Archive for January, 2011

Public Service Announcement: Estancia Basin Resource Association Annual Meeting Tomorrow

The Estancia Basin Resource Association (EBRA) will hold its annual membership meeting Saturday, January 15th, beginning at 2 p.m. at the Moriarty Civic Center.  Refreshments will be provided, and door prizes will be available.  The schedule includes:

  • Chuck DuMars will speak on the subject of Water law concerning junior Water rights, irrigation wells, and domestic wells.
  • David Lightfoot will give a presentation on monitoring taking place in the Manzano foothills.
  • Find out about the results of the fires and thinning in the watershed.
  • Election of new directors.

For more information, contact Art Swenka at 384-0176, Ted Barela at 705-5049,  or Jace Alderson at 269-2658.

Authorized Vehicles Only

by John Weckerle

These photos depict what appears to be a growing problem not just in our area, but throughout many parts of the nation.  It seems that more and more frequently, parking spaces designated for use by those with handicap permits are occupied by vehicles that lack such authorization.  Such was the case at the Edgewood Subway sandwich shop last Tuesday, when two cars not displaying the required permit – and whose drivers certainly seemed able when they exited the restaurant – were parked in the only two parking spaces designated for use by handicapped occupants at the restaurant.  The situation seemed especially inappropriate given that there were plenty of spaces along the east side of the building, just a few feet further from the door than the designated spaces.

Let’s remember that those spaces are designated for handicapped use for a reason.  Some people need easy access to ramps, some are at risk if they try to navigate parking lots in wheelchairs, and some simply have difficulty walking any substantial distance for any of a variety of reasons.  Parking spaces designated for such people should be occupied only by those who have the required permits, and those should be displayed as required by law.  Here’s hoping we can all have a little compassion for those who need it, and that we’ll all be willing to take a few extra steps to help them out.

Susana Martinez: First Controversy Resolved

by John Weckerle

Newly sworn-in New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez is widely described as the State’s first female Governor and the nation’s first Hispanic female governor. But is she either?

A review of literature raises a potentially different perspective: the role of New Mexico Governor was held by Soledad Chávez Chacón for two weeks in 1924.  Ms. Chávez Chacón, New Mexico’s Secretary of State, served as Governor for two weeks while then-Governor James Hinkle attended the Democratic Convention.

For our party, we’re calling this one for Governor Martinez.  While Ms. Chávez Chacón occupied the office of the Governor and technically acted as such in the absence of Mr. Hinkle, she was there in an acting capacity, and the elected Governor returned and resumed his duties.  One might as well say that Alexander Haig was President of the United States because he was briefly in that role when an attempt was made on the life of President Ronald Reagan  (while Mr. Haig was subjected to a great deal of ridicule at the time, his statements to that effect were more or less correct given that the two people between him and the Presidency had not resigned their positions as required to become Acting President).

That having been said, we congratulate Ms. Martinez on gaining the distinction of being New Mexico’s first female Governor and the first Hispanic female governor in the history of the United States.

Tea Party, Or Not Tea Party: That Is The Question

by John Weckerle

The East Mountain Tea Party  has a web site and an anonymous internet spokesperson – a shadowy figure known as “teapartynm.”  It holds rallies and meetings, and stages protests.  It writes letters to elected officials, and conducts candidate forums.  It lobbies.  It has ties to a local religious organization that repudiates Islam (see our previous article, East Mountain Tea Party Officials and Islam) and believes that the United States should declare war on Russia and China.  But does the East Mountain Tea Party actually exist?

Our research tends to suggest that it does not, at least in any official sense.  We took some time to search the State of New Mexico corporations database, the database of nonprofit organizations at, and the IRS database of tax-exempt organizations for the East Mountain Tea Party – and found no reference to the group.  We find this puzzling, as the organization seems to fit nicely into the “527” category and actively solicits donations on its web site.   This raises some questions as to whether the receipt of the donations is being accomplished in compliance with State and Federal tax laws.  This an issue that has haunted several organizations in our area, including the Edgewood and Moriarty Chambers of Commerce, and those providing donations to the East Mountain Tea Party should consider this along with other factors in making decisions regarding donations.

Press Release: Capulin Snow Play Area New Winter Hours

Editor’s note: We’ve received the following press release from Karen Takai at the USFWS Sandia Ranger District.



Tijeras, NM,  January 3, 2011

Starting January 3, 2011

Capulin Snow Play Area will be open for Friday, Saturday and Sundays Only

Hours of operation 9:30am to 3:30pm

Use of the area when closed will result in a fine ( see below)

Inclement weather or lack of snow may result in temporary closure

Please note:  Sliding, sledding and tubing are PROHIBITED at Tree Springs, 10K and “Pit” areas

The Capulin Snow Play area is located approximately 8 miles up the Sandia Crest National Scenic Byway (Highway 536). A new Order # prohibits the use of the area when it is closed. Any violation of this prohibition is a punishable as a misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $5,000.00 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations or by imprisonment for not more than 6 months or both.

»» Press Release: Capulin Snow Play Area New Winter Hours

Hazardous Conditions At Edgewood Post Office

by John Weckerle Today’s photos were taken yesterday at the Edgewood post office, four days after the storm that hit last week.  At the time the photos were taken, the sidewalk along the north side of the building had not been cleared of snow, and part of the parking lot remained a sheet of ice. We understand that the past weekend was a holiday weekend, that the Edgewood Post Office has been without a postmaster since July, and that the Post Office is looking to save money where it can.  However, this has been a problem at the Edgewood Post Office for years, and it’s about time for it to be resolved.  The USPS has an obligation to protect its patrons from harm while they are on its property, and the conditions just feet from the door are hazardous.  A word to the wise, USPS: sooner or later somebody is going to take a fall, and even a minor injury may cost you more than a whole season’s snow removal services.

An Unusual Occurrence…

by John Weckerle

As we drove east along 1-40 returning from Albuquerque at about 8:40 this morning, we were treated to an unusual sight: a balloon drifting along north of the highway.  We first noticed it from the Tijeras area, and checked periodically as we proceeded.  We found ourselves getting closer and closer, and sure enough – the balloon arrived at New Mexico Central headquarters exactly as we did, flying along the ridge just a couple of hundred yards away and continuing east to points unknown.  Balloon overflights are a rare occurrence in our neck of the woods, so we figured we might as well share the spectacle with our readers.

Pull It Together, Bernco.

by John Weckerle

Last Thursday brought us some snow and the current sub-Arctic temperatures we’re experiencing.  Today brought us a sight that was not, unfortunately, entirely a surprise – formerly packed snow that had turned to ice sheeting substantial parts of Mountain Valley Road, especially in the northbound lane, three days after the storm.  There was no evidence that the road had ever been sanded.  Mountain Valley Road is the only direct route from Route 66/NM 333 between Tijeras and Edgewood, and leaving it icy, holiday weekend or not, represents a danger to those who travel it.  Some of the other roads for which the County is responsible were in similarly bad condition.  We’d like to remind Bernalillo County’s road folks that the County’s eastern Boundary is not NM 14 or NM 337.  Neither is waiting for nature to take its course a valid road maintenance strategy.

Happy New Year

by John Weckerle

We wish all our readers a happy, healthy, prosperous, and joy-filled year, all 365 days of it.  Happy New Year!