Archive for December, 2009

The End of a Decade – Wait For It, WAIT FOR IT…

by John Weckerle

As is often the case at this time in any year ending in a “nine,”  people are looking back over the past decade and reminscing.  Let’s take a look at a few things that didn’t happen in this decade:

  • Y2K did not pass without damaging systems worldwide.
  • George Bush was not elected president.
  • Al Gore and Joe Lieberman did not lose the Presidential election.
  • AOL did not purchase Time Warner.
  • Brazil did not celebrate it’s 500th year.
  • Israel did not withdraw from southern Lebanon.
  • Hedy Lamarr, Tom Landry, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. did not die.

These things did not happen in this decade because they happened in the year 2000, which was in the last, and not this, decade.  While popular culture has come to view the “nine” year as the last in a decade, it is not; that distinction actually falls to the “10” year.  This is because of the way the Gregorian calendar, which we use to this day, was set up: the first year was designated as the year 1 rather than the year zero.  Thus, the first decade was the year 1 through 10, and all decades (and centuries, and millenia)  have followed the example since.  The 20th century and the second millennium both came to a close on December 31, 2000, and the first decade of the 21st century will end on December 31, 2010.  Whether you loved it or hated it, you’re in for one more year of the decade!

Surprise! Snowstorm Slams Southwest, Slowdowns Suspected

by John Weckerle

The Great Hunter bags a rubber chicken in the snow.

Snow continued to descend throughout the night, with a few flakes still falling this morning at New Mexico Central headquarters.  Temperatures were in the low 20s, and accumulation – though difficult to ascertain due to the drifting – appeared to be between 8 inches and a foot.  Your editor spent about an hour last night shoveling two tire tracks down the driveway and coaxing the car up the driveway and into the garage.  It is unclear exactly when the car will be going back out.

Cameras on I-40 at Zamora Road in Tijeras and in Carnuel show relatively clear, but possibly slippery, conditions on the highway; however, local roads (not to mention driveways) are likely to be another matter.  Alerts are in effect along I-40 from at least Sedillo Hill through Carnuel.

Wild, Wicked Winter Weather Whiteness Worsens

by John Weckerle

A winter storm of somewhat unexpected intensity has descended upon the Estancia Valley and the West Mountains, forcing your editor to abandon his vehicle about 100 yards from New Mexico Central headquarters (thankfully, in the driveway).  Road conditions are bad and getting worse.  According to

Interstate 40 through the Canyon and especially Sedillo Hill are slushy to snow packed. NM 333, NM 14, NM 337 and NM217 are snow packed. Use caution and reduce your speed. Crews are working the area.

The cameras along 1-40 do not appear to be working any longer, and is ending sessions faster than Congress during an election season.  If you’re home, we suggest you stay there – and if you’re about to head for home, be extra careful.  Let’s hope this all clears up in time for us to see tomorrow’s New Year’s Eve blue moon – if not, we’ll have to wait another 19 years for a repeat.

Merry Christmas!

by John Weckerle

All of us at would like to take this opportunity to wish our readers a merry, safe, peaceful, and joyous Christmas.  Best Wishes!

Wolves Wend Way to Wildlife West

by John Weckerle

Yesterday saw the arrival of three very important personages at Albuquerque’s Double Eagle Airport aboard an aircraft provided by Lighthawk, a conservation organization of volunteer pilots providing support to environmental and ecological efforts.  Three Mexican grey wolves arrived from the National Zoo to begin the last leg of the trip to their new home – Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood, New Mexico.  The plane was scheduled to return east with a retired female wolf from the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility, bound for New York.

The arrival of the male and two females represents a substantial increase in Wildlife West’s participation in the wolf recovery effort, more than doubling the Park’s population of lobos.  The new arrivals will take up residence in new habitat space adjacent to the existing wolf enclosure.

The Park’s Christmas present comes with a price, however; food, veterinary care, and other expenses will require financial resources that are already strained.  Those wishing to help the Park and its participation in the wolf recovery program would do well to visit the Park’s web site and consider making a donation; any support would certainly be appreciated.

What Dreams May Come – Part Deux

by John Weckerle

On June 1 of this year, we reported that HGTV’s Dream Home would be built at the Campbell Ranch subdivision here in the East West Mountains.  Since then, however, problems with the project have cast a pall on what appeared at first to be good news.   As reported in a New Mexico Business Weekly article,  the home’s builder – Sonida Construction LLC – has filed a $310,000 suit against the developer, Campbell Corporation, and HGTV’s parent company.  According to the article, Sonita’s owner, Mark Roccoforte, is suing to obtain final payment for the project. As quoted in the article, Mr. Roccoforte states that he never received any complaints from Campbell, and only good reviews from HGTV – and that the only reason he was given for nonpayment was “risk management.”  Campbell Corporation CEO Robert Gately declined to discuss the problems in detail with the New Mexico Business Weekly. The article goes on to discuss similar problems that other providers clam to have had with Campbell Corporation.

We find it disappointing to see what should be a great piece of publicity for all involved parties tarnished by this kind of news.  It certainly can’t be to Campbell’s advantage to allow this to continue – the whole article seems to scream “caveat venditor,”  and to many people that says “caveat emptor” as well.  Here’s hoping that the issue will be settled quickly and to all parties’ satisfaction.

Fire In The Sky…Briefly

Sunrise Over The Estancia Valley

Sunrise Over The Estancia Valley

by John Weckerle

At about 5:24 this morning, there appeared in the eastern sky a meteor so large and bright that your editor was able to see it without corrective lenses – which is saying that it was really big, and really bright.  We’d be interested in knowing if anyone else witnessed the event.  About an hour later, we were treated to a lovely sunrise with a sliver of moon – and figured we’d share it with those who might have missed it.

Things will be quiet on the International Space Station sightings front for the rest of this month, with only one pass scheduled (December 23, 2009).  For more information, see the Moriarty schedule.

Public Service Announcement – Free Christmas Eve Dinner In Moriarty

by John Weckerle

The First Baptist Church and El Comedor Restaurant are joining forces to provide a free Christmas Eve dinner at El Comedor restaurant in Moriarty.  Tickets are available by reservation only, and must be picked up at the church office.  Two seatings will be offered at 4:30 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.  For more information, see the event flier.

Edgewood Library Conspiracy Exposed – Permit Required, Fines Levied

by John Weckerle

Our readers may recall that we researched issues raised by Chuck Ring in articles at (here, here, and here; and our article is here) regarding renovation at the Edgewood Library and the possibility that work was done without permits.  At issue, at least initially, was the fact that the building was “red-tagged” by a Construction Industries Division (CID) electrical inspector.  The situation remained unresolved at the time of our last examination, and the last of the articles seemed to suggest, in a sidelong manner, that was somehow remiss in its assessment of the situation.  With a month an a half now having passed, we decided to check on the status of the “controversy” to see what, if any, fallout had occurred.

First on our list of calls was Edgewood Town Administrator Karen Mahalick.  Ms. Mahalick stated that the Town had not paid any fines or permit fees; rather, she indicated, the general contractor for the project, Doyce Wilhite of Quality Home Construction, dealt directly with the CID on the matter.  Your editor then contacted Mr. Wilhite and discussed the situation at length.  Mr. Wilhite indicated that the CID had instructed him to file a copy of the electrical plan for the remodel, signed by an engineer.  Upon receipt of the plan, the CID determined that a Tenant Improvement Permit was, in fact, needed, primarily as a result of the addition of two outlets to the facility.  The CID also determined that the work was done in compliance with the applicable codes, and no rework or changes were required.  The CID did request (but did not require) that a panel box be moved.  The panel box was not part of the remodel and was in compliance with applicable codes at the time of installation, but codes have since changed.  Mr. Wilhite indicated that the building owner agreed to the request.  By agreement with the CID, the building owner will bring other sections of the building up to current code as remodeling is done for future tenants.  The CID did not require permits for, or take issue with, any other aspect of the renovation, including the replacement of the wall with posts referenced in’s third article on the issue.

With respect to that part of the remodeling, Mr. Wilhite indicated that the ceiling structure in question supports some lighting as well as two air transfer units, weighing a total of about 500 pounds.  He indicated that the posts and beams were designed essentially to the specifications for a load-bearing wall.  Mr. Wilhite noted that he uses the same software used by the CID to estimate the lumber needed for such a span, and that the CID did not take issue with or require a permit for that aspect of the renovation.

Mr. Wilhite indicated that a permit fee and associated penalty have been paid to the CID.  This included paying the permit fee and a penalty equal to that fee.  The total remitted to the CID was $36.  We are glad that the Town was not required to pay the fee and the fine, and hope that this will be a final resolution to “Electro-Librarygate.”

Christmas Cantada Coming Up In Mountainair

Checking in on our friends at Mountainair Announcements, we find that there will be a Christmas cantata, Morning Star, presented by the Mountainair Community Chorus at the Mountainair Baptist Church this Sunday, December 13, at 4 p.m.  For more information, see the full announcement.

Oh, The Weather Outside…

by John Weckerle

Last night brought us some fairly intense weather here at NM-Central headquarters, with times of snow, freezing rain, thunder and lightning, and high winds.  This morning seems dominated by the wind, although weather authorities warn of more potential precipitation before the system has passed.  Local TV stations indicate that the Estancia Valley, including Estancia itself, will likely bear the brunt of the storm in our area.  The northern part of the state has received substantial snowfall.  Here at NM-Central, we’ve received a few inches or so. reports that road conditions in the area are (at best) snow-packed and icy.  According to, Moriarty-Edgewood schools and Estancia schools are closed, and East Mountain High School and APS schools are on a two-hour delay.  We have not been able to find any information on Mountainair’s schools.   We recommend that our readers stay home if they can, and to those who can’t, please be extra cautious.

Public Service Announcement: KXNM-88.7 FM seeks donations

from the KNSM-88.7 Community Foundation:

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

The KXNM FM 88.7 Community Foundation has recently received a match donation of up to $50,000.00 from a generous Torrance County Family that realizes the value and potential that a community-based educational not for profit radio station has to offer to area residents, businesses, schools, civic and non-profit organizations, municipal and county governments.

If as a community we rise to the challenge and raise $50,000, we will have enough money to build the transmission tower.  It is the crucial and pivotal piece of infrastructure.  No gift is too large or too small; this is truly a grass roots effort.
If you are an individual, organization or business that is able to give $2,500 or more you are eligible for the advantages of our Radio Pioneer underwriting program. »» Public Service Announcement: KXNM-88.7 FM seeks donations