Here’s to small victories


Having come from a notoriously anti-climate-action state, I remember being both shocked and ecstatic in 2019 when New Mexico, my new home, became the third state in the country to pass 100 percent clean energy regulations.

I remember being dazed and happily thinking, “This is it! We won.” Surely that was all it takes. But as I’ve seen in the year and a half since then, no. Of course that’s not all.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t celebrate the small victories. It means that no single decision is a free pass to save the world. In the time since that monumental day, I have found myself fighting for energy efficiency measures, for electrification of our transportation, and more recently for what our replacement power will look like once these transitions actually start taking place.

Some days we celebrate small victories, some days we mourn small failures. But at no point through this journey is it okay to disengage.

Today was a small victory. The PRC recently unanimously voted in favor of having the replacement power for the San Juan station consist of 100 percent renewable energy and battery storage. There’s a long way to go in the grand scheme of things, but today I celebrate this small victory because I know it is leading up to the day we can celebrate the truly big victory when we’re standing proud on the day our state, our country, our planet is run by 100 percent clean, sustainable energy.

Arcelia Isais-Gastelum


Unhelpful in pandemic


On July 27, I went to Ranchero Builders Supply in Belen to purchase materials for a home project, which cost me $128.

I could have gone to a big box store in Los Lunas, but I wanted to support a local business instead. As I walked in, I was saddened to see that only one employee was wearing a mask and shocked to see that only a few of the customers were wearing their masks.

I also noticed that the half dozen cashier employees behind the counter were not wearing a mask, and there was no social distancing between employees and customers. I lined up at the checkout line with the one employee who was wearing a mask. As I was waiting, the owner or supervisor directed me to an unmasked cashier.

I completed my transaction and, upon leaving, I thought about how the COVID-19 numbers in Valencia County have been rising, so I approached the person who directed me to move to the unmasked cashier. I asked him, “Why are you and your employees not wearing masks and not following social distancing?” His response was, “That is what the governor said.” “You’re wearing one.” (He was referring to my mask.)

What he said next blew me away. He went on to say, “This is not North Korea. We are not in North Korea.” I walked out of the store shocked and dismayed.

I will never return to this business ever again. I will only shop at local businesses and stores who are following the COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Ramon Garcia

Los Lunas

Solar is a big deal


A vertical solar collection system is something I didn’t think I would ever see in Los Lunas — at least not until we saw it in a major city first, because it always seems that New Mexico is just a few years behind.

That very well could be why people like New Mexico, it doesn’t mess too much with what works. Why reinvent the wheel? Except this really isn’t reinventing the wheel, but fixing a broken wheel.

I grew up alongside rapid technological growth and have always seen skepticism. Which is a bit strange since we are a state with most PhDs per capita, thanks to our national labs. So why has it been so hard for us to look to other ways of collecting energy, like using this vertical solar power system?

We are progressing to more energy collection methods, like this vertical solar power system. To have a system that makes twice the amount of energy with a quarter of the space used by other solar systems, is kind of a big deal. This shows we don’t have to compromise with land use or having solar making it much more accessible to both rural and urban life.

Solar should no longer be a luxury to the few, but the standard to all. If this vertical system works the way it says it does, we could be on the cusp of historical innovation, and a shift to the renewable energy industry as a whole. It’s time we upgraded.

Danielle Garcia

Bosque Farms

We appreciate our folks


Thank you, Valencia County!

In this time of pandemic, many of us who work with military veterans’ groups have our hands tied.

However, the Blue Star Mothers of Valencia County learned several weeks ago that the residents of the New Mexico State Veterans’ Home in Truth or Consequences could use our help.

The home currently has no positive COVID-19 cases, and we want to help keep it that way.

The frustration, loneliness and boredom from which the residents suffer at this time needed to be addressed. Initially, the three public libraries in Valencia County — Belen, Bosque Farms and Los Lunas — donated more than 100 books on CD.

One by one, Walmart managers in several counties stepped forward with donations of CD players and gift cards to support us as we support the veterans.

As we talked with the administrators at the home, we decided that we’d collect jigsaw puzzles for the folks down there. You generous folks from our county gave us more than 200 puzzles at eight different locations. Our thanks to those of you who collected the donations for us.

The children day care at Heights Christian Church in Albuquerque made fantastic artwork for the ladies and gentlemen at the home.

And, as we reached out to the ladies who sew in our community, many of you stepped forward and made wheelchair bags for the veterans.

We are truly grateful to all of you, our neighbors in Valencia County! On behalf of the men and women who served our country and are now living at the lone military retirement center in New Mexico, we want to say, “Thank you!”

Betty Follett

Blue Star Mothers of Valencia County

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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.