Lost petroglyphs of the Diamond Tail Ranch
Join the Las Placitas Association for our third annual Diamond
Tail Hike on Saturday, October 18. Don’t miss this rare opportunity
to hike into the environs of the privately-owned Diamondtail Ranch
northeast of Placitas to an ancient petroglyph site.
We’ll meet along the Diamond Tail Road (directions below)
at 8:30 a.m. and hike approximately two miles to the site. Archaeological
experts will be on hand to answer questions on the petroglyphs and
the archaeo-history of the area. A chuckwagon-style lunch awaits
us at the end of the hike. Admission for the event is $10 per person.
Rides close to the site can be arranged for those who don’t
wish to make the hike. In addition to these fantastically preserved
petroglyphs, the Diamond Tail Ranch features abundant wildlife,
pristine water courses, and plenty of challenging hiking terrain.
Wear appropriate clothing, sturdy hiking shoes, a sun hat, and
plenty of drinking water. Just in case, bring some rain gear too.
Directions to the hike: Follow NM 165 east, just past milepost
7.0 to a left turn on Camino de Tecolote. Proceed roughly a mile
(across Las Huertas Creek) to a right turn onto Diamond Tail Road
(watch for the obvious Diamondtail Ranch Sign just after you make
the turn). Proceed through the Ranch entrance gate, on past the
Diamond Tail Office to the designated parking for the hike along
Diamond Tail road (approximately 1.5 miles total).
This event is co-sponsored by Las Placitas Association and Diamond
Tail Ranch. Please call 771-2000 to RSVP by Friday, October 10 to
reserve your spot on the hike.
"An example of the need for flood control
on Las Huertas Creek."
ESCAFCA planning meeting date set
The Eastern Sandoval County Arroyo and Flood Control Authority
(ESCAFCA) will be holding an informational meeting for the public
in Placitas on Saturday, October 11, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the
Las Placitas Presbyterian Church in the Village of Placitas. The
meeting will be conducted by the Placitas representatives of the
ESCAFCA Board, the agency’s consulting engineer Wilson and
Company, and outreach coordinators Griffin and Associates.
The presentation will focus on educating voters regarding ESCAFCA’s
proposed drainage and flood control plans for the Placitas area.
Sandoval County residents will have the opportunity to vote on the
appointment of an ESCAFCA Board and funding of their drainage control
plan on the upcoming November 4th ballot. The ballot proposal calls
for funding the implementation of the ESCAFCA plan with a County
An informational program will be presented followed by a question-and-answer
session. This is a valuable opportunity to gain the information
you need to make an intelligent choice on funding drainage and flood
control in Eastern Sandoval County.
The event is co-sponsored by ESCAFCA and the Las Placitas Association.
Candidates to speak at Optimists’ forum
Not only is it time to vote again, but it’s also time to
meet the candidates at the Optimists’ Candidate Forum. Those
running for county to federal office will share their views and
answer your questions from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, October
12 at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church.
Candidates for county, state, and federal offices representing
southeastern Sandoval County will present their reasons for deserving
your vote and respond to audience members’ inquiries.
This is a non-partisan event. All the candidates running for office
have been invited.
The forum is open to the general public. Early arrival is recommended,
as seating will be limited.
For further information, please contact Suzann Owings at (505)
Friends of Coronado State Monument present Fiesta
As part of their coexistence, Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo
traditional skills have been handed down through the centuries.
October 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Friends of Coronado State
Monument invite the public to enjoy a “Fiesta of Cultures”
on the portal of the Coronado State Monument.
Celebrate Kuaua’s history (1300 to 1600 AD), Coronado’s
visit (1540-1542 AD), and the Anglo arrival to the Rio Grande Valley
(late 1800s via the Santa Fe Trail). History will come alive during
the presentation. Our cultures are so rich, and this event promises
to be not only a festive occasion with good food and entertainment,
but also a true learning experience through observation of the crafts,
habits, and historical traditions of our ancestors.
Coronado State Monument is located on Route 550 about one mile
west of I-25. If you wish to visit the Kuaua Pueblo ruins or examine
the original Kiva Murals, admission is $3 for adults, free for ages
seventeen and under. Otherwise, there is no admission charge for
the Fiesta. For more information, call Scott Smith at 867-5351.
Water conservation is working
In a joint project, the City of Rio Rancho and the New Mexico Office
of the State Engineer recently completed a water use study to calculate
the gallons per capita day (GPCD) water usage of its citizens.
The GPCD calculator shows that for the past five years, the City
of Rio Rancho has averaged 150 gallons per capita day. During this
same time, the city’s population increased by more than twenty-two
Last year, the Water Conservation Office set a water usage reduction
goal of ten percent lower than current use, or 135 GPCD, to be reached
within ten years. To reach this goal, the city will be providing
water audits to large turf irrigation areas, providing classes on
conservation techniques, and conducting educational outreach to
According to the city’s Utilities Division Manager Larry
Webb, “Rio Rancho is leading New Mexico water conservation
and environmental sustainability efforts by example. Thanks to residents
and commercial utilities customers who are using water-conserving
techniques, Rio Rancho is conserving precious water today to ensure
a healthy water future for New Mexico’s fastest-growing community.”
The GPCD study was conducted with a new software program that calculates
GPCD. The Office of the State Engineer’s goal in the study
was to implement a system for all state municipalities to measure
water use in a consistent format.
The City of Rio Rancho Water Conservation Office provides ongoing
outreach to students, residents, businesses, and city government
about the importance of water for sustainability for Rio Rancho
and its ecosystems.
The Rio Rancho Water Conservation Office also offers rebates for
installation of water-saving devices and provides free leak detection
and water use audits. At City Hall, the Water Conservation Office
supplies free brochures on xeriscape landscaping, along with water
Residents can take advantage of rebate programs that reimburse
up to $100 for replacement of toilets and washing machines with
newer, low-water use models.
Local businesses and city organizations can also request a free
water usage evaluation to determine ways to maximize water efficiency
and minimize water utility bills.
The Water Wise Demonstration Garden, located at the Veterans’
Monument Park next to the Esther Bone Memorial Library off Southern
Boulevard in Rio Rancho, offers a living example of water-efficient
plant life and gardening techniques and free advice from master
gardeners. For more information, contact the Water Conservation
Office at 896-8715.
Mayor Patricia Chavez along with other Bernalillo
town officials break ground for the Early Childhood Center.
Early childhood center breaks ground in Bernalillo
Bernalillo Public School District is breaking ground on a new Early
Childhood Center which will be located just adjacent to Carroll
Elementary school at 301 Calle de Escuela in Bernalillo.
The new facility is approximately 23,150 square feet. The building
will house roughly 150 pre-kindergarten students in ten new classrooms,
as well as an on-site infant room. The new arrangement will move
the current pre-K students out of portables and create a pre-K through
second grade campus for Bernalillo Public School elementary students.
The new building is slated to open in May 2009. The total project
will cost just under $5 million, of which $713,053 were awarded
by the New Mexico pre-K program to help fund the building.
Barbara Vigil-Lowder, Superintendent for Bernalillo Public Schools
said, “Today marks a giant step forward for Bernalillo Public
Schools. National research studies have overwhelmingly shown the
importance of early childhood education. I am thrilled that we will
finally be able to house our first-class preschool program in the
facility the students and teachers deserve.”
Anna Torres, Executive Director of Elementary School Education
said, “Moving our children out of portables and into state-of-the-art
classrooms is a quantum leap. The range of comprehensive services
that we provide to families through our Even Start program has allowed
our students and their families to thrive. The new building will
make our program even better. By creating a pre-K through second
grade campus, we believe we can create a seamless transition from
preschool to kindergarten and through elementary school.”
Election guides available soon
The League of Women Voters of Central New Mexico is launching the
distribution of the nonpartisan 2008 General Election Voters’
Guide on Tuesday, October 7 at the foyer of the Albuquerque Academy’s
Simms Center, 6400 Wyoming Boulevard SE in Albuquerque starting
at 5:00 p.m. This publication will have information about more than
120 candidates seeking office in Bernalillo, Sandoval, and Valencia
The League plans to have the Voters’ Guides available at
these and various other locations in Sandoval County: in Bernalillo
at the library, the senior center, and the town hall; in Cochiti
Lake at the town offices; in Corrales at the village office, the
senior center, and the library; in Cuba at the village office, the
senior center and the library; in Jemez Springs at the municipal
office, the senior center, and the library; in Peña Blanca
at the senior center; in Placitas at the senior center and the library,
in Rio Rancho at both libraries, the Meadowlark Senior Center, and
the Rio Rancho Civic Center; in San Ysidro in the village office;
at the seven Indian Pueblo Governor’s offices; and at the
Navajo Chapter Houses.
Please call the League office at (505) 884-8441 for more information.
Eastern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (ESCAFCA)
Bond Issue on November Ballot
November 4, 2008, voters in Bernalillo, Placitas and Algodones
will have the opportunity to approve a $6 million bond issue that
will provide flood control and watershed management facilities in
Eastern Sandoval County. The Eastern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood
Control Authority (ESCAFCA) received funding two years from the
New Mexico legislature to study flooding issues in the area. On
November 4, voters will determine if ESCAFCA will receive additional
funding to remedy the problems uncovered in the last two years.
Flooding is a frequent occurrence in the desert and is New Mexico’s
most common natural disaster. Every year for at least 20 or 30 days,
there will be enough rainfall to flood part of the middle Rio Grande
region. 2006, one of the wettest years in history, recorded six
of the top 20 water flows in the history of the state. That summer,
the Las Huertas Creek flood damaged major portions of Placitas and
The summer of 2008 has seen flooding statewide, with Ruidoso being
declared a disaster area. FEMA recently declared much of the Town
of Bernalillo and Placitas to be in a floodplain. Without flood
control, flood activity could further destroy wildlife areas, homes
and roads. Additionally, flooding can expose underground utilities
or damage above ground utilities leading to even more disasters.
Currently, there is no one entity accountable for flood control
in Eastern Sandoval County. As communities have grown, individual
flood control authorities have been established. Albuquerque’s
was created in the 1960s, Las Cruces in the 1970s and Sandoval County’s
in the 1980s. With the tremendous growth in Eastern Sandoval County,
now is the time for a flood control authority to be established
If the bond is passed, it guarantees that building is done responsibly
and without causing run-off and increased flooding risks to neighbors.
Moreover, ESCAFCA will provide an environmentally sensitive land
maintenance program, multi-purpose flood control projects with walking
trails and access to natural habitats. All projects will be built
in Algodones, Bernalillo and Placitas.
ESCAFCA will be the lead agency in the region and will work cooperatively
with other agencies committed to flood control and watershed management
including Sandoval County, Southern Sandoval County Flood Control
Authority (SSCAFCA), the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District,
the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA),
Bernalillo, Algodones and Placitas.
The funding for ESCAFCA and its flood control facilities will
be paid for with a mill levy on homeowner’s property taxes.
Voters will approve the mill levy every four years. This first mill
levy will provide $6 million to build facilities. The cost per $100,000
of ASSESSED property value is $5.49 per month. ESCAFCA will partner
with other Federal and State agencies for additional funding to
build flood control projects.
Sharing in the responsibility for flood control will add real
value to property. It has been well documented that flood control
measures and watershed management practices add value by protecting
structures from floodwaters. In addition, ESCAFCA prevents future
development of lands within the floodplain, thus reducing the likelihood
that future homes will be exposed to flood damage.
Many of the infrastructure options that ESCAFCA will construct
will allow the opportunity for multi-use recreational and open space
areas. These are attractive features that add value to nearby properties
and make the community in general more appealing.
ESCAFCA’s mission is to promote the health, safety, prosperity,
security and general welfare of the citizens of Eastern Sandoval
County in a fiscally responsible manner. The flood control authority
will facilitate knowledge of floodplain management, erosion control
and environmental stewardship.
For more information on ESCAFCA and the bond issue, go to www.escafca.org
—MATTHEW G. PEREZ
As time turns the living colors
To red brown yellow and gold
The clouds will darken
And the winds will blow cold
The birds will fly to the south
And the Tallest peaks will prepare
For the beginning of winter
Is soon to be there
The tepid waters will chill
And the weary willows will sing
The petals of flowers will weather
For their new return in spring
The days are now getting shorter
And the night brings with it a frost
The days of summer are over
But the memories not lost
To me there is nothing like the fall
The beautiful colors that it weaves
On and around the mountains
With the radiance of the leaves.
Roxanne takes visitors on a hayride at Wagner’s
Farm in Corrales
—MARGARET M. NAVA, SIGNPOST
Most people look forward to the end of summer because it means
the weather is cooler, the kids are back in school and the holidays
are coming. But the Wagner family of Corrales sees it a little differently.
More than a hundred years ago, Augustin Wagner migrated from Germany,
bought some land and started a family and a business. Knowing that
many people in the then-distant Albuquerque craved fresh, locally
grown fruits and vegetables, he planted an orchard and acres of
red, green, and yellow vegetables. Every morning, he picked whatever
was ready and trucked it to Albuquerque until he could afford to
build a retail market of his own. His farm thrived and so did his
Going into the family’s fourth generation, most of Augustin’s
grandkids and great-grandkids are now involved in the business.
Although the girls prefer to cashier, most of the boys like to get
out into the fields. Starting in early spring, they till the soil
and plant the seeds. During the growing season, they weed, fertilize,
and nurture the developing plants. Then, if the weather cooperates
and there’s enough rain, they start harvesting in mid-July
and open the landmark Wagner’s Farm Market on Corrales Road.
However, as if chiles, apples, corn, melons, and eggplants aren’t
enough, their work doesn’t end there.
Knowing that urban development is rapidly spreading across the
Middle Rio Grande Valley, the Wagner family members are committed
to preserving, sharing, and protecting their agricultural heritage
by making their harvests available to others and by offering educational
opportunities for anyone interested in learning about farm life.
One of the ways they accomplish that is through the Wagner Farmland
Roxanne Wagner, daughter-in-law of Gus and Arlene Wagner, stated,
“We always had a lot of school kids coming out on field trips
to the apple orchard and market. The children had fun at the farm
but the teachers wanted them to learn more about farming. How do
crops grow? What are some of the ways we use them? Was there really
a Johnny Appleseed or Kokopelli? You know… that sort of thing.
We added a corn maze and pumpkin patch and let the kids run around
and pick their own pumpkins. We even did a presentation about agriculture
and the history of farming in Corrales. Word got around and everyone,
not just school kids, wanted to take part, so we opened the farm
to the general public.”
Now in its fourth season, the Farmland Experience includes a hayride,
a petting zoo complete with an alpaca, miniature goats, horses and
cows, and of course, the pumpkin patch and corn maze. Open every
day from September 15 through November 2, kids and adults alike
can tour the farm, relax on a fun-filled hayride, pet the barnyard
animals, find that “perfect” pumpkin, and get lost in
a maze that wanders through ten-feet-high walls of corn. On Saturday
nights in October, adventurous souls can walk the maze with nothing
more than the stars or a flashlight to guide them out. Wagner’s
maze may not be as fancy as some others, but it’s good wholesome
fun and a lot better than staying home and watching TV.
Once everyone makes it safely out of the maze, head down the road
to the Market and grab a burrito at the Apple Tree Café.
Also be sure to check out all the produce such as green and red
chile, vine ripe tomatoes, yellow and white sweet corn, melons,
all types of squash, plums, several varieties of apples, peaches,
green beans, okra, black-eyed peas, cucumbers, jalapeños,
all sorts of jams and jellies, and dried ristras. Everything is
locally grown and it’s fresher than anything in the grocery
At one time, family farms were the basic unit of our then mostly
agricultural economy. Owned and operated by an individual family,
they were passed down from one generation to another. Everyone worked
together and got involved in one way or another. That’s what
family was all about. And that’s what the Wagner family is
Isn’t it nice to know there’s still a place where tradition,
hard work, and family values are still honored? Wouldn’t you
like to see how it’s done?
The Wagner Farmland Experience is located about one mile north
of the Wagner Farm Market on Corrales Road. Open daily from 9:00
a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays in October until 10:00 p.m.,
admission (not including pumpkins) is $6 for adults and $4 for children.
Special school group tours can be arranged by calling Wagner Farms
at (505) 898-3903. Hours at the Market are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
from mid-July through Thanksgiving. Get there before the chiles