Adopt an entire PB & J family
for the holidays!
Every holiday season, businesses, church groups,
classes, organizations and individuals “adopt” an entire
Peanut Butter & Jelly family or join with others so that the
families PB&J serves can share in the holiday. Especially at
Christmas these families need help with food, presents for their
children, and assistance in paying higher cold-weather gas and electricity
PB&J is asking the community to help provide
holiday cheer to more than 125 families whose income falls below
or near the poverty line. These families have children ranging from
infants to teenagers. A food box or food certificate, presents,
new clothing, or payment of a bill can be the gift of a community
Appropriate items for giving include:
• Food Boxes: applesauce, baby food, baby
wipes, bread, canned chicken, canned fruit, canned ham, canned
juice, canned vegetables, Capri Sun or boxed juices, Cheese Whiz,
crackers, dry cereal, detergent, flour, graham crackers, gravy
packets, instant potatoes, Jell-O, oil (Crisco,other), Pampers
or other disposable diapers, pinto beans, Pop Tarts, rice, soups,
spaghetti, stuffing, sugar, toilet paper, tomato paste, tomato
sauce, toothbrushes, toothpaste, tortillas, tuna.
• Children’s Gifts (please do not wrap):
arts-and-crafts supplies, baby water mat, baby gyms, balls, books,
cars (bigger than matchbox), child’s basketball net, construction
paper, crayons, dolls, Duplos, Fisher Price garage, Fisher Price
school set, Fisher Price train set, musical instruments and toys,
pajamas, Play-Doh, pretend food and cooking utensils, puppets,
puzzles (wooden, please), See-n-Say, warm clothing, washable markers.
• Parent’s Gifts (please do not wrap):
baby wipes, blankets, cleaning supplies, diapers, food certificates,
gift certificates, shampoo, hygiene items, warm clothing.
The deadline for adopting a family is December 9. If you would
like to adopt a family, please contact Chris Lehman, at 877-7060,
or Theresa Otero, at 887-2366, for complete information.
The deadline for donated items is December 16. This
year PB&J has entered into a new partnership with the Bank of
the West. Donations may be dropped off at any of the twenty-five
Bank of the West locations in Albuquerque or delivered to PB&J
at 1101 Lopez Road SW, in the South Valley, or 266A Camino del Pueblo,
Optimists plans Blessing Day deliveries to families
—NANCY HAWKS, MEMBER, OPTIMIST CLUB DE SANDOVAL
For the fourth year in a row, the Optimist Club de Sandoval and
the Placitas Elementary Junior Club, along with the Sandoval County
Sheriff's Department, are providing food boxes, clothing, and toys
for families in need during this holiday season. We have gathered
the names of fifty families and 120 children for this Blessing Day.
We are collecting food, clothing, and toys until December 15.
On Saturday, December 16, we will have a wrapping party at the San
Antonio Mission Community Center from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Items will
be delivered December 20.
We have partnered with many individuals, businesses and organizations
and want to thank them for their generous support. Jon McCallister,
at The Merc, and the gracious women of Jardineros de Placitas have
provided us with turkeys for all our families. The community of
San Antonio Mission has been taking names of children for gifting.
The Placitas Elementary School Junior Optimist Club children are
working on our food drive, thanks to the cooperation of principal
Daniel MacEachen and the PES parents.
Anyone interested in helping us with Blessing Day or our wrapping
party, please contact Fran, at 867-3077, or Nancy, at 771-4931.
Jemez State Monument, historic church open for holiday
The Jemez State Monument and seventeenth-century church will be
open to the public for a special holiday celebration and luminaria
tour on Saturday, December 9.
“This is a great opportunity for people to take a break from
the hectic shopping season and enjoy a magical and spiritual evening
in a remarkable location filled with time-honored events of the
season,” said Joshua Madalena, the monument's manager and
Sandoval County commissioner.
Admission to the monument will be free during the evening's attractions
and luminaria tour, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and refreshments
will be served.
“The seventeenth-century church that is normally closed
to the public will be open,” Madalena said. “Another
very special attraction will be the activation of the monument's
ancient kiva that will include a simulated ceremonial fire so monument
visitors can experience how an actual kiva appears at night.”
The celebration will also include Native American dances and contemporary
flute music. Wagon rides will be available without charge to and
from the village of Jemez Springs, where local merchants have other
“Evenings at the monument are very quiet and peaceful,”
Madalena said. “The luminarias, dancers, and music will provide
a serene backdrop for the holidays.”
For more information, contact Jemez State Monument, (505) 829-3530.
Storehouse West Christmas drive and Copper Crusade
Storehouse West has begun their preparations for Christmas. Food
items needed are turkeys, stuffing, pie fillings, cranberry sauce,
and yams. Gifts for Christmas bags are toys, kids books, teen sweats
and gift cards for teens and seniors. But especially needed are
individuals, families, and groups to adopt a family and provide
items to give their children a really special Christmas.
Also, remember their ongoing fund-raisers—their Copper Crusade
(the collection of pennies) and the recycling of aluminum. Both
projects bring in funds from churches, businesses, and residents.
If you have a counter or desk where you are willing to place a jar
for the collection of pennies, Storehouse West will provide their
label for the jar. Clean aluminum cans are crushed and bagged and
approximately every six weeks the bags are taken to the recycling
center, where they realize about $60. Drop off your bags of aluminum
cans or jars of pennies v at Storehouse West, 1030-F Veranda Drive,
SE, in Rio Rancho. Office hours are Mondays and Fridays from 9:00
a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Wednesdays from noon to 5:00 p.m.
If you have questions, wish to adopt, or would like to volunteer,
Cibola Forest Christmas-tree cutting permits
Christmas-tree permits will be available over the counter at Cibola
National Forest offices through December 24. Households are limited
to one $10 permit. Up to four additional permits can be purchased
for family or friends, but names and addresses are required for
“Our Christmas-tree-cutting program remains very popular
and is a great way to spend a day in your national forest with friends
or family,” stated timber management officer Tom Marks.
This year the following types of trees can be cut on the Cibola
National Forest: pinyon, juniper, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, blue
spruce, Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, and southwestern white
pine. In the Gallinas Mountains of the Mountainair Ranger District
only pinyon and juniper trees can be cut. There is no Christmas-tree
cutting on the Sandia Ranger District.
Permits can be purchased at the following locations:
• Cibola National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 2113
Osuna Road, NE, Suite A, Albuquerque, 346-3900; open Mondays through
Fridays 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
• Mt. Taylor Ranger District, 1800 Lobo Canyon Road, Grants,
287-8833; Mondays through Fridays 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., closed
noon to 1:00 p.m.
• Ft. Wingate Office, Saturdays only, 488-5441; 9:00 a.m.
to 3:00 p.m.
• Magdalena Ranger District, 203 First Street, Magdalena,
854-2281; Mondays through Fridays 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed
noon to 12:20 p.m.
• Mountainair Ranger District, west end of Beal Street,
Mountainair, 847-2990; Mondays through Fridays 8:00 a.m. to 4:30
p.m., closed noon to 12:30 p.m.
For more information, call 346-3900 or visit www.fs.fed.us/r3/cibola/.
Those interested in tree cutting on the Santa Fe National Forest
(Jemez, Pecos, Cuba, and Las Vegas Ranger Districts) should contact
the Santa Fe National Forest, at 438-7840.
Christmas in Bernalillo features states oldest lighted
The annual Christmas-tree lighting at Bernalillo Town Hall will
be held Friday, December 1, with the state's oldest nighttime parade
to wind through town the following evening. Both events begin at
The twenty-second annual Christmas parade, on December 2, 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 behind the Pavilion.
The parade features lighted floats from the town and region, with
an exclusive appearance of Santa Claus on the Town of Bernalillo’s
float. This year’s theme is “Hometown Christmas,”
and the parade benefits the Children’s Christmas Fund, established
to buy gifts and goodies that are distributed by Santa Claus to
the children in the community.
For further information, call 867-3311.
VA announces grant for homeless program
Homeless veterans in New Mexico will have greater access to assistance,
thanks to a $359,079 grant awarded to Samaritan House, of Las Vegas,
New Mexico, by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Only through a dedicated partnership with community- and
faith-based organizations can we hope to end homelessness among
veterans,” said secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson.
“New Mexico veterans answered their country’s call to
serve during its greatest times of need, and now some live without
shelter. This grant will help them get back on the road to self-reliance.”
Samaritan House will operate at 2513 Hot Springs Boulevard, in
Las Vegas, where services such as job training and referrals, as
well as mental-health and substance-abuse treatment will be offered.
Samaritan House’s grant for this project is one of fifty-two
grants recently announced by VA worth nearly $11.6 million to public,
private nonprofit, and faith-based groups for programs assisting
This latest round of grants brings to more than ten thousand the
number of community-based beds provided by public and community
nonprofit and faith-based organizations with VA funding in fifty
states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
The VA has the largest integrated network of homeless assistance
programs in the country. It is the only federal agency that provides
substantial one-on-one contact with the homeless. In many cities
and rural areas, VA social workers and other clinicians conduct
extensive outreach programs, clinical assessments, medical treatment,
alcohol- and drug-abuse counseling, and employment assistance.
River of Lights festival brightens the holidays
Now through December 30 (except December 24 and 25), from 6:00
to 9:00 p.m., thousands of twinkling lights will dazzle Rio Grande
Botanic Garden visitors. There are a number of exciting new giant
light sculptures of animals, plants, and seasonal themes this year.
River of Lights entertained over thirty-two thousand people its
first year and more than sixty thousand in 2005. Sponsors include
the New Mexico BioPark Society, KOB TV-4, and Citadel radio stations
Magic 99 and KRST 93.2 FM.
All River of Lights sculptures are designed and constructed by
Albuquerque BioPark artists and craftsmen.
Adult admission is $6; children, $2. Advance tickets may be purchased
from Zoo and Aquarium/Botanic Garden cashiers or on-line (www.nmbioparksociety.org)
or at the gate. On-site ticket sales start at 5:30 p.m. and end
promptly at 8:30 p.m.
The aquarium is not open during River of Lights; however, it is
available for rental of catered events on most nights.
A free Holiday Nature Crafts program will be offered in the Aquarium/Garden
Education building on December 6, 13, and 20 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
The miniature Garden Railroad, complete with lighted model trains,
cars, tracks, stations, trestles, bridges, and a miniature village,
will operate from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. every night except December
24 and 25.
Take a free buckboard ride at the Heritage Farm on December 15,
16, 17, 22, or 23. Visitors may purchase hot food and beverages
on site and enjoy live entertainment through December 23. The Shark
Reef Café will offer special holiday meals December 11-23
and December 26-30. For information about restaurant dining and
reservations, call (505) 848-7182.
Aquarium and garden gift shops will be open day and night for holiday
purchases, and visitors can stuff their own animals at the Critter
Outfitter station in the Aquarium Gift Shop on the nights that River
of Lights is open.
Proceeds from River of Lights help support the Albuquerque Biological
Park’s BioVan educational outreach program, which teaches
about the Rio Grande and the native plants and animals that depend
on it for existence. BioVan outreach visits to Albuquerque elementary
schools are free of charge.
The Rio Grande Botanic Garden is an accessible facility and a
division of the City of Albuquerque's Cultural Services Department.
For special assistance in visiting the BioPark, please call 311
locally or (505) 768-2000 (NM Voice/Relay or 711), preferably with
three days’ advance notice.
The Albuquerque Biological Park is accredited by the Association
of Zoos and Aquariums. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit
a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility
dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience
for you, and a better future for all living things. AZA is a leader
in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals
in their native habitats.
Beach luminarias, Floating Lights Boat Parade to
benefit Make A Wish Foundation of New Mexico
As one of the only locations in the country to display nearly
3,500 luminarias along the beach, Elephant Butte Lake State Park
will host its 12th Annual “Luminaria Walk” and “Floating
Lights Parade,” on Saturday, December 9, from 6:00 p.m. to
9:00 p.m. Along with the walk and parade, festive holiday activities
will include hayrides, caroling, a visit from Santa Claus and a
chance to win prizes—all to benefit the Make a Wish Foundation
of New Mexico.
“Luminarias have always been a New Mexico tradition during
the holidays, just as the Floating Lights Parade and Luminaria Walk
have become a tradition at Elephant Butte,” said Kay Dunlap,
Elephant Butte Lake State Park Superintendent. “We invite
everyone to see the glow of the lights on the water, feel the warmth
of hot cocoa around a campfire and experience the joy of the season.”
KOB-TV Eyewitness News 4 personality and weatherman, Steve Stucker,
will serve as Grand Marshal of the event while KTSM-TV Channel 9
weatherman, Chuck DeBroder (El Paso, TX) will co-marshal the event.
Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Elephant Butte, the “Luminaria
Walk” begins at 6:00 p.m., and leads from the main entrance
of the park to a cluster of 25 campsites along the beach, north
of Marina del Sur.
At 6:30 p.m., the Christmas “Floating Lights Parade”
will take place at Marina del Sur as dozens of sail and motorboats
glide along the lake, aglow with decorative lights. Visitors can
vote for the “best decorated” boat at the Elephant Butte
Rotary Club's table (located at site #7).
Following the parade, an awards party will be held at Elephant
Butte Inn beginning at 9:30 p.m. Steve Stucker and Chuck DeBroder
will hand out awards.
Floating light parade judges will be evaluating each boat's overall
appearance, parade theme, use of lights, symmetry of decorations
and excitement and participation of the crew. Judges will vote for
“best lighted” boats, “best residential lighting,”
“best RV lighting,” and “people's choice”
awards. Boaters interested in participating in the parade are asked
to register with Steve Hayner at (505) 269-0469. Parade participants
will be required to check in by 3:00 p.m. on the day of the event,
at Marina del Sur.
Elephant Butte Lake State Park will waive entrance fees for the
beach walk; however camping fees apply. In lieu of entrance fees,
a $1 donation is being requested, to benefit the Make a Wish Foundation
of New Mexico.
For more information on the Luminaria Walk, contact Kim Skinner
at (505) 740-1777. For information on Elephant Butte Lake State
Park, call at (505) 744-5525 or log onto www.nmparks.com.
A seasonal reminder to “stay safe”
Former Sandoval County fire marshall, Clark "Sparkie"
Speakman, wishes to remind everyone to be careful with Christmas
trees and other holiday decorations.
"If you're using old sets of Christmas lights," he says,
"make sure the wires aren't frayed. Throw out any that are
frayed. There's no need to use them; wires just aren't that expensive
"Don't put too many strings together, either. Be sure any
extension cords you use are the appropriate size. Plug everything
into a power strip and make sure the current rating is ample on
Sparkie also reminds us that indoor lighting is not designed to
be used for the outdoors, that short circuits can occur if you do
Safety is certainly an important part of a happy holiday season.
Let's not have anyone's celebration marred by fire. It's a good
idea to review your escape plan with the entire family, including
children and older folks. The U.S. Fire Administration suggests
residents take the following actions in case of a home fire:
• Immediately leave the home. Don't lose any time saving
property. Call 911 from a neighbor's home.
• Know two ways out of each room. Practice escaping by both
the primary and a secondary, backup, route.
• Be sure windows are not stuck and screens can be removed
quickly. Practice escaping in the dark.
• Feel the door. Use the back of your hand to check if there
is fire on the other side of a closed door. Even if the door feels
cool, open it carefully. If heat or smoke comes in, slam the door
shut and use an alternate escape route.
• Have an arranged meeting place outside the house so you
can be sure that everyone has escaped safely and nobody gets hurt
looking for someone who is already safe.
• Once out, stay out. Never go back into a burning building.
If someone is missing, tell the firefighters. They are equipped
to perform rescues safely.