The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Outside Silva's Saloon
Photo by Ty Belknap

Felix, Lawrence, “Creature”, and Tom keep the smoke outside of Silva’s Saloon, in Bernalillo.

Silva’s Saloon goes smoke-free

Silva’s Saloon wasn’t just the oldest bar in Bernalillo, it was also one of the smokiest, especially on Sundays when local motorcycle clubs stopped by on their weekly road trips. Seventy-three years of historical bric-a-brac on the walls and ceiling bore evidence of the establishment’s smoke-stained past. Then about six years ago, proprietor Felix Silva was diagnosed with emphysema and things began to change.

Smoke ejectors were installed that did a pretty good job of clearing the air, well enough for most people to breathe easy, but after a lifetime of breathing second-hand smoke—and contributing some of his own—Felix was hypersensitive. He had to keep his oxygen bottle and nebulizer nearby.

Always ready with a joke or a good story, Felix had been a vital part of the saloon’s historical ambiance for as long as most customers can remember. Lately he could visit the bar only briefly before retreating to the back office, where the air quality still wasn’t good enough.

Throughout March, Felix had such trouble breathing that his daughter and coproprietor, Denise, nearly dialed 911 on several occasions. The No Smoking signs appeared on April 1—and it was no joke.

Now the cloud of smoke is gone and you can actually see all the hats, paintings, license plates, antiques, and other memorabilia, even up by the ceiling. And best of all, Felix is back.

Denise said, “Smokers have always been our best customers, but they’ve all been great about it. I’ve always felt that this place is like family and now I know it’s true. Nobody has argued or complained.”

A biker known as “Creature,” who is a heavy-smoking regular commented, “That old man gets what he wants. If it’s good for Felix, it’s good for everybody. He’s more important than smoking.”

Felix says, “I’m excited to be out here talking to people again. I should have done this a long time ago.”

That Felix feels better was obvious when he jumped off his barstool to bar entry to a couple of undesirables—the septuagenarian looked ready to throw them out physically, if need be.

Denise has been in charge of maintaining order lately, using some of the techniques she learned as a career first-grade teacher. She gives stars and other stickers to even the roughest-looking customer if he watches his language and doesn’t get too rowdy.

The proprietors welcome new customers and the occasional clientele who were repelled by the smoke to come and enjoy Silva’s Saloon, smoke-free, located next to the Range Café.

New New Mexico program trains women to run for office

Emerge New Mexico, a new statewide organization with an advisory committee cochaired by Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish and Attorney General Patricia Madrid, is giving wings to the political dreams of the state's Democratic women by training them to run for public office.

Democratic women in all parts of the state who are interested in running for office are encouraged to apply for this special program. Founders of Emerge America attribute the 60 percent success rate of the program to its rigorous and comprehensive training, one Saturday per month for seven months, that teaches skills to win elected office, including organizing a campaign, creating a message, and raising funds.

Applications are available now at and must be postmarked by May 15. For further information, contact Julie Koob, at (505) 920-6002, or

Not-for-profit donates 10,000 eggs for sheriff’s posse egg hunt

The Sandoval County Sheriff’s Posse hosted their annual Easter Egg Hunt on April 16 at the Sheriff's Posse Grounds in Bernalillo. The event was free, with lunch provided. There were door prizes for the children, along with hard and plastic eggs to hunt.

Families from Santa Ana Pueblo, Santa Domingo Pueblo, Bernalillo, Algodones, and other outlying areas in the county participated in the fun-filled afternoon.

This year, there was an overabundance of eggs, more than 10,000 to be exact, as Bound For Success donated 10,000 “huevos para los ninos” for the Eggstravaganza. Plastic eggs were stuffed with candy and money by the junior posse, who spent several days getting all the eggs ready for the hunt.

Bound for Success operates Nearly New, a repeat boutique that provides free clothing to women in transition from home to work, school to work, and welfare to work. They also provide clothing to victims of domestic abuse who often leave their home with only the clothes on their backs. The majority of their clients are single, minority females with at least two dependents. They have less than a twelfth-grade education and earn less than $10,000 annually. Monetary donations and gently used clothing are welcome. All donations are tax deductible. For further information, call 771-8228 or visit Nearly New is at 836 Camino del Pueblo, in Bernalillo.





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