The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989

The Gauntlet

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re: too much trash

I’m mad as hell, and I only wish that I could say “and I’m not going to take it anymore.” The sad truth is that there isn’t a damn thing I can do. Helpless rage is the worst. Short of becoming a garbage vigilante and hiding behind rocks or bushes or waiting in my car until someone drives by and tosses their cigarette carelessly from their car window or throws their empty beer bottles to shatter somewhere along the road, what can I possibly do?

And what if I do catch them? Should I shoot them? Call their parents? Call their children? Call the police?

On September 29, a small group of us gathered on Highway 165 into Placitas to clean the two miles of road adopted by Congregation Albert. We only worked for a couple of hours, not a big deal, and I suppose it should have left me with a positive feeling of community. But I was furious. I knew that if I went out there every day and cleaned the road all day long, it would not make a difference.  

A couple of years ago, I was having a routine medical exam, and the x-ray technician and I began a friendly chat, and it turned out that she too had moved here from the East. I commented on how pretty the area is. She looked at me sadly and said, “It used to be.” At the time, I had only been living here a few months and in comparison to Broadway and 101st Street in Manhattan, Highway 165 was immaculate. Now I, too, see the trash.

I do not expect garbage offenders to read this and suddenly experience a breakthrough in consciousness that might cause them to question their egregious behavior. Perhaps the most I can hope for is that other outraged neighbors who happen to read this will feel they are not alone. I wish that someone out there who reads this will have a better idea than anything I have come up with. I’d be more than happy to help. Only then would it be possible for me to add, “And I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Phyllis M Skoy



re: angels in the hood

Dear Friends,

As many of you may know, on September 30 I drove off Tierra Madre Road and into the adjacent arroyo. Were it not for many of you coming to my rescue (officially and unofficially), I cannot imagine what would have happened. As it is, thanks to the help of many guardian angels, and your immediate removal from a perpendicular hang, I am sore, but alive and intact. I give thanks for the community in which I live. Bob (first on the scene), special thanks! And special thanks, too, to Deputy Gina Dawson, for your gentleness and concern, and to Tom Ashe—a familiar face so very helpful at such a time. You all meant a great deal.

God bless you all!

Derry Ann Mortiz



re: know your neighbors

One thing I have tried to do over the last year is get to know my neighbors. In these slightly weird times, close relations become all the more useful, intimate. It turns out that getting to know one’s neighbors is as easy and good as pie. I have started with the places of business I visit and support locally. Prices are generally lower in the city, but not much lower. I believe we really can support local business by shopping more locally, not being so bargain hungry and taking the time to visit with the cashier some.

For instance, up here in Placitas, we have the Mini Mart next to the post office. There is a tendency to drive right on past the Mini Mart and get in and out of doing postal chores quick, but, oh, what stories does one miss by not shopping there! A couple of cents more per gallon of gas is a small price to pay for learning all there is about the comings and goings of Placitas. Similarly, a trip to the Range or the courthouse in Bernallilo could easily include a side trip to TaGrMo Hardware, the supermarket, or even Frank’s Feed and Farm Supply. At all of these places Spanish is often the language spoken. The supermarket has a good supply of specialty Mexican seasonings and foods, and Frank’s Feed and Farm always seems to have poultry of one kind or another chirping away, along with birdseed, horse feed, hay bales, and plant starts in spring. Such visits to local places of business can be good for the kids too, introducing them to a sense of place and community.

Out at the Country Store towards Algodones, not only are hunting and fishing licenses sold, but stories are told about fish caught or big animals seen. It is one of the most diverse little stores I have ever visited, where Spanish or Pueblo language is spoken over the counter. The San Felipe country store is nearly as diverse and about as picturesque as it gets. Back up in the Placitas Mini Mart, I have heard hundred-year-old stories told about who planted which grapes, about bears and mountain lions—and I’ve learned a lot about the weather. It is a lucky place to be. One time, a $100,000 lottery ticket was sold there. Another time, I got bit by a bad dog and, lucky it was, there were picnic benches to lay me out on for the paramedics. And lucky it is that the Mini Mart carries wonderful carne adovado and breakfast burritos, even tamales at two for a dollar. The humor there is first class, with a cutting edge and yet a healing voice.

Michael Crofoot



re: a dangerous intersection

A letter from a Placitas resident to the NM highway department regarding the intersection of US 550 and I-25 (Exit 242):

Dear Sirs,

Does the Highway Department have any plans to relieve the daily rush hour congestion at exit 242? This has become very dangerous due to the recent influx of commuters from Rio Rancho (Enchanted Hills?). There are daily backups on the freeway, and traffic from Placitas to Bernalillo is very near gridlock. Those of us who exit 242 Northbound heading east to Placitas are trapped, with no lane for exit. When we exit from 242 Southbound it is nearly impossible to turn left (east) without a light. Turning south from 550 (165) onto exit 242 is very congested and dangerous in the morning. Added to this mix is the constant gravel truck traffic, resulting in a deadly situation.

Please give us some relief.

Dorothy Bowen


The reply from the highway department:

Dear Ms. Bowen,

Due to limited assets and resources there are no improvements scheduled for the Exit 242 interchange at this time. Your concerns are important to the Department and I will forward them to our District Traffic Engineer for an evaluation. With that in hand, as our ability to provide improvements to our roadways gets better, we will be prepared to address some of these issues.


Phillip R. Gallegos
Public Information Specialist
NMSHTD District 3, 841-2764






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