Archive for January, 2012

East Mountain Transfer Station To Accept E-Waste

by John Weckerle

We have received a press release from Cathy Lopez at the Bernalillo County Public Information Department that the East Mountain Transfer Station is now accepting e-waste for recycling.  The “E” in “e-waste” stands for electronics.  Such wastes can contain a variety of metals, some harmful and some valuable, and recycling is a great way to avoid potential problems and reapply useful resources.  As an added benefit, we can all now recycle electronic devices – computers, cell phones, gaming systems, etc. – without driving into Albuquerque.

We provide directions correcting those issued by Bernalillo County, which appear to assume that only residents living west of the Zuzax exit dispose of such materials (grin):

  • From the Zuzax exit, regardless of which direction from which you arrive, go approximately 2 miles west on Old Route 66 (also known as NM 333).
  • From the NM-14 and Old Route 66 (also known as NM 333), go approximately 2.25 miles east on Route 66.

The press release indicates that the transfer station is open seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.  Hats off to Bernalillo County for providing this service!



The State Of The… Er…

by John Weckerle


Specifically, we refer to state of the local Interstate (and more specifically, I-40 in the Sedillo Hill area) and associated roads  yesterday morning.  Your editor awoke early, looked out the window and noted that no lights could be seen to the east (indicating heavy snow), looked at the few inches on the ground, and decided to make a run for it.  This would have been a bad move absent the travel cup of coffee that made the run along yours truly.  The “local” roads were passable primarily because few others had been on them.  Unfortunately, the climate conspired to create an impromtu parking lot very early this morning on Route 66 just west of Mountain Valley Road. After waiting patiently and then noting the relatively free flow of traffic on I-40, it seemed logical to drive east to Edgewood and gain entrance to the highway there.  Traffic moved along very well until just after the Sedillo exit, at which point everyone’s automobiles decided that their riders could use a few (okay, a lot of) minutes to reflect upon their lives.

By the time we got through the congestion, there was no indication as to what the nature of the pause might have been.  However, we would like to suggest to our readers that it would be best to be vigilant as regards our speeds during inclement weather. It’s better to get there late than never…

Grow Your Own: Like The Phoenix, Sort Of…

by Senior Structural Engineering Correspondent Wilson

Well, the Pack Leader, Boss Lady and I were noodling around in the woods the other day and wandered past the big square thing with the pipes over it.  It had been squashed pretty much flat to the ground – I’m not sure why – but we were all surprised to see that it had partially popped back up! The Pack Leader says this means he might be able to reinforce it.  He grows stuff that he, the Boss Lady, and Grandma eat, although I’m not sure why he bothers – the only things worth eating in there were the round things at the far end.  I took a look over the situation and had a few ideas.

Senior Structural Engineering Correspondent Wilson examines the storm damage at Bed 5.

First: Let’s get those ends built right.  They’re too wimpy, and nothing should stick up past the pipes.  Second, it would be a good idea to put in some support to hold up the center hoops; that might keep the whole thing from getting mashed.  Third, let’s trim the door down and put either chicken wire or bird mesh on it; the screen didn’t even make it through the first season.  Fourth, let’s move the ends of the pipes to the inside of the box; that’ll be a lot of work but would make life easier when it’s time to put on or take off the plastic sheeting.

And finally, let’s plant some chickens or meatballs or something in there; otherwise, I think the whole enterprise is just stupid.

Racist, Indeed?

by John Weckerle

We find ourselves today shaking our heads over another Sandia Tea Party article titled “Racist Indeed,” posted January 19.  In the article, Edgewood Town Councilor and official Sandia Tea Party internet spokesman Chuck Ring states that the word “racist” “has lost its meaning except as a buzzword which progressives and other detractors of conservatism love to throw to see if it sticks to the wall like so much scat.” Mr. Ring provides two links to the same “Real Clear Politics” article in which former Bush press secretary Ari Fleisher and Democratic strategist/Obama 2012 pollster appear on CNN with Anderson Cooper.  In the video, Mr. Belcher states:

“First of all, do you think you’re going to invite me on the show and then I’m not going to talk about the ridiculousness of that statement? Two things. One is a great way to sort of get people on your side and win voters is to attack their intelligence. So great job there. Really sensible, Herman Cain.

The second part here is, it’s really a teachable moment. You know, if I came on your show, Anderson, and I said, all Jewish people are brainwashed, I probably wouldn’t be invited back to CNN and I assure you the condemnation would be swift and it’d be powerful and be strong. What Herman Cain said was a racist, bigoted statement and he should be treated like a racist and bigoted person who makes those racist and bigoted statements.”

He goes on to say:

»» Racist, Indeed?

Keeping Warm Is A Bit Easier…

by John Weckerle

We find ourselves basking in the glow of a new (to us) brand of pellets in the stove this year.  Tiny T’embers premium pellets are a product of Wood You Recycle (aka Mount Taylor Manufacturing of Albuquerque), the makers of the already-known Calientitos super-premium pellets.  Having burnt a number of bags, we find ourselves very happy to have discovered them.  Without any real experimentation to make us sure, we do think we’re getting a little more bang for our bags – and for our buck, as these have been the lowest-priced pellets we’ve seen this year ($3.72 per bag at the Eubank Costco; they’re in the back, just around the corner behind the vegetable cooler).  While we haven’t done measurements, there seems to be substantially less ash per bag as well.

The product is manufactured in New Mexico, by New Mexico residents, using – you guessed it – recycled wood and clean wood waste from forest projects in New Mexico.  This is a very good product at a very good price, and it’s additionally satisfying to support an in-State business.  We’ve stocked up for this year, and are pleased to note that the manufacturers sell to the public, so if Costco doesn’t carry it next year, we know where to find them!

What Birds Don’t Fly On Friday?

by John Weckerle


Or, more correctly, Pelican’s (with an apostrophe), which is the name of a steak and seafood restaurant in Albuquerque.  The denizens of New Mexico Central have dined there many times in the past, although less frequently in recent years after a hike in prices some years back.  We were in the neighborhood, though, felt like having some seafood, and stopped in.

We arrived at 5:15, and the place was already packed.  We put our names in for a table, and were told that the wait was about 30 minutes – about what one would expect for that time on a Friday.  All the bar tables were taken, so we began watching for one to open up.  One eventually did, and we were told that it was “reserved.”

After 30 minutes, your editor checked to see how much longer the wait would be, and was unable to get a firm answer – the only response the hostess had was “we’re waiting for people to leave the tables.”  I noticed at that time that very few names had been crossed off the list.  We attempted to get another table in the bar, and were told that one was reserved as well.  A few minutes later, we heard the hostess telling people that the bar was “open seating.”

After 50 minutes of waiting, I checked back again.  No additional names had been crossed off the list, although a number of people had been seated (there is apparently a separate list for reservations).  At this point they couldn’t be sure, but threw out 15 minutes as a guess, saying that it was “beyond their control.”  At this point, both the people in our party had had enough, and since the manager was nowhere to be seen, we left.  We saw the manager on the way out, standing outside and watching the traffic in the parking lot, but since there was no way we were going back in, we decided not to interrupt his reverie.  We continued on our way to Los Cuates, where we were told it would take 25 minutes, were seated in 10, and had our food far more quickly than would likely have been the case if we’d stuck with Pelican’s – and probably spent half as much.

Now, we don’t have a big problem with waiting a bit for a table on a Friday night.  Neither do we have an issue with things taking a few extra minutes.  However, we do feel that establishments have a responsibility to reasonably estimate wait times.  Saying it will take 30 minutes and having it take 40 is annoying but not too much so.  Having it go over an hour is another story.  People make decisions based on these estimates, and some of these may have health implications.  We’ve been out to dinner – at Pelican’s, a few years back, actually – where this became an issue with respect to a friend’s diabetes.

Put simply, Pelican’s needs to learn how to manage its customer flow better.  The restaurant was clearly over-booked with reservations, leaving no leeway for walk-ins, and while we understand that people with reservations deserve to be seated on time, those who come in spontaneously should be given honest wait time estimates rather than being treated like standby passengers at an airport.  The bar should not be used as a de facto second dining room, especially given that the establishment’s web site specifically markets happy hour.  Nobody makes happy hour reservations.

Will we return to Pelican’s?  Possibly, though probably not any time soon.  We tend to be a little spontaneous in our dinner choices, and we’re not typically interested in hanging around in restaurants and not eating.  There are other seafood choices in Albuquerque, and plenty of restaurants equal to or surpassing Pelican’s in terms of food quality and value – and as our readers know, we do enjoy a good meal!

PSA: Today’s EBWPC Meeting Canceled

From Cheri Lujan at the Estancia Basin Water Planning Committee:

Please note that the EBWPC meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 19, 2012 in Moriarty has been CANCELED.. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

A Little Color This Evening

by John Weckerle

Rainy days don’t always provide the best conditions for scenic photography, and New Mexico Central headquarters generally sees far more beautiful sunrises than sunsets.  There are exceptions to every rule, however, and today’s late afternoon provided us the opportunity to finally grab the new camera, climb up on the garage roof, and scratch a very itchy trigger finger…

Even looking east was a treat, as the sunset illuminated virga near Edgewood.

Today's sunset "straight on."


Looking west toward the Sandia Mountains.

Edgewood Politics – My, How You Haven’t Grown

by John Weckerle

Well, it’s silly election season in Edgewood, and things are gearing up in the usual, sad fashion. We found ourselves shaking our heads while reading this article in the Mountain View Telegraph about the Town of Edgewood’s last council meeting.  The festivities apparently included Mayor Robert Stearley interrupting public comment and seeming to attempt a bit of smearing against Town Councilors Brad Hill and John Abrams; we won’t run through the details here but encourage our readers to read the MVT article.

The former is a rather inappropriate and unfortunately habitual behavior of Mr. Stearley’s – your editor has actually personally run into it – and we agree with Councilors Hill, Abrams, and Chuck Ring that members of the public should be allowed to provide input when it is solicited without being interrupted and/or having their motivations and character questioned.  Mr. Stearley has plenty of opportunity to make his voice heard, and he should do speakers the courtesy of having theirs heard, as well.  The latter behavior is all-too-typical of Edgewood politics, and we take exception to it as we have in the past.  Some years ago, when people supporting Mr. Stearley attempted character attacks against those with whom Mr. Stearley disagreed (former Mayor Howard Calkins and former Town Councilor Paul Hoffman are two examples), your editor publicly denounced those actions as inappropriate, cheap political tricks.  We do so again now.  While we don’t always agree with Mr. Hill and Mr. Abrams (that’s not to say we disagree with them most of the time, by the way), we have no doubt that they have been acting ethically in their elected roles and thoroughly reject Mr. Stearley’s suggestion that they are using their positions for personal gain.

»» Edgewood Politics – My, How You Haven’t Grown

PSA: Teachers Needed for Mountainair Elementary After School Art Program

by John Weckerle

Checking in again on our friends at Mountainair Arts, we find that the Mountainair Elementary After School Art Program is seeking instructors for its next 10-week session.  Instructors can teach in their art area of interest/expertise, but the Program is looking for help in several specific areas as well.  For more information, see the Mountainair Announcements article.

News Release – Fire Season Equipment Vendor Meetings

by Sis Peterson, Cibola National Forest and Grasslands

Albuquerque, NM – January 13, 2012.  The USDA Forest Service Southwestern Region is hosting a meeting for vendors interested in providing resources to support wildfires and other emergency incidents. The meeting will be held on Thursday, January 26, from 1:00p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Forest Service offices throughout New Mexico.

The meeting will discuss a variety of topics including:

  • How to become a government vendor
  • How to locate and respond to solicitations through the Virtual Incident Procurement (VIPR) system
  • How to read and understand contract requirements for specific equipment

The Southwestern Region will be seeking competitive solicitation for the following items for FY2012:

»» News Release – Fire Season Equipment Vendor Meetings

PSA: Bernalillo County Offices Closed Monday

by Tia Bland, Bernalillo County Public Information Department

Bernalillo County – Bernalillo County government offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 16–with the exception of emergency and public safety services.

Mountainair Mentor Program Seeks Volunteers

by John Weckerle

Checking in on our friends at Mountainair Announcements, we find that the Mountainair Elementary School mentor program is seeking volunteer mentors to spend about 40 minutes a week with the school’s young people.  For more information, see the Mountainair Announcements article.

Forest Service Waives Recreation Fees

by Karen Takai, Fire Information and Public Affairs, U.S. Forest Service Sandia Ranger District

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – January 11, 2012 – The Cibola National Forest and Grasslands will join other federal agencies in hosting four fee waiver events in 2012. “We encourage the public to get outdoors in America’s vast and dynamic playground,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “We hope that visiting your beautiful national forests and grasslands will help people gain a deep appreciation for natural resources, and create lifelong memories.”

On the fee waiver dates, there is no charge to use most of the Cibola’s day use and camp sites. The only exception is for reservations made through the National Recreation Reservation Service due to the difficulties of refunding reservation payments.

This year’s fee waiver dates are:
• January 14-16 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend
• June 9 — Get Outdoors Day
• September 29 — National Public Lands Day
• November 10-12 — Veterans Day weekend

All recreation fees at day use sites on the Sandia Ranger District will be waived. Fees will also be waived at all open campgrounds throughout the Cibola National Forest. Because of changing weather conditions, please contact the appropriate ranger district to see if the site is open.

For more information, go to the Cibola’s web site:
or call the Cibola National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 505.346.3900.

Press Release: Doing Business With Bernalillo County and Securing Social Service Agency/Neighborhood Association Grants

by Franchesca Stevens, Bernalillo County Public Information Department

Bernalillo County News Conference Promotes Upcoming Workshop on How to Do Business with County and Secure Grants for Social Service Agencies and Neighborhood Associations
WHO: Bernalillo County
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, 3 p.m.
WHERE: One Civic Plaza NW, 10th floor, Conference Room B

Contact: Franchesca Stevens | |O. 505.468.1272| C. 505.259-0384