Archive for May, 2010

Grow Your Own – The Time Of The Season

by John Weckerle

Spring was a tough proposition here in Central New Mexico, with few good weekends for planting.  Wind, cold, even snow in May made for difficult conditions for getting started.  Last weekend was simply too windy for putting in new plants, but it was not too windy for a trip to Parker’s Farm Greenhouse in Edgewood (at the east end of Church Street), where we picked up some lettuce, straight neck yellow squash, zucchini, eggplants, green bell peppers, and various ornamentals (for the pots on the deck).  These went in this week, along with the kale, chard, and three varieties of string beans we had already started.  Still to be planted are tomatoes (Martian Giant), snow peas, and butternut squash.  We think we’re giving the cruciferous (cabbage family) vegetables a break this year, based on previous years’ yields and some issues with aphids.

Bed 4 was, alas, not to be this year.  Work pressures and other household efforts have taken up the time to prepare it, although there’s still a chance that we might pull something together in time for winter vegetables.  We are considering a larger bed, combining aspects of our raised beds and traditional double-dug gardens, with the thought that some things – tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers, for example – might benefit from a greater rooting depth than our current strategy provides.

Wind Technology Training Coming To Moriarty

by John Weckerle

Residents of the Estancia Valley and the surrounding area will soon have the opportunity to receive specialized training in the area of wind energy technology, according to a recent press release issued by Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari.

The program comes as a cooperative effort between Mesalands, the Estancia Valley Economic Development Association, the City of Moriarty, and the New Mexico Workforce Connection of Central New Mexico.  According to North American Wind Research and Training Center Director Jim Morgan “This pilot project provides the essential technical courses needed to assist students in obtaining a wind industry job and in turn supply area wind farms with wind energy technicians that will already have basic knowledge of the industry.”  Courses will cover safety issues, and will include subjects such as basic electricity, mechanics, hydraulics, and turbine safety.  Classes for the 8-week training program will be held in Moriarty, and some training will take place at the NAWRTC, including climbing the college’s 1.5 megawatt wind turbine.  Students who successfully complete the program will receive an Occupational Certificate in Basic Wind Energy Technology.

Those interested in applying should contact the New Mexico Workforce Connection of Central New Mexico at 832-6774.

According to the Mesalands wind energy technology program web site, the college also offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Wind Energy Technology, as well as customized training programs.  Completion of the NAWRTC facility is scheduled for September 2010, and Mesalands has already installed a 1.5 MW General Electric wind turbine.

We’re Back…

by John Weckerle

Our recent hiatus has perhaps been our longest on record.  Your editor has been occupied with a maelstrom of activities, most of which has been very positive.

Here’s one thing that might be positive for one of our communities: automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for the Edgewood Police Department, and you can help.  Pepsi is having a contest which might bring the life-saving devices to Edgewood.  For more information, see the article.  Voting is still open!

Is The Stimulus Package Working?

by John Weckerle

It was with some interest that we read this Wednesday’s article on at regarding an announcement by Governor Bill Richardson that Federal recovery funds had created 3,000 jobs in New Mexico, 2271 of which were “public sector jobs” and 738 were “private sector.” Ignoring the “missing man” there, the complaint is that these public sector jobs will be a tax burden upon the citizens of New Mexico.

We haven’t seen the press release, and haven’t followed through on each and every job category to see what individual jobs have been “created,” so we don’t know what the nature of the “public sector jobs” may be.  However, we should not that “public sector jobs” is a fairly vague expression.  If we’re talking about important jobs that we used to be able to afford and will be able to afford again when the economy picks up and tax revenues increase, that’s different from putting people in make-work positions who will be either a burden or jettisoned after whatever recovery is going to occur comes through. »» Is The Stimulus Package Working?

Consider Carefully…Are You Ready For The East Mountain Fire Season?

by Karen Takei, Fire Information and Public Affairs, Sandia Ranger District

For the group that have taken our East Mountain Interagency Fire Protection Association classes  “fire indices” (measurement of fire potential) are starting to bump up due to drying winds and the Southwest is starting to see some fire activity.  Hopefully you have worked on getting rid of winter slash that is around your property.

  • Cut  and remove grasses around your homes.
  • Remove pine needles from gutters.
  • Campfires Dead Out.
  • Cigarettes Extinguished.
  • Fireplace ash drenched with water and let stand for weeks.
  • Remove wood from around your home.
  • Careful welding.. consider having a fire extinguisher with you.
  • Do not park on tall weeds.
  • Limb your trees getting rid of ladder fuels.

Call for information to reduce fire hazards or go to

If we are in red flag warning we recommend the following:  No open flame (welding, campfires, smoking etc. ) outside till the red flag order is rescinded.

Consider carefully…….. are you ready for East Mountain Fire Season? If not get ready…

Edgewood Considers Budget, But Where’s The Music?

by John Weckerle

Tomorrow night, the Edgewood Town Council will review the proposed budget for FY 2010 to 2011.  In some ways, it is hard to understand just exactly what they will be considering.  The budget provided on the Town web site is convoluted and relatively uninformative and contains some obvious errors, which leads one to believe that there are probably less obvious errors, as well. The budget, as presented, contains numerous references to budget items that are not defined or explained. Throughout the spreadsheet provided the next fiscal year is identified as “-2012 011.” The document is provided in PDF format only; the original Excel spreadsheet is not provided, which makes it difficult to check the math or troubleshoot the equations used to calculate the figures presented.

We have been hearing word “on the street” of a projected 2% revenue decline.  The budget as presented does not support such a decline; according to the “Budgeted Revenues” on the third page, municipal taxes and “general” are each slated to increase 4%, and municipal gas taxes are projected to rise by 2%.  Declines in revenue from “SFC Fire Protection” and “Public Safety” are projected at 4% and 8%, respectively.  The document incorrectly calculates the drop in “Parks and Recreation” revenues from $42,782 to $13,567 as a 215% decrease; the correct figure is 68%. The pie graph provided above the chart is “Consolidated Revenues” – for which fiscal year, it is anybody’s guess. Expenditure categories do not line up particularly well with revenue categories, making it difficult to reconcile what is going in with what is going out, and the spreadsheet is little help in that regard. »» Edgewood Considers Budget, But Where’s The Music?

USDA Announces Energy Grants For Agriculture, Rural Small Businesses

by John Weckerle

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a grant announcement for that may be of interest to some of our readers: Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements, targeted at agricultural producers (including farmers and ranchers who gain 50 percent or more of their gross income from agricultural operations)  and rural small businesses.  Rural electric cooperatives may also be eligible to apply.  Grants are awarded competitively and may provide up to 25% of total project costs, with a $500,000 limit on renewable energy systems and $250,000 for energy improvments (the “floor” is $2,500 for renewable energy systems and $1,500 for energy efficiency improvements).  The total estimated program funding is $51.5 million, and at least 20% of the grants will be for less than $20,000.  The closing date for applications is June 30, 2010.  For more information, see the announcement.

Mud Season, Fire Season, Mud Season, Silly Season…

by John Weckerle

With the weekend’s odd weather now behind us, the mud is starting to dry up a little here at New Mexico Central.   However, the warm spring sun shining on our environs probably won’t do much to help us avoid mud of an entirely different nature.  That’s right: with the Republican primary looming, TV campaign advertisement season has begun, if a little anemically.

We here at New Mexico Central don’t have an unlimited amount of time to sit in front of the television waiting for campaign advertisements, and perhaps that’s why we’ve seen relatively few so far.  Thus far, we’ve noted two of Republican gubernatorial candidate Allen Weh’s commercials – one focusing on his military service, and another focusing on Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish’s supposed use of stimulus funds to fly the State jet to a parade.  However, reports that this allegation is not true; the flight was paid for by the state’s general fund.  In the same ad, Mr. Weh touts his use of a truck to get around.  This article claims to show a picture of Mr. Weh’s truck parked in a red zone, purportedly parked there by Mr. Weh just before he got out and walked into a fundraiser with former Bush advisor Karl Rove. We have to wonder, however, whether Mr. Weh would really use his truck to get around if elected, given that his campaign is currently making its way around the state in the “Weh Forward Bus.” We have no information regarding whether the bus has been parking where it’s supposed to. »» Mud Season, Fire Season, Mud Season, Silly Season…

If April Showers Bring May Flowers, What Do May Snow Flurries Bring?

by John Weckerle

Snow In May in New Mexico

Snow was heavy today at times, with flakes occasionally nearly an inch across.

Cabin fever.

Well, it’s winter again here at New Mexico Central headquarters – at least for today.  It has been a day of on-and-off snow flurries, with the high so far having been about 41 degrees Fahrenheit.  There has actually been enough precipitation to create mud, and at the rate things are going, it looks as if even the trees will be getting a drink from this bit of unusual weather. Unfortunately, gardening activities planned for today will be postponed until further notice.  »» If April Showers Bring May Flowers, What Do May Snow Flurries Bring?