Sandoval Signpost

 

An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  The Gauntlet
 

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letters, opinions, editorials

Signpost welcomes letters of all opinions. Letters are subject to editing for length, clarity, libel, and other considerations. Anonymous pen name letters will not be published. Attach your name and contact information. Send to: Signpost, P. O. Box 889, Placitas, NM, 87043 or email@sandovalsignpost.com.

Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association update

—Chris Daul

The Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association (ES-CA) worked very hard to have legislation enacted that would have brought more regulatory oversight to sand and gravel mining and to increase penalties for gravel mining zoning violations to one thousand dollars (the same as littering). The gravel mining interests showed up in force to oppose, and both measures were defeated in the New Mexico Legislature. Representative Smith was able to negotiate a concession that Vulcan Mining will meet with the Placitas Community in April to openly discuss the issues.

ES-CA is scheduling two community forums this year. The first forum will be on public safety, held on May 9 at the Placitas Community Center, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. We will have representatives from the Sandoval County Fire Department and the Sherriff’s office who will give presentations and answer questions. South District Fire Chief and Placitas resident Humberto Macias will also be attending. More information will be available in the near future.

There have been no new developments in the County’s lawsuit against Vulcan Mining. We are still waiting for the judge to decide whether to allow ES-CA to join the lawsuit. Another recent mining issue is that the frontage road south is creating dust when trucks travelling to and from the Fisher Gravel Mine that was recently annexed into Bernalillo. We have asked our County Commissioner to find out who has jurisdiction over this part of the road and to have this problem resolved. We will post information in the ES-CA Forum as we receive it.

ES-CA is moving the location of its monthly board meeting to the Placitas Fire Station (Station 41), located at 463 Highway 165, beginning with the April 6 meeting. Meeting times will remain at 6:30 p.m. and the meetings are open to the public. We would like to thank Chief Macias for making the Station available. The board believes that this new location is more central to all residents of Placitas. If you do come, please do not to park directly in front of the Station, as these spaces are reserved for fire and rescue personnel responding to an emergency.


re: forest vs. wilderness

As many of you know the Cibola National Forest is going through a National Forest Land Management Plan Revision (FPR). The San Antonio de las Huertas Land Grant (SADLHLG) in conjunction with the NM Land Grant Council, the NM Consejo, and other active land grants in the state of New Mexico have a vested interest in the FPR and have been active participants in the FPR from the get go. We have attended and participated in workshops and comments concerning the different phases of the plan. The San Antonio de las Huertas Land Grant is a cooperating agency with the Cibola National Forest.

One of the areas that we are standing firm and vocalizing our concerns on is in an area by Tunnel Springs that the FPR inventory process has identified as potential wilderness. In our conversations with other land grants and the Cibola National Forest, we, as a land grant, feel this would be detrimental to the Placitas Community. When a designated area in the forest is transferred to a wilderness designation, anything that is proactively suggested needs regional and federal approval, including a NEPA study.

With this said, it is our hope as a land grant to create a firebreak surrounding the Placitas community. This firebreak was successfully done in the Manzano Mountains and is the model that we are hoping to initiate in the future. With any governmental agency, this takes time and planning. In Lynn Montgomery’s article in the last Signpost, “A tour down the Las Huertas Watershed,” he stated that the Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District was looking at treating the wilderness in Placitas. This is an issue that alerted a conversation with Cid Morgan, the District Ranger with the Sandia District of the Cibola National Forest. We came to understand that thinning in a wilderness area is not permitted under wilderness law, regulation, and policy. Reduction of fire behavior would only be allowed via prescribed fire and would entail an environmental analysis and would require a decision from the Regional Forester.

As many of you have heard, Placitas has a radio station. Supporting the radio station has taken our view of protecting the community of Placitas to a new level. The SADLHLG is seeking funding to purchase sirens to alert the community of fire or other natural disasters in our areas. This is on the forefront of the SADLHLG comprehensive plan for land grant. Placing the sirens in strategic locations to alert the community to turn their radio dial to 99.9 KUPR for further evacuation information is imperative for our community. With the state being in a drought and with the Sandia’s having dry debris, it is imperative that we have a way to alert the community for evacuations or other important messages.

The SADLHLG will continue being on the forefront advocating for our community like we have been since 1765.

—Rebecca Correa, Vice President, San Antonio de las Huertas Grant


IRS warns about donating to fake charities/nonprofits

—Bill Brunson

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wants to warn taxpayers about groups masquerading as a charitable organizations to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors.

“When making a donation, taxpayers should take a few extra minutes to ensure their hard-earned money goes to legitimate and currently eligible charities,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “IRS.gov has the tools taxpayers need to check out the status of charitable organizations.”

Illegal scams can lead to significant penalties, interest, and possible criminal prosecution. IRS Criminal Investigation works closely with the Department of Justice to shut down scams and prosecute the criminals behind them.

The IRS offers these basic tips to taxpayers making charitable donations:

  • Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. IRS.gov has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check (www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Exempt-Organizations-Select-Check), which allows people to find legitimate, qualified charities to which donations may be tax-deductible.
  • Don’t give out personal financial information, such as Social Security numbers or passwords to anyone who solicits a contribution from you.
  • Don’t give or send cash.

For further assistance and tips, go to www.irs.gov.

 
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