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  The Gauntlet

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letters, opinions, editorials

Las Placitas Association forms radio advisory committee

—Joan Fenicle, Las Placitas Association

KUPR is a one-hundred-watt, Low-Power Community FM radio station located in Placitas and projected to reach the surrounding communities of Bernalillo, Algodones, Santa Ana, and San Felipe Pueblos. We are in the process of building the station in accordance with a Construction Permit granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and plan to be on the air on a limited basis by the end of 2014. KUPR (your Placitas Radio) will operate in stereo on an assigned frequency of 99.9 megahertz. Live programming and a studio open to the public will follow in early 2015.

A part of this process is forming a radio advisory committee, which will operate under Las Placitas Association’s (LPA’s) 501c3 status. This committee brings LPA expertise in an area where we currently have limited experience building and operating a radio station.

We are proud to announce the initial seven members of the radio advisory committee, all of Placitas:

Pat Koensgen brings a 35-year career in radio, especially in the area of news production. His expertise will guide us in the essential programming of the new station. He is looking forward to the next step in his career in radio, helping get a new station on the air.

Lewis “Lou” Reade is an international management executive/consultant with experience in private business, government, and nonprofit organizations. He is committed to enriching the lives of members of our community and has worked with Placitas Artist Series, Albuquerque Council for International Visitors, Rebuilding Together Sandoval County and more. His expertise in seeking funding sources for projects will be especially valuable.

Tim O’Rourke brings us his experience in the entertainment field as a Manager/Agent/Musician/Singer/ Songwriter since 1969. He also has experience in grant writing for nonprofits. His enthusiasm is contagious and his association with other performers in New Mexico will be invaluable.

Chris Frye serves on the Board of Directors of LPA and has been the technical expertise behind obtaining the construction permit for KUPR.

Joan Fenicle also serves on the LPA Board and originated the idea for a Low Power FM Radio station for Placitas when she learned that permits would be awarded for the first time in over two decades.

Ruth Bouldes will represent the Placitas Community Library on the advisory committee.  She currently serves on the Library’s Board of Directors and will help us integrate their wide range of children and adult programs into the radio’s programming.

Dana Howarth will represent the San Antonio de las Huertas Land Grant on the advisory committee. She is a UNM graduate and will make sure KUPR fulfills its promise to include the history and culture of our community in its programming.

We are sure others we have not even met yet will join us on our journey along the road of bringing FM radio to Placitas. This is a resourceful community that rises to the tasks at hand with expertise, hard word, and dedication. As Tim O’Rourke says, “The sky’s the limit.”

You can contact the Radio Advisory Committee at

Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association update

—Chris Daul

The Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association (ES-CA) co-sponsored a Candidates Forum with the Placitas Library Association on September 20. The candidates attending included: Representative Jim Smith and John Wallace, candidates for State Representative, District 22; James Dominguez, candidate for Sandoval County Commission, District 1; Sheriff Doug Wood and Jesse James Casaus, candidates for Sandoval County Sheriff; and, Assessor Tom Garcia and Antonio Montoya, candidates for Sandoval County Assessor. The Forum was a big success, and we look forward to hosting or co-hosting the event again in 2016.

ES-CA has been meeting with the San Antonio de las Huertos Land Grant, the Pueblo of San Felipe, and the Pueblo of Santa Ana to hear their proposals for use of the Buffalo Tract of the BLM land, should any of them acquire it. Each of these groups will be publishing their official positions on their proposed use. ES-CA has published a Statement detailing what uses ES-CA members believe should be permitted and which should not. This document is available on the ES-CA website. The most important issue is the prohibition of mining on this property. ES-CA will continue to meet with the above groups and will also continue to lobby the BLM and our Federal delegation to insure that mining is not a permitted use on this property.

ES-CA recently met with NM DOT officials and representatives of Souder, Miller, and Associates, to discuss the continuing problems with the new I-25/Rt. 165/550 interchange. Souder was retained by the NM DOT to review the design and construction of the interchange. The major issues continue to be signage, lines of sight at the intersections, lane merging, striping, and truck traffic. A final report and recommendations will be published within the next few weeks. We are optimistic that some changes will be made to make the interchange safer. Check the ES-CA forum for updates.

ES-CA understands that Fisher Sand and Gravel is again making an application to the Town of Bernalillo for annexation. To date, that application has not been listed on a Mayor and Council meeting agenda. ES-CA is continuing to talk with Mayor Jack Torres and with representatives of Fisher. We remain committed to trying to minimize the activity that can occur at this site and will work to insure that Fisher is financially responsible for reclamation of the land.

ES-CA’s Land Use Planning Trust (LPT) is discussing whether to join the County’s lawsuit against LaFarge. LaFarge has been sold to Vulcan/CalMat, but the operations continue outside of the County approved limits. ES-CA will be lobbying our State legislators to increase the authority of the county to impose fines and other sanctions on companies that do not comply with the zoning requirements. This is an issue that extends far beyond LaFarge, and we hope that all residents will help in getting our legislators to act.

Visit the ES-CA website at and check the forum for articles and updates. The next ES-CA Board meeting is scheduled for October 6, at 6:30 p.m., at La Puerta Realty. All residents are welcome to attend.

re: make way for the tarantulas

These migrating beasties of the spider world slowly, methodically moving across the landscape signal autumn in Placitas. Each year, I marvel at the determination of these furry “teddy-bear-like,” slow giants. Over the years, I have begun to look for them each autumn. Their bite is similar to a bee sting and records do not show a single human death attributable to a bite. If you see me on the road playing crossing guard, look closely and you will see a Tarantula crossing.

Thanks for keeping Placitas special.

—Gail McGough-Maduena, Placitas

re: Lafarge mine in Placitas

A few months ago, I spoke to a Lafarge Public Relations person regarding their illegal Placitas aggregate expansion and the sense of social responsibility the Big Corp feels about breaking the law. What he said to me was that when I bought my home here several years ago, and I was told that Lafarge was going to shut its operation down, I made the mistake of not contacting Lafarge directly. He told me that anyone who told me that Lafarge was leaving was not the reliable source—realtors, Sandoval County, neighbors. He said, basically, that Lafarge intends to be here until every rock is taken out of the ground.

Regarding social responsibility, it seems Lafarge takes the stand that our disturbance and loss of quality of life we invested our life savings to find here is our own fault. Being at the recipient end of this ugly view, noise, and pollution, which began to occur two years ago when Lafarge purposely violated its Sandoval Permit and has expanded south so that we hear the “beeps,” crusher operation, and see endless dust rising from this illegally, I’m left to conclude that Lafarge isn’t that good neighbor the realtors always said they were and Lafarge really doesn’t care either. Lafarge actions imply: we’re doing this until you can’t afford to fight us in court, folks. That’s reality.

I’m asking every Placitas resident to send one dollar (or more) to the special fund listed on the ES-CA website ( to fight Big Corp greed and power. Please! If you think this is a travesty of justice, you can help.

—Chris Huber, Placitas Trails

re: correction to "San Felipe Pueblo presents plan for BLM land,” Signpost September, 2014

PlacitasWILD is not a horse advocacy group. It is a non-species-specific advocacy group whose mission is to acquire, establish, and maintain in perpetuity a Wildlife Sanctuary for migrating and resident wildlife in the Placitas and adjacent Pueblo lands. This would be a sanctuary that guarantees connections between established and future Wildlife Corridors to the Sandias, Jemez, and beyond. PlacitasWILD has teamed with Pathways Wildlife Corridors, Bear Watch, the Galisteo Basin Preservation Project, and the San Felipe Pueblo in this mission.

It was also reported that an Act of Congress is needed to acquire the Buffalo Tract as tribal trust lands. That is incorrect. It requires only that the state congressional delegation recommend the acquisition.

—Tony Hull, Placitas

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