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Category: Events (page 1 of 2)

flights of the cranes

the simple joys of living in huning

Generally, beginning in October, the annual pageant of the flight of the cranes can be easily and often observed from the properties of Huning Castle. As the annual event progresses the overhead flocks increasingly get larger, and often linger longer.

For hundreds, if not thousands, of years the cranes gravitate toward the bend in the river, just south of Old Town and north of Downtown, an ancient geographic reference point far more obvious from the air.

Crane watching is easy at 1514 Silver, without craning ones neck. The reason – there is a wonderful 500 square foot second floor deck with chairs and sturdy thick deck walls surfaced with tile. “Up on the roof” there is room for all, or at least a few friends or neighbors, and the tiled railings provide a natural resting place for light food and drink – refreshing refreshment for the body to supplement this annual refreshing of the mind.

The cranes look down, often as they regroup and circle, and the deck denizens, lucky as they are, look up to watch just another remarkable wonder of nature.

After the winter’s sojourn among the fields of grain that permeate the area of the southern Bosque the pageant resumes in the spring as the cranes fly north in their seemingly endless quest for companionship and adventure.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

New mexico

Sand Hill crane

Sand Hill crane

The Annual Festival of The Cranes is held each November  at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, located 17 miles south of Socorro, New Mexico.

The annual Festival of the Cranes takes place both outdoors and indoors.  The Festival is headquartered at the Bosque del Apache Visitors Center.

Images may be enlarged by clicking on the image.
Map locating Bosque del Apache

Map locating Bosque del Apache

From the Center visitors can drive an auto loop around the refuge.  Observation decks are located at various points along the loop route that make perfect stopping places to take photographs, to use viewing scopes, and to learn from volunteer docents.

Map of the Auto Loop and View Points at Bosque del Apache

Map of the Auto Loop and View Points at Bosque del Apache

Click HERE for the Google satellite map of the Bosque and wildlife area.

Sand Hill crane in flight

Sand Hill crane in flight

There are over 100 lectures, workshops, and various hands-on activities, many of which are related to the annual sand hill crane migration.  Hikes and tours take place, including special photography tours.  Many of the events require the payment of additional fees.

The Friends of the Bosque organization is in charge of EVENTS within the larger Festival of the Cranes event.

Sand Hill cranes in repose

Sand Hill cranes in repose


the A.R.T. electric eclectic

the new art articulated electric BUS and

the new central avenue

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The gold type are links to related material.

A citizen’s observations, opinions & beliefs.
Copyright 2017

the best bus ever

On August 8, 2017, the first Albuquerque Rapid Transit (A.R.T.) electric bus arrived in the City of Albuquerque, sporting a clearly visible State of California license plate.

#1701 sporting its original “California plates” livery.

This Albuquerque Rapid Transit (A.R.T.) bus is the first ever articulated bus built by the Build Your Dreams (BYD) bus company, headquartered in China, with a factory located in California. #1701 is a special version of the 20 buses contracted for by the City of Albuquerque (COA).

The buses, still undelivered, are supposed to be “roll-on and roll-off” buses that are compatible with the bus platforms still being built in the center lanes of Central Avenue.

Since the required platforms have not been built for 5 of the 14 mile-long Central Avenue and Louisiana Boulevard A.R.T. bus line this “platform slide” bus, with its unconventional ramps, might be totally necessary, not just useful.

catching up with the bus

Yesterday I was able to catch up with the bus after an ABQ RIDE driver informed me that the BYD company had delivered only one bus to the City (COA) and that the one bus had “flip-out” ramps at all 5 doors so that the platforms being built on Central were not even necessary for roll-on and roll-off  loading and unloading.

Admittedly I was a bit confused by this statement, as I thought (last summer) that the whole really cool thing about the A.R.T. project (according to the City) was that the roll-on and off platforms were key to the whole point of centered Central Avenue “stations.”

PNM and the bus charger

When the last electric streetcar in Albuquerque stopped running up and down Central, between Old Town, through new town, with a final stop at where the Frontier Restaurant now is for the University, it was a loss to the city owned electric utility. The last car ended its last run on December 31, 1928, just about 89 years ago.

The model 400 Power Pack that appears to be necessary to keep the bus going.

So, to me it seemed fitting that the new electric buses are powered by the new electric company – PNM. The only problem is that if the new buses are just “plug & play” into the PNM grid, why was it that the first thing that I saw was a giant electrical charger, mounted on wheels no less, like a trailer?

No, I didn’t notice a trailer hitch on the back of bus #1701. So, I guess that this is like a portable charging station in case the bus runs out of “gas” and a PNM outlet is just not available at the stations – just hook-up the trailer, reach the bus, recharge, and everything is “good-to-go.”

The question that nobody asked last summer during all the A.R.T. hoopla was actually how long are the electric bus extension cords used for the PNM charging?


When I got to the front of the bus, after working my way around the electrical charger, I couldn’t help but notice that the new buses license was expired.

Expired NM vehicle registration that replaced the California plates.

On August 8th the bus arrived in Albuquerque sporting California plates. On August 28th the bus was temporarily registered in New Mexico. On September 27th the temporary registration expired.  Dare we ask the question why?

If this bus is destined to ply the route along Central Avenue why hasn’t the bus received its permanent NM plates? Why isn’t the bus already snuggling up to the loading platforms so that ABQ RIDE drivers can learn how to serve passengers without scratching the paint off the sides of the beautiful new buses?

Look closely, you may easily see the answer. #1701 is not a new bus at all, it is apparently just an old bus that has been reworked and repainted. Do you see it? The bus was manufactured in 2016. It seems that this was an old bus that had its back chopped off and the articulated trailer was then added.

In the industry they call it a “mock-up” or a prototype model. No, this bus is not apparently a production model, it is a “presentation” model, it’s probably good for a show, but not really good for the road.

So, “back-it-goes” when the real buses start to roll in, but the real buses have yet to roll in. It’s not really “smoke & mirrors,” but the situation could really cause tears if the real buses are not soon in arriving. One may ask, “what’s the rush?”

A good look before it goes back

Sit back, buckle-up, you’re in for the ride of your life.

The electric BRT bus is rather good looking in a street-rail sort of way. It’s said to be streamlined, like the Airstream trailers, but unlike the trailers it is not really streamlined in a real science sort of way. And yes, it is really just a bus, and not really a bit like rail or even light rail.

The bus has 5 doors, 3 on the right, 2 on the left. An accordian fold connects the bus and the bus trailer, creating the articulated effect.

Straps, high chairs, and bars – ART has something for everyone.

Unlike the Rapid-Ride buses there is no advertising covering the outside, but then again, there is no guarantee that that situation won’t change.

Like the “Last Train to Pottsville.”

The buses are silver, as if they were destined for use in the Silver State – Nevada; they are not the red and green with the chile motif that one might expect in New Mexico. There is no nod to Route 66, but then again, the old Route 66 is now long gone with the newsy noise of the new buses and the new Central.


The big deal associated with the electric bus set is being ready when the final ribbon is cut. Politicians are always into photo-ops and ceremonies. It looks bad when one politician really worked hard and the new politician gets all the credit.

I worked very hard last summer to point out the madness of this very big bus boondoggle, but, until now, I had little to show for it. In the opposite corner Mayor Berry probably feels the same way.

Wheelchair lock-down location, the high shoe-shine seats are further back.

He did the “done deal” and now he wants the photo-op credit. The new mayor, Tim Keller, takes office on December 1, 2017, just over five weeks away. So Berry has five weeks to finish everything, clean up Central, get the buses, train the drivers, and have everything running on the tight 15 minute bus schedule that he promised years and years ago when he first began to get started.

I imagine that they are giving very long odds on the bet in Las Vegas, but, don’t get me wrong – it could happen.

The accordion is also called a squeeze box. We’ll see if the fenders are really benders at the ART stations.

the new central

The old Route 66 Arch is now upstaged by the ART bus logo sign at the end of the line at Coors & Central. Actually the bus goes another mile or so to the transit transfer station, but no loading ramps have even been started there yet.

The first ART platform sign is up with many, many more to go – just another bump in the road.

Five or six weeks from now, under the Berry plan, all the orange cones and barrels will be gone and a thousand or more ART construction workers will be unemployed.

Note that the “red rock” reinforced concrete pavement ends just east of the station. It’s just a very wide swath of uninterrupted black asphalt to the bottom of the hill, 1.5 miles away. The only break is the station near where the Old Coors intersection has been eliminated.

All the trees, the medians, and the center island light posts on old Central Avenue are gone.

polka dot paint with little shelter

The ART loading platform at Coors features the white polka dot crosswalks that the illustrators promised. In their ‘conceptual illustrative renderings’ the polka dots were much larger and they were plastic inlays, not paint.

Some might say it was “bait and switch” to do this, I think it is more “bus and switch.” Anyway, less than a month and the polka dot crosswalks already look worn and dirty.

Worn and dirty in a project that many say was ‘fast & dirty.’ But the contractors all made money.

The new Denver Airport was probably where most people first noticed the “tent top” stretched material as a substitute for roof coverings. The ART transit platforms leave people substantially exposed to the sun, rain, snow, wind and weather. And all this is while one is stranded in the middle of the street.

ABQ RIDE hated that the Rapid Ride stops provided shelter for the homeless. I guess that is the issue that led to decisions like this:

The ART workers find shelter by sitting on the edge with feet in the bus lane.

The nanny state is always watching you, as if the “watch bird” has replaced the roadrunner as the New Mexico state bird. Every station has multiple cameras recording your every move 24/7. Don’t look up, you might see them while they are seeing you.

So if the police are called, will they use the bus lanes to respond in a reasonable amount of time?

In the next picture you can see the camera watching the painter if you look up. At the stations you always have to “look up” so you don’t hit your head on the “V” shaped metal pipes that provide support for the tent tops.

Real, effective, transportation systems require a lot more than a new coat of paint.

Remember that it is the “two-door” side of the bus that is available at most stations (See featured image above), the “three-door” side of the bus (shown below) is only used downtown and at the extreme ends of east and west Central.  Go figure?

Right side of bus with three doors,

not used at platforms.







The original ART plan sold to the feds and sold to the people of Albuquerque was for a world class BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system that had, as almost all BRT systems, a system of reinforced concrete “bus only” right-of-ways.

The advantage of this thick concrete slab, reinforced with steel rebar, is that it provides a long-lasting durable roadway that can support the weight of frequent, very heavy, passenger loaded buses in a way that asphalt road surfaces simply can’t.

A simple drive down Central reveals that these dedicated bus guide-ways haven’t been built. In most cases the red-rock red concrete ends just before or after each station.

There is no continuous durable reinforced concrete path on which the buses can tread. I guess that someone assumed that nobody in Albuquerque would really notice this “bus and switch,” this blatant “steal of steel.”

So, the big boys of Central, on Central, are busy painting the asphalt with big “bus only” letters in hopes that the black and white road scheme will keep real people from seeing the “red” that just isn’t there.

I see red lights near the Nob Hill station, but no red concrete bus-way going east.

University station near the Frontier Restaurant has educated people that might notice the missing cement – so the red cement here is not missing.

u-turns and no turns

The Spruce Street (Presbyterian Health Line Hospital) Station already has the bus only lane signs and the bus only pavement paint.

Generally, you make left turns and U-turns at every signal. The idea is that you drive-by a business and then double-back via a U-turn to park fairly near the business. Everyone probably knows that there will be very little walking across the new Central unless you want to be almost literally “thrown under a bus.”

So, in this case the lanes are just 10 feet wide and you have to circle around two of them, both full of buses, to just get back to where you were five or ten minutes earlier.  Oh my.

Do you see the business parking? I don’t see the business parking. Do you see the durable red concrete roadway?

BACK to the future

I think it is going to be a very fun five weeks, taking bets on how far Berry will go and how far the eclectic electric bus project will grow.

The best part will be when buses start running, if they start running, and how traffic will handle the bus only bulb-outs that now punctuate the new Central.  Central used to be for cruising, now it seems more destined to be “cruising for a bruising.”

The IDO (Integrated Development Ordinance) is projected to make most of Central into a five mile long, five-story high wall of apartments and businesses and booming brew-pubs and coder hang-outs.  Maybe it’s good, but I liked and loved the old Albuquerque better, people with heart, people with roots and soul.

Goodbye old Route 66, you served us well while you lasted.

christmas de los caballos parade

corrales, New mexico

november 16, 2014


The 11th annual Christmas de los Caballos parade features as many as 200 horses and carriages each year.  The event is held in Corrales, New Mexico to benefit the United States Marine Corps “Toys for Tots” Christmas giving campaign.

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Halloween in Huning

How “All Hallows’ Evening,” evolved into the great American candy fest is anyone’s guess.  But Halloween in the Huning Castle neighborhood is not just about candy, costumes, and candles in pumpkins.  It is so much more.

Huning Castle - large cat

Huning Castle – large cat

Maybe it is more about the myth that the neighborhood was built on a swamp that makes the place attractively spooky – but the neighborhood is not spooky; it feels friendly and safe, safe for families and kids.

I guess it goes back to the great depression.  Money was scarce in Albuquerque back then, in many or most neighborhoods.  There was little money for food, much less candy and costumes and candles in pumpkins.  Then, it was more the saints that mattered, the observing and the remembering of the dead, the departed, those that went before.

Another Huning spider

Another Huning spider

Trick or treating can be a real bummer in a poor neighborhood.  People there might pass out pennies, not dimes – certainly not dollars.  One might get a cookie, not real “store bought” candy.  A door might not even open when you knock, even when it is your neighbor next door .  There is no name for “Scrooge” at Halloween, that’s what “Tricks” are for, if one is tricky.

It wasn’t too tricky to figure out that in the Huning Castle neighborhood most people seemed to be doing better.  Doors opened there.  People could afford pumpkins and candles and candy and were happy to share, there.  Word spread.  Stories were told at recess in school, at family meals; Huning Castle became the talk of the town; people seemed almost like saints there, kind and generous maybe.

Happy in Huning

Happy in Huning

They came by streetcars back then.  Some children just walked.  The parents or grand-parents came too.  Huning Castle neighborhood residents didn’t mind, it was a model community and sharing was a good model of behavior.  Anyway, the kids seemed to be having so much fun and that too made the elders a bit happy.

Now Halloween in Huning is often a multi-generation tradition.  Kids come from all over Albuquerque.  Parents bring groups in that operate candy command centers out of RV’s.  Older kids without costumes hold out their bags, it’s a tradition of sorts.

Costumes are more affordable now, and the Huning neighborhood certainly gets and sees their share.  Pumpkins are plentiful.  Candles have lost favor, string lights of ghosts and goblins are the new fare, it’s only fair.

The Sheila Garcia house at Halloween

The Sheila Garcia house at Halloween

So really, it IS quite, “over the top.”  The weather is almost always perfect.  People stand patiently in line at the “better” houses.  Conversation flows.  There is no “edge” to the the madness, no tricks, no trickery.  It’s more like a celebration of life than an eve for the dead.

And on All Saints Day, November 1st, the only dead thing around are the occasional wrappers from all ready eaten candy.   It’s a small price to pay for a free party this good.


huning castle harvest festival

HUNING CASTLE Neighborhood
albuquerque, New mexico

October 26, 2014


The fall (autumn) season in the Huning Castle neighborhood is marked by the overflights of cranes returning to sites such as Bosque Del Apache, by fall leaves and fall colors, by the bounty of backyard and side-yard gardens, and (for many) by the harvest of homegrown fruit from neighborhood trees.  The end of October also brings Halloween and the traditions of costumes and sharing.  The neighborhood celebrates all of this annually with a neighborhood get-together and outing at the Forest Park oval.

The event is officially supported and sanctioned by the Huning Castle Neighborhood Association (HCNA) for the benefit and enjoyment of all neighborhood residents.  Festivities begin about 2:00 PM and are often over by 4:00.  Most residents walk to Forest Park, often in the company of neighbors or friends.

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day of the tread

albuquerque, New mexico

October 26, 2014


The Day of the Tread bicycle ride and walk / run  is held on Sunday, October 26, 2014 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The course begins and ends at the Albuquerque Civic Center downtown.  Event organizers and sponsors do not make a map of the route publicly available.

This year the walk / run route coursed through the Huning Castle neighborhood on both Park Avenue and on Los Alamos, where walkers walked by the “Breaking Bad house”.

The “Day of the Tread” theme is a derivation on the “Day of the Dead” observances that are often associated with the similar Anglo calender event of Halloween.  Many of the bicyclists, runners, and walkers wear Day of the Dead or Halloween themed costumes.

location, location, location

It is 250 feet from 1514 Silver SW to the Park Avenue side of Oxnard Park where the Day of the Tread run / walk can be observed.  It is 1.2 miles (1,850 meters) “door to door” from 1514 Silver SW to the Start Line / Finish Line of the Day of the Tread events.

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sale of the century

albuquerque, New mexico

October 24 – 25, 2014

Friday, saturday

Distinctions blur between an advertised “Estate Sale”, “Estate Auction”, and “Garage Sale” (“Tag Sale”, for those from the east).  It’s often more about form, than stuff.

the estate auction

We’ve all seen the ads for Estate Auctions that offer Picassos, jewelry, guns, cars, European furniture, cut crystal, art, pianos, oriental rugs, lead glass lamps, signed sports memorabilia, billiard tables, and mid-century modern collectible pieces –  maybe even a Van Gogh or two.  These “auctions” are usually held in a vacant 5,000 square foot house (“mansion”), that it just so happens is also for sale.

Of course these “sales” have nothing to do with the possessions of the owners who dwell (dwelled) there.  All the stuff is trucked in, the cars are trucked in, everything is carefully setup and staged.  The event is like Hollywood viral.  It appeals to Hollywood tastes and Hollywood values and the Hollywood illusion that you can get it all if you just have enough money.  One of these “auctions” is one too many – they are not, “the real deal.”

the garage sale

The typical Garage Sale is a typical affair.  Worn clothes, worn tools, worn or worn out goods that were bought as mistakes to begin with mark the typical wares and discards of the national penchant of consumerism.  Only economic need keeps most garage sale stuff from being donated to a thrift store; that, and the thrift of recycling or repurposing stuff from someone that doesn’t need it to someone that does, with the thrill of, “money changing hands” as the process.  Been there, done that.  Who hasn’t?

the estate sale

The Estate Sale is supposed to be different.  The theory is someone actually died and left an estate, not just real estate.  The reality is that (like estate auctions) much of the stuff is trucked in, it is the flotsam and jetsam and detritus of earlier estate sales where less than everything was sold, and the company selling the stuff is not inclined to give anything away, ever.


Peggy Cavett-Walden was just “Peggy” to her friends.  She lived in the Huning Castle neighborhood.  She lived in her house at 1605 Park Avenue, a two-story house on a double lot.  She was from Austin originally, she was an architect.  She was also an artist, a teacher, a writer, a researcher, a story-teller, a traveler, a conversationalist, and most importantly perhaps, a philanthropist.

She inherited a 12 foot tall four-poster bed once used in the family home in New Orleans.  It required a house with at least a 14 foot bedroom ceiling.  She designed and had built a semi-attached “Cassita” on her double lot just to accom0date this bed.  That was Peggy.  That was just one, “Peggy story.”

About the same time as she built her “bed house”, she also built a storage room (not a “shed”) for her Snow Babies collection and a few other collections she had.  She had maybe 1,000 Snow Babies, all different, most in the original boxes.

Peggy was never a mother, never had children.  She did quarter and entertain hundreds of exchange students during her life.  They were her children perhaps, perhaps they were more like just friends.  Peggy wrote lots of letters.

Peggy’s collections

Peggy was not just a consumer, she was a collector.  Peggy didn’t buy just one or two of something, she bought one or two dozen.  Peggy loved to cook and to entertain and to show off her collections.  If a decorative plate or platter was good enough for her favorite guest, it was good enough for every guest, so she did not buy one piece or one place-setting, she would buy a whole set.

Every party was different, every dinner party, every buffet.  Every time a new collection would emerge and be put on display.  Peggy would talk, everyone else most likely would listen.

Christmas was a favorite theme of Peggy.  She also loved Easter, the bunnies and all, mostly.  She also loved China; the country, the porcelaine, the plates – everything China.  She collected Kimonos.

Her wooden jumping jacks ornament collection was world class.  She had maybe 1,000 of them, all different, maybe less, maybe more.  She collected Chinese roof tiles, the collectible ones with the animal motifs.  She had a stuffed animal cat, not a real one.  It lived in the living room and always looked real, always curled up near her over-stuffed divan.

the sale of the century

Not all “garage sales” or estate sales in the Huning Castle neighborhood are as grand or as interesting as the sale at Peggy’s.  When Peggy died she left her stuff, her collections, to the financial benefit of the Albuquerque Community Foundation.  Just about Everything.

An estate sale company was retained, it took ten people two weeks just to price all the stuff.  Eight or ten hour days, and that was just for the Estate Sale “Act 1“.  A picture is worth a thousand words, it is said.  A thousand pictures of the sale items would leave anyone speechless.  Act 1 is over now, the marked prices were fair, sometimes a real deal.  Hundreds walked away with a, “piece of Peggy,” a piece of her life, a garage sale find.  Sometimes some new stuff (new to you) can make life better, and can help the community too.  Maybe two-thirds of the Act 1 merchandise wasn’t sold.  Part will be there for Act 2, part was given away to other charities.   Peggy wanted it this way, and the neighborhood and Albuquerque are richer for it.

location, location, location

It is about 400 feet from 1514 Silver SW to “Peggy’s house” at 1605 Park Avenue SW.  It is about 3,000 feet (2/3 of a mile) from 1514 Silver SW to the Albuquerque Community Foundation office at 624 Tijeras Avenue NW.

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duke city marathon

albuquerque, New mexico

October 19, 2014

2014 Duke City 10k walk

2014 Duke City 10k walk

The Duke City Marathon is the oldest marathon in the state of New Mexico.  The course enters the Huning Castle neighborhood at the west end of Kit Carson Park and moves west down Kit Carson Avenue to Laguna Boulevard.

The marathon route then goes north on Laguna to Central Avenue (Route 66) where the route moves east as it follows Central to Third Street downtown.  At Third Street the route turns left (to the north) and the Finish Line next to the Albuquerque Civic Plaza.   A map for the 31st annual Duke City Marathon can be found by clicking here.

2014 Duke City Marathon runners at Kit Carson Park in the Huning Castle neighborhood

2014 Duke City Marathon runners at Kit Carson Park in the Huning Castle neighborhood

Both the 10k Run Course and Walk Course go through the Huning Castle neighborhood.  The Albuquerque Country Club property begins at Kit Carson Avenue where Kit Carson meets the southwestern end of Laguna Boulevard.  The marathon route makes a right turn from Kit Carson onto Laguna at this point.  Passing Escalante on the right, the marathon follows to the right of the Oval in front of the main country club building.

2014 Duke City Marathon as participants pass the Albuquerque Country Club in the Huning Castle neighborhood

2014 Duke City Marathon as participants pass the Albuquerque Country Club in the Huning Castle neighborhood

Laguna Boulevard - October 19, 2014

Laguna Boulevard – October 19, 2014

Laguna Boulevard in the Huning Castle neighborhood is a wide thoroughfare originally connecting Central Avenue to the MRGCD lake at Tingley Beach.  The lakes at Tingley are no longer used for swimming, but Laguna remains as a beautiful tree-lined street with a grass landscaped median strip that keeps opposing cars a civilized distance apart.  On marathon Sunday no cars are allowed on Laguna during the Duke City Marathon.

At 16th Street and Laguna is the “first house” in the Huning Castle neighborhood, the Hebenstreit House.  It is now owned by Sheila Garcia, of Albuquerque auto dealerships fame.  The Duke City Marathon passes this late 1920’s  “model home” as the course approaches Central.

Just west of the Hebenstreit House

Just west of the Hebenstreit House

Before Central Avenue in Albuquerque ever became known as “Route 66” it was named Railroad Avenue.  Later, streetcars plied this throughfare and connected the new Santa Fe Railroad “town” of Albuquerque with the “Old Town” of Alburquerque.  Halfway between the two community (city) centers the Huning Castle Addition Company offered ‘lots’ of raw land.  At the entrance to this new (in 1928) neighborhood volunteers of the Duke City Marathon offer Gatorade and bottled water to the runners and walkers partaking in the marathon run on this beautiful fall day.

Central and Laguna in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Central and Laguna in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Attention Passengers

Attention Passengers

At the corner of 14th Street and Central, on the south side of Central, is a ABQ Ride Albuquerque bus stop.  It is one of four bus stops (all on Central) that serve the Huning Castle neighborhood.  For eight (8) hours on marathon Sunday the Central Avenue buses do not run, as this informative sign might tell you, or anyone else that has a need to know.

location, location, location

It is 1,600 feet (.3 mile) from 1514 Silver SW to Kit Carson Park.  It is 1,400 feet (1/4 mile) from 1514 Silver SW to the Albuquerque Country Club Oval.  It is 1.2 miles (1,850 meters) “door to door” from 1514 Silver SW to the Start Line / Finish Line of the Duke City Marathon.

Domain & Attribution:
You may click on any of the above photographs to see an enlarged version.  All photographs in this post are by Donald Clayton, and are donated to the public domain provided that attribution credit is given and a link to this web page is made.

Please Note:
Two main traffic arteries between Downtown and points west, Central Avenue and Tingley Drive, are CLOSED during the Duke City Marathon.  Laguna Boulevard (which essentially connects these two arteries) is also CLOSED.  Traffic EAST of Laguna and WEST of Third Street (Downtown) must go east to Second Street in order to reach destinations elsewhere in Albuquerque during the eight hours of the Duke City Marathon.

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huning castle neighborhood association (HCNA) October 2017, board meeting

HCNA Board Meeting
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Albuquerque Country Club (ACC) Board Room
7 pm

In attendance: Harvey Buchalter, Max Cowton, Monica Martinez, Jan Yates, Susan Feil, Len Romano, Debbie Allen, Steve Kotz, Michael Barndollar, Julie Lawrance

Guests: Sgt William Thomas, Patrol Officer Tyler Carman; APD
Joran Viers, Certified Arborist CABQ Parks & Rec

1.   Call to order. Open forum and Community input:

Call to order 7:05 .  Open forum and Community input.  No input.

2.   MOTION to approve minutes, September 6, 2017:

MOTION to approve minutes, September 6, 2017; carried.

3.   APD officer Nicholas Sanders and Crime Prevention Specialist Bailey Scanlon:

Report by APD officers William Thomas and Tyler Carman: “crime in our neighborhood is still very low compared to surrounding neighborhoods.”  Harvey suggested APD use police substation as a police presence in the neighborhood. Officers said they would relay this suggestion to higher authorities.

4.   Guest Dan Humbles, certified arborist with COA Solid Waste Management Department. MOTION to address safety concerns in regard to elm limbs overhanging Laguna median and Oxnard Park:

Guest Joran Viers, Arborist/ City of Albuquerque (COA) Parks and Recreation Department appeared in lieu of Dan Humbles. He stated that Oxnard Park is part of Parks and Recreation Department and not part of the medians, which are under the jurisdiction of the Solid Waste Department.

Concerns in regard to elm limbs overhanging Laguna median. Potential liability to the city. Health of trees indicated by past failures (lots of stubs on trees from pruned limbs). Dead branches are not what typically fall off of trees; usually it is live wood that falls. City can implement “managed decline” which involves carefully pruning trees as they decline. Advice of Mr. Viers: remove worst trees, watch the rest. Then replant all trees at once; wait 20 years and the yield might be a uniform canopy. Some good options in his opinion are: hybrid elms, oaks, hard rubber tree, cottonwood. But trees available are up to the contracted vendors. Recommends less density of trees (75% of what is there currently), in two rows, and staggered like they are now.

Department of Solid Waste maintains all COA medians because of available federal funds diverted from Clean Cities federal funds budget. Solid Waste Department can generate funds by raising garbage removal rates slightly, but not necessarily for trees.

Harvey feels number 1 issue is safety. Dave Hanson, neighborhood resident voiced support for a written tree-trimming plan. Harvey felt such a plan was not necessary, just let the city contractor do it.

MOTION to address safety concerns of low hanging limbs on elms on Laguna median and defer removal of dead elms and selection of replacement trees – and timetable for doing so – deferred. Motion carried.

5.   Harvest Fest (Sunday, October 29, 3 -5 pm, Forest Park). Additional planning and assignments:

Harvest Fest (Sunday, October 29, 3 -5 pm, Forest Park) Additional planning and assignments
Will have food truck – from Malaguenas live music, refreshments from Pop Fizz; all confirmed. Need games for kids; Monica, Max and Lauren will work on this.

6.   Treasurer’s report:

Balance as of 9/6/17 $17,873.29
Albuquerque Police Department (APD) Chiefs Over Time (COT) dollar donations available is $3,671.11.  HCNA Remaining non-COT balance is $14,202.18

7.   Membership report:

Membership remains basically the same at @ 130 residences (111 paid members in September).

8.   Long-range planning for Laguna Boulevard – formation of sub-committee:

Need subcommittee to keep an eye on grass maintenance, broken sprinklers, etc.  Len, Debbie and Susan all volunteered to be part of subcommittee.

9.   COT planning (October 11 – November 8, 2017).  Discussion of alternatives – Monica:

Monica suggested getting “Feet on the Street” by forming walking, dog walking, running groups; strategically timed for presence in neighborhood between the hours of 1:00 and 7:00 p.m., when many pedestrians are present.  Monica will be the contact.

Len wants to get businesses in Country Club Plaza to contribute to COT, but they never see a patrol car in the plaza.  Harvey will explore this.

10.   Report on recent work at CRP / ALF facility at 1711 Park Avenue SW:

Construction / deconstruction has begun at 1711 Park Avenue SW.

Construction began approximately one week ago on remodeling the residence into a Community Residential Program to house up to ten clients, and an additional upstairs apartment.  HCNA Board has gone on record twice to oppose the conditional R-1 Permissive Use project. The commercial building being built is the result of a City Permit to remodel a former residence which lies in an R-1 residential zone.

Guests Thomas J. Horan and Maryanne Campbell-Horan spoke recently with real estate development attorney John A. Meyers whose opinion it is that nobody could win if they tried to ask for a ruling on lawful property covenants in a New Mexico court.

Mr. Horan stated his belief that property covenants were, “settled law,” citing Hill v. Community of Damien of Molokai.  The apparently absolute differences between that case and the 1711 Park Avenue situation appeared to be of no legal consequence in his opinion.

Lots of “No Trespassing” signs to keep people away from the right-of-way.

HCNA resident Donald Clayton has worked hard to make neighbors aware of what the COA is not doing or is doing wrong.  He stated that the proposed commercial Assisted Living Facility (ALF) project intended for 1711 Park Avenue SW is a clear violation of a Huning Castle Addition lawful property covenant.  He stated an interest in starting a Go Fund Me type site to raise necessary funds for a possible pro se action.

11.   Old business:

a.   cross-walk striping, ADA cutouts, request for traffic study – discussion tabled.
b.   Art Installation-scheduled for Spring ’18 – any change to schedule to begin work
has not been given to HCNA board.
c.   review of yard sale – approximately 8 residences participated.

12.   New business:

Intersection of Laguna and Central was closed October 12th. No date given by the COA about when thoroughfare will be reopened.

13.   Executive Session:

14.   Additional Open forum/community input:


HCNA Board has held numerous discussions on the issue of the Assisted Living Facility (ALF) going in at 1711 Park Ave.

HCNA Board has gone on record as being opposed to this Assisted Living Facility; based on neighborhood input. Many residents oppose this facility. Some do not.

Assisted living facilities can be located as close as 1500 feet of each other and we have a neighborhood with a lot of large houses that might be desirable for such facilities. Allowing this particular ALF could set a precedent for more in the neighborhood. Neighborhood concerns about this include: ambulances at all hours of the night and an overabundance of street parking and delivery vehicles. It is possible that we could end up with as many as 3 or 4 such facilities in the neighborhood.

HCNA resident Donald Clayton has worked very hard to make city aware of what they are not doing or are doing wrong. He might be willing to file a pro se action (i.e., on his own and possibly with additional legal representation) regarding a HCA lawful property covenant that pertains to the proposed Assisted Living Facility at 1711 Park Avenue SW.  He  would appreciate a minimum of support from the HCNA neighborhood association.

It is the HCNA Board’s position that, while we oppose this facility, it would not be good use of neighborhood funds to obtain legal representation and try to fight this in court. We could potentially lose big and it would likely generate a lot of ill will with the City of Albuquerque which would not benefit our neighborhood.

The Board will leave this issue up to individuals in the neighborhood to fight as they see fit.

15.   Executive Session:

The second scheduled HCNA Board Executive Session to discuss the issue of 1711 Park Avenue property use as a CRP-10 / ALF was not necessary.

16.   Adjournment:

Board meeting adjourned at 9:30 pm.

albuquerque international balloon fiesta

albuquerque, New mexico

October 4-12, 2014

9 DAYS – saturday THROUGH sunday

Balloon Fiesta activities are centered at the Balloon Fiesta Park, 5000 Balloon Fiesta Parkway, Albuquerque, New Mexico.  An admission is charged.  However, the balloons can be easily seen over much of Albuquerque, New Mexico; concentrations depend mostly upon which way the winds are blowing at the time of the launch.  Since winds can change direction during a launch, different balloons can be sent off in different directions.

Light balloons in the dark

Light balloons in the dark

The Balloon Fiesta begins about 5:45 on the first Saturday of the festival with the music and pageantry of Dawn Patrol.  The first mass ascension of the season is at 6:00.

Once launched, the elevation of a balloon can be determined by the balloon pilot.  Releasing hot air can send a balloon lower, releasing sand (from bags) can send a balloon higher.  A blast of fire (the fuel is propane) can also increase the elevation of a balloon.

It is not uncommon for balloons to “skirt housetops” and the tops of trees as they pass low across the Albuquerque landscape.  Balloons land in parks, parking lots, and even backyards.  The chase vehicle tries to anticipate the landing location so that the balloon and its passengers can be quickly collected and can often be returned to the launch site for another great launch.

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