The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Mentor Frances Vasquez & Charlotte Jewitt

Mentors sought for BPS

Carmen Perez
Mentor Coordinator
Bernalillo Public Schools 

You can make a difference in a child’s life. Yes, this is a call to everyone who has considered the possibility of mentoring but has not yet taken stseps to give it a try. 

You may ask, What is mentoring? or I’m interested, but will going back into the school environment make me nervous? or even, What’s the cost? Well, mentoring is just about the most natural relationship of the human race. It is the act of building a bond, a friendship, a trust with a young (in this case) person and acting as a role model and guide for that person.

Sometimes we may feel that we have no real effect on our world and environment, but what we do actually has a tremendous impact. Mentoring is a relationship that creates ripples way into the future of a young person’s life and into our own. It is a connection of the heart that is a delight to experience.

There are many children in all of today’s school systems who can deeply benefit from the nurturing aspect of a one-on-one relationship. And children brighten up when they receive attention from a grownup or an older youth. There is absolutely no cost to the mentor, and the rewards are many.

Many wonderful mentors from Bernalillo, Placitas, the pueblos, Rio Rancho, and even Albuquerque have mentored in the Bernalillo Public Schools. Their care and attention to the youth have drawn great admiration and praise from the BPS administrationas well as counselors, teachers, parents, and guardians. These mentors are among the unsung heroes of Sandoval County.

Dr. Jim Kavanaugh, who is a psychologist and the executive director for the St. Francis Academy of New Mexico, views mentoring as “one of the oldest simple solutions to the complex problems of today’s children and youth.”

What are you waiting for? Jump in, the water’s fine! School is fun! And there are many children waiting for someone they can open their heart to and call a friend.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or would like to talk to me about the program, please feel free to give me a call at 771-0803


Placitas charter school holds first meeting

On December 16, the Village Academy Charter School held its first public meeting at the Placitas Community Center. The agenda was limited to two items.

The VACS Interim Governance Council passed a resolution establishing open-meetings policy.

The council also agreed to lease the currently vacant Door Company facility on 45 Dusty Trail Road for use as administrative offices.

Beginning with the second public meeting on January 5, 2005, at 6:00 p.m., meetings will be held primarily at the new administrative offices. 

Future agendas will be posted at the Placitas Post Office, the Merc, and the Sandoval County courthouse, as well as at the VACS administrative offices.

Regular meetings of the VACS will be the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 6:00 p.m. Meetings are open to the general public. All interested individuals and community members are cordially invited to attend.


Volunteer elves from LBJ Middle School help with holiday party for children in foster care hosted by Sandoval CASA: (l.-r.) Isiah Wright, Johnny Maestas, Jarrad Kerness, JJ Maestas, Jonathan Dominguez.

Volunteer elves from LBJ Middle School help with holiday party for children in foster care hosted by Sandoval CASA: (l.-r.) Isiah Wright, Johnny Maestas, Jarrad Kerness, JJ Maestas, Jonathan Dominguez.

County hosts foster children's party

The Sandoval County Court Appointed Special Advocates Program hosted a holiday party for foster children and their families—more than 150 guests in all—on December 12 at the Destiny Center in Rio Rancho. Ballet Folklorico del Sol from Valley High School gave a special dance performance, and Santa delivered hundreds of gifts donated by LBJ Middle School and Intel. A full dinner by chef Al Casias was donated by local business leaders, including Luther Martinez and family (Albuquerque Tortilla Company), Glen Lucero and Rafael Gutierrez (Compadres Gaming), Rico Tanuz and family (Jersey Jack's Eatery), Manuel Ortiz (Acapulco Taco), Patrick Padilla (county treasurer), Tito Padilla, Lee and Josie Lopez, and Al Maestas.

Amy Elena Cook, executive director of Sandoval CASA, was pleased that so many local businesses, schools, and community members pulled together to make the event extra special for the children. She explained that the party is also a time to recognize the hard work of foster parents, relative-caregivers, and social workers.

A fifteen-year old boy in foster care said that he had never been to a Christmas party before. “It was very cool!” he reported.

Sandoval CASA is a nonprofit group that trains volunteers to advocate for children who are involved in abuse and neglect cases. For more information about Sandoval CASA, call (505) 720-7030 or e-mail


Placitas Library created with donations in 2004

Sue Strasia
Placitas Library Association

The year 2004 was a doozy, as Shirley Booth would say on the 1965 TV show Hazel. One year ago we didn’t have a library. We didn’t have any place to house the books gathered from our first and only book swap. In fact, we didn’t have anything but a lot of good people who believed in libraries and who were willing to begin on a dream.

Gary Priester ( was one of those individuals. He designed our logo and suggested Larry White ( might be willing to host our Web site (, and, lo and behold, he did! La Puerta brought strong support from broker Pepi Strahl, who came to our rescue by loaning us her building to set up shop.

Then came a parade of donations, starting with approximately fifty boxes of books from Los Alamos Public Library, bookshelves from Santa Fe High, and a host of quality books from people who live right here in Placitas. Generous contributions of time and effort came from Cynthia Schoen, who worked hard in getting the building ready and managed to arrange for Stacey Smith, from Bailey Wright Design Custom Homes, to replace a garage door with a picture window!

Out of the blue came Michael Martin Murphy and his band to help garner public awareness and donations for the library and the wild-horse group.

And let’s not forget the twenty-five volunteers who quietly work in the background cataloging books and donating their time to library-sit, and the library board, who has coordinated this entire effort of citizenship and camaraderie.

Then there is sweet little nine-year-old Natalie DuBoise, who made lovely bookmarks and bracelets to help raise funds for the library, too.

We have put together a scrapbook of events and newspaper articles that shows how the Signpost has gone out of its way to spread the word about the library by printing our articles and posting Help Wanted signs throughout the year.

Thank you to all who have provided their support this past year. And thank you for your financial support. This year we have collected $8,834, which will go a long way towards upkeep for 2005.

The Placitas Community Library’s future looks bright. Tom Ashe, of Delashe Investments, is working on acquiring the site adjacent to the fire station in conjunction with the Sandoval County Commission.

We met with our congressional delegation this past summer and received a wholehearted show of support. As a result, we are sending in a request for capital outlay from the upcoming legislative session to Senator Kent Cravens and Representative Kathy McCoy for building construction. Cross your fingers, hold your breath, and get on the phone to your legislator for funding.

Come and check out some new book donations focusing on strategy for sustainable profitability, change management, consulting in management change, managing organizational performance, and strategies for e-business.

If you are interested in joining a genealogy or book-discussion group, please sign up in the library. Don’t forget to mention who you are, the program you are interested in, your phone number, and the best time for you to meet. The library is at 1 Tierra Madre Road and is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Call 867-3355 for more information.


Outcomes receives grant for grandparents program

Outcomes has received a $10,000 Daniels Fund grant to support its Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program.

"The grant will enable our program to expand from the single support group at our agency to three support groups interspersed in the community. Not only will the Albuquerque area be served, but also the Rio Rancho and Bernalillo areas," said Cindy Anderson, program coordinator.

The Daniels Fund operates the Daniels College Prep and Scholarship Program and the Daniels Fund Grants Program in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah. The fund was established in 1997 by Bill Daniels, a pioneer in cable television known for his kindness and generosity to those in need.

Support groups are conducted in the evenings or weekends, with child care being provided as necessary. The groups may focus on specific topics, but the primary goal is to connect grandparents with one another to share their joys and struggles. Another focus of the grant will be to acquaint participants with community resources.

For more information about this program, call Cindy Anderson or Debbie Trujillo at Outcomes, 243-2551 or


Educators can again deduct $250 of school expenses

The Internal Revenue Service advises teachers and other educators to save their receipts for books and other classroom supplies. They will be able to deduct up to $250 of such expenses again this year, following recently enacted legislation.

The Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 reinstated the educator expense deduction, which had expired at the end of last year, for both 2004 and 2005. Expenses incurred any time this year may qualify for the deduction, not just those since the act was signed on October 4.

The deduction is available to eligible educators in public or private elementary or secondary schools. To be eligible, a person must work at least nine hundred hours during a school year as a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide.

For more information, call the IRS Tele-Tax system toll-free at 1-800-829-4477 and select Topic 458. Or go to the IRS Web site at and use its search engine to find Tax Topic 458.


Outpouring of goodwill on Blessings Day

The Optimist Club de Sandoval, spearheaded by Fran Stephens, along with Sheriff John Paul Trujillo and his deputies, and the staff and families of the Placitas Elementary School, citizens of Placitas and many, many others participated in the Blessings Day Community Outreach this year. This is the third year for the Blessings Day outreach and the most successful to date in reaching families in need in our community.

Twenty-six families received food, clothing, and Christmas gifts. Eighty children received toys, many gathered from the Albuquerque Bikers’ Run. Toys were also taken to UNM Hospital and Presbyterian Hospital, where Santa Kasey, the golden retriever from the Sandoval County Sheriff’s department, delighted the young patients


Girl Scout registration now open

Girl Scouts offers girls the opportunity to build courage, confidence, and character in a safe and educational environment. Through activities and programs, girls have fun, meet new friends, and build lifelong skills for the future. They grow courageous and strong, developing values, social consciousness, and self-esteem. 

You can register for Girl Scouts at anytime. Girl Scouts are between five and seventeen years old; registration is $10; and financial assistance is available.

For more information about Girl Scouting in your community, contact Amy Kindrick, membership development director for Girl Scouts of Chaparral Council, at 343-1040 or (800) 658-6768.

Girl Scouts of Chaparral Council serves more than sixty-eight hundred girls and twenty-five hundred adults in nine counties in New Mexico and five counties in southwestern Colorado. Chaparral Council welcomes all girls and adults to join the organization as members or volunteers. Contributions for programs, financial aid, and other organizational needs are welcome as well. To volunteer, join, or contribute, please call the numbers above or go to


Bernalillo to host state wrestling tournament in Febuary

The first three sessions of the state 3A wrestling tournament will be held at Bernalillo High School starting at 2:00 p.m. on February 18. BHS has four top contenders this year: Ivan and Greg Lucero, who made the 2003 finals, and Erik Yazzie and Pat Lyle who placed in their weight divisions. BHS has never had a state champ, but things are looking good for 2004. Robert Garcia and Constante Gallegos are also off to a strong start.




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