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Please review our fire safety resources
and fireworks info here.

Welcome to High Desert Living

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Latest COVID-19 Information 

Please continue to monitor the news, this website, The office of Neighborhood CoordinationNewMexico.gov  and cabq.gov and cv.nmhealth.org

June 09, 2022
ARTICLE

Follow Fireworks Guidelines This 4th of July!

We are now in Stage II fire restrictions in Albuquerque! Please be sure to read Albuquerque Fire Rescue's detailed document about illegal and legal fireworks, fire safety, and other restrictions in advance of July 4th. You can find that document here.

Please be careful out there!

Reminders and Notices

July 29, 2021
NOTICE

Attend Albuquerque City Council Meetings Remotely

Albuquerque residents can attend government meetings remotely, including Albuquerque City Council meetings, on GOV-TV by clicking on this link:  www.cabq.gov/culturalservices/govtv

GOV TV is the local government television channel for Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. GOV TV provides real-time streaming video of local government programming 24 hours a day. Programming includes live coverage of government meetings, recorded news conferences, and a wide variety of locally produced TV shows about public services, facilities, employees, officials, and events.

July 29, 2021
NOTICE

Party in the Park Postponed

The annual High Desert Party in the Park event has been postponed until next summer. Brenda Gossage, homeowner and coordinator of the event, decided to postpone given the amount of pre-planning involved and the current coronavirus crisis and possibilities of extended closures. She consulted with Board President Clay Wright before making the decision in late April. 

July 29, 2021
NOTICE

Albuquerque Reopening Plan

Continue to monitor the news on these websites:
The office of Neighborhood Coordination
NewMexico.gov
cabq.gov
cv.nmhealth.org

April 07, 2021
NOTICE

Thank You, Homepage Photographers!

We owe a big debt of gratitude to the following people for contributing fabulous photographs to our homepage slideshow. They give it life and show us all how beautiful High Desert is. We'll change these pictures as time goes on and new seasons emerge.

Thanks to:
Joseph Coston
Fred Gorenz
John Ledwith
Kathryn Lombard-Thomas
Judy Pierson
Larry Reese
Raychel Sanner
Singletracks.com photo by Michael Paul

August 05, 2020
NOTICE

Voting Members Informed by Board that Vote to Change Bylaws Failed

Voting Members learned at their quarterly meeting January 23 that the Board declared the recent vote by Voting Members to amend the bylaws as “officially failed.”  Voting members were asked to approve changes to the by-laws to meet state law. They were also given the option to individually accept or reject two optional provisions. Clay Wright, Board president, told Voting Members that 43.9 percent voted in favor of the change and 37.1 percent against. Since High Desert bylaws can only be changed by a 75 percent vote in favor, the change to the bylaws failed.  “At this time, the Board has no plans to conduct another vote,” he said, citing the expense and time to mail ballots, collect and tally the votes.

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The Board proposed  one optional change to allow quicker revisions to bylaws without going through the process of a full vote each time the state passed a change that did not agree with the High Desert bylaws.  The association is, according to its own bylaws, required to abide by state law.  Allowing the Board to pass changes bringing the association and its bylaws into compliance with state law would streamline the process, Board members felt. The Board would not be permitted to change the bylaws for any other reason except to bring the association into compliance with state law.

“The Board will continue to follow state-mandated changes to the bylaws,” Clay told Voting Members.  “As a result, our governing documents will remain in conflict with state law.” One of the changes that are in conflict with the law involves state-required notification to homeowners when a policy change is under consideration by the Board.  “We are publishing notification online right now even though it is not required under our current bylaws,” Clay said.  The state also requires open Board meetings which are not required in the bylaws. Board meetings are currently open, Clay told Voting Members.  Violations notifications should be 14 days, according to state law.  High Desert, which used to give 30 and then 10 days notification, now gives 14 days notification.

Voting Members asked if there were any consequences to High Desert if the bylaws remain unchanged.  Clay said as long as the association follows state law anyway, there will probably be no official problem, but he could not guarantee that.

“Why does the state want to be involved with our governing documents?” asked one homeowner.  Clay responded, saying, “The state wants some control over what homeowner associations do.  They don’t want us overburdening residents with overly restrictive rules on dog walking, grass growing and parking.  That’s their rationale.”

Another Voting Member asked if another vote could be taken, saying the ballots came during the holidays and were too easily put on the back burner.  Clay said the board had no plans to have another vote.

Financial Report
Board Treasurer Tom Murdock presented the financial report to Voting Members saying he was currently working on the fiscal year 2020-2021 High Desert budget.  He will be holding two meetings for homeowners in Gated Villages to garner input about their village’s budget needs.  “This is your opportunity to have real input,” he said.  Homeowners will be notified of their gated villages meeting date. The final budget will be approved or denied by Voting Members at their April 23 Annual Meeting.  A final budget will be mailed to all homeowners in early May. Following his presentation a Voting Member spoke, commending Tom for his association work. Voting Members applauded.

Annual Meeting
Neil Wetsch, Board Director, and Nominating Committee Chair, asked Voting Members to consider running for the four open positions on the Board of Directors. Statements of Interest must be submitted to the Nominating Committee by February 14. (Click here to fill out an online version.Interviews by Committee members of homeowners interested in election will be conducted in March and April, he said.  A slate of four nominees will be presented to Voting Members at the Annual Meeting.  Nominations can also be made from the floor.  Any homeowner in good standing can run for election.

Wildland Fire Prevention Working Group Update
Camille Singaraju, High Desert homeowner and chair of the Wildland Fire Prevention Working Group, spoke to Voting Members about its recent activities. The group was formed last year in response to several recent fires in High Desert.  The group is working closely with Albuquerque Fire Rescue to identify areas of High Desert that pose increased threat of destruction by fire through excessive brush, weeds and deadfall. Camille asked Voting Members to make sure their represented homeowners all have evacuation plans if a fast-moving wildfire begins.  “Also,” she added, “if there is a fire somewhere in High Desert, please don’t drive up to see it.  Your car will block the bigger trucks that come in to fight the fire.”  Homeowners should clear excessive growth three to five feet away from their home’s walls.  “We’d like to extend it out to 10 feet,” she said.  “And we are looking at different ways to manage growth in the arroyos.”

Added Clay, “Look after yourselves. Have a plan.  If there is an issue, fire services will be taxed.  You must take care of yourself.  If you don’t want a fire in your backyard, don’t leave stuff around to burn.  Don’t store firewood up against your house.  Don’t leave gasoline stored in your garage.”  He also encouraged homeowners to contact their legislators to purchase another brush truck for Albuquerque Fire Rescue.  The trucks cost $185,000 each.

Communications Group
Homeowner Russ Rhodes told Voting Members that he recently spoke with the Board and different Voting Members about forming a smaller co-group of four or five homeowners to discuss pertinent issues and resolve differences. He said he first considered forming the group when he observed “increasing tensions and anxiety” between Voting Members and Board Directors.  “We want to get any tensions out of the way and get a good conversation started between the two groups,” he said.  He said the initial group will be made up of Board Directors Dave Williams and Robin Troy, and Voting Members Harrison Jones, The Trillium, and Eric Frow, The Legends. Responded one Voting Member, “Great idea!  We do need more discussion.”  Voting Members did not vote on the proposal but did offer general agreement

 

News & Articles

June 04, 2022
ARTICLE

Illegal Firework Use? Call 311!

These are the City of Albuquerque's 311 hours for the 4th of July:

Friday, July 1, 2022: 6am to midnight

Saturday, July 2, 2022: 6am to midnight

Sunday, July 3, 2022: 9am to midnight

Monday, July 4, 2022: 3pm to midnight

PLEASE DO NOT CALL 911 TO REPORT ILLEGAL FIREWORK USE!!!!

I encourage our citizens to utilize the City of Albuquerque's 311 App www.cabq.gov/311/abq311/311-web-app to report any illegal firework use. The most important piece of reporting the use of illegal fireworks in your neighborhood is to enter in the exact address of where the illegal fireworks use is coming from. Once we receive the exact location, the Fire Marshal’s Office has the ability to mail out a “cease and desist” letter to the address of the reported illegal firework use. In addition, the weekend of the 4th, we will be utilizing the data from these 311 complaints to identify hotspots within our city that are experiencing illegal firework use.  Our plan will be to send inspectors from the Fire Marshal’s Office to the area of the illegal fire work usage. If the illegal firework usage is witnessed, our inspectors have the ability to confiscate the fireworks and potentially issue a citation.

AFR also has the ability to issue a “cease and desist” letter to addresses with multiple complaints. This letter serves as a notice to the recipient that they are on our radar, and if they continue this practice, it can lead to a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail (if given citation). This strong warning typically has a positive impact on helping decrease illegal firework usage.

May 04, 2022
ARTICLE

City of Albuquerque Invitation!

The City’s Open Space Division invites you to a walking tour of Elena Gallegos Open Space to learn about a recent feasibility study the city conducted and discuss the possibility of an Education Center at the property. Registration is required and will be limited to 30 people.

Date and Time: May 14 and July 16 from 9–10 a.m.

You may find the events listed under Guided Hikes and Tours here. To register for the May 14th event, click here.

Project Background:

Elena Gallegos Open Space is in the Foothills at the base of the Sandia Mountains. The Open Space protects important wildlife habitat and offers majestic views, miles of multi-use recreation trails, picnic and event facilities, and access to the Cibola National Forest/Sandia Wilderness. In 2021, the Parks and Recreation Dept/Open Space Division began working with Dekker/Perich/Sabatini to study potential improvements at Elena Gallegos. The study identified needs at Elena Gallegos to maintain existing features and support public use and also investigated the feasibility for a small education center for visitors of all ages. The focus of the proposed facility would be to provide education services and programs to visitors of all ages (especially children) to promote discovery, enjoyment, and a sense of connection and stewardship for this special area of Albuquerque, City Open Space, the National Forest, and the natural world in general.

April 26, 2022
ARTICLE
By Michele Lesher

Sucessful Adopt-a-Highway!

To help celebrate Earth Day, 20 High Desert residents participated in our bi-annual Adopt-a-Highway cleanup of miles 9 and 10 of Tramway Blvd. My late-March reconnaissance of our two-mile stretch indicated that there was no shortage of trash and that it was high time for some Tramway TLC!  The day before our April 23 cleanup, we had crazy, 70 mph wind. So, either we were going to get more trash than I saw, or none at all (in the event it all blew away). I was happy to see that all the trash was still there waiting for us the next morning!

We started at the Albertson's, with half of the volunteers working south from Academy to the bridge at Bear Canyon, and the other half working north to the bridge at Simms Park Road. We accumulated 26 full bags of trash and a large amount of cardboard, metal pipe, and other construction materials. The median had been freshly mowed, making our job easier. It was amazing how much we got accomplished in just two hours!

Please join me in thanking the following volunteers for their efforts:
Rene and Marilyn Chartier, Tracy Bredeson (Enclave)
Howard Friedman (West Highlands)
Dan Kropp, Linda Otterson (Canyons)
Jim DeBlois (Tierra del Oso)
Ed Arata and Ashley Harvey, Christina and Joe Wilson (Legends)
Janet Brierley (Sunset Ridge)
Julie and Steve Hartig (Overlook)
Charlotte, Donnie, and Jadyn Trone (Desert Mountain)
Bob and Kitty Lind (Chaco Compound)
Krisan Smith (Mountain Highlands)

To keep our Adopt-a-Highway active, we are committed to holding a formal event twice a year. I am thinking our next cleanup will be sometime in October, 2022. If you are interested in volunteering. please email me at mlesher222@comcast.net and I will add you to my list!

 
Michele Lesher
April 25, 2022
ARTICLE
By Reg Rider

Pinion Tree Spraying

High Desert has an outbreak of Pinon Needle Scale. Yellowstone Landscape is mobilizing to control the outbreak.  An estimated 600 Pinon trees will be sprayed but not all are infected. About 530 trees are in the Common Areas and 70 in communities.  
 
The control agent to be utilized Safari 20sg Insecticide for the Pinon Needle Scale and is an Industry Standard and widely used by Yellowstone. The Active ingredient is Dinotefuran (N-methyl-N-nitro-N” {(Tetrahydro-3-furanyl methyl)guanidine}
 
Safari is a super-systemic insecticide with quick uptake and knockdown of pest and includes Scale (Armored and Soft) for Ornamental Plants and Forest Foliar or Broadcast Spray Application Outdoors for Christmas Trees in plantation including Conifers, Forests and Wooded areas. Safari is water soluble and applied as a foliar spray.
 

Safari is a particularly good choice when trees are heavily infested, especially when trees are already declining. It will control Infestation for one or two years.

 
Residents need to be aware of where and when the spraying will be done. Yellowstone will sign sprayed areas 48 hours before treatment. Signage will be left for 12 hours after spraying. A schedule of treatment will be provided by April 25, 2022.
 
Children and pets must be kept away from sprayed areas until the spray has dried, approximately 1-2 hours. 
March 29, 2022
ARTICLE

VM Nominating Process

The current Nominating Committee goal is to set up a more transparent and inclusive system for the High Desert homeowners to become Board Members.

We are following the Nominating Committee Charter, including collecting the Statements of Interest from candidates and ensuring they are in compliance. We are available to educate homeowners on Board responsibilities, duties, and time commitments. We will provide a forumm for all candidates to discuss HOA challenges and visions for the future.

If you or a friend want to learn about the Board, please contact Camille Singaraju, Nominating Committee Chair, so we can set up and informal meeting.

Voting Member Nominating, Election Schedule, and Process

  1. For questions and answers about the nomiation process, contact Camille Singaraju at bsingaraju@msn.com or 505-821-6887.
  2. Thursday, April 7, 2022, is the last day to submit a Statement of Interest.
  3. Nominating Committee will request the following information from the candidates: 
    a. Biography and responses to five questions
    b. During the first and second week of April, a Nominating Committee Forum will be scheduled
    for each candidate to:
    i.   Provide information on board members' responsibilities;
    ii.  Provide the committee an opportunity to ask questions/discuss candidate responses to the questions; and
    iii. Finalize the responses in preparation for distribution to the Voting Members.
  4. Saturday, April 16, 2022, distribute each candidate's biography and responses to questions to Voting Members through Google Discussions Group and encourage Voting Members to distribute these to all homeowners.
  5. Saturday, April 23, 2022, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. open Zoom meeting for homeowners to meet the candidates and ask questions.
  6. Thursday, April 28, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Voting Members meeting for Board member elections:
    a. Entertain nominations from the floor for additional candidates.
    b. Allow nominees from the floor an opportunity to discuss their qualifications and visions for the future (10 minutes each); and
    c. Allow prior nominees an opportunity for any further discussions (5 minutes each).
March 18, 2022
ARTICLE

Get “Reverse 911” Emergency Calls to Your Phone!

These automated calls direct from Bernalillo County alert you to wildfires, severe weather, crime, traffic, missing persons, etc.
 
 
Note: Bernalillo County uses the Nixie notification system, and FAQs regarding Nixie are available at: www.nixle.com/resident-faqs/
 
For additional information about wildfires and precautions that residents can take, please see our Fire Safety page.
 
Thanks to our Wildfire Preparedness Committee for finding this resource for us!
October 05, 2021
ANNOUNCEMENT

Global Announcement

Help Prevent Wildfires
Please review our fire safety resources
and fireworks info here.

September 29, 2021
ARTICLE

Plant Resources

When adding to your landscaping, plant selection matters. A key question to ask is: Which plants will grow well in our high desert environment? By exploring expert recommendations for our area, you can learn how to select the best plants and care for them. There are several resources to turn to for plant lists, maintence suggestions, watering tips, and other useful information to help you find the plants that will best thrive in our climate.

A go-to resource is the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority (ABCWUA). Their customer newsletters and 505Outside website have tons of helpful information, including this guide: Xeriscaping: The Complete How-To Guide

The Nature Conservancy produced a list of tree species that will do best in our climate, including species that are the most cold and heat tolerant. This list is arranged by planting locations to help you decide where to place trees around your home: Albuquerque Climate-Ready Trees List

Bernalillo County has created a list of plants that can survive on harvested rainwater. No irrigantion required! Bernalillo County Green Stormwater Infrastructure Plant List 

Finally, the Friends of Valle de Oro generated a Backyard Refuge Plant List that is specifically for building wildlife gardens, with mostly native plants, to thrive in the Albuquerque metro and the East Mountains.

If you seek additional help or advice, contact a local landscaper or go to your nearest nursery.

August 18, 2021
ARTICLE
By Rebecca Murphy, Apache Plume Editor

A Tribute to Tom Murdock

Tom Murdock, who spent 16 years in continuous service on the High Desert Board of Directors and who devoted countless hours to the association as a volunteer since 2000, died July 27 following a fall at his home in Solterra.

“Tom was first elected to the Board in 2004 along with Ray Berg and me,” said Jay Hartfield. “He was then re-elected seven more times for a total of 16 years of continuous Board service. Nobody else even comes close.”

Tom began volunteering in 2000 as a Voting Member shortly after moving to High Desert with his wife Margo (a gardening columnist for the Apache Plume) from Houston, Texas. He went on to be elected to the first entirely homeowner-controlled High Desert Board of Directors in 2004, where he was elected Treasurer. Tom served as Treasurer for six years, as Vice President for two years and as President of the Board for eight years. Throughout that time he continued to operate his software company, Spring Lake Software, from his home.

If there was a High Desert special event in the park, a Welcome Committee Wine and Cheese party, a Run for the Hills race event, a quarterly Voting Member meeting or Board meeting—Tom was there.

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“I first met Tom in early 2006 within a year of my arrival at High Desert,” said Reg Rider, current President of the Board. “I served with Tom from 2007 to 2012 as a board member and board president. Tom was completely dedicated to ensuring that High Desert was the best in Albuquerque in everything we did. He was the Treasurer, set up the Run for the Hills race event annually, was an advocate for a multitude of resident activities and knew the High Desert covenants and bylaws in detail. I learned a lot from Tom and have always respected his opinion. He will be missed by High Desert."

Jay met Tom in 2000 when both were members of what at that time was a very small group of Voting Members that met monthly. “I didn’t know until Tom, Ray Berg and I were elected to the Board in 2004 that we had all been at Purdue University at the same time some 40 years earlier,” recalled Jay, “although none of us knew the others. A small world indeed.”

Ray Berg, current Board Treasurer, added, “All of us had a history with Purdue University, so we were referred to as the Purdue Mafia.” As members of the first homeowner-controlled board, the responsibility weighed heavily on members to get it right.

“Although the developer left the Association in excellent financial condition,” Ray said, “we had to devise our own procedures since the developer didn’t want to bias the board. So Tom had to come up with processes to manage all of the finances. We have continued to be in excellent financial health due in large part to Tom’s influence.”

“I guess that the one thing that impressed me most over the years,” said Jay, “was Tom’s unwavering commitment to the well-being of the High Desert community and to the preservation of the ideals upon which it was founded.   In that regard, he had no equals.”

Voting Member Chair Harrison Jones agreed. He observed Tom in action when he first attended a Voting Member meeting in 2015. “Tom’s intelligence, thoughtfulness and dedication to all things High Desert were abundantly clear,” he recalled. “His concern and personal advice regarding the relationship between Voting Members and the Board was a major factor in my decision to seek the Voting Member chairmanship. Tom was always ready to listen and share his experience and perspective. All of us will miss him.”

Clay Wright, past president of the Board, worked for several years with Tom. “His dedication to our community is unquestioned,” he said. “I cannot begin to calculate the hours of time he donated in the service of High Desert. He did so with no interest in accolade or recompense. Our community’s thoughtful stewardship was his single focus. I will deeply miss my friend.”

Lynn Claffy, current Contracts Chair, first met Tom in 2000 at a block party in Solterra. “The woman who hosted the party had an electric range that literally would not boil the large pot of water to cook the shrimp being served,” Lynn said. “The woman knew that my husband and I had a gas stove, so Tom carried the ten-gallon pot of water filled with tons of raw shrimp down to our house to cook the meal.”   

Lynn remembers Tom as a close friend. “He was someone who was always there no matter what,” she said. “When I was laid off after 35 years, he coached me on how to become a consultant in my field. My birthday is New Year’s Eve. Tom and his wife Margo have prepared a delicious dinner for me and whomever I want to invite as guests for the last 15 years. When my husband was scheduled for surgery last summer, he drove us to the hospital. Tom will be missed by so many.”

David Bentley, former Vice President of the Board, recalled his time with Tom. “Working with Tom was a learning experience for me because I had no experience as a member of a board of directors for a homeowners association,” Dave said. “Tom immediately took me under his wing and helped me to learn the ropes. I was amazed with the wealth of information he had about how the Board of Directors functioned and situations ranging from a welcoming party for new residents to handling legal issues in court cases. Tom knew all the rules and regulations and was very adamant that following these was a necessity. He devoted a huge number of hours each day to this end and consulted with me by telephone at all hours including early mornings, late evenings, and mealtimes! I was always uncomfortable when Tom would vacation away from Albuquerque because I knew I could not fill his shoes. I am proud that Tom and I became very close friends.”

Susan Camp, Communications Co-Chair, remembered that Tom never avoided unpopular issues “Tom was usually the first one to step up when Voting Members brought up sensitive issues,” she said. “Even when he knew people would be unhappy, he didn’t shy away from the discussions that needed to happen.”

Russ Rhoades, former Chair of the Voting Member group, remembers first meeting Tom back in 2004 when Russ was on the Nominating Committee considering homeowners running for the Board of Directors.Tom had put his name in and Russ and the Committee interviewed him and put   Tom’s name on the slate. “Tom’s heart was always in the right place,” Russ recalled. “He always tried to serve the best interests of the High Desert community and the association.”

Dr. Janet Brierley, former Board Director, worked for several years with Tom. “When I joined the Board, Tom was already something of a legend in High Desert,” she said. “He had been working for the community for years and had a wealth of knowledge. As Board President, he patiently explained the background of ongoing issues and used his historical knowledge of the community to give measured and thoughtful opinions in Board meetings. As Treasurer, he streamlined the reports, making them concise and easily understood, and completely overhauled the method of calculating reserve funds. The residents of High Desert will benefit from Tom’s hard work for years to come.”

In 2014 Tom was asked in an interview with the Apache Plume why he continued to remain so involved with the association. “I will continue to volunteer as long as my contribution is wanted and valued,” he said. “There have been some challenging moments over the years, but I have tried to make a positive difference for High Desert.”   

This article first appeared in Apache Plume, August 2021.