A Call to Residents of Sandoval County

Laura Robbins


This is a reminder about action to be taken by the Sandoval County Commission. The Commission is about to vote on an extremely permissive Oil and Gas Ordinance that could radically affect the quality of our lives as well as property values in a large part of Sandoval County.

Here’s how the Commission plans to make it easy for oil and gas companies to drill near your home or ranch or farm:

  • NO public notice
  • NO public hearing

Your wakeup call will occur when the company starts drilling next to your home.

Sounds unbelievable?

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Deer Creek Fire and Other Forest News

By Julie Anne Overton



Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) plan to manage the lightning-caused Deer Creek Fire on Peggy Mesa by using low-intensity fire on the ground to achieve multiple resource benefits.

The Deer Creek Fire started Sept. 15 on Peggy Mesa in the old San Diego prescribed burn area and adjacent to the site of this summer’s lightning-caused Peggy Fire.  Objectives for managing the Deer Creek Fire include:

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Science Deniers and Creationists Propose New Science Curriculum for New Mexico Schools

By R.W.

The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) is proposing new science teaching standards that question climate change, deny evolution and promote the oil and gas industry. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and the state’s Education Secretary -designee Christopher Ruszkowski have followed the Trump administration’s lead and “politically sanitized”, as they will have it, the vocabulary and content of science teaching standards.

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Hard Work Pays Off On Bandelier’s Frijoles Canyon Trail  

By Chris Judson


Photo NPS

Trail tread before and after rehab

One of Bandelier National Monument’s most scenic and popular trails, the Frijoles Canyon Trail between Upper Crossing and Alcove House, can now be hiked without having to climb over the huge logjams and other barriers caused by the floods following the 2011 Las Conchas Fire.   For several years volunteer crews have been gradually working their way up the canyon, making spaces in the debris piles, removing hundreds of fallen trees, and re-establishing the trail tread.  In places a new trail alignment had to be located and approved.  Then this year, efforts included not only the Bandelier staff and local volunteers, but also the Rocky Mountain and YMCA Youth Corps.  With everyone’s hard work, there is again a real trail for the entire five-mile distance, and the effects of the floods are impressive parts of the landscape rather than obstacles.

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Deer Creek Fire Smoke Rises Over the Nascimientos

Photos R.W.

Smoke from the lightning strike caused Deer Creek Fire has now become visible in the southern parts of the Jemez Valley.  It started on Sept. 18 when it was estimated at about eight acres, but has most likely grown by now. No new reports on its progress have yet been posted  on New Mexico Fire Information or the Santa Fe National Forest sites.

The fire is burning on the Jemez Ranger District next to the site of the Peggy Fire.


Smoke Rising Over Gilman and Two Other Fires in Santa Fe National Forest

By Julie Anne Overton


Three lightning-caused fires on the Santa Fe National Forest are putting up visible smoke today as crews keep an eye on the Deer Creek, Beaver Creek, and Ojitos Fires.

A lightning strike on Friday started the Deer Creek Fire, estimated at about eight acres, on the Jemez Ranger District next to the site of the Peggy Fire which started on July 18.  As crews monitor the Deer Creek Fire, which is about 2 miles northwest of the Gilman Tunnels, smoke has been reported from US Highway 550 and may impact the Pueblo of Jemez and the communities of Gilman and Cañon.

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Visitors and Users Urged to Boil Water Prior to Drinking at Chaco Culture National Historic Park


Photo R.W.

Wall at Chaco Culture National Historic Park .

The New Mexico Environment Department’s (NMED) Drinking Water Bureau (DWB) is confirming a required “boil water advisory” for the Chaco Culture National Historic Park Water System.

Chaco Culture National Historic Park Water System is required to issue the advisory today after bacteriological contamination (E. coli) was detected in repeat drinking water samples from the water system’s distribution system. Chaco Culture National Historic Park Water System is required to notify all water system users of this finding.

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By Jennifer Olson



Been so busy I almost forgot to send out your market news, so it will be brief. There will be a market Saturday with the benefit of a full harvest. Plus, we will have all the regular wonderful stuff we always have, and probably some nice surprises too.

So be prepared, no knife sharpener this week (next week for that) but we will have everything else – smiles and all. Thanks for adding yours. See you there.

Sandoval P & Z Commission Sides With Big Oil and Gas Over County Residents

Miya King-Flaherty,

Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter Public Lands Fellow

Vote recommends ordinance that would allow drilling without public notice or groundwater monitoring

Late Tuesday night, the Sandoval County Planning and Zoning Commission voted 3-2 to recommend an oil and gas ordinance that would bypass citizens’ input and endanger drinking water for families in Sandoval County and elsewhere.

Commissioner Dan Stoddard’s ordinance, recommended Tuesday with few changes by the P and Z Commission, would give county staff sole authority to approve or deny drilling applications.“Staff could allow oil and gas drilling without public notice, hearings or a vote by the county commission,” Rio Grande Sierra Club Public Lands Fellow Miya King-Flaherty said.

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Non-Hunting Outfitter/Guide Applications for SFNF Special Use Permits

By Julie Anne Overton


Commercial outfitters and guides who provide non-hunting outdoor recreational activities on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) have until Oct. 10, 2017, to apply for a new special use permit to operate in 2018.  Commercial services that require an outfitter/guide permit include river rafting, rock climbing, hiking, bicycling, backpacking, jeep tours and similar activities.

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Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs of New Mexico

Tashina Silversmith

American Indian Chamber of Commerce of New Mexico

American Indian Chamber of Commerce of New Mexico (AICCNM) is offering  an afternoon of networking and scheduled presentations at their upcoming monthly lunch mixer on Thursday, September 21st from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center – Private & Pottery room.

This month featured will be authors of Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs of New Mexico, Surpassing Barriers and Stereotypes

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Heaps of (Multi-Species) Stories

Subhankar Banerjee
Professor of Art and Ecology & Lannan Foundation Endowed Chair of Land Arts of the American West

Vast number of caribou and vast number of snow goose overlap in space but not in time on the Arctic tundra and get entangled through their droppings that lead to nourishing. That we can call, multi-species world-making. And the art of telling the story? Multi-species storytelling. There is more. “We are the caribou people,” say the Gwich’in indigenous people of the Arctic North America. That is multi-species cosmology. Soon a heap of stories form and become a powerful agent of political action to resist oil extraction and advocate for environmental justice and conservation. And that would be—multi-species cosmo-politics.

See here the rest of the University of New Mexico Art Museum monthly newsletter.

Beaver Creek Fire in the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District

By Julie Anne Overton


Reported: Members of the public reported seeing smoke on Sept. 10, 2017, and the Barillas Fire Lookout Tower confirmed smoke and an approximate location on Sept. 11.

Cause:  Unconfirmed, but lightning is the most probable cause.

Size: Estimated at 1-2 acres.

Location:  On the southeastern edge of the Pecos Wilderness on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) near Hermit’s Peak and about 4 miles south of the village of Rociada.

Vegetation:  Mixed conifer.

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Bandelier Welcomes Artist In Residence Paul Cruz

By Chris Judson


Photo: NPS Photo 

Bandelier Artist In Residence Paul Cruz and some of his original jewelry pieces.

Recently, Bandelier National Monument welcomed the park’s Artist in Residence for September, Paul Cruz.  Paul is no stranger to the area, as he was born in Espanola and still has many relatives in the area.  In fact, for those familiar with the Los Alamos Ranch School and the Manhattan Project, his grandfather was Bences Gonzales, a hardworking and well-loved character through those years in Los Alamos history.  Cruz’s mother and her siblings grew up in Los Alamos.  His uncle, Ray Gonzales, wrote the book, “A Boy on the Hill”, about growing up on “the Hill” during the Ranch School years.

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A Friendly Robot Offers to Help Sue Equifax  

By R.W.

An estimated 143 million Americans, half of the U.S. population (this could be you and me), have had their names, addresses, social security numbers, some credit card numbers, driver license numbers and credit reports stolen in one of the biggest ever breaches of consumer data. This data breach threatens its victims with identity theft, giving away every single detail that someone could possibly need to steal  another person’s identity.

The case involves a company called Equifax, a credit reporting agency. There’s a very high chance that if you’ve ever had any sort of loan, credit card, or interaction with a collection agency, that you have dealt with them. The company waited six weeks to tell the world about the hack, that gave hackers a six-week jump on all of us.

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Large Animals Thrive in the Jemez in Improved Forest Conditions

Video: New Mexico State University. 

An article in the Las Cruces Sun-News explores the results of habitat restoration  through prescribed burns and forest thinning that have been part of the Southwest Jemez Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project.

The study results so far give interesting insights into the changing conditions into the Santa Fe National Forest and Valles Caldera National Preserve in the mountains above us.

The link to the article is here.


Bandelier and Friends of Bandelier Introduce New Wilderness Ranger

By Chris Judson


Photo:  NPS Photo

Bandelier Wilderness Ranger Bob Loy  

Bandelier National Monument recently welcomed their newest seasonal ranger, Colonel (RET) Bob Loy.  Ranger Loy will serve as the Dorothy Hoard Wilderness Ranger at Bandelier. The position is sponsored by the Friends of Bandelier as a memorial to the founder of the organization, Dorothy Hoard, who was also instrumental in the designation of the Bandelier Wilderness.  According to Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott, “Many people know of Dorothy because of her guidebook to hiking in the park.  It’s so appropriate to have a ranger specifically for the wilderness, to help visitors appreciate and understand it as Dorothy did.”

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 Equifax Offer Comes With Big Strings Attached.

By R.W.

A reader has alerted us about  the Equifax offer of free identity theft protection and credit file monitoring services in a comment on a press release by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas that appeared yesterday. See the article and the reader’s comment here. The issue concerns the personal information stolen from 143 million people in a data breach earlier this year.

An article in CNN tech, which the reader has alerted us to, warns us to read the fine print in the offer made by Equifax, which does not offer protection until next week at the earliest and might prohibit us from suing, joining a class-action suit, or benefiting from any class-action settlement. The CNN article is here.

SFNF Waives Fees for National Public Lands Day; Volunteers Needed for Trail Improvement Projects

By Julie Anne Overton


The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) invites you to celebrate National Public Lands Day on the SFNF on Saturday, Sept. 30, by volunteering to work on popular multi-use trails that need a little TLC.  Or, take advantage of the third fee-free day of the year to visit your favorite sites on the forest for free.

National Public Lands Day is the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands.  Last year, over 200,000 volunteers at 2,600 locations accomplished $18 million in public land improvements.  This year, the SFNF is offering two great opportunities to get outside with friends and family while practicing environmental stewardship:

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True Breed of Sheep Created in NM

By Craig Massey


Photo: New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum.

Two Debouillet ewes from the Jones Ranch near Tatum, N.M., are part of the livestock collection at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum.


There aren’t many things in our state that are more New Mexico True than Debouillet sheep.

The breed originated in southeastern New Mexico, and the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces has a new display that chronicles the development of this type of sheep. The Museum also has two Debouillet ewes among its livestock collection.

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Why So Blue

By R.W.

The Sandias as seen from U.S. 550 during the last few days.

There is a fairly contained, small, piñon/juniper wildfire burning nearby, on Borrego Mesa, and a prospect of several prescribed burns later this month on the Española Ranger District, just announced by the Santa Fe National Forest. None of that is, or will be, responsible for the smoke blurring our horizons and creeping into our bedrooms now, and likely to continue doing so through the rest of this Summer and into Fall.

This smoke blowing our way, and across the lower 48, is from the wildfires burning through the Northwest and Midwest, including vast conflagrations in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho,  Montana, Utah and British Columbia.

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Udall, Heinrich and Luján Urge Secretary Zinke to Defer All Leases on Land Near Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Photo R.W.

Pueblo Bonito interior at the Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján urged Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to uphold the agreement to defer all leases on land near Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The area is currently undergoing review by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to plan the best way to appropriately manage and protect this unique archaeological site and the surrounding land. The BLM previously agreed to defer all leases within a 10-mile radius of Chaco Canyon until all Tribal consultation and community outreach has been completed and a Resource Management Plan Amendment (RMPA) for the San Juan Basin has been finalized. However, the BLM recently began the process of leasing areas within the 10-mile radius.

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Lightning Caused Fire Burning on Borrego Mesa

By Julie Anne Overton , Acting Public Affairs Officer


Start Date: Sept. 4, 2017

Cause: Lightning

Size:  Approximately 12 acres

Location:  Borrego Mesa on the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest, approximately 3 miles southeast of Ponderosa and approximately 1 mile north of the northern boundary of Zia Pueblo tribal lands.

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Changing Odds in the New Normal

By R.W.

You would think that 500 year floods should not happen much more often than every 500 years, give or take a few decades, perhaps. Once you start getting 500 year floods every year, it might be time to rename them “only-to-be-expected-every-year-floods”.

By its definition a “500 year flood” is not a flood that might happen every 500 years, but is a flood that has a 1 in 500 chance of occurring in any given year. Still, what with Houston having just experienced a 500 year flood 2015, 2016 and now this year, it might make sense to reconfigure some of those odds, since (I am told) that the chances of a 1-in-500 event occurring three straight times are one in 125 million.

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Attorney General Balderas Statement on President Trump’s Decision to End DACA

Hector Balderas, New Mexico Attorney General


Hector Balderas.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas released the following statement in response to President Trump’s decision to end DACA:

“With the decision to end DACA, President Trump is compromising the safety of our communities and our nation, and he is putting the security of thousands of New Mexicans who contribute to our classrooms, public safety and economy at risk. Losing hundreds of thousands of future police officers, members of the military, doctors and teachers will create an unacceptable public safety threat in the United States. My office will continue to use all means necessary to push back against harmful rollbacks that target Dreamers.”


State Employees Raise more than $13,500 for Disaster Relief

 Susana Martinez, Governor



Partnership also Highlights how New Mexicans can Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

Governor Susana Martinez and Red Cross New Mexico announced that state employees raised more than $13,500 in this year’s Dollars for Disaster campaign. The sixth annual partnership between Red Cross New Mexico and New Mexico state employees raises money to provide relief to victims and help to emergency responders throughout the state.

“From fires, floods and other emergencies, New Mexicans know more than most how important it is to be prepared – and how to come together to help those in need,” Governor Martinez said. “I’m proud that our state employees are leading by example to help fellow New Mexicans. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with the Red Cross and other partners across the state to help those in need.”

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Mr. Robot Hits Town


New Mexico Film Office Director Nick Maniatis announced today that USA Network’s television series “Mr. Robot” produced by Universal Cable Productions in association with Anonymous Content, will partially shoot in Albuquerque at the end of August through the beginning of September.Continue reading