

According to a press release received today, Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood has received a $25,000 educational grant from Walmart for youth development.  The funding has made it possible for the Park to hire an educational director for the summer season to help coordinate such programs as the Youth Conservation Corps projects and Wildlife West’s many other educational initiatives.  The New Mexico Wildlife Association, which administers Wildlife West, has selected Bradd Shulke, an East Mountain High School educator with a Master’s degree in ecology.  Mr. Shulke has a broad background in education, and is certified in special education.

Given the fact that Wildlife West Nature Park is likely the only zoo in the world to be built by youth, this development is particularly exciting.  For more information on the summer program and the grant, see the Park web site or contact Wildlife West at (505) 281-7655.

How Dry Should We Be?

by John Weckerle

Early in its history, the residents of what was then the Town of Edgewood reportedly placed a measure on the ballot to determine how the Town would handle alcohol sales.  Also reportedly, the result was that alcohol sales were to be prohibited on Sunday.

Two issues arise after attempting to research the Town’s alcohol restrictions.  First, and most easily dealt with, is that there appears to be no reference to such restrictions on the Town website.  It is possible that we missed something, but we searched all the pages and all the ordinances available online for the word term “alcohol” and also searched those ordinances that seemed most likely to be relevant for the term “Sunday.”  We also did a Google site search for terms including alcohol, package, and beverage.  We found nothing regarding alcohol sales or Sunday restrictions.  Either the restrictions were never formalized or the Town has not posted them on its web site for some reason.  We believe that the Town of Edgewood should post all legal requirements and restrictions – including but not limited to ordinances, resolutions, policies, and procedures – on the Town website. »» How Dry Should We Be?