The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989

HOLIDAY TIDBITS

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 bills.

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 sponsor.

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, in Bernalillo.


Optimists plans Blessing Day deliveries to families in need

—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 tour

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 activities planned.

“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, call 892-2077.


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 each permit.

“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 nighttime parade

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 6:00 p.m.

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 homeless veterans.

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 anymore.

"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 the strip."

Sparkie also reminds us that indoor lighting is not designed to be used for the outdoors, that short circuits can occur if you do this.

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.

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