The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Two brothers, Austin and Bobby Messenger, won a contest during the first annual PVFB Health and Safety Fair in August. The contest required contestants to complete a fire-safety survey for their home. The brothers took home the survey, completed it, and turned it in as instructed to the PVFB rattlesnake exhibition held the following week in Placitas. Their grand prize was a ride to their school—Placitas Elementary School—in a fire truck.

Photo by Paul Bearce

Two brothers, Austin and Bobby Messenger, won a contest during the first annual PVFB Health and Safety Fair in August. The contest required contestants to complete a fire-safety survey for their home. The brothers took home the survey, completed it, and turned it in as instructed to the PVFB rattlesnake exhibition held the following week in Placitas. Their grand prize was a ride to their school—Placitas Elementary School
—in a fire truck.

Placitas Fire Brigade wish list

Paul Bearce
Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade

The Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade is seeking donations of used items for the operation of the department and is looking to the community to help out. We are developing a wish list of items. If you’d like to donate any of the following items, please call the station at 867-5080 and leave a message. We will arrange to pick up the items.

We are looking for the following:

  • Used towels to be used to wash our trucks and equipment.
  • Exercise equipment such as dumbbells, treadmill, or stationary bike. These will go into our new fitness center to help keep our members fit and healthy.

As always, The brigade thanks the community for its support.


Sandoval Smokefree Coalition gearing up

Every year secondhand smoke kills more than fifty-three thousand people in the United States, making it the third-leading cause of preventable death in the nation. In New Mexico, thousands of residents have medical conditions that put them at risk for acute reactions if they are exposed to secondhand smoke.

A new coalition is forming in southern Sandoval County to educate the public about the danger of secondhand smoke. The coalition will make community presentations about the associated health risks. Restaurants in Rio Rancho, Corrales, Bernalillo, and Placitas will be surveyed to determine which are smoke-free, and a dining guide will be published listing the results.

The next meeting of the Sandoval Smokefree Coalition will be at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 9, at the Children, Youth and Families Department small conference room, 560 Camino del Pueblo in Bernalillo. Refreshments will be served. For further information, contact Greg Johnston at 867-3276 or


Managed-care plans rated

The NM Health Policy Commission’s 2003 edition of the New Mexico Consumer Guide to Managed Care is available as a brochure and on the Internet. Published annually since 1998, the publication is an easy reference source that helps health-care consumers compare consumer-satisfaction and clinical-performance ratings for health plans in New Mexico. Information is included for Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico, Cimarron Health Plan, HMO New Mexico, Lovelace Health Systems, and Presbyterian Health Plan.

The brochure summarizes consumer ratings, including how New Mexicans rate their health care, their health plan, their doctor, and their specialist. The Internet guide, found at, is a more extensive, in-depth comparative report on the quality and performance of each New Mexico managed-care plan, with information about each plan’s clinical performance in 2001 as well as member-satisfaction ratings.

A new feature of the 2003 Internet guide is the addition of several years of ratings, which enables consumers to compare how plans performed over the three-year time period from 2000 through 2002.

For further information or a free copy of the brochure, call 505-424-3200, or log onto


Federal grant to help victims of domestic and date violence, child abuse

Legal FACS (Forms and Courthouse Services), formerly of the Albuquerque Bar Association, has received a two-year grant of $450,669 from the office of the U.S. Department of Justice. Donavon A. Roberts, executive director of the program, has announced that service will begin in October, 2003.

The funds will be used to provide treatment, counseling, and assistance to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, and child abuse, and the program will work in cooperation with the community to develop education and prevention strategies directed towards these issues Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, and Valencia Counties.

The grant also provides a unique opportunity for law-enforcement agencies, the courts, victim services agencies, community organizations, and businesses in rural communities to collaborate specifically to meet the needs of victims of domestic violence and their children.

Legal FACS will continue to provide indigent New Mexico residents free legal assistance with family law and small claims issues.

Legal FACS is at 400 Gold SW, Suite 1010.


Construction of 3rd fire station out for bid and other county news

Bill Diven

A third Placitas fire station could be up and running by next spring, according to Sandoval County fire marshal Clark “Sparky” Speakman.

“We’re in the process right now of coming up with a preliminary set of drawings before we go out to bid,” Speakman said. The county is deciding among three pieces of land in Sundance Mesa for the substation, which will house two fire trucks, he said.

“We need it with the population expansion up there, not only west but north to the pueblo boundary,” Speakman said. “We need another station to get a quicker response.”

The Sundance Mesa subdivision is in northwestern Placitas off the I-25 frontage road. Sundance developer Tom Ashe owns the three properties under consideration, Speakman added.

The main Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade station is on NM 165 about four miles east of I-25, with the existing substation five miles farther east.

Sandoval County commissioners voted last month to release $300,000 for the new building. Speakman said one truck currently is available for the substation, which he hopes to open next spring.

Speakman also reported that initial attempts to build fire substations at Cochiti Mesa and Seven Springs had failed. No one bid on the Cochiti Mesa project, he said, and the one bid received for the Seven Springs building came in almost $10,000 over the $75,000 budget.

Both projects will be rebid, he said.

At its September meetings, county commissioners also:

  • Approved a county sign ordinance governing nontribal lands that limits the size, height, and location of billboards.
  • Heard a report from the Bare Bones Research Project which found poverty conditions exist at much higher income levels in New Mexico than recognized by federal programs. The full report is on-line at
  • Approved $3,000 in overtime for the county election bureau, with commissioner David Bency suggesting the state instead of the county should foot the bill for the September 23 special election on constitutional amendments.
  • Rejected bids for the county judicial complex because the lowest was more than $1 million more than budgeted.
  • Authorized publication of proposed ordinances regulating cell-phone antennae and establishing fines and enforcement for illegal dumping.
  • Endorsed approval of two bond issues totaling $6 million for the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority. The bond election is being conducted totally by mail, with all ballots due by October 23.


Volunteer Fire Brigade to hold recruit class

Daisy Kates
Training Officer

This year, the Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade celebrated its thirtieth anniversary. The PVFB has evolved and grown over the many years it has been in existence, and now provides emergency fire and medical response to the forty-five-square-mile district of Placitas, as well as mutual aid to Algodones, Bernalillo, and other neighboring areas.

In order to increase its membership and keep up with the constant expansion of our community, the brigade offers two recruit classes each year. The PVFB would like to have representation in all areas of Placitas in order to insure rapid response to 911 calls.

The recruit class is an entry-level course that provides the basic training and awareness needed to participate safely and effectively on scenes. Additional training opportunities provided by the county offer members the opportunity to obtain certification as firefighters and/or emergency medical responders. The PVFB also schedules ongoing in-house training sessions and events to keep up skill levels, teamwork, and camaraderie.

The approximately twenty-four-hour recruit class will be held in October and November. The instructor will be Dan Shaw, who was the former chief of the PVFB. Paul Bearce, the current chief, who is also a firefighter and paramedic with Rio Rancho Department of Pubic Safety, will teach segments of the class. It is open to all residents of Placitas and Bernalillo. A cadet-level entry is also available for those aged sixteen to eighteen.

We know that most people live busy and demanding lives, but we feel that becoming a member of the brigade can be a rewarding and exciting opportunity to learn new skills and contribute to your community. If you would like to consider joining, you can attend the one-hour prospective-member session, which outlines the responsibilities and expectations of the department. This will allow you to make an informed decision on becoming a member. If you would like more information or would like to sign up for a prospective-member session, please call Daisy as soon as possible at 867-3790.

The dates and times for the recruit class are: October 12, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. (CPR); October 16, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.; October 19 and 26, noon to 5:00 p.m.; October 30 and November 6, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.; scenario-training date to be determined.




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