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re: bumper-to-bumper traffic
I've lived in Placitas since 1989 and remember when
there was only a stop sign on Exit 242 at the flyover ramp. I simply
don't understand why Tony Abbo can't do anything about this problem,
more than "study it". Consider this:
(1) Huge expanding RR housing developments off 528
continue to grow rapidly; giant multifamily units are being built
near Home Depot; large residential areas are being developed where
Price's Dairy was, etc., etc., etc. These people commute through
the Bernalillo town corridor to get to I-25. It's their only access
to I-25 for miles. This all means more traffic exiting the huge
north end of fast-developing Rio Rancho.
(2) The Rail Runner commuter-train parking area near
Exit 242 will add more traffic. What is the county commission thinking
about traffic problems? Or do they have brains? This means more
traffic packed into an already bumper-to-bumper area in the Bernalillo
(3)The Anasazi Trails-Anasazi Meadows subdevelopment
will bring in at least three hundred more residences, not to mention
construction traffic in the process, to Exit 242/I-25—in addition
to expanding subdevelopments at the western edge of Placitas (which
still remains the stepchild to Bernalillo), in a five-mile radius
from the Bernalilllo city center, and lost in space beyond that
in a huge Sandoval County, covering more than eight hundred square
miles. This all means more traffic exiting Placitas all the time—every
(4) La Farge Gravel Company has expanded, and with
it, more slow gravel trucks. The lease on all of this land is on-going
and renewable. The gravel itself will not be played out for several
more years. You already know about the power plays between gravel
trucks coming off the frontage road and Placitas cars trying to
get onto southbound I-25, as well as cars coming from the West Side
trying to get onto I-25 north.
It's pathetic. What does it take to get TV media
coverage real-time between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. each weekday?
The Coors area does deserve attention, but this problem deserves
Development exceeds road capacity. Simple. Solving
the problem apparently exceeds NMDOT, local, and county infrastructure
and funding. Why? We don't need endless studies; we all know that
growth is out of control. Simple. And the problem is moving at the
speed of light every time another house is sold in this area. Instead
of studies, why can't the state get federal dollars to fix it starting
now? It isn't going away.
Study that, Tony Abbo.
—CHRIS HUBER, Placitas
re: CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW????
Am I the only resident of Placitas who thinks we need a cell tower
out here????? Once you pass Homestead Village, your phone won't
pick up a signal. I live in the last home in Placitas before you
enter the national forest, and I see so many people hiking out for
help because they have some sort of emergency and can't call 911.
It's a matter of public safety, not just a “convenience.”
If you agree with me, let's make some noise about this!
No dial tone....
—BARBARA TIBBETS, Placitas
re: lack of county support for recreational land in Placitas
A number of Placitas residents have been having ongoing dialogues
with Sandoval County officials over the last two years regarding
obtaining recreational facilities. Commissioner Sapien has met with
us and has been supportive of the idea.
Unfortunately, it appears that county administration, including
Mike Springfield and Debbie Hays, is less enthusiastic. The county
commissioners approved the purchase of sixteen acres of land for
the new Placitas Library and recreational facilities, dependent
on available funds. However, it is my understanding that Debbie
Hays has only approved purchase of four acres for the building of
the Placitas Library. The land was generously offered to the county
at $20,000 per acre for the sixteen-acre lot. I doubt that the county
will ever again have a chance to purchase land at this price. I
have tried to contact both Debbie Hays and Mike Springfield to discuss
the issue, but my calls have not been returned. The county administration
continues to ignore the Placitas citizens and I wonder what actions
are required to obtain recreation facilities for the children and
adults of the area.
Do we need to form a county or a tax-assessment zone or could
we have influence if the Placitas citizens formed a political action
committee? Residents should consider turning out in force for the
June 6 primary, in hopes of getting a county commissioner from Placitas.
I hope that the citizens will express their support of obtaining
recreational facilities by contacting the Sandoval County administration
and urging the county to buy all sixteen acres of land.
—JOHN WILLS, Placitas
re: paving Placitas
Although it was stated that there was no opposition to the paving
of Camino de San Francisco, we who did oppose it feel it is important
that we explain our position and comment on the political funding
As residents for more than thirty years, we have sadly watched
as Placitas has been overrun with development and loss of open space,
especially during the last ten. Our area, northeast of the village,
has grown much more slowly; most homes have been built or contracted
by the owners and there is a sense of space and old growth. Diamond
Tail has been the only major development, and they have been environmentally
sensitive and careful to preserve open space.
We accepted driving on our dirt roads many thousands of times,
and put up with the dust and washboards. To those who complained
of potholes in the article, we have driven the road for over thirty
years and have never seen a pothole. During the last few years,
as we observed the “paving of Placitas,” our dirt road
seemed to add protection for the wild and rural life, qualities
which cannot help but be diminished by increased development. Now
that Tecolote and San Francisco are paved, we can drive more easily,
our cars are less dirty and air filters cleaner, our shocks less
shocked. But we are hoping that the increased ease of road travel
is not the invitation for dense development.
We need to respond to remarks made by Bill Sapien and others in
the Signpost article. If “no opposition” was noted before
the funds were solicited, it was because the nays were not acknowledged.
There was a petition circulated that asked whether the road should
be paved or not. Many residents were not polled. Those opposed were
unaware that funding was being requested, or that our county commissioner,
Bill Sapien, had been approached and was bringing the matter before
the state legislature. To our knowledge, only the interest group
had been informed of this process.
Finally, after the fact, a meeting was held at the county courthouse
to inform the public of the plans. Only word of mouth was used to
inform residents of the date and time of the meeting. At that time,
director of public works Phil Rios respectfully answered the concerns
of the many residents who objected to the paving for a wide range
of reasons, including safety issues, but it was already a done deal.
It is clear that the neighbors who were against the paving of
San Francisco were in the minority, but we do exist and are a significant
number of people who have lived here for many years. As taxpayers,
we feel that this process should have been more inclusive, with
more official public notification.
If we are to be accused of holding onto the values and priorities
of retaining the rural character of the area, staving off rapid
development, worrying about speeding on narrow and winding roads,
being concerned for increased water use, providing range for wild
horses, coyotes, etc., we are guilty as charged. The person who
feels that there will be no increased traffic on the road now that
it has been paved, has never heard the expression ”Build it
and they will come.”
—DAISY KATES AND LAURA ROBBINS, Placitas
Heard Around the West
MONTANA—Every year, as many as 700 deer collide with
cars in Montana's Ravalli County - so many that the roadsides reek
to high heaven. It's a big problem, made worse by the fact that
growing populations of both deer and people have reduced the number
of places where deer carcasses can be "discreetly dumped,"
according to the Ravalli Republic. It costs the county $135 every
time it hauls dead deer to a landfill in Missoula. But there's a
surprisingly inexpensive solution available, and everybody involved
is raving about it—composting. Doug Moeller, a maintenance
chief for the state's Department of Transportation, learned how
to do the job at a workshop in Maine, and came back a true believer.
Although Scott Reeseman, the local supervisor who has to maintain
the compost pile, told himself at the beginning, "Oh, man,
this is gonna be ugly," he says now, "It hasn't been that
bad." This is how the pilot project works: High-carbon materials—wood
chips, for example—are heaped a foot high on an asphalt bed.
The deer carcasses are piled on this, and then more chips, sawdust
or chipped tree trimmings—all delivered free—are layered
on top. This heats the pile up to 150 degrees; when the temperature
drops, the carcasses must be turned over. The process takes three
months, but when it's over, there's no more decomposing deer, just
compost. So far, the county has composted 511 animals, and in a
fitting gesture, plans to use the resulting black dirt along Montana
WYOMING AND AFGHANISTAN—Sometimes, low-tech
warfare is the way to go. In high-altitude Afghanistan, helicopters
are being replaced in some areas by donkeys. That is where rural
Wyoming comes in: Thirty-one soldiers in the Army's 10th Mountain
Division recently spent a week in a barn near Powell, learning the
ways of donkeys. The soldiers got hands-on instruction—including
some "buck-offs"—in packing and unpacking the animals,
tying and untying knots, and other skills. Donkeys and mules are
expected to be valuable in Afghanistan because they're unobtrusive
and can ferry people and equipment over 16,000-foot passes—2,000
feet higher than an Army helicopter can fly, reports The Associated
THE WEST—“Obsolete, offensive and
obscure” bumper stickers are for sale by Earth First! Journal,
at the bargain rate of 50 cents each or four for $1, while supplies
last. Here's a sampling: "Pregnancy: Another Deadly Sexually
Transmitted Disease," "Hunters: Did a cow get your elk?"
and, "I'll Take My Beef Poached, Thanks." The magazine
can be reached at P.O. Box 3023, Tucson, AZ 85702.
CALIFORNIA—Arthur Winston, a Los Angeles
bus maintenance worker who made news by finally retiring on his
100th birthday, died just a few weeks later. He missed only one
day of work, reports The New York Times, and that was in 1988, when
his wife of 65 years died. Winston said he'd thought about retiring
three decades ago, but kept working to support family members who
wanted to go to college or otherwise needed money. Winston had hoped
to use his free bus pass to explore the city and perhaps volunteer:
"I'll be on the move," he promised. "I'm not going
to sit and mope in the house."
MONTANA— Butte, Mont., boasts a restored
brothel, an Evel Knievel Days for motorcycle buffs, and now, a moneymaking
tourist attraction: the 900-foot-deep Berkeley Pit. This is the
pit that began filling with acid-mine drainage from copper mines
in 1982, and now holds some 36 billion gallons of water "laden
with arsenic, copper, cadmium, cobalt, iron and zinc," reports
AP. That's the bad news. The good news is that the Chamber of Commerce
has discovered a gold mine in this toxic stew. The chamber began
charging tourists $1 last year to see the pit, and made almost $20,000
in only four months. This year, it raised the admission price to
$2, and plans to make the Superfund site even more attractive to
visitors. The azure-blue waters of the pit and its mining history
might fascinate the paying customers, but the place can be deadly
for the unwary. In 1995, 342 migrating snow geese made the mistake
of touching down on the pit's tainted waters. All died before they
could fly away.
Betsy Marston is editor of Writers on the Range,
a service of High Country News in Paonia, Colorado (Betsym@hcn.org).
Tips of Western oddities are always appreciated and often shared
in the column, Heard around the West.