Arizona's Wallow Fire In Albuquerque

Sandias Covered In Smoke From The Wallo Fire In Az

The view of the Sandia Mountains from my front window the last few days has been obscured by smoke from the Wallow fire near the New Mexico border in Alpine, Arizona. This fire is affecting the Albuquerque area by creating a cloud of smoke which besides the smell has caused some ash to fall from the sky.

Normally I have a clear view of the Sandias except when we have a storm.

This one is over

It’s bad enough that the last two nights I have had to turn off the cooler because it was filling the house with the smell of forest fire.

This is going to be a bad year for fires unless we get some rain, which the Albuquerque area hasn’t received a significant rain storm since early this year.

The Arizona Republic as a good FAQ on the Wallow Fire and An image from the NOAA shows the smoke plume (I don’t know if the NOAA has a direct source to this image).

Wallo Fire Smoke NOAA

Update 06/07/2011: The trend for the last few days is the smoke goes away during the day and settles back in during the evening. It feels like a nuclear winter. Here are a few pictures I took from the office building last night, note the red dot which is the sun.

Wallow fire smoke as seen in Rio Rancho, NM

Wallow Fire smoke as seen in Rio Rancho, NM

While the smoke here in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque is bad, it’s not nearly as bad as for those who actually live where the fire is. The local paper The White Mountain Independent has information about all of the evacuations in the area.

Latest map from the NOAA.

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Rio Rancho City Government Gives Up On Green2V While The Rest Of Us Did Months Ago

Green2V logo

Here we are in December of 2010, where is Green2V which hasn’t broke ground this summer as promised? I was skeptical of Green2V from the very beginning. A company no one had heard of with no website (and still doesn’t have a website) decided to build a new factory in my hometown of Rio Rancho, New Mexico with a very aggressive schedule.

An article from Rio Rancho Observer says that the city is giving up.

On Dec. 15, the Rio Rancho City Council will consider two measures repealing the city’s incentives in trying to lure the green energy start-up company. “We think that based on where we are right now, it’s been eight months since we first received those assurances (of funding), the documents are a bit stale,” said City Manager James Jimenez. City Councilors are being asked to repeal the Green2V industrial revenue bond inducement resolution the city passed in April, and the city’s economic development act it had with Green2V.

The article goes on to say that the city was promised 3 times that the money was coming and that the city of Rio Rancho trusted former Intel executive Bill Sheppard. There’s a quote from City Manager James Jimenez that I think is true as well.

“We pride ourselves as being competitive when it comes to economic development and aggressively pursuing (projects). Frankly, I’m well aware that we would have been criticized heavily if Green2V had been able to get its financing together and locate in Arizona if we knew we had a chance to bring them here and didn’t – for whatever reason – aggressively pursue them.”

The Albuquerque Journal had an article in May titled “Betting on Solar … Again” about the poor track record of OCS capital who was supposed to originally finance Green2V.

OCS lists numerous clients and industrial revenue bond financed projects on its website that have never materialized, among them the $16.5 million Big Event Amusement facility and Beach Waterpark in Albuquerque; the $210 million Nuchick poultry processing plant in Artesia; and a $22 million project to build an aircraft manufacturing plant in Odgen, Utah. The website does not mention that none of these projects came to fruition. Although the OCS name appears on a letter included in the bond application Green2V submitted to the city, Housley said Green2V never paid OCS money and terminated its relationship because it found another company to work with.

Then Green2V switched from OCS capitol to GP3, Ltd. The New Mexico Watchdog couldn’t find that either OCS Capital or GP3, Ltd seem to exist.

New Mexico Watchdog has learned that no limited partnership called GP3 exists in California according to the records of the California Secretary of State. The only limited partnerships with the term “GP3″ in their titles have had their partnership status canceled. One was GP3 Asset Acquisition, LLC, which was formed in 2007. It traces back to an Ann Arbor, Michigan, address, but is no longer a recognized limited partnership in California. The other was entitled Walton 425 GP3 IV, and traces back to a Chicago address. But its status as a limited partnership in California has also been canceled.

I can’t blame the City of Rio Rancho going forward with this based on the recommendation of the governor but clearly all of those involved should have done more research on the company. It doesn’t appear that the city is out of a significant amount of money. Hopefully the City will do a better job in the future of bringing in high tech companies.

Say Hello To Saturn (The Cat)

A 5 month old kitten adopted a coworker of mine. She showed up on his door step one day and made her self at home. He tried to keep her for about a week, he even took her to the vet and had her checked out, but for various reasons couldn’t and his next option was to send her to the pound.

Now the kitten, which I have named Saturn, lives with me. She has a grey and black tabby coat. She is a polydactyl cat with 6 toes on both of her front feet. She looks like she is walking around on baseball mits. She still needs shots, spayed and to be declawed.

OK I admit it: she’s adorable and I never imaged I would own a cat or even a kitten for that matter. It’s been a little over a week since she first came into my house and it’s been an interesting experience. I’m happy to report that she hasn’t caused any trouble with urinating on anything and has used the litter box for all her waste needs.

She seems to have four modes. Spaz mode is one of the most common. Yesterday she was in super spaz mode where she went nuts nocking everything off the coffee table, jumping on and chewing on things. That ended when she jumped off the couch, slid onto the coffee table and into a box. Both her and the box crashed into the TV. She then ran into the bedroom for about 20 minutes. When she came out she was much calmer.

Her other modes include patrol mode, where she walk around the perimeter of the house. Love me mode is where she wants to sit in my lap no matter where I am or what I’m doing. Keep your distance mode is where she wants to keep me in site and observe but not come near me.

Due to the coyotes that live near in the area, Saturn will be an indoor cat. I posted a HD video of Saturn’s first look at the aquarium on YouTube.

http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/eX9hoLJmbK0&hl=en&fs=1&hd=1&border=1

House Hunting Week… Whatever

Have I told you how much I hate living in an apartment? What, no? Well I cannot believe that because I really hate it and I usually tell everyone how much I hate it. From the lack of water pressure to the crappy dishwasher and walking up three flights of stairs. I will really be happy to be out of this apartment.

The housing market, she no good for me. She real good for seller. A while back I wrote about a house I wanted to buy only to find out there was a contract signed the day I looked at it. This was the house on a 1/2 acre with a giant antenna in the back yard. It was listed at about $135,000. One might get $130,000 for a house in this neighborhood for that much if it is in absolute pristine condition, this house was/is not.

This house has a flat roof and it had a leak at one point. I would say half the walls and ceilings in the house will need to be replaced. Not to mention pain, carpe, wood root along the outside and kitchen needing remodeled to name a few. Were talking a easy $30 to $40K in work is needed and I think I’m underestimating that number. Yet the house sold for $130,000! Some person, who must be on crack, has more money than sense actually bought that house for near the asking price. I’m guessing that that they would need to sell the house near the $200,000 mark to get their money back.

This hasn’t just happened once, this has happened twice. Another house on the same street in a similar situation. Not nearly as ba, they were asking about $120,00. A little lower but still needed lots of work. I offered $105,000 would go up to $110,00. Someone came in and offered the asking price. It’s insane I tell you. INSANE!

The popular thought is that people from California are selling their homes for a half million dollars. FInding that the Phoenix market is turning into California’s market, they come here where’s it’s cheaper. Thus people have plenty of money to spend more on our cheap houses, even if they need work. What’s $30K when you just made $200,000 on your last house?

As for me, my lease is up 31 October. Seems like a long ways away, but I’m getting worried.

Ignition Interlocks In New Mexico

The State of New Mexico has take one more step to proving that were a bunch of slacked jawed yokels. The House of Representative passed a bill that will require every vehicle sold in the state to have a breathalyzer installed as a ignition interlock. Whether you have been convicted of DWI or for that matter whether you drink or not you will have to breath before you can start your car.

There are so many problems with this. Breathalyzer tests are not always accurate. There are probably ways that can one can remove them from the car. Not to mention a whole bunch of civil liberties that are being violated. It will also effect our local economy as people will go out of state to buy vehicles (unless they pass another bill requiring any vehicle with a NM license plate to be retrofitted with one of these things).

I Previously complained about the hight amount of DWI related accidents in New Mexico. The Governor has has proposed some useful changes (PDF) to the existing laws that will go farther then the poorly conceived breathalyzer plan.

  1. My package dramatically increases penalties for killing or injuring someone while driving drunk
  2. It toughens the penalties for multiple DWI offenders who kill or injure
  3. Multiple DWI offenders, and those who drive drunk on a suspended or revoked license, will also forfeit their vehicles. We?ll take the weapon out of their hands
  4. This package includes a new DWI child endangerment law, creating tougher penalties for those who drive drunk and injure our children, and
  5. I?m proposing a new law that makes it a separate crime to refuse a blood alcohol or breath alcohol test, closing an important loophole in our DWI laws.

Yet these changes haven’t even made it before the state legislator. These are the real changes that are needed.

This new bill still needs to make it through the senate and the Governor. This hasn’t yet made the national news but if it make is any further I’m sure everyone will be laughing at us.

[Update:] Here is some slashdot coverage.