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  Around Town

North Valley resident Colonel Sidney Gutierrez in Space Shuttle Endeavor, 1994; for Only In Albuquerque —Photo courtesy of Sid Gutierrez

Retablo, San Ysidro Labrador, c. 1830, José Rafael Aragón.
—Dr. Ward Alan and Shirley Minge Collection, Casa San Ysidro, Corrales

Only in Albuquerque

—Deborah C. Slaney

The Albuquerque Museum’s new long-term history exhibition, Only in Albuquerque, opens to the public on March 3, 2015. Only in Albuquerque presents the history of Albuquerque and the central Rio Grande valley from 12,000 years ago to the present, set in a fun and interactive atmosphere.

Our story is told through four galleries—Spirited, Courageous, Resourceful andInnovative, all connecting to a central gallery entitled Our Land. This layout reinforces the exhibition’s central theme: Diferent cultures, interacting with each other in a unique geographic setting, have developed shared characteristics found only in Albuquerque and the central Rio Grande Valley. Hundreds of the region’s most beloved artifacts and photographs are featured.

In Our Land, explore a floor map of the valley between Isleta, Bernalillo, Rio Rancho, and Placitas. Using the Albuquerque Museum App, pull up artifacts, photographs, maps, and interviews on a smart phone. Enjoy unique theater experiences, childrens’ animated storybooks, and works of art that help interpret the gallery themes.

Visit the Spirited Gallery where you can witness a Matachines Dance in Bernalillo, the first documentary of this special ceremony. In Courageous, see Placitas resident Moises Perea’s machete that was carried during the Vietnam War. In Resourceful, visit a Spanish officer and Mejican Indian ally from Francisco Vásquez de Coronado y Luján’s army and a Tiwa-speaking Pueblo leader from Santiago Pueblo in 1540. In Innovative, enjoy watching an animated carreta (two-wheeled wooden cart) assemble itself for a trip along the Camino Real, without using a single nail.

Only in Albuquerque opens to great fanfare on March 3, and online reservations are required to view the new gallery. There are five ninety-minute time slots available for reservation, starting at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are three dollars for adults and two dollars for children and seniors. You can make your reservation at:

The band with no name performs during the KUPR-FM live radio remote broadcast and fundraiser at Anasazi Fields Winery. From left are rhythm guitarist Hector Rivera, lead guitarist Johnny Sanchez and vocalist and accordionist Willie Arriola. The trio formerly played in bands and now get together for fun.

Poet and winemaker Jim Fish of Anasazi Fields Winery reads from his work as sound engineer local Tom Baker handles the audio board during the first live broadcast by KUPR-FM.
Photos credit: —Photos by Bill Diven

Live broadcast aired taste of Placitas radio

—Bill Diven

For a few hours on Valentine’s Day, Placitas-area radio listeners tuning to FM frequency 99.9 heard bands, poets, and speakers in the first live broadcast of the community’s own station.

KUPR Radio is still some weeks from launching regular broadcasting, but the afternoon event and fundraiser at Anasazi Fields Winery gave some hint of what is to come.

For now, all the technology is in place, save one critical piece of equipment, the Emergency Broadcast System box needed to interrupt programming with public safety alerts.

“That’s the last piece of the puzzle we need to purchase,” said Chris Frye, a member of the KUPR Radio Advisory Board. “The new ones are $3,200 dollars, and all the used ones have been snapped up… If it’s for emergencies, you don’t want to go cheap.”

The market for used EBS boxes saw prices rise and supplies dwindle after the Federal Communications Commission authorized a new round of local low-power FM stations like KUPR. The Placitas station is still under a construction permit and won’t be fully licensed until all equipment is in place and a regular schedule established.

Once it’s on the air, KUPR has until August 20 to reach a minimum of 36 hours of weekly programming to obtain its permanent license. Station organizers have said programs will be an eclectic and nonpartisan mix of arts, education, and local interests from poetry and storytelling to history and various music genres, all without commercials.

What it won’t be, they say, is talk radio with social and political agendas. KUPR is recruiting volunteers for on-air, technical, and back-office positions with an application form on its Facebook page (

“It’s going to take a small army of folks to help us stay on the air,” Frye said. “It’s a lot of fun, but there’s some work involved.”

Frye, who is also the station’s engineer, said the on-air target is April 1 with a goal of early summer to have the EBS box and enough programming to request its FCC license.

So far the all-volunteer operation has raised seven thousand dollars for the first phase of construction, which included buying a transmitter and antenna. Most of the studio equipment has been donated. The second round of fundraising is about halfway to its six thousand dollar goal.

By early January, the station had placed the antenna and transmitter in Placitas village and signed a lease for studio space in the San Antonio de las Huertas Land Grant building. A microwave link connects the studio on Camino de las Huertas with the transmitter, and the station has been transmitting an intermittent test signal ever since.

The test signal shows the station reaches clearly into Placitas, the residential areas of San Felipe and Santa Ana pueblos, the Enchanted Hills area of northern Rio Rancho and most of Bernalillo.

KUPR transmits at one hundred watts, a tiny fraction of the power of KKOB-AM in Albuquerque, which boasts its fifty thousand-watt signal that extends three hundred miles and after dark can reach into 17 states.

Coronado Historic Site winter lecture series talks about Mexican Rule

On March 15, at 2:00 p.m., Don Bullis, author, historian, and a recognized expert on New Mexican history and the Old West, will talk about “New Mexico in the Era of Mexican Rule—1821-1846.”

Bullis, a student of New Mexican history since 1967, is an entertaining speaker who artfully engages his audience. His background is New Mexico law enforcement, and he has also served as editor of the Sandoval County Times-Independent and as a columnist for the Rio Rancho Observer. His writing has appeared in New Mexico Magazine, New Mexico Stockman, and Tradición Revista. He currently serves as first vice-president of the Historical Society of New Mexico and is the recipient of numerous literary awards. Bullis will have an assortment of his books for purchase.

Held at the Sandoval County Historical Society Museum (DeLavy House), Hwy 550 and Edmond Road, Bernalillo, turn between I-Hop & Warrior Fuel. Adult admission is five dollars; Friends of Coronado Historic Site are free. Reservations are not needed but come early, as seating is limited. For more information, call George at 771-9493, visit, or email to

Corrales Historical Society “Speaker Series” 2015

On March 1, at 3:00 p.m., at the Historic Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales, the Corrales Historical Society will present, “Volunteers to the Rescue,” a presentation and celebration of all the years of volunteer service that have made the Corrales Fire Brigade successful. These days, Corrales Fire Chief Anthony Martinez and Commander Tanya Lattin head a crew of eight paid employees, as well as volunteers from Corrales and surrounding areas. Old and new firefighters will share stories and recollections from those days.

If you were one of the volunteers and would like to share your memories, contact Nan Kimball at 897-7537 or

Orphan Train—A grandfather’s journey, retold

The Orphan Train movement, a largely-unknown chapter in American history, has come to public attention partly due to the best-selling novel Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline. Between 1854 and 1929, so-called “orphan trains” transported more than two hundred thousand orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children, many of whom were first-generation Irish Catholic immigrants, from the coastal cities of the eastern United States to the Midwest for adoption, many of whom were treated like indentured servants. Charles Loring Brace, founder of the program, believed that hard work, education, and firm but compassionate child-rearing were the only way to save these children from a life of depravity and poverty.

Cory Franklin, a Placitas resident, grew up in Massachusetts listening to her grandfather tell tales of his early years in Iowa at the turn of the twentieth century. Nearly twenty-five years later, while raising her own children in Minnesota, did Cory uncover the truth of her grandpa’s extraordinary life, a compelling story that was only one of many that occurred during a challenging time in the history of our country. Listen to Cory share her grandfather’s journey on the “Orphan Train” at the Placitas Community Library on March 14, at 2:00 p.m.

Child-proof packaging for e-cigarettes passes House Floor by a unanimous vote

—Chris Sanchez

On February 18, legislation that would require child-proof packaging for all nicotine liquid products used in e-cigarettes passed the House floor by a unanimous vote of 66-0. This bill will help protect New Mexico’s children from accidentally ingesting and overdosing on nicotine. Even just one teaspoon of nicotine can be fatal to a toddler.

“Today was an important step to protect our children,” Rep. Maestas Barnes, the bill’s sponsor said. “The risk of nicotine overdose is extremely high if it falls into the wrong hands.”

To enforce these new rules, the Attorney General—who is in support of this legislation—will have the ability to pursue a civil action; there would also be a fine of up to one thousand dollars for failing to comply with the law.

Heard around the West

—Jonathan Thompson, Writers on the Range

The Oil Patch

If you want to see how plunging petroleum prices are affecting oil country, look at applications for drilling permits (down), rig counts (down, but still higher than this time last year), and rents in the boomiest of the boomtowns (Williston, North Dakota). According to Craigslist in early January, Williston rents were holding steady, i.e., hovering in the stratosphere: two-bedroom apartments are still listed for up to $2,500 dollars. In other words, the boom hasn’t busted. Yet. We checked out the “Bakken Oilfield Fail of the Day” Facebook page, which documents equipment breakdowns and truck crashes, and also serves as a general soundboard for oil-patch workers and residents. There, opinion regarding oil prices is also mixed, with some posters forecasting an imminent crash (“work has definitely slowed down the last two months”), while others cling, cautiously, to optimism. (“Take a deep breath. Do not jump ship. This is the patch. It always bounces back.”) And some, though concerned about the impact of low oil prices, see a silver lining, particularly when it comes to what they regard as justice for local landlords: “What goes around comes around. I hope their greed comes back to bite them in the a—.”

The West

In Wyoming, a man was shot by his dog when the dog jumped on a loaded rifle in the backseat of the car. The man survived; the dog, as far as we know, avoided arrest, without having to argue about standing its ground.

Twenty-one elk died in Colorado after falling through the ice on a reservoir south of Pagosa Springs.

When a moose was buried by an avalanche in Hatcher Pass, Alaska, in late December, a group of passing snowmobilers dug it out. “It didn’t even fight us,” a rescuer told Alaska Dispatch News. “It was like, ‘Help me. Help me.’ It was totally docile and let us touch it. It just lay there.” The moose survived, apparently unharmed.

And officials from Canada’s national parks are placing red plastic chairs, costing $550 per pair, at various locations in the parks to help people “connect with nature.”

Jonathan Thompson is a senior editor at High Country News (, working out of Durango, Colorado. Share tips of Western oddities to:

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