Admins have smokers covered; Plans made to upgrade smoking sections

Jonathan Baca, Copy Editor

The recent school – wide policy that all t o b a c c o products may only be used in designated smok­ing areas has left many students disgruntled and at the mercy of the elements, but not all is lost for smok­ers on campus as efforts are currently under way to help make these areas a little more comfortable, said Executive Director of Multi-Campus Operations Jennifer Cornish.

Administration has sub­mitted plans to build covered canopies over smoking areas to provide shade and protect students from rain and snow, and new benches have been purchased, some of which have already been installed on Main Campus, Cornish said.

“We wanted to make sure with these designated smok­ing areas, that there be a suffi­cient number of them, and we looked at creating some con­ditions that would make them comfortable,” Cornish said.

The project has already had to go through a long, prioritized budgeting process, but Cornish said it is now on the Master Plan list of projects, and funds should be available next July.

“It’s a pretty long, involved, complex process,” Cornish said.

In the meantime, smokers have had to trek across cam­puses, endure harsh weather, and even deal with unstable and possibly dangerous seating or no seating at all in order to have a cigarette, Biology major and smoker Marisa Julian said.

“I would really like to see a little bit more consideration for the smokers,” she said.

Julian said that during one smoke break, when she and a friend sat down on the same side of a circular metal picnic table in a smoking section on Main campus, the entire table was toppled and they had to scramble out of the way to avoid being hurt.

“It’s really difficult for us as smokers, having your only cigarette for the day, and you have to freeze, or get wet, or burn in the sun. It seems a bit ridiculous,” Julian said.

Radiology major Ginese Vigil said since smokers have been asked to make the effort to remove themselves from high-traffic areas and walk to the designated sections, which are often far from their classes, the least the school can do is to offer shaded areas.

“Smokers take into con­sideration the feelings of non-smokers by going to certain sections on campus. And in order to keep that consideration it would be nice to have canopies,” Vigil said.

The full project will not begin until next s u m m e r , but in the m e a n ­t i m e , C o r n i s h said that the a dmi n i s t r a ­tion wants to hear from the students about what their needs and concerns are in different areas of the campus.

On the website cnm. edu/smoke free, students can follow a link to a forum where they can make sug­gestions on the policy and the proposed project.

“People can submit their comments, questions or what­ever, and I’ll get back to them,” Cornish said.

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, have also been restricted to these sec­tions, and many students who use them disagree with the policy and do not think that they should fall into the same category as traditional cigarettes, said Vigil, who only uses e-cigs.

E-cigs do not produce the second-hand smoke of tradi­tional cigarettes, but instead vaporize a nicotine solution and emit odorless water vapor, according to

Vigil said she thinks the restriction on e-cigs is due to misunderstand­ing, and thinks that people have not taken the time to educate themselves on the difference.

Cornish said the team that created the new policy included e-cigs in the ban because there has not been enough research on their true effects.

“We found that there is sig­nificant doubt in the scientific community around the health effects, and also whether or not the vapor includes impu­rities. We decided to include them because there is still a big question mark around them,” Cornish said.

The Food and Drug Administration has not released its official find­ings on e-cigs yet, but there have been several other studies done, many with conflicting findings.

Scientists from the University of Athens, Greece, found that “using an e-ciga­rette caused an instant increase in airway resistance that lasted for 10 minutes in the majority of the participants,” according to

However, another study on e-cigs conducted by the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association found that “with generally acceptable usage levels, there were no health dangers posed by an e-ciga­rette’s vapors,” according to

Vigil said she does not think e-cigs should be allowed during class, out of respect for the teacher and the other students.

However, Vigil said that since she does not believe that the vapor causes any harm, she does not always follow the school’s current guidelines.

“There’s a couple build­ings where it’s easier, if I have a break, to just go into a hall or a restroom,” Vigil said.

Political Science major Jonathan Swenson said that he and many others use e-cigs as a way to quit smoking traditional ciga­rettes, and that the current restriction takes away some of the incentive for many people to do the same.

“If the school policy is really to help people quit smoking, they should give every advantage to people who switch to e-cigs,” Swenson said.

Cornish said she acknowledges that people like Swenson may have a valid point.

She said that if new studies were released showing that e-cigs were safe for their users and the people around them, the school might consider changing their policy.

“I think that all our decisions and policy should be based on good solid information. So while I can’t say that we would change it, I think that that would serve as a basis for looking at that,” Cornish said.

Autumn falls into winter

Autumn falls into winter

By Julian Clark

It felt like just less

than a month ago

it was warm


I feasted upon

the desert warm sun

and the occasional monsoon


but alas, it was

not the shortest of summers

and the longest of winters

all the same


but here were are again

back on top of autumns shelves

as if fed up

with some tiresome child


I say a lament

for an American prayer

that died somewhere

on I-25


the Jemez bore me down

and my hands still chill

from under the water

falling into my hands


one splash across the face

and I awaken to the

fall turning yellow winter

from the autumns green browns


and sense my time of suffering

is upon me

the winter has come

and it’s brought a little stank with it


but yet,

a speckle of sun

sprinkles its shine

down my spiraling spine


a reminder of winter’s promise

to spring that it can return, safely

when ready


“oh, when, oh lord can I return

to your baths of mana!”


but that is not this

this is not that time

now is the time

of death and shedding

one’s parasitic skin


all hail the god Loki

and the winter’s scathing frost

remember, the fire will only

burn the freezing cold


and with a crush of lavender

into my hand

hand me the flame

and follow me through


Who’s with me?

Buddha’s reincarnation, A musician’s journey from showbiz to business school

By Jonathan Baca, Copy Editor | Photos Courtesy of

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Business major and musi­cian Glenn “Buddha” Benavidez grew up in Belen, New Mexico, played lead guitar for one of Albuquerque’s most popular bands, experienced the trials and glories of near rock star­dom in Hollywood, and came back to tell the tale.

In the late 90’s and early 2000’s Benavidez’s Latin hard rock band Stoic Frame became one of New Mexico’s most successful acts, moving to Los Angeles in 2001, and going on to perform at some of the nation’s biggest live music venues, such as the Viper Room, The House of Blues, and Whiskey a Go Go, he said.

“It was really hard work, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I got to travel to the most awesome places. I have some great memories,” he said.

He is now back in the Land of Enchantment, play­ing bass in a local reggae-rock band called Reviva, he said.

Now he is married, has started a growing DJ business, and after sixteen years he is back in school, he said.

Benavidez first started playing music when he got a guitar from his grand­mother on his thirteenth birthday, he said.

While playing in the band 86’ed, he joined Stoic Frame, which became more and more successful as they played around Albuquerque over the next ten years, he said.

Stoic Frame eventually opened for big acts such as Everclear and Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell; they graced the main stage at an early Edge Fest music festival alongside Kid Rock, Incubus, and Limp Bizkit, he said.

Benavidez said the most memor a bl e show he ever played was at the South by Southwest festi­val in Austin.

“It was completely packed, and I just remember you could see the whole crowd was jumping. We could feel the floor shaking underneath our feet. That was probably the most epic show I remember with Stoic Frame,” he said.

In 2001, the band set their sights on the ultimate prize of rock stardom, quitting their jobs and moving out to California, he said.

“Stoic Frame had gotten as popular as we could here in Albuquerque and New Mexico. So we wanted to expand our horizons, and basically try to do the whole rock star fairy tale in L.A. and Hollywood,” Benavidez said.

The first year there was hard, he said, but the band never gave up.

Benavidez got a day job at Millikan High School in Long Beach, working as an edu­cational assistant for special needs kids, he said.

But at night, he and his band were working hard trying to make a name for themselves in the ultra-competitive L.A. rock scene, he said.

“It’s really different out there. You have to pay to play when you first start out,” Benavidez said.

In order to perform at the big clubs like the Viper Room, they had to sell their own tick­ets and pay the show promoter for the chance to take the stage, he said.

Through hard work and sheer determination, they began to grow in popular­ity and started playing with the big boys in town, per­forming with many huge acts like Static X, Soulfly, and underground hip-hop hero KRS-One, he said.

“It was great, man, the energy — just to play the Whiskey, where The Doors played, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers; playing the House of Blues, knowing that Prince is in the audience watching. You’re right in the middle, the heart of entertainment,” Benavidez said.

Stoic Frame made several albums at the time, including 2007’s ‘Spinning the Roulette God,’ which was recorded in Vancouver, Canada, and was the band’s last record, he said.

Although they came close several times to signing with a major record label, they never quite made it, and Benavidez came home to Albuquerque in 2009, he said.

“It’s a really tough business. But I don’t regret it,” he said.

After coming home, he helped form the reggae-rock band Reviva, going back to bass guitar, he said.

Since then, Reviva has opened for Bob Marley’s band The Wailers, Tribal Seed, and War, and in 2011 recorded their first album, ‘Change’, at Central Root Studios, Benavidez said.

Benavidez had always been interested in turntables and DJing, so he bought some equipment and began spinning under the name Buddhafunk, starting out at weddings and small parties and eventually opening for acts in clubs all around town, he said.

Although the dreams of being a rock star might have faded away, Benavidez said that he still loves nothing more than playing music, and he does not plan to stop anytime soon.

“I play music for fun these days. The whole ‘making it’ thing is kind of out the door. But Reviva is just a band that moves people man, I don’t know what it is, but people love it,” he said.

He said he plans to start producing electronic music next, working with rappers and MC’s.

Benavidez is married to local slam poetry hero­ine Jessica Helen Lopez, and through her he has befriended Burque’s poet laureate Hakim Bellamy, who he hopes to col­laborate with soon, he said.

After everything, Benavidez said he encourages anyone with big dreams to go for it.

“You just got to grab your dream and take it as far as you can, despite what anyone tells you. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it,” Benavidez said.

Metal singer comes back to school to help sick puppies

By Nick Stern, Senior Reporter |Photos courtesy of and Ben Bunner Photography

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Before realizing her cur­rent dream of getting an edu­cation and one day becoming a veterinarian, Veterinary Medicine major, Melynda “Mimo” Montano, spent much of her time performing in an all-female Metal band called Suspended, she said.

It was not until just recently that Montano decided to go back to school and attempt to become a vet.

Before that she was con­centrated solely on her band called Suspended, she said.

The band was something that was of upmost importance to her and that pushed educa­tion out of the picture, she said.

“I did not go back to school because the band was just so important to me, that I decided ‘I do not need to go to school right now,’” she said.

At first, the band was just beginning to write original music and had no singer, but that soon changed once she joined the group, Montano said. Montano joined the band during her junior year of high school after playing violin in her school’s orchestra and picking up the guitar not long after, she said.

She sang for the band for about a year until the band’s bassist left and Suspended had to look for a new female bassist to maintain their for­mula, she said.

That left the bands search fruitless, and soon Montano picked up the bass and became the bassist and singer for Suspended, she said.

“When I came along they had one original song with no vocals, and that is where I came in,” she said.

The band’s first gig was at their high school’s talent show before she had joined up, but after she was added to the mix they started playing more and more gigs all around Albuquerque, she said.

“I really love old school death and thrash metal, (such as) Possessed, Overkill, Creator, and Anthrax are what I like and what influenced me,” she said.

They started playing drama shows at their high school and eventually began playing at places like The Harwood Art Center, The Zone Smoke Shop, The Compound, and of course The Launchpad, she said.

“The Launchpad was a really great place, and playing there for the first time was a big accomplishment for us because it was like, ‘any of the good local bands play at The Launchpad, so we need to play at The Launchpad,’” she said.

Montano said that in 2008 they managed to put out a full-length album which they had titled ‘Prelude to Indignance’ and the next fall in 2009 they spent a month touring the country from coast to coast, she said.

They loved to get out of Albuquerque to visit and play in different places and started making traveling a habit by touring the west coast twice, once in 2010 and again 2011, she said.

Montano said that she loved playing in the band and traveling because she got to meet new people, see new cities and discover the different atmospheres the country had to offer, but said she eventually realized she needed to make a change.

Despite the love she has for her music and the life that came with it, Montano came to the conclusion that she needed to begin focusing on her future and decided to quit the band in favor of going back to school, and that she needed a career that would definitely support her, she said.

“I quit the band so that I could go back to school. That was the main reason anyway. It’s a hard decision to make,” she said.

Montano said she is not interested in going back to it for a while, because she does not want to risk losing focus on school.

Montano started going to CNM in May of 2013 and has been getting good grades ever since, she said.

Montano said she has a strong passion for animals and her original goal was to go to school to become a veterinary technician, but after a little while she realized she wanted to go all the way and become a full-fledged veterinarian.

Montano knows there is a lot more schooling involved but she plans on sticking with it and is confident that it will be worth it in the end, she said.

She already has a plan for her future that she believes she has to fulfill, which is to eventually retire from being a veterinarian and purchase land where she will open her own animal shelter with a “no-kill” policy, so that if any animal does not get adopted it will be able to live out the rest of its life at her shelter, she said.

Even though her plans for the future have taken a differ­ent direction away from music, Montano said she would still do it all again.

The experience of being in an all-girl band in such a tight knit local music scene was some of the best experiences she has ever had, and she believes that if someone wants to make music for a living then they should do it, she said.

Montano said that she has learned a lot from being in a band.

“It is a lot of hard work, a lot of responsibility. A lot of people think that people in bands do it just for fun, but when you really love it, you are doing it because that is what you want to do for a living, so you put in the extra effort to be able to do what you want to do,” she said.

She still has her bass and her amplifier, and she still practices every now and then, but as of now she does not per­form and has no plans to start another project, she said.

New theater breathes life into retail wasteland

By Daniel Montaño, Managing Editor | Photos by Daniel Montaño and INFOBARREL.COM AND MAIN.ABQJOURNAL.NETDNA

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Like Las Vegas, a vibrant neon oasis has sprung up amongst a barren concrete and asphalt waste­land in Albuquerque’s northeast heights.

Regal’s Winrock Stadium 16, Albuquerque’s newest movie theater, has been long awaited by fans of premium movie experiences, and it finally officially opened for business on Friday.

The Chronicle was there for the new the­ater’s grand opening and reviewed the cinema and festivities on Nov. 16.

Situated in the Winrock Town Center at 2100 Louisiana Blvd NE, which has been a relative retail waste­land for over a decade as plans have been meticulously laid for the revival of the shopping center, the theater itself is an impressive sight in the midst of ongoing construction.

The crowd was huge on opening night, because many people have been looking forward to this theater for months coming to Albuquerque.

That is in part because the theater touts Albuquerque’s first commer­cial IMAX auditorium, and the closest Albuquerque had before was the DynaTheater attached to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, which is a Dolby theater, so it does not count — because if you cannot watch Thor smash things with his hammer, it is not real IMAX.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, this theater is not a real IMAX theater either.

The theater is instead equipped with “digital IMAX,” a smaller version of the real thing, about half the size, which features dual digi­tal projectors instead of the dual 70mm projectors in a true IMAX auditorium.

That being said, both the IMAX and Regal Premium Experience (RPX) auditori­ums at Albuquerque’s newest theater are deeply impressive, both boasting a richer movie experience with a better, bigger, brighter picture, far better sound and more com­fortable seating.

The RPX audito­rium has the edge when it comes to sound, featuring a 100,000 watt speaker system including eight 21 inch subwoofers, according to, which all work together to engulf one in the sound of the film.

While watching “Enders Game,” one could feel the auditorium shake during explosions, an auditory experience that warrants a second viewing.

The IMAX audito­rium clearly has a better picture, however, and both auditoriums offered luxurious, comfortable leather seating.

Whether or not all that is worth the price ($17.25 for IMAX at any time of day, and an additional $4 on the regu­lar ticket price for RPX) is up to the individual moviegoer.

The staff was friendly, albeit a bit bumbling, which might have just been a symp­tom of opening night jitters and the massive crowd rather than incompetence.

Overall the staff was very accommodating, friendly and helpful, even if getting a soda in the massive concession stand takes a bit longer than one would expect.

The concession stand spans the length of the brightly lit and captivating lobby, and serves more the traditional movie theater fare, including cheeseburgers, hot wings and pizza.

Although the food options are not traditional for a movie theater, the prices are traditionally high, so do not come here expect­ing a cheap date.

The lobby is relatively small, giving most of its room to concessions and leaving most of the 72,000 square foot operating space open to serve why people actually go to a movie theater — to watch movies.

Overall, enjoying a movie at Regal’s Winrock Stadium 16 is a wonder­ful experience and defi­nitely fresh for Albuquerque, although it is a bit expensive.