Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

  Around Town

Dave Heidt

Route 66 Music—Dave Heidt in his element.

Bernalillo swings

As part of the renaissance in Bernalillo, Route 66 Music has just opened its doors for live music production, recording, and private or group lessons. Run and owned by Dave Heidt, it has been a labor of love for both the work and the new place he now calls home.

“I thought I’d never leave Montana and my studio there. But here I am. My wife says it’s the sorcery of the Sandias and once you’ve felt it, you can’t leave.”

Housed in a restored hundred-year old adobe, the studio is intimate but carries a big punch with full-service thirty-two-track digital/analog recording, mixing and mastering services, and a broad range of instruments on site.

“Our first session was with jazz great Richie Cole and the New Mexico contingent of Alto Madness. We’d barely swept away the sawdust, but there we were recording a ten-piece swing band, live. It was quite a welcome.”

The New Old Sound

Over the last twenty years or so, digitized music has been fit into formulas and crushed into compressions so tight you couldn’t fit a needle through. But the cycle is coming to an end and many of even the biggest studios are recording to make it sound as open and rustic as the old live studio recordings.

“In the old days, they used overdubs sparingly,” Dave explains. “People had to practice and play well together. What’s been happening with computer recording is they’ll sample parts as miniscule as one cymbal crash or one measure of a part so they can loop it over and over. It’s not real music that way. There’s nothing like musicians playing with and listening to each other. Recording that is pure magic.”

According to Carol MacGowan, manager for one of the biggest studios in L.A., “people are getting tired of hearing the same old sound over and over. They’re asking for a different style. They want it to sound more raw, more fresh.”

Dave agrees, “It’s one of the things we specialize in here and were known for in Montana—making artists sound their best without making the music sound like it came out of a tuna can.”

Quick Steps to the Mother Road

Dave Heidt comes to New Mexico with a long history of music-making. Playing since he could roll his lips and bang his fists together, he started with the organ at age five, moved on to the trumpet, drums, trombone, and finally the bass, where he knew he’d found his niche as the swingin’ sideman.

Involved in every band and orchestra available in Western Montana where he was born, he started working professionally (playing and writing) by the time he was twelve and won first place in a solo performance for the Western Montana Music Festival. 1975 brought him the coveted scholarship to attend the Stan Kenton Jazz Workshop in Northern California.

In between gigs teaching, selling instruments (including Hammond organs) and playing, he took to the road in the fall of ’77 and worked with a couple of bands based out of Seattle.

By 1980, his reputation had spread. He was recruited by The Victory Group—a hugely successful band dubbed the “Eagles of the North”—in Canada and signed by RCA Records. They toured Canada and the northwestern U.S., putting out a number of albums until 1983.

Since then, he’s been a full-time musician with several enormously popular bands in Montana, most notably Little Elmo and The Mambo Kings, a boogie-woogie swing bang that whooped its way across the Northwest for more than ten years, playing at some of the biggest events—and for some of the biggest names—in the region.

The First Sound Board

Dave’s first studio opened in 1994. In 1997, he kicked it up more than a notch with his second studio, in which he produced, engineered, arranged, and performed with dozens of amazing performers, including Heidi Swan, Jared Stewart, and 7-Day Run.

Ranging in style from pure pickin’ to all-out electric madness to celestial jazz, the Swingin’ Bassman soon got a reputation for making other people sound the way they‘d always wanted to sound.

Singer-songwriters and new bands sought him out not only for his skill as an engineer, but for his ability to bring out the best in them, no matter what their level of experience.

For more information, visit or call Dave directly at (505) 366-9182.


Forget the house—it’s a gingerbread village!

—Margaret M. Nava, Signpost

Think about the last gingerbread house you saw. Was it tabletop-small with an icing coated roof, gumdrop path, peppermint stick windows, and ice cream cone trees or was it as large as a child’s playhouse, surrounded by a three-foot tall picket fence and guarded by life-sized toy soldiers?

Well, if you visited the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa near Bernalillo last year, you may have seen the Mt. Tamaya Gingerbread Ski Resort. Created by the resort’s pastry team, it included a snow-covered mountain, ski lifts, a rustic lodge and a pueblo-style plaza with shops, church, and coffee shop. Enhanced by the smell of piñon wood burning in fireplaces and the soft glow of luminarias lining rooftops, this unique gingerbread village followed a tradition tracing as far back as the tenth century.

After soldiers fought the crusades in the Middle East, travelers from the West brought back many exotic spices. Ginger, one of the rarest and most expensive, was one of them. Catholic monks experimented with the spice and began to bake gingerbread “cakes” for saints’ days and festivals. Often depicting favorite saints or religious motifs, the monks used large and elaborately carved cookie boards to press patterns onto stiff rolled dough.

With the gradual drop in transportation costs, Europeans began using ginger as a primary flavoring for cakes and breads. Throughout pre-Christian Europe, the Winter Solstice was celebrated with the creation and consumption of small gingerbread cakes adorned with symbols of the sun. During the middle ages, fair ladies presented a hard honey-spice bread as a favor to dashing knights going into battle. And in the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I presented her guests with gingerbread shaped to look like them.

When the Brothers Grimm published their collections of fairy tales in the early 1800s, the witch’s house in “Hansel and Gretel“ was described as being built of candies and cakes. After the tale was published, German bakers began baking Hexenhaeusle (witches’ houses) and employed artists and craftsmen to decorate them. The houses became particularly popular during Christmas, and as northern European immigrants found their way to the New World, so did the cakes.

Today gingerbread houses of all shapes and sizes can be found throughout North America. Covered with a variety of candies and icing, they are typically built for home decoration but often show up in schools, shopping malls, museums, and hotels lobbies. A sixty-seven-foot-tall gingerbread house at the Mall of America in Minnesota holds the Guinness World Record for the largest house, while the distinction of displaying the world’s largest village (more than one hundred gingerbread houses) goes to a hotel in Prescott, Arizona. Once home to the world’s tallest gingerbread man, Gingerbread Lane at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver, BC welcomes more than twenty thousand visitors each year to its indoor village of forty intricately designed and decorated gingerbread houses.

Possibly following suit, the Hyatt Regency Tamaya decided to build a gingerbread community that represented the spirit of the holiday season in New Mexico. Jerry Westenhaver, General Manager of the resort stated, “Our vision was to include shops, bakeries, and churches that were designed to look like New Mexico-style buildings covered in snow. Our gingerbread village has become such a popular attraction that visitors locally and from around the country look forward to visiting it every year.”

This year, pastry chef Darci Rochau and her Tamaya pastry team will create the 2009 Pueblo Christmas Gingerbread Village made up of at least fifteen homes, shops, restaurants, and a hotel. This year’s theme is a construction work site. The hotel and many of the houses will be in various stages of construction with tiny little men running all over the village with their hard hats and lunch boxes. Along with other resort activities such as hiking a cottonwood forest once explored by the Tamayame natives, listening to hauntingly beautiful flute music, watching tribal dances performed in the courtyard or sampling fresh bread prepared in a traditional horno oven, the adobe-inspired village is sure to be a delight for children and families. It will be on display in the resort living room from the weekend after Thanksgiving through the New Year.

The Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, located on five hundred acres on the Pueblo of Santa Ana, was recently recognized by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the top seventy-five U.S. mainland resorts. For more information about holiday activities or resort reservations, call (505) 867-1234 or visit

Owners of J & R Vintage

Owners of J&R Vintage Auto Museum in Rio Rancho, Evonna and Gab Joiner.

Golden Girls

Golden Girls 1931 Model A Cabriolet.

A journey through nostalgia

—Margaret M. Nava, Signpost

On February 12, 1908, seventeen men set off from New York City on the first around-the-world automobile race in hopes of proving that the newly invented automobile was a practical, durable machine that could endure the demands of the future. Crossing through New York, Illinois, California, Washington, Alaska, Japan, Russian, Germany and France, the race covered three continents and over twenty-two thousand miles in 169 days and was ultimately won by the American Thomas Flyer driven by George Schuster, Sr., of Buffalo, New York.

In 1965, a slapstick comedy starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, and Peter Falk hit the movie screens. Roughly based on the epic 1908 race, “The Great Race“ movie chronicled the adventures and misadventures of a white-suited hero (Leslie the Great) and his archrival (the devilish Professor Fate) as they raced for the coveted finish line.

Perhaps inspired by the movie, Tom McRae and Interstate Batteries chairman Norm Miller organized a Great Race of their own. First held in 1983, the fourteen-day precision pace race was a four-thousand-mile journey of vintage automobiles (at least forty-five years old) that traveled along back roads and through small towns in America’s heartland. Competing vehicles had to have been restored using only original factory parts and modern navigational aids such as GPS units were prohibited.

Evonna Joiner, co-owner of the J&R Vintage Auto Museum in Rio Rancho, remembers the day she and her husband Gab watched their first Great Race. “My husband wanted to go out on the top of the hill and watch all the cars. I thought, ‘No, that’s stupid. Why would anyone want to sit out there and watch all those old cars drive by?’ But we got hooked. My friend Melba Anderson and her husband TJ went with me and Gab to the Arizona auto auctions the following January and the Great Race had a booth there. We talked to them for a long while but the men couldn’t make up their minds. So Melba and I decided we wanted to do it and went back to the auction the next morning and paid our full entry fee. That was January 1987. We bought a 1931 Ford Model A Cabriolet and raced from Disneyland to Albuquerque, where we dropped out, but went back the following year and raced from Disneyland to Boston. We were the first all-female team to finish the race. They called us the Golden Girls. In 1989, Gab raced with our son Bill and son-in-law Bobby and in 1990, Gab and I teamed up and ran the races together until the last one in 2007. Over nineteen years of racing, we drove a 1931 Model A Ford Roadster pickup, a 1932 Packard Cabriolet, a 1932 Hupmobile, a 1917 Marmon, a 1934 Ford Roadster, a 1916 White, a 1922 Marmon, and a 1932 Ford. We won the race in 1995 that ran from Ottawa, Canada to Mexico City and were given a brand new Buick Riviera.”

Gab Joiner started collecting old cars in 1959. His first was a 1926 Model T Ford coupe that he later traded for a 1928 Chevrolet. He bought his first Model A, a 1928 Special Coupe, in bits and pieces from a friend in Trinidad, Colorado. After restoration, he drove it on several tours and now it resides in the museum along with a 1918 Model T Ford touring car/pickup truck he purchased in Raton.

When the basement garage of their South Valley ranchette became overcrowded, Gab and Evonna added more storage. Later, when their children grew up, they downsized and built a structure to house the cars. Originally intended only as a display facility for local car clubs to tour, the J&R Vintage Auto Museum, as it is now known, features more than seventy restored cars, trucks, and motorcycles. All of the Joiner’s Great America race cars, including the 1917 Marmon they used in the 1995 race, are on display, as are two cars—a Model A and a Packard—that were used in the 2009 Lifetime movie “Georgia O’Keeffe,” starring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons.

On October 18, 2008, The Longest Auto Race Centennial Tour left New York City headed for San Francisco along essentially the same route followed by the winning team in 1908. Although the historic reenactment covered only the North American leg of the original race, the vehicles in the race, a 1930 Chevrolet Speedster, a 1947 Dodge Special Deluxe sedan, a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle, a 1951 Peterbilt, a 1940 Cadillac limo, a 1929 Roadster, and a 1918 V8 Chevy, were authentic. The caravan of old cars chugged along, the wind loud in the drivers’ ears, and pulled into San Francisco on November 7th, where this journey through nostalgia came to its end.

If you would like to experience a little of your own nostalgia, visit the J&R Vintage Auto Museum and Bookstore, located adjacent to the Stagecoach Stop RV Resort at 3650 NM Highway 528. They are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. For more information, call (505) 867-2881 or visit

Catholic church breaks ground in Northern Rio Rancho

—Cari Davis

They say good things come to those who wait. After many years of waiting, the Catholic community of the Church of the Incarnation has begun to get what they’ve been waiting for. On October 31, roughly two hundred community members gathered around a makeshift altar to break ground for what will be the new Roman Catholic Church of the Incarnation in northern Rio Rancho. Near the exact spot of where the main altar will be, community members, including deputy mayor of Rio Rancho Kathleen Colley, Archbishop Michael Sheehan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, and Father Rick Zerwas thanked parishioners and contributors for their donations, time, efforts, and prayers.

No one seems to be able to pin down the inception of the project, but it was in the neighborhood of six to ten years ago. After receiving the land from the Archdiocese, the Church of the Incarnation is responsible for funding the construction. There is a Building Committee and a Finance Committee who manage project.

In order to fund the projects, the Church of the Incarnation has held two capital campaigns, the annual Golden Autumn Ball, and the annual golf tournament. “This is such a great and faithful community. Even in this economy, they donate and contribute their time and talent. They have come through whole-heartedly,” said Vince Martinez of the Finance Council.

The community’s desire to see this project through was apparent as those attending gleamed with pride, listened to Archbishop Michael Sheehan. “Anything going to last must be on a solid foundation. A church is not a building, but the people of the community, who have given this church a solid foundation,” Archbishop Sheehan commented. “We are here because of the heroic efforts of the people and their endurance. I just love these folks!” Pastor Zerwas echoed the appreciation of the community.

While the community has made this happen, it is obvious they have had determined and experienced leaders. Vince Martinez, head of the Finance Council, has been involved in the project for seven years. The head of the Building Committee, Dave Jensen, came on board six years ago and draws on his construction experience. Then there is Father Rick Zerwas, who took on this enormous feat for the second time. San Clemente in Los Lunas was also constructed during Father Zerwas’s tenure as pastor there.

Right now, the Church of the Incarnation is in phase one, which is the church building itself and the infrastructure needed to support it, such as parking, sidewalks, and lighting. This phase of the project is expected to be completed within eighteen months. “The community’s vision for the church will hopefully, one day, include buildings for administrative offices and community usage, and a K-8 school,” said Father Zerwas.

The community would like to thank all those who continue to help with this construction project. For more information, or to help, visit the Church of the Incarnation on the web at

District Attorney’s Office holds Annual Sock Drive

The 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office is sponsoring its Annual Sock Drive. They are accepting donations of clothes, jackets, socks, gloves, and hats. These items will be collected to benefit local children within all three counties. This important event will take place November 23 through December 18, 2009. During the cold winter months ahead, the D.A.’s office is committed to assisting in providing necessary essential warm clothing to children.

Boxes will be located at the following locations:

Sandoval County Judicial Complex, 1500 Idalia Road NE; (505) 896-3952

Valencia County District Attorney’s Office, 101 South Main Street, Suite 201; (505) 861-0311

Cibola County District Attorney’s Office, 515 W. High Street; (505) 285-4627

For additional information, please contact Adaline Nuañez-Baca, Victim Advocate Coordinator, at 228-2681 or Lemuel L. Martinez, 13th Judicial District Attorney, at 269-5330.

Blessings Day Project gives much-needed help to the community

—Nancy Hawks

Thanks to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the San Antonio Mission, the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, and the Sandoval County Sheriff’s department, over one hundred families will receive gifts of clothing, toys, and a holiday dinner. Our goal is to provide an outfit for each child, a toy for each youngster, and a holiday dinner. This is our eighth Blessings Day, in which those who are able will share their blessings with those in need.

Members of the San Antonio Mission Church and Placitas Presbyterian Church are again partnering to fill the wishes of almost three hundred children. We could not accomplish this without the help of the Jardineros de Placitas, whose members donate turkeys.

There are many organizations in the community helping with this effort. T&T Grocery on Camino Del Pueblo in Bernalillo has the slips to purchase a turkey. The Sandoval County Sheriff‘s Department and Placitas Elementary School will help us with our food drive so that we can fill the food boxes. Our Placitas Library is collecting donations of children’s books at their children’s holiday party. The Sandoval Community Service Crime Prevention Unit of the Sheriff’s department will be delivering to our families.

On December 12 and 13, anyone interested in helping us wrap gifts can come to the San Antonio Mission Social Center between the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. If you would like to donate an item of food or notions for our teens, please bring the item(s) with you.

This is truly a community effort and why we love being in Placitas. If you have any questions or would like to help, please call Nancy Hawks at 771-4931.

Placitas Library

Placitas Community Library building nears completion

As many of you have noticed, the new Placitas Community Library (PCL) building is almost finished! A few loose ends must be completed before the building can receive a Certificate of Occupancy, be handed over to Sandoval County, and then be leased by the PCL Board.

Once this has occurred, we hope by early January, the interior furnishings will begin arriving. We plan to move the collection in mid-February and to open in the new facility before the end of February! There are no exact dates yet, but the current library will probably be closed for the first three weeks in February to accomplish everything. Though this will be a bit later than we had hoped, everyone is looking forward to the challenges of the move and the pleasures of the new building… with an actual meeting room!

This will be a “community move” because we cannot afford professional movers, so we need your help! If you have a pickup truck and/or are interested in helping carry the books from the old to the new, please leave your name, number, and email at the library for Anne Frost. We will work in two-hour shifts so we don’t wear ourselves out. Quite a number of box carriers and trucks are needed. This is your chance to become a part of this leap forward for Placitas and get to know your neighbors!

Many of you heard that the library lost its furnishing funds as part of the New Mexico State Legislature budget cuts. This was quite a blow, but we have not given up. Board Chair Wendy Aman went to Governor Richardson and received his support for the reinstatement of the Placitas Library Furnishings Grant. This request is working its way through the government bureaucracy and we are very hopeful that our funds will be reinstated. It would not do to have our wonderful building complete and not be able to use it!

Please remember that the current Placitas Community Library plans to be open through January 31, 2010. The Library will close February 1 and reopen in its new location approximately February 23rd. At least that’s how things look right now. Check the January Signpost for further information.

Our Holiday Open House this year will be the last event in our tiny but wonderful old building. Along with the usual holiday stories and visit from Santa, this will be Bonnie Appreciation Day. Bonnie is a marvelous library mouser cat and cuddler. Please join us on Saturday, December 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to give her a kiss and share stories of the Library’s early years.

Many thanks to those who supported our Book and Bake Sale in November! We had a lot of fun and everyone enjoyed marvelous homemade treats. One woman found a copy of a poetry book she remembered from childhood and for which she had searched for years. This community donates such wonderful books that there are always treasures to be found at the sale.

Upcoming Library Happenings:

  • December 7: PCL Book Group I. (This group is closed to new members at this time.)
  • Book for discussion: Special Prisoner
  • December 8 at 3:00 p.m.: Bilingual Story Hour
  • December 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. —Holiday Open House and Bonnie Appreciation Day. Please join us to share memories of Bonnie, our first five years, and holiday treats! From 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, we will have children’s activities; from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, you can have your picture taken with Santa.
  • December 15 at 7:00 p.m.: PCL Book Group II. This group welcomes drop-ins and new members.
  • Book for discussion: Mr. Ives‘ Christmas
  • December 24 through December 28: The library will be closed for the holiday. We will re-open on Tuesday, December 29. On December 30, we will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Regular Library Hours: Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and when the flag is flying.

Visit us at 1 Tierra Madre or call 867-3355. You may also visit us online at






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