The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Frontage Road sign near Exit 242

Frontage Road sign near Exit 242

Home owners adopt frontage road

The Sundance Mesa Homeowners Association in Placitas has adopted the frontage road along I-25 that leads into their community.

Last spring Lynae Maxim of Placitas met with the state Department of Transportation and organized the adoption campaign. The first volunteer cleanup day was June 4, when twenty-five residents collected seventy-five bags of trash. During the fall cleanup, on September 10, a gravel-truck driver gave volunteers a thumbs-up and a group of cyclists personally thanked some workers.

The state supplies garbage bags and orange safety vests for volunteers and makes a special pickup of the trash. The next cleanup day will be in early 2006.

Volunteering can be a fun way to meet neighbors and maintain a neighborhood’s natural beauty.

Bikathon Kickoff planned for Kate Nelson’s ride for blood-cancer patients

Kate Nelson is biking 109 miles through the Arizona desert to help people diagnosed with blood cancer, including leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s Disease, and myeloma, which kill an average of one person every nine minutes in America. That means 165 American lives every day.

Research funded by the Team in Training program, sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, has charted significant advances, including new drugs, new treatments, and new ways of helping families cope with devastating diagnoses.

In an effort to promote Nelson’s efforts, the Las Placitas Association and Optimists de Sandoval are hosting a Bikathon Kickoff on October 22, at the Piñon Café (in Homestead Village, on Highway 165, in Placitas, three minutes east of I-25, Exit 242), in conjunction with the annual Placitas Star Party. The Bikathon Kickoff will begin at 6:00 p.m. There will be a cash bar and entertainment.

Kate’s ride is on November 19, in Tucson, Arizona. She commented, “I’ll make a ridiculous bet with myself to ride farther than I ever have—but only if it means someone else gets to step on the path of hope.”

To that end, she is asking that you help her help others by contributing to fighting these diseases that we can conquer. For more information or questions, contact Elaine Sullivan, 771-1171, or Kate Nelson, at 867-6330 or

El Rinconcito español

La verdad a medias es mentira verdadera. = A half truth is a true lie.

Cada moneda tiene dos caras. = Each coin has two faces.

Buenas acciones valen más que buenas razones. = Good actions are worth more than good reasons.

Submitted by SOS-panyol, Placitas—Spanish instruction that focuses on oral communication skills,

Coronado Monument presents art workshops, slide show

A workshop on photography will be held at the Coronado State Monument on Saturday, October 22, from 9:00 a.m. until noon. The subject of the workshop is photography in the fall environment. Alex Sedillo, monument employee and editorial and advertising photographer, will lead the workshop. The fee is $20 per person.

A gourd Christmas ornament workshop will take place at the Coronado State Monument on the same day, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Participants are invited to create ornaments from dried buffalo gourds or miniature bottle gourds, with Native American or Hispanic motifs or designs from their own imagination. Reservations are required and there is a $10 fee per person for materials and paint. Class size is limited to twenty.

Interested participants should contact Linda, at 821-8432, to enroll and for further information.

Stephen Post, a project director for the Museum of New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies will give a talk and slide show entitled “Behind the Palace Walls: Recent Archaeological Investigations at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe” on Sunday, October 30, at 2:00 p.m. Space is limited. Call Katherine, at 867-6115, to reserve a seat. Admission is $5 per person, but free to members of the Friends of Coronado State Monument.

Coronado State Monument is located off I-25, Exit 242, west of the town of Bernalillo, on Highway 550.

Historical society to present blacksmithing program, quilt show

Sandoval County Historical Society will meet October 2 at 3:00 p.m. at Delavy House Museum (Highway 550, west of Bernalillo, between Coronado State Monument and the Star Casino). Gary Miller, from Corrales, will make a presentation on the history of blacksmithing and demonstrate blacksmithing skills and the making of iron tools.

There will also be a quilt show from the private collection of Beverly Jackson.

The Albuquerque Corral of Westerners will be guests. Local writer Don Bullis, a member of the Sandoval County Historical Society, is president of this group.

The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Placitas Community Library’s temporary location

Placitas Community Library’s temporary location

Placitas Community Library wants your design ideas for a new facility

The final contract for the land is just about complete. All that we are waiting for is a legal description. We will always remember with deep appreciation those who have supported us with their contributions, ideas, patronage, and confidence.

It’s time to get ready for the Herculean task of designing and planning this new library. Now is your chance to dream big. Take a walk around the property and get the feel for the lay of the land. The sixteen acres stretch from the fire station west to the fence where a new house is being built, reaching north to the far arroyo that separates this parcel from the housing development and the towering hills beyond. Somewhere within this area, four acres will be designated for the library. Coming soon, something to mark the spot where the library will be located.

If you want to have some fun, draw up a sketch and send in your design to Sue Strasia, 546 Highway 165, Placitas, New Mexico 87943. You are limited only by your imagination. We want everybody’s thoughts and ideas, so get out that graph paper and crayons and send in your designs.

Las Placitas Association has added a gorgeous new poster to their Watershed Collection housed at the library. These documents have been selected to provide the technical and administrative background for the Las Huertas Watershed Project, and to provide resources for those seeking to learn more about various aspects of the Las Huertas Watershed and watershed restoration.

A note from vice president Anne Frost. The much loved former Placitan and columnist for the Signpost, Carl Hertel, left instructions for his book collection to be donated to the Placitas Community Library. As Carl was a personal friend, this news brought tears and warm memories of long talks about books and ideas. We are most grateful for this donation and will add bookplates to the titles so future readers will know from whence they came. Thanks, Carl, for all you were in life and the legacy you leave in our hearts and minds.

On October 4, at 7:00 p.m., at Hacienda de Placitas (491 Highway 165) we will present "Traveling By the Seat of Your Pants." Dr. Eddie Dry, retired UNM professor of tourism, will share tips on independent travel. Learn how to safely leave the tours and reservations behind and venture out with your Lonely Planet Guide. Find out how to connect with other travelers and locals to enrich your experience.

On October 30, Halloween will be celebrated from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the library. Young and old alike are invited to join us (in costume) for ghost stories and other ghoulish fun.

On November 3, 7:00 p.m., Charlie Christmann returns to the library for a look at our gorgeous night sky as we approach the solstice. This time it will be dark, so we may have a telescope or two.

Library hours are Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Join us on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for coffee, sweets, and conversation.

1893 steam locomotive

By the time these railroad men posed with their brand-new steam locomotive, in 1893, Bernalillo was just another rural stop on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Bernalillo had missed its opportunity, and Albuquerque was on its way to become a regional railroad center.

Historical quirks steered rail center away from Bernalillo

But for the quirks of history, Bernalillo would be a major railroad center with a direct route to California, historian Vernon Glover told the Sandoval County Historical Society.

The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway seriously considered Bernalillo for major facilities later located in Albuquerque, Glover said. But AT&SF chief engineer Albert Alonzo Robinson left Bernalillo in frustration after failed negotiations with Francisco Perea and Don Jose Leandro Perea, he said.

“The Pereas essentially refused to deal with the railroad by asking an exorbitant fee for land in the valley,” he said. “Essentially they didn't want to sell.”

Glover said his research into Robinson, who oversaw construction of the AT&SF, has yet to find documentation for the story. Instead it was written and published in 1922 by Nathan Bibo who said the episode occurred in 1878.

Glover said he believe Bibo's account is accurate although his own research puts the negotiations in February 1880.

Bernalillo's chance at railroad glory came when Robinson and the AT&SF assumed the work and federal land grants of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad with its charter to build to California. Robinson's surveyors located a likely route branching off the main line near Algodones leading up the Jemez River and around the San Mateo Mountains toward the present-day city of Gallup.

The surveyors also worked out lines west from Albuquerque and Isleta.

During his 40 years of railroad research, Glover located an 1880 letter from Robinson to AT&SF president Thomas Nickerson explaining his decision to base the A&P in Albuquerque while starting its track in Isleta. By using the 11 miles of AT&SF track and its Rio Grande bridge to Isleta, the A&P would save $160,000 in construction costs and avoid drifting sand west of Albuquerque, Robinson wrote.

He rejected the line from near Algodones because of steeper grades and increased construction costs but made no mention of his dealings with the Pereas, Glover said.

Glover, author of books on logging railroads in the Jemez and Zuni mountains, said Robinson arbitrarily decreed major stations on the AT&SF would be 100 miles apart, the distance which at the time represented a standard workday for train crews. So the rail center of Sandoval County was located at Wallace, 100 miles down the track from Las Vegas and named for then-Gov. Lew Wallace, Glover said.

By 1885, Wallace boasted 38 railroad buildings including a Harvey House and stone roundhouse for servicing steam locomotives. The railroad, ever attuned to the politics of New Mexico Territory, later changed the name of Wallace to Thornton, for then-Gov. William Thornton.

The railroad waited for the stubborn Robinson to retire before closing up shop in Wallace and moving most of the wooden buildings to Albuquerque. With its last name change, Thornton became Domingo.

“Wallace was a bad fit,” Glover said. “The railroad didn't like it.

“It was perhaps A. A. Robinson's biggest mistake,” he said.

Little evidence of the town remains, and the stones from the roundhouse may have been used to shore up the banks of the Rio Galisteo and Rio Granded, he added.

Heard Around the West


"It’s the ultimate in recycling," says Victor Bruha. He and a friend, Daniel Hidalgo, have begun turning large mounds of bison poop into high-quality art paper. The idea isn’t really new: An Australian company sells kangaroo-dung paper, and in Thailand, elephants supply the needed material in super-sized quantities. But it took months for Hidalgo and Bruha, working in a basement, to find the right recipe, which includes some recycled paper from Bruha’s day job at Modern Printing in Blackfoot, Idaho. The grassy dung is boiled for several hours to remove bacteria and any odor. When it becomes a slurry, it’s screened in a process much like that of traditional papermaking, says the Idaho State Journal. One pile of bison-doo makes about twenty pieces of delicate, finely textured paper. But the two artists don’t stop there; when the paper dries, they add a bison-themed block print, creating what reporter Emily Jones describes as a more unique reminder of Yellowstone "than a T-shirt from Taiwan." The artists’ Web site and company name is also apt:

"Dumb and Dumber" is what two bank robbers from Australia have been dubbed for their spectacularly bad judgment, reports The Associated Press. While relieving Vail’s WestStar Bank of $132,000, the 19-year-olds wore ski jackets with badges from their jobs at a Vail ski shop. Their Aussie accents perked up the ears of bank tellers, and they were caught when they tried unsuccessfully to buy one-way tickets to Mexico the day after the robbery. The Daily Telegraph in Sydney, Australia, found the duo sympathetic: "Obviously, these kids are too stupid to be bad." The men pleaded guilty and will be tried later this summer.

Racing the waters now swiftly rising behind Glen Canyon Dam, in early June, a salvage operation found 57 boats resting in the depths of Lake Powell or on newly exposed sandstone ledges. Salvage operator James Cross told the Salt Lake Tribune that he was astounded by the number of boats that had been deliberately sunk, judging from the holes drilled in their bottoms. In some cases, he said, "people were going too fast and hit a mountaintop. Another boat appeared to have sunk when a four-ton rock landed on it. What happened to those people?" Cross said a submerged aircraft could be seen underwater, and he estimates there "may be as many as 100 sunken craft littering the lake." Cross’ work was hurried, as the reservoir was rising at a rate of up to two feet a day. But before he was through, his boat, the Charity Eden, had the joy of rescuing an exhausted but determined dog that had gone overboard from a houseboat the day before. The dog, Rosie, was paddling madly a half-mile from shore when picked up. It was so tired, Cross said, it just leaned against him as if to say Thanks.

Speaking of thanks, a retired 67-year-old furniture salesman just sent $5,000 to the town of Las Cruces, N.M., because a policeman was kind to him 47 years ago. Robert Garrett told the Albuquerque Journal that when he was 19, he and a friend went "bumming" across the country, only to end up in Las Cruces, dead broke. But instead of busting them for vagrancy, a young cop—whom Garrett remembers as a "real little guy"—spent $3 out of his own pocket to put the teenagers up in a hotel. "I’m not wealthy, but I had enough," Garrett said. "I was going to leave it in my will (to Las Cruces), and I thought ‘Why wait until I’m dead?’" Police officers now working for the town have yet to figure out who that generous officer was in 1958.

Betsy Marston is editor of Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News in Paonia, Colorado (






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