The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

 
THE GAUNTLET

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letters, opinions, editorials

Stereogram by Gary Priester

Stereogram, by Gary Priester. Relax your eyes and look “through” the image, not focusing on the foreground. Let your brain work to see the picture above in 3-D. (No hidden image.)

re: burglaries in Placitas

I don’t know who the person was who wrote the letter in the Signpost about break-ins in Placitas West, but I had an interesting experience to share with them, if you could pass it on.

A few weeks ago, someone knocked at the door selling “meat,” “... just happened to be in the neighborhood,” etc. I declined, of course. He then asked if we had many people selling stuff door to door. I said “No,” and almost said, “The last time someone knocked at the door selling ‘vegetables,’ we had a series of burglaries.”

At that time years ago, one woman had her television stolen when an intruder took it while she was at the back of the house.

I don’t think I would recognize this “salesman,” but I bet it is tied in. We have had some construction in the area, and that always brings in strangers, some of whom are opportunists up to no good. Gives ‘em an opportunity to scout the neighborhood.

—BUNNY BOWEN, Placitas

re: give troops gift packages, mailers available

The war is in its fifth year, and, after a hiatus in 2006, troops from the New Mexico National Guard units will be back in Iraq for the 2007 holidays. No matter where you stand on the war, all of us support our young men and women who are serving. So, once again, we are asking Placitans to let the troops know we are thinking about them, by sending a gift package.

U.S. Postal Service mailers are available at four locations in Placitas: The Merc and First Community Bank in Homestead Village, and at the Mini Mart and Post Office in the Village. The packages are addressed to the units’ company commanders, who will distribute them to their troops. The mailers have a fixed mailing rate of $8.95.

Attached to the mailers are instructions, a suggested list of gift items, and a U.S. Customs form. The troops have access to a mini BX (base exchange) that carries many of the things that are in our local mini marts. However, those food items for Mexican food, chiles, hot sauces, and things with a “New Mexico Flavor” are not available, so a box of great “New Mexico Flavor” items would be most appropriate and greatly appreciated. It would be great to include a personal note or card.

To reach the troops by Christmas, packages should be mailed not later than December 4th. For further information, call George Franzen at 867-0112 or Alan Friedman at 771-8819.

re: enjoying the beauty around us

Last week while rushing to get to work, I got behind a small white pickup truck. The man driving the truck had a big black cowboy hat on and there was a small child sitting in a car seat next to him. I noticed the driver was driving slowly and of course I was in a hurry and was irritated to see him occasionally apply his brakes for no reason. I noticed too that occasionally he would stop and point out the window. Irritated but curious, I too looked. I saw a coyote run up a hill and disappear behind a scrub of trees. Moments later, I saw the brake lights come on again and he pointed out his window again. This time, a wild horse grazed quietly on some buffalo grass. The child’s little head turned to follow the driver’s pointing hand. It suddenly occurred to me that this parent or grandparent was “making memories” with his child or grandchild. Despite my attempt at being a grumpy, uptight jerk, I felt a huge smile come across my face. I watched the little kid’s head bob up and down in excitement as he and his father or grandfather talked about the wildlife they were fortunate enough to spot. In my frenetic rush to get to my cubicle at Intel, I was completely blinded to the beauty around me. I am in my 40s and I can still remember the special time my grandfather or my father spent with me when I was a kid. I hope this little kid never forgets this special morning on a lazy winding road in the foothills of Placitas. I smiled from ear to ear as I followed the small white truck and watched him turn in to the elementary school. Later, as I stared into the four corners of my cubicle at work and sipped on my coffee, I wondered why I was in such a hurry to get there.

Ladies and Gentlemen: I encourage all of you to take a deep breath and smile and enjoy the natural beauty around us. Everyone is in such a hurry to get nowhere. You’re only on this planet one time (or so they say), so enjoy the ride.

Many thanks to the man in the black cowboy hat driving the small white truck for being my teacher that quiet morning.

—JOHN COLANG, Placitas

re: weighty observations

Dear Friends Back East,

I find myself increasingly awestruck by the size of trucks and their cargoes constantly in motion at our highway 165-550-Route 25 intersection. Perhaps this is due to my decreasing physical stature resulting from age-related spinal column compaction and/or by the fact of recent spinach salad-related food poisoning with significant weight loss. Or maybe I’ve become more childlike since moving to the Land of Enchantment. In any event, it seems to me the size of trucks and their cargoes are steadily becoming more colossal—sort of like high school football players—and that this is particularly evident at said intersection.

One sunny day last week, I was taking my excellent Maine Coon cat, Patrick, to his Bernalillo-based counselor (to help him with his unfortunate Rhode Island accented meow—we’re all embarrassed by it) when we were halted at a light at Route 25. There was an elephantine truck cab halted in the oncoming lane just to my left—lavender with white lettering and about four stories tall; an equally hippopotamic truck on my right; a mastodon of a trailer directly in front of me and a (relatively petite) rock hauler to the rear. Patrick and I were engulfed in near darkness. The inside temperature dropped seven degrees.

Patrick, with his paws against the passenger window, stared upwards at the behemoth just beyond his reach. He turned his head towards me, giving a yellow-eyed stare that seemed to say, “Armageddon’s here, boss. Got a salmon smoothie?”

Looking up at the lavender leviathan to my right, I could see that a handball game was occurring in the living space behind the driver.

On our return trip, we spotted an enormous truck cab pulling four more new, brightly colored cabs upwardly angled on their rear wheels and lined up behind the leader as if performing a gigantic, mechanized bunny hop—or perhaps a unique form of truck erotica. Astounding.

The objects hauled on flatbeds via that intersection are, methinks, increasingly bizarre in shape and size and appear suitable only for Roswell—and perhaps Congress. And I’ve noted enormous sections of conduits apparently designed for a sewage system appropriate for simultaneous use by the Jolly Green Giant, Paul Bunyan, Babe the Blue Ox—and perhaps Congress.

There are large cube-shaped items resembling air conditioners suitable for cooling the northern hemisphere. And, of course, there are huge flatbed trucks hauling houses, some already occupied, complete with swimming pool, lawn, shrubbery, coyote fencing, and coyotes.

Over the years, my spouse has suffered a recurring nightmare wherein she is driving an enormous truck and trailer through lower Manhattan. Since moving to Placitas, this nightmare has increased to near-weekly, no doubt enhanced by these awesome sights on the way to and from Bernalillo. And I now dream that I’m in the passenger seat alongside her, frequently waking in a cold sweat while emitting multi-toned whimpers.

But we’re doing fine in spite of such weighty considerations. The spectacular balloon festival has certainly lightened things up, and Patrick’s counselor is also proving to be a big help.

Your Friend,

—HERB, Placitas

Elk trac

Elk tracks in Placitas

re: off-road vehicles and bugling elk

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who commented on the Forest Service Travel Management Plan (the off-road-vehicle issue) this past summer. We’re still waiting for the Forest Service to release the Proposed Action, which is the document that spells out exactly what they plan on adopting as the formal “Rule” later this year. When the Proposed Action comes out, we have another thirty days to comment on that. Hopefully the La Madera area of the forest will not be part of that proposal, as the two main canyons, Tejon and Gonzales, both have several springs and are recognized by State Game and Fish as viable wildlife corridors. The Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) groups wanted this area as a “rock crawling” area for “extreme” 4x4 trucks. The last we heard, the area was taken out of consideration for OHV use because the access was via the Giant Corp. pipeline, and they didn’t want the general public using this pipeline maintenance road as a forest access.

—PETER CALLEN, Placitas

P.S.—The Diamond Tail Ranch hosted a hike with the Las Placitas Association up Tejon Canyon to the springs located near the Forest Service boundary. And Lo! There were signs of many animals using the year-round spring, including the four-legged ones known as elk. For elk to be coming anywhere near Sandia Mountain is big news, and this isn’t the first sign. Bugles were heard earlier this year, and residents of the Diamond Tail subdivision have seen elk to the north of their houses.

Editorial

Lamenting El Zócalo’s renovation and the destruction therein

—TERRY LAMM

In May of 1980 in selected newsstands around New Mexico, issue 26 of Adobe Today appeared with the center article entitled “Abenicio Salazar,” and above the title in Arabesque calligraphy the words, “An Adobe Folk Hero.”

A large period portrait of a lean Hispanic master builder with a broad-brimmed hat dominated the large formatted 11” x 16” magazine. The article began with this opening paragraph:

“Abenicio Salazar was Sandoval County’s most prodigious adobe contractor in early twentieth century New Mexico, until his death in Bernalillo in 1941. A master mason in stone, brick, concrete, as well as adobe, he often combined all skills in constructing massive adobe structures…Building adobe homes, businesses, churches and schools, Salazar’s accomplishments…”

What followed in the seven-to-eight-page article was a documented survey of many of these places, including the first published photographs of the ghost town of Hagan. Other surveys have followed to identify Abenicio Salazar as the master builder of an entire adobe town now in amazing ruins up Tonque Arroyo on the way to Santa Fe. New Mexico Architecture writer Brent Wilson named Abenicio Salazar as the only documented Hispanic builder in early twentieth century New Mexico. His buildings still adorn many of the streets of Bernalillo and other towns in New Mexico. Citizens of Bernalillo are proud to live in his many adobe bungalow four squares, many with the original oak floors and other solid features that characterize the town.

In addition to many historic and contemporary photographs, there were extensive drawings, sketches, and plans that I had gathered since I first acquired federal tax deed in 1976 to the central part of the Abenicio Salazar Historic District called El Zócalo.

El Zócalo refers to the central square in many towns in Mexico where people can assemble for public discussion and celebration. It was my intent that this property should be the embodiment of the civic ideal of the main town squares employed by all viable societies.

From a long background in liberal idealism, a study of geography had increasingly convinced me that civic idealism meant a more refined sensibility of neighborhood design and rehabilitation. Rigorous study of neighborhood history should be pursued in any real course for civic betterment. Canvassing through neighborhoods from Alabama, Massachusetts, and many New Mexico locations had convinced me years earlier that a survey of overlooked and ignored architectural legacies is central to most any successful effort at community revitalization. In the meantime, in the seventies, the corporate planning agencies had clearly outmatched and outmaneuvered the capabilities of local planning officials.

It was in May of 1980 when I acquired the Augean massive adobe rubble of “Our Lady of Sorrows High School and Convent.” The fact that it was “Idealism” that led our efforts, counterpunched with Realism—Idealism/Realism—the proposition is the paradox we always face—the words faced each other in inceptive murals with the sixteen-foot-wide muralized words headlined over framed community bulletin boards opposite in the entrada of the Salazar Building at the Zócalo.

In March of 2003, the sale of the Zócalo to Sandoval County was written even as the bombs began dropping on the adobe urbanity of Baghdad, Iraq.

Now, we have imprudent improvers who annihilate the history of and in the Zócalo, funded by a government where geographic misinformation malfeasance has been legendary and monumental. Now, they are “historically” rehabilitating the Zócalo in Bernalillo, destroying extensive efforts of Plants of the Southwest, cutting down the Mulberry trees planted by the Sisters of Loretto and now they have destroyed the grand Entrada itself. Any valid historic reconstruction should make contact with its antecedent history. I remember when county officials laughed at my collection of sequential materials at the property closing in 2003, although a state preservation official solemnly promised an appropriate historic treatment for the property that county officials had long strove to acquire and now gleefully expunge.

Last month, the new architects of the reconstituted Zócalo chose to eliminate the murals of the entranceway that was a collaborative effort of Edwardo Gonzales, Leo Garcia, Richard Catanach, Michelle Sewards, and me.

The subject was Civic Idealism, and thus it had to be destroyed.

Edwardo Gonzales warms many of our homes—the Barelas Coffee House, Monroe’s, too many places to mention, but is a key portraitist of New Mexico folklore. While he was working on these murals, Edwardo received surely what we should rate as the highest in civic honors—to have an elementary school in Albuquerque named for him.

Richard lives up to the character and work of Abenicio Salazar himself. Leo has the best geographic public art in Albuquerque.

It is the classic Agora of ancient Greece where Civic Idealism was first conceptualized in the Western world. Now, we experience locally and nationally the dearth of not only civic virtue, but we are haunted now by the dearth of civic imagination itself. Edwardo’s portrait was of children gathering books, maps, and globes, in a gush of youthful yet rigorous inquiry. Idealism built on study and contemplation not unlike the remarkably overlooked ideals of classic Islamic cities and towns. One of the least appreciated historical reappraisals is that from hundreds of years of recently declassified materials, it is clear that the Spanish Empire was enlivened by master geographers. Extensive site plans, maps, and geographic inquiry filled their libraries. I have been in many towns in Mexico where 3-D models from many ages fill their Civic exhibitions—not utopian schemes disguised as Idealism, not the slash and burn ideological fervors of Communism, Nazism, and now its new coarse versions rising out of failing government.

Civic Idealism shapes the shared dreams of its builders and inhabitants. Ancient maps, civic surveys, and cartography secret for much of history show models of architecture and plantings, water rills and shade-giving pavilions that were all ingredients honored in the hallway entranceway. We get our bearings from the counterpoint of Idealism versus the realism we encounter often at the same time. So much misinformation persists. It is the Salazar Building. It is the largest building in the Zócalo. Why has this misinformation persisted?

The theme of water in the entranceway mural with the Patrick Geddes quote, “The Valley is the basis of all Survey” was especially highlighted by Michelle Seward’ s especially accurate 3-D geo-diorama “Watershed of the Northeastern Sandia Watershed,” that was just inside the double set of double doors. This too was an emblematic model of civic geography, an exhaustive portrayal of the beautifully named series of arroyos that both enhance and threaten repeats of the 1949 floods—a cosmographical view of the Bernalillo/Sandia floodplain, pertinent in any optimal land use evaluation.

Under Edwardo Gonzales’s 4’ x 16’ mural, I had about forty 8” x 11” color prints of Zócalos throughout Mexico. These are the stunningly beautiful public congregation sites that exhibit the idealism of its populace.

Study finds climate change to reduce New Mexico’s supply water

—NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY

Researchers at New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico today released a new study finding climate change will result in decreased water availability in New Mexico’s Rio Grande Basin, cutting the state’s water supply and hurting its economy and agriculture.

The two researchers, NMSU Agricultural Economics Professor Brian Hurd and UNM Civil Engineering Professor Julie Coonrod, note a wide range of climate models predict warmer weather and a change in precipitation patterns in New Mexico, changes the new study finds will lead to a decrease in water supply ranging from a few percent to one-third in the Rio Grande Basin. Such water supply reductions will have a significant impact on New Mexico’s economy. The study used a middle scenario of greenhouse gas emissions growth over the 21st century and examined a wide range of potential changes in temperature and precipitation.

“Direct and indirect economic losses are projected to range from $13 million to $115 million by 2030 in the state of New Mexico, and from $21 million to over $300 million by 2080,” said Hurd, who has studied climate change and its economic effects for more than a decade. “Traditional agricultural systems and rural communities are most at risk, and may need transitional assistance.”

Much of New Mexico’s surface water comes from snow melt high in the mountains. Warmer temperatures could create a shift in precipitation patterns, leading to more rain and less snow. That would mean less water stored as snow pack and available after snow melt for rivers and reservoirs, especially during the peak irrigation season in late summer.

Additionally, warmer temperatures translate to earlier seasonal snow melts. That means the water that makes it to the reservoir has more time to evaporate before it is released to agriculture downstream.

“Purely economic figures don’t tell the whole story,” said Hurd. “Unfortunately, what we leave out of our analysis might ultimately prove more valuable to our environment, our identity, and to the character of New Mexico.”

Hurd and Coonrod say water supply losses will not only shrink crop acreage and production but could irreversibly alter New Mexico’s landscape and rural character.

“Irrigated lands support more than crops,” Hurd said. “They provide habitat for wildlife, open space and scenic vistas for the backdrop to New Mexico’s thriving art, tourist and recreation economies.” In addition, the researchers warn of the effects warming and drying would have on New Mexico’s forests, rangelands and water quality, including heightened frequency and severity of wildfires, reduced forage for both livestock and wildlife and reduced water quality.

With decreases in available surface water coupled with rising urban populations, Hurd believes pressure to buy water from farmers will intensify. “Water prices will inevitably rise and farmers will find it more lucrative to lease or sell their water than to farm.” He also believes clarifying water rights and improved measurement will allow farmers to more profitably manage their water, leading to greater efficiency and mitigation of some of the farm-level economic losses.

“This is something that has already been happening in the state,” Hurd said. “Climate change will only hasten water transfers.”

Hurd and Coonrod say with more people and less water in New Mexico’s future, the patterns of water use will either have to be reorganized, or the state risks significant disruption in the services provided by water resources.

The study is available online at: http://agecon.nmsu.edu/bhurd.

Title insurance reform

—THINK NEW MEXICO
—NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY

Researchers at New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico today released a new study finding climate change will result in decreased water availability in New Mexico’s Rio Grande Basin, cutting the state’s water supply and hurting its economy and agriculture.

The two researchers, NMSU Agricultural Economics Professor Brian Hurd and UNM Civil Engineering Professor Julie Coonrod, note a wide range of climate models predict warmer weather and a change in precipitation patterns in New Mexico, changes the new study finds will lead to a decrease in water supply ranging from a few percent to one-third in the Rio Grande Basin. Such water supply reductions will have a significant impact on New Mexico’s economy. The study used a middle scenario of greenhouse gas emissions growth over the 21st century and examined a wide range of potential changes in temperature and precipitation.

“Direct and indirect economic losses are projected to range from $13 million to $115 million by 2030 in the state of New Mexico, and from $21 million to over $300 million by 2080,” said Hurd, who has studied climate change and its economic effects for more than a decade. “Traditional agricultural systems and rural communities are most at risk, and may need transitional assistance.”

Much of New Mexico’s surface water comes from snow melt high in the mountains. Warmer temperatures could create a shift in precipitation patterns, leading to more rain and less snow. That would mean less water stored as snow pack and available after snow melt for rivers and reservoirs, especially during the peak irrigation season in late summer.

Additionally, warmer temperatures translate to earlier seasonal snow melts. That means the water that makes it to the reservoir has more time to evaporate before it is released to agriculture downstream.

“Purely economic figures don’t tell the whole story,” said Hurd. “Unfortunately, what we leave out of our analysis might ultimately prove more valuable to our environment, our identity, and to the character of New Mexico.”

Hurd and Coonrod say water supply losses will not only shrink crop acreage and production but could irreversibly alter New Mexico’s landscape and rural character.

“Irrigated lands support more than crops,” Hurd said. “They provide habitat for wildlife, open space and scenic vistas for the backdrop to New Mexico’s thriving art, tourist and recreation economies.” In addition, the researchers warn of the effects warming and drying would have on New Mexico’s forests, rangelands and water quality, including heightened frequency and severity of wildfires, reduced forage for both livestock and wildlife and reduced water quality.

With decreases in available surface water coupled with rising urban populations, Hurd believes pressure to buy water from farmers will intensify. “Water prices will inevitably rise and farmers will find it more lucrative to lease or sell their water than to farm.” He also believes clarifying water rights and improved measurement will allow farmers to more profitably manage their water, leading to greater efficiency and mitigation of some of the farm-level economic losses.

“This is something that has already been happening in the state,” Hurd said. “Climate change will only hasten water transfers.”

Hurd and Coonrod say with more people and less water in New Mexico’s future, the patterns of water use will either have to be reorganized, or the state risks significant disruption in the services provided by water resources.

The study is available online at: http://agecon.nmsu.edu/bhurd.

First in nation: gambling-specific treatment recovery house opens in Albuquerque

New Mexico has its first long-term, housing-based treatment program exclusively for gambling addiction. This new pilot program is open to address compulsive gambling. Overseen by The Evolution Group, Inc., a local counseling treatment center, the pilot program is called Integrity Recovery House.

Phase One of the project, the men’s house, was started with initial funding from Sandia Resort and Casino and the member tribes of the Responsible Gaming Association of New Mexico. Phase Two, a women’s house called “Rainbow House,” now under renovation and construction, received initial funding from Santa Ana Star Casino and Acoma Business Enterprises.

Integrity Recovery House (IRH) provides structured accountability and support for compulsive gambling and other co-occurring issues for persons in need of a structured lifestyle. IRH is a six-month recovery living model combining the proven approaches of structured recovery house living with nearby gambling-specific intensive outpatient treatment. The men’s house opened in June 2007; the women’s house will open after construction is complete in February 2008.

Integrity Recovery House is grounded in the philosophy, literature, and curriculum of Integrity Recovery, a cognitive-behavioral approach utilized by The Evolution Group, Inc., which has proven successful for many struggling to overcome addictive behaviors and restore balance to their lives. Gamblers Anonymous as well as other community-based recovery organizations will be invited to hold meetings at the location.

Because Integrity Recovery House is recovery housing plus the cost of outpatient treatment, it is not nearly as expensive as inpatient or residential treatment. Scholarships have been made possible for those in need by Sandia Resort and Casino.

Integrity Recovery House is located near The Evolution Group, Inc., an outpatient treatment facility in Albuquerque with a reputation for excellence in treating adult and family issues including gambling addiction, alcohol and drug addiction, domestic violence issues, and mental health disorders.

Integrity Recovery House is open to anyone in need of assistance with a gambling problem. Clients may apply to the program by calling (505) 242-6988, ext. 112, obtaining an application at www.walkingwithintegrity.com, or visiting 218 Broadway SE in Albuquerque. For more information about this program or to schedule a presentation for your organization on counseling and services available for addictive behaviors, contact Daniel Blackwood at (505) 242-6988, ext. 114.

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