Sandoval Signpost


An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988
  Public Safety

ES-CA head Bob Gorrell discusses present and future concerns about aggregate mining to approximately 25 concerned citizens at the Placitas Community Center on June 23. Gorrell encourages the community to engage with ES-CA on fact finding. Photo credit: Tony Hull

Sandoval County awarded $5 million transportation grant

U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced in June that Sandoval County will receive a $5 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to improve Torreon Road in Sandoval County and the Navajo Nation. Torreon Road serves the Navajo Nation Chapters of Torreon, Encino, Whitehorse Lake, and Counselor. It is the primary connection for the area to the larger communities of Cuba and Albuquerque. The funding will provide for the elimination of unpaved areas and large potholes, as well as improved signage and drainage facilities.

On Scene—fire protection in NM

—Captain Tom, Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade

The fire department is a real deal for the people of New Mexico. In fact, you could say it is free. By far, most people in the U.S. pay for their fire department as a line item on their county property tax. Not so in New Mexico. In some areas of the country, homeowners still have to go down to the firehouse and buy a yearly sticker to display on their front door. Again, not in New Mexico.

New Mexico is one of two states in the nation in which the insurance companies provide money to the state for fire suppression. Having a well-supplied and trained fire fighting force is advantageous to the insurance companies financially. Most people who move here find their policy costs less than the area they came from. But there is a problem. The funds are for fire only and not for medical emergencies. (More than seventy percent of our calls are medically related). The state of New Mexico does provide some money to spend on medical training and supplies. And it also provides medical training needed for our EMTs to keep licenses current through the form of a week-long conference. However, the state charges for this conference, costing us more than half of the funds received from the state.

So, we need to do a fundraiser at least every other year, since it is not hard to go through one hundred dollars worth of supplies on any given medical call. The donations received are used mainly for the purchase of medical supplies and training in Placitas.

The people of Placitas have been very generous, and we would like to thank everyone who has donated. If you are thinking about making a donation, please do so in care of “PVFB Inc.” Any amount will be put to good use here in Placitas. We also want to thank Jon McCallister of the Merc for helping with the fundraiser postage.

Special Mention: Captain Sandy Escarcida was just named “Sandoval County EMT of the Year.” Great job, Sandy.

Reminder: the fire season is now twelve months long. Please be careful. A few weeks ago, we had a car fire at 5:00 a.m. on Highway 165, a mile past the end of the pavement. We believe the morning dew slowed this fire that had spread into the woods, giving us time to get there and control it. Had this happened at midnight, the green mountain as we know it would have gone up in smoke.

Vehicle fire, homicide investigation closes Highway 165

—Sgt. Jessica Mascarenas

At approximately 5:00 a.m., on the morning of June 9, Sandoval County deputies and the Sandoval County Fire Department were dispatched to a vehicle fire on Highway 165 about one-half-of-a-mile below the Sandia Man Cave.

When responding personnel arrived, they observed a fully engulfed car; the fire had spread to the surrounding forest. After extinguishing the fire, deputies discovered a body in the vehicle. Information about the body is still under investigation. This investigation is being treated as a homicide; however, the cause and manner of death are unknown at this time.

During the investigation, Highway 165 was closed at Mile Post 8 to the Las Huertas Picnic Grounds. The fire was reported to dispatch by a passer-by who lives in the Placitas area.

The remains from the vehicle were later identified as Olivia Lovato (25 years old) of Albuquerque. The Office of the Medical Investigator has not yet determined the manner or cause of death.

The investigation into the vehicle fire is still on-going. If anyone has information regarding this incident, call the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office at 505-867-7521.

Bernalillo Bosque fire danger is high

Fire restrictions are in place and will be enforced throughout the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD). These restrictions include:

  • No fires are allowed anywhere in the bosque—not even in grills.
  • Smoking is allowed only in enclosed vehicles or buildings.
  • The use of fireworks or explosive devices of any kind is prohibited.
  • No cutting tools or gas torches are allowed in the bosque at any time.
  • Recreational activities should remain on established roads and paths.
  • Visitors are only allowed in the bosque during daylight hours.
  • Violators will be prosecuted and could be subject to fines.
In order to try and avoid a full closure of the bosque, as was the case in 2011, the public is urged to respect the bosque and adhere to the rules.
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