The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988


Signpost Cartoon c. Rudi Klimpert

The New Mexico Rail Runner Express

is once again offering special Saturday service for Christmas shoppers this holiday season. Beginning November 24th through January 5th, shoppers can hop on a Rail Runner train and explore all of the unique shops downtown or connect to an ABQRide bus for free to get to Old Town, Nob Hill, or ABQ Uptown.

“We want to take the madness out of the holidays for people,” says Lawrence Rael, Executive Director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments. “Providing Rail Runner service for shoppers lets them avoid holiday traffic and parking headaches, while also allowing them to experience the convenience of public transportation.”

In conjunction with the seasonal Saturday service, Rail Runner riders will also get a special discount card when they board the train that lets them enjoy a ten-percent discount at more than one hundred stores from Albuquerque to Belen.

“Partnering with businesses in the community is an added benefit for Rail Runner riders,” says Secretary Rhonda Faught, NM Department of Transportation. “Now, people can avoid holiday traffic headaches and get a bonus in doing so,” adds Secretary Faught.

The Saturday Rail Runner schedule offers several trains that run throughout the course of the day, leaving Belen from the south as early as 10:34 in the morning, with the last train arriving in downtown Albuquerque after midnight.

On Saturday, December 15th, people will also get a chance to have their child’s photo taken for free with Santa aboard the Rail Runner. A Rail Runner train will be parked at the downtown Albuquerque station at 1st and Central, right across from the Century Rio downtown movie theaters.

For a complete look at the Rail Runner Saturday schedules and ABQRide bus connections to various shopping destinations, go to or call 245-RAIL.

County line


For many of us, the holidays really are the “most wonderful time of the year.” For employees in law enforcement, and especially the County Detention Center, the period between now and year’s end may be the most difficult time.

County residents and taxpayers are the beneficiaries of the exceptional jobs being performed by the Detention Center’s 123 employees.

Director Jerry Paszkiewicz has an exemplary career in law enforcement spanning more than thirty years, including eighteen years as head of Sandoval County’s nationally-recognized Detention Center. Jerry and his team have shaped the Center into a model of security and efficiency. Training of the Center’s employees has honed the staff for vigilant—and yet humane—treatment of inmates, some of whom are being held for the most horrendous of crimes.

The successes of the Sandoval County Detention Center have been well-documented time and again. Among the many accolades in Jerry’s scrapbook is a week-long, page-one series of in-depth stories by the Albuquerque Journal about the problems of jails statewide. That series concluded with the headline, “Sandoval County Found a Fix.”

Center employees know the holiday statistics far too well. While many of us are enjoying the holidays with family and friends, Detention Center employees will be extra-watchful for increased numbers of assaults and suicide attempts brought about by spikes in depression, anxiety, and loneliness among inmates.

For their diligence, professionalism, and sense of duty, we owe Jerry, his management team, and all of our Detention Center employees our deepest appreciation. They know and perform their very difficult jobs exceptionally well.

That’s why, for me at least, I was especially dismayed by two separate so-called investigative news reports by KRQE TV’s Larry Barker that recently aired on back-to-back Mondays.

We’ve all seen the camera-in-the face, jump-from-the-bushes interviews and sharp retorts that are Mr. Barker’s trademark attempts to boost stories that may or may not be factual. Until now, however, I had not experienced his deliberate omission of facts when they failed to justify his preconceived notions.

A story in early November looked at a minor, non-injury traffic accident in Rio Rancho involving a twenty-eight-year veteran detention officer who was driving a Center vehicle. While our attorneys urged us not to comment on specifics of the accident, we did provide Mr. Barker with extensive information regarding the incident. We cited specific portions of State law that delineate the authorizing of emergency vehicles. We even gave details on the training of Detention Center officers and the Center’s operating procedures, other than those portions that would have compromised Center security. Yet, his TV show portrayed the action as being somehow illegal, unjustified, and almost a “whim” by the officer, and that Sandoval County refused to discuss the matter.

Mr. Barker’s second story involved the termination of a Center probationary employee after just four months. While we are prohibited from releasing specific details from personnel files, Mr. Barker failed to consider any of the information we were allowed to provide. He would not stray from his misconceived idea that the employee was fired solely for acting as a “good Samaritan” during an incident in Albuquerque. That premise, as Mr. Barker was quite aware, is simply not the case.

For both stories, County staff repeatedly gave Mr. Barker complete assistance and all information possible. I and other County employees offered to go on-camera with Mr. Barker, recognizing there were specific aspects of the accident and our personnel files that we were barred from discussing.

Had he been willing to forego his preconceived storylines and give an unbiased review of the facts, he, too, would be joining the Commission in wishing the very best for the holiday season to our Detention Center employees—especially those who will be working in very difficult conditions while the rest of us are enjoying time with family and friends.

Questions or comments for Commissioner Leonard can be mailed to him c/o Sandoval County Administrative Offices, PO Box 40, Bernalillo, NM 87004.

El Rinconcito español

• Ojalá pudiésemos meter el espíritu de Navidad en jarros y abrir un jarro cada mes del año.

If only we could put the spirit of Christmas in jars, and open a jar each month of the year.

• El recuerdo, como una vela, brilla más en Navidad.

Memory, like a candle, shines more at Christmas.

• La Navidad no es un momento ni una estación, sino un estado de la mente. Valorar la paz y la generosidad y tener merced es comprender el verdadero significado de Navidad.

Christmas is not a moment nor a season, rather a state of mind. To value peace and generosity and to have mercy is to understand the true meaning of Christmas.

Submitted by, Placitas—Spanish instruction that focuses on oral communication skills.

Signpost Cartoon c. Rudi KlimpertBernalillo hosts annual Christmas festivities

Mayor Patricia Chavez invites the public to the Annual Christmas tree lighting at 6:00 p.m. on Friday November 30 in front of Town Hall. Local school choirs will perform during the candlelight event, and biscochitos and hot cider will be served.

Also, the Town of Bernalillo boasts the oldest continuous nighttime parade in New Mexico. Join a celebration of the season with a “Mariachi Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 1 at 6:00 p.m. The parade will travel along Camino del Pueblo south from Calle Escuela to Avenida Bernalillo, where it will turn north onto Calle San Lorenzo and end at Rotary Park. There the Town will host a bonfire with biscochitos and cider for all.

Ribbons will be awarded to the best entries in the categories of youth, commercial, non-commercial, and vehicle. cash prizes will be awarded by the Greater Sandoval County Chamber of Commerce for first, second, and third place “Best of Theme” winners.

Float applications are available at or at town hall. the entry fee is a $25 donation to the Children’s Christmas Fund.

Keep Rio Rancho Beautiful honored

Keep Rio Rancho Beautiful (KRRB), a division of the city’s Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department, was recently honored with the Distinguished Service Citation Affiliate Award. This award will be presented at the 54th Keep America Beautiful National Conference in December.

KRRB is being recognized for their efforts to engage and encourage their local government, businesses, and private citizens to work together to improve Rio Rancho’s beauty and environment. KRRB coordinates such community events as the Trek for Trash, telephone book recycling, comprehensive household hazardous waste collections, the Great American Cleanup, tree-cycling, America Recycles Day, and an Earth Day Festival. In addition, coordinator Jennifer Scacco and programming specialist Barry Conant conduct an annual litter index, address illegal dump sites, conduct education programs for students and residents, and much more.

KRRB has been an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful since 1989 and works in conjunction with the state’s New Mexico Clean and Beautiful program. To learn more about KRRB, please visit the city’s website at

Sandoval County Historical Society thanks the community


The Smithsonian Exhibit “Key Ingredients: America by Food” has been well-received in Bernalillo, with a record attendance of over sixteen hundred folks visiting the show since its inception, with very favorable comments. Dozens of volunteers have staffed the show during the six-week period. Several clubs have visited and schools have sent classes to see the exhibit.

City, county, and tribal officials presided at the official opening ceremony, which included a ribbon-cutting, an invocation, talks, and demonstrations by Native Americans on their traditional foods. The keynote speech was given by the state archaeologist on prehistoric agriculture.

Weekend panels included one on agriculture by experts in the field, discussions on traditional methods and current threats to seed banks by genetic engineering, as well as water as a diminishing resource, and the projection for long-term food production under current conditions.

A discussion on acequias gave the history, importance, and threats to the present system in New Mexico. Another panel was made up of specialists from the Sandoval County Extension Service—including the county agricultural agent, the 4-H leader, a master gardener program representative, and a home extension agent. Yet another outstanding panel was comprised of local women food producers. These folks had served agriculture all their lives, and demonstrated the hardships of this way of life. They span the period of the disappearing family farm and the growth of the agribusiness world, where the natural way of life is giving way to the artificial and chemically-controlled. These folks had very little good to say about the federal controls, interventions into their livelihood, or the changes wrought in food production.

The final Sunday featured an international fashion show where people modeled clothes of their ethnic heritage.

The exhibit was a significant event in Bernalillo and the Society thanks all those who helped to make it such a great success.

Heard Around the West



A “virtual fence” along the Arizona border with Mexico is so virtual that it doesn’t function. At a cost (so far) of $15 million, Boeing Co. erected nine ninety-eight-foot towers across twenty-eight miles close to the border four months ago, but the company reports that a “software glitch” has prevented the system’s radar, sensors, and cameras from doing their job to halt illegal immigration and drug trafficking. In an explanation that sounded remarkably like the old saw, “The operation was a success, but the patient died,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff explained that “individual components worked well, but the system integration was not satisfactory.” The high-tech fence is the first stage of an ambitious plan to blanket both the Mexican and Canadian borders with some eighteen hundred such towers, reports the Associated Press.


The West used to pride itself on a live-and-let-live attitude. No more. In Orem, Utah, on February 11, a judge will begin hearing the case against Betty Perry, age seventy, who refused to water her lawn and then resisted arrest when a policeman came to cite her for having brown grass. The jury trial is expected to last three days, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. In its “Thumbs Down” column, the paper said that a “seventy-year-old grandmother will thus become an example of what happens to scofflaws in law-abiding, lawn-worshipping Utah County.” But central Oregon may go Utah one better. Susan Taylor, who lives in the upscale town of Bend, faces a potential lawsuit for daring to hang out her clothes to dry. The developer of her ‘80s-era subdivision, Brooks Resources Corp., says that “anything like trash, garbage, yard clippings—and laundry—(must) be screened from view.” The developer suggested hiding the laundry, but when Taylor tried to shield her clothesline with a dyed sheet, reports the Wall Street Journal and NewWest.Net, she was told more acceptable screens were required—“such as planting trees.”

Betsy Marston edits the syndicate Writers on the Range for High Country News ( and also writes Heard Around the West about the region’s odd happenings.





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