Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

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2009 Rio Rancho water conservation calendar

The City of Rio Rancho 2009 calendar is now available and can be obtained by visiting City Hall (3200 Civic Center Circle NE), the Meadowlark Senior Center (4330 Meadowlark Lane), the Loma Colorado Main Library (755 Loma Colorado Drive), and the Esther Bone Memorial Library (950 Pinetree Road). Calendars are free and will be available while supplies last.

The calendar’s theme is “Growing Green in Rio Rancho” and throughout, water-wise tips residents can use year-round to reduce water waste, conserve energy, and save money are provided. In addition, colorful photographs capturing every season in the City of Vision are featured.

The calendar is produced by the city’s Environmental Programs and Water Conservation Office, which is part of the city’s Utilities Division. Their mission is to educate, provide outreach, and offer programs that empower residents and businesses to act responsibly to protect the city’s most precious resources.

Capulin Snow Play Area is open

The Capulin Snow Play Area, located approximately 8 miles up the Sandia Crest National Scenic Byway (Highway 536), is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To check on the status of the area contact Sandia Ranger District at 505-281-3304.  Please note the Capulin Snow Play Area is unsupervised, participate at your own risk. Rental equipment is not available at the Snow Play Area. Snow, weather, administrative needs, and road conditions may reduce the days and hours this area is available for use.

Chamber to host presentation on surviving bad economy

The Greater Sandoval County Chamber of Commerce (GSCCC) will host “Get a Leg Up When the Economy is Down” on January 15 at the Sandoval County Tourism Building, 264 South Camino del Pueblo in Bernalillo. Two presentations will be made by The Idea Group of Santa Fe, LLC and HK Advertising, one from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. and again at 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

The goal of the presentation is to energize and invigorate those in attendance with an infusion of actionable strategies which can be implemented immediately to help your business benefit during these difficult times and be better positioned for the eventual resurgence.

Sponsors for the event are ACCION New Mexico, Wal-Mart of Bernalillo, and Wells Fargo Bank. Each session is limited to eighty participants. The cost is $20 for GSCCC members and $35 for non-members. Call Nick at (505) 235-3829 for information and registration.

Helping others when money is tight

—Jason Alderman

During the holiday season, many people reflect on what they can do to help those less fortunate. In 2007, caring Americans gave a record $306.4 billion in charitable donations—which doesn’t even include the countless hours spent on volunteer activities.

But during this recent economic turmoil, many folks are being forced to cut back on contributions as they themselves face increasing hardships. This is particularly bad timing since food banks, disaster relief organizations, and other charities need our help now more than ever.

So what can you do to help others while safeguarding your own family’s wellbeing? Here are a few ideas to stretch your charitable contributions:

Donate your time. Charities always gladly accept cash, but many run on shoestring budgets with minimal staff, so your time and expertise may be just as valuable. Numerous organizations can match you up with local charities that suit your interests, including Network for Good (, Volunteer Match ( and Volunteer Solutions (

Although you can’t take a federal income tax deduction for your time, you can deduct mileage and certain expenses related to your volunteer activities at IRS-qualified, tax-exempt organizations. IRS Publication 526 explains how tax deductions for charitable contributions work and Publication 78 lists all IRS-approved organizations (

Bang for your buck. Make sure any non-profit organizations to which you donate are well-run and contribute at least seventy-five percent of contributions they receive to programs that serve their beneficiaries, as opposed to being spent on their own salaries and expenses. Several online rating services can help you research potential recipients of your generosity, including,, and the Better Business Bureau (

Non-cash contributions. If you’re strapped for cash, there are many other valuable items you can pass along to charity. For example:

Clean out your closets and donate unneeded clothes, appliances, furniture, and other items to non-profit organizations that sponsor thrift shops, like Goodwill Industries ( or your local religious or AIDS service organizations. Just be sure they’re on the IRS-approved list above.

Many organizations accept donated frequent flyer miles. One great program, the Make a Wish Foundation (, estimates it needs over 2.5 billion miles a year to fulfill the travel needs of the sick children they help. Check airline websites for links to organizations that accept their miles.

Local food pantries and homeless shelters always need food contributions, especially around the holidays. Many also will accept and distribute toiletry items, so the next time you buy two-for-one toothpaste, set one tube aside for a needy family.

Adopt a family. Numerous social and religious organizations sponsor programs that will align you with a family in crisis. You can provide services as wide-ranging as helping them to pay rent to educational tutoring to playing Santa Claus for homeless children.

Tap your employer. Many companies will match a portion of their employees’ donations to IRS-approved non-profit organizations or educational institutions. Ask your Human Resources department if your company offers such a program.

Scam alert. Be wary of unsolicited calls or emails seeking contributions to organizations that sound legitimate but may not be. Visit the organization’s website independently (not through an email link) and look them up on the online rating services mentioned above. And never give out your credit card number or personal information unless you initiated the contact yourself.

One last suggestion that won’t cost a dime: Donate blood. I can’t think of any better way to literally save lives.

Jason Alderman directs Visa’s financial education programs.






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