Archive for December, 2011

We Missed The Boat On The Snow (Play)

Editor’s note: In the holiday hustle and bustle, we neglected to post the holiday hours for the Capulin Snow Play Area, which will be open today and tomorrow from noon to 3:30 p.m.  Note that the Saturday AND Sunday openings represent an expansion of hours compared to the pre-holiday season “Saturdays only” schedule.

by Karen Takai, USFWS Sandia Ranger District Information Officer

Tijeras, NM – December 16, 2011.  The Sandia Ranger District Capulin Snow Play Area will be open for the following times during the Holiday Season, weather and conditions permitting from 12 noon to 3:30 p.m.

  • December  17, 18
  • December  22, 23, 24
  • December  29, 30, 31

Starting January 7, 2012, the area will be open from noon to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The area will stay open until the area closes for the season in March when the snow melts.

“We’re really pleased that we’ve been able to expand the hours so people can come out and enjoy winter activities on the Sandia Ranger District,” said District Ranger Cid Morgan. In addition to the Capulin Snow Play Area, we have a variety of other winter activities on the District including snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails,” she added. Because conditions on the mountain changes, there may be days that the area will closed because of bad weather or poor snow conditions.

 Tips for Enjoying the Snow Play Area

  • Visitors need to bring their own inner tubes or soft sliding devices that have no metal or wood components.
  • We want you to be safe while you’re at the Capulin Snow Play Area. The following are activities are not allowed. Please do not:
    • Use skis, sleds (with wood, metal or other hard materials) or snowboards
    • Be careless, reckless sliding , creating jumps or altering any sliding area
    • Have more than 2 persons per sliding device or linking sliding devices
    • Bring or drink any alcoholic beverages to the area
    • Bring any glass or metal containers to the area


For additional information contact the Sandia Ranger District at 505-281-3304

Let It… Well, You Know…

by John Weckerle

Yesterday’s “this shouldn’t be as bad as the last one” storm actually dropped more snow than the previous meteorological event.  With the drifting and the prior accumulation, it’s not easy to get a handle on the amount bestowed upon us this time around, but it was certainly more than a foot.  Your editor actually went in to mid-thigh in a spot or two while tromping around the property looking for things to photograph.  Others took a more scientific approach to measuring the snow depth…

Senior Meteorological Correspondent Wilson employs his signature high-tech snow depth measurement methodology.

Here are a few more photos taken this afternoon; once again, nature has provided us with great material!


Baby, It’s Cold Outside…

by John Weckerle

Update 12/23/11 – In this article, we erroneously referred to our tire chains as Euro-Chains.  This is apparently a colloquialism; they are in fact Alpine Premier chains made by Laclede Chain Manufacturing.

The denizens of New Mexico Central headquarters wish it to be know that we are collectively fed up with tropical weather.  It’s warm, and elicits a response of laziness – and perhaps most significantly, it is decidedly elsewhere.

Now into our fourth major, pre-Christmas winter storm, we have a few things to bring forward.  First, a few images depicting the aftermath of Storm #3…

One of these made the evening news on KOAT yesterday.  Who knows what images tomorrow may bring?

Second, after having been stuck in snow and ice no less than three times so far this year, we finally took some friends’ advice and purchased a set of Euro-Chains yesterday in preparation for today’s storm.  Predictably, your editor got stuck driving his Hyundai Sonata up the usual hill, at the usual spot.  After popping the chains on – perhaps a couple of minutes or so for each of two wheels – the previously snow-challenged vehicle crunched its way right on up the hill, through the probably-8-inch-drifts on the road, and safely into the garage.  Cedar Crest Tire carries the chains, and we gave them a call to let them know that we heartily recommend them – and now you know, too.

Third, we received an e-mail from Bernalillo County announcing that they were out salting the roads in advance of the storm.  We saw no evidence of any such activity on either Mountain Valley Road or County Line Road, and neither did we observe any police, fire, or other emergency response assets during our drive along the thoroughfare at about 5:30 p.m. today.  Mountain Valley Road is of greater importance, given the preponderance of north-facing slopes and the fact that it is the only through road from Route 66 to Frost Road between Tijeras and Edgewood.  Then again, the worst of the storm is still just ahead of us and it’s not clear that a little salt in advance would help these roads given the nature of the meteorological event in question – that having been said, it’s probably all the more important that the roads be patrolled to ensure that assistance is rendered to any stranded motorists.  We’ll drop a line to State Representative and local road condition hawk Jim Smith, who has been instrumental in working with Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson to remedy the relatively frequent oversights associated with keeping Mountain Valley Road clear. To our readers, we wish a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Blessed Yule, and wonderful holidays to any who we may have forgotten to mention.

Whatever Happened To New Mexico Central?

by John Weckerle

Well, we’re not sure.

It’s been well over a month since our last article, during which we’ve encountered some life changes that should prove to be both significant and positive – but which have taken away from the time we’ve had to put into New Mexico Central.  During this hiatus, we’ve been reflecting on the original purpose of the site and how it’s evolved.  The original intent was to provide a centralized venue in which local folks without access to web authoring capabilities could provide news and express reasonably-supported commentary on Estancia Valley and East Mountain issues.  People seemed very enthusiastic about the concept initially, but except for a very small number of notable exceptions, that enthusiasm did not extend to actually providing articles – especially after we decided that we were not interested in having become a soapbox for neoconservative politics.  As venues such as Facebook surged, and blog hosting became readily available, the likelihood of receiving contributions appeared to diminish, and for some time now we have relied heavily on a) press releases, b) original articles written primarily by one person, and c) taking the local Tea Party chapters to task for consistently publishing  false information and a certain tendency toward intolerance.

Let’s take a look at some of this.  From a purely selfish standpoint, cutting and pasting press releases gets tedious – and since we don’t have time to post every single day and the releases tend to come out a relatively short time before the events in question, they’re often out of date by the time we get to them.  Writing original articles can be fun for us and informative for the reader, but doing it right and properly researching the topics in question represents a time-consuming effort that is difficult to perform frequently when one is employed full-time.  When the person doing the writing also spends a lot of time researching and writing at work, it’s that much tougher to crank the articles out on a regular basis. Perhaps most importantly, the original concept was not for one person to put out articles for others to read, and even the comments have been fewer than we expected.

Rapping the Tea Party’s knuckles (and those of their sources) occasionally has probably been worth doing and, at least to some, worth reading.  However, we have to think that it’s getting tedious to read because it’s getting tedious to write.  There is a limit to the number of times one needs to point out that this blog or that blithely publishes false or misleading information, or that it makes what appear to be prejudiced statements, before readers have enough information to come to their own conclusions on whether the progenitors of said content retain any credibility, moral standing or, for that matter, sanity.  We’re not saying that we’re going to leave them alone forever – these are, after all, our most commented-on articles – but to be blunt what we see when we check in on their web sites is essentially “more of the same” and there seems limited value in continuing to comment, frequently, on the same thing over and over.  It’s been well over a month since our last Tea Party article, and even though our reaction to the content on their sites is the same, we find ourselves disinclined to start tapping the keys just yet.

We’re going to continue the reflection, and with that in mind, we could use a little input from our readers.  What, in the past, have you most enjoyed?  On what types of topics would you be most inclined to comment?  Is there something you’d like to see more of, or something new you’d like to see added?  Let us know, and we’ll keep your thoughts in mind as we decide what path to take.