The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Celebrations at Coronado Monument with luminarias, song, dance ... and Santa

On December 3, enjoy the annual Christmas at Kuaua, with luminarias lighting the trail and rooftops at the Coronado State Monument, 485 Kuaua Road in Bernalillo, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. At 5:30 Santa Claus will visit and kids can make a small gift in Santa’s elves’ workshop to take home. At 6:30 the Bernalillo High School Choir will sing Christmas carols. And at 7:35 the Jemez Sun Fire Dancers will perform the Buffalo, Horse and Eagle Dance around a bonfire. The event is free and open to the public. Coronado State Monument is located off I-25, Exit 242, one mile west on Highway 550/44.


Holiday poinsettias ready at Storehouse West

The season to decorate is here, and Storehouse West is again selling beautiful red poinsettias grown in La Paloma Greenhouse in Corrales, where they are nurtured and carefully tended by the Association for Retarded Citizens of Albuquerque (ARCA) workers. Plants are priced at $9.95 and each comes with a festive red cover.

The poinsettias will be available for delivery beginning December 3 and continuing into the next week. The minimum order for delivery is twenty-five plants, with a minimal delivery charge of $5. Or you may pick your plants up directly at Storehouse West, 1030F Veranda Drive SE, in Rio Rancho, on December 6, 8, or 10.

Orders may be placed now. Please fax your order to 892-2191, order by e-mail at, or call 892-2077. If the office is closed, please call 934-8482 to place your order.


Cut or dig your Christmas tree in Cibola National Forest

This year, as with many years in the past, Christmas trees have been made available to the citizens of New Mexico from the Cibola National Forest. Our Christmas Tree Program is just one of many activities and uses available to you.

Covering over 1.9 million acres, the Cibola National Forest offers the visitor opportunities to experience desert settings to high mountain peaks. Elevations actually vary from near five thousand to over eleven thousand feet and outdoor recreation activities are available year-round. Your trip to the forest to cut a Christmas tree offers you an opportunity for a winter outing which, with proper planning, will provide you with a rewarding and enjoyable experience. So, get your family or friends together, pack a lunch, and head for the great outdoors.

Cutting is permitted only in areas designated on your Christmas-tree permit, and from November 25 through December 24, 2004. One Christmas tree, up to ten feet tall, is allowed for each permit. Your permit is good for a living tree if you want to dig it up rather than cut it. All conifers may be cut, but only in the designated areas.

The Cibola National Forest has permits available for any species on the Mt. Taylor and Magdalena Ranger Districts. The Mountainair Ranger District has permits for piñon and juniper in the Gallinas Mountains and Douglas fir and white fir in a designated area. The Sandia Ranger District does not issue cutting permits for the Sandia and Manzano Mountains. For more information, call 346-3900.


Placitas Edward Jones is Toys for Tots drop location

Ry Whiteman, the local Edward Jones investment representative in Placitas, is supporting the U. S. Marines’ Toys for Tots program by using his office as a drop-off location for this year’s toy drive.

Local residents may help needy children in the area by bringing in new, unwrapped toy to the office in Homestead Village at 221 Highway 165, Suite G, during regular business hours beginning December 1.

“With the holiday season around the corner, we are all getting ready for the festivities,” Whiteman said.


Help families through PB&J

PB&J (Peanut Butter and Jelly) Family Services is a child-abuse prevention agency that helps parents learn the skills they need to provide safe and loving homes for their children. It is also a service organization helping provide food, clothing, and gifts during the holiday season for more than 125 families whose income falls below the poverty line.

Donations of food, clothing, and presents may be dropped off in Bernalillo, 255A Camino del Pueblo. For more information, call 867-2356.


Winter solstice poetry at Las Placitas Church

New work by local poets, as well as poems by old favorites Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, and others, will be featured at the seventh annual winter-solstice poetry reading at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church on December 21 at 7:00 p.m. In return appearances, Karen Bowen will read "In Praise of Impact;" John O'Keefe, "Invierno en la Casa de su Madre;" and James Burbank, "Winter Riff." Admission is free. All are welcome.

The theme for this year's reading, according to organizer Charles E. Little, is “Truth in Winter.” "December 21 is the first day of winter," said Little, "which brings on a time of quiet reflection, a time when people can, and should, put all the distractions and the nonsense aside, and dig down for what is real and true. Winter is a time to come to grips with truth for the sake of truth. That is what serious poetry is all about."

The readings will include Robert Frost's "Birches," Wallace Stevens's "The Sail of Ulysses," and contemporary writing by Linda Pastan, Joy Harjo, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Marvin Bell, Ellen Bass, and Mark Kraushaar, whose poem "We Regret To Inform You" deals with the fate of American soldiers in Iraq.

As before, the poems are read by the light of a single candle in the sanctuary of the church, with a moment of silence following each reading. Introductory and concluding music is from Paul Winter's winter-solstice performances at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. At the end of the reading, a memento chapbook containing the poems will given to those attending. Refreshments will be served in the church's fellowship hall.

For further information on the reading, contact Charles Little at 867-1973 or For information on the quarterly Las Placitas Earth Vespers series, of which the Winter Solstice readings are a part, contact Leland Bowen, chair, Earth Care Committee, at 867-2731 or Las Placitas Presbyterian church is six and a half miles east of I-25 on NM 165.


Corrales Show marks sixteenth year

The Visual Arts Council of the Corrales Historical Society will present its sixteenth annual Fine Crafts Show on December 4 though 12 at the Historic Old San Ysidro Church. This is a New Mexico crafts exhibition and holiday sale featuring crafts in a variety of media by selected artists. An opening reception will be held on December 3 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. The show is free and open to the public from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. The church is on Old Church Road, three-tenths of a mile west off Corrales Road. A portion of every sale goes to the Corrales Historical Society for restoration and preservation of the Old San Ysidro Church.


Winter events at Rio Grande Nature Center

The Rio Grande Nature Center State Park, 2901 Candelaria NW, offers a variety of children’s events including wildlife explorations, creating star constellations, studying weather and microclimates, learning and Japanese fish printing during the months of December and January. Each event is held from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. and requires advance registration at 344-7240. Events are free but nonmembers of the Rio Grande Nature Center must pay a $3 vehicle charge.

In addition to the children’s programs, free Saturday bird walks at 9:00 a.m. and nature walks on Sundays at 1:00 p.m. will be led by volunteer naturalists throughout December and January.

On December 26, a twilight hike on a full-moon night beginning at 4:30 p.m. will be led by volunteer naturalists and Nature Center staff, with moonrise over the Sandias

followed by full astronomical twilight as participants watch and listen for nighttime animals.


El Rinconcito español—A Bilingual Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the casa

not a creature was stirring. Caramba, ¿qué pasa?

The stockings were hanging con mucho cuidado

In hopes that St. Nicholas will feel obligado

To leave a few cosas aquí y allí

For todos los chicos (y something for me).

Los niños were snuggled all safe in their camas,

some in vestidos and some in pijamas,

their little cabezas all full of good things,

they're all esperando que Santa will bring

to all of the children, both buenos y malos

a nice batch of dulces and other regalos.

While Mami worked late in her little cocina,

El Viejo was down at the corner cantina

living it up with his amigos. ¡Carajo!

Soon he’ll be home un poco borracho.

Pues, out in the yard there arose such a grito,

I jumped to my feet like a frightened cabrito.

I ran to the ventana and looked out afuera,

And who in the world do you think que era?

St. Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero

Came dashing along like a crazy bombero!

And pulling his sleigh, instead of venados,

Were eight little burros approaching volados.

I watched as they came, and this quaint little hombre

was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre

"¡Ay Pancho!  ¡Ay Pepe!  ¡Ay Cuca!  ¡Ay Beto!

¡Ay Chato!  ¡Ay Chopo!  ¡Muraca y Nieto!"

Then standing erect with his hands on his pecho,

he flew to the top of our very own techo.

With his round y gran belly like a bowl of jalea,

he struggled to squeeze down our old chimenea.

Puffing, he finally stood in our sala,

With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala.

He filled all the stockings with lovely regalos,

(For none of the niños had been muy malos).

Then chuckling aloud, seeming muy contento,

he turned in a flash and went like el viento.

And I heard him exclamar–y eso es verdad

Merry Christmas a todos! ¡Feliz Navidad!


Blessings Day helps families

Elaine Sullivan
Optimists de Sandoval

Please join the Optimists de Sandoval and the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Department in our Annual Blessings Day Community Outreach.

Please bring gently used clothing , toys, and canned goods to the Placitas Community Center at 41 Las Huertas Road on Saturday, December 11, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Last year, thanks to your generosity, we were able to help more than thirty families in the Placitas and Bernalillo area with gifts and food during the holidays. We hope to do even more this year. Please donate what you can. If you need your items to be picked up, please call Elaine Sullivan at 771-1171.

Other events hosted by Optimists de Sandoval during December are:

  • Children’s photo ID—Sunday, December 12. Sandoval County Sheriff’s Department and Kasey will take ID photos at the Pasta Café on Southern Boulevard in Rio Rancho beginning at noon. Children and families can bring cameras and pose with Santa. Each child will receive a free lunch. All are welcome.
  • Caravan to children’s hospitals with toys—Friday, December 17. Meet at the Pinon Café and caravan to the hospitals along with Santa, Kasey, and lots of toys. Anyone interested in joining us in bringing Christmas to hospitalized children this year is welcome.

We want to thank our community and especially Sheriff Trujillo and the entire department for all of their help in our community efforts this year. Happy holidays to everyone!


Seasons Greetings, neighbors!

As many of you know, we are extremely fortunate in our community because of innumerable opportunities to see great art and hear wonderful music. The Placitas Artists Series is one venue where area people can hear outstanding music and view great art from local artists. If you've gone to one or more of the monthly concerts, you don't need to be told how incredible the music is. We have top musicians from all over the world, who perform in our intimate acoustically perfect setting in the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church in the Village. There's no other venue where you can be so close to the performers.

If you haven't taken the opportunity to go, you owe it to yourself to come to the next concerts! Or treat a friend to a show. We always have good attendance, but we would love to see even more local people come to the concert to take advantage of the wonderful music and art. The more support we have, the more we can do to continue to attract excellent musicians, continue to support local artists, and equally important continue to work with local community centers and schools as part of our community outreach programs.

If you are not a current patron of our concerts, please mark down the information which comes to you monthly in the Signpost and other venues. 

Join your neighbors and help support your community.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season,

Gary Libman
Board of Placitas Artists Series





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