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  Around Town

Kiva closed: for rebuilding

—Matthew J. Barbour, Manager, Jemez Historic Site

The sixteenth century kiva at Jemez Historic Site was given a roof in the summer of 2004 so that it could serve as an interpretive display on traditional Jemez religion. Since its inception and construction, it has been a mainstay of the visitor experience. It provides an interesting contrast to the Catholic Church built by the Franciscan Friars in 1621 and highlights the religious significance of Jemez Historic Site to Native American peoples.

However, for the past ten months, the kiva has been closed. The roof, installed over nine years ago, had begun to fail. Beams had begun to crack, splinter, and bend. Some lost their hold on the surrounding walls. It was no longer safe for visitors to stand atop the roof or climb down into the structure.

Former Jemez Historic Site Manager and Jemez Pueblo Governor Joshua Madalena initially developed the project as an experiment. The kiva roof was never designed for long-term use or planned to withstand the amount of foot traffic it currently does. No one could have predicted the amount of interest the kiva would have engendered among the visiting public.

Funds were set aside almost immediately for its repair. For fiscal year 2014, Jemez Historic Site was granted $75,000 dollars in New Mexico Capital Outlay Funds for the replacement of the roof. It was an excellent show of support by New Mexico lawmakers for Historic Sites and has been greatly appreciated. However, it hasn’t been as easy as simply getting back in there, tearing the old roof off, and putting a new one on.

Jemez Historic Site is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the State Register of Cultural Properties. Therefore, cultural property laws require the new roof be designed and overseen by a New Mexico Historic Preservation Division approved architect. To fulfill these requirements, Jemez Historic Site had to go through a three-bid process and have the selection approved by the Administrative Services Division. This has been a slow and arduous task, but, fortunately, we are making headway.

Cherry/See/Reames Architects of Albuquerque and the Pueblo of Jemez Natural Resources Department are currently working together to formulate designs to rebuild the kiva roof. An initial meeting to discuss plans was held on November 1, and it is exciting and quite impressive to see what will come. The new kiva roof is being built to last the next 25 years with little or no maintenance necessary. It will be strong enough to hold over twenty people on the roof at any given time. Rather than simply being a tourist attraction, the new kiva is being envisioned as a place that will also allow expanded use by Jemez Pueblo Societies during traditional cultural observances.

Proposed designs are also taking into account the cultural importance of Jemez Historic Site. All parties are working to ensure there will be no damage to the surrounding portions of the site, even those that remain unexcavated. There will also be no visible metal components. To all who come and see it, the kiva will look much like it did five hundred years ago.

Once plans are completed, they will need to be approved by the Pueblo of Jemez and New Mexico Historic Preservation Division. Right now, we are on track to hopefully begin rebuilding the structure this spring. The goal will be, if at all possible, to have the structure open in time for Pueblo Independence Day (August 10). Although still a ways off, the rebuilt structure will certainly be worth the wait.

Christmas at Kuaua 

On December 8, from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m., a free evening of family fun will be available at the Coronado Historical Site in Bernalillo. The grounds will be decorated with hundreds of flickering luminarias and thousands of Christmas lights. Activities start at 5:00 p.m. with Santa’s Workshop. Children, assisted by a few kindly elves, will have an opportunity to make their own Christmas tree ornament. Beginning at 6:00 p.m., the Friends of Coronado Historic Site will sponsor a program of music, traditional Pueblo dancing, and Native American storytelling. Courtesy of the Friends of Coronado, enjoy biscochitos and hot apple cider around a large bonfire, weather permitting. For more information, call 867-5351.

To get there: from I-25, take Exit 242, then take US Highway 550 1.7 miles west to Kuaua Road.

Las Posadas de Placitas warms hearts, honors Ray Arriola

—Tarah Faraone-Arriola

As many may know, Ray Arriola was an essential part of Las Posadas de Placitas for the past twenty years. His presence and involvement in the tradition will be deeply missed. In light of his recent passing, the Arriola family wishes to encourage everyone to participate in this year’s Christmas celebration in honor of Ray’s memory.

Children, aged six to 12, are welcome to participate by dancing with the comanchitos. If your child is interested, bring him or her to the Placitas Community Center at 5:00 p.m. on December 1. If you wish to make a donation to aid in making the Posadas possible, contact Alicia Arriola at 903-3997.

Christmas in Bernalillo

On December 6, there will be musical performances by youth groups from First Assembly of God and Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church at dusk. Held at the Town Hall (829 Camino Del Pueblo). Biscochitos and cider will be served.

The Annual Christmas Parade will start on December 7, at 6:00 p.m. After the Christmas Parade, there will be hot apple cider and biscochitos at the Town of Bernalillo Holiday Bonfire at Rotary Park.

On December 19, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., there will be holiday displays, refreshments, and live entertainment at the Town of Bernalillo Multipurpose Recreation Center Gym in Rotary Park. Santa Claus will make a special appearance to visit with children and give goodie bags. All ages are welcome and everything is free.

The Town of Bernalillo will once again continue to raise money for the Children’s Christmas Fund, which benefit less fortunate children in our community. Monetary donation of any amount, or new toys, will help brighten the holidays for the children of Bernalillo. If you know of a child who might not otherwise receive a gift this season, forms are available at Bernalillo Town Hall where donations can be made. On December 21, Children’s Christmas Fund gifts will be delivered by Santa Claus.

On Christmas day at noon, Santa will be at Town Hall. The Town of Bernalillo Fire Department will enliven the holiday by handing out Christmas treats.

Twinkle Light Parade returns to Nob Hill

—Bree Ortiz

The annual Twinkle Light Parade will once again be held in Historic Nob Hill, in partnership with the Nob Hill Holiday Shop & Stroll on December 7.

The fun and exciting Twinkle Light Parade will travel west on Central Avenue between Washington Street and Girard Boulevard. Central Avenue will be closed from San Mateo to Girard. Featuring floats filled with twinkling lights, custom cars, bands, dancers and more, the parade will add to the magic of the evening.

The Nob Hill Holiday Shop & Stroll will begin at noon, with the parade kicking off at 5:15 p.m. The Shop & Stroll will be open from noon to 10:00 p.m. with live music, stores full of shoppers, food and drink, and a festive holiday atmosphere.

SF National Forest Christmas tree sales

—Lawrence M. Lujan

Santa Fe National Forest offices and various vendors in Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Pecos, and Las Vegas began selling Christmas tree cutting permits on November 25. Trees may be cut through December 24, 2013.

The cost is ten dollars per tree (up to ten feet). For trees taller than ten feet, an additional permit must be purchased. The tags are also good to dig up a living tree.

For Christmas tree maps, guidelines, Forest Service and vendor office hours, and holiday safety information, visit the Santa Fe National Forest website: Sale hours for Christmas tree permits may vary slightly at each district office. 

Be prepared for winter weather—wet, muddy, or snowy roads. Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Winter storms can occur suddenly—if one comes up, start heading home. As a minimum, we suggest you take the following items with you: tire chains, tow chain, first aid kit, warm clothing, shovel, full gas tank, matches or flares, and a flashlight. 

Don’t rely on your cell phone, as it may not work in many areas of the forest. We suggest you consider the Weather Ready Driving Safety Tips:

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