The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988


Lost petroglyphs of the Diamond Tail Ranch


Join the Las Placitas Association for our third annual Diamond Tail Hike on Saturday, October 18. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hike into the environs of the privately-owned Diamondtail Ranch northeast of Placitas to an ancient petroglyph site.

We’ll meet along the Diamond Tail Road (directions below) at 8:30 a.m. and hike approximately two miles to the site. Archaeological experts will be on hand to answer questions on the petroglyphs and the archaeo-history of the area. A chuckwagon-style lunch awaits us at the end of the hike. Admission for the event is $10 per person. Rides close to the site can be arranged for those who don’t wish to make the hike. In addition to these fantastically preserved petroglyphs, the Diamond Tail Ranch features abundant wildlife, pristine water courses, and plenty of challenging hiking terrain.

Wear appropriate clothing, sturdy hiking shoes, a sun hat, and plenty of drinking water. Just in case, bring some rain gear too.

Directions to the hike: Follow NM 165 east, just past milepost 7.0 to a left turn on Camino de Tecolote. Proceed roughly a mile (across Las Huertas Creek) to a right turn onto Diamond Tail Road (watch for the obvious Diamondtail Ranch Sign just after you make the turn). Proceed through the Ranch entrance gate, on past the Diamond Tail Office to the designated parking for the hike along Diamond Tail road (approximately 1.5 miles total).

This event is co-sponsored by Las Placitas Association and Diamond Tail Ranch. Please call 771-2000 to RSVP by Friday, October 10 to reserve your spot on the hike.


Flood on Las Huertas Creek

"An example of the need for flood control on Las Huertas Creek."

ESCAFCA planning meeting date set

The Eastern Sandoval County Arroyo and Flood Control Authority (ESCAFCA) will be holding an informational meeting for the public in Placitas on Saturday, October 11, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church in the Village of Placitas. The meeting will be conducted by the Placitas representatives of the ESCAFCA Board, the agency’s consulting engineer Wilson and Company, and outreach coordinators Griffin and Associates.

The presentation will focus on educating voters regarding ESCAFCA’s proposed drainage and flood control plans for the Placitas area. Sandoval County residents will have the opportunity to vote on the appointment of an ESCAFCA Board and funding of their drainage control plan on the upcoming November 4th ballot. The ballot proposal calls for funding the implementation of the ESCAFCA plan with a County mil levy.

An informational program will be presented followed by a question-and-answer session. This is a valuable opportunity to gain the information you need to make an intelligent choice on funding drainage and flood control in Eastern Sandoval County.

The event is co-sponsored by ESCAFCA and the Las Placitas Association.


Candidates to speak at Optimists’ forum

Not only is it time to vote again, but it’s also time to meet the candidates at the Optimists’ Candidate Forum. Those running for county to federal office will share their views and answer your questions from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 12 at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church.

Candidates for county, state, and federal offices representing southeastern Sandoval County will present their reasons for deserving your vote and respond to audience members’ inquiries.

This is a non-partisan event. All the candidates running for office have been invited.

The forum is open to the general public. Early arrival is recommended, as seating will be limited.

For further information, please contact Suzann Owings at (505) 867-0567.


Friends of Coronado State Monument present Fiesta of Cultures

As part of their coexistence, Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo traditional skills have been handed down through the centuries. On

October 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Friends of Coronado State Monument invite the public to enjoy a “Fiesta of Cultures” on the portal of the Coronado State Monument.

Celebrate Kuaua’s history (1300 to 1600 AD), Coronado’s visit (1540-1542 AD), and the Anglo arrival to the Rio Grande Valley (late 1800s via the Santa Fe Trail). History will come alive during the presentation. Our cultures are so rich, and this event promises to be not only a festive occasion with good food and entertainment, but also a true learning experience through observation of the crafts, habits, and historical traditions of our ancestors.

Coronado State Monument is located on Route 550 about one mile west of I-25. If you wish to visit the Kuaua Pueblo ruins or examine the original Kiva Murals, admission is $3 for adults, free for ages seventeen and under. Otherwise, there is no admission charge for the Fiesta. For more information, call Scott Smith at 867-5351.


Water conservation is working

In a joint project, the City of Rio Rancho and the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer recently completed a water use study to calculate the gallons per capita day (GPCD) water usage of its citizens.

The GPCD calculator shows that for the past five years, the City of Rio Rancho has averaged 150 gallons per capita day. During this same time, the city’s population increased by more than twenty-two thousand residents.

Last year, the Water Conservation Office set a water usage reduction goal of ten percent lower than current use, or 135 GPCD, to be reached within ten years. To reach this goal, the city will be providing water audits to large turf irrigation areas, providing classes on conservation techniques, and conducting educational outreach to after-school programs.

According to the city’s Utilities Division Manager Larry Webb, “Rio Rancho is leading New Mexico water conservation and environmental sustainability efforts by example. Thanks to residents and commercial utilities customers who are using water-conserving techniques, Rio Rancho is conserving precious water today to ensure a healthy water future for New Mexico’s fastest-growing community.”

The GPCD study was conducted with a new software program that calculates GPCD. The Office of the State Engineer’s goal in the study was to implement a system for all state municipalities to measure water use in a consistent format.

The City of Rio Rancho Water Conservation Office provides ongoing outreach to students, residents, businesses, and city government about the importance of water for sustainability for Rio Rancho and its ecosystems.

The Rio Rancho Water Conservation Office also offers rebates for installation of water-saving devices and provides free leak detection and water use audits. At City Hall, the Water Conservation Office supplies free brochures on xeriscape landscaping, along with water saving tips.

Residents can take advantage of rebate programs that reimburse up to $100 for replacement of toilets and washing machines with newer, low-water use models.

Local businesses and city organizations can also request a free water usage evaluation to determine ways to maximize water efficiency and minimize water utility bills.

The Water Wise Demonstration Garden, located at the Veterans’ Monument Park next to the Esther Bone Memorial Library off Southern Boulevard in Rio Rancho, offers a living example of water-efficient plant life and gardening techniques and free advice from master gardeners. For more information, contact the Water Conservation Office at 896-8715.

Groundbreaking in Bernalillo

Mayor Patricia Chavez along with other Bernalillo town officials break ground for the Early Childhood Center.

Early childhood center breaks ground in Bernalillo

Bernalillo Public School District is breaking ground on a new Early Childhood Center which will be located just adjacent to Carroll Elementary school at 301 Calle de Escuela in Bernalillo.

The new facility is approximately 23,150 square feet. The building will house roughly 150 pre-kindergarten students in ten new classrooms, as well as an on-site infant room. The new arrangement will move the current pre-K students out of portables and create a pre-K through second grade campus for Bernalillo Public School elementary students. The new building is slated to open in May 2009. The total project will cost just under $5 million, of which $713,053 were awarded by the New Mexico pre-K program to help fund the building.

Barbara Vigil-Lowder, Superintendent for Bernalillo Public Schools said, “Today marks a giant step forward for Bernalillo Public Schools. National research studies have overwhelmingly shown the importance of early childhood education. I am thrilled that we will finally be able to house our first-class preschool program in the facility the students and teachers deserve.”

Anna Torres, Executive Director of Elementary School Education said, “Moving our children out of portables and into state-of-the-art classrooms is a quantum leap. The range of comprehensive services that we provide to families through our Even Start program has allowed our students and their families to thrive. The new building will make our program even better. By creating a pre-K through second grade campus, we believe we can create a seamless transition from preschool to kindergarten and through elementary school.”


Election guides available soon

The League of Women Voters of Central New Mexico is launching the distribution of the nonpartisan 2008 General Election Voters’ Guide on Tuesday, October 7 at the foyer of the Albuquerque Academy’s Simms Center, 6400 Wyoming Boulevard SE in Albuquerque starting at 5:00 p.m. This publication will have information about more than 120 candidates seeking office in Bernalillo, Sandoval, and Valencia Counties.

The League plans to have the Voters’ Guides available at these and various other locations in Sandoval County: in Bernalillo at the library, the senior center, and the town hall; in Cochiti Lake at the town offices; in Corrales at the village office, the senior center, and the library; in Cuba at the village office, the senior center and the library; in Jemez Springs at the municipal office, the senior center, and the library; in Peña Blanca at the senior center; in Placitas at the senior center and the library, in Rio Rancho at both libraries, the Meadowlark Senior Center, and the Rio Rancho Civic Center; in San Ysidro in the village office; at the seven Indian Pueblo Governor’s offices; and at the Navajo Chapter Houses.

Please call the League office at (505) 884-8441 for more information.



Eastern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (ESCAFCA) Bond Issue on November Ballot

November 4, 2008, voters in Bernalillo, Placitas and Algodones will have the opportunity to approve a $6 million bond issue that will provide flood control and watershed management facilities in Eastern Sandoval County. The Eastern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (ESCAFCA) received funding two years from the New Mexico legislature to study flooding issues in the area. On November 4, voters will determine if ESCAFCA will receive additional funding to remedy the problems uncovered in the last two years.

Flooding is a frequent occurrence in the desert and is New Mexico’s most common natural disaster. Every year for at least 20 or 30 days, there will be enough rainfall to flood part of the middle Rio Grande region. 2006, one of the wettest years in history, recorded six of the top 20 water flows in the history of the state. That summer, the Las Huertas Creek flood damaged major portions of Placitas and Bernalillo.

The summer of 2008 has seen flooding statewide, with Ruidoso being declared a disaster area. FEMA recently declared much of the Town of Bernalillo and Placitas to be in a floodplain. Without flood control, flood activity could further destroy wildlife areas, homes and roads. Additionally, flooding can expose underground utilities or damage above ground utilities leading to even more disasters.

Currently, there is no one entity accountable for flood control in Eastern Sandoval County. As communities have grown, individual flood control authorities have been established. Albuquerque’s was created in the 1960s, Las Cruces in the 1970s and Sandoval County’s in the 1980s. With the tremendous growth in Eastern Sandoval County, now is the time for a flood control authority to be established and funded.

If the bond is passed, it guarantees that building is done responsibly and without causing run-off and increased flooding risks to neighbors. Moreover, ESCAFCA will provide an environmentally sensitive land maintenance program, multi-purpose flood control projects with walking trails and access to natural habitats. All projects will be built in Algodones, Bernalillo and Placitas.

ESCAFCA will be the lead agency in the region and will work cooperatively with other agencies committed to flood control and watershed management including Sandoval County, Southern Sandoval County Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA), the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA), Bernalillo, Algodones and Placitas.

The funding for ESCAFCA and its flood control facilities will be paid for with a mill levy on homeowner’s property taxes. Voters will approve the mill levy every four years. This first mill levy will provide $6 million to build facilities. The cost per $100,000 of ASSESSED property value is $5.49 per month. ESCAFCA will partner with other Federal and State agencies for additional funding to build flood control projects.

Sharing in the responsibility for flood control will add real value to property. It has been well documented that flood control measures and watershed management practices add value by protecting structures from floodwaters. In addition, ESCAFCA prevents future development of lands within the floodplain, thus reducing the likelihood that future homes will be exposed to flood damage.

Many of the infrastructure options that ESCAFCA will construct will allow the opportunity for multi-use recreational and open space areas. These are attractive features that add value to nearby properties and make the community in general more appealing.

ESCAFCA’s mission is to promote the health, safety, prosperity, security and general welfare of the citizens of Eastern Sandoval County in a fiscally responsible manner. The flood control authority will facilitate knowledge of floodplain management, erosion control and environmental stewardship.

For more information on ESCAFCA and the bond issue, go to

The Autumn


As time turns the living colors
To red brown yellow and gold
The clouds will darken
And the winds will blow cold

The birds will fly to the south
And the Tallest peaks will prepare
For the beginning of winter
Is soon to be there

The tepid waters will chill
And the weary willows will sing
The petals of flowers will weather
For their new return in spring

The days are now getting shorter
And the night brings with it a frost
The days of summer are over
But the memories not lost

To me there is nothing like the fall
The beautiful colors that it weaves
On and around the mountains
With the radiance of the leaves.


Roxanne at Wagner's Farm

Roxanne takes visitors on a hayride at Wagner’s Farm in Corrales

Wagner’s Farm


Most people look forward to the end of summer because it means the weather is cooler, the kids are back in school and the holidays are coming. But the Wagner family of Corrales sees it a little differently.

More than a hundred years ago, Augustin Wagner migrated from Germany, bought some land and started a family and a business. Knowing that many people in the then-distant Albuquerque craved fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, he planted an orchard and acres of red, green, and yellow vegetables. Every morning, he picked whatever was ready and trucked it to Albuquerque until he could afford to build a retail market of his own. His farm thrived and so did his business.

Going into the family’s fourth generation, most of Augustin’s grandkids and great-grandkids are now involved in the business. Although the girls prefer to cashier, most of the boys like to get out into the fields. Starting in early spring, they till the soil and plant the seeds. During the growing season, they weed, fertilize, and nurture the developing plants. Then, if the weather cooperates and there’s enough rain, they start harvesting in mid-July and open the landmark Wagner’s Farm Market on Corrales Road. However, as if chiles, apples, corn, melons, and eggplants aren’t enough, their work doesn’t end there.

Knowing that urban development is rapidly spreading across the Middle Rio Grande Valley, the Wagner family members are committed to preserving, sharing, and protecting their agricultural heritage by making their harvests available to others and by offering educational opportunities for anyone interested in learning about farm life. One of the ways they accomplish that is through the Wagner Farmland Experience.

Roxanne Wagner, daughter-in-law of Gus and Arlene Wagner, stated, “We always had a lot of school kids coming out on field trips to the apple orchard and market. The children had fun at the farm but the teachers wanted them to learn more about farming. How do crops grow? What are some of the ways we use them? Was there really a Johnny Appleseed or Kokopelli? You know… that sort of thing. We added a corn maze and pumpkin patch and let the kids run around and pick their own pumpkins. We even did a presentation about agriculture and the history of farming in Corrales. Word got around and everyone, not just school kids, wanted to take part, so we opened the farm to the general public.”

Now in its fourth season, the Farmland Experience includes a hayride, a petting zoo complete with an alpaca, miniature goats, horses and cows, and of course, the pumpkin patch and corn maze. Open every day from September 15 through November 2, kids and adults alike can tour the farm, relax on a fun-filled hayride, pet the barnyard animals, find that “perfect” pumpkin, and get lost in a maze that wanders through ten-feet-high walls of corn. On Saturday nights in October, adventurous souls can walk the maze with nothing more than the stars or a flashlight to guide them out. Wagner’s maze may not be as fancy as some others, but it’s good wholesome fun and a lot better than staying home and watching TV.

Once everyone makes it safely out of the maze, head down the road to the Market and grab a burrito at the Apple Tree Café. Also be sure to check out all the produce such as green and red chile, vine ripe tomatoes, yellow and white sweet corn, melons, all types of squash, plums, several varieties of apples, peaches, green beans, okra, black-eyed peas, cucumbers, jalapeños, all sorts of jams and jellies, and dried ristras. Everything is locally grown and it’s fresher than anything in the grocery stores.

At one time, family farms were the basic unit of our then mostly agricultural economy. Owned and operated by an individual family, they were passed down from one generation to another. Everyone worked together and got involved in one way or another. That’s what family was all about. And that’s what the Wagner family is doing.

Isn’t it nice to know there’s still a place where tradition, hard work, and family values are still honored? Wouldn’t you like to see how it’s done?

The Wagner Farmland Experience is located about one mile north of the Wagner Farm Market on Corrales Road. Open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays in October until 10:00 p.m., admission (not including pumpkins) is $6 for adults and $4 for children. Special school group tours can be arranged by calling Wagner Farms at (505) 898-3903. Hours at the Market are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from mid-July through Thanksgiving. Get there before the chiles run out.







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