Remember to cast your ballot


in mill levy election June 18


In 1870, we were entrusted by our forefathers with the privilege and honor of the 15th Amendment. The power to vote is the responsibility of every American and should be exercised, given any and all opportunities.

It is our bound duty, as American citizens, to take an interest in our nation, in our state and in our community, to make the choices under which we will be governed. If you opt to ignore that duty, you enable and allow someone else to decide your future.

…. On June 18, a half-mill levy is being placed before property owners as an effort to provide opportunity to continue and supplement programs within the community. The Soil and Water Conservancy District is a core group of individuals with a vision and a love for this valley. The half-mill levy would generate approximately $360,000 annually, based on an estimate of $8 to $16, depending on the value of your home. The investment is minute in comparison to its anticipated results.

Elections are extremely important. I encourage you to take the time and make the effort. Your vote does count.

Cyndi Sluder


Rio Communities Association

Rio Communities

Ceremony was wonderful


I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for attending the Memorial Day program at the War Heroes Memorial in Jarales on May 27, 2002. This was one of the most successful ceremonies we have had to date.

Many hands were involved in putting this program on, and I would like to thank each one of you that made it all happen. The New Mexico Air National Guard completed the fly-over right on time; Martin Sisneros made the arrangements for this to happen. Lynn Sanchez and part of her fifth-grade class from Dennis Chavez Elementary School did an outstanding job entertaining us with their singing; it is always great to get the young people involved. The Los Lunas High School JROTC and the Belen High School NJORTC members completed the flag ceremony with elegance. Sen. Michael Sanchez made arrangements for the wreath that was placed at the Memorial. Suzanne Romero from Sunshine Florist made and donated the wreath. Henry Estrada, the band director from Los Lunas High School, played “Taps” for us. Mrs. Chavez from the P&M Museum in Jarales donated cakes and juice for refreshments.

The Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary Unit No. 29 provided cookies and punch and served the refreshments. Ruperto Baldonado and his wife, Flora, painted the metal work around the memorial. Retired Navy Commander Jon Christenson and members of the Belen High School NJROTC assisted Ruperto Baldonado in cleaning the surrounding grounds at the memorial. The members of the Jarales Volunteer Fire Station provided us the use of their facilities for refreshments as in years past and assisted with the cleanup. As always, thanks to the News-Bulletin for the excellent coverage and support for our veterans. Many others helped in making this a most memorable event. To each and every one of you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued dedicated support to the veterans of Valencia County. If I failed to mention you here, I apologize and ask for your forgiveness. Your help was as important as the ones I mentioned.

Billy F. Jones Sr.


U.S. Navy Retired


We don’t need plant


This is a letter I wrote to the county commission:

New Mexico has a very abundant supply of electrical power, 64 percent of which is sold out of the state.

The southern half of Valencia County has an over-loaded 46 KV power distribution system.

PNM has been working hard to correct this situation by paralleling the 46 KV lines with new 115 KV transmission lines. The system is complete to the Tomé station and should be completed to the First Street station in downtown Belen in a few months. This would substantially increase the quality and available power without Cobisa.

The Rio Grande Valley has a serious water shortage. We are using over 70,000 acre feet more per year than precipitation is replacing. Our water table has dropped drastically in the last 10 years!

We cannot afford Cobisa.

William A. Dean


Get your say in right now!


Thursday night, the Valencia County Commission held the second of a series of four public hearings for a proposed comprehensive plan. This important document, if implemented, is intended to be the county’s guide for residential and industrial growth, roads, public safety, greenbelt protection, open space provision, etc., until the year 2020.

The commission scheduled this hearing at the Belen Muni-cipal Building. Only three of the county’s five commissioners (Al Padilla, Alicia Aguilar and Frank Pando) attended to hear public comment.

Only five citizens attended; two more than appeared at the first hearing.

This plan will affect many people in this county, those who live here and work elsewhere as well as those whose livelihood is in this county. It could have some particular effects on anyone who might wish to develop housing projects or subdivide property. Where were all the concerned citizens?

The plan will again be presented on Friday, June 7, at the Valencia County Courthouse in the commission room.

This county needs a well-designed, comprehensive plan reflecting the wishes of its residents. If those wishes are not expressed, this document will not be an effective tool for county management. The time and effort spent in developing this draft will be a complete waste. Public comment is exceedingly important now.

Mary J. Andersen

Los Lunas

What about water crisis?


The headlines in the News-Bulletin and the Albuquerque Journal are shrieking the message: DROUGHT! Perhaps if it were not so darned dry, these parched messages would be heard clearly in our little village of Los Lunas! Irrigation water may be turned off by June 21; (the) Los Lunas Village Council adopted a proclamation declaring a severe drought; Santa Fe is on the brink of a crisis level of water usage. How many more messages do we need to have before someone gets it here in the Rio Abajo? How many farmers and dairymen and all of us who cherish and care for the land in our trust have to lose our livelihood and beloved land? How many arid acres of llano do we have to see “developed”, thereby siphoning life-giving water away from the current stewards? How many politicians does it take to bamboozle a community into believing progress comes by way of unlimited building of houses without the infrastructure, water and budget to support the future inhabitants?

On the other hand, there are some other headlines that offer the hope and incentive of good stewardship and more life-sustaining water use options. Consider: ‘Florida Awarded Wetlands Funding, Feds’ $235 million protects Everglades’; ‘Bay Area Wetlands Gets Funds’ for the “largest wetlands restoration ever attempted on the West Coast”; Senate Joint Resolution 19 and House Joint Resolution 23 of the 2002 legislative session unanimously passed and New Mexico GSD offers full cooperation to the Village of Los Lunas to fund such a wetland alternative in lieu of the proposed new sewage treatment plant. Is the message not crystal clear? Is there not a unique window of opportunity to create a win-win situation? Is this not the time for leadership and creativity to come to the forefront?

As I walk in the green leafy bower of my orchard, picking cherries and charting the progress of other fruit, I once again hear that awful sound of a four-lane, limited access, roadway from hell coming through this carefully tended little plot of land. I feel that gut-wrenching fear that short-term pillaging of the land will trump long-range planning. This time, however, I feel that electric connection that comes from being part of several active community groups. This time, I know how easy it will be to enter the fray and stand centered in the knowledge that right can vanquish might.

And yet, we could dispense with all this conflict and legal sparring, and killing the heart and soul of an elder and his family by just doing the right thing. Public officials are elected into office to carry out the will of the people, not to enforce their will and enrichment. Public officials have a sacred trust and obligation to do what is right for the people, the land and all its resources, not to be the wielders of the killing sword. Our duty as citizens is to make damn sure that the elected officials discharge their duties in a manner that is consistent with the best and healthiest interests of the community at large. In this time of severe water shortages, it is unconscionable for the Village of Los Lunas to fly in the face of their own proclamation, as well as consistent expert opinions, and continue on the foolhardy path of further sucking dry our limited water supply.

Let your opinion be known and felt. Attend the condemnation hearing on June 11 at 8:30 a.m. in Judge Pope’s courtroom. Call your elected officials; call your senators and representatives; write to the New Mexico Finance Authority. Do something! Get involved! Be informed.

Pamela McKenzie


Action is unwarranted


1. The Village of Los Lunas has announced its intent to take immediate possession of a significant portion – 17 acres – of the Jarratt dairy for a two-acre sewage plant expansion (see 22 May 2 News-Bulletin: “Los lunas files petition for condemnation .”).

2. I continue to be angry and dismayed by the village’s unwarranted and, I believe, illegal action to take by eminent domain the Jarratts’ property and livelihood. As Village Administrator Phillip Jaramillo knows full well, the EPA has not tightened its treated wastewater discharge standards. He also knows full well neither the village nor its contract engineering firm can produce any study of alternatives to taking the Jarratt property, which happens to be eight times the land the village says it needs for wastewater treatment expansion!

3. Neither the framers of New Mexico’s constitution, nor the legislators that drafted New Mexico’s eminent domain code, intended private property be taken without a clear, convincing public explanation of why the project for which private property is to be acquired is necessary, and why condemning a particular parcel of private property offers the greatest public benefit with the least private detriment. This is, however, exactly what the village is attempting. There have been no public hearings, nor is there any record of any cost-benefit comparison of project alternatives with the application of consistent decision criteria to support the conclusion that the Jarratt property condemnation is merited.

4. One has to wonder what is really motivating the village government to threaten an 80-year-old couple’s private property rights. Is the village making a thinly disguised grab for water rights to support west of I-25 development? Or is it an interchange with NM 314 and Morris Road, i.e., ultimately an alternative traffic feed into west of I-25 development? Who will benefit from the village’s grab for the Jarratt property, which is well outside of village limits? …

5. As I’ve said before, something smells and it’s not the village’s sewage treatment plant. Fortunately, there is legal recourse to stop the village’s intended property theft. Hope-fully, there will be appropriate compensation for the 14-plus months of suffering and harassment the village has inflicted on the Jarratts.

6. The village and the Jarratts go before Judge Pope on June 11. Perhaps the judge will restore sanity and some integrity to the village. All Valencia County mid and high school civics and government teachers should immerse themselves in the village’s attempt to take the Jarratt’s property what a perfect case study in the corruption of government power for our kids to analyze …. I suspect our children would have no problem determining where right and wrong lie.

Burton E. McKenzie, Jr.

San Fernandez/Tomé

Players grateful for help


The Bosque Farms Buffoonery Players would like to send a sincere thanks to all that participated, sponsored or attended our Grand Night of Entertainment. The many that helped included wonderful music provided by the Fiddlers and Musicians of New Mexico.

Brad FitzGerald was the most wonderful emcee for the evening you could imagine. The Flowers Bakery in Peralta graciously donated desserts. The Bosque Farms Rodeo Association allowed us unlimited time in the Cowboy Hall for rehearsal.

We wish to thank the extra special acts that graced our stage: Nancy Cunningham and Forrest and their rope tricks; Bryce Richard and Nathaniel McLaughlin showing off their keyboard skills and Sandy John-son and her guitar.

The Players raised $500 during the evening and will present the money to the Valencia County Extension Service.

Cindy Thompson

Bosque Farms

Remembering St. Mary’s


My good memories of St. Mary’s School in Belen a long time ago. I still did not know my timetables. A boy across from me neatly wrote them for me.

We boys learned how to be altar boys there. I was so embarrassed when I crawled two steps of the altar instead of getting up from kneeling and stepping up.

It was fun going with the Reverend one Christmas to give Mass at Pueblitos Mission.

I loved the novenas on Friday afternoon with the scent of incense and the sunlight streaming in beams through the windows.

We had a school cleanup one weekend and refreshments afterwards at a nice lady’s house. When I first started school, I played with the girls while the boys played baseball. I learned better! It was fun after school going up in the belfries of the church and trying to catch pigeons.

Us boys wore dark pants and light blue shirts. The girls wore blue plaid dresses.

… There was a little library room there. I picked out a few books there. Then there was the nativity play we had. I was Balthazar sitting on top of a huge camel with fine clothes. My family came to see me.

Then our graduation dance I thought my Beatle boots were fine, but, no, my auntie bought me new dress shoes and a white shirt. I was so embarrassed of my bony shoulders when I danced at St. Mary’s School a long time ago.

Martin Frank Kirtley

Los Lunas

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