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  The Gauntlet

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Denise Miller a.k.a. Our Lady of the Open Road
Photo credit: —Lisa Richard

re: Our Lady of the Open Road turns 65!

Every morning she ventures out on a seven-mile run along State Highway 165. However, she is not your average runner. My mom, Denise Miller of Placitas, does something special—she proceeds to greet every single vehicle (or pedestrian) that passes with a wave.  I was curious about her ritual, so a week ago while I was in town visiting, I decided to bear witness and document the daily run of my mom and see what the wave was about.

What's the big deal about a wave you may ask? Everything! After counting 430 of them (Yes, four hundred and thirty!), I reveled the magic of such a simple, yet beautiful act. There were all kinds—the full wave, the steering wheel wave, the honk and wave (those were my favorite), the peace sign in salute, the finger wave. But what they all had in common was the love and friendship that they symbolized.

The coolest part for me, other than getting into the waving myself, was the fact that you could tell most of the wavers knew my mom. The construction workers, utility trucks, the firemen, and the locals who passed by her and were graced with her wave every day, all waved back at us with such flourish. The best though, were those who waved back and didn't necessarily know my mom personally, but just simply responded to her positive energy.

You see, my mom has a special gift—the fact that she's never met a stranger, and has a friendliness and sparkle which has always been contagious. She loves everybody, and I think the most important thing to her, is for everyone who waves at her to know how much she appreciates it.

Over the years people have stopped to visit with my mom, brought her gifts, and even offered to help her in times she was in need, due to a fall. The wavers of Placitas have gotten my mom through the death of both of her parents and other sad moments in her life. So today, I not only want to celebrate my mom—my own personal celebrity, and wish her a very Happy Birthday, I want to celebrate the town of Placitas and thank you for all the love you've shown!

I love you so much, mom! Keep smiling and waving! Your fans are loving both!

—Lisa Richard

(ES-CA) Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association report

~Chris Daul, ES-CA

Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association (ES-CA) members were very active concerning the County’s proposed trash collection plan and the County’s proposal to change the appointment process to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Placitas residents overwhelmingly opposed any type of mandated trash collection in the area and ES-CA, along with many home-owner associations, and other residents, met and communicated with the County Commissioners to express their concerns. Ultimately, the County has decided to review bids that would both include and exclude the Placitas area.

Again, due to communications by ES-CA members to our County commissioners, the County Commission decided not to adopt an ordinance that would have given Commissioners the power to remove and replace P&Z Commissioners at will. This ordinance would have eliminated any autonomy of P&Z Commissioners. In addition, since the County Commission reviews appeals of decisions made by the P&Z, this ordinance may not have withstood a legal challenge.

ES-CA is continuing to monitor the status of the BLM land plan. It is our understanding that the draft plan is being sent back to Washington for final review and may be released this summer. We continue to be concerned about future sand-and-gravel mining in this area and have continued to lobby our Federal representatives. ES-CA and Las Placitas Association will notify all of their members as soon as the document is published. We encourage you to join both organizations to stay informed and participate in any actions that need to be taken.

Two candidates for election to the Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District (CSWCD) made presentations of their candidacies at the meeting. The candidates are Orlando Lucero and Richard Reif. The election is on May 2. The polling location is at Our Lady of Sorrows Gymnasium, 301 Camino del Pueblo, in Bernalillo. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and ES-CA encourages all registered voters to vote in this election.

Concerning the litigation against Vulcan to enforce the terms of the mining nonconformance, a court date has been set for October of this year. A mediation session has been ordered by the judge, which will take place on April 28. ES-CA will be participating in the mediation session.

The next ES-CA meeting is on May 1, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Placitas Fire Station on State Highway 165. All are invited to attend.

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