Into The Twitterverse

by John Weckerle

New Mexico Central now has a Twitter feed! It’s at:


Have Yourself A Deplorable Little Christmas (Shopping Experience)

by John Weckerle

It was with a certain degree of shock and disappointment that we read this article on containing a video of a woman behaving very badly at a J.C. Penney store in Louisville, Kentucky.  Irritated by the addition of a couple of extra items to the order being checked out in front of her, this person entered into an apparently alt-right-inspired, ethnically charged rant against the two women whose items were being rung up.

J.C. Penney is seeking the two women accosted in the video with the purpose of reimbursing them for their purchase and apologizing for the experience.  Along with the Jefferson Mall management, they are also working to identify the foul-mouthed ranter, so that she may be banned from both the store and the mall for life. We suspect that the search will be short, given that her name and credit card number are probably on record after her purchase.

We understand that holiday shopping can be stressful, but there is no excuse for behavior like this.  If you’re feeling frustrated, just remember that everybody has a cell phone these days, including the denizens of, and this is not the sort of national fame that anybody wants. So be good, for goodness sake!

A Picture Isn’t Always Worth Many Words

by John Weckerle

We continue to peruse the internet in search of local political commentary, and came across this post on Sandia Tea Party Official Internet Spokesman Chuck Ring’s blog.  With our curiosity in a state of pique, we decided to poke around the web and learn a little about the photograph contained within the post.

As it turns out, this image has reportedly been used in disinformation campaigns, including a posting of the photo by President Elect Donald J. Trump’s attorney in October suggesting that he had received an award from the NAACP.  We found this article from the Huffington Post to be very interesting.  The article points out that the award, correctly named the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, as well as the organization that awarded it (the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, or NECO) came into being as an outraged reaction to then-President Ronald Reagan’s decision to award the Medal of Freedom to 12 naturalized citizens.  NECO was formed by Mr. Trump’s real estate broker, William Fugazy, and Mr. Trump received the award in its first year.  We have found no specific reason for Mr. Trump’s receipt of the award.

According to the Huffington Post article:

Officially, the medal criteria are broad and inclusive: Winners should “uphold the ideals and spirit of America,” while “maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage.” In practice, the winners are mostly white Americans of European descent.

They certainly were the year Mr. Trump received the award; as reported by the Huffington Post and as documented in this New York Times article, only four of the 80 recipients that year were African Americans.

The NECO website states: “The Ellis Island Medals of Honor embody the spirit of America in their celebration of patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood and diversity.” It is perhaps rather ironic that, as the Huffington Post article points out, “At the time, Trump and his father held the dubious honor of having been the defendants in one of the largest-ever housing discrimination lawsuits, a case sparked by a Justice Department civil rights investigation that found the Trumps discriminated against prospective tenants who were black.” And it is perhaps even more ironic that the person dead-center in the photo posted on Mr. Ring’s site is none other than anti-gay activist Anita Bryant, whose name had by that time become synonymous with that particular form of bigotry.

We’ll leave it to our readers to form their own opinions (and, of course, post them here; unlike the Sandia Tea Party site and Mr. Ring’s, we allow comments) as to whether or not Mr. Trump is a racist.  We’ll simply observe that standing next to a civil rights icon in a photo doesn’t make one “not a racist” any more than standing next to an oak makes one a tree.

In closing, we note that the NECO website lists Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a past awardee.

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:

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, 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!


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
  • Super R Diamond Radiant Barrier 1000 sq.ft Perforated $71.50 + $4.50 (S&H) on Amazon — rating 4.9*
  • Enerflex Radiant Barrier Roll $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 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 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.