Jemez Springs Clippings
Transcribed from Jemez Thunder, December 15, 1997
Snowmen installed at the village park on Dec. 6 were rebuilt to look as much as possible like Christmas decorations from the 1960s that used to be in Jemez Springs. Tanya Struble and Therese Councilor headed the reconstruction project after finding an article about Jemez Springs in a 1968 copy of New Mexico magazine.
From Jemez Thunder, December 15, 1997
This photo was taken about 40 years ago at the American Legion in Jemez Springs. The fire engine was a 1921 American La France, which was given to the Via Coeli Monastery by an Albuquerque fire chief named Westerfield. The fire engine was loud and had dangerous brakes, but it was the first time Jemez Springs had its own fire protection. Via Coeli gave the vehicle to the Village of Jemez Springs. The village soon retired the vehicle, parking it at the American Legion where the photo was taken. Because of vandalism (notice the broken headlight), the village later sold it at auction for $100. The purchaser was Tom Abousleman of Jemez Springs, who had the vehicle parked behind his house for about 10 years before he eventually sold it. “That was the only vehicle I ever saw that had three spark plugs for each cylinder,” he said. Frank and Rita Slowen of Albuquerque took this photo with a timer, which allowed them to get into the fire engine’s back seat before the shutter clicked.
By Nancy Metnik, Postmaster, from Jemez Thunder, December 01, 1997
After many months of seeing activity at the new Jemez Springs Post Office and of wondering when it would be occupied – it has happened!
On Monday, Nov. 24, the move began with the able crew from the U.S. Postal Service maintenance department (Paul, Terry and Ed) transferring non-critical equipment from the old office to the new.
On Tuesday, most other equipment was transferred to the new building after mail was sorted at the old. Clerk Donna Lea remained at the old office to sell stamps, money orders, etc., while the rest of the crew went to the new office to arrange furniture and put away “stuff.”
On Wednesday the 26th, the new post office opened with full window service, mail delivery, mail pickup, and a special blue door where folks picked up keys for the new boxes.
All box numbers at the new post office will remain the same. Good news, eh? There are many more boxes that are now available for rent. We no longer need a waiting list. Just come in and we can rent you a P.O. box immediately.
Post office hours will remain the same. The mail now leaves Jemez Springs at 4:10 p.m. (instead of 1 p.m. in the old days), so you have until 4 p.m. to bring mail to the counter and it will go out that day.
When you come in to pick up your new keys, you must bring in your old keys, as they will be recycled along with the old P.O. boxes.
The box lobby will be open 24 hours a day for mail pickup, just as before. A new item will be the parcel lockers by the front door. We thought this would be a real convenience for P.O. box customers who cannot always come in during business hours. If you find a key in your box, look at the number on it and go to the corresponding parcel locker. You can now get your packages at any time.
Soon we will be having a customer appreciation day/open house to celebrate our new office and our great customers! We will be letting you know when this will be, most likely Dec. 19 or 20.
Please feel free to call us with questions or concerns at 829-3917.
From Jemez Thunder, December 01, 1997
By Rebecca Grandbois, from Jemez Thunder, October 01, 1997
The Southwest Stone Carving Symposium, held Sept. 4-9 at Hummingbird Music Camp, was a great success for the second year in a row. Jemez Springs resident and symposium organizer Rollie Grandbois stated, “A good time was had by all participants. The symposium promises to keep growing as a quality educational experience offered in this unique and culturally rich atmosphere.” Many New Mexican artists participated, as well as artists from California, Washington, North Carolina, Oregon, Canada and Germany. Instructors and tool and stone vendors came from New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Vermont, Colorado, Utah and California. The symposium instructors are full-time stone carvers who are internationally known for their sculpture.
Highlights of the symposium included a mold-making demonstration by Ana Neighbor of the Pueblo of Nambe; a slide show of the participants’ artwork; a plaster-casting demonstration; and an open house/exhibition of artwork created by the participants. Rollie said that one-third of the symposium’s participants were first-time stone carvers who either completed or partially finished their sculpture. This six-day course presented intensive sessions in Direct Stone Carving for Beginners; Designing and Roughing Out; Sculpture Refinement; Carving Marble; and Mold-Making.
The Third Annual Southwest Stone Carving Symposium is now being planned, and people are already on the list. A special session is also being planned for a group from Japan. The organizers wish to thank the Jemez Springs community for attending the open house and for their support of this event. For more information about the 1998 symposium, call 829-3588.
From Jemez Thunder, Aug. 15, 1996
Thanks to the summer weather, many construction projects and additions got underway recently. Los Ojos Restaurant & Saloon added an outdoor deck, complete with adobe bar. The deck is open on Thursday and Friday at 4 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. Builder Laurie Froseth works on the resurrection of the Guadalupe Mesa Trading Post, scheduled to reopen on Aug. 17. The Trading Post burned down in early May. Meanwhile, the addition to the Jemez Springs Library nears completion, and the Laughing Lizard sports a new mural by Coral Clark, showing a dining room full of lizards enjoying cappuccino and fine desserts.
The Jemez Thunder put out a special supplement in August 1995 in recognition of the All American City Award to Jemez Springs.
by Kathleen Wiegner, transcribed from Jemez Thunder, July 1, 1995
On June 24, tiny Jemez Springs shared the stage of the Stouffer Hotel’s Grand Ballroom in Cleveland with nine other cities from across the United States. The occasion was the awarding of the National Civic League’s All-American City Awards, which recognize grassroots activism and collaborative problem-solving by public, private and nonprofit sectors.
To the applause of the more than 1,200 delegates from 30 finalist communities, the Jemez Springs delegation – Mayor David Sanchez, Courtney Lewis, Barbi Flora-Baker and Kathleen Wiegner – received the framed certificate which will be formally presented to the village on July 4th.
Other cities receiving an award were Mobile, AL, Lindsay, CA, Monrovia, CA, Ocala-Marion County, FL, Lafayette, IN, Greater Louisville, KY, Lumberton, NC, Akron, OH, and Edinburg, TX.
From the beginning, Jemez Springs was a sentimental favorite. The fact that a village of only 456 people had made it to Cleveland in the same company as Greater Louisville (with nearly one million in population) or San Jose, gave Jemez Springs the classic role of the underdog. Sometimes, this caused problems. On the official T-shirt which named the 30 nominated cities, the village was listed as “Jamaz Springs.” The Cleveland Plain Dealer got the spelling right, but missed a word, referring to the village as “Jemez, NM.”
Other cities brought more people and made more elaborate presentations before the 12 judges who made the final decisions: Edinburg brought a 12-piece mariachi band; Lumberton entertained the crowd with rock and roll band comprised of six policeman and a fireman; Ocala showed up with an American Eagle from the petting zoo which proceeded to nip its handler on the cheek during Ocala’s presentation to the judges. Greater Buffalo put together an elaborate video. Many delegates sported custom T-shirts and buttons touting their towns. Lafayette’s delegates were decked out in railmen’s striped overall and caps with buttons that flashed just like a crossing sign.
The Jemez Springs delegates, whose trip was financed totally through donations, put their emphasis on the story they told the judges during the 20 minutes they had to give their presentation and answer questions. The only visuals were color slides of the Jemez take by local photographer Frank Sarnol.
The presentation, which was held on Friday afternoon, started with Mayor Sanchez outlining the problems Jemez Springs, a once-quiet village, has faced recently because of growth in population and in tourism, particularly with the creation of the Jemez National Recreation Area.
Jemez Thunder Editor Kathleen Wiegner talked about how the village, facing bankruptcy, instituted a range of cost-control measures, while relying heavily on volunteer, self-help and intergovernmental load-sharing strategies. As Jemez Springs’ Volunteer of the Year, Barbi Flora-Baker told the judges about all of the village’s volunteer groups and how they served without pay in an effort to keep the village running. Finally Jemez High School graduate Courtney Lewis outlined the village’s efforts to protect its small-town ambience through the adoption of an up-to-date zoning.
The Mayor concluded the presentation by pointing out that the problems Jemez Springs faced were not unique. With more unfunded mandates, more responsibility has been placed on communities to support themselves. Nor are all of the village’s problems solved. But, he concluded, Jemez Springs has come a very long way in a very short time.
Following the presentation, the Jemez Springs delegates switched into casual clothes to get ready for the Civic Action Fair that was held in the Stouffer’s Exhibition Hall Friday evening. Each of the 30 cities nominated had a booth where they got to strut their stuff. This involved handing out food, buttons and information packages. People grazed on nachos from Texas, shrimp from Alabama, and ice cream cones from Norfolk, VA, as they walked from booth to booth filling bags with handouts.
Through the course of the evening, as wall-to-wall crowds surged by the Jemez Springs booth, Courtney and Kathleen handed out Pueblo of Jemez oven bread, home-made bizcochitos, chili candy and posters donated by the Forest Service. Barbi made sure they got information packets about the village and its businesses and helped Mayor Sanchez with the drawing that had been organized.
Attendees at the Jemez Springs booth drew for prizes that included T-shirts, caps, coffee mugs, chili products, dog biscuits, arts and crafts, and gift certificates – all donated by Jemez businesses. The delegation had planned to play Indian flute music on a portable tape player. But Monrovia, CA, situated right next to the Jemez booth, brought along a tuba player who kept bursting into “California Here I Come” and forming conga lines. By the end of the evening, virtually nothing was left from the 13 boxes that had been shipped from the Village Office.
While a judge told the Mayor afterwards that the decision to give an award to Jemez Springs was never in doubt, the tension at the table mounted as the winners were announced. Finally there were only three more awards left. But as William Winter, former Governor of Mississippi and Foreman of the All-America City jury, started to say why the next award was being given, the Jemez delegation knew that their village had been chosen.
Afterwards, everyone walked over to Jacob’s Field for a party. The Lumberton band played old-fashioned rock and roll and Monrovia once again formed a conga line. Only this time as they snaked by the table someone called out, “Come on, New Mexico, join us,” and gave the winners’ thumbs up. “Way to go, New Mexico,” someone else shouted.
Way to go, Jemez Springs!
By Kathleen Wiegner, transcribed from Jemez Thunder, July 01, 1995
Warm summer nights are perfect times to sit outdoors – unless you happen to live near the sewage treatment plant. Even the smell of scented candles cannot obscure the odor of raw sewage when the breezes pick up. Situated hard by the residential area that constitutes San Diego Drive two miles south of town, the treatment plant has become not only a source of unpleasant smells but, some residents fear, a health hazard.
The money to build a new plant to replace the 20-year-old facility and to repair portions of the sewer line was the most significant request Jemez Springs made to the legislature this year. The estimated cost of this work is $2 million. The village received $100,00 from the legislature for upgrading the existing plant and another $75,000 for the planning and design of a new treatment plant. Once the planning and design phase is complete, the village will go back to the legislature for the money to build a new plant. The village is also trying to find another site for the plant that would not be as close to a residential area.
The decision to locate the current treatment plant outside the village limits came about because the developer of the San Diego Drive property along the river donated the tract of land for the plant to the village. Placing the plant this far south of town meant that the lots along San Diego Drive could be hooked directly into the sewer system.
The system was designed for 600 people and an average flow of 45,000 gallons per day. During a period of 26 days in April 1994, the average daily total of wastewater reaching the treatment plant was 37,872 – which means that the system was running at 84% of capacity.
But while the plant’s ability to handle wastewater has still not reached capacity, its ability to handle solids is very limited even with current usage.
How does the treatment plant work? The main sewer line leading to the treatment plan runs along the Jemez River. Wastewater flows by gravity to a lift station at the plant, where two submersible pumps lift the water to the head of the treatment works. The flow goes through a screen or a grinder pump before being channeled into one of two aeration basins. Air is then injected into the basins‘ contents, the wastewater is clarified, and then it is sent to a chlorine contact chamber. Chlorine tablets are placed in tubes and these tablets dissolve as the water runs over them. The chlorinated water then moves to one of three sand filtration beds. Solids are deposited in the sand and the remaining effluent finally enters the Jemez River.
The years have taken their toll on the system. An inspection conducted by the Surface Water Quality Bureau of the New Mexico Environment Department in August I994, noted a number of problems. Clearly groundwater is entering the sewer line, since the wastewater flowing into the plant takes on a red color, particularly when there have been heavy rains. This inflow places an additional burden on the plant‘s already taxed capacity. The inspection also notes that the mechanical equipment was marginal because of its age. But the cause of those noxious odors lies in the fact that when the sludge is removed from the sand filter beds, it is placed in open drying pits. It takes 90 days for the sludge to become completely dry. But it never really gets a chance to dry out completely. In part that‘s because the canyon walls prevent the sun from hitting the drying pits for enough of the day. But it‘s also because the clay soil particles that make their way into the sewer line clog the drying beds, slowing the water drainage and keeping the sludge damp. Damp sludge smells.
The village plans to address the drying problem with a sludge bagging unit which would eliminate the open air drying pits. Some of the money receiving from Santa Fe for the sewer system will go toward the purchase of a bagging unit. This should eliminate the odors and any potential health problems they may cause.
But residents near the plant want the village to clean out the sludge now so that they can once again smell the clean mountain air they moved here to enjoy.