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Police Academy

The 2009 Citizens Police Academy participants gather at their graduation dinner in honor of the late Sergeant Joe Harris. 

Sandoval County Citizens Police Academy

“Understanding through Education”

The Sandoval County Citizens Police Academy (CPA) provides volunteers with firsthand training and understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies. It is a program designed to give the public a working knowledge of the Police Department.

For the instructors and graduating class of this year’s program, it was a very emotional event, filled with laughter and tears, due to the loss of Sergeant Joe Harris in the line of duty. Not only was Sergeant Harris an active instructor in the program, but he was responsible for bringing the CPA to Sandoval County.

The program originated in Orlando, Florida in 1984. Orlando was the first city in the United States to start a Citizen’s Police Academy. The objective is to give the public information on how the Police Department works and its policies and procedures, through a series of classes involving instruction by police officers.

The CPA is designed to educate citizens about the structure and activities of their police department. The CPA class is not a “training” class, but is an “information” class, a behind- the-scenes look at the Sandoval County Sherriff‘s Department (SCSD). The CPA program operates on the premise that informed and educated citizens will be more supportive of police officers and the department, and will be more productive within their own neighborhoods and communities.

Instructors are law enforcement professionals who teach both veteran and recruit police officers. Students leave this training with a greater understanding of the police mission and with an increased ability to see how the police serve the community.

Participants are taught the basics of criminal law, search and seizure, patrol tactics, firearms, and many other subjects. They learn about the processing of a crime scene, conduct a ride-along with an officer, may experience a traffic stop, and see how police canines are used. CPA participants meet and talk with many of the street officers as well as the command staff and training staff that serve them. All of this takes place in a safe training environment.

The goal of the program is for the graduates of the Citizen’s Police Academy to become more aware and better informed about how the Police Department operates. The hope is that the graduates, in turn, will encourage friends, coworkers, and families to join the SCSD in this rewarding program.

For information about a variety of Community Relations Programs offered by the Sheriff’s Department, call 404-5833.


4-H picture of the Sally Jo Shaver 4-H era.

Remembering a beloved community leader, Sally Jo Shaver

—Jacque McFarland

In these uncertain times, there is no doubt that we as parents worry about our children. We want to provide love and guidance as they blossom into young adults. 4-H, under the guidance of Sally Jo Shaver, provided a great base in the community from which many children could succeed.

4-H has been a vital part of many communities in America since the early 1900s. It began with educating boys and girls in agriculture. Leadership came from parent volunteers in the communities. Over the years, it has adjusted to the changing needs of our communities. Today, the strongest focus is leadership and empowering boys and girls.

In the Village of Corrales, there has been a very strong 4-H presence. Sally Jo Shaver was the founder and leader of the Corralitos 4-H club in 1960. It was the biggest and most successful 4-H club in the county. If you were involved in 4-H in Corrales or Bernalillo County in the 1960s and ‘70s, chances are you knew Sally Jo Shaver.

At one time, there were between 150 and three hundred kids actively involved in the Corralitos. For over thirty years, special men and women dedicated their time to the kids of the Corralitos 4-H club. Sally Jo also founded Amigos del Norte to accommodate the growing needs of the community. Her mission in life was kids. She felt all kids should have a safe, loving, and accepting place to be. Her home, her kitchen table, and her time were always available to all kids in her community. One of the measures of her success was the low juvenile delinquency rate in Corrales. Another was the love the grown “4-H-ers” held for her throughout their lives.

An integral part of 4-H is not only the knowledge and leadership kids learn, but the respect and love developed between the kids and their 4-H leaders. Sally Jo Shaver was born in New Mexico on November 17, 1930. She married Bill Shaver and had three children of her own. She dedicated her life to children wherever she lived, in Corrales and later in northern New Mexico. She died June 2, 2009. A desert willow is being planted and dedicated to Sally Jo Shaver on November 7, 2009 at 10:00 the Corrales Recreational Center. It is dedicated to an outstanding leader of the children of the Corralitos 4-H club in Corrales, New Mexico. May we all aspire to leave this earth a more wonderful place by influencing young lives for the better as she did.

The nature of nature and the definition of miracles

—Judith Acosta, Signpost

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”—Albert Einstein

For the vast majority of our time on Earth, we have known very little about the nature of our universe—neither its dimensional extent nor its essential “nature” so to speak; whether it is causative or caused or neither. We’re here, but we don’t know why or exactly how or even where “here” is.

So for thousands or millions of years (depending upon whom we ask), we saw the universe as a spectacle of miracles, where everything to us was in itself supernatural. Because it was all incomprehensible, everything was not just imbued with mystery, it was Mystery itself. Without a philosophical or scientific prism with which to look at the world, it was not an accident of random majesty but Majesty itself. Given the information and understanding we had, it was certainly understandable that early Man and Woman worshipped the sun, the moon, and the seas or prayed to the stars as much as the clouds for guidance, protection, and strength.

As we grew and became more “scientific,” we narrowed this deified Nature down to its details and discerned regular patterns: Copernicus, Newton, and Einstein, along with thousands of others, helped to describe nature as a very distinct and determined package of laws. Because of these laws, we were able to develop, in turn, very clear and firm expectations of the world in which we lived. Things operated in an orderly and expectable fashion. And if one just understood the mechanism of the laws of thermodynamics, then most of the natural phenomena in which we found ourselves surrounded was about as mysterious as, well, the sun. It burned because of the release of energy due to certain basic chemical and nuclear processes. It rose, it sank, it rose, it sank. One could even set a clock by it. And the clock, well, it too, had laws. If X, then Y. A is always A, not AB. Etc… As C.S. Lewis put it, we had become “Naturalists” in which “Nature” had just become a word for ‘everything.’

Then, we grew yet again and discovered the world of quantum mechanics, where all the laws we had discovered previously broke down. Once again, the world became a place where nature could be seen as highly unnatural. And ‘everything’ was no longer operating according to an order that was as expectable as we had imagined. The scientific model had been undone by science. Yet it was all science. What was a believer to do?

Especially now that nature itself is not entirely natural (or is it?), we are left with a theological conundrum of a fairly significant magnitude. How are we now to define a miracle? It used to be that a miracle was defined as anything that broke the rules of nature and in so doing showed the hand of the Creator, who stood eternally above and beyond the laws of nature.

But with modern nature standing in contradiction to itself, with surprises from other dimensions, multi-verses, black holes, and time dilation or space folding, is there even room for a miracle? And if so, does it mean that the Creator, if in fact there is one, is both within and without, immanent and transcendent?

So for now, I’d like to take a risk and define a miracle as an occurrence or event or object in which one can see, feel, or experience the presence of a creator, of an existence with purpose and intelligence and meaning, of a numinous divinity. A miracle can only occur when one sees the universe as both the seen and the unseen, when nature itself is a “creature,” one of the created things, not a thing either random or fixed. As C. S. Lewis said, “It is not in her, but in Something far beyond her, that all lines meet and all contrasts are explained.”

In a sense, miraculous events are not “miracles” in that they somehow stand outside of or above nature—because we now know that nothing in the universe does. In the world of super-positioning and quarks and faster-than-light transmission, what is weird is expectable. Instead, we can take “miracles” to mean wondrous. They are arrows pointing to the Thing Behind All Things, to the true unknown, to the end of all scientific enquiry and the beginning of real answers. They are and must never be seen as the answers themselves, of course. That would be the mistake of the sun-worshippers and idolaters. But like a note on a treasure hunt or a colored tag on a tree in a thick woods, they lead us ever up and in.

For more about Judith Acosta’s work, visit

Huichol art

Huichol Art

Huichol art and culture

—Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

For the first time, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology presents a significant collection of Huichol art from the early part of the last century in Huichol Art and Culture: Balancing the World. The exhibition will open at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture April 11, 2010 and will run through March 6, 2011.

There are important ties between Huichol work and Native American, pre-Hispanic, and Hispanic art histories and cultures. Known today for colorful, decorative yarn paintings, the origins of modern Huichol art are found in the earlier Huichol religious arts of the Robert M. Zingg ethnographic collection at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.

Huichol Art and Culture: Balancing the World focuses on the Huichol, a Native American people of western Mexico who for many centuries have retained their unique culture and pre-Hispanic religious beliefs. Their remote location in the rugged Sierra Madre Occidental mountains primarily in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit has allowed for greater resistance than any other indigenous group to the forces of Christianization and acculturation. The Huichol people today continue to create traditional art and practice ancient rituals that predate the time of Spanish contact.

From 1934 to 1935, Dr. Robert Mowry Zingg (1900–1957) was the first American anthropologist to conduct extended ethnographic fieldwork among the Huichol in the community of Tuxpan de Bolaños. Zingg lived with Huichol families and participated in everyday life, while studying their mythology and ceremonialism. Huichol Art and Culture: Balancing the World presents the collection of Huichol artifacts which Zingg collected on behalf of the Laboratory of Anthropology during the earliest years of its history as an institution.

In the past and today, Huichol art is made to communicate with a pantheon of ancestors and gods. When Zingg arrived in Tuxpan, he found that most Huichol adults were occupied with making art. As he observed, the Huichol constantly create offerings which serve as visual prayers to the gods. As part of the ceremonial cycle, the Huichol make pilgrimages to leave offerings at sacred sites.

Ceremonial offerings to the gods are the precursors to the art of modern Huichol yarn painting. Early Huichol votive art evolved into art produced for sale beginning in the 1950s, when artists adapted traditional techniques, designs, and materials to “paint” in yarn. Sophisticated and vibrant Huichol yarn paintings have now become renowned in the global art market.

Among the highlights of the Zingg collection are outstanding examples of ancient, symbolic textile designs that were intricately woven on backstrap looms by Huichol women. The collection features prayer arrows, richly decorated votive gourd bowls, and other offerings for the gods. Oversized shamans’ chairs and diminutive gods’ chairs are unique to Huichol ceremonies. Colorful macaw feathers, beaded jewelry, deerskin quivers, embroidered clothing, and hats adorned with feathers, squirrel tails, and ribbons all attest to a time and a culture where art objects were made for everyday and ceremonial use, not tourist consumption.

The concept of balance is central to Huichol art and culture. The balancing of opposites, such as the wet and dry seasons, or darkness and light, is a prevalent theme in Huichol art. Huichol ceremonies are performed and offerings are made to keep the world in balance, ensuring successful crops and hunting, fertility, and health. Today, the Huichol say that they continue to make art and perform the centuries-old rituals not just for their own people, but for the benefit of everyone in the world.

The concept of balancing opposites, so central to Huichol culture, is also basic to the Pueblo worldview and is seen in Pueblo architecture, government, and ceremony. A further connection to Pueblo culture can be found in the Uto-Aztecan language of the Huichol. It is related to the language of the ancient Aztecs of central Mexico, to the Cora, to the Tohono O’odham and Hopi of Arizona, and to the Tanoan languages of the Northern Rio Grande region of New Mexico.

Zingg, who spent his youth in northern New Mexico, noted a similarity in “the richness of the ceremonial life of both the Huichols and the Pueblos.” He and other scholars have drawn parallels between the two cultures, including the importance of the cardinal directions and elaborate religious symbolism in art and decoration involving the deer, fire, rain, corn, and concepts of growth and fertility.






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