Sandoval Signpost


An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988
  Public Safety
  c. Rudi Klimpert

Paging through the past: Signpost article reprints from twenty years ago

The castanet and Big Bird

June, 1992

—Nancy Chamberlin

Some people worry about their children watching too much television. I worry about mine watching too much adobe architecture. It comes of raising them in a series of Japanese cars out on SR265. As the semisolar, neo-pueblo deco strip has grown up between Bernalillo and the village, so have the kids. As they’ve rolled along through the years, eating, napping, talking, doing homework, they’ve been soaking up the subliminal message that we live in comfort and security on the cutting edge of human cultural development where the feature of civilization is stuccoed in earth tones, has a great southern exposure, recycles everything down to the dust bunnies under the couch, and acknowledges its connectedness with all other life forms by waving at them. I can’t swear to the rest of it, but the part about waving is absolutely true.

The Placitas Wave is what distinguishes us from our barbarian cousins to the south. If you don’t believe me, try waving to someone other than a Placitan on I-25. You will be immediately suspect; your motive will be a problem to ponder for the rest of the trip. It’s a sad lesson, but save The Wave for all of us who know it for what it is, a continuous source of recognition and renewal for the friendships we already enjoy or the ones we would like to have. It sort of fills in the gaps between the limited opportunities we find to get together.

I’ve discussed the subject with several veteran wavers over the last month and they have all agreed it’s past time to offer a hand, so to speak, to those among us who might like to join in. It’s all right to be a trifle shy. If you lose your nerve at the last second you can always pretend you’re scratching your ear or adjusting your radar detector. And don’t let yourself be intimidated by the pros. Anyone who has mastered The Castanet (four fingers flicking lightly over the palm) or The Big Bird (fingers and thumb brought together like a talking beak) has been at it a long time. I’m still in awe of anyone who does the Executive well. It requires hooking thumb around the wheel, supporting a coffee cup with the index finger and waggling the three fingers left over in a recognizable greeting. Whatever the other hand is doing must be something momentous like dialing a congressman, composing a symphony on a pocket calculator, signing a Brownie field trip permission slip. By the way, it’s a good idea to remember that if you can count three or more beanies, baseball caps, or helmets in an oncoming car, the driver is probably carpooling and operating on sensory overload. Just give him a thumbs up and get by as fast as you can.

The experts agree that every beginner should wave at the mail truck. The driver has one of the broadest smiles on the highway and favors the huge spread-fingered wave. The whole effect is immensely satisfying. It reminds me of the golden age of our road when traffic was still so thin, that another vehicle was an event to be celebrated not just with a hand but with as much of an arm as we could get into each others’ field of vision, maybe even both arms if we met on a straightaway. I still favor the Giant or Hokey-Pokey wave, maybe because of the lovely few weeks of frantic waving I’ve experienced with each new car while the regulars learned to recognize my grillwork. So, don’t despair if it takes a while for your new acquaintances to react instantly. It happens to everyone. In the meantime, you can practice on pickups with company names on the side. The drivers generally have quick reflexes and they’ll think they ought to recognize you, whether they do or not.

If this is not encouragement enough, then look for a tiny Toyota with any number of heads, assorted arms and legs, bits of clothing, backpacks, and burger wrappers constantly in motion inside. The whole effect is like a very dusty gumball machine on wheels. It’ll be me. Just remember, the more heads you can see inside, the greater the lag time, and check your rearview mirror. I’ll be doing the Reverse Over-The-Shoulder Finger Flap. It means “glad to know you.”

Article reprinted from the Signpost, June, 1992

BHS students

Bernalillo High School students publicly thanked for helping with the framing
of the Project Linus quilt on display.

Project Linus

Project coordinator Dottie Hu (left) recognized for her dedication and expertise
Photo credits:—Ty Belknap

Dedication ceremony celebrates Project Linus

—Sidney Hill, SC Public Information Officer

A dedication ceremony was held on May 11 in the main lobby of the County Administration Building, featuring a special presentation of a “Heart Quilt” to the Sandoval County Administration from the local chapter of Project Linus. A handmade quilt will hang in the atrium of the County Administration Building as an ongoing reminder of the partnership between Sandoval County and Project Linus, an organization that donates handmade blankets to children suffering from illness or a life crisis.

The quilt was made by members of the local Project Linus chapter, and mounted inside a wooden case built by students in the Woodworking Class at Bernalillo High School who were presented plaques in appreciation for their efforts. Project coordinator Dottie Hu was also recognized for her expertise and dedication.

Project Linus is a national organization founded in 1995, when Denver resident Karen Loucks read an article about a three-year-old cancer patient who relied on a blanket to comfort her during chemotherapy treatments. Loucks decided to donate homemade blankets to the Rocky Mountain Children’s Cancer Center, and soon Project Linus chapters began sprouting across the country. Today, there are nearly four hundred local chapters across the United States.

The Sandoval County Chapter has sixty active members, many of whom gather at the county’s senior centers to make blankets for children in the pediatric and intensive care units of area hospitals, shelters for homeless and abused children, and local police and sheriff’s departments.

Agencies that have received free blankets from the Sandoval County Chapter of Project Linus include:

  • The Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office
  • Shining Stars Pre-School in Rio Rancho
  • Sandoval County Headstart
  • Haven House

Project Linus shows how Sandoval County residents of all ages can rally around a worthy cause.

Human remains found on the West Mesa

—Jessica Mascarenas, SCSO

The Sandoval County Investigations Unit has been working in conjunction with the Rio Rancho Police Department and the New Mexico State Police Crime Scene Unit to investigate the disappearance of Elvis Delaney. Delaney was reported missing by his mother to the Rio Rancho Police Department in September 2007.

In October 2007, Sandoval County deputies recovered an abandoned vehicle, registered to Delaney’s mother, on the West Mesa of Rio Rancho. Foul play was suspected at the time of recovery; however, there was no evidence at that time to indicate a suspect.

Recently a confidential informant spoke with detectives from the Rio Rancho Police Department and provided information regarding a possible location of a deceased male subject.

The location provided is a ramshackled building situated on property owned by Joel Rollins. The building is located in the unincorporated area of Sandoval County west of Rio Rancho.

On Wednesday May 16, 2012, agents from the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office Investigation’s Unit, the Rio Rancho Police Department and the New Mexico State Police began processing the above mentioned location. At approximately 5:00 p.m., agents located a burial site and unearthed bones.

On May 17, 2012, forensic anthropologists from the Office of the Medical Investigator identified the bones as human remains. The identity of the deceased individual was later positively identified as Delaney.

On May 23, Joel Rollins (48 years old), a Rio Rancho resident, was arrested in Española at his job in relation to the homicide investigation.

An arrest warrant was drafted by Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office detectives and was signed by thirteenth Judicial District Court Judge George P. Eichwald on May 22, 2012, for Rollins for one Open Count of Murder and one Count of Tampering with Evidence. The bond is set at $1,000,000, cash only.

The Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office is asking that if anyone has information regarding this case to contact the Investigation’s Division at 867-7521.

State provides amnesty to eliminate dangerous cesspools

—Jim Winchester
The New Mexico Environment Department’s (NMED) Liquid Waste Program will provide amnesty to homeowners who contact the agency to eliminate their cesspool and replace it with a modern onsite wastewater system. Cesspools are excavations or other leaky structures in the ground that are used to dispose of raw sewage. Cesspools are dangerous, particularly to young children, and have been illegal in the State of New Mexico since 1973. At least three children and two adults in New Mexico have fallen into cesspools, and died from drowning or asphyxiation, most recently in April 2011. Cesspools also can contaminate water wells by allowing untreated sewage to seep into the aquifer. Cesspools that are no longer being used must be collapsed and filled with dirt. 

“Cesspools have been illegal for 39 years because they are deathtraps that can also pollute water wells,” said NMED Secretary Dave Martin. “It’s time to get rid these dangerous relics of antiquated technology.” 

If you have a cesspool on your property, here is what you need to do:

1. Call the NMED Liquid Waste Program at 505-827-2345 or 1-800-219-6157 (toll free), and tell them you want to get rid of your cesspool. 

2. If your cesspool is no longer being used, you will need to destroy it. 

3. If your cesspool is still being used, you will need to apply for a permit to install a modern onsite wastewater system and also destroy the cesspool.

Owning property with a cesspool is a crime, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or hundreds of dollars in fines. NMED will not seek civil or criminal prosecution of homeowners who have cesspools on their property, provided that they contact NMED by October 1, 2012 to correct their violations. On, or after October 2, 2012, homeowners who have a cesspool on their property will be subject to enforcement.
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