Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  The Gauntlet

Click Here To submit a letter or a response to the Gauntlet.

Letters are subject to editing for length, clarity, libel, and other considerations. Please limit your letter to approximately four hundred words. Letter submissions are due by the twentieth of the month prior. Please see the Contact Us page for submission options (e-mail, web, fax, mail).

By submitting your comments to the Sandoval Signpost you are granting us permission to reprint all or an edited portion of your message.

letters, opinions, editorials

Erosion creeps under road in Ranchos de Placitas

re: an accident waiting to happen

For several years now, rain runoff from a steep, paved driveway has been undercutting a portion of street opposite 140 Juniper Road. Before the current home at this address was built, a dirt driveway that also channeled the runoff caused the same portion of road to break off and fall into the arroyo.

Rather than install a culvert, which would divert the runoff into the arroyo, Sandoval County dumped some large boulders into the cut and patched the washed out portion of the road. The boulders have made their way down toward the bottom of the arroyo.

The situation has deteriorated greatly and yet repeated requests for repair and remediation to the area have been ignored by the county. I took some photos from across the arroyo recently that show that the patched portion of the road is becoming unstable. This section of the road is buckling. A large truck might be all it takes to make the patched area fail again with the possibility of serious injury.

Will we have to wait for this to happen before Sandoval County finally fixes this situation? And if and when they do, I hope the repair is better than the usual short-sighted dumping of a truckload or two of dirt into the cut. The road needs a curb and culvert at the very least. Until then, like many of the residents of Ranchos who live in the area, we will take Arroyo Venada until this hazardous situation is fixed.

—Gary W. Priester, Ranchos de Placitas

re: June correction—Fire season

In the June, 2014, issue of the Signpost, in the article “Fire season brings out warnings and wood chipper,” the Signpost printed, “The district has applied for $15,000 dollars in state and federal grant funding to treat about eighty Placitas properties and as many as two hundred more across the Coronado district from Placitas to Cochiti Pueblo.” The sentence should have read, “The district has applied for $150,000 dollars in state and federal grant funding ....”

Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association

—Chris Daul

The Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association is continuing to advocate on behalf of Placitas residents. While there are a number of older issues, a new one came up this past month, as noted in the Signpost—the use of the Centex facility was being used as an oil-transfer facility. ES-CA would like to thank Bernalillo Mayor Jack Torres for his swift action in stopping this activity, which had no local approval, and requires a zoning change. An oil spill at this site could affect the aquifer that serves many residents in Placitas, Bernalillo, and Algodones. ES-CA and Mayor Torres are working together on this issue, and we will notify residents of any meetings, so they can attend and have their voice heard.

The I-25/Rt. 165/550 interchange continues to cause problems for drivers. ES-CA Board members met with Dave Wilson on May 27. He is the outside traffic engineer that has been hired by NMDOT to review the interchange. He is beginning his study and will meet with ES-CA again prior to the release of his report. Anyone with concerns regarding the intersection is encouraged to send their comments to Timothy Parker, who is the NMDOT District 3 Engineer. His email address is (and please copy to

Mining operations in the Placitas area continue to be a problem for residents. ES-CA formed the Land Use Protection Trust (LPT) to confront mining operations. The LPT’s inaugural board of directors is Dick Ulmer, Tom Ashe, Steve Vaughn, and Bob Byrd. They have retained John Meyers as land-use attorney for legal and lobby counsel. The Lafarge mine legal challenge is now underway. Anyone wishing to support the LPT can find information at the website or email Concerning the Fisher mine, ES-CA has learned that the Town of Bernalillo annexation of that property remains stalled. ES-CA is continuing to communicate with Fisher representatives and is in contact with Bernalillo. We will advise residents if a new hearing is scheduled.

A general meeting of ES-CA has been scheduled for August 2, at the Anasazi Winery, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. All residents are welcome to attend. Various issues will be discussed, including those noted in this article and proposed expansion of the existing pipelines in Placitas. Come and meet your neighbors and learn about your community.

A Candidates’ Forum has been scheduled for September 20 at the Placitas Community Center, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. All residents are invited to attend. The candidates will include those for State Representative, County Commissioner, County Sheriff, and County Assessor.

The next ES-CA board meeting is scheduled for July 27, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at La Puerta Real Estate Services. All residents are encouraged to attend.

re: three amigos

Dear Friends Back East,

Not much news. But happily, New Mexico’s winds have lessened. They’ve been extremely noticeable for some time. In puttering about my gravelly acreage, the winds have insisted on overwhelming my person with high-desert debris. As I showered last night, among the objects washing out of my personal seams and orifices, wrinkles and puckers, creases and crimps, furrows and folds, was a dead, dusty five-inch vinegaroon (with Arizona plates) and an array of tiny painted pottery fragments (Acoma, I think) along with much more true grit.

But enough of that. Sitting here, I’ve been philosophizing on the growing number of our friends who have left this world—or in the poetic words of Henry Scott Holland, “…slipped away into the next room.” As I regard them in mournfulness and melancholy, sweetness and light, my thoughts are also on our great friend, Patrick, the splendid old coon cat who joined me on the move to New Mexico from our eastern habitat and now, very frail and thin, sits near my feet.

He is also losing friends—both two and four-legged. I wonder if he, in his own marvelous, mysterious sensory world, ever thinks of them as I am doing. Does he miss them? Sadly, two of his very best pals recently slipped into that next room. They were two magnificent golden retrievers who lived across the street from us in Rhode Island. Their names were Celli and Darby.

In those days, big handsome Patrick was a street-hardened ruffian—a former stray who peacefully enjoyed a secure home with us during the day but, despite neutering, was a feline Mr. Hyde at night. He demanded freedom to patrol his perimeter for all enemies great and small.

Because he liked dogs far more than members of his own species, he became friends with Celli and Darby, believing their home to be one of his own. When concluding a nocturnal adventure, and if I was not yet stirring in his number-one safe house, he would cross the street to number-two safe house to have breakfast with Celli and Darby, served by the “parents” of the goldens—the Allens. This splendid human pairing not only loved their two “furry kids,” but also any of their playmates that might drop by. Thus, Darby, Celli, and Patrick became three amigos.

Celli was a big, beautiful Amazon of a golden retriever who loved everybody. Perfect and self-aware, she would frequently be seen admiring herself in a mirror, a smile on her expressive face. Darby, a bit on the ornery side (he enjoyed eating virtually any possession of his two-legged admirers that crossed his vision) was also a perfect delight.

If Patrick crossed the street when Celli and Darby were being taken for their twice-daily walk, he would march along between those two big sentinels. Of identical coloration, Patrick resembled a small, misshapen golden as the trio moved along in tandem. Somehow, they communicated with one another in a harmonious, effective way—and did so in total silence.

Sadly, beautiful loving Celli was the first to develop a cancer and have her life come to a tragic, but graceful end. And recently, her beloved companion Darby endured the identical experience.

In human terms, I wouldn’t want to hurt Patrick’s feelings by letting the old fellow know that his far away, forever amigos are gone. Most would naturally consider that a laughable concern! And if I now told Patrick that Celli and Darby were gone, he would probably show no response. But… maybe… just maybe, he would look at me in a way that said, “I know that boss. Don’t worry. They’re only in the next room.”

—Your Friend, Herb, Placitas

Top of Page

Ad Rates  Back Issues  Contact Us  Front Page  Up Front  Animal News   Around Town  Sandoval Arts   Business Classifieds  Calendar   Community Bits  Community Center  Eco-Beat  Featured Artist  Gauntlet Health  Community Links  Night Sky  My Wife and Times  Public Safety  Real  People  Stereogram  Time Off  Youth