Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  Public Safety

Three projects to enhance Bernalillo flood protection

—Bill Diven

A dam under construction and two other projects about to start are adding protection to a Bernalillo neighborhood flooded by storm runoff in recent years.

Rising east of Interstate 25 is the Cañon del Agua East Dam, a $1.6 million dollar project designed to hold and slowly release storm runoff flowing toward South Hill Road near Bobby Place. Salls Brothers Construction Inc. began construction in early January under contract to the Eastern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority.

The 23-foot-tall dirt structure with a concrete face is scheduled to done before the end of April, ESCAFCA Executive Engineer Larry Blair told the Signpost.

Next up are the town of Bernalillo upgrading a section of South Hill Road to include a storm drain running from the street under the KOA Campground and Bernalillo acequia and a second ESCAFCA job installing pipe to connect the drain to Athena Pond.

The town chose Gallardo Construction of Las Cruces as the lowest of five bidders on the nearly one-million-dollar project to rebuild South Hill Road between Bobby Place and Richardson Avenue. The work will add a curb, gutter, and sidewalk.

By late January, the town and Gallardo were finalizing the contract, which still needed state approval. Work is likely to begin in mid-March, said Maria Rinaldi, director of community planning and development.

Once the town project burrows under the acequia, ESCAFCA can run its pipe to the Athena Pond at a cost of about two hundred thousand dollars. With the water table only about six feet beneath the pond, instead of a drain, the pond uses an infiltration chamber to allow water to soak into the ground and reach the water table about six feet below.

If the pond fills too much, ESCAFCA is prepared to pump water out, Blair said.

The Cañon del Agua East Dam, designed to contain 45 acre-feet of water, also won’t hold back all of a one hundred-year flood, calculated to total eighty acre-feet. The dam, also know as the Fisher Dam, is on property being quarried by Fisher Sand and Gravel, which mined the arroyo first to prepare the dam site and save ESCAFCA construction costs.

Fisher also donated the land to ESCAFCA as a condition of the property being annexed into the town in January 2015.

With the current projects underway, ESCAFCA is working with a state finance agency on a $2.2 million dollar bond package to pay for future work. Voters, by a 3-1 margin, approved the bond sale in 2014, and property owners in Bernalillo and Algodones will see their property taxes increase as a result.

“With these two projects, we’ll pretty well exhaust our money,” Blair said. “I think that speaks well that what we’ve done so far has made an impression on voters that they approved more bonds.”

Salmonella risk product. Check purchase date.

Salmonella outbreak

—Kenny Vigil

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the New Mexico Environment Department, the Albuquerque Environmental Health Department, and other state health departments as part of an ongoing investigation of Salmonella virchow. To date, there are 11 confirmed cases across nine states. New Mexico currently has one confirmed case in a 75-year-old man from Otero County.

Cases related to this outbreak appear to be linked to consuming Garden of Life Raw Meal Organic Shake and Meal products. These powdered nutritional supplements come in a variety of flavors and are available at nutrition stores and food cooperatives throughout the state and country, as well as via online retailers.

Garden of Life LLC has issued a voluntary recall of its chocolate, original, vanilla, and vanilla chai Raw Meal Organic Shake and Meal supplements. The New Mexico Department of Health recommends that New Mexicans not eat any flavor of this product if purchased on or after November 1, 2015. Additionally, products with a “Best Used by: 09/2017” date or later stamped on the bottom of the container should not be consumed. Customers who purchased these items can return them for a full refund. More information, including specific lot numbers, are available on the Garden of Life Recall Information page.

“The New Mexico Department of Health encourages anyone who consumed this product and is experiencing symptoms related to Salmonella to visit their health care provider,” advises Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward, MPH.

Symptoms include an acute onset of headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and sometimes vomiting. Dehydration, especially among infants, may be severe.

People who are at high risk for Salmonella infection include: infants, elderly, immuno-compromised people, including persons on immunosuppressive therapies or medications, and pregnant women. Healthy adults rarely develop severe illness. It is important for people at high risk to follow the standard CDC guidance about Salmonella. People can decrease their risk of Salmonella infection through proper food handling and preparation, and by practicing proper hand washing and hygiene practices.

Mail theft on the rise in Sandoval County

—Allen Mills, Criminal Investigations Lieutenant, Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office

Recently in Placitas and other areas of Sandoval County, several U.S. mailbox clusters have been vandalized and mail stolen from the boxes. This has been happening all over the state and, due to tax season, I suspect it will continue.

On February 8, deputies arrested two individuals in a stolen car who were breaking into the newspaper machines at the Merc supermarket. Information was obtained that indicates the individuals were involved in the theft of mail from cluster mailboxes in Placitas, Rio Rancho and Albuquerque.

On February 17, deputies arrested three more individuals in a blue truck who were breaking into mailbox clusters in the Placitas Trails West area. Sandoval County detectives, along with the Postal Inspector, are working both cases.

Tips to protect your mail from thieves are provided by the U. S. Postal Inspection Service website at:

Please report suspicious persons/activities to the Sheriff’s Office’s non-emergency telephone number—505-867-4581, or if you suspect a crime in progress, dial 911.

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