The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

Community Bits

Most fire restrictions lifted on Cibola National Forest


Cibola National Forest officials ended fire restrictions for the Sandia, Mountainair, Magdalena, and Mt. Taylor Ranger Districts effective Friday, July 11 at 8:00 a.m. Fire danger has decreased due to moisture and higher humidity over much of the forest. Although restrictions are lifted, visitors are reminded to be careful with their campfires and/or the use of chainsaws.

Forest Supervisor Nancy Rose thanks the public for its patience and support during restrictions. “The restrictions effectively minimized fire occurrence, which could have resulted in high losses. I would like to commend all our firefighters for maintaining their state of readiness and efficiency during initial attack efforts on all fires. The community has been exceptional in supporting the restrictions and closures. We would like to thank everyone for their patience,” said Rose.

The public is reminded that campfire safety is still of concern year round, and that they need to follow fire safety precautions when recreating in the forest. If you have a campfire, please abide by the following rules:

  • Build campfires away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, rotten stumps, logs, dry grass, pine needles, and leaves. Pile extra wood away from the fire.
  • Clear the area down to bare soil.
  • Keep your campfire safe and small, especially when it’s windy.
  • Never leave your campfire unattended.
  • Drown the fire with water and dirt, stir the remains, add more water and dirt, and stir again.
  • Do not bury coals as they can smolder and re-ignite later.
  • Make sure your fire is dead out before leaving.
  • The use of fireworks of any kind is strictly prohibited on all national forest lands.

As a reminder, the following closure and restrictions are still in effect for the Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands:

  • Mills Canyon on the Kiowa National Grasslands remains closed because of extreme fire danger.
  • Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove are prohibited.
  • Pressurized liquid or gas stoves, lanterns, and heaters meeting safety specifications are allowed anywhere on the Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands.
  • Smoking is prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle or building, or a developed recreation site.
  • As always, discharging or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device is prohibited.

For current fire restriction information, visit our website at For fire restrictions and other fire information for recreation sites in New Mexico, log on to


Interviews explore natural and cultural boundaries of the West

When the New Mexico Humanities Council asked aural historian Jack Loeffler to be the lead scholar for their “Between Fences” exhibition, cosponsored by the Smithsonian Institute, he was baffled.

“There’s something in me that doesn’t love a wall,” claims Loeffler, who, as an environmentalist, anarchist, and friend of Ed Abbey, spent years breaking down and climbing over fences. But Craig Newbill with the humanities council knew that Loeffler possessed decades’ worth of interviews that would make perfect fodder for the project.

“He’s the ‘Studs Terkel of the Southwest,’” says Newbill.

Loeffler’s interviews with scholars, historians, authors, Native Americans, ranchers, and artists formed the foundation for the “Between Fences” traveling exhibition and are now compiled in a new book, Survival Along the Continental Divide (University of New Mexico Press). Seventeen interviews discuss fences and bridges in exploring issues of landscape, environment, and the cultural milieus of twenty-first century New Mexico. The book is in part a celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary in 2008 of the New Deal and its projects and ideas that helped shape the state’s rich history and cultural development. The interviewees represent twelve thousand years of human occupation in the West; provide insights into the region’s Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo cultures; and answer the question, “What brings us together as human beings?”


Heard Around the West



“Here we go,” said Arco attendant Austin Egland, 20, as a swarm of vehicles pulled up to the pumps at one of southeast Portland’s busiest gas stations. “It’s going to get nuts.” Oregon mandates full-service gas stations, and until recently, nobody snarled at the gas jockey who did the honors at the pump. But with prices climbing until it now takes $145 to fill a truck’s tank, Egland said some drivers have started picking on him. “This is outrageous,” grumbled a woman, glaring at Egland. “Yes,” he agreed. “It is.” Other drivers reminisced about the good old days of cheap fuel, reports the Oregonian. John Whittmayer, 61, recalled that in 1996, gas cost $1.29 a gallon. He was easily topped by Harley Leiber, 56, who had a summer job pumping gas in 1972, when it cost 24 cents a gallon. “Minutes later, another veteran pumper stops by. Michael Libby, 58, told Egland that he sold gas at an Arco station in Los Angeles in 1967: ‘I pumped at 12 cents a gallon.’“ Back then, he added, gas jockeys also gave out S&H Green Stamps and washed all the car windows. “It was about service.” During the course of the late-June day that reporter Tom Hallman Jr. hung out at the gas station, the price of gas rose another six cents, to $4.13 a gallon.


As the Arizona Republic put it, “Polygamy’s pop-culture moment now extends to the closet.” After the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints was raided in Texas and hundreds of children were removed from their mothers, the many wives of the sect found they needed to make a living. Thus the Web site was born. It features inexpensive handmade clothes for children — no messages on the chest, no wild prints and no flashy colors. Still to come is a Web site for the group’s adult clothes, which might be a harder sell to non-polygamous women. The dresses come in hues of pink only and cover the body from head to toe. And if a buyer wants the pioneer-style getup for Halloween, that’s all right, too, says Maggie Jessop, 44, who coordinates the sewing. “If people want to act weird, that’s their problem, not ours.”


A chimpanzee who served as best man at his owner’s wedding has been eluding pursuers in the San Bernardino National Forest, 50 miles east of Los Angeles. Moe broke out of what The Associated Press calls a “state-of-the-art cage” at Jungle Exotics, which trains animals for Hollywood. His owners, LaDonna and St. James Davis, rescued him in Tanzania 42 years ago after poachers killed his mother, and they raised Moe as they would a child, “toilet-training him, teaching him to eat with a knife and fork and letting him sleep in their bed and watch TV.” The runaway is said to be gentle, but he has a checkered past — mauling one police officer’s hand and biting off part of a woman’s finger when she stuck her hand in his cage. Moe’s owners said the chimp wasn’t really at fault for attacking the woman — “he mistook her red-painted fingernail for his favorite licorice.”


It’s a battle of the über-rich — Aspen vs. Telluride — to see whose residents can best wean themselves from disposable grocery bags. Both towns have so embraced the bag battle — aka an educational campaign — that the competition has been extended through Labor Day. Telluride’s Sheep Mountain Alliance and Aspen’s Community Office for Resource Efficiency share the same goal: passing ordinances in both towns that will ban or restrict plastic and paper bags. “Disposable bags represent an incredibly wasteful habit that can easily be curbed,” says activist David Allen. “Ireland’s success in reducing bag use by 90 percent is a perfect example.” For every reusable shopping bag that’s purchased at the checkout or brought in, participating grocers donate 5 cents to a Green Fund; the fund helps pay for a local environmental project. Best of all, the “winning” resort town — the one that raises the most money — gets to crow that it’s über-green as well as über-rich.


Beware of vehicles that sport bumper stickers, warns a social psychologist at Colorado State University: They signal that the drivers have an attitude. It’s not only bumper stickers that tell on a driver, but also window decals, personalized license plates and other “territorial markers,” says researcher William Szlemko in the Washington Post. Apparently, it doesn’t matter whether the messages urge support for “whirled peas” or warn other drivers to back off because “the voices said to stay home and clean the guns.” Any message on a vehicle conveys territoriality, and that’s the link to road rage: Easily angered drivers “tend to think of public streets as ‘my street’ and ‘my lane’ — in other words, they think they own the road.”

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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