Archive for October, 2011

An Ornithological Curiosity

by John Weckerle

Dozens of doves!

It’s been an interesting autumn bird-wise this year, primarily due to an unanticipated and unexplained shift in the bird population.  In all our previous years at this location, Fall has brought numerous robins with a healthy mix of flickers and other migrants to our neighborhood.  At any given time, the number of white-winged doves topped out at three or four.  For several weeks this year, however, we were visited by much greater numbers of doves, but have no idea why. These doves are clearly travelling together as a flock; they do not break up and fly off into pairs or smaller groups.  We counted at least fifty of them in the photo above, taken October 11, 2011.

PSA: Vista Grande Community Center and East Mountain High School Weight Room Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

by Larry Gallegos, Bernalillo County Public Information Department

WHO:        Commissioner Wayne Johnson and the Bernalillo County Parks and Recreation Department

WHEN:      Sunday, Oct. 30, 1:00 p.m.

WHERE:   Vista Grande Community Center, #15 La Madera Road, Sandia Park

The 5000 square foot facility contains a large assortment of weight machines, free weights, dumbbells, barbells and kettle bells.

There are also elliptical machines, treadmills, upright bikes and recumbent bikes.

This is the second Phase of the Fisher Smith Gymnasium – a joint partnership of Bernalillo County and the East Mountain High School. Students from East Mountain High will use these facilities as part of their physical education classes and sports programs.

Total construction cost: $841,000.

Total exercise equipment cost:  $204,856.

Funding sources came from State Legislative Funds, General Obligation Bonds (Parks & Recreation) and Impact Fees.

Larry Gallegos
Public Information Specialist-Bernalillo County Public Information
Bernalillo County Fire Dept., Animal Care Services, Youth Services Center, Emergency Communications
Office: (505) 468-1273 Cell: (505) 228-6668
Bernalillo County Fire Department
6840 2nd St., NW, 3rd Floor, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87107

PSA: Mountainair Ranger District Offering Fuelwood Permits

by Arlene Perea, U.S. Forest Service Mountainair Ranger District

Mountainair, NM – October 26, 2011:  The Mountainair Ranger District will resume selling personal fuelwood permits beginning on Monday, October 31, 2011 at 8am.  Permits will be a maximum/minimum of 4 cords for $20 and will be sold on a first come first serve basis.  Citizens who bought permits during our first round of fuelwood sales will not be eligible to buy permits for the first 3 days as the demand for first time purchasers is too high.  Permits will only be sold at the Mountainair Ranger District.  A photo ID will be necessary and the public will not be allowed to buy permits for others.  The permits will be for dead/down Ponderosa Pine within the Thunderbird Ecosystem Management Area.

If you have questions regarding personal fuelwood or any other Mountainair Ranger District questions please call 505-847-2990 or email D’Ana Riley at  You may also check the website at

PSA: Junge Prescribed Burn Planned for Early November

by Adrian Padilla, U.S. Forest Service Mountainair Ranger District

Mountainair, NM – October 26, 2011:  Mountainair Ranger District Fire Officials are planning on continuing there Prescribed burn program. Fire Officials have been monitoring weather conditions and fuel moisture conditions. With the current moisture levels they plan to complete the Jungle Prescribed Burn in the Manzano Mountains within the next few weeks, possibly as early as next week.

The burn will be on National Forest lands located East of Forest Road #422, North of Forest Road #275 and west of the Forest Road #522.  District Fire personnel are watching weather patterns closely and hope to accomplish burning approximately 186 acres sometime during the next week to two weeks.  The purpose of the burn is to improve watershed and wildlife biodiversity as well as to reduce current fuel loadings and lessen the threat of wildfire to private property.  The burn will be conducted only if fire personnel are available and weather patterns are conducive to burning.

If you have questions regarding the planned prescribed burn or any other Mountainair Ranger District questions, please call 505-847-2990 or email Adrian Padilla at or Arlene Perea at

PSA: Mountainair Community Garden Clean-Up and Planning Day

by John Weckerle

Checking in again on our friends at Mountainair Announcements, we find that there will be a clean-up and planning event for the Mountainair Community Garden on Saturday, October 29 beginning at 10:00 a.m.  For more information, see the Mountainair Announcements article and, while you’re at it, check out the Mountainair Farm & Garden Market Facebook page.

PSA: Mountainair Elementary School Fall Carnival

by John Weckerle

Checking in on our friends at Mountainair Announcements, we find that the Mountainair Elementary School will hold its Fall Carnival today, Friday October 28, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.  The carnival supports school activities and includes games, bingo, and a cakewalk.  The organizers are requesting donations of baked goods and bingo prizes.  For more information, see the Mountainair Announcements article.

In Hot Water Again…

by John Weckerle

Your editor has again apparently stepped on some toes – specifically, those of the folks over at the Sandia Tea Party web site.  This should not be surprising to our readers; we have on multiple occasions taken issue with the postings there.

On October 17, Sandia Tea Party internet spokesman and Edgewood Town Council member Chuck Ring posted a cartoon depicting a balloon in the shape of U.S. President Barak Obama’s head, captioned “Running Low on Fuel?”  In the basket below the balloon can be seen a beleaguered donkey, and the basket bears the words “White Guilt.” Now, we admit that we don’t usually make comments directly on the Sandia Tea Party web site, preferring to conduct our reviews and analysis in our own space.  However, we did think it appropriate in this case to get some more information, given the lack of any commentary other than the cartoon in the post, before publicly making any conclusions.  Your editor posted the following, rather direct comment:

Would you care to elaborate on the meaning of this image and how it relates to the political and/or socioeconomic issues that face the nation at this time? Would you also care to enlighten the readership with regard to how this image communicates the official position of the Sandia Tea Party?

At first glance, and several subsequent looks, this post would appear to suggest that the official position of the STP is that the President was elected (and remains so) because he is of African American descent (“white guilt”) and/or has received support from the electorate based on this premise. If this is the official position of the STP, please provide credible references to support the position.

After accusing your editor of attempting to paint him as a racist (and later accusing me an “attempt to steer any reader to your interpretation of the cartoon”), Mr. Ring responds to the initial question somewhat in the affirmative, suggesting that “some” voters likely supported Mr. Obama to expiate the “sins of their fathers.”  No real evidence is provided to support the claim – but to be fair, it would be wrong for us to dispute that “some” may have done so, because “some” probably did.  We do, however, question whether this was a significant influence on the results on the election, and welcome the Sandia Tea Party to provide any credible (that is, verifiable) evidence that this was a major factor. We will also say that, after kicking the idea around New Mexico Central headquarters, we did not settle upon “racist” as describing the cartoon, although “racially charged” and “racially insensitive” did gain a little traction before we gave up on the exercise altogether.

Mr. Ring then expresses offense at the question and engages in an attempt to put your editor in his place, whatever it is that he believes that place to be. This is not the first such attempt, and it is likely to be about as successful as previous efforts.  Despite the explicit statement that no criticism or judgmental language had been offered, Mr. Ring states that this must have been the case because “your IQ is probably in the stratosphere as to the number and I know you have common-sense.”  I have, in fact, been wondering what happened to my IQ, and I do appreciate the help in trying to find the darned thing and put it to use, but the fact that I apparently left it on a plane at some point hardly seems good reason to call me a liar.  An inference is made to the cleaning of diapers on the blog.  I now have my own scatological Sandia Tea Party web site reference – and that without expressing a single opinion!

Mr. Ring denies being the Sandia Tea Party’s spokesman, and I challenge that point.  Mr. Ring responds: “Since I have corrected your opinion, I believe we can lay it to rest.”

Let us address the latter point first – Mr. Ring has repeated his denial of our characterization of him as the Sandia Tea Party’s spokesman, but he has corrected nothing.  For the reasons given in the comments, we consider him the one of the organization’s spokespeople, and denying that until the cows come home will probably not change our position in that regard – the Sandia Tea Party site is not his personal blog (he also has one of those), and what he posts there reflects directly upon the organization.  With respect to the “offense” taken, we see this as an attempt to deflect attention away from the issue originally raised, and put it into the same category of the “I know you are but what am I” strategy to which we have declined to respond in the past.

We have a little insight for the would-be non-spokesman: These tactics do little to enhance the credibility of your positions or decrease that of those who question them.  They may play well to a limited audience – and if that’s all that’s intended, that’s fine – but the world at large likely assigns them very little weight in the debate.