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Placitas Community Library to hold grand opening

Sue Strasia
Placitas Community Library

The Placitas Community Library staff invites you to its grand opening during Placitas Appreciation Day on May 15. Doors will be open from 10:00 p.m. till 3:00 p.m., and at 1:00 p.m. there will be a special children’s story time. The library is at #1 Tierra Madre Road in Placitas. An easy way to find us is to stand in front of the Merc and look west for a brown building with white icing on the top. That’s us!

Currently we have a temporary facility on loan from Pepi Strahl on a month-to-month basis. We are full to capacity and still receiving and cataloging books donated by various libraries and individuals. Recently we hauled in five truckloads of books from Los Alamos, with a promise of many more, and two truckloads of books from the New Mexico State Library. Nancy Guist, our procurement chair, makes arrangements to gather donated books. Within the next two weeks she will be contacting everyone who has offered donations.

Other items on our wish list include bookcases (four feet wide by eight feet high), library sitters, readers, ideas, plants, and pictures.

We need your donations to help fund and build the library. Donations are greatly appreciated—and tax exempt. Address your check or pledge to the Placitas Community Library, Inc. at P.O. Box 445, Placitas, NM 87043, and don‘t forget to visit our Web site at


Jerzy Kulis, Geo chemist and Nina Wells, Environmental scientist with the New Mexico Environment Department conduct water tests in March at a Las Placitas Association worshop at the Placitas Community Center

Jerzy Kulis, Geo chemist and Nina Wells, Environmental scientist with the New Mexico Environment Department conduct water tests in March at a Las Placitas Association worshop at the Placitas Community Center. Residents provided 20 samples from Placitas to Algodones.

Rural water issue examined

Tim and Debbie Nadeau

Rural dwellers learned about water conservation, septic systems, wells, and safe drinking water at the Las Placitas Association meeting held on March 20 at the Community Center. “We have a fast-growing rural community of people who have never lived in a rural situation,” stated Kate Nelson, vice president of the Las Placitas Association.

About fifty new and seasoned Placitas community residents participated in the workshops and water testing sponsored by the association and conducted by the New Mexico Environment Department. “Our goal is education. We also need membership and involvement,” Nelson added. “We have huge goals, I don’t know if we can meet them all, but at least we will have tried.”

One of the association’s goals is to restore Las Huertas Creek, a project involving Bill Zeedyck, advisor to the board. Zeedyck designed induced meandering on Placitas open space in an effort to slow storm- and rainwater, keeping it on the land to support the land and animal life. Lolly Jones, who heads the Las Huertas Creek Watershed Project, spoke briefly about LPA goals to restore damaged natural riparian environment.

Geochemist Jerzy Kulis of the New Mexico Environment Department led the discussion on septic systems. He emphasized that although functionally all systems do the same thing, each system has its own characteristics and problems based on location and household use. Each system is individual in its needs for proper functioning. “Problems with each system should be addressed according to its symptoms,” he said. Symptoms such as sludge, surface water at leach line, odor, and frequent emptying due to backup may require individualized problem solving. Odor may be a problem of leach lines being too close to the surface, or it could be a problem with imbalanced bacterial enzymes. “Septic tanks are an ongoing living system,” Kulis added. “They don’t need a lot of help from us, but we do need to be careful of what we put into them. Avoid adding organic matter such as the garbage-disposal food and laundry water from heavily soiled clothing.” He encouraged using biodegradable soap and septic tank additives sparingly and according to symptoms.

Another topic at the meeting was drilling and maintaining wells, with the discussion led by Brian Irwin of Murray Drilling Company. Irwin emphasized that well-share agreements need to be signed by all parties and recorded at the county in order to protect everyone’s rights when property is sold.

Workshops included bacteria, chemicals, and naturally occurring minerals that contaminate our drinking water; water conservation, including gray water usage; drought gardening; well and septic-tank care and maintenance; rainwater harvesting; land sculpting; and storm-water management.

UNMgraduate student Jennifer Nelson was also on hand at the March 20 meeting. As part of her thesis in community and regional planning, Jennifer has joined Las Placitas Association-Las Huertas Creek Watershed Project Workshop and Happy Spring Equinox. For more than a year she has been involved in the development of the Placitas community-based watershed-management plan. Her role is to reach out to stakeholders in the Placitas watershed with three goals in mind: educating, improving the health of individuals’ land and mini-ecosystems and their impact on the entire watershed and ecosystem, and encouraging stewardship for reaches outside private property, i.e., participation in hands-on riparian restoration, monitoring existing wells, and flora and fauna monitoring. Nelson will also be encouraging participation in acequia tours, rainwater harvesting, and storm-water management and tours.

The next Las Placitas Association workshop will be held April 17 at the Placitas Community Center. Information about the association is available at






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