A Little Catching Up, And A Little Clearing Up

by John Weckerle

With the election safely over, we turned to some of our local favorites to see what sort of high-fiving might be going on – and surprisingly found essentially none among our normal haunts.  After apparently selling its trademark to the fossil fuel industry (the site essentially became a re-posting venue for screeds by petroleum industry-funded fossil fuel advocate Marita Noon), the Sandia Tea Party site appears to have gone “dark” in October.  As expected (and hoped), the East Mountain Tea Party remains silent, but a little searching revealed that its former denizens Therese Cooper and Char Tierney are alive and kicking on the internet, dispensing their version of reality via Facebook. We don’t want to be raising the relevance scores on their accounts, so we won’t link directly, but on Facebook they are therese.cooper.9 and char.tierney.9, respectively, the latter having recently changed her Facebook account from CharTierney.  Both accounts are reminiscent of what we saw on the East Mountain Tea Party site and sites associated with the Table of the Remnant and Operation Jesus Pictures.  Silvana Lupetti is also apparently on Facebook (SilvanaLupetti). Unfortunately, we didn’t find anything particularly worth commenting on, but we’ll keep an eye out just in case.

We do, however, occasionally receive e-mails from readers containing what might be described in the current vernacular as “fake news,” and we thought we’d share a little of that with you today. We recently received an e-mail containing the following:

»» A Little Catching Up, And A Little Clearing Up

EMIFPA Fire Info – October 26, 2016 Announcements

by John Helmich, East Mountain Interagency Fire Protection Association

EM Residents,

The Sandia Ranger District has announced that they are potentially implementing the David Canyon Fuels Reduction Project prescribed burn as early as next week. Presently, planning is to do this prescribed burn next Tuesday, November 1st through Friday, November 4th.

All prescribed burns are only implemented if all burn parameters are approved. These include fuel moisture levels, weather conditions before and during the burn, and air quality conditions. We will keep you updated as we near implementation of the burn.

More information and maps regarding this burn are on the Cibola NF Facebook page, linked here: https://www.facebook.com/cibolanf/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

John Helmich

EMIFPA Community Education Outreach Coordinator

EMIFPA web site

EMIFPA Facebook site

Twitter: @EMIFPA_NM

Sulphur Picnic Area Project

by John Helmich, East Mountain Interagency Fire Protection Association

EM Residents,

We here at EMIFPA feel it is important to relay wildfire related efforts in our region. The following is from Crystal Powell, Sandia Ranger District Ranger, regarding one of the many projects the District is undertaking to make our forest a better neighbor.

The Sulphur project area is located on the Sandia Ranger District of Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands and includes 1,173 acres. The project is being implemented due to high tree density and severe competition have created conditions that compromise forest health, wildlife habitat, and scenic quality while increasing the possibility of high-intensity wildfires.

The Environmental Analysis and Decision Memo were completed and signed in February 2014 and implementation began in the fall of 2015. This project is broken up into two different project areas, Sulphur A and B. Sulphur A includes the developed recreation sites Doc Long, Sulphur Canyon and Cienega Canyon, Sulphur B is everything south of Cienega Canyon. The project was divided to better manage finances and implementation, but all are designed to restore desired conditions, control invasive plants, and manage for sustainable recreation.

Treatments include mechanical (mastication or harvesting equipment) and hand thinning, fuelwood collection, prescribed burning, invasive plant species management, trail rehabilitation and relocation and decommissioning of non-system trails.

Project partners include New Mexico State Forestry, The Nature Conservancy, the Rio Grande Water Fund, New Mexico Forest Industry Association, the Pueblos of Sandia and Santa Ana.

Thank you for your help in getting this information out.

Crystal Powell, District Ranger
United States Forest Service
Cibola National Forest and Grasslands, Sandia Ranger District
505-281-3304 x117

As always, EMIFPA advises all residents to be aware, be prepared, and be self reliant. Fire conditions in our area are presently “high”.  As always, Report It, Don’t Ignore It! If you see or smell smoke, call 911 immediately.

John Helmich
EMIFPA Community Education Outreach Coordinator

EMIFPA web site
EMIFPA Facebook site

Twitter: @EMIFPA_NM

The Sandia Tea Party Lets Someone Else Strike (again)

by John Weckerle

It was with some surprise that, several weeks ago, we decided to look in on the Sandia Tea Party site to see how they were treating the political silly season – and found that it had vanished from the web. Repeated visits over a week or two were fruitless, and it looked as if the Sandia Tea Party had, like its former sister organization, the East Mountain Tea Party, vanished from the face of the Earth, or at least from the Internet.

Alas, with this morning’s browsing we find the site back in place, with Sandia Tea Party Official Internet Spokesman Chuck Ring at the helm. Unfortunately, the Sandia Tea Party site appears to have become primarily a venue for screeds provided by fossil fuel energy industry advocate and anti-environment writer Marita Noon, executive director of Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy, which is described by SourceWatch as “a lobby group funded by New Mexico oil and gas industry interests.”  Ms. Noon is also an author at Breitbart.com, founded by the late serial liar and fraudster Andrew Breitbart. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, depending on one’s point of view), it would appear that the energy industry is not getting its money’s worth, at least based on the most recent article, dated August 2, found on the Sandia Tea Party web site.

In the most recent article, Ms. Noon attacks the biofuels industry, and particularly the Renewable Fuel Standard, on the basis that these have led to widespread corruption, influence peddling, and fraud. The article presents a number of examples in which various parties have fraudulently sold or otherwise taken advantage of tax credits associated with the production of biofuels (Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs). Ms. Noon presents these as support for eliminating the Renewable Fuels Standard. We do not challenge the idea that these incidents occurred, and we recognize that there are some environmental and socioeconomic issues associated with biofuels that require more consideration than they are getting, but it seems a huge stretch to portray these accounts of fraud as an indictment of the biofuels credits or the industry as a whole. This would be akin to saying that telephone solicitors who defraud people are the fault of the telephone system, or that the solution to identity fraud would be to eliminate identities. Regardless of the system, there will always be those who will try to turn it to their advantage illegally. Fraud in the energy industry is not limited to the biofuels sector – after all, we all remember this little incident.  As to influence peddling and possible corruption, we found this article by Bill Moyers interesting. And there are plenty more out there for those who are interested and have time for a little searching.

The reality of all this is that fraud is a crime that has been committed in nearly all sectors, and that the issue is one of dishonesty rather than something industry-specific. We’ll leave our readers with a link to America’s 10 most famous fraudsters, and draw attention to number 2 in the slideshow.

Mountainair and Sandia Ranger Districts Both in Stage II Fire Restrictions

by Donna Nemeth, Public affairs Officer, USDA Forest Service, Cibola National Forest

Albuquerque, NM, July 13, 2016 – Continued hot and dry weather has increased the potential for fires on the Sandia Ranger District, prompting a change to Stage II fire restrictions.  The Mountainair Ranger District remains in Stage II restrictions.  The following are prohibited:

  • Building or maintaining a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove
  • Explosives, fireworks, or any pyrotechnic device
  • Smoking, except in a vehicle or building or an area that has no vegetation such as a parking lot
  • Chainsaws or other equipment powered by a combustion engine
  • Welding or operating a torch with an open flame
  • Using a motor vehicle off of National Forest System roads, except in developed campgrounds and trailheads and areas within 10 feet of the roadway where there is no vegetation
  • Firearms

The Mount Taylor and Magdalena Ranger Districts remain in Stage 1 fire restrictions.  The following are prohibited:

  • Building or maintaining a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove except in developed areas such as campsites or picnic areas where grills are provided
  • Explosives, fireworks, or any pyrotechnic device
  • Smoking, except in a vehicle or building or an area that has no vegetation such as a parking lot
  • Petroleum-fueled stoves, except an area that has no vegetation such as a parking lot

These orders will remain in effect until December 31, 2016, or until rescinded.  Violations of this order are punishable by a fine of $5,000 for individuals, $10,000 for organizations, and/or 6 months of imprisonment.  If you have any questions about the fire restrictions, please contact the Mountainair Ranger District at 505-847-2990 or the Sandia Ranger District at 505-281-3304, or your local Ranger District.

 

Grow Your Own: FunkyTown

by John Weckerle

We find ourselves now teased by the all-too-common (it seems) early-March warm-up, followed by the mid-March cooldown.  In anticipation of the “re-warming” to follow, and eager to test the limits of the greenhouse, we’ve taken a few steps.  The first involves some seed-starting activity.  For this past Christmas, we received a delightful surprise: two seed-starting kits prepared by Plant Theatre! The kits include:

  • Funky Veg Kit – Cosmic Purple Carrots, Golden Zucchini, Rubine Brussels Sprouts (these would appear to be red or purple), Tigerella tomatoes, and Rainbow Chard
  • Cocktail Garden Kit – Cucamelon, Blue Borage, Lime Basil, Hyssop, Mint, and Lemon Balm

As of the date of this writing, we have at least one sprout of all these (indoors, under lights), all sprouted in peat pots – with the caveat that we are saving the carrot seeds for direct planting.  The tomato sprout is a bit “iffy” looking.  We’ll set another round in two or three weeks; we think it’s always best to stagger sprouts and plantings a bit to get a slightly longer yield in terms of time. We also have some purchased plants hanging in the wings – lettuce, broccoli, and a single Early Girl tomato.  We don’t always do hybrids, but the concept of eating a “real” tomato in early Summer is difficult to dismiss.

Early soil preparation efforts yielded some interesting insights.  When we first developed the garden, we took some of the soil mix to Jericho Nurseries for an opinion.  The verdict: “If I had a spoon right now, I’d eat this.”  Just a couple of years later, we realized that a major refertilization was needed, and found that the soil in many of our beds had been compressed in terms of soil structure and depleted in terms of organic material.  Even driving a standard turning fork into this material was difficult.  Senior Soil Amendment Correspondent Thom (a key figure in setting up the bed and working out the original soil mix) perhaps summed it up best by describing it as “caliche.”  We are now using a cultivator to break up the soil and turn in a substantial amount of very composted manure.  The tomato bed and six of the others are completed; the string bean, pepper, and two other beds remain.  If the weather is kind to us tomorrow, we may get the soil amendments finished, and with luck we can start planting in a few days (freezing conditions are expected tonight, and the low temperature is predicted at 34 degrees Sunday night). That would give us more than a month and a half “jump” on the season!

 

 

 

 

EMIFPA Info: Information For Preparedness Planning

by John Helmich

EM Residents,

We have had requests for information on specifically two types of products: spray gel or foam fire retardant, and heat reflective film for windows. The following are links to information regarding these products. We do not recommend any specific product, so this is information intended for you to explore and utilize for your preparedness options. Thanks Dushan for your research on this!

Gels/Retardants

Reflective Window Covering products

  • RadiantGUARD® Ultima-foil Radiant Barrier Foil Insulation (500 square feet roll) U-500-B $94 on Amazon — rating 4.7* — blocks 97%
  • ARMA FOIL – 51″ x 118′ (500 sq ft) — blocks 95% — Amazon rating 4.8* $70 + $15 (S&H) from https://www.energyefficientsolutions.com/ARMAFOIL.asp
  • Super R Diamond Radiant Barrier 1000 sq.ft Perforated $71.50 + $4.50 (S&H) on Amazon — rating 4.9* http://www.enerflexfoil.com/products.aspx
  • Enerflex Radiant Barrier Roll http://www.enerflexfoil.com/products.aspx $136 for 10 rolls (480 sq ft)
  • 500 sqft (4ft x 125ft) of NASA TECH Commercial Grade SOLID Non Perforated, No Tear, Green Energy, Radiant Barrier, Reflective Insulation Attic Foil Roof Attic House Wrap SCIF RIFD — by AES — blocks 97% $60 + $4.50 (S&H) from Amazon

John Helmich

EMIFPA Community Education Outreach Coordinator

EMIFPA web site

EMIFPA Facebook site

Twitter: @EMIFPA_NM

Letter From Mountainair

(Editor’s note: We received this a while ago and, while we’re not clear on what’s going on in Mountainair, there are some interesting points contained in the letter. We present it here unabridged as food for thought on several obvious topics.)

by Dan Embree

Fellow Citizens of Mountainair

I’m one of the local trouble-makers – one of the many citizens who over the last couple of years have been attempting to induce the town council and the mayor to comply with New Mexico law in conducting their meetings, and I’m the guy who was famous for 15 minutes last summer for being dragged out of a council meeting by Chief Robert Chung on the orders of Mayor Chester Riley for objecting, in a parliamentary way – it’s recorded – to the council going into executive session without saying, as the law requires, what they were going to talk about.

Because I’ve discovered that my name (and that incident) is being used to frighten people into voting for incumbents Barbara Chung and George Immerwahr, as supposedly stalwart defenders of public order against outsiders and provocateurs, I would like to briefly tell a story that may illuminate my character and that of my accusers.

While I was passively refusing to leave the council meeting that night (but offering to leave quietly if handcuffed and arrested), George Immerwahr shouted “Filthy, disgusting haters!” at me and my wife, Joan (the least hateful person you will ever meet) and a half dozen others who supported us; and Barbara Chung shouted at me, “We know your history! You were one of those protesters who spit on returning Viet Nam veterans!”

“Well, actually,” I replied from the floor, where I was by that time, “I was one of those returning Viet Nam veterans.” (For the record, no one spit on me.)  I had served for a year as an infantry officer in Quang Tri Province, in the rice paddies and villages along the DMZ and on a hilltop on the Laotian border.  It was all field duty – no staff job, no general’s aide, no rear echelon – and to be fair, no heroism, no medals for valor.

So it stung a bit and it still stings to be called a spitter on veterans.  Years later, after the Kent State shootings, I did become a protester.  With two of my West Point classmates and a graduate of the Air Force Academy, I helped found Concerned Academy Graduates (surely the straightest, stodgiest, even stuffiest anti-war group of that era), and we grew to a modest 1000 members across the country, appearing on radio and TV and writing editorials and making speeches against the war.

But we never spit on anyone.  Nor did any of the protesters that we marched with, as far as I know.  We did march: in the spring of 1971 we marched in San Francisco with another 400,000 protesters, many of them veterans, all of them Americans. I pulled my two-year-old son in a red wagon; my wife, Joan (one of George’s “haters”) marched with our daughter in utero. That was one of the best days in one of most meaningful periods of our lives, and it remains beyond the reach of petty politicians to recast into some shameful narrative that suits their own purposes.

The veterans of that war have different stories and different versions of what that war meant.  And we tell one another those stories when we meet briefly – on the street or in Gustin’s or at the Alpine or at Mike’s gas station or anywhere.  And we often disagree.  But we respect one another and we call one another “Brother” and we don’t make up nonsense to blacken each other’s reputations.

So, just as I can laugh off the spectacle of  public officials making up nonsense about their achievements in an election flyer, I can see this attack on my reputation and my wife’s character for what it is: the desperate product of over-heated imaginations.

This campaign isn’t supposed to be about me, and I am sorry to have been dragged into it in this silly way. There are several good and  reasonable candidates, firmly rooted in reality,  who are looking to serve the community without glorifying themselves.  I hope you will vote for them.

Dan Embree

 

 

[Please forward this email to everyone you know.  Please print it out and hand it to your neighbors.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grow Your Own – One Season Ends And Another Begins

by John Weckerle

A couple of weeks ago, we visited the garden to begin removing last season’s dead plants in preparation for the arrival of large quantities of fully composted horse manure donated by our good friends and neighbors, Thom and Brenda.  We were delighted that, during this effort, we harvested several shallots and about three pounds of leeks – just enough for a batch of delightful potato-leek soup.  With the former producers now evicted, the business of soil amendment has begun.  We will begin starting our first few seeds this week, and will be ordering more as well.

We’ve placed a two-probe recording thermometer in the greenhouse, and were surprised that the temperature has exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit multiple times over the last six days.  Unfortunately, it has also dipped below freezing, although not on the same days.  Adjusting to the wild swings in temperature may present a challenge, and we may find ourselves waiting at least until the freezing temperatures abate.  One way or another, we’re hoping for an early planting and plenty of produce throughout an extended season.

Grow Your Own: The Demise of the Great Pumpkin

by John Weckerle

We begin today by wishing our readers, albeit belatedly, a happy Thanksgiving holiday and hoping that it was enjoyable and safe.  Our own certainly was, and it involved one of the year’s latest-harvested garden treats (not last-harvested; there are still shallots, leeks, and cabbage out there!), the previously mentioned Great Pumpkin.  For those who missed our prior article, this was the only pumpkin we got this year – and given that this was the second year with a single orange ball of squash, we will likely forego future efforts in the Jack-O-Lantern arena.

For half the gargantuan gourd, we used the AllRecipes.com Cream of Pumpkin Soup recipe, which we found very tasty, choosing to omit the croutons simply because there was too much baking going on and, as we are in the middle of a remodel, there were no counters or sinks upon which to work.  The other half awaits disposition – perhaps as a pumpkin pie or a nice, spicy pumpkin sauce for an autumn vegetable pot pie or something similar.

With the last of this year’s growing season coming up fast – those leeks, shallots, and cabbages will have to come in soon – we’re looking forward to revitalizing the beds with composted manure in preparation for the late Winter/early Spring planting.  We’re also hoping to bring the relocated Beds 1 and 2 back into service – and we find ourselves dozing off with visions of asparagus dancing in our heads.

We are, admittedly, a little unusual that way…

Major Traffic Alert – I-40 Westbound

A major accident with at least one fatality has blocked I-40 westbound in the Carnuel Facility. Views of NM-Roads.com show traffic backed up far east of Sedillo Hill Road. We advise westbound travelers to exit no later than Edgewood until the situation is resolved.

Just A Few Days Left For Scholarship Opportunities

by John Weckerle

As reported by the Mountainview Telegraph, the deadline is fast approaching to apply for scholarships awarded by Purina Mills and the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association’s (NMCGA) Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Committee (YCLC).  As the Telegraph reports, The Purina Mills scholarship will go to “a New Mexico student who is a member of the NMCGA, the New Mexico Junior Cattle Growers Association, or the child of an NMCGA member.” Additional scholarships are available to a successful high school senior and a continuing college student, with no reported membership requirements.  For more information, visit the Telegraph’s article.

EMIFPA Fire Info – November 5, 2015: American Red Cross

by John Helmich

EM Residents,

The American Red Cross, one of the critical agencies who will be responding in case of a wildfire, wanted us to inform everyone that they are also available if your family suffers loss in a structure fire, not just wildfire scenarios.

EMIFPA recommends that you also contact them for purposes of preparedness. This way you will know in advance what is available to you should you need temporary assistance, especially housing. Their national contact number is 800-733-2767.  If you are working on preparedness planning, please make sure you let them know this.

John Helmich

EMIFPA Community Education Outreach Coordinator

EMIFPA web site

EMIFPA Facebook site

Twitter: @EMIFPA_NM

Grow Your Own: It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

by John Weckerle

The Great Pumpkin.

The Great Pumpkin.

With Halloween just a day away, the denizens of New Mexico Central headquarters are watching with bated breath as the great pumpkin (this year’s only pumpkin, and likely our last given the yields) slowly ripens in the greenhouse.  It is a race against time; colder temperatures appear to have taken their toll on the cucumbers, tomatoes, and zucchini, and the pumpkin plant itself is looking a bit compromised.  We brought in some of the latter two today, but it seems likely that this will be our last.  We harvested eggplants and peppers as well, and those plants are doing well still – with luck, sunny days and warmer temperatures may give us a little more time with them.  Green beans are anybody’s guess, at this point, and we can take the leeks and shallots at any time.

Today's harvest - tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, bell peppers, green chiles, and cabbage.

Today’s harvest – tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, bell peppers, green chiles, and cabbage.

Last Sunday's harvest.

Last Sunday’s harvest.

Until the last couple of days, temperatures in the greenhouse had been reaching into the mid- to upper-80s, and dropping to the high 30s to mid-40s at night.  They barely crept above 50 degrees today, however, and this may be a critical point for the warm-weather loving plants.  Cabbage is doing well and doesn’t mind a little cool weather, and we’ll see what happens with the broccoli, which we never pulled up.  All things considered, we consider ourselves fortunate to be harvesting summer veggies this close to November.  As we remove the summer plants from the beds, we’ll be amending soil and getting things ready for Spring – or perhaps some Winter growing!

Edgewood Chamber Director Resigns

by John Weckerle

Word has reached New Mexico Central that the Edgewood Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director, Brenda Murray, has resigned to accept a sales and marketing position, leaving the Chamber’s Board of Directors with the unenviable task of replacing a person who will likely be a tough act to follow.  Ms. Murray’s efforts were noteworthy enough for us to allow a glimmer of cautious optimism with respect to the Chamber, and it remains to be seen whether the Chamber’s Board will be successful in hiring a similarly capable and dedicated executive director.

Small Chamber of Commerce executive director positions can be hard to fill, or at least to fill well.  A good part of the reason for this is financial as budgets tend to be very limited.  Looking at the Chamber’s web site, we see about 110 members.  Assuming that they all pay $95 (unlikely, as a number of members listed are individuals and nonprofits, who pay less), this amounts to $10,450 in membership fees, which doesn’t go far in acquiring a capable and dedicated executive director – at least not for long.  The Town of Edgewood’s Economic Development page indicates that the Town contracts with the Chamber for economic development services; however, the most recent budget posted (which, like much of the information on the site, is out of date) appears to contain no funding for economic development and both the Chamber’s and the Town’s economic development pages appear not to have been updated for a long time.  While we are sure the Town is spending some money on economic development, the information on the two entities websites suggests that this is not a major source of revenue for the Chamber.

Your editor has been a member of three local/regional nonprofit organizations: The Edgewood Chamber of Commerce, the Estancia Basin Resource Association (EBRA), and the Estancia Valley Economic Development Association (EVEDA).  Of these, EBRA stood out in terms of meeting its goals and fundraising and your editor remains a supporter, having resigned from the Board only for reasons associated with earning a living.  At one point, your editor received training on the responsibilities of a nonprofit Board of Directors member, which have evolved over time, and we think it timely to discuss at least some of those roles and responsibilities in the hope that the information may help the Chamber and other organizations increase their probability of success.

During one of your editor’s Board adventures, the opportunity arose to take a class on Board roles and responsibilities provided by Jean Block, Inc.  The class was quite revealing, and we recommend it to Board members of nonprofits of all kinds.  Of chief interest to the current situation is the role of Board members in fundraising: in short, that is one of the chief responsibilities of Board members.  As articulated on the Bridgespan Group’s (and numerous others’) web site, “One of the board’s foremost responsibilities is to secure adequate resources for the organization to fulfill its mission.”  That means fundraising.  However, many nonprofits, Chambers included and perhaps especially, tend to delegate this function to the executive director and/or staff, who then are forced to essentially find the money to pay themselves – leaving less time for work associated with the Chamber’s actual mission.

Of course, there is often confusion on what that mission is. Both the Edgewood and East Mountain chambers’ web sites have what amounts to mission statements, although these tend to be a bit short on language associated with implementation.  What we’ve observed at times is that chambers appear to view themselves more as community organizations than business organizations, and efforts seem to focus disproportionately on community events, placing fundraising, business advocacy, economic development, and member recruitment/retention in subordinate positions.  Many events do little to bring in revenue for the Chamber and perhaps benefit only a few businesses that may see some increased traffic as a result.  Events are good for the community, and it is appropriate for the business community to “give back” to the community at large, but when resources are scarce it makes little sense to focus strongly on community events at the expense of building/maintaining a strong Chamber.

We wish the Edgewood Chamber Board good luck in securing a new executive director – and in focusing on the fundraising activities so greatly needed to acquire and retain a competent and capable individual for the position.