The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989

Holiday Tidbits

NMSO to perform free holiday concert
sponsored by county

The New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, in a performance sponsored by the Sandoval County Commission, will perform a special holiday concert on Sunday, December 8, in Rio Rancho. The performance will be held at the Rio Rancho High School Performing Arts Center, 302 Loma Colorado, beginning at 2:00 p.m. The doors will open at 1:00 p.m.

The event marks the third consecutive year the Sandoval County Commission has sponsored free NMSO performances in communities throughout the County.

"The annual holiday concert has proven time and again to be a very popular performance. It has become a holiday event that many county residents look forward to attending each year," said commission chair Elizabeth Johnson. Johnson's District 5 encompasses northern and western Sandoval County and portions of the unincorporated Rio Rancho area.

This year's NMSO concert will feature pops conductor and funny guy Mike Krajewsi leading the orchestra in a sixty-minute excerpted version of A Very Merry Pops. As part of the holiday celebration, the NMSO Chorus will sing such traditional songs as “Deck the Halls,” “Feliz Navidad,” “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and other holiday classics.

"On behalf of the entire five-member county commission, we are delighted to sponsor this event for residents," said commission vice chairman Jack Thomas, whose District 3 includes western Rio Rancho. "The free events in nearby locations are especially relevant to local school-age musicians and county residents who otherwise would be prevented from attending an NMSO event," Thomas said.

The New Mexico Symphony Orchestra is now in its seventieth season. The orchestra's performances are enjoyed by more than 130,000 people each year, with more than half of the concertgoers attending free performances.


Give thanks, give back

The Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program encourages individuals and businesses to “giving thanks while giving back” this holiday season by assisting those who are less fortunate. You can help a newly arrived refugee family by building a holiday dinner basket with food items, or for a donation of $26 Catholic Charities will see that a dinner basket is provided for a newly arrived refugee family. For further information, or to arrange the for a completed basket to be picked up, contact Eleanor Benavidez at 724-4676. Food items may be dropped off at, or donations mailed to: Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program; 1202 Pennsylvania NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110. The deadline for donations is December 9.


Help PB&J provide Christmas cheer

It has become tradition at Peanut Butter and Jelly. Every holiday season, businesses, church groups, classes, organizations, and individuals “adopt” an entire PB&J family or join with others to adopt so that the families served by this organization can share in the holiday.

PB&J is currently working with more than a hundred families whose income falls below the poverty line. They all have children, ranging in age from infants to teenagers. At Christmas they need food, presents for their children, and help paying bills like gas and electricity. Some sponsors provide a “full” Christmas to one or more families—a food box, presents, new clothing, and payment of bills, or gift certificates for these items. Others fill a portion of the need. And still others contribute individual food items or gifts, which PB&J assembles into family packages.

If you would like to adopt a family, contact Donna Brew at 877-7060 or Ari Cervantes at 867-2356. They will provide all the necessary information for any donation you wish to make. Please call by December 13 or e-mail PB&J at

If you would like to donate all or part of a food box or provide a present, please drop the items off at the South Valley location, 1101 Lopez Road SW, or at the Bernalillo location, 255A Camino del Pueblo.

Suggested items:

Good items for food boxes: applesauce, baby food, baby wipes*, bread, canned chicken, canned fruit, canned ham, canned juice, canned or powdered milk, canned vegetables, Capri Sun or other boxed juices, Cheese Whiz, crackers, dry cereal (all types), detergent, flour, graham crackers, gravy packets, instant mashed potatoes, Jell-O, macaroni and cheese, oatmeal, oil (Crisco or other brand), Pampers or other disposable diapers*, pinto beans, Pop tarts, rice, shampoo*, soups, spaghetti, stuffing, sugar, toilet paper*, tomato paste, tomato sauce, toothbrush*, toothpaste*, tortillas, tuna.

Good items for children’s gifts (please do not wrap): baby water mat, baby gyms, balls, books, cars (Little Tikes-bigger than Matchbox), child’s basketball net, coats, construction paper, crayons, dolls, Duplos, Fisher Price garage, Fisher Price school set, Fisher Price train set, Legos (bigger size), musical instruments and toys, pajamas, Play-Doh, pretend food and cooking utensils, puppets, puzzles, See-n-Say, scissors, socks, underwear, washable markers.

Good items for parent’s gifts (please do not wrap): baby wipes, cleaning supplies, diapers, and hygiene items.

*Note: The starred items cannot be purchased with an EBT card.


Sheriff’s Christmas drive

The Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce its fourth annual Christmas drive to assist needy families in the community. Unfortunately, because of the large number of requests for assistance, it has become necessary to screen requests so we may better serve the truly needy families. Santa Claus will arrive to distribute the gifts to the children. We are in need of nonperishable foods, canned goods, turkeys and hams, and beverages. I would like to thank you in advance for your time and any donation you may be able to make. Should you have any questions, please contact me, Deputy Darrell Sanchez, at 867-7527 or call Pam Moreno at 867-7543.


Holiday events at Coronado, Jemez

On December 13, Coronado State Monument in Bernalillo will present Christmas at Kuaua from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Enjoy a thousand farolitos and Native American dancing around a bonfire from 5:30 to 6:30 pm., a special visit by Santa Claus from 6:30–7:30 p.m., and music by Amor Eterno (Musica Mexicana), from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free. The monument is off I-25, Exit 242, on Highway 550, just west of Jackalope. For further information, call 800-419-3738 or 867-5351.

On December 14, Jemez State Monument in Jemez Springs will hold a Farolito Tour from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Fifteen hundred farolitos will be on display throughout the ruins and Native American will perform dances with live music by Cumulonimbus. Refreshments will be served and the admission is free. The Jemez Monument is north of Jemez Springs on Highway 4. For further information, call 800-426-7850 or 829-3530.


County line—Practice random acts of kindness

Elizabeth C. Johnson
Sandoval County Commission Chair

The holiday season is a time for sharing with family and strangers alike. It's also a make-or-break-it time for many of our charitable organizations and an opportunity for all of us to shed our emotional insulation, open our hearts, and practice random acts of kindness.

I concur with syndicated columnist and author Lee Pitts's assessment that today has always been my favorite day of the week. The here-and-now provides a time frame in which actions can actually produce results. Instead of saving a rain forest tomorrow, Pitts wrote, we can plant a tree today. Instead of joining Greenpeace next week, pick up a piece of trash right now. If you want to educate a generation, he wrote, then read a book to a child tonight.

Sandoval County is fortunate to have thousands of residents who are doing so much today and every day to produce real results by helping others. We also have dedicated and caring organizations in our county that perform vital roles in helping the needy, the hungry, and the poor. Those residents and groups are the ones who are making a difference in our communities and neighborhoods today. They aren't waiting for a series of tomorrows.

Donating our time, money, and goods to help those in need is a practice we can perform daily. Even more importantly, we need to get back to the basics of what the holidays truly represent and give more of ourselves each and every day.

Charity need not be grand or extravagant, and practicing random acts of kindness is a good lesson for all of us.

Such acts can be as simple and spontaneous as putting up a dollar or two to help someone in a grocery line who doesn't have enough money to pay the bill. As this is the season for giving, invite someone into your home for a holiday dinner. We all know an elderly neighbor or someone who is alone for the holidays. Brighten their day by inviting them to a Christmas tree trimming party or to share a slice of fruitcake or holiday cookies.

All of us, too, may have an acquaintance we really don't like. One useful approach is to take them a pie or share a couple of cups of coffee. Sometimes you may get egg on your face but more times than not you will be surprised at how many fences can be mended by such a simple gesture.

The weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of the year are when Americans traditionally dig deepest into their pockets and give time and money to help those in need.

Our churches, civic groups, and charitable organizations need our contributions and support during the holiday season so that they in turn can help so many others throughout the year. Without our support during this crucial season, many people will go without help throughout the remainder of the year.

Find an organization that you can assist. Many of our charitable groups provide a broad range of services, while others focus on specific areas or groups of individuals needing help.

Need ideas? Look under the Yellow Pages listings of charities, community organizations, or religious organizations. Or stop by a local library and review United Way's directory, which lists numerous agencies serving Sandoval County, or call the United Way regional office, 247-3671, for suggestions of needy organizations.

But make a commitment now and act on it today. To paraphrase Lee Pitts, if we truly wish to help someone, the time to give is the day before tomorrow.

On behalf of the entire Sandoval County Commission and county employees, who strive to serve area residents, have a safe and joyful holiday season, and best wishes for the New Year.

Questions or comments for Commissioner Johnson can be mailed to her in care of Sandoval County Administrative Offices, P.O. Box 40, Bernalillo 87004




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