The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988


Dana Douglas in her garden

Dana Douglas, six years old, enjoying another successful crop in her family’s Placitas garden.

Dante Parra with drawing

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 protected areas.”

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 of Placitas.”

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 U.S.

“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

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 (, and a network of seventy-eight local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups. For more information, visit

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” and teens.

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.


Sam Hamilton

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 in costume.

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 more.

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 stories.

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 midnight sky.

• 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 family style.

• 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? Pure flapdoodle!”

• 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 content.

• free-fire zone (1967)—a combat area in which any moving thing is a legitimate target: The free-fire zone is expanding.



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