Peanut Butter & Jelly Therapeutic
Preschool asking for help in Bernalillo
Family sponsors and volunteers needed to assist
PB&J Family Services at their facility in Bernalillo this holiday
PB&J Family Services is a child-abuse prevention
and treatment program that has been working with families in central
New Mexico since 1972. Its mission is to help at-risk children grow
and develop to their full potential in nurturing families within
a supportive community. More than one hundred Sandoval County families
with preschoolers are served each year at the Bernalillo location.
The greatest need this year is for sponsors who
are willing to “adopt" a family by providing them a complete
Christmas—a food box or food certificate, presents, and new
clothing, or gift certificates for these items.
TPB&J is seeking twenty additional volunteers
to help sort and wrap presents for the children, decorate, and assist
with Christmas events.
PB&J is also asking the community to donate
unwrapped Christmas presents for their low-income client families.
Books, art and craft supplies, dolls, crayons, toys, warm clothing,
and gift or food certificates are among the items that would bring
holiday cheer to a family in need. PB&J asks that all gifts
be brand-new, since that makes children with low self-esteem feel
special and loved.
Call Teresa Otero, at 867-2356, for information
about the Christmas-sponsor or -gift programs. She can provide a
complete list of the types of gifts that are needed.
Gifts can be dropped off between December 1 and
December 16 at the Peanut Butter & Jelly Therapeutic Preschool,
255A Camino del Pueblo, in Bernalillo, on weekdays between 8:30
a.m. and 5:00 p.m., or at the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church office
on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
People willing to donate some time to PB&J in Bernalillo before
Christmas should call volunteer coordinator Bill Dunmire, at (505)
Christmas at Coronado
Hundreds of luminarias will light your way on the
trail through the Kuaua Pueblo ruins.on December 2 from 5:30 to
8:30 p.m. at the Coronado State Monument, in Bernalillo. There will
be caroling, traditional dances, an elves’ workshop, and a
visit from Santa. Admission is free, and refreshments will be served
by the Friends of Coronado. The monument is at 485 Kuaua Road, I-25,
Exit 242, one mile west on Highway 550.
Tree permits available for Cibola Forest
Tree-cutting permits are available over the counter
at Cibola National Forest offices now through December 24. The cost
is $10 per permit and each household is limited to one permit and
up to four additional permits for family or friends. Be sure to
have names and addresses available. Timber-management officer Tom
Marks says “With the recent fire disasters, it is important
to note that cutting Christmas trees helps thin overcrowded timber
stands on National Forests.”
The following types of trees may be cut on the Cibola
National Forest: piñon, juniper, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine,
blue spruce, Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, and Southwestern white
pine (timber pine). In the Gallinas Mountains of the Mountainair
Ranger District only piñon and juniper trees may be cut.
Permits may be purchased at the Cibola National Forest
Supervisor’s Office, 2113 Osuna Road NE, Suite A, Albuquerque.
(505) 346-3900, open Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:45
There is no Christmas-tree cutting on the Sandia
Ranger District. Individuals interested in tree cutting on the Santa
Fe (Jemez, Pecos, Cuba, and Las Vegas Ranger Districts) should contact
Santa Fe National Forest, (505) 438-7840 for specific information.
Permits will be available at all Santa Fe district offices.
Food drive benefits hungry New Mexicans
Aardvark Audiobooks is holding its fifth annual holiday
food drive to benefit Roadrunner Food Bank. Nonperishable and canned
food will be collected at both Aardvark locations: 3301 Menaul NE
and 8510 Montgomery NE. The drive will run through December 31:
Mondays through Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Saturdays, 10:00
a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 4:00 p.m. Roadrunner Food Bank
has been feeding hungry New Mexicans for twenty-five years. For
further information, call 505-881-8273.
With community help, Bugg Lights will shine again
With the Rio Grande Civitan Club leading the way,
Albuquerque community organizations have been preparing the traditional
Bugg House Lights for the annual Christmas Under the Stars at Traditions!
Festival Marketplace. Throughout the fall, members of the Rio Grande
Civitans have been refurbishing the animated displays, sewing clothes
for the penguins in the John “Penguin” Souza band, and
renovating many of the traditional Bugg Light characters. Both the
traditional animated displays and the newer Bugg Garden will be
on exhibit from November 12 to January 1.
“The Rio Grande Civitan Club undertook the
adoption of the Bugg displays because they bring such joy to young
and old,” said Carol Kline, Rio Grande Civitan Club leader.
“The Bugg Lights are a unique community tradition and we are
happy to be part of their continued legacy.” The Rio Grande
chapter's decision inspired members from other clubs, including
the Bernalillo High School Booster Club and the Route 66 Car Club.
Their combined work has made possible this local holiday tradition
grow into a statewide tradition.
This year's Christmas Under the Stars boasts over
half a million lights and a Santa's Village, with hot cocoa, biscochitos,
posole, and, of course, Santa. Noon Day Ministries hosts Mr. and
Mrs. Claus and the elves. Children young and old may have their
picture taken with Santa free of charge.
Donations to Noon Day Ministries, a provider of basic
services for the homeless, are welcome.
Traditions! is off I-25 at Budaghers Exit 257, halfway
between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. For more information, call Stephanie
Coleman, development director, (505) 867-8600.
Holiday gifts for New Mexico National Guard in
Last year, Placitans sent more than two hundred holiday
packages to New Mexico National Guard troops stationed in Iraq.
Once again, over two hundred young men and women from our guard
will be spending the holidays in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo.
You can help make their Christmas a little brighter by sending a
gift from home. Retired General George Franzen, of Placitas, contacted
National Guard Headquarters in Albuquerque for the names of units
and their commanders.
Mailers and instructions are available in Placitas
at the Merc and First State Bank, in Homestead Village, and at the
Mini Mart and post office, in the village of Placitas. The mailers
and instructions are addressed to the unit commanders, who will
distribute the gifts to the troops in their unit. To arrive by Christmas,
mailers must be sent by priority mail by December 10.
Suggested items include phone cards, compact discs,
DVDs, handheld games, batteries, books, playing cards, stationery,
pens, pencils, beef jerky, power bars, candy, gum, nuts, dried fruit,
powdered drink mixes, lip balm, and baby wipes. No alcoholic beverages
will be accepted.
Organizer Alan Friedman said, “I thought this
gesture is beyond politics. Young people are in great danger, and
they are just doing their duty. Some of them would no doubt rather
be home for Christmas.”
For more information, call Alan Friedman, at 771-8819.
Give a gift ... back!
Not sure you like the sweater you found under the
tree? Still have a third toaster in the box you haven't opened from
last year? Hate waiting in return lines after the holidays?
The New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women and
New Mexico Insurance Sources have a solution for you.
Every year many women and their families struggle
through the holiday seasons; some do not qualify for traditional
low-income programs and are working at minimum-wage jobs that do
not provide enough for a festive holiday season.
This year we are asking community members to “Give
a Gift ... Back!” This program allows individuals and families
to donate unneeded and unwanted gifts to families that are struggling
through the holiday season.
Unwrapped gifts will be collected at New Mexico Insurance Sources,
9308 Menaul Boulevard NE, in Albuquerque, from Monday, November
28, through Friday, January 20. All gifts received will be donated
to families or needy charities.
For more information, please contact Dona Swenson,
at New Mexico Insurance Sources, 237-0031.
Albuquerque Messiah sing-in to benefit food banks
The fourth annual Messiah Sing-In will be held at
7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 6, at the First Presbyterian Church
at 215 Locust NE, Albuquerque (southwest corner of I-25 and Dr.
Martin Luther King Drive).
You can rent or purchase a score or bring your own.
The sing-in will be conducted by Reverend Allen Webner,
Minister of Music at Asbury United Methodist Church, and will be
accompanied by a chamber orchestra and pipe organ. Ample parking
and a staffed nursery will be available.
A freewill offering will benefit six Albuquerque food
banks: Albuquerque Rescue Mission, Barrett House, Noon Day Ministries,
Rio Grande Food Bank, the Salvation Army, and the Storehouse.
No experience is required, just the desire to sing
the wonderful Messiah, Part I and a few selections from Part II.
Bring your friends and come to sing Handel's Messiah with us. Those
who just want to listen are also encouraged to attend. A reception
Help wrap gifts for Blessings Day
Blessings Day is here once again. The Optimists de Sandoval, along
with the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Department will be providing
food, clothing, and toys to twenty or thirty families again this
You can help.
Join the Optimists at the Placitas Community Center
on December 17 from 9:00 a.m. to noon and help wrap the new clothing
and toys for the families. Then on December 19, from 9:00 a.m. until
noon, at the San Antonio Mission, in Placitas, help us pack the
boxes to be picked up by the sheriff’s department. For further
information, call 867-3077.
Create less waste this holiday season
—MARLENE FEUER, GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC
AFFAIRS MANAGER, WASTE MANAGEMENT OF NEW MEXICO
Along with good holiday cheer comes a lot of extra waste: Americans
throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s
compared to any other time of the year. The extra waste amounts
to about one million extra tons per week.
The gift packaging, food waste, and decorations from
parties really start to add up. If each of us tried a few waste-reduction
efforts, we would see a significant positive impact during the holidays
and subsequent weeks.
Here are a number of ways to make this holiday season
• Consider giving no-waste gifts, such as
music or sports lessons, memberships to a gym, symphony, or museum,
favors like babysitting, or tickets to a sporting event or concert.
Many products made from recycled content make great gifts; be
sure to buy durable, reusable products that will last a long time.
• When packaging gifts, consider reduced or no-waste wrapping
options. Put a large, reusable bow on the gift; place the gift
in a reusable bag, such as a backpack or purse; package small,
themed gifts in a larger item—such as plates or table service
inside place mats or a tablecloth or kitchen utensils in an apron
or decorative dishtowel.
• Make your own wrapping paper by using pages from the newspaper
or magazines, decorating paper shopping bags, or cutting pieces
from maps or posters. Recycled-content wrapping paper is also
available. Save bags and bows to use on future gifts.
• If you are attending a party or dinner and are bringing
a dish for the meal or an edible gift for the host, be sure to
package it in a reusable container. If the item is a gift, place
it on a decorative holiday plate or in a washable kitchen container,
or wrap it in a holiday towel.
• Send holiday greetings via e-mail—it’s a great
way to share photos and keep in touch more frequently. If you
send cards in the mail, make them with last year’s cards
or wrapping paper.
• When entertaining, use washable utensils, plates, glasses,
napkins, and table coverings. Decorate with plants (that your
guests may take home and plant in their yards as a commemoration
of the holiday celebration) or candles. Be sure to have containers
available where your guests can dispose of recyclable cans and
bottles. If you have leftover food, send it home with your guests
in reusable containers or donate it to a local homeless shelter.
• If you receive new items that will replace current possessions,
donate the old ones to a local charity.
Christmas in Bernalillo features states oldest
The annual Christmas-tree lighting at Bernalillo
Town Hall will be held December 2 with the state's oldest nighttime
parade to wind through town the following evening. Both events begin
at 6:00 p.m.
The twenty-first annual Christmas parade, on December
3, starts at Industrial Park Road and moves north on Camino del
Pueblo, then west on Calle del Norte and south on Calle Don Tomas
to Rotary Park for a bonfire and refreshments.
The parade, themed “A Vintage Christmas,”
features lighted floats from the town and region. Participants this
year include an Albuquerque Tricentennial float and the Albuquerque
Thunderbirds, the National Basketball Association Development League
team that played its first home game November 25.
Poetry and music at Placitas winter-solstice
—CHARLES E. LITTLE
A number of nationally known poets, as well as local talent (some
of whom are nationally known, too), will be reading their works
at Las Placitas Earth Care’s eighth annual candlelight poetry
reading. The reading, which will be held at Las Placitas Presbyterian
Church at 7:00 pm, Wednesday, December 21, celebrates the winter
solstice, the longest night of the year.
The theme for the 2005 event, “To Know the
Dark,” is from a poem by Wendell Berry, which has been put
to music by composer John Pitney and will be performed by Joanna
de Keyser, cello, and Judith Hendry, alto and flute, as a prelude
to the proceedings. The poems themselves will provide insights and
variations on Berry's idea....
To go in the dark with a light is to know the
To go in the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
By now a staple in Placitas's cultural life, the annual
winter-solstice poetry reading attracts writers from a wide area.
This year they include Zachary Michael Jack, who is traveling here
from Illinois, as well as poets from Santa Fe, Galisteo, Chimayó,
Albuquerque, Boulder, Colorado, and Placitas itself. In all, eleven
authors will appear, reading by the light of a single candle in
the nave of the church, with a space of silence following each poem
so that listeners can reflect on the meaning. Besides Zachary Jack's
work are offerings by Tani Arness, Karen Bowen, James Burbank, Jim
Fish, Kat Heatherington, Michelle Holland, Mark Kraushaar, Charles
Little, John Tritica, and Anne Valley-Fox.
The winter-solstice candlelight reading, one of four
“earth vespers” held at the turn of the seasons, is
organized by Las Placitas Earth Care Committee.
As a memento of the occasion, the committee is publishing
a chapbook, with a cover design by local artist Bunny Bowen, containing
all the poems read, with notes about the authors. The chapbook is
free to those attending, as is the reading itself. All are welcome,
and the parking is ample.
For further information about this event, and about
the work of the Earth Care Committee, please call Leland Bowen,
chair, at (505) 867-2731 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comanchitos dance at last year’s Las Posadas in Placitas
Las Posadas, a local tradition
Every year during the nine days before Christmas, members of Our
Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Bermalillo participate in Las
Posadas. Different families volunteer to open their homes for a
ritual retelling of the story of the birth of Christ.
Angie and Margarito Sedillo have hosted one of the
Posadas in Placitas for several years. Angie explains, “Las
Posadas (Spanish for “the inns”) retells the story of
Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter on their cold and difficult
journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. When they arrive they are turned
away at every place they look for lodging. Eventually they find
shelter in a manger, which is where Mary gave birth to Jesus. A
traditional song is sung in Spanish by church members standing outside
with Mary, Joseph, the wise men, a shepherd, an angel, and a donkey.
Inside the house, the host, playing the part of the innkeeper, sings
a song that says that there is no room in the inn. Finally the innkeeper
takes everybody in and together they sing joyful songs and offer
prayers of the Novena. When the evening’s Posadas are finished,
food is served for everyone to enjoy.”
Angie said that last year at least four hundred people
attended the Posadas at her house, including a film crew from Spain
that was documenting the event as part of a series about New Mexican
traditions. Members of the Comanche tribe came all the way from
Oklahoma to drum, while their children, the Comanchitos, performed
a traditional dance as a gift to the baby Jesus.
The Posadas will again take place at 6:00 p.m. on
December 17 at the Sedillo’s house on Calle San Miguel, off
Calle Tecolote, about one mile north of the village of Placitas.
There will be a bonfire in front of the house. Angie welcomes the
whole community and says that the celebration is for anyone interested
in knowing about the tradition.
Andrew Mora, Our Lady of Sorrows choir director,
coordinates other Posadas in Bernalillo. The celebration is the
same every night, but the open house varies. Local children will
dress up and dance the part of the Comanchitos. Andrew says that
the dance is done to remember children who were kidnapped by Indians
from the earliest days of the Spanish settlement of New Mexico.
“There is not much written history of these traditions.”
he told the Signpost, “I hope to do some research in the near
future to find out more about it. The Posadas is an old-fashioned
way to observe the true meaning of Christmas and to share readings
from the Gospels.”
The Posadas on the nine nights leading up to Christmas
should not be confused with the annual Christmas Eve Posadas observed
in the village of Placitas. The reenactment is essentially the same,
but a procession follows Mary, Joseph, and the donkey through the
village, which is lit up by bonfires and luminarias. They start
at the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church and go from house to house,
where they ask for shelter and are turned away in an exchange of
song. The final stop is the elementary school gym, where the procession
is given shelter, Santa greets the children, and refreshments are
The Nutcracker ballet returns for its annual
Ballet Theatre of New Mexico has created a tradition
that brings beauty to the holidays with its annual performance of
“The Nutcracker.” A tale of mystery and magic, “The
Nutcracker” follows Clara and her Nutcracker Prince into an
enchanting world where life-sized mice battle toy soldiers, snowflakes
dance, and delicate sweets entertain.
The role of Clara will be performed by Briana VanSchuyver,
with Bradford Rahmlow as her Nutcracker Prince. Principal roles
include the Sugar Plum Fairy (Angela Hlady), her Cavalier (Louis
Giannini), and the Snow Queen (Amanda Wiley).
Immediately following the December 24 matinee performance,
Ballet Theatre will host its annual Nutcracker Tea, where children
can sample delights from the “Kingdom of Sweets,” and
join the dancers for autographs and photos.
Evening performances will be December 16, 17, 22,
and 23 at 7:00 p.m. Matinee performances will be December 17 and
18 at 2:00 p.m. and December 24 at 1:00 p.m. Ticket prices range
from $15.00 to $20.00, with an additional $5.00 per person charge
for the December 24 performance. Tickets are on sale at the KiMo
Theatre Box Office at 768-3544, www.ticketmaster.com,
883-7800 (Ticketmaster), and all Ticketmaster Outlets. TTY users
call 1-800-659-1779. All seats are reserved.
Take time to give at this holiday season
—WILLIAM SAPIEN, CHAIRMAN, SANDOVAL
Sandoval County is fortunate to have caring individuals and dedicated
organizations that provide food, clothing, and shelter for our less-fortunate
neighbors. As we gather with friends and family during the holidays,
let's remember those that do so much for our residents.
We are blessed with many residents who live and exemplify
the true spirit of the holiday season every day of the year. County
employees, too, are eager to step up to the plate to help their
For our charitable organizations, the few weeks between
now and year's end represent a key time in their efforts to assist
needy neighbors and residents. The period between Thanksgiving and
Christmas is traditionally when Americans open their hearts and
generously give the time and money to help others in need.
Yet giving our time and donating money and goods
to help residents in need is a practice we can perform daily. Our
churches and religious organizations, civic groups and charitable
organizations need our contributions and support throughout the
More county employees, too, are digging deeper into
their pockets to support nonprofit agencies that assist needy residents.
About 120 more employees already have volunteered to support United
Way's agencies for the coming year than have done so in years past.
For the coming year, almost half of the county's full-time employees
have either given one-time donations or pledged payroll deductions
for United Way to allocate for those in need.
Many of our charitable groups provide a broad range
of services. Others, meanwhile, may focus their services on specific
groups of individuals needing help.
It's easy to find an organization where you can offer
time, talent, or money to help others. For ideas, contact local
religious, charitable, or civic groups or look in the Yellow Pages
listing for charities, community organizations, or religious organizations.
You can also call United Way of Central New Mexico, 247-3671, for
a directory of agencies that serve our region.
Sandoval County's Community Services Division, 867-7500,
also works throughout the year with many of the groups and agencies
and can provide more information. Additionally, community services
director Patrick Baca and his staff strive to assist residents in
need and enhance quality of life through a wide variety of programs.
The county's Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)
links retirees with organizations that assist serve our communities
in an almost endless list ways. The county's Senior Companions Program,
meanwhile, helps older residents and maintain independence by offering
nutritional meals, daily activities, recreation, transportation
and homemaker programs. For information on the county's programs,
contact RSVP manager Tony Arroyos, 867-3813.
As you enjoy the holidays with family and friends,
take a moment to appreciate the work by county sheriff John Paul
Trujillo and fire chief Jon Tibbetts and their respective staffs.
Our law enforcement and EMS personnel are working hard to help make
the holidays safer for all residents.
Law-enforcement officers are especially vigilant
in curbing an increase in drunken drivers that unfortunately comes
with the holiday season. Their holiday message is very clear: if
you drink and drive, you will be arrested. If you must drink, do
so responsibly and, by all means, have a drink-free designated driver.
On behalf of my fellow commissioners—Jack Thomas,
Don Leonard, David Bency, and Joshua Madalena—the county's
other elected officials, and county administration, I'd like to
take this opportunity to wish you season's greetings and the very
best for the New Year.
Questions or comments for Commissioner
Sapien can be mailed to him in care of Sandoval County Administration,
P.O. Box 40, Bernalillo, NM 87004.