The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


El Rinconcito español

• Año de nieves, año de bienes.
Year of snow, year of prosperity.

• Más vale riqueza de corazón que riqueza de posesión.
Richness of heart is worth more than richness of possession.

• La memoria es como mal amigo; cuando más falta te hace, te falla.
Memory is like a bad friend; when you need it most, it fails you.

Submitted by, Placitas—Spanish instruction that focuses on oral communication skills.

Signpost Cartoon c. Rudi Klimpert

Pancho Villa State Park highlights ‘Forgotten Faces’ of Chinese

Nearly 91 years after the infamous “Pancho Villa raid” on Camp Furlong in Columbus, New Mexico, Pancho Villa State Park hosted an event about the “Forgotten Faces” of the Punitive Expedition, in which several Chinese refugees played a significant role in aiding General “Blackjack” Pershing and his troops as they pursued Villa into Mexico.

On February 17, Mexican resident Blanca Chinolla spoke about the contributions that the Mexican-Chinese community made to US troops while encamped for nine months in Colonia Dublan, Mexico. Chinolla (whose family name is “Chew”) relayed to visitors little-known historic contributions made by the Chinese, through her ninety-year-old fathers’ recollections. In the early 19th century, her father relocated from the state of Sonora, Mexico to Chihuahua, Mexico with his parents, who worked for Pershing’s troops.

Legal immigration had been stopped in 1882 in adherence to the Exclusion Law. Nevertheless, in 1917, an estimated 527 Chinese refugees followed Pershing and his troops out of Mexico and into the United States, after Pershing had put in a request with President Woodrow Wilson to permit the entrance. Pershing’s request was granted, under the condition that the refugees would work for the US army.

Known as “Pershing’s Chinese,” hundreds of Chinese supported General Pershing’s expedition into northern Mexico, providing the army with food and supplies in an otherwise hostile countryside. The Chinese also freighted in supplies to Colonia Dublan and reportedly fought alongside the soldiers on one occasion.

Chinolla spoke at the park museum, which houses artifacts and exhibits about Pancho Villa’s raid on Camp Furlong, the Mexican Revolution, and the subsequent Punitive Expedition led by Pershing.

Pancho Villa State Park will commemorate Pancho Villa’s 1916 raid and the subsequent Punitive Expedition during the 4th annual “Camp Furlong Day” event on March 10.

For more information, call Pancho Villa State Park at (505) 531-2711 or 888-NMPARKS (888-667-2757). Visitors can also obtain information at

Sacred chants retold as Origins stories

On March 4 at 2:00 p.m., the Sandoval County Historical Society will present Sunny Dooley, who will tell Blessingway stories with the blessing of her family, clans, and elders. These Origins stories present the worldview of the Diné people and their relationships with their surroundings. They are the social versions of the sacred chants and are told only from October through about early March (first thunder). Featured artists Pauline Eisenstadt (former State Senator) and Michaela Karni will exhibit framed watercolor and oil paintings for sale. Fifteen percent of their sales will be donated to the Society.

The program will be held at the Delavy House Museum building, just west of Jackalope on US 550 in Bernalillo.

“Thar’s gold in them thar hills”

Friends of Sandia Mountains and the Sandia Ranger Station are proud to sponsor “The Gold of the Ortiz Mountains,” a lecture by author and historian Bill Baxter. He will talk about how the Santa Fe Trail changed New Mexico and caused the West’s first gold rush. Attendees will hear about the forgotten towns of Dolores and San Pedro, as well as the boom towns of Golden, Madrid, and Cerrillos.

The lecture will be held on Tuesday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m. at the Sandia Ranger Station in Tijeras. To get there, take I-40 seven miles east of Albuquerque to Tijeras (Exit 175); then travel south half a mile on Highway 337 (Old South 14). Enter from the outside door on the north side of the building. The meeting is in the north conference room.

For further information, call the Sandia Ranger Station at 281-3304.

Alternate One plan

Alternate One plan for proposed Bernalillo MainStreet enhancement project

Town poised to gussy-up MainStreet, Bernalillo

During their February 12th meeting, the Bernalillo Town Council approved by a vote of 3-1 a MainStreet Enhancement Project. Town engineers of record, HDR, presented the Council with two plans. “Alternative One” would add some landscaped medians, slightly narrower drive lanes, new “retro” lampposts and “bulb-outs” for the sidewalks at the end of blocks. Sidewalks would remain at their current six-foot width and parking would remain on both sides of the street. “Alternative Two” called for eight-foot sidewalks with the “bulb-outs” and lampposts, wider drive lanes, and a wider median, but parking on one side of the street, alternating up and down its length. Both plans would accommodate ADA (American with Disabilities Act) requirements. A committee, made up mainly of Camino del Pueblo business owners, recommended Alternative One by a vote of 5-1. The committee rejected earlier plans with bike lanes and single traffic lanes.

Councilor Santiago Montoya asked if a combination of the two plans was feasible. HDR Engineer, Tim Archibeque, replied in the affirmative. After a brief question period, Councilor Marian Jaramillo made a motion “to accept Alternative One and implement Alternative Two where we can.” Councilor Edward Torres seconded the motion and it was passed with Councilor Ronnie Sisneros voting no. Thus ended the town’s ten-year struggle to agree to a plan to improve Camino del Pueblo.

The Council also approved the issuance of a beer and wine license to the owners of La Casita Café, John and Donna Montoya. Mayor Chavez warmly announced the approval and asked Mrs. Montoya when the restaurant would reopen. “I’ll answer you in a couple of weeks. Let’s put it that way. Believe me, we can hardly wait to get back,” she replied from the floor. The restaurant was destroyed by an electrical fire in July 2005, and has been sorely missed.

In other business, the Council heard a report on the progress of the arsenic treatment project and a suggestion from Orlando Lucero concerning an alternative route across the Rio Grande. They also approved the hiring of resident Margaret Valdez as a full-time assistant planner.

Ectomychorrhizaln Soil

Ectomycorrhizaln soil

Spring Equinox Celebration: “The Spirit in Soil”

The Earth Care Committee of Las Placitas Presbyterian Church will be celebrating the Spring Equinox with an evening vesper service on March 19 at 7 p.m. in the church sanctuary. The service will feature a presentation by agronomist Michael Crofoot on “The Spirit in Soil."

The presentation will include slides and videos of beneficial microorganisms active in the soil, with commentary on symbiotic fungi-forming mushroom roots, the various bacteria-forming, nitrogen-fixing nodules, and other fascinating microbes found in the soil and the roots of plants.

Accompanying the talk will be "microbial music" to help convey the marvels of the living soil as scientists discover ever more fundamental principles governing this largely hidden world of microbes that encircles the globe.

The service will be held in the church sanctuary. All are welcome. For further information, contact Leland Bowen, chair of the Earth Care Committee, at 867-2731.

UNM proposes wellness center at Coronado State Monument

The Friends of the Coronado State Monument are concerned about the future of a strip of land adjoining the boundary of the Coronado State Monument and the Rio Grande River. They worry that approximately 26.57 acres running the full length of monument property right up to Santa Ana Pueblo land could be sold or developed by the University of New Mexico.

In February, James Conder, President of the Friends of Coronado State Monument, along with several members of the organization met with former State Director of Monuments Ernesto Ortega to discuss the history of the monument area and how the land surrounding the historical site was acquired. The parcel in question is part of the “El Ranchito Grant” deeded to UNM in 1906 for archeological study. The deed contains vague language and lacks sufficient documentation to protect the monument in perpetuity. The 26 acres, although archeologically significant, is not officially part of the monument.

Because of it’s great historical and cultural significance, the organization is asking for legislative action to grant full and undivided interest in these properties to the Museum of New Mexico.

After all the discussion about the land and it’s significance to the community, UNM presented their case for development of the property. Amidst cries of protest from the Friends, Dr. Arti Prasad, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at UNM’s Health Science Center, presented blueprints for buildings they would like to build on the land. Dr. Prasad has envisioned a traditional wellness center being built on the of the property. now occupied by the Coronado Campground. The UNM medical center would occupy approximately fifty thousand square feet of space utilizing a total of seven to ten total acres of land for buildings and parking. According to Dr. Prasad, the buildings would be restricted to UNM property, however, the parking area would stretch onto Monument property taking over a portion of the present campground.

Questions about traffic problems and Monument access were discussed with tentative assurances by Dr. Prasad that part of the study for the center included traffic and accessibility. UNM has allotted two million dollars for a feasibility study to determine if the project can become a reality.

Sushi Restaurant opens

Last month, the Coronado Grill turned the upstairs meeting and private party space into a sushi bar. Owner Bobby C’de Baca said that he has enjoyed eating sushi for many years. He got to know long-time sushi chef “Take” while dining in Albuquerque. “Take,” he said, is one of a dozen or so chefs trained in Japan and has been instrumental in training local chefs at several Albuquerque restaurants.

Bobby and “Take” agreed that the Coronado Grill would be a fine place for a Rice ‘n’ Roll. It has great views of the Sandias and the Rio Grande and is right on US 550 which overflows with commuters of sophisticated taste.

Owners Bobby and Nick C’de Baca are expanding and covering the upstairs patio in anticipation of spring rolls in the springtime.

Nick built the restaurant, originally called the Coronado Cantina, in 1990. Bobby, a longtime restaurateur, ran it until it sold in 1996. The brothers bought it back in April of 2006.

They changed the menu to include their grandmother’s New Mexican recipes and a number of weekly specials.

They are in the process of expanding year-round outdoor seating capacity and are happy to bring sushi to Bernalillo.
For further information and hours of operation, call 867-3939.

Santa Ana Star Casino settles with jackpot winner

On January 26, Bernalillo town councilor Marian Jaramillo was playing a “Triple Hot Zesty Peppers” slot machine when the machine looked as though it had hit the top award. From the initial investigation, it was determined that a machine malfunction had occurred and she was offered a lower amount. Ms. Jaramillo declined this amount and availed herself of the Resolution of Customers’ Disputes as presented in the Pueblo of Santa Ana Gaming Regulatory Commission (PSAGRC) regulations. This process is available to any patron of the Santa Ana Star Casino who has a dispute.

The issue was investigated and forwarded to the Tamaya Enterprise Inc. (TEI) management board that oversees the Santa Ana Star Casino operation. Upon reviewing the facts of the occurrence, the TEI board met with Jaramillo and an acceptable resolution was achieved. The entire process was followed and monitored by the PSAGRC.

“I am delighted with the management board’s decision, and very impressed with Santa Ana Star Casino’s fairness and how professionally my dispute was handled. As a frequent guest of the casino, I can honestly say that this is my casino and I will be back,” said Jaramillo.





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