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Two enter race for Soil and Water seat

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Two people with backgrounds in education are candidates for a seat on the Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District board.

The district serves eastern Sandoval County and area voters in the May 2 election will determine who takes Position 4 on the five-member Board of Supervisors, a spot currently held by Gary Miles of Placitas.

Orlando Lucero of Bernalillo declared as a candidate for the position, while Richard Reif of Placitas declared as a write-in candidate.

“Lucero, a retired educator, comes with a wealth of teaching experience, having worked for the Bernalillo Public Schools, the Albuquerque Public Schools, the Los Angeles Community College District, as well as with the Santa Fe Schools,” according to biographical information provided by Lucero.

Lucero has a master’s in curriculum and instruction, bilingual education, English as a second language and elementary education from the University of New Mexico, and has done post-master’s work.

His experience includes serving as a Sandoval County commissioner for eight years. He’s also served as chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission for Bernalillo and as a volunteer pastor at the Sandoval County jail.

Reif’s biography reads in part that he “moved to New Mexico to do solar physics research at Sacramento Peak Observatory, near Cloudcroft, and to complete my Ph.D. in science education at UNM. I taught physics and science education courses at Weber State in Ogden, Utah, and at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I then served as department chair and associate dean of education at the State University of New York in New Paltz. Upon retiring from SUNY-New Paltz, I returned to New Mexico, moving to Placitas, and assumed the science consultant position in the New Mexico Public Education Department.

“I have had a full and meaningful career in teaching, research, service, and administration.”

Positions 3 and 4 are up for election for four-year terms that start July 1. Position 3 is now held by Lynn Montgomery of Placitas, who is running unopposed. That being the case, his name won’t appear on the ballot.

The Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District is one of 47 such districts – local government entities – in the state, Coronado’s website reads.

“Coronado SWCD helps landowners, farmers, ranchers, residents and local organizations carry out conservation projects,” the website explains. “These projects help to: protect watersheds, prevent erosion, prevent wildfires and floods, protect wildlife (and) preserve the health of our land, soil and water.”

District Manager Carolyn Kennedy said the Coronado SWCD includes the entire pueblos of Cochiti, Santo Domingo, Santa Ana and San Felipe, and most of the Pueblo of Sandia. To the south, Coronado’s boundary stops at the Bernalillo County line. The western boundary of the district follows the western boundaries of Sandia, Santa Ana, Santo Domingo and Cochiti pueblos. The district includes Bernalillo, and the communities of Algodones, Peña Blanca, Cochiti Lake, Sile, Placitas and La Madera.

The Piedra Lisa Dam, just southeast of the intersection of Interstate 25 and N.M. 165/U.S. 550, also sits within the district’s boundaries, she said.

“This is a high-hazard flood control dam, which protects Bernalillo and the surrounding area,” Kennedy said. “It is co-sponsored by the Coronado SWCD, the Town of Bernalillo and the County of Sandoval, which are jointly responsible for its maintenance.”

Any registered voter who lives within the district’s boundaries is eligible to vote in the election.

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