The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


El Rinconcito español 

A la mejor cocinera se le queman los frijoles.
Even the best cook burns the beans.

Perro que ladra no muerde.
A dog that barks doesn’t bite.

Viejos son los cerros pero todavía enverdecen.
Old are the hills but they still turn green.

Submitted by SOS-panyol, Placitas—Spanish instruction that focuses on oral communication skills,


Picuris Pueblo reclaims clay site

Ben Neary

Tapping years of effort, Picuris Pueblo has regained the traditional area where its people gather clay for making pottery.

The pueblo announced Monday [May 16, 2005] that it has acquired the mica mine on U.S. Hill from Oglebay Norton Specialty Minerals Inc., an Ohio mining company. The Pueblo people had gathered micaceous clay at the site for centuries before mining operations began.

Details of the acquisition weren’t released in a joint news release from the pueblo and the company. Oglebay Norton, which has other mineral interests around the country and operates a shipping line in the Great Lakes, filed for federal bankruptcy protection last year.

In the news release, Picuris Gov. Richard Mermejo said the recovery of the clay-gathering site was of tremendous cultural significance to the pueblo and its remaining potters.

The pueblo faces substantial work at the mine site, north of the pueblo about 15 miles south of Taos, before it can regain access to the clay site.

“We are eager to begin the work that must be done to heal the land,” Mermejo said.

Mermejo said the pueblo’s main priority is to restore the land as closely as possible to its natural condition and regain access to the clay deposit.

Michael Lundin, president of Oglebay Norton, said the company has substantially completed the sale of its mica assets and intends to concentrate on other minerals and its marine-services business.

“We are pleased that this transaction facilitated not only Oglebay’s strategic objective, but at the same time provided an opportunity for Picuris Pueblo to acquire this culturally significant property,” Lundin said.

The U.S. Hill mine property consists of approximately 195 acres, with about 342 acres of unpatented mining claims on U.S. Forest Service land surrounding patented lands.

Early last year, the pueblo filed a lawsuit against Oglebay Norton in state District Court in Taos seeking a court order to eject the company from the site and unspecified damages from the company and its predecessor for damaging the site.

Richard Hughes, a Santa Fe lawyer representing the pueblo, said last year that the federal government never took any action to extinguish the pueblo’s right to use the land. The government issued a patent to an earlier mining company to use the land in the 1980s, he said.

Under the pueblo’s acquisition of the site from Oglebay Norton, it also agreed to drop its legal claims, the news release stated. The state mining-and-reclamation permit held by the company for the site has been transferred to the pueblo, which is now responsible for reclamation.

Attempts to reach pueblo officials, Hughes or company officials for comment after business hours on Monday were unsuccessful.

Reprinted with permission from The New Mexican, May 17, 2005.


Peace in a world of conflict: moving beyond what we know

—Planning Committee from Placitas: Kate Miller, Evey Jones, Suzanne Maxwell, Vickie Peck

Inspired by outcomes from the first Practice of Peace Conference held in 2003, initiated by the Open Space Institute (, a Practice of Peace Conference will be convened in Albuquerque in September 2005.

This stimulating and heartening three-day conference invites young people, adults, elders—anyone with a lifelong passion for, or who is newly interested in, peace and justice issues—to take part in open conversation, dialogue, and exploration. Experiences of peace and conflict included in the conference may have roots close to home or far across the globe; they may reside within ourselves or between neighbors and nations.

We are pleased that Harrison Owen and past participants of the earlier conference will be joining us, bringing their unique international perspective. Open Space ( or ) is a self-organizing process that invites participants to initiate and convene sessions on topics that matter most to them and about which they feel impassioned. This exciting and transformative process creates an environment for innovation, problem solving, and community building. Experience “opening of the space” and the engagement and full energy of those present.

The Practice of Peace Conference begins Wednesday, September 21, at 5:00 p.m. MT and completes on Saturday, September 24, at noon. The Conference will be held at the peaceful Los Poblanos Inn and Cultural Center near the Rio Grande—a historical site in beautiful North Valley of Albuquerque. The fee of $200 covers conference fee and materials, welcoming reception, and all lunches. We have a deep commitment to making the Practice of Peace conference available to all people; scholarships are available. We encourage you to register as early as possible. The conference is limited to one hundred people, and we would like you to be able to join us!

What is peace? More than simply a noun, peace to me is a continual practice. Practicing peace is something that can occur in the midst of differences, disagreements, even conflicts and wars. The container in which peace is found is large enough to hold all these things and more. And so I take myself to the well of the practice of peace and I drink.

—Suzanne Maxwell

For more information, please contact Suzanne Maxwell,, (505) 867-3942.


Heard Around the West

Betsy Marston

IDAHO—Travis Steele, a 31-year-old college student, was a pizza-delivery man in Lewiston, Idaho, until someone’s complaint to his boss cost him his job. Steele’s offense? His bumper sticker read, "Darwin loves you," a play on the slogan, "Jesus loves you." In a letter to the Lewiston Tribune, Steele said he was given a "choice" by his employer: "covering my offensive sticker or taking an estimated $3-per-hour cut to work inside the store." A science major, Steele said he thought the $2 sticker was "mildly funny" when he put it on his vehicle a year ago; now, he’s fighting mad that an overzealous fundamentalist sought to silence him. Lewiston Tribune columnist Tom Henderson agrees. In his column headlined, "Biddies attack, freedom loses," Henderson asked: "Who wants their pizza delivered by an evolutionist? The anchovies might walk off the plate." Henderson said the "whiny busybody" probably wondered what Jesus might do, deciding that "of course, he would make sure Steele — a married man with two children — got canned. That’ll teach him to mess with the Prince of Peace."

CALIFORNIA—Why do chickens cross the road? The answer to that age-old question is disputed in Johannesburg, a mining community of 50 some 220 miles northeast of Los Angeles, where chickens coexist uneasily with the off-road vehicle enthusiasts who roar through town. Recently, a deputy sheriff ticketed a couple of chicken owners for failing to prevent some of their flock from crossing the street, reports The Associated Press. The couple, however, say they were cited because they’ve complained that the sheriff’s department does nothing about dust and noise caused by the ORVers. Sheriff Sgt. Francis Moore begged to differ: "The chicken thing has nothing to do with the motorcycle thing."

CALIFORNIA—Speaking of chickens, police from nine counties and the Humane Society raided an alleged biweekly cockfight near Fiddletown, reports the Fresno Bee, confiscating 58 roosters, arresting 28 people, and picking up $4,000 that someone dropped while running away. The property owner, Richard Warren Bohn, insisted that nothing untoward was going on: "I have chickens. You know why? They taste good." Bohn does own a lot of chickens. Authorities found 800 on the 10-acre farm, including 350 fighting cocks. It wasn’t easy counting all those chickens, said an undersheriff: "They’re birds with an attitude."

ARIZONA—A concatenation of errors, including sloppy typing, at the Arizona Department of Revenue made some taxpayers unexpectedly richer this year: They were overpaid a total of $5.5 million, says the Arizona Republic. Keyboarding was just part of the problem; the state says computer glitches, old records and other mistakes brought an early Christmas to more than 1,300 taxpayers, including a married couple who received an overpayment of $1.5 million. The state has gone to court to get its money back and to straighten out its books before it makes more undeserved refunds. How did the hapless Revenue Department learn of its expensive errors? Honest taxpayers contacted the state. An assistant attorney general representing the department said, "People were calling in and saying, ‘I think you are giving me too much.’ And that led them to do a complete investigation."

COLORADO—To make a long but amazing story short about a tall young man who became shorter: Kyle Martin, 21, always wanted to fly, and now the Air Force Academy cadet can. But he underwent a lot of unwanted trauma to fit his 6-foot-5-inch frame into a pilot’s seat without special waivers from the Air Force, says the Denver Post. During a climb of a 65-foot cliff in Boulder Canyon, Martin accidentally kicked out a piece of equipment and fell some 50 feet to the ground, where he landed feet first. Martin spent months recuperating, painfully progressing from his bed to a wheelchair, and then to standing and walking. But the good news from doctors is that the fall caused him to lose an inch of height, and at 6 feet 4 inches, "he can fly any aircraft in the Air Force."

NEBRASKA—A curious deer entered a Wal-Mart in Norfolk, Nebraska, bypassing the store’s greeter and toppling once on the slick floor before it scurried down several aisles. "The deer was tackled by a customer," reports the AP. Others then tied the animal’s legs so it wouldn’t kick, "placed it in a shopping cart and pushed it outside." The deer was released in a nearby park.

Betsy Marston is editor of Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News in Paonia, Colorado ( Tips of Western oddities are always appreciated and often shared in the column Heard around the West.


Placitas Artists Series float in last year’s parade

Placitas Artists Series float in last year’s parade

4th of July Parade floats through Village of Placitas

—Jardineros de Placitas

Join in the fun in Placitas. Decorate your horse, yourself, your truck, your bicycle, your whatever, and join the parade. Or come early and help decorate, or just come to watch the parade. Parade participants should assemble in front of Placitas Heights at 10:00 a.m.The parade will start at about 11:00 a.m. There is no charge to participate in the parade.


Historical overview of music

Sandoval County Historical Society presents “Music of the Americas,” with guest speaker Jesus “Chuy” Martinez. The program will be presented on July 17 at 3:00 p.m. at the DeLavy house. For further information, call 867-2755.


North American native apparel through the ages on view at museum

“I Can See By Your Outfit: Wearing Apparel and Native Heritage,” an exhibition featuring apparel and related accessories from three areas in North America—plains, desert southwest, and northwest rain forest—will open July 16 at the University of New Mexico’s Maxwell Museum of Anthropology and run through mid-February, 2006.

The exhibition illustrates how traditions of Native American apparel have drawn on cultural heritage, environment, and trade relations over the past hundred years. Objects from the Museum’s extensive Native American research collections and from private collections will be on display.

At 2:30 p.m. on opening day, a blessing will be given by Arnold Herrera, honored drum maker from Cochiti Pueblo, and a drum group will perform.

Museum hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The museum is on the west side of UNM’s main campus, facing University Boulevard, between Las Lomas Road NE and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue NE, Albuquerque. For additional information, call 505-277-4405 or visit the Events and Visitor information site at


Forest Service “frees up” sites in Sandias

The ten-year Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act was signed into law in 2005, permitting federal land management agencies to charge fees at campgrounds, picnic grounds, and other high use areas. This legislation replaces the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program enacted by congress in 1996 that enabled the U. S. Forest Service to begin charging fees at several popular local trailheads.

The Sandia Ranger District has reviewed all current recreation fee sites and facilities and compared them to the requirements outlined in the REA. They determined that fees will no longer be charged at seven sites, as these sites do not meet criteria requiring developed parking areas, toilets, trash receptacles, picnic tables, and interpretive signs.

Sites in and near the Placitas-Bernalillo watershed area that will no longer require a $3 usage fee include: Del Agua trailhead, Piedra Lisa north trailhead, Strip Mine trailhead, Tunnel Springs trailhead, Agua Sarca trailhead, Sandia Man Cave.

Fees will still be charged at the Las Huertas Picnic Area.

Karen Carter, of the Sandia Ranger District, told the Signpost that since there were no amenities at these sites, it was decided that fee-free areas would serve the public better than adding improvements to justify continued fees. Fee signs are being removed. These sites may be returned to the fee program at some time in the future if public use results in a need to develop them. This would be done only after public involvement as outlined in the REA.

For more information about the REA, visit






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