Brigade honors volunteers
Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade
Recently, the Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade held their annual awards banquet, honoring those in the fire department who excelled in performance. Volunteers who responded to fire and rescue calls, ranging from 20 percent to over 60 percent, were acknowledged. Considering that the department experiences nearly four hundred calls per year, this indicates a considerable dedication to serving the community.
Fire Chief Steve Snider gave special recognition to members of the department whose activities and participation warranted acknowledgement. The Firefighter of the Year Award was presented to Drew Owens, EMT of the Year Award to Bud Brinkerhoff and Duanna Lovato-Mora, and the Chief’s Award to Sandy Escarcida. Rookie of the Year was awarded to Tom Hansen.
Door prizes were available thanks to the generous contributions of the following businesses and organizations:
Jackalope, Guang Dong, Santa Ana Garden Center, Dollar Store, Denny’s Restaurant, Bernalillo Barber Shop, Placitas Realty, TaGrMo Hardware, Sandoval County Sheriff’s Posse, Siete Nombres, Bernalillo Birding Co., Parts Plus of Bernalillo, Walgreens, Something Else, Pharmacy Plus, AutoZone, Starbucks, DC Hawthorne Computer Service, Edward Jones, Home At the Range, Rose’s Pottery House, Inc., La Casita Café, Rockin’ R Gallery, B&G Office Supply, The UPS Store, Coronado Restaurant, Clear Light, the Cedar Co., LaFarge of N.A., McCole’s Pub & Grill, La Bonne Vie Salon and Day Spa, Wells Fargo Bank, Bernalillo Tire, Abuelita’s Kitchen, The Merc, Placitas Videos, Buttons & Bows, Rio Sierra Realty, American Gypsum, La Puerta Real Estate Services, Shirley Ann Sloop, Anderson Insurance Agency, Santa Ana Star Casino, The Range Café, Piñon Café, Placitas Mini Mart, Curves in Bernalillo, The Vision Store, Higher-Speed Internet, Pizza Hut, Raley’s, and Fatwich.
Next month, the Placitas Fire Department will be kicking off a community fundraising effort. Between May 7 and 15, volunteers in the Placitas area will be distributing a packet of information to homeowners containing brochures on smoke detectors, urban wildfire interface, county burn procedures, and other useful information on fire prevention.
In addition to this information packet, volunteers will be supplied with the florescent house numbers required by the county building code to make home addresses more visible for emergency-response vehicles. This is a continuation of the program initiated by the Placitas Garden Club last year. The Placitas Fire Department feels so strongly about the usefulness of adequate signs that they are willing to install the address numbers on a pressure-treated four-by-four post for the homeowners. These numbers are critical for responding promptly to 911 fire or medical calls. Contact the fire department at 867-5080 and leave a message if you wish to take advantage of this program.
A donation to the Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade is not only an acceptable tax deduction, it is a terrific way of supporting an organization whose sole purpose is to respond to medical and fire emergencies experienced by friends and neighbors in the Placitas region.
Jemez Mt. School District starts biomass project
U.S. Representative Tom Udall (D-NM) helped cut the ribbon at New Mexico's first large-scale wood-fired heating system, at the Jemez Mountain School District, in Rio Arriba County. He hailed the project as a "win-win for rural New Mexico."
The Fuels for Schools program is a cooperative effort involving state and private branches of the Forest Service, state foresters, and local communities. The goal is to promote and encourage the use of wood biomass as a renewable natural resource to provide a readily available energy source suitable for use in heating systems in public and private buildings.
Udall said the project will prove to be a good example of using small-diameter timber that has little commercial value and is often cost-prohibitive for land managers to harvest, thus increasing fire danger.
"The Fuels for Schools program has shown exceptional promise in other states and I am pleased that the Jemez Mountain School District will benefit from biomass energy," Udall said. "These clean biomass systems are saving our local schools and communities thousands of dollars in winter heating costs and creating a market for small-diameter timber. Not only does this project help our environment, it will also eventually create thinning jobs in the area."
The $1.6 million project will burn small-diameter clippings from forest-thinning projects from the nearby Santa Fe National Forest. The project is expected to save the school district $54,000 a year in energy costs.
The biomass heating system, which will use an estimated four hundred tons of wood chips each year, replaces the school's existing propane heater, which will now function as a backup system.
For the first eighteen to twenty-four months of the project, wood chips will be supplied to the school district by a logging company in Chama under a Forest Service grant. Later, the school district will hire local wood-products producers and forest thinners to supply the fuel.
Biomass energy displaces more-polluting forms of energy generation while decreasing U.S. dependence on foreign oil, Udall said.