The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

SCHOOLBAG

Bikes for Tykes Give-away

Sergeant Roberta Radosevich of the Rio Rancho Department of Public Safety and Angel Esquivel at the Bikes for Tykes Give-away.

Lieutenant Pete Camacho of the Rio Rancho Department of Public Safety and Joseph Trujillo at the Bikes for Tykes Give-away.

Santa Ana Star Casino and Bikes for Tykes give less-fortunate kids an early gift

Santa Ana Star Casino, one of New Mexico’s leading Native American gaming casinos, and the Jim Franklin Department of Public Safety Bikes for Tykes program, a charity to help give bicycles to needy children, funded by Rumble in Rio, distributed five hundred bicycles to children from the Pueblo of Santa Ana and the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho communities. The bicycle and helmet distribution was held at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

Children who received bicycles and helmets were found through Albuquerque and Rio Rancho Public Schools, local community centers, domestic violence shelters, the Children, Youth, and Families department, and other organizations. The Rumble in Rio selected the Jim Franklin Department of Public Safety Bikes for Tykes program as its charity of choice for the fourth year in a row. Funding from Rumble in Rio also went to youth boxing programs throughout the state.

“This is a great way for us to make sure that needy children throughout our community have a wonderful holiday. Santa Ana Star Casino’s partnership with Rumble in Rio and the Jim Franklin Bikes for Tykes program is just one of the many ways we give back to a community that gives so much to the casino,” said Conrad Granito, general manager for Santa Ana Star Casino.

Rumble in Rio is the boxing extravaganza that pits fire fighters against police officers in boxing matches to raise money for worthy children’s charities throughout the state of New Mexico. The event, held at Santa Ana Star Casino, raised more than $40,000, which was enough to purchase more than five hundred bicycles and helmets. The bicycles and helmets were distributed on Saturday, December 15, 2007.

For more information about Santa Ana Star Casino, visit www.SantaAnaStar.com.

Increased computer services at the Placitas Library

—ANNE FROST, CO-DIRECTOR, PLACITAS COMMUNITY LIBRARY

The Placitas Community Library Board recently voted to use some of the Sandoval County general obligation money we received this year for new computers. As many of you know, our old ones were a variety of donated dinosaurs, making for a frustrating experience as they were often slow and operated differently from each other. Now our computers are uniform and much faster. The library owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Jim Bryden, David Hawthorne of Placitas Computer Repair, and Jack Bates. This transition did not come off without more than its share of glitches. Jim and David often worked late into the night to be sure our patrons had at least some computer services each day. Visit the library to see our new computers and your tax dollars at work.

Beginning this month, the library is offering free individual training in computer basics. Long-time Placitan and library volunteer, Joan Jander, is an experienced computer instructor, working mostly with seniors. She will teach individuals how to use a mouse, understand the screen, go online, create an email account, and other such basic tasks. If you would like to give computers a try, but do not know where to start, this is your ticket. Please call the library and leave your name and number and Joan will call you back to set up an appointment. You can learn as little or as much as you would like in small doses.

Through the New Mexico State Library, we are able to give our patrons access to InfoTrac. This database offers access to a large number of “searchable databases,” including but not limited to magazine articles, newspapers, and academic and professional journals. Due to our current lack of space, we have no magazines in our collection, and this considerably broadens what is available to our community. By the end of January, we expect to be able to offer these databases though the library’s website so you will be able to access them from your home computer. Visit our website at www.placitaslibrary.com; when the system is available, an icon for InfoTrac will appear just below the “Library Catalog” link. Click on the InfoTrac icon to access their collection of materials.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Preschool story time: 10:00 a.m., Thursday, January 10 and Thursday, February 7.

• Bilingual story hour: 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 16 and Wednesday, February 20. Please note the new day for the bilingual story time. This program is for ages two through ten.

Optimist Club de Sandoval message

—FRAN STEPHENS

The Spirit of Christmas is alive and well in New Mexico, especially in Sandoval County. Christmas is a time of giving. It is said every year, but this year was an exception. The Optimist Club de Sandoval, again this year, did their ‘Blessings Day’ project. We were able to gift fifty-one families with food; 138 children with new clothing and new toys. We could not have done it without the help of the generous and supportive communities of Placitas and Bernalillo, who gave generously of products and monies.

The Italian American Club of Rio Rancho who gave toys. The parishioners of Mission de San Antonio who graciously took names of children to gift from the ‘Giving Tree’, the Jardineros de Placitas members, that donated all the turkeys; neighbors and friends that took whole families to give to, people we didn’t know, too numerous to name here, who reached into their pockets and donated. All of this came together on December 15th and 16th when there was a wrapping party. The wrappers, who wrapped and bagged the gifts gave four hours of their valuable time. The Sandoval County Sheriffs department on December 17th, took time out of their schedule to deliver to all the families.

How do we thank such generosity? There is no way other than a simple Thank You. So we will say to all who participated in ‘Blessings Day’, in any way know that the Spirit of Christmas lives in your heart all year. God bless.

Blessings Day finished off a wonderful year for the Optimist Club de Sandoval. In the past six months we’ve delivered a great summer camp for local children, volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, helped with the Special Olympics fundraiser, assisted with the Researchers’ Banquet and RoboRave, and continue sponsoring our local cub scout troop. “There always seems to be something to do,” says club president Suzann Owings. For further information about OCdeS, please contact Suzann, 867-0567.

Reaching out to serve rural America

—RYAN GLEASON, STATE DIRECTOR, USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you know there is a crisis in the mortgage industry. Hundreds of thousands—perhaps millions—of Americans are at risk of losing the home they purchased just a few short years ago because they borrowed more money than they could afford to repay and the bill is now coming due. These Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) and interest-only loans seemed like a good idea at the time for the borrower, but now that the rates have adjusted upward and the grace period on principle payments has ended, the true colors of these mortgages have been revealed.

This has probably made some of you who are thinking about buying a home nervous—and with good reason. This does not have to be a scary event, however—if you use a mortgage product that provides a predictable and certain monthly payment with a fixed interest rate.

One such program that can help you with a predictable and certain monthly payment is USDA Rural Development’s Guaranteed Rural Housing (GRH) program. Through the GRH loan program, middle-income New Mexicans living in rural communities can get a loan from their bank and the federal government will co-sign the note. By co-signing—or guaranteeing—the loan, Rural Development is agreeing to pay a large percentage of the loan if the borrower defaults on the loan. You, as the borrower, still have to make the payments or you lose your house; however, because the payment will not go up several years down the road, it will be much easier to continue making payments as time goes by.

Another great feature of the GRH program is that you do not have to come up with a down payment. You do, however, have to live in a community of less than twenty thousand people. Fortunately, there is no shortage of great communities in New Mexico that meet this requirement.

For those who still cannot get a loan from a bank, even with Rural Development’s guarantee, we have another program that might help. Known as our Direct Loan program, we can help low-income families purchase a home by loaning them the money ourselves. Put another way: Rural Development is the lender and payments are made by the borrower back to the government.

It is very important to point out that both of these programs are available for anyone who meets the income requirements, who has reasonable credit, who can repay the loan, and who lives in a rural community. This can include the purchase of an existing home or the construction of a new one.

In short, there’s no question about it: buying a home—whether it is your first or your fifth—is a big financial commitment. On the other hand, buying a home can be one of the best financial decisions you’ll ever make. And it is possible to get a safe, affordable home loan with the help of the federal government even during today’s mortgage crisis. You might not be able to borrow quite as much money as you could with an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, but there is a much better chance that you will still be living in the house you bought five to ten years from now.

If you have questions about how to apply for any of these housing programs or if you need information on the location of our area offices, please contact one of our offices around the state or call our state office in Albuquerque at (505) 761-4950 and we’ll get you information on how to get in touch with someone who lives and works in your community. You can also visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ for detailed information on all Rural Development programs.

Residents urged to fight poverty by joining AmeriCorps VISTA

As the holiday season brings thoughts of giving back, a new public service campaign has been launched to enlist New Mexico residents to “fight poverty with passion” by joining Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), the AmeriCorps program that fights poverty.

The campaign draws attention to the thirty-seven million Americans who live in poverty and to the changing face of poverty, which today is often hidden and found within working families. It encourages Americans to dedicate a year of their lives to fight poverty by joining VISTA.

VISTA was founded in 1964 as part of the War on Poverty. Since then, more than 177,000 Americans have answered VISTA’s call to devote a year of full-time service living and working in low-income communities to help eradicate poverty. Made part of AmeriCorps in 1993, VISTA provides sixty-five hundred opportunities each year for individuals to create and expand programs that fight illiteracy, improve health services, foster business and economic development, increase housing opportunities, and otherwise help low-income individuals and communities toward self-sufficiency.

“VISTAs live and serve in some of New Mexico’s poorest urban and rural areas, mobilizing local resources and giving people in poverty the tools they need to help themselves,” said Ted Martinez, of the New Mexico office of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps VISTA.

Nearly thirty-seven million Americans—including thirteen million children—live in poverty. In New Mexico, an estimated 328,000 or 16.9 percent of residents live below the poverty line.

VISTAs tackle poverty by improving the ability of organizations to alleviate poverty in their communities by raising funds, recruiting community volunteers, and designing sustainable programs that get to the heart of the problem. VISTAs serve with large national nonprofits—such as Habitat for Humanity, ACCION, One Economy, and Boys and Girls Clubs of America—as well as with very small community and faith-based organizations.

In New Mexico, more than 125 VISTAs serve through six organizations, including the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy and the New Mexico Community Foundation. VISTA members are helping to alleviate poverty in a variety of ways, including assisting the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy to address literacy problems in low income communities and find access to prescription medication for low income families.

“A VISTA is a catalyst for change,” said VISTA Director Jean Whaley. “VISTAs channel their ideals and energy into becoming poverty-fighters who build successful and sustainable programs that help people and communities lift themselves out of poverty.”

In return for a year of service, VISTAs receive a variety of benefits, including a modest living allowance, health care, and relocation expenses. At the completion of their term of service, VISTAs also receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $4,725 to use toward college or to pay off qualified student loans, or VISTAs can choose to receive a stipend of $1,200. While VISTAs appreciate these benefits, most say the most attractive part of VISTA is the skills and leadership they gain and the deep sense of satisfaction they feel when they know they’ve made a difference.

AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that also oversees Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America. The mission of the Corporation is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement though volunteering and service. For more information or to apply, call (800) 942-2677 or visit www.nationalservice.gov.

“K Street”—a sidebar

—GREG LEICHNER

• Kabuki (1899)—traditional Japanese popular drama performed with highly-stylized singing and dancing: “Kabuki!” “Gesundheit!”

• Kafkaesque (1946)—having a nightmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical quality: “All of the answers from the press secretary were Kafkaesque.”

• Kalashnikov (1970)—a Soviet-designed assault rifle; AK-47: “Kalashnikov!” “Gesundheit!”

• kangaroo court (1853)—a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted: “The Kremlin, in need of a boost in the polls, staged a show trial, a kangaroo court stacked with sycophant jurists.”

• kaput (1895)—utterly finished, defeated or destroyed: “His empire kaput, the king wandered off in search of an easier gig.”

• katzenjammer (1849)—hangover: “Cynicism pounded inside his brain like a katzenjammer.”

• kef (1808)—a state of dreamy tranquility: “The mass worldwide chant created kef and thus saved the world from choking to death on its own propaganda and hubris.”

• keister (1931)—buttocks: “Rollo’s keister is so big it needs a groundskeeper.”

• kenspeckle (1616)—conspicuous: “Are we guilty of kenspeckle consumption?”

• kerflooey (1918)—kaput: “The whole imperialist concept went kerflooey.”

• kerfuffle (1946)—disturbance; fuss: “In a parallel universe, the headline read ‘Kerfuffle in Karachi.’”

• kibosh (1836)—something that serves as a check or stop: “And on that day Santa Anna’s Mexican army put the kibosh on the men of the Alamo.”

• kickshaw (1597)—trinket; gewgaw: “Each warrior wore a bone necklace from which hung a kickshaw emblazoned with a crudely carved tiny human skull.”

• kinnikinnick (1799)—a mixture of dried leaves, bark, and sometimes tobacco smoked by the Indians and pioneers, especially in the Ohio valley: “Whoa. Dude. I too spent three summers at Camp Kinnikinnick.”

• kismet (1834)—fate: “And it is your expert opinion that the defendant is a schizophrenic because his father believed in predestination and his mother believed in kismet?”

• kleptocracy (1819)—government by those who seek chiefly status and personal gain at the expense of the governed: “The teacher asked for an example of a kleptocracy and Greg raised his hand.”

• klutz (1960)—a clumsy person: “After Lord Tripp tumbled down his hundredth flight of stairs, the Queen dubbed him King of Klutz.”

• knee-slapper (1966)—an extremely funny joke, line, or story: “How many Kennedys does it take to screw in a light bulb?” “This better be a knee-slapper, Father O’Reilly.” “Two. One to hold the bulb and one to drink until the room spins.”

• kraken (1755)—a fabulous Scandinavian sea monster: “I enrolled at St. Olaf’s College and at orientation, I fell in love with a kraken.”

• kurmmholz (1903)—stunted forest characteristic of timberline: “Herr Hassenfeffer stood alone in the krummholz holding his schutzlagel.”

• kvetch (1952)—to gripe: “Police quarantined protesters and used police dogs to patrol the high Cyclone fence that surrounded the Kvetch Zone.”

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