Dana Douglas, six years old, enjoying another successful
crop in her family’s Placitas garden.
Student Dante Parra takes part in the wildlife
mural by drawing nature
Placitas Elementary students participate in wildlife mural
Placitas Elementary School fourth- and fifth-grade students are
currently participating in an exciting project that brings together
fine art, wildlife conservation, and environmental protection. The
community mural entitled “Protect our Wildlife Corridors”
is being created on the Placitas Recycling Center wall off Highway
165 in Placitas.
Thanks to the two artists, Laura Robbins and Cirrelda Snider-Bryan,
who are spearheading the mural initiative, the students have had
the opportunity to create tiles that will be included in the next
mural panel which will be installed next May.
Ms. Snider-Bryan, mural coordinator, said, “We really want
to involve the whole community, including parents, teachers, students,
and members of the wider Placitas community in this important wildlife
awareness effort. The fact that the mosaic is on the recycling wall
just adds another wonderful perspective—reminding people to
recycle, which helps protect our environment for ourselves and the
animals whose survival depends on being able to travel in between
Ms. Robbins said, “Since the wildlife corridor runs right
through Placitas, this is a beautiful project that raises awareness
about local wildlife needs and preservation so that this sensitivity
to the animals and their environment becomes part of the culture
Principal Dan MacEachen said, “We are honored to be part
of this community-wide effort.”
The project would not have been possible without the collaboration
of Linda Hughes, Art in the School Coordinator, and sponsorship
by private donors, Diamond Tail, the local wildlife advocacy group
Pathways, the Las Placitas Association, and the Placitas Recycling
Center. For more information, contact Linda Hughes at Placitas Elementary
School at (505) 867-2488.
U.S. Green Building Council launches nationwide
green schools effort
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has kicked off its “Fifty
for Fifty” initiative, working with state lawmakers in all
fifty states to promote green school buildings. The Honorable Mimi
Stewart of New Mexico is one of the state legislators launching
the initiative. The Council’s goal is for every state legislature
in the nation to have its own caucus or working group of lawmakers
advancing green schools for kids. Inspired by the successes of the
Congressional Green Schools Caucus, the initiative will build on
widespread participation in USGBC’s LEED® for schools
program, which has over one thousand green schools registered across
“The first reason for a focus on green building is that buildings
make up forty percent of the energy consumption associated with
greenhouse gas emissions leading to global climate change. The second
and perhaps even more important reason: students learn better and
teachers teach better in green buildings that offer better temperature
control, better lighting, and less toxic air and building materials.
The slightly higher costs of building with green materials and techniques
are quickly overcome by the effect on the environment and learning,”
said the Honorable Mimi Stewart.
As the school year begins, nearly one thousand school buildings
across the nation will have met or are seeking LEED green school
certification, with applications growing at a rate of more than
one per day. For more information, visit www.buildgreenschools.org.
The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization
whose vision is a sustainably built environment within a generation.
Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government
agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Founded in 1993, the
Council has grown to more than seventeen thousand member companies
and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED green building
certification systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry’s
popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org),
and a network of seventy-eight local chapters, affiliates, and organizing
groups. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.
Learning Center: the best-kept secret in Rio Rancho
Looking for a place for your “tween“ or teen to go
after school? A place with computers, homework help, books to check
out, magazines, and weekly crafts or activities? The Star Heights
Learning Center is a satellite of the Rio Rancho Public Library.
It is actually an after-school homework center with nine computers,
a three thousand-plus collection of fiction and nonfiction books,
biographies, and graphic novels.
The center also has a circulating magazine collection, a reference
section, and space to spread out and do your homework. Every Friday
at Star Heights, there are optional crafts and activities for “tweens”
It is located next to the Star Heights Recreation Center, at 800
Polaris Road, just down the street from the Blake’s Lotaburger
on Unser Boulevard. The center is open Monday through Friday from
2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the school year, and 1:00 p.m. to
5:00 p.m. during the summertime. It serves students from fifth through
ninth grade, but many students who become members continue coming
when they are in tenth and eleventh grade. Yes, the students become
members, but it is free!
The Star Heights Learning Center provides an environment for “tweens“
and teens that is safe, welcoming, and fun. Many of the members
take advantage of homework help from the staff and volunteers at
the center. This is also a free service. In addition, there are
many board games, cards, music CDs, and free document printing up
to ten pages.
If you have questions, you can contact the staff between the hours
of 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at 891-3938.
Student Sam Hamilton dressed as Davy Jones
Placitas Elementary hosts annual fall festival
Placitas Elementary School will be hosting its annual Fall Festival
on Halloween, Friday, October 31. The ever-popular event will be
held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the school, which is located at 5
Calle del Carbon in Placitas. Families are encouraged to attend
There is no admission fee; however, tickets will be sold for games.
Tickets are four for a dollar, for children to pay for the various
games and activities at the Festival. Dinner will be available for
sale in the gymnasium. Festival highlights include a haunted house,
a bean toss, “Go fish,” game booths, a cake walk, and
Principal Dan MacEachen said, “If you are looking for something
to do this Halloween with your kids, this is family-friendly event.
We are delighted to offer the Fall Festival at Placitas Elementary
for the benefit of the whole community.”
The PTO-sponsored project involves many of our students, parents,
and teachers collaborating together to put on a truly “spooktacular”
event!” For more information, contact the Placitas Elementary
School at 867-2488.
October events at the library
The Placitas Library has several activities for children in October.
The Preschool Story Time is now offered twice a month, the first
and third Thursday at 10:30 a.m. The books that are selected are
imaginative and often humorous and interactive. The volunteers who
read the stories may incorporate finger plays or songs with the
The library will again be offering a Bilingual Story Hour once
a month, featuring stories in Spanish and English for elementary
age children. The group will meet the second Tuesday of every month
at 3:00 p.m.
The Kids’ Book Club will meet Tuesday, October 21 at 3:00
p.m. The club is geared for children in grades three through five.
The first book of the year is Legend of Thunderfoot by Bill Wallace.
The club will continue to meet the third Tuesday every month. Each
month, a new chapter book is discussed for all book lovers.
On Saturday, October 25, the library will have a Day of the Dead
Celebration, including crafts, stories, refreshments, and an altar
honoring loved ones. Individuals may bring a favorite item of a
loved one for the altar and share a story from your time together.
• face time (1978)—the amount of time one spends appearing
on television: “…and the 2008 Kim Jong Il Award for
Most Face Time goes once again to North Korea’s Kim Jong Il!”
• factoid (1973)—an invented fact believed to be true
because of its appearance in print: The factoid is one of propaganda’s
most powerful tools.
• falcate (1826)—hooked or curved like a sickle: The
falcate moon hung like a neon fingernail clipping in the cloudless
• family style (1932)—with the food placed on the table
in serving dishes from which those eating may help themselves: On
the Planet Gonk, Crème de Earthling is traditionally served
• fantoccini (1771)—a puppet show using puppets operated
by strings or mechanical devices: “I have grown weary of the
American fantoccini in all its forms: federal, religious, media,
corporate, radical, and gang-related.”
• felicific calculus (1945)—a method of determining
the rightness of an action by balancing the probable pleasures and
pains that it would produce: The current American political dialogue
is an exercise in felicific calculus.
• film badge (1945)—a small pack of sensitive photographic
film worn as a badge for indicating exposure to radiation: “The
platoon has returned from the test site, Major Kaboom, with all
of their film badges melted.”
• finagle (1924)—to obtain by trickery: The king finagled
a war and now his buddies are rolling in looted billions.
• flapdoodle (1878)—nonsense: The candidate pointed
into the lens of the TV camera and barked, “Global warming?
• focaccia (1969)—a flat Italian bread typically seasoned
with herbs and olive oil: Colonel Randolph Carrington Barrington
III of Biloxi was so enamored of Italian bread that he named his
only daughter Focaccia.
• forty winks (1828)—nap: During his REM sleep state,
Willy went bottom fishing and caught forty winks.
• fossorial (1837)—adapted to digging: His love of
jazz was fossorial.
• Four Horsemen (1918)—war, famine, pestilence, and
death personified as the four major plagues of humankind: The Four
Horsemen sat down at the bar and the bartender said, “You
boys look like you’ve been busy.”
• fourth estate (1837)—the public press: The fourth
estate diminishes itself, and it betrays the American people, every
time the TV and newspaper pundits use daily polling data as news
• free-fire zone (1967)—a combat area in which any
moving thing is a legitimate target: The free-fire zone is expanding.