Fireworks for sale?


What are they thinking?


Driving home today down Reinken, I truly nearly had a heart attack as I saw a red and white tent, flaps wide open — exposing long tables piled with FIREWORKS FOR SALE!

I want to cry out to every citizen of Valencia County ( beautiful, most treasured Valencia County): “How can we allow fireworks to be sold or lighted anywhere in our area in this time of arid drought?”

Blazes from New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado top the national news. We have daily watched hundreds of huddled refugees aghast at the devastation of houses, lands, jobs. Everyone in Valencia County, driving over the dry desert areas we all live in, knows that the tiniest spark could ignite a fire that could consume our whole environment — as fire is consuming Durango and Show Low and other desert/mountain/mesa areas.

What are we thinking?

How will we justify ourselves if one firecracker from a naive child, teen or adult ignites the county? Will we say: “Oh well, none of us wanted fireworks this Fourth of July; but there’s a law in New Mexico that permits vendors to sell fireworks”?

Watching our own beloved earth ablaze, will we then feel rational? Responsible? Sane? Will anyone excuse us — genuinely excuse us? Will we excuse ourselves? Will we ever get over our guilt?

I mentioned to an out-of-state friend that fireworks are being sold here in Valencia County. He was dumbfounded. He has watched with grief the TV footage of the leaping, wind-driven flames all over the West. He was, indeed, dumbfounded.

I, too, am dumbfounded.

I have come to love these deserts, mesas, mountains, and the people.

Today and yesterday, I and my students and colleagues at Valencia Campus coughed and blew our noses and wiped our watering eyes as we tried to see the mountains through the smoke and ash — the smoke and ash blown here from fires hundreds of miles away. We collectively felt deep concern and grief for the people of Arizona and Colorado as they suffer tragedy dramatically worse than smoky haze.

Please, doesn’t our patriotic duty demand that we spend the Fourth of July in a way that shows we love our earth, our country, our county? One tiny spark from one tiny firecracker (a firework within the “legal” limit) could destroy us and our earth.

Can we not do something before it is too late?

Dr. Byrd Gibbens

Rio Communities

Don’t forget me


It was good to know, from Catherine M. Smith’s letter of June 19, of the courteous and responsive service of Los Lunas public officials.

It was also good to know that, as an incumbent candidate for the State Board of Education, District 6, (Luna, Hidalgo, Grant, Catron, Cibola, Socorro and Valencia Counties), she will be spending time in the most populous county in District 6.

I would hope that this might facilitate formal or informal discussion and debate in Valencia County between Catherine Smith and myself, Don Heacox, her opponent in the November 5 election.

I, too, have been spending time in Valencia County (and the other counties of the district) to understand the concerns of school districts and voters in District 6.

Invitations to speak on or debate educational issues and the role of the State Board of Education would be welcome. More information about myself, family and candidacy is available on my web site,

Don Heacox


Corporations heed warning


In light of the most recent corporate brigandage (i.e., Enron), consider these most outrageous suggestions:

  • Prohibit corporations from owning stock in other corporations.
  • Prohibit corporations from being able to choose when to go out of business.
  • Make stockholders liable for corporate debts.
  • Corporations have no constitutional rights.
  • No corporate participation in the democratic process.
  • Prohibit corporations from making any civic, charitable or educational contributions.

Now consider that all of the above were once part of the law in these United States. We’ve come a long way baby.

Tom Upton


How about Meadow Lake?


My husband and I live in Meadow Lake — all the way back by the old lake bed. A son also lives in El Cerro Mission. We all try very hard to have a decent quality of life, even though we consider our communities to be the “red-headed step-children” of Los Lunas.

While Mayor Huning is busy with his expansion project on the other side of town, we are struggling with too many dirt roads that need paving; too many paved roads that need stripes and a general lack of lights, which makes dangerous roads a nightmare to navigate.

And when is the last time you saw a crew of county jail inmates out here picking up road-side trash? This should be a monthly task — or do they have something else to do?

We’ve tried going to council meetings; one went until after 11 p.m. We finally left without getting a chance to speak. Besides, the idea of having to go back down that hill at night is more than I can bear.

And what is going on at the Meadow Lake Senior Center? This morning, at 10:30, I passed by and witnessed nine or 10 kids playing ball in the empty lot next to the safety-fenced ball diamond.

What the heck is going on up there? Will no one allow these children to play on the ball field? I ask because they knocked a ball right into the street in front of my car.

We can’t be the only people who have noticed these irksome and dangerous problems. The double-yellow line, which runs all the way into Meadow Lake, clearly shows that the sheriff and council members do not even think us capable of passing slowpoke drivers, of which there are too many.

Please take a moment to write or call you council members. It might make a difference.

Charlotte Shirley

Meadow Lake

Check out the RE-Store


Now that the “dust has settled,” I would like to take the opportunity to thank the volunteers (and customers) who helped the Habititat RE-Store move to our bigger location in Los Lunas, one block north of the Valencia Y, formerly Granny’s Attic. With the assistance of some anonymous helpers, we were up and running in two days.

What is RE-Store? A building-materials recycling center where tax-deductible donations of decent clothing (useable) materials are sold to the publid at 50-70 percent off retail price; thus providing funding to build more Habitat homes. Some materials are used at the job site to help keep the cost of the mortgages down (homeowners pay a small down payment and zero percent interest mortgage).

The environmental aspect of this is also substantial — less landfill waste (over 30 percent of landfill waste, nationally, is from construction). Local contractors and building-related businesses do not have to pay a dumping fee, and it’s for a good cause. Heck, we can even go to your place and pick it up.

If a customer would like some free hands-on training on a project, we send them to a jobsite (besides, we can always use an extra volunteer). Inside RE-Store, we have an information area that includes related articles, How-To pamphlets, and a list of local recyclers of various items, if RE-Store can’t take it. Destruction, rather than demolition, is in the future for us.

There area bout 400 of these RE-Store’s across the country now; Valencia County, New Mexico is the third one in our state. HFH’s goal is to help eliminate substandard and/or poverty housing. Everyone deserves “A simple, decent place to live.”

I have every intention of impacting Valencia County: re-use + recycle = RE-Store!

Jean Trent

RE-Store Manager

What’s your Reaction?

The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.