The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


El Rinconcito español

Cacarear y no poner huevos no es nada bueno.
To cackle and not lay eggs is no good.

Consejo no pedido, consejo mal oído.
Advice not asked for, advice badly heard.

El miedo tiene mucha imaginación y poco talento.
Fear has a lot of imagination and little talent.

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


Exhibit on ghost towns opening at Coronado Monument

On June 4, at 10:00 a.m., Coronado State Monument will hold a book signing and exhibit opening for Ghost Towns Alive. Photographer Pamela Porter has gathered images of the state’s ghost towns with author Linda G. Harris. Coronado State Monument is at 485 Kuaua Road, off Highway 550 in Bernalillo, just west of the Rio Grande. For further information, call 867-5351 or visit


Join an LPA Archaeology Talk and Walk

On June 11, at 8:30 a.m., Las Placitas Association will hold an Archaeology Talk and Walk. Join them for a brief talk by a local expert on the history of this area; then visit a couple of important Placitas archaeological sites. Wear sturdy shoes and bring water. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Placitas Community Center. The event is free and should be completed by noon. For further information, go to


Fortieth Anniversary Committee of the Jardineros de Placitas.

Fortieth Anniversary Committee of the Jardineros de Placitas. (from left to right) Julie Dennison, Jean Reid, Connie Goodwin, Joan Chamier, Diane Pasiuk, Wendy Ingram, Janice Dunsirn, Pam Buethe, and Alice Allen (front) in front of a banner created by the Stitchery group.

Jardineros de Placitas celebrates fortieth year

Margo DeMello

Jardineros de Placitas, one of Placitas's oldest community organizations, celebrated its fortieth anniversary at the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church on May 4.

A garden group that doesn't garden (with the exception of a small patch of greenery they maintain in Bernalillo), the ladies who make up the Jardineros are part Rotary club, bridge club, book club, crafts group, and civic organization, with a little cooking and arts thrown in to liven things up.

The group started in 1965 as a part of a national federation of garden clubs, before its members realized that gardening was not their main focus (they backed out of the national club in the 1980s) and furthermore that gardening was not as easy in Placitas as in other parts of the country.

Instead, early on, the members of Jardineros found pleasure in community beautification projects, such as their annual cleanup of Highway 165 and the trees and benches they donated to Las Placitas Presbyterian (one bench and a plaque remain from the early days); community service projects, such as working with the developmentally disabled boys at St. Joseph's Manor in Bernalillo; and the annual bridge games that were the group's major fund-raisers in the 1960s and ‘70s. Participants included women from Placitas as well as garden-club members from Albuquerque who liked traveling to Placitas to see how folks in the country lived.

Today, the Jardineros have expanded to approximately 120 members—the group is now too big to meet at members' homes as they used to—with interest groups formed since the 1990s ranging from bridge to birding to an artists' support group, a field-trip group, and a variety of reading and crafts groups. Members also perform community service—they provide the red emergency numbers for Placitas homes, organize blood drives, and more—and donate to about ten local nonprofits, including St. Vincent DePaul, (members often collect items for this charity at their monthly meetings), Watermelon Mountain Ranch, Haven House, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Las Placitas Association, and Placitas Animal Rescue. The group hosts game nights, gives an annual service award, organizes garden tours, and hosts an Internet bulletin board, where members can share information with one other.

For the fortieth anniversary party, the organizing committee hosted an event that paid homage to the history of the Jardineros, showcasing past accomplishments intertwined with a theatrical look at the past forty years of American history. Members appointed to represent each decade dressed in period attire—beehive hairdo and pillbox hat, tie-dyed skirt and sandals represented the 1960s), played music from the period, and illustrated the local and national events for their decade.

Sadly, the group's first president, author and Rio Rancho resident Barb Thacker, died just a month before the anniversary, but she left a detailed account of her memories of the group's early years which was read at the party.

Highlights of the event included thirteen past presidents talking about early group activities and a tongue-in-cheek song by Diane Pasiuk about why Jardineros is called a garden club. With over a hundred members attending, including the group's longest standing member, Alice Allen, member since 1980, the event was a great way for members to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

Looking toward the future, the Jardineros have a number of events planned for the next few months, including a presence at the Fourth of July Parade in Placitas, when they plan to decorate four period vehicles to represent the decades that the group has been in existence, a garden tour, a meet-the-library presentation, a lunch and pool party, and speakers on topics such as turquoise (bring your jewelry!), organizing, and osteoporosis.

The Jardineros meet at 9:30 a.m. on the first Wednesday of almost every month at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. New members are always welcome; membership is $50 per year, most of which is donated to local charities, and is restricted to Placitas residents, and as Wendy Ingram, chairwoman of the fortieth anniversary committee, assured me, joining is a great way to meet new people, share interests, support the community, and learn about local history.


Las Placitas Presbyterian church celebrates new addition

Las Placitas Presbyterian church celebrates new addition that will serve the general public for community activities, as well.

Children dress in red and participate in addition celebration

Children dress in red and participate in addition celebration


Las Placitas Presbyterian Church celebrates addition

Signpost Staff

The sun was shining gloriously on the outdoor procession opening the dedication celebration of the completion of a four-thousand-square-foot addition to the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church in the village of Placitas. The Catholic choir from the San Antonio Mission Church sang a hymn following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, joining in the celebration in a musical display of unity. The Hispano-Religious Singers sang “De Colores.” Churchgoers were encouraged to wear something red in observation of Pentacost Sunday.

Ribbon cutters were Vivian DeLara, representing the original land-grant families; Reverend James Anderson, former pastor under whose leadership the church was built in 1984; and Dave Southwick, chairman of the expansion committee.

Reverend James Quinoes served as guest preacher. Also participating were Reverends Karen Cobb and James Collie. Willy Sucre and Joanna Morska-Osinska of the Placitas Artists Series joined with the chancel choir and accompanists Nancy Ullery and Marilyn Wilkerson to provide special music for the occasion.

Luncheon was provided for over two hundred people.

Drew Owens is the general contractor for the new addition which contains classrooms, a cribery, a nursery, handicapped accessible bathrooms, offices, a larger kitchen, and a fellowship hall.

The congregation of 160 members raised $290,000 of the total cost of $530,000. The church welcomes contributions from the community to help meet the $20,000 remaining of the fund-raising goal.

A beautiful cross for the outside of the building was designed by Bunny Bowen and built by Dave Southwick and Leland Bowen. Members of the church expansion program committee are Dave Southwick, Bunny Bowen, Bud Brinkerhoff, Linda Bullock, Ken Cuthbertson, James Harmes, Bill Stephenson, and Don Tubesing.


Bernalillo Farmers’/Growers’ Market opens in July

Ann Rustebakke

The Bernalillo Farmers’/Growers’ Market will be open every Friday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. beginning July 8 and continuing through late October.

Vendors will sell locally produced fruits, vegetables, baked goods, cheeses, jams and jellies, plants and landscape items, as well as a few assorted and unexpected surprises.

“Our ‘menu’ changes from week to week, depending on what has most recently ripened or become available,” says steering committee member Emily MacLeod. “All of the things that are sold at the market must be locally produced.”

The market grounds are located at the north end of Bernalillo between Our Lady of Sorrows Church and the Dollar Store on Bernalillo’s main street, Camino del Pueblo. Parking is available both inside the market grounds and on the street.

The market space is made available by its owner, Zia Pueblo. The Bernalillo Market is a member of the New Mexico Farmer’s Market Association and is also supported by the New Mexico Economic Development Department. The market accepts vouchers in lieu of cash from New Mexico’s WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program of the state’s health department.

A new feature at this year’s market will be burritos produced by Chef Jim White of the Casa Vieja in Corrales, so market patrons can pick up supper items while they shop.

The Bernalillo Market has grown in the number and variety of vendors since its inception. A popular free feature is a booth space staffed by local master gardeners, under the auspices of the local Agriculture Extension Office. These volunteers give planting and growing advice to market attendees and have available a number of publications for distribution.

The Bernalillo Market is one of three markets in Sandoval County; the other two are at San Felipe Pueblo and Corrales.

The market committee invites shoppers to stop in to visit, meet neighbors, and learn about some of New Mexico’s special products. “Taste the Tradition” is the state marketing slogan.


Mayordomo Arsenio Duran and members of Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Bernalillo

Mayordomo Arsenio Duran and members of Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Bernalillo
and San José Mission in Algodones lead last year’s San Antonio Feast Day
procession through the village of Placitas.

Traditional procession will honor Saint Anthony de Padua

Bob Gajkowski

San Antonio Catholic Mission in Placitas village will honor its patron saint, Saint Anthony de Padua on Saturday, June 11, at 6:30 p.m., at the mission on Paseo de San Antonio. Mayordomos Arsenio and Valentina Duran, as well as mayordomos from Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Bemalillo and San José Mission in Algodones, will carry their santos of San Antonio, the Virgin Mary, and San José in procession through the village. Accompanied by the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard and the music of the Mariachi de Bemalillo, the congregation and visitors will proceed from the mission with two stops at homes along the route. Following the procession, refreshments will be served at the mission social center.

San Antonio Catholic Mission traces its roots to the establishment of the village of San José de las Huertas, about one mile north of the present village of Placitas. At Las Huertas, in 1764, the Juan Gutierres family and eight other families were granted land by the king of Spain. This was to be known as the San Antonio de las Huertas Land Grant. Official possession of their grant was assumed by the families in January 1768, though they had lived on the land some time before that date.

In 1823 the Mexican government won authority over the land as a result of the Mexican War of Independence. Mexico City ordered the las Huertas families to leave their homes and fields because the government could no longer protect them from devastating raids by bands of Indians. The women and children left their village, while the men continued to tend their animals and fields.

By the mid-1830s, though raiding had lessened, the water supplied by the springs at Las Huertas site had become inadequate. In 1835 several families from Las Huertas moved to the present site of Placitas which was then known as Las Placitas (little plazas), after the several small Indian ruins located there. The families renamed the place San Antonio de Padua de Las Placitas.

"For the first one hundred years of its existence the Las Huertas community, first at old San José de Las Huertas and later at Las Placitas, had no church or chapel, no cemetery, and no regular religious services. It was only in 1795 that Las Huertas was assigned to San Felipe Mission. From that time on, the Franciscan priest from the mission led the yearly celebration of the fiesta of San Antonio; the rest of the time the villagers had to travel to San Felipe for services such as baptisms, marriages and funerals.” (From Century of Faith, One Hundred Years in the Life of the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, by Suzanne Sims Forrest, 1995).

The families traveled the miles to San Felipe Mission for their religious needs. In 1856 the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Bernalillo was built. From 1867 to 1868 five Italian Jesuits (three priests and two brothers), under Father Gasparri, served Bemalillo and the community in Placitas. The first location utilized for Catholic services in the village was a house on Paseo de San Antonio, just a short distance down the road from the present mission.

In 1919 San Antonio Mission finally had a permanent site. That year the a mission building was planned and built by the villagers on land donated by the Archibeque family. The mission's adobe walls and cement stucco exterior, its bell tower, and classic entry are excellent examples of Southwest Mission design. Subsequently, the tower and its bell (originally brought from Texas) were enclosed. and the metal roof was replaced. An interior wall across what is now the raised altar area and formerly served as the sacristy was removed to provide more room for seating. Inspirational sculpted art by Mario Dominguez was placed on the wall behind the altar as well as outside and at the exterior windows of the adjacent mission social hall (formerly the Placitas Elementary School). In 2002 a new wing was added to the mission to provide increased seating for the growing congregation.

In 2004 plans in keeping with the mission's historic architecture were drawn to build still another addition. On June 12 Archbishop Michael Sheehan, of the Santa Fe Archdiocese, will dedicate the new north wing and bless a new santo of San Antonio carved from a viga saved from the 1950s renovation of the social hall. The newly carved santo, donated anonymously by a local artist, will be given an honored place inside the mission.

Everyone is invited to join the San Antonio Mission congregation on Saturday, June 11, at 6:30 p.m. for this celebration.


Volunteers from Kirtland Air Force Base, along with Rebuilding Together project manager Bernie Sullivan (left) and Commissioner Bill Sapien (right), repair a roof in Bernalillo.

Volunteers from Kirtland Air Force Base, along with Rebuilding Together project manager Bernie Sullivan (left) and Commissioner Bill Sapien (right), repair a roof in Bernalillo.

Rebuilding together in Sandoval County

Kelly Kelsey

The Durans are an elderly couple who have long resided in Bernalillo and are presently raising their great-granddaughter, a lively and talkative toddler. She did not understand the significance of an army of volunteers descending on her home to construct a French drain along the perimeter, involving extensive earth moving and the transporting of truckloads of rock, to prevent slow but sure disintegration from the termites breeding there, although she is assured a warm and safe future residence thanks to the volunteers’ efforts. And while she enjoyed the stimulation of the company of the volunteers and their easy camaraderie, she was especially delighted by the dogs some of the volunteers had brought along for the day, chasing them around her yard and asking them their names.

Similarly, Ed Goldstein, who has described himself as an “old curmudgeon” in many letters to the Signpost over the years, now resides in a more utility-efficient, newly painted home, all thanks to the efforts of Rebuilding Together Sandoval County and many volunteers from the community.

The homeowners were thrilled.

Goldstein had moved to Placitas's Dome Valley in 1980, where he still resides in a minimally insulated geodesic dome built for a hippie community in the sixties. RTSC had helped him out in the past, including providing a pellet stove so that he wouldn't have to lug firewood up the hill to his home each winter just to have heat. This year, Goldstein was able to prolong his independent existence when RTSC repaired his roof, fixed his doors, and painted the whole exterior of his dome home—with the dedicated assistance of volunteers from Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. As Mr. Goldstein observed the new paint job, he exclaimed, “they worked very hard and did a fine job.”

RTSC is a local affiliate of the national volunteer not-for-profit organization (previously Christmas in April) that rehabilitates the homes of low-income residents, particularly the elderly and disabled, at no charge, so that they may continue to live in warmth, safety, and independence. While the local affiliate operates on a year-round basis, the major event is on the last Saturday in April, National Rebuilding Day, which this year fell on April 23. On that day, RTSC completed projects on three different homes, two in Bernalillo and one in Placitas, with the help of almost eighty volunteers and donations from local businesses, including Home Depot, New Mexico Roofing Contractors Association, The Range, Raley's, and Albertson's. These projects included roof repair and replacement, better insulation, fixing interior and exterior water damage, replacement of doors and windows, and substantial painting.

Completing three such projects in one weekend was a feat of organization that was masterminded by Bernie Sullivan, vice president and building-committee chairman. When some expressed doubt as to whether it could all be done by volunteer labor in such a short time, he just smiled, undaunted, and said, “You bet.”

He was absolutely correct.

Rebuilding Together has learned to do more with less. Every dollar spent is leveraged with over $4 in donated goods and services and they have actually attained a ration as high as ten to one on some projects. The program is successful because it consists of neighbor helping neighbor to build safer and stronger communities. The program utilizes unskilled community volunteers as well as skilled licensed workers from various trades—plumbing, electrical, heating, etc.—to complete the work. The selection process takes place locally, with referrals coming from a variety of sources, including nonprofit agencies, police departments, social-service organizations, churches, synagogues, and individuals. The house selection committee makes the final selection, based on need and budget considerations, and the selection is passed on to the full board of directors for final approval.

Rebuilding Together Sandoval County is always looking for groups who would like volunteer on a project, as well as for eligible beneficiaries. If you are interested in more information, please call 896-3041






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