Sandoval Signpost

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St Valentine

The history of Valentine’s Day

Signpost Staff

Valentine’s Day is the annual holiday honoring lovers. Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday? The history of Valentine's Day, and its patron saint, is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.

The history of Valentine's Day is obscure, and further clouded by various fanciful legends. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. Its roots are obscured by mystery and there are varying opinions about it. Its origins have become themes of many legends.

Most scholars believe that the St. Valentine of the holiday was a priest who attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II around 270. The history of St. Valentine's Day has two legends attached to it - the Protestant and the Catholic legend. According to both legends, Valentine was a bishop who held secret marriage ceremonies of soldiers in opposition to Claudius II who had prohibited marriage for young men and was executed by the latter.

One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl, who may have been his jailor's daughter, who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.

While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial, which probably occurred around 270 A.D, others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to 'Christianize' celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification.

The boys then sliced the goat's hide into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goat hide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage. Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine's Day around 498 A.D. The Roman 'lottery' system for romantic pairing was deemed un-Christian and outlawed. Later, during the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds' mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of February, Valentine's Day, should be a day for romance. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting, which was written in 1415, is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England. Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one's feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine's Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s.

Esther A. Howland created the first commercial Valentine’s Day greeting cards produced in the U.S. in the 1840s. Howland, known as the Mother of the Valentine, made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as "scrap". The tradition of Valentine's cards did not become widespread in the United States, however, until Howland began producing them in large scale.

According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.

Whoever Valentine was, we know he was an actual person because archaeologists have recently unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to a Saint Valentine.


Algodones kids

A group of young people pose for a quick photo before returning to their game of football on the street near where they live in the Village of Algodones. Top (boys) left to right: Johnny Unale, Antonio Vigil, Adam Quintana, Jacob Martinez. Middle (girls) left to right: Jayden Unale, Dominique Romero. Sitting (girls) left to right: Gabby Archibeque and Briana Archibeque


Firefighters save family and home from chimney fire

—Town of Bernalillo

In January, there was an unfortunate residential chimney fire on the south side of Bernalillo. Town of Bernalillo and Sandoval County firefighters were at the scene within three minutes of dispatch and battled the fire for two-and-a-half hours. The fire was put to rest with no injuries and minimal damage to the interior of the home.

To fight the fire directly, firefighters used a hydrant located in front of the home. To keep the fire from spreading to surrounding homes, additional fire trucks hooked into a second hydrant that occupied the same water line as the first hydrant. This caused a loss in water to the two hydrants.

“Though the hydrants were not able to supply the needed water, we were fully prepared for this fire with the water stored on our fire trucks,” says Town of Bernalillo Fire Chief John Estrada.

Town of Bernalillo and Sandoval County fire departments dispatched six fire trucks carrying one thousand gallons of water. Between all six of the fire trucks there were six thousand gallons of water plus the fire hydrants, giving firefighters more than enough water to keep the fire from spreading, and putting it out before major interior damage occurred.

“I want to commend the Town of Bernalillo and Sandoval County firefighters for a job well done combating yesterday’s fire,” says Town of Bernalillo Mayor Patricia A. Chávez. “Thanks to our firefighters and their ability to quickly adapt to challenges, there were no injuries and the fire was maintained and extinguished in the roof of the house.”

For the past few months, the town council has been working on a water system improvement plan that includes the area where the house fire occurred. Water system improvement projects have been put out to bid and should be completed in sixty to ninety days. This plan includes fire hydrants in the area with separate water lines to ensure maximum water pressure for firefighters.


St. Anthony’s Kitchen serves daily lunch

—Ty Belknap, Signpost

St. Anthony’s Kitchen has responded to increased need in the Bernalillo area by providing a hot lunch free of charge every weekday at Our Lady of Sorrows social center. Anyone can simply walk in from 11:30 a.m. through 1:00 p.m., September through April. No questions are asked and donations are not requested. Just have a seat and volunteers will serve you lunch.

Jeana Gonzales, director and chief cook of St. Anthony’s Kitchen, says that one hundred to 130 people are served every day. “These people are not necessarily homeless or unemployed,” she explained. “They are just trying to save a few dollars. Everyone who feels the need is welcomed.”

The kitchen is funded by donations from OLOS parishioners and the Catholic Foundation. All the work is done by unpaid volunteers. Gonzales said that Rose Meniachi and her crew from Rio Rancho pick up bread donated weekly by the Pasta House restaurant. Ana and Santo Genco, who are in their seventies, are regular volunteers.

Gonzales encourages all volunteers to participate in all phases of the operation, including cooking. “Cooking for 130 people is a lot different from cooking at home,” she said. Members of the community who would like to volunteer or make a donation of food or funds may contact Jeana Gonzales at 867-4170 or stop by St. Anthony’s Kitchen at the OLOS social center on Camino del Pueblo in Bernalillo.

Address Posting

—Town of Bernalillo

The Town of Bernalillo has address numbers for residents to post on their homes. If you do not have your street number posted on front of your home or fence, please stop at Town Hall, 829 Camino del Pueblo to obtain the address numbers to display at your residence.

Displaying your address is required in order for Emergency Service personnel to easily find your residence and provide assistance when needed. Take action now, minutes in finding your address during an emergency can mean life or death. For more information regarding the addressing program, call Margaret Navarrette at 505-771-7118.


Bernalillo Public Library set for round-two of improvements

—Town of Bernalillo

Construction has begun on Phase Two of the Town of Bernalillo Martha Liebert Public Library. The project is an adaptive reuse of a 1920’s wooden structure that was built as the first non-Catholic church in Bernalillo.

A corridor will be constructed to connect the existing library to the restored building which will house the Southwest Collection and Reading Room.

The project is funded by the Town of Bernalillo General and Sandoval County Library Bond dollars. The project cost including architectural design and construction is $259,000.00.

Martha Liebert, established the first public library in Bernalillo in 1965 as a volunteer and continued to serve as librarian until her retirement in 1990. In 1985, Mayor Michael Foster honored Martha’s great accomplishment by naming the Town Library the Martha Liebert Library. Mayor Patricia A. Chávez renewed the dedication when she named the new library facility in 2006.



Friends of Coronado State Monument present lecture about first black explorer in the Southwest

Marianne Gendron is an historical depiction artist whose paintings are in private collections, public offices, and several museums. She speaks French, English, Japanese, some Tagalog, Wyandotte, and Hebrew. She is a member of the Japan Society of Boston; The Beverly Historical Society of Massachusetts, where she was a tour guide at the Reverend John Hale Farm; and a museum panel artist for the American Indian Genocide Museum in Houston, Texas.

On February 22 at 2:00 p.m., The Friends of Coronado State Monument will sponsor a lecture by Ms. Gendron entitled “Esteban Dorantes—The First Black Explorer in the Southwest.” The program will be held at Sandoval County Historical Society’s DeLavy House, located on Edmond Road in Bernalillo. No reservations are needed. The presentation is open to the public. Admission is $5 per person and is free to members of Friends of Coronado State Monument.

To reach DeLavy House, take Highway 550, slightly west of Coronado State Monument, turn north on the west edge of the Phillips 66 gas station and onto a dirt road (Edmond Road). Follow the road to its end; signs will be posted.



DWI checkpoints in Bernalillo

The Bernalillo Police Department will be conducting DWI checkpoints and DWI saturation patrols in and around the Town of Bernalillo during the next two months. The department will also work in conjunction with the Sandoval County DWI program looking for drunk drivers. Please don’t drink and drive.


Road construction projects begin

The Town of Bernalillo will be enhancing and improving several roads in Bernalillo: Camino del Pueblo from Avenida Bernalillo to US 550 (streetscape with ADA sidewalks and traffic calming measures); the Downtown Rail Runner Station (ADA sidewalks and road improvements); Don Tomas to Calle Barrionuevo (ADA sidewalks and road improvements); South Hill Road to US 550 (road improvements); Calle del Bosque (ADA sidewalks, traffic safety enhancements, and improved drainage); and Calle La Bona Tierra and Calle de Las Lomas (road blading and shaping with a two-inch overlay).

The funding for these road enhancements comes from the New Mexico Department Cooperative and the Town of Bernalillo Gross Receipts Tax dollars. The Town of Bernalillo continues to strive to make its arterial roads safe and easy for pedestrians and motorists who use these walkways and roadways.


Railrunner Saturday Schedule

New Saturday train schedule announced for New Mexico Rail Runner Express

The New Mexico Rail Runner Express has issued a new regular schedule that will now have trains running on the tracks between Belen and Santa Fe on Saturdays. A full-service schedule has been designed to provide passengers wishing to take the train on Saturday with a wide variety of times from which to choose.

“With our extension to Santa Fe, there has always been Saturday service built into the schedule between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but now we have worked it out so that we can offer a regular Saturday service during the other eight months of the year,” says Lawrence Rael, Executive Director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments.

Since the New Mexico Rail Runner Express opened its Santa Fe extension on December 17, more than sixty thousand people have boarded trains between Belen and Santa Fe—many of them taking advantage of special introductory free weekend service which was made available through the holidays.

“Over the last three weekends, New Mexicans have literally flooded the train in overwhelming numbers,” said Transportation Secretary Designate Gary Girón. “This has had a tremendous economic boost for local businesses throughout the corridor. There is no doubt that the demand for Saturday service is very high there and we are happy to provide additional trains for our citizens.”



Placitas Community Library groundbreaking announced

The Placitas Community Library is busy making some changes, adding new programs, bringing back favorite activities, and getting ready for the groundbreaking of the new Library building.

The Library Building Committee is pleased to announce that the bidding process for the new Library construction has been completed and the successful bidder will be announced on February 5, following a review of bid documents by the County Commission and the Department of Public Works.

Once construction begins, the contract requires completion within 210 days, potentially allowing the new Library to open in November or December 2009. The county will initiate preparation of the site for construction in late February.

Mark your calendars for Sunday, March 8 for the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the new Library building. It will begin with a reception at 2:00 p.m. at the Fire Station, with the “Golden Shovel” event immediately following at the site. Everyone is invited to attend the ceremony, and additional shoveling is welcome! Because parking will be limited, please try to carpool and observe all safety rules when parking on the road.

Our Lunar New Year celebration on January 24 introduced a new dragon for this Year of the Ox, joining last year’s dragon on the walls of the Children’s Room. Both dragons, made from the handprints of Placitas residents—young and old—will hang in the Children’s Room until February 7, so come and peek at these colorful creatures before they go into hibernation. There is also a raffle of items from various Asian countries in celebration of Lunar New Year. Tickets are $.50 each or three for $1. The winner will be chosen on February 7, so come in and take a look.

Continuing the idea of introducing our community—especially the children—to many cultures and celebrations, the Library will host “Carnival” on Saturday, February 21. Join in the mask-making, stories, and entertainment from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. Adding to the fun will be a Mardi Gras-style parade, complete with a king and queen chosen from the kids, and of course, lots of beads! The highlight will be a special story hour with local children’s author Cristina Ortega, and music with Armando Ortega, a local musician who will play a variety of instruments. This lively event will be fun for all ages, so plan on celebrating with us on February 21.

Not to be left out, adults can join the Library Book Club #2, which meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. Call the Library at 867-3355 if you are interested in participating.

Last, but certainly not least, congratulations to Wendy Aman, the newly-elected Chair of the Library Board of Directors. Her experience and organizational skills will be invaluable during this new growth phase of the Library. Sincere thanks go to Judy Labovitz, who has chaired the Board for over three years, during which her leadership in planning for the new Library building kept this major project moving forward successfully and her enthusiasm attracted a number of new community members to the Board and Advisory Board. The Library Board is pleased that Judy will continue as a Board member, along with current members Anne Frost, Pam Buethe, Wayne Sandoval, Gail Della Pelle, Nancy Kellum-Rose, Susan Fullas, and Rebecca Watson-Boone.

Library Calendar of Events

Saturday, February 21: “Carnival”—Mardi Gras celebration, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Sunday, March 8: Groundbreaking Ceremony for new library building, 2:00 p.m.
Pre-K story hour is held the first and third Thursday of each month at 10:30 a.m.
(February 5 and 19; March 5 and 19; April 2 and 16; May 7 and 21).

Bilingual story hour is held the second Tuesday of each month at 3:00 p.m. for elementary children in grades K-5. Es para los niños que hablan español o ingles en los grados K-5. (February 10; March 10; April 14; May 12).

The Library offers two different story hours for your children. These programs are led by professional educators who love working with children and encouraging them to read. The children’s committee sends email reminders for all events. If you would like to be put on this list, please contact the Library and give them your email address. It will be forwarded to the appropriate volunteer.


Decorating tips for 2009: making the most of what you already have

—Patsy King, Design Details

We can’t control the current economic climate, but we can magically transform our home interiors with little or no investment.

The reasons for wanting to update the look of our living space are many. We may have family or friends coming to visit during the upcoming months; perhaps we want to prepare our house for the real estate market; or we may be spending more time at home these days and want to brighten our environment.

Good news! You can inexpensively create a new, exciting atmosphere inside your home with little time and effort. Rarely is a big expensive overhaul necessary. Small changes have the power to create big differences. Remember, it’s the details that affect the look and feel of a home. Here’s how:

Add or change color: Color is one of the easiest ways to update your space. Highlight colors by sponging or “ragging” walls—or just the trim. Adding unique innovations and faux finishes can dramatically transform a room.

Update accessories: Update accessories such as candles, throw pillows, and area rugs to match your color scheme. Simply changing your candles, adding new throw pillows, or replacing flowers in your floral arrangement can make a big difference.

Move furniture and accessories: Rearrange furniture and move paintings, sculptures, and wall-hangings to new locations. The “Art of Rearranging” will breathe new life into tired rooms, creating a new, exciting look.

Recycle your furniture: This is a great way to give a face-lift to any room. Use furniture differently, such as using night stands as end tables, or place a table or bench in back of a sofa, or move sofas back-to-back if the room is large. Also, using slipcovers can give couches and chairs a new look.

Create your own furniture: Furniture can be created; such as using a screen for a headboard, or placing flagstone on a metal base for a table.

Shop in your garage: Be sure to look at what you have stored away—in a closet or in your garage—to find treasures you’ve forgotten that would add a perfect touch to your new look.

So don’t let the current economy hold you back! By adding or changing color, updating your accessories, moving things around, recycling or creating your own furniture, and shopping in your garage, you can achieve change and excitement in your home!


Santa Ana Star Center

City to temporarily manage Santa Ana Star Center

Beginning February 2, 2009, the City of Rio Rancho will oversee the day-to-day management and operation of the city-owned Santa Ana Star Center (SASC). This shift in management will not affect any upcoming scheduled events.

Global Entertainment and their subsidiary Encore Facility Management have been operating the SASC since it opened in October of 2006. While the city had anticipated Global Entertainment remaining at the SASC through the end of March, recent discussions between the city and Global Entertainment have resulted in a change being made sooner.

“This brief period of direct city management has no bearing on our future plans,” said Mayor of Rio Rancho Tom Swisstack. “The process of selecting a new company to operate and promote this state-of-the-art, multi-purpose venue to its full potential remains a top priority for the city and is on track.”

City Manager James Jimenez has appointed Matthew Geisel, the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau Manager, to serve as the interim general manager for the SASC. Geisel will serve in this capacity for the next two months until the city selects a new entity to manage and operate the facility. Jimenez has said the city will select a new management and operations company for the SASC and have them in place to assume day-to-day responsibilities by April 1, 2009.

The process of selecting Global Entertainment’s replacement was initiated by the city on January 5, 2009. This was done in response to Global Entertainment’s continued failure to meet their contractual obligation to generate enough revenue to fully pay annual debt service payments on the SASC. To date, the city has had to expend more than $2.5 million in general fund revenues for debt service payments.

To ensure a seamless transition, the city will be offering current Global Entertainment staff at the SASC two-month employment contracts which will allow them to remain in their current positions and salaries through March 31, 2009.

The city will also be executing new, temporary agreements with the SASC’s food vendor, Boston Culinary Group, and ticketing company, GetTix. There will not be any disruption in services provided by either entity during the city’s interim management of the SASC.



Scorpions making changes to survive and thrive

The New Mexico Scorpions Professional Hockey team is not immune to the current economic challenges that exist for small businesses. In an effort to complete the current season, the organization has had to make some very difficult business decisions, focusing on those items essential to the business, while eliminating those deemed nonessential. This year, the franchise will once again lose money. The organization has been restructuring its entire business model to ensure the completion of this season and beyond.

Over the past three years, the ownership group has lost over $1 million due to a lack of support. While they have committed to keep the business in operation, this year has proven to be especially challenging.

“It is very important we focus on our fans and corporate partners during this tough time and still provide a good product on and off the ice,” said Gary Gelinas, Scorpions President. “Focusing on the fans and having a grassroots sales effort will be the key to getting more people at our games for the remainder of the season.”

Most recently, the organization made a difficult decision to terminate the broadcast partnership with Citadel Broadcasting, and focus on the CHL network. Citadel Broadcasting, including our flagship home 610 The Sports Animal, has been a very solid partner to the Scorpions.

The current ownership‘s goal is to continue this current season while looking to bring on local investors. It is critical that the team has some local ownership to ensure the corporate community steps up to support the team and facility and to help promote the team to the community. This will be a key to the survival of hockey in New Mexico.

“The ownership group is committed to taking the steps to keep hockey in New Mexico,” said Dave Ellett, Scorpions owner.

The organization is still in operation and will be playing its games as scheduled and asks that fans continue to show support, purchase tickets, and enjoy the games and all events at the Santa Ana Star Center. The corporate community continues to support the Scorpions and Santa Ana Star Center.






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