The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


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letters, opinions, editorials

The Signpost welcomes letters of opinion to encourage dialog in the community. Letters are subject to editing for length, clarity, libel, and other considerations.

re: 12-year-old on bike with inoperable brakes struck by pickup

On June 30, at approximately 20:25 hours, the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office responded to State Road 290, Village of Ponderosa, New Mexico, where a twelve-year old boy riding a bicycle had entered the roadway without looking in both directions for oncoming traffic and been struck by a 1986 Ford pickup pulling a camping trailer.

The twelve-year old was airlifted to University Medical Hospital, where he was examined and treated for possible broken bones and abrasions. The brake mechanism on the boy’s bicycle was inoperable.

Parents, please ensure the braking mechanisms on your children’s bicycles are operating properly and the tires are adequately aired, and discuss with them the bicycle-safety rules.


re: Old Glory etiquette

It pleases me to see the number of my neighbors who have chosen to fly the stars and stripes on a 24/7 basis. It's a great country and a great flag. And even though many of my Republican friends feel a certain proprietorship towards the flag, it really is everybody's flag.

Recently there was a heated debate in the United States Senate concerning flag burning. This made me wonder. If burning the flag is not cool, how about flying the flag at night? Article 174 of the United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, states, "It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open ... the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness." So those of you who are not illuminating your flags after sunset are not showing Old Glory the proper respect!

Article 176, section G, states "The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature." Tut, tut, President Bush, for autographing a flag with a Sharpie on one of your recent trips abroad! (

Also in Article 176, section K, we learn: "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning." Kind of a catch-22, eh? This might explain why several of my neighbors have decided to err on the side of doing nothing about their tattered flags.

While U.S. laws do not make flag burning a penalty, the state of New Mexico does. "The State of New Mexico makes it a petty misdemeanor for anyone to insult the U.S. or the New Mexico state flags by word or act." So you better watch what you say about the flag because you just never know who might be listening. For more information on showing respect for the stars and stripes visit and


re: library rededication

I almost wept when I read that the Bernalillo Public Library has been rededicated as the Martha Liebert Library. Some of you may remember that I served as librarian in Bernalillo for five years, during which time I endured the dramatic ups and mostly downs of political upheaval in Bernalillo. I opposed the merging of the library with the Roosevelt School Library but was told at the time that I had no say in that decision.

The final straw for me was when the then mayor Aguilar and council held a private meeting and decided to change the name of the library from the Martha Liebert Library to the Bernalillo Public Library. This snub of a great woman and her contribution to the community was more than I could in good conscience tolerate. I resigned.

Now Martha's legacy has been restored and my objection to the poor decision to merge the library with the school has been vindicated.

It sounds like Bernalillo has a great new mayor and a great future. Congratulations to all the citizens who hung in there and worked for change! Con muchos cariños. Su amiga siempre.

—LAURIE MACRAE, San Diego, California

re: statement from the Pueblo of Santa Ana, Office of the Governor, regarding horses

Governor Leonard Armijo issued this statement to the Signpost on June 28, 2006, on behalf of the Pueblo of Santa Ana to clarify the pueblo’s actions and intentions in regard to the roundup of several horses that have been running at large on Santa Ana land.

The feral horses are most likely on the Pueblo’s land because there is an available water source at one of the local gravel mines and because encroaching housing developments along the Pueblo’s east boundary are preventing free-range [grazing] by the feral horses. The trespass animals create a public safety concern by drawing attention from individuals who attempt to feed and water the feral horses along the fence line of the I-25 frontage road and potentially pose a hazard to motorists traveling along Interstate 25. In addition, the feral horses have generated negative publicity for the Pueblo: multiple misinformed and unsubstantiated claims have been made by non-Pueblo individuals that the Pueblo was neglecting their horses. In late May, the media aired a story on alleged malnourished horses on the Pueblo that were being rescued from starvation by concerned citizens who illegally provide the trespass feral horses with hay, a smattering of apples, and water. The media story insinuated that the Pueblo of Santa Ana was neglecting their livestock by not providing them with adequate forage and water.

As a result of safety concerns and pressure from misinformed individuals and the media, the Pueblo has taken legal recourse to round up the trespass feral horses and have them turned over to the New Mexico Livestock Board, which will auction the horses off as provided by state law. The Pueblo is further attempting to work with organizations willing to provide or find homes for the feral horses or to enable them to participate in the auctioning of the horses turned over to the New Mexico Livestock Board. The Pueblo does not have any reason to believe that the feral horses will be “slaughtered” and is doing everything it can to see that the horses are taken care of properly.

re: a bleedin’ rain forest

To old friends back East: Oh ye rain, ye damned rain.

This is another report on the abject misery associated with life in New Mexico territory. Incomprehensible as it may be, for two consecutive afternoons we've received approximately thirty minutes (that's nearly a half hour!) of heavy rain. I fear that adjusting to such brutal natural phenomena resides beyond my capacity at this stage of my life.

On each occasion, I was caught outdoors in a highly unprepared state, focusing on my splendid biography of Dolley Madison (A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation, by Catherine Allgor. Yes, there's an "e" in "Dolley.")
On the first occasion, before I could effectively react, droplets landed on my book and hair and spotted my shirt. In addition, the bottoms of my indoor-use-only L.L. Bean slippers became quite damp before I could reach cover. What an unfathomable drag.

The second event resulted in spots on the cuffs of my rather smart looking Lands End 100% cotton tropic-weight trousers (beige) as well as my very best Lawrence, Kansas, Free State Brewery T-shirt (white) complete with logo (largely orange and blue with some green.) Although I don't wish to exaggerate the matter, I fear I am beginning to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

My spouse is, as we speak, consulting real-estate options in Erie, Pennsylvania. There may be little choice in the matter, i.e., we didn't intend to retire to a bleedin' rain forest.

I hope you don't find the above overly upsetting and worrisome. However, I suspect you have little or no idea what it's like to suffer as we do. And to make a horrid situation worse, thunder now sounds in the distance. I give thanks that I'm the owner of an extremely economical large plastic ice-cold bottle of extraordinarily clear, pleasantly gurgly vodka within easy grasp. I assume you wish me to keep you posted on this most difficult and tiresome of weather situations, and I'll faithfully do so.

—HERB (SAD in Placitas)

Heard around the West


What makes Mormon crickets run? More than just the lust for protein and salt. The insects hustle because they're afraid they'll be gobbled up by the cannibalistic cousins trotting behind them, reports the Reno Gazette-Journal. Researchers from the United States, England and Australia who studied cricket migration in southern Idaho found that the insects act as though they're on a forced march. "You can imagine that if you are at the back of one million marching crickets, there is little food left and the cricket in front of you starts to look mighty tasty," said biologist Patrick Lorch of Kent State University. A wounded cricket is a likely target, and once set upon, it gets chewed up fast. "If you imagine eating your own body weight in an hour, that's pretty impressive," Lorch said. Now that it's spring, crickets have begun hatching across the West, including huge areas of Utah and Idaho. Last year, Nevada was hit hard: Swarms of Mormon crickets there devoured vegetation on some 12 million acres.

Forty volunteers from the booming Tucson area recently showed up at dawn for their 141st mission. Though the day would be hot, their arms and legs were covered, and they wore welders' gloves and came equipped with both shovels and tweezers. Their mission: Digging up baby saguaros and other cactuses before bulldozers rumbled in to blaze the desert flat. Arizona is second only to Nevada in population growth, reports The New York Times, and championship golf courses and "active adult master-planned" communities are fast wiping away the Sonoran Desert. In the six years since it was founded, the Cactus Rescue Crew has saved for transplanting over 27,000 cactuses and other native plants. Since it "takes 60 or 80 years for a saguaro to grow an arm," said volunteer Carl Pergam, a radiologist, "I've saved a life, in essence." The group has spurred similar efforts in Phoenix and Lake Havasu City, and also helped to promote xeriscape design, which features drought-tolerant native plants. Landscape architecture professor Margaret Livingstone said that the volunteers play an important role in Tucson: "Much like Frederick Law Olmsted formed an emerald necklace of parks," she said, "the rescuers are creating an arid cactus necklace around the city."

A wealthy homeowner in Lake Tahoe, California, got ticked off at tall pines blocking the view from his $2.4 million house, so he poisoned the trees and then pretended they'd died a natural death. But government officials spotted the murder when they found the holes at the base of the trees where he'd applied the herbicide Roundup. The homeowner apologized profusely, reports the Tahoe Daily Tribune, calling what he did "selfish, impulsive and completely without justification." Initially, however, he balked at paying a fine any larger than $34,000. But officials, wanting to make the crime a warning to others, insisted on $50,000, and, according to the Las Vegas Sun, the business executive has agreed to pay up.

Some hunters have no sense of humor. A western Colorado man was shot in the head recently after another hunter some 23 yards behind took him for a turkey, reports the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Barry Nofsinger was using a lure that imitates the sound of gobbling birds when a pellet banged into the back of his head. Nofsinger, who didn't know his assailant, wasn't seriously injured. Later, he tried without success to make a joke of it: "I asked him—'Are you related to Dick Cheney?' He didn't like that."

Five states can boast more licensed gun dealers than gas stations, and all are in the West—Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming and Alaska, reports The Associated Press. Overall, however, the number of gun dealers across the nation is in sharp decline, thanks to more costly insurance and tightened federal restrictions. Idaho, for example, has 682 federally licensed gun dealers today; in 1994, there were 2,300. The nonprofit Violence Policy Center, in Washington, D.C., says that the dealers shut down were "kitchen table" types who operated out of their homes or offices. But people still seem to be buying lots of weapons. Said gun dealer Ed Santos in Post Falls, Idaho, "We're seeing very good sales. They're either holding their own or rising."

A Scrabble tournament in Hankinson, N.D., had an ulterior purpose: preventing the Dakota Sioux language from going the way of the dodo. Kids from reservation schools in North Dakota, South Dakota and Manitoba competed by putting down words in their native language, now spoken fluently by just a few elders. One survey predicted that the last speaker would die in 2025, reports AP. "With these efforts, we'll try to prolong that," said a teacher. One team of middle-schoolers began by choosing the letters for sa, pronounced "shah," the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota word for red; the next team built on it to form sapa, which means "dirty."

Betsy Marston is editor of Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News in Paonia, Colorado ( Tips of Western oddities are always appreciated and often shared in the column, Heard around the West.



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