The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988


Winners of PES Spelling Bee

The top winners of Placitas Elementary School's Spelling Bee held on February 12: (left to right) Ms. Camille Chavez (teacher in charge of Bee); Joshua Mallett (First Place); Abby Spooner (Second Place); Ryan Suazo (Third Place); Taylor Evanko (Fourth Place); Izaiah Martinez (Fifth Place); Kelly Hughes (Alternate, not pictured); Mr. Dan McEachen (Principal of Placitas Elementary School)

5th Grader Joshua Mallett from Placitas Elementary School took First Place at the Bernalillo Public School's District Spelling Bee the following day, capturing a win for Placitas Elementary School two years in a row.

Ten children from Placitas Elementary school won “top-seller” for the Art in the School’s Blue Sky Images Holiday Fundraiser, which collected over $3,000 for the Art in the School program at Placitas Elementary. The grand prize was an H2 Hummer stretch-limo ride to The Range Café in Bernalillo for a school-day luncheon donated by the Range.

BPS celebrates newly renovated Placitas Elementary School

Placitas Elementary School had its humble beginnings in the mid-1800s. The private home of the Armijo family was the site of the first school in the village of Placitas. For the next several decades, school was taught in private dwellings. After the turn of the century, the one-room school was built on a donated piece of property. During the Depression, a two-room facility was built next to the existing one-room schoolhouse. This building served grades K-6 until the school system purchased more land, where the present-day Placitas Elementary School is located.

On February 28 at 5:00 p.m., Bernalillo Public Schools will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house on site for the most recent improvement to Placitas Elementary School—the completion of a lengthy renovation and new addition.

Young people invited to learn football, cheerleading

It’s that time of the year again. The Young American Football League (YAFL) registrations have begun for the 2008 season in Bernalillo. The coaches are going to field an eleven-year-old team, and also are trying to fill an eight-year-old team. Anyone interested in playing football, cheering, or coaching is invited to contact YAFL at 883-9309, or Wayne Longley at 319-8808.

Manga artists welcome


The Rio Rancho Public Library and the National Arts Honor Society of Rio Rancho High School are currently accepting submissions of manga artwork for the upcoming teen art show, Manga Expo 2008. Teens are encouraged to submit drawings, paintings, and 3D pieces such as comic books and sculpture. Surprise us! Manga Expo 2008 will be on display in the Loma Colorado Main Library auditorium during April. Lots of fun events are planned for teens during this upcoming manga month at the library, such as cosplay at the opening gala on March 29, an anime film series, and a manga book-swap. Pieces can be sold, if desired, in a silent auction; a portion of the sale will go towards purchasing more manga for the teen collection at the library. Artwork can be turned in until March 15 to Ms. Lea in the Fine Arts Department at Rio Rancho High School or the librarian in the Twilight Zone—Teen Scene at the Loma Colorado Library branch, 755 Loma Colorado Drive NE. For more information, call the teen librarian, 891-5013 x3031.

ISTE Board of Directors visited Bernalillo Public Schools

Members from the Board of Directors of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) visited two Bernalillo Public School (BPS) sites on Friday, February 15. The visit was intended to lend support in the development of a New Mexico ISTE affiliation.

The visiting board members observed the online curriculum that is being implemented in New Mexico classrooms. Bernalillo Public Schools recently started using the Achieve3000 software, a differentiated web-based instructional program that is proven to accelerate students’ reading and writing skills. The Sandoval County Broadband Project introduced BPS to Achieve3000.

The visiting members of the ISTE Board of Directors began their visit at Algodones Elementary School, where they observed students using Achieve3000. They then traveled to Cochiti Middle School, where they looked in on a class being taught via video conferencing.

Joanne Beuerle, an AP algebra teacher at Bernalillo Middle School (BMS), is teaching lessons at BMS that, via video conferencing, also have students participating at Cochiti Middle School. BPS will start offering distance-learning courses in the fall of 2008 between their three middle schools.

Judo offered in Placitas

Recruitment is actively underway for individuals between the ages of seven and seventy who are interested in being part of the first Judo club in Sandoval County. Sensei Michael Webb, a black belt in Judo, a certified instructor of the United States Judo Federation, a national and international Judo competitor, and a certified law enforcement defensive tactics instructor, will instruct the classes. Sensei Webb, founder of Synergy Martial Arts, LLC, has held competitive Judo classes at the Sandia Judo Club for the past two years and formed the Rio Rancho Judo Club for children and adults a year ago. Sensei Webb is also operating the Martial Arts after-school program at the Star Heights Community Center in Rio Rancho.

Judo is many things to many people. It is a form of physical education, a martial art, and a sport. It represents a refinement of the ancient martial art of jujutsu. After years of study under many jujutsu masters, Jigoro Kano, the founder of Kodokan Judo, discerned the principals of “Mutual Prosperity” and “Maximum Efficient Use of Power.” The practice of Judo assists the practitioner in developing self-discipline and respect for oneself and others.

Judo assists in the development of self-confidence, physical coordination, flexibility, and power. Additionally, Judo training gives a person an effective self-defense system if the need arises.

It is anticipated that the club will utilize the Placitas Community Center. The workout schedule will depend on the response. Anyone interested can contact Karl Acosta at 771-7075, or Sensei Webb at 410-2436 or 833-2144 for more information.

Library Tae Kwon Do

Jung Tack Oh, Chan David Fritch, and Sung Tack Oh teaching Tae Kwon Do at the Placitas library’s Lunar New Year celebration.

Happy (Lunar) New Year


The Placitas Community Library was teeming with excitement from 10:00 a.m. until about 1:00 p.m. during the library’s second annual Lunar New Year celebration. The celebration, held on February 16, was sponsored by the library’s Children’s Program and was organized by volunteers Judy and Bob Gajkowski and Doris Fields. This year, Lunar New Year began on February 7, and extended its usual fifteen days through February 21. Approximately fifteen countries celebrate Lunar New Year at this time of year, including Burma, China, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Bob and Judy Gajkowski developed a community dragon to display in the Children’s Room. Bob created the dragon’s head, and Judy collected approximately 350 “hands” that became the dragon’s scales. Many members of the community, including students of the Placitas Elementary School, cut out their hand prints to make impressive dragon scales. “Placi”—dragon of the Placitas Community Library—will travel to Placitas Elementary School and live there for a while; later, Placi will return to the library.

There were at least ten activities for all ages to teach about Asian cultures and the Lunar New Year, from storytelling for the very young to Tae Kwon Do demonstrations. Nora Timmons led the children as they enacted a story, weaving through several rooms in the library in a dragon dance. The Tae Kwon Do demonstration and lessons were carried out by Chan David Fritch, Jung Tack Oh, and Sung Tack Oh. These three accomplished students demonstrated a variety of exercises, including use of nunchucks and breaking boards. Participants got an opportunity to practice, and several children were quite successful. Children also practiced using chopsticks by picking up small pieces of wrapped candies.

On a large map of Asia, children and adults located and placed flags on the countries that celebrate Lunar New Year at this time. In addition, there were games and puzzles to help children learn more about Lunar New Year and Asian countries. Mrs. Choon Fritch and Mrs. Jiye Jung wrote participants’ names in Korean calligraphy on brightly colored cards. Finally, participants took away lots of memorabilia, including chopsticks, fortune cookies, lanterns, and Chinese zodiac place mats.

More than seventy people participated in this year’s celebration, including approximately thirty children. Participants ranged in age from toddlers to teens to elders. With all of the activities and excitement, Lunar New Year came alive for everyone who participated. Placiteños are encouraged to visit “Placi” and check out a few books and videos, too.

Library building project begins


The Placitas Community Library (PCL) Board and Building Committee will have its first meeting with Allison Abraham, the lead architect from SMPC in late February or early March. In order to create the most beautiful, functional, and green building for this community, we are asking for your help and input during the upcoming programming and design phases of this project.

The new library will be constructed in two phases. Because most of the infrastructure for both phases will be installed during the first phase, this initial phase is much more costly per square foot. In order to maximize the usable space in Phase I, the board is seeking the financial support of many local businesses, foundations that are supportive of library building campaigns, and local citizens. One generous local PCL supporter has given $53,000. This will allow us to almost double the size of the Community Room. Don’t let the big numbers put you off. Small donations are just as important. We need every penny any of us can contribute to increase the level of service the library can provide and to ensure that the library is energy-efficient, as well as beautiful.

The library has received a wonderful donation of about two hundred audio books, both cassettes and CDs. Many of these are very current titles. If you have a long drive to work or like to listen while you work out, please stop by and check these out. Many thanks go out to the Olsen family for this generous donation.

In the next few days, a new feature will appear along Highway 165 near the main fire station. Look for our beautiful hand-painted sign announcing the location of the new Placitas Community Library building, to be constructed in 2009. Placitas artist Meg Leonard has donated her time and abundant talent to create this beautiful landmark. The board deeply appreciates the work done by Meg and by E.T. LaFore, who constructed the sign. The board is also grateful to board members Gail DellaPelle and Wayne Sandoval and friends for all their help with the sign project and installation.


• The Library book group meets at 4:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month. March title: 1491, by Charles Mann; April title: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, by Gregory McGuire. Call 867-3355 to verify date and location.

• Preschool story time: 10:00 a.m. Thursday, March 6: “Rabbit Tales: True & Imaginary.”

• Bilingual story hour: 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 19 and April 15. Please note new day for the bilingual story time for ages two through ten.

• Library hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Visit us at 1 Tierra Madre, call us at 867-3355, or visit our website at



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