Archive for April, 2011

Public Service Announcement: Mountainair Drug Take-Back Day

by John Weckerle

Checking in once again with our friends at Mountainair Announcements, we find that there will be a drug take-back day tomorrow, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Mountainair and Moriarty.  This will provide an opportunity for people to drop off unused medications anonymously so that they can be disposed of properly.  Drop-offs are at May’s Pharmacy in Moriarty and the Salinas Pueblo Missions in Mountainair.  For more information, including drop-off addresses, see the Mountainair Announcements article.

Reminder: Fuelwood Permits This Tuesday Only

by John Weckerle

This is just a reminder that fuelwood permits for the Sandia Ranger District will be available next Tuesday ONLY.  For more information, see the original announcement.

Public Service Announcement – Mountainair Cancer Walk

by John Weckerle

Checking in on our friends at Mountainair Announcements, we find that there will be a Cancer Walk in Mountainair tomorrow, April 30.  Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. and is free; the walk starts at 9:30.  For more information, see the Mountainair Announcements Article.

Press Release: Open Burning Banned in Unincorporated Bernalillo County

April 26, 2011, Bernalillo County – Today the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a resolution banning and restricting smoking, campfires and open burning in the unincorporated areas of the county, outside the Albuquerque city limits.

“We encourage all residents and visitors to Bernalillo County to be aware of the fire danger we are experiencing this year. Report fires or suspicious activities in wildland areas to 9-1-1 before they are able to become large fires,” says Fire Chief John Garcia.

The resolution states that the commissioners recognize that severe drought conditions exist which affects the safety and welfare of Bernalillo County citizens and their property. The ban and restrictions are in effect throughout the following county fire districts:

  • Fire District 5: all of the wildland in the unincorporated areas east of Louisiana Boulevard to the west face of the Sandia Mountains and from San Antonio north to the Sandia Indian Reservation.
  • Fire Districts 6, 10, 11 and 13: East Mountain area, north, south, and east to the county line.
  • Fire Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9: portions of the unincorporated areas to include the RioGrande bosque and wildland areas extending 1000 feet from the outer edge of the bosque.

The bans and restrictions will be in effect for the next 180 days.

Press Release: Santa Fe County Assessor is Accepting Annual Property Valuation Freeze Applications

Santa Fe – April 26, 2011- Santa Fe County Assessor Domingo P. Martinez would like to remind residents that the Assessor’s Office is now accepting the annual valuation freeze application for property owners who qualify.  Certain Santa Fe County property owners who occupy single-family dwellings may be eligible for a freeze on their taxable value as determined by the Santa Fe County Assessor’s Office.  Freezing the property valuation will minimize future tax obligations for those who qualify.

The valuation freeze is available to property owners age 65 and older, those who are considered permanently disabled and whose total household modified gross income did not exceed $32,000 in 2010. All applicants must meet the income requirement.  To qualify for the valuation freeze, you must apply annually no later than 30 days after the official date of mailing of the Santa Fe County Assessor’s Official Notice of Value. This year the deadline is May 16, 2011.

  • Required supporting documentation when applying to qualify for the valuation freeze by age and income includes a completed application, proof of income (a copy of the property owner’s 2010 New Mexico income tax return and 2010 federal income tax return) and proof of age (a valid New Mexico driver’s license or birth certificate).
  • Required supporting documentation when applying to qualify due to disability and income include a completed application, proof of income (a copy of the property owner’s 2010 New Mexico income tax return and 2010 federal income tax return) and an award letter from either Social Security or Workers’ Compensation confirming the permanent disability.

“It is important that people who may qualify for this freeze are aware of it,” said County Assessor Domingo Martinez, “We encourage people to apply and take advantage of this benefit, especially in these tough economic times.”

Property Valuation Freeze applications and other exemption forms are available at the Santa Fe County Assessor’s Office at 102 Grant Ave., Santa Fe, NM 87501 or

For more information contact the Assessor’s Office, (505) 986-6300 or visit

Press Release: Bernalillo County Assessor’s Office to Mail Out 276,572 Notices of Value

from Francesca Stevens, Public Information Department Specialist, Bernalillo County

Bernalillo County Assessor Karen Montoya has announced that her office will mail out 276,572 Notices of Value on April 29, 2011. The Assessor’s Office will kick-off its annual protest period following the mail out date. The Assessor’s annual protest period will have appraisers available to meet with taxpayers throughout the month. Assessor Montoya urges taxpayers to review their Notices of Value and if there are any questions or concerns please bring them to our attention. Assessor Montoya would like to convey to the public that, “The Assessor’s Office is prepared and eager to work with taxpayers to address any issues they may have. Our general mission during this time is to help resolve any issues the public may have with their assessments.” Assessor Montoya goes on to express that, “We are here to serve the public and to facilitate the needs of all Bernalillo County property owners.”

For more information, contact Karen Montoya at (505) 222-3745

Public Service Announcement: Santa Fe County Open Space Public Meeting in Edgewood

by John Weckerle

Santa Fe County Open Space and Trails will hold a public meeting on May 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. to present the preliminary design for the 30 acres of County open space located adjacent to Wildlife West in Edgewood.  The meeting will be held at the Edgewood Community Center at 27 East Frontage Road.  For more information, contact Beth Mills of the Santa Fe County Open Space and Trails Program at (505) 992-9857 or by e-mail at

Chuckwagon Supper Schedule, Music Festival Acts Announced

by John Weckerle

Summer’s just around the corner – assuming that the corner doesn’t get blown away – and Wildlife West Nature Park has been busy getting ready for this summer season’s festivities.  Acts have been booked for this year’s Chuckwagon Supper series, which will feature regional bands Holy Water & Whiskey, the Sons of the Rio Grande, and George Bullfrog and the Turquoise Trailers.  The schedule, which begins with the season opener featuring Holy Water & Whiskey on June 11, can be found on the Park’s Chuckwagon Suppers page.

The 9th annual Wildlife West Music Festival will be held July 29-31, and promises to be yet another great event.  Headliners The Hot Club of Cowtown, “Zen Cowboy” Chuck Pyle, Finders and Youngberg, and Grayson will be joined by regional acts Holy Water & Whiskey, Railyard Reunion, Juniper Hill, the Squash Blossom Boys, the Adobe Brothers, Coyote Crossing, and Bootleg Prophets.  For descriptions of the headline acts and links to many of the bands’ web sites, see the Wildlife West Music Festival Page.


Grow Your Own – Continuing To Start

Leaves forming in crotch (above); this year's first tomatoes (below). The second tomato is below and to the left of the larger one.

by John Weckerle

A happy Easter and belated happy Earth Day to our readers!  We’re continuing to get ready for the planting season which, for some crops, will come any day now.  In addition to the tomatoes, lettuce, kale, chard, etc. that we bought at Parker’s a couple of weeks ago, and a red cabbage from Home Depot, we’ve sprouted zucchini, yellow squash, more lettuce, spinach, bush beans (Blue Lake),  kale (flowering and regular), chard, and snow peas.  We use the tray and lid from an old sprouting kit that came with little peat pellets for starting seeds, but now use 4-inch pots instead of the pellets, as this helps eliminate a step between sprouting and planting.  Some of our sprouted plants are already spending their days outside and being brought in at night.

The tomatoes we have so far are destined for life in pots, eventually on the deck.  We’ve picked up a couple of tips on tomatoes that we’ll pass along.  First, when planting: nip off the lowest couple of sets of leaves, and bury the plant up to the next set.  Roots will grow out of the buried stem and help establish a stronger and more extensive root system faster.  Second, while growing: nip off branches that start in crotches on the plant as soon as they form (see photo).  This helps the plant direct more of its energy toward fruit production rather than foliage growth.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that one of our tomato plants has already begun producing, with two tomatoes already started (see photo).  We hope this is a harbinger of good things to come!

Grow Your Own – Tea Time!

by John Weckerle

Here in the New Mexico Central region, our soils tend to need a little help when we call on them to help us produce food, whether for us or the wildlife.  The soils at headquarters tend to be relatively low in organic matter, as do the soils where many of our readers live.  This means adding various materials – peat moss, compost, manure, etc., depending on the use – to the soil for some of our plantings.  Now and again, especially for growing trees and veggies, we occasionally throw in another amendment – compost tea.

Compost tea is almost exactly what it sounds like – a brew of compost and water.  Unlike the tea we drink, though, it’s not boiled or heated; air is pumped through the mix to support rapid growth of microorganisms present in the compost.  Compost tea helps us add organic material to the soil and jump-start the microbial ecosystem in the soil, making it more fertile and helping to protect plants from disease.  Many compost tea enthusiasts tout its advantages, including healthier, faster-growing, more productive plants.  While many people make compost tea in large quantities, good results can be realized in smaller scales, right down to the five-gallon bucket range.  Making compost tea is fairly easy, with the bulk of the preparation taking about 10-15 minutes and the equipment costing very little.

Photo - Compost Tea Equipment

Equipment - Air pump, tubing, valve controller, diffusers, and weights


»» Grow Your Own – Tea Time!

Die, Pigs.

by John Weckerle

That’s right: die.

Fire Restrictions – This Means You, Most Likely

by John Weckerle

We have received word from Arlene Perea at the Mountainair Ranger District that the State Forester has imposed fire restrictions on non-municipal, non-federal, and non-tribal lands in most New Mexico counties, including those in the New Mexico Central area.  Smoking is prohibited outdoors in most cases, and fireworks (except where approved by local fire departments as part of a public exhibit) are prohibited in all wildland areas.  Campfires, for the most part, are also prohibited.  Open burning, with some exceptions, is also prohibited, as is flaring of gas, again with some exceptions.  For a complete list of restrictions and exceptions, see the State Forestry Announcement.

Please be careful out there; it’s dry, it’s windy, and there are areas that have some pretty serious fuel loads.  For more information on fire protection, see the New Mexico State Forestry Division web site, especially the Fire Management section.  Also have a look at the East Mountain Interagency Fire Protection Association web site, which has locally-oriented information and links to a variety of useful publications on fire preparedness and prevention.

Economic Development Association Gets New Web Site

Editor’s note/disclosure: The web sites referenced in this announcement were developed by your editor’s company, WeckTech, but the community web sites have since been discontinued.  While WeckTech was an investor-level member of the Estancia Basin Economic Development Association at the time this article was published, the firm has since terminated its membership in EVEDA.  

by John Weckerle

The Estancia Valley Economic Development Association (EVEDA) web site has been given a facelift, including a full redesign and short photo slideshows for each of the valley’s  communities.  Virtual tours have been given a new look and feel, as well.  Community web sites developed by WeckTech – Moriarty, New Mexico and the Surrounding Area and Edgewood, New Mexico and the Surrounding Area – have been updated to include the revised links to the EVEDA virtual tours.

Moriarty Mudd Mania

by John Weckerle

Moriarty’s First Annual Moriarty Mudd Mania will be held Saturday, June 4, 2011 at the Heritage Rodeo Arena. The event will include monster truck competitions and rides, jumpers, and kids’ foot mud races. Driver’s meeting begins at 10 a.m., and the race begins at 11 a.m. Registration is $65, and prizes for the various classes in the competitions range from $100 to $400. Admission: adults – $8, kids ages 5-6 – $4, under 5 – free. Bring a non-perishable food item (benefits the Bethel Community Storehouse) and receive a dollar off admission. Vendors are welcome. For more information, contact Larry Irvin at (505) 934-0425 (day) or (505) 832-4513 (evening), or Steve Hernandez at (505) 269-9400.

Political Humor – When Statistics Aren’t

by John Weckerle

As most of our readers know, and some may be tired of hearing, we have published a number of articles here that highlight our preference for fact as opposed to “truthiness.”  We’ve also taken some issue with the importance of off-the-cuff remarks made near open microphones or in surreptitiously recorded (and heavily edited) video.  Statements made intentionally on the floor of the Senate are another story.  As the weekend approaches, we think everybody could use a bit of humor, and we recently noted a fairly funny, if perhaps a bit pointed for some, pair of videos from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.