The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Centex Adult Community
Rear view architectural rendering of proposed active-adult lifestyle community planned for Bernalillo.

Centex Homes begins sales of Bernalillo adult community

In November Centex Homes celebrated the opening of an active-adult community in Bernalillo. Central New Mexico’s first active-adult lifestyle community, Alegria has officially opened its doors for business. Saturday, November 5 marked a festive event at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa for local dignitaries and over four hundred prospective home buyers from throughout the country.

The evening was highlighted by welcoming presentations from Centex vice president of Lifestyle Communities, Ted Lowe, Bernalillo town manager Les Swindle, Mayor Charles Aguilar, and Sandoval County Commissioner Bill Sapien.

The award-winning Albuquerque-based architectural firm of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini was chosen to design the clubhouse, which will be the centerpiece of the 376-home Alegria community. The clubhouse will feature indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a fitness center, as well as rooms for hobbies and entertaining. A full-time lifestyle director will be available to assist with planning events and activities for residents.

County Commissioner Bill Sapien went on the record saying, “Alegria is destine to have a dramatic and positive economic impact on the town of Bernalillo, Sandoval County, and the state of New Mexico. We are honored to have a company of Centex’s stature come into our area and invest in our community by creating Alegria, which will ultimately lead to the creation of jobs and increase revenues for our coffers”.

For more information on Alegria, visit

County small-business center opens

If you've been dreaming of opening a small business in Sandoval County or expanding your current business, help is on the way.

The brand-new Sandoval County Small Business Development Center, and its director, Howard J. “Ward” Hickey Jr., invite you to a grand-opening celebration on Tuesday, December 13. The open-house celebration begins at 3:30 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:00 p.m. and continues until 6:30 p.m. The center is at 237 South Camino del Pueblo, in Bernalillo, and shares space with UNM-Los Alamos Bernalillo Site. UNM-LA will act as the host of the Sandoval County SBDC.

“We're delighted to be involved with this project,” said UNM-LA executive director Carlos Ramirez. “Sandoval County is growing fast and the scope for economic development is enormous. UNM-LA is happy to offer assistance to small-business owners who want to take advantage of the county's potential.”

With the opening of the Sandoval County center, there are now nineteen local SBDC centers around the state. Visit to learn more about the services they offer.
The new center was made possible through a grant from the state of New Mexico, with the assistance of the Small Business Administration.

“The Sandoval county commissioners felt it vital to establish a full SBDC center in the county and they authorized me to help obtain the funding,” said Gayland Bryant, Sandoval County director of public affairs. “We worked with the SBDC to support their recommendation to the state legislature. This will be a great thing for our county and we're delighted that the legislature agreed with that opinion.”

Donna Wylie, director of tourism and economic development for Sandoval County, agreed. “We had strong support from our state legislators,” she said. “This is a one-time grant. Within a year, we must prove that we're up and running. We feel confident that the legislature will reauthorize funding. Sandoval County has been an underserved county and the potential here is enormous.”

Maria Rinaldi, director of community development for the town of Bernalillo, is looking forward to working with the new SBDC. “The center is critical for business development and business expansion here in Bernalillo,” she said. “It's something we've been desperately lacking.”

Ward Hickey wants the people of Sandoval County to know the office is open for business. Call the Sandoval County SBDC, at 867-5066, to contact Hickey or Nicola Feathers for entrepreneurial assistance.

La Casita Café owners buys property for a bigger building

La Casita Café is ready to rise from the ashes now that its owners can buy an alley from the Town of Bernalillo.

Restaurant owners John and Donna Montoya said they needed the alley so a new, slightly larger building could be located farther from the back fence. The alley, twenty-five feet wide and ninety feet long, covers .05 acres and separated the restaurant from the parking lot on an adjacent parcel.

Fire gutted the building in July, and the former store and home has since been razed. The Montoyas opened the restaurant on Bernalillo's main street in 1982.

The investigation determined the fire was electrical in origin, John Montoya said.

The sale was delayed while the town researched whether the property could be sold directly to the Montoyas or would have to be put up for bid, said town administrator Lester Swindle. While surplus equipment must be auctioned, state law allows real estate to be sold after proper appraisal, he explained.

Since the Montoyas said they only needed about ten feet of the alley, the town is retaining an easement of fifteen feet for future utility needs. The town also required a letter from the owner of the parking lot supporting the sale.

The Montoyas told the Signpost that once the sale is completed, they can move on to financing the new building and beginning construction. They hope to reopen next spring, they said.

Bob Dubin
Bob Dubin

Dr. Bob creates Chiles Soulamente

Local epicurean chiropractor Bob Dubin has searched for twenty-five years to develop a blend of dried New Mexico chiles. He spices everything from sauces and soups to pizza and nuts. He is now marketing Chiles Soulamente at the Merc, the Rockin' R Gallery, the Coronado Restaurant, and online at You can also taste it at the Piñon Café in Placitas.

Bob says, “Chiles Soulamente has a unique flavor, combining the heat of the habanero with the smokiness of the chipotle and the sweetness and tanginess of the anchos and cascabels. Adding the bouquet from the remaining peppers adds up to a taste you will not soon forget.” Adding from personal experience, “Whatever you do, do not touch any sensitive part of your body before washing Chiles Soulamente from your hands!”

The product is processed at the Truck Farm in Las Cruces, which does about ten tons of chiles a year and has been running since 1988, originally as Tia Rita's.

It was a family affair to produce this tasty blend. Bob’s daughter, Heather, who is a part-time graphic artist, designed the label, the Web site, the business cards, and the letterhead for the launch.

Bob’s attorney cousin, Michele Crown, of Washington, D.C., is an expert in food labeling and made sure the label was FTC compliant for interstate commerce.

For more information, call 771-9833 or visit

Attorney General Madrid announces settlement with Western Union

Attorney General Madrid announced today that Western Union Financial Services has entered into an agreement with New Mexico and forty-six other states and the District of Columbia in response to concerns about the use of the company’s wire-transfer services by fraudulent telemarketers. Under the agreement, Western Union will, among other things, fund an $8.1 million national consumer-awareness program and set out very prominent consumer warnings on the forms used by consumers to wire money.

“My office receives frequent calls from consumers who have been contacted about claiming winnings for lotteries they have not entered. The callers are typically persistent, calling consumers repeatedly in an effort to convince them they have won money. Callers tell consumers they must wire money to pay taxes for their winnings. Nationwide, people routinely fall for these scams. In 2002, it was estimated that American consumers lost $113 million to frauds perpetrated from Canada,” said Madrid.

The problem of fraud-induced transfers is substantial. Based on a survey conducted by seven states, it was estimated that over 29 percent of Western Union transfers in excess of $300 from the U.S. to Canada were fraud-induced, representing 58 percent of the total dollars transferred and an average of over $1,500 per transfer.





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