En la boca del mentiroso
lo cierto se hace dudoso.=
In the mouth of a liar, the truth becomes doubtful.
No porque hay lodo hay que atascarse.=
Just because there’s mud you don’t have to get stuck.
Si el mozo supiera y el viejo pudiera, ¿qué se les
If the young man knew how and the old man could, who would resist
Submitted by SOS-panyol, Placitas—Spanish
focuses on oral communication skills,
Legislature considers bill to study Jemez water
The first flood of bills in the 2006 Legislature includes the first
step toward a regional water and sewer system in the Jemez Valley.
House Bill 46, sponsored by Representative Jeannette Wallace (R-Los
Alamos) with Representative James Roger Madalena (D-Jemez Pueblo)
as a cosponsor, would provide $150,000 to inventory water systems
and resources. The study also would explore combining existing water
systems into a regional and self-supporting water-and-sewer district
for the area from San Ysidro to La Cueva.
“This would identify the parties and individuals that would
participate in regionalization,” said Gayland Bryant, county
public affairs office and legislative lobbyist. “We want to
get information about everyone’s organizational structure,
water rights, rates, water- and wastewater-use levels.”
The bill was scheduled for its first committee hearing as the
Signpost went to press. The session ends February 16; Governor Bill
Richardson then has until March 8 to sign or veto legislation.
Sandoval County composting supervisor John Lovato
monitors the manure and wood chips mixed and now being ejected by
an auger in the back of his specially designed truck. The mixture
next is placed in composting bins to create a natural fertilizer.
County compost project making headway
Don’t call it a dump, and even the term “landfill”
is becoming quaint, as Sandoval County looks for more ways to bury
“We’re sitting here burying money, you know,”
said Mike Foster, assistant public works director for solid waste.
“We’ve got so many ideas and are wanting to do so many
While a county recycling program still is several months away,
Foster said the pilot phase of the composting project already is
showing results. During 2005, the landfill diverted about thirteen
thousand cubic yards of trees and other green wastes from the burial
cell, ran it through chippers, and mixed it with manure from racetracks
and other sources.
The result: extended life for the landfill and a high-quality
compost that can be used as a natural fertilizer or mulch.
The composting occurs in five 250-cubic-yard digesters, sealed
steel boxes similar to shipping containers, located on two acres
near the landfill entrance, on Iris Road at Idalia, in northeast
Rio Rancho. Filtering eliminates odors, and computers monitor composting
temperature and humidity, which can be adjusted by changing the
airflow through the bins.
Composting reduces the volume of ingredients by about 90 percent,
and Foster said the county has stockpiled about a thousand cubic
yards of compost. The rest has been used on county projects or given
to other governments for fertilizer and erosion control.
Commercial sales are possible in the future as the project moves
into its next phase, expansion to twenty-five digesters. With that
expansion, the landfill will be able to compost biosolids and sludge
from wastewater plants and could include construction debris if
contractors can be convinced to separate wood from other materials,
Pallets may be accepted as well, since the wood chipper has a
magnet to separate nails from chips, he added.
The landfill itself is growing under a twenty-year state permit
received last year which allowed the county to expand the 114-acre
site to 177 acres. The permit included permission to accept biosolids.
A new ten-acre burial cell is nearing completion, after landfill
crews, aided by the road department, converted a former borrow pit
at Iris and the future Paseo del Volcan and prepared it for lining.
Foster estimated having county crews do the work saved about $2
The county is about to solicit bids to put the cell into operation
by building a new entrance road, which will keep traffic from backing
up onto Iris, plus a new pay station and truck scales. The old entrance
then will become the recycling drop-off location, and that’s
at least six months away, Foster said.
Ultimately the recycling program could grow to include large items
like household appliances.
The county program is not expected to affect the Placitas Recycling
Center, which last year collected 98.82 tons of recyclables, according
to center secretary-treasurer Fran Stephens. Center volunteers have
counted as many as 212 cars passing through their NM 165 location
on one Saturday during regular 8-11:00 a.m. hours, she added.
“The more entities that recycle, the better it’s going
to be for the planet,” Stephens said. “We can no longer
keep pouring things into the landfill.”
The long and winding Tunnel Springs Road climbs
up the mountainside to a trailhead and spring.
Tunnel Springs Road remembered
In an article in last month’s Signpost the Placitas Community
Library History Project wrote about General Kenner Hertford and
the area around Tunnel Springs in Placitas. Placitas residents Chuck
Scott and Katy Kallestad talked of their friendship with the General
and of his love of the area.
As some of the Friends of the Placitas Community Library were
going through back issues of the Signpost recently donated to the
library by the current publishers, they came across the January
1995 edition. On its front page is the article "Tunnel Springs
Road," by Katherine Kallestad. Katy, who has lived in Placitas
since 1972, chronicles the goings-on along the road from the early
1900s. Archaic hunters, Puebloan farmers, land grantees, miners,
and developers—all traveled the road. Disputes and disagreements,
commerce and dreams have all moved along its path.
In 1994 final easement rights were granted to the forest service
by the residents along the road. Under their agreement the road
will remain as we see it today: "a country dirt road ... a
link to the present and the past ...."
—BOB GAJKOWSKI, FRIEND OF THE PLACITAS COMMUNITY
FOLLOWING IS THE ENTIRE TUNNEL SPRINGS ROAD ARTICLE FROM THE JANUARY
Tunnel Springs Road
If you have traveled Tunnel Springs Road in Placitas, perhaps you
will have less trouble believing it is a very old road than it is
a road at all. Of course, it has a variety of signs proclaiming
it a road, but in the dark or during a heavy rain, it sheds its
civilized labels as easily as it sheds large quantities of sand
and gravel. The road’s long history is one of just enough—just
enough people have passed to and from the steep canyons of the north-facing
Sandias to leave a track. That track has changed character and course
over time, even as the people using it have changed, but just enough
to link the present with the past.
In the summer of 1909, the road was just the lower section of
an ambitious mining access into the Cibola National Forest. Miners
working the San José Lode hit high-pressure water instead
of high-grade ore. As their tunnel filled with icy cold water and
their dreams sank, they probably cared little how important their
“strike” would be down the road, so to speak. The San
José Lode Tunnel Spring gave the road its name, and its waters
would provide a different type of wealth.
In 1921, the road was traveled by determined miners, foresters
administering the wildlife refuge, and a few pioneers contributing
to a different kind of wildlife by tending stills hidden in abandoned
A small hatchery was given a special-use permit and the cold underground
waters housed trout raised by the Sandia Fish and Fur Company. The
road was used increasingly by hikers and picnickers, as well as
the farmers who battled the cobbled limestone to work small farms
in the San Antonio de Las Huertas Grant. The old mine had been posted
and was called the K.O.P.—”Keep Out, Please.”
The road was known then as the “Hatchery Road” and later
on as the “Old Hatchery Road” and then as just the “Springs
Road,” as the special-use permits for water became as important
as the permits on mining claims.
In 1927, Johanna Kleinworth, the daughter of Emil whose interest
in silver had netted water, and Andres Armijo, whose special ties
to the land had come to him with a parcel in the Las Huertas Grant,
applied for a special-use permit for a portion of the combined waters
of Tunnel Spring and Pomezano Spring. By 1932, the old mine entrance
was choked with vines and rampant growths of wild roses. It still
seeped water but the main volume now reached the surface through
a pipe further down slope. The water crossed the Springs Road, passed
through old hatchery ponds and along the Klienworth Ditch to irrigate
beans, fruit trees, and fill a swimming hole on Grant land before
starting its long journey north toward Las Huertas Creek.
Throughout the forties and fifties, the number of people using
the Springs Road continued to grow. Those who settled often built
their homes alongside the grass covered mounds of early Pueblo dwellings.
They gardened in the rich soil collected in terraces and acequias
that had watered fields harvested before Columbus was born. Though
the post-war technology of the fifties brought them some advantages,
the new settlers along Tunnel Springs Road found the difficulties
imposed by the rugged land to be just as daunting as those working
600 years earlier. The following excerpts are from the correspondence
of a family who first owned land immediately west of the Springs
An estimate on the cost of a phone and power line hookup:
New Mexico Public Service Company—1955, “... 6,000 feet
of line ... 15 poles ... $2,880.47.”
Letter to the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, 1957:
“I will certainly be grateful for any advice you can give
along the lines of soil conservation.”
Letter to friends, December 1958:
“...the snow storm deposited some twenty inches of snow up
at my place near Placitas ... I do not know how long it will take
me to retrieve my car ...”
In the early sixties, Tunnel Springs was the center of a controversy
which demonstrates the changing values of the time and the way in
which the people regarded the resources as wealth. The road to the
springs was gated and the waters diverted by an enterprising developer
who listed his work as merely improvements on a mining claim. Somehow
his clearing of land for home sites didn’t settle well with
the local landowners, many of whom had been or still were in the
mining business. This is what a few of them had to say:
Letter to District Forest Ranger, 1960:
“... it is considered that this old fish hatchery with its
... springs ... should be retained as a public recreation area.
It is hoped that the mineral survey of the government geologist
will expose this scheme for what it actually is and the land could
then properly be withdrawn from this and future mining claims ...”
Letter to an attorney, 1961:
“... the crisis yesterday had to do with a bulldozer running
across the land ... was coming from assessment work in the mountains.
Sorry you were bothered but you know how women sometimes get excited.”
The Forest Service disallowed the mining claim cum development
and the road to the Springs was freed of gates. In 1978 all possibility
of mining was eliminated as the Tunnel Springs and the steep canyons
of Orno and Agua Sarca were included in the Sandia Wilderness. The
old mine tunnels, debris slopes and camps were captured by second
growth vegetation and settled to add another layer to the history
of the area. The two local landowners who wrote the letters were
retired generals, one head of the aerospace medicine program at
Lovelace Clinic, the other in charge of coordinating the research
of Los Alamos Labs and Sandia Base weapons facility. Neither were
the type to be intimidated by paperwork, bureaucracy, or bulldozers.
The woman excited by the bulldozer was an ethnologist who had traveled
the world doing research for the Carnegie Institute. She had chosen
to retire in a home built along the old terraces, knowing full well
their special value. These new comers often allied themselves with
the embattled Grant holders who had weathered cycles of drought,
bust and boom mining, and generations of new comers. Their common
concern was the preservation of the road and land.
Into the eighties and nineties, the road continued to carry a
tonnage of trucks which the early miners could only have seen in
their wildest dreams; bulldozers, back hoes, and cement trucks going
to build homes. The road that had survived because there was just
enough ore to mine so as not to build a refinery, just enough wood
to burn but not to lumber, and just enough water to irrigate beans,
was being eroded by another generation of new comers. These people
were just as zealous about owning land as the miners had been about
finding gold. They didn’t need the mountain’s resources
in the way the Archaic hunters or Pueblo farmers did. They didn’t
crave the view in the way renegade Apaches or refugees from the
conquistadors did. They weren’t running from law and order
so much as looking for a place to step aside. This stepping aside
was practiced in a variety of ways, not the least of which was walking
along the road. The road when approached at slow speed began to
share experiences with them in its own eccentric way. The heavy
traffic had lowered the road into the past, allowing it to spit
out black on red lead glazed pottery as well as iron gate hinges,
along with bottle caps and nails. This had an amazing effect. People
who had lived along the road for only a few years felt as if they
had been adopted into a very old family. The road improved their
perspective as well as offering them a majestic view. They realized
that the road which tore up vehicles daily, but loved foot traffic,
was itself quite fragile. They also realized that the quick fix
of paving would merely reduce the road to one more by-way of the
type they had come to the mountain to avoid. The situation along
the road became increasingly complicated as large tracts of land
were subdivided and sold as smaller units. The road which had a
character all its own due to the terrain it crossed, now came under
the ownership of a wide variety of individuals, each possessive
or protective of the road in their own way. Some lived on the road,
some had never even seen it. Some were mandated to post signs on
the road, some were compelled to remove them. Finally, just as the
landowners of the fifties and sixties had petitioned the Forest
Service to preserve the Springs, the homeowners of the eighties
and nineties turned to the Forest Service to preserve the road.
The limitations on the easement granted by the diverse owners underline
those qualities of Tunnel Springs Road that allow it to link the
present and the past and hopefully survive in the future. Ironically,
if the Forest Service will agree not to change the general character
or width of the road or make any “improvements” that
would elevate the road’s status above that of a country dirt
road, they may receive a complete right-of-way access to the Springs;
something that has been on their collective agenda since 1908. But
then, time moves slowly along Tunnel Springs Road. It spins and
eddies and follows its own course.
Placitas group seeks state funds for recreational
A group of residents is seeking state funding for the construction
of recreational facilities in Placitas. The short-term goal is to
secure an appropriation of $180,000 for four tennis courts located
on sixteen acres of county land next to the fire station. Minimal
oversight of the courts would be done in conjunction with the community
library, which has already received state and federal funding.
Longer-term goals include a playground, skateboard park, basketball
courts, baseball and soccer fields, and a swimming pool.
In a letter to Senator Kent Cravens, Placitan John Wills wrote,
“The community has grown dramatically over the past ten years
and yet there are no recreational facilities. Currently, some residents
have to drive over twenty-five minutes to reach county recreational
Senator Cravens expressed his willingness to support the project.
Representative Kathy McCoy said that state funding would not come
in 2006, but added, “I'm very supportive of a recreational
center in Placitas, especially since there are no facilities at
this time. There will probably have to be an agreement with Sandoval
County, which would act as the holder of the funding, and we'll
also need a business plan in order to add this to capital-outlay
requests for the 2007 session.”
County commissioner Bill Sapien told the Signpost that he had
not discussed the proposed facilities with either Placitas residents
or state legislators. He said that the county expects to close soon
on the purchase of sixteen acres in Placitas, and then a master
plan would be developed for building a community library and meeting
center. “The land has high potential for a number of uses
like recreational facilities, an amphitheater—it could be
a focal point for the community,” Sapien explained. He also
said that a survey conducted by the county several years ago reflected
community support for such developments. If funds are allocated
by the legislature, the county would act as fiscal agent and residents
and local government would have three years to decide how to spend
Placitas Community Library welcomes new board members
—SUE STRASIA, PRESIDENT, PLACITAS COMMUNITY LIBRARY
We want to welcome new board members Gail Della Pelle, Karin Foster,
and Judy Labovitz. Gail's background includes working on a building
committee for her church including finance, architect selection,
building design, and building requirements. Karin is a lawyer and
a dedicated mom. She is the founder of the Chatham Partner, Inc.
law firm and currently works as a lobbyist in the state legislature.
Judy is a retired head librarian for a medical library, volunteers
at the V.A. library, and has designed libraries, worked with computer
systems, budget, and finance. We are grateful for the incredible
amount of talent and expertise these ladies will provide for the
library in the years ahead.
Madeline Randle, Martin Bradshaw, and I were reelected as board
members for another three-year term. Madeline is a retired science
teacher, and Martin says he's retired from teaching electrical engineering
at UNM, but not really, since he continues to teach one class using
the textbook he wrote. Together, Madeline and Martin give the board
meetings a lift with their encouragement, guidance, and sense of
The current officers were retained in their positions. Anne Frost
continues as vice president, in charge of operations; Judy Gajkowski
continues as secretary-treasurer, who heads up Friends of the Placitas
Library; and I will follow through as president. If there is anyone
out there who can help with the treasurer position or is interested
in working with fund-raising, we can sure use your help. Please
contact me at 867-0026.
Another gal who has volunteered her time, energy, and talent and
is the contact liaison for the county, the building liaison committee,
and the library board is Ninfa Agnello-Harrington. Ninfa is a retired
principal with experience in overseeing the building of a library
in her school and in fund-raising. She is committed to attending
county board meetings, working with legislators, testifying in Santa
Fe, as well as writing letters to federal and state agencies for
funding and applying for grants.
The library would also like to offer a long-overdue thank-you
to Jennifer Chadwell-Feld for her donation of several historical
articles and books about Placitas. Jennifer was pleased to find
a home for her twenty-year collection of material on Placitas’s
The next board meeting will held be on February 8 at 6:30 p.m.
at the library. Our library is recognized by the New Mexico State
Library as a public library, and our meetings are open for you to
bring your questions, suggestions, and comments.
Responses to questions raised in last month's Letters to the Editor
section of the Signpost can be found at the library's Web site,
www.Placitaslibrary.com, or at the library during regular hours,
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Complete Signpost archives at library
The Sandoval Signpost has donated a complete archive of its publication
thanks to the help of Placitas resident Chris Huber and the family
of the late Mary Ramsay. The collection begins with copies of the
Placitas Signpost, founded by Candy Frizzell in 1988 and published
monthly as a newsletter format. It includes editions up to the most
recent multipage printed issues crafted by Barb and Ty Belknap since
1993. The Signpost, in its various formats, has recorded the personalities,
events, and history of Placitas, Bernalillo, and greater Sandoval
County. The archives will be known as the Mary Ramsay Memorial Signpost
Collection and will be available in the reference section of the
Placitas Community Library. Articles from back issues of the Signpost
can also be found on the Signpost Web site at www.sandovalsignpost.com.
Intel donates to Corrales Recreation Center
Corrales Rec., Inc. is pleased to announce a donation of $30,000
from Intel Corporation for a skate park, tennis courts, and basketball
court at the Corrales Recreation Center.
“This generous donation is a great example of Intel's commitment
to fitness and health, the village of Corrales and Sandoval County
as a whole,” says Cathleen Kane, president of Corrales Rec.
A much anticipated skate park, tennis courts, and outdoor basketball
court are slated for construction in spring of 2006. Total anticipated
costs for the project are $500,000, with $270,000 already in hand
Intel public affairs manager Jami Grindatto said, “Intel
has enjoyed being part of the Corrales community for many years.”
Intel has recommended that part of its donation be used to fund
recycle bins at the center and on the playing fields to enhance
awareness of our responsibility to the environment.
White Mesa now open to mountain bikes, volunteer help needed
In an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management, Friends of Otero
Mountain Bike Club has adopted the White Mesa area near San Ysidro.
For the last few months, the organization has been working with
the BLM to open the area to mountain bikes and now they are requesting
Volunteers are needed to help build and maintain trails, build
signs, etc., in the White Mesa area.
Here are some more details:
• FooMTB, BLM and the International Mountain Bicycling Association(IMBA)
have met and identified tentative plans to maintain existing trails
and build new trails. This includes connecting the White Mesa trail
system to the Red Mesa trail system, which includes the San Ysidro
• There are people volunteering time and effort to the project,
but many more volunteers will be needed to get it working.
• Volunteers will receive trail-building training from IMBA.
White Mesa is a beautiful riding and hiking opportunity that is
unmatched in New Mexico. To help develop this area so that it will
always be open for recreationists, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The
next meeting of FooMTB is on Wednesday, February 22, at 7:00 p.m.,
in the Albuquerque REI store's community room.
New Sandoval County guide provides helpful information
An updated edition of popular Sandoval County resident's guide
has been mailed to mailboxes across the county.
The colorful twenty-four-page guide includes information on the
wide variety of programs and services available to all Sandoval
County residents. The booklet includes information on all aspects
of county government, from how the county commission enacts ordinances
to ways residents can dispose of household trash.
The guide provides practical information that residents can use
in day-to-day dealings with county government. Included are e-mail
addresses and telephone numbers for county offices and other governmental
agencies throughout the county.
Inside the booklet is information on how to get in touch with
programs for senior residents, who to contact about road issues,
and how to get an address for a new home. Other sections provide
information on vacation tips for visiting friends or family, and
who to call for help in getting to a medical appointment. There
are sections of helpful information from the office of the assessor,
treasurer, clerk, probate judge, and sheriff.
The guide, first published in 1997, was revised in 2001. It is
distributed to residential addresses in Sandoval County, and is
available at county offices, including the Visitors Center Bureau
in Bernalillo. It also is given to individuals and businesses considering
relocating in Sandoval County. Information contained in the guide
is available on the county's Web site, www.sandovalcounty.com.
Sandia Man Cave will be explored in lecture, slide show
Bradley F. Bowman will present a lecture and slide show, “The
Re-examination of Early Archaeology at Sandia Cave,” at Coronado
State Monument on Sunday, February 19, at 2:00 p.m.
Sandia Cave was excavated between 1936 and 1940 by the University
of New Mexico, under the direction of Dr. Frank Hibben. Bowman,
founder and director of the Museum of Archaeology and Material Culture
in Cedar Crest, New Mexico, has interviewed some of the participants
in the original excavation and will discuss the archaeology and
the controversies associated with Sandia Cave.
Reservations are required, as space is limited. You may call Gordon,
at 771-3464, or e-mail your reservation to email@example.com.
Admission is $5 per person or free to members of Friends of Coronado
Coronado State Monument is off I-25, Exit 242, west of the town
Archivist to speak at historical society program
Carlos Vasquez, archivist of the Hispanic Cultural Center, will
present a thought-provoking talk, “We All Came on Different
Ships, but We Are in the Same Boat,” for the Sandoval County
Historical Society program on February 5 at 2:00 p.m. The free program
is open to the public and will be held at Delavy House Museum, off
Highway 550, between Coronado State Monument and the Star Casino.
Refreshments will be served.
Women’s investment club forms in Placitas
A new investment club for women has formed in Placitas. The group
meets once a month and makes investments based on research done
by members. The main purpose of the club is education, but the members
plan to have fun and make money as well.
If you are interested in becoming a member or would like more
information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.