Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

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Diamond Tail

Guided hike at Diamond Tail Ranch

On Saturday, October 3 at 9:00 a.m., meet at the Merc parking lot to carpool to Las Placitas Association’s hike at Diamond Tail. The hike is being dubbed “Discover Petroglyphs on the Ranch.” The hike will be led by volunteer archeologists who are undertaking an extensive chronicling of rock art on the Diamond Tail Ranch.

Participants will drive around to Hagen Road and into Diamond Tail Ranch from the east. From there, they will have about a half-mile hike to the Petroglyphs. Bring plenty of water and your own lunch.


(Left) Karen Beaton-Simmons (ReadWest tutor) and Leticia Morales (ESL student) in our library

ReadWest celebrates twenty years of literacy services

—Margaret M. Nava, Signpost 

Imagine not being able to read the directions on a can of soup, a medicine bottle, or an employment application. How would you function? How would you survive?

The National Adult Literacy Survey of 1992 estimated that fourteen percent of American adults have difficulty in reading, writing, and computational skills considered necessary for functioning in everyday life. Here in Sandoval County, the figure is higher. In fact, more than forty percent of our population tests below the literacy level necessary for two-thirds of all jobs. The inability to communicate in English isolates people from their community, making it hard for them to locate services that might help them. Being unable to read and write makes it impossible for them to advance in their employment and traps them in a cycle of poverty. Their children do poorly in school and are less likely to graduate because they receive little, if any, help at home. It’s not a pretty picture.

Since its inception in 1989, ReadWest, a non-profit literacy agency located in Rio Rancho, has provided more than 3,500 adults with free one-on-one tutoring in basic literacy and English as a second language (ESL) skills. Partially funded by The New Mexico Coalition for Literacy and the United Way of Central New Mexico, the staff and volunteers at ReadWest are committed to increasing literacy skills for adults as the means of achieving basic survival and parenting skills, employability and job skills, citizenship and further education. ReadWest’s Executive Director Will Steinsiek explains how that is done.

“We evaluate our student’s needs, provide group classes, and match students with volunteer tutors to enable our students to reach the goals that they set for themselves—[for example], ‘learn English, read to my child, get my GED, become an American citizen, open my own business‘—these are some of the goals our students have reached for and achieved. The American dream is already theirs. We give them the gift of literacy to help make their dream of full participation in our society a possibility. We give them hope for a better future.”

After fifty years of dealing with functional illiteracy, Marten Griego, a one-time city worker turned dancer and artist, faced his demons and enrolled in the adult literacy program at ReadWest. Inspired and encouraged by his tutor Gordon Suits, he began transcribing the story of his life. Eight years later, his book, Leaving the House of Tears, was published. As the name implies, this book is meant as “a hopeful message of inspiration for other people struggling with adversities, illiteracy, or addictions.” Now a literacy advocate, public speaker, and ReadWest volunteer, Marten says his mission is clear: “To promote literacy and to recognize and thank those who have made literacy organizations possible.”

This year, ReadWest will mark twenty years of providing the gift of literacy to adults in Rio Rancho, Corrales, Bernalillo, and northwest Albuquerque. In honor of the occasion, the New Mexico Book Co-op and ReadWest are working together to present a special Holiday Books and Crafts Fair. Sponsored by Wells Fargo and, the all-day event will take place on November 7 at the Inn at Rio Rancho on Highway 528 and Sara Boulevard. At 10:00 a.m., there will be a free story time for children, conducted by New Mexico children’s book authors including Jill Lane, author of the Oso Bear and Cindy Bear books. At 12:00 noon, Don Bullis, author of New Mexico and Politicians of the Past, will be featured; and at 2:00 p.m., Michael McGarrity, author of theKevin Kerney Mysteries series, will be signing copies of his books. Crafts, arts, and a silent auction will round out this early Christmas shopping opportunity. Later that evening, the celebration will continue with music, cake, and a live auction. Marten Griego will be present to speak about his journey to literacy and the pressing need to raise adult literacy levels. Anne Hillerman, daughter of the late Tony Hillerman, will talk about her new book, Tony Hillerman’s Landscape. Daytime events are free, but tickets for the evening festivities cost $35 and may be purchased online at or by calling (505) 892-1131. All proceeds will go to ReadWest’s Adult Literacy Programs.

The dictionary says literacy is the ability to read, write, listen, and comprehend, but to those who attend classes at ReadWest, it is much more—it is the key to a better life. A recent student said, “I didn’t realize how important getting an education was or how much I needed it just to get a good job. Not just on the job scene but also on the home front. I never thought I would have a child look at me and say, ‘Mom, can you help me with my homework?’ and me have to say ‘I can’t because I don’t know how.’”

If you are unable to attend the Holiday Books and Crafts Fair, consider becoming a volunteer. Free tutor training classes for BL (Basic Literacy) are scheduled in October and March and ESL (English as a Second Language) in February, April, and June. Other volunteer opportunities include cleaning, organizing, babysitting, event planning, gardening, desktop publishing, clerical assistance, and community resource coordination.

For more information, contact Muncie Hansen at (505) 892-1131 or

Vivian DeLara

Vivian DeLara with the adobe house pins, which are Casa Rosa's fundraising project this fall.

Casa Rosa Food Bank celebrates one year of service

—Charlotte Lough, Chair, Casa Rosa Food Bank

On August 29, Casa Rosa Food Bank celebrated its first anniversary. Clients, volunteers, community members, and members of Las Placitas Presbyterian Church (LPCC) were invited to participate in the event, which included food, special music, awards for volunteer service, and special “Golden Chile” awards.

Elizabeth Lyman, Interim Pastor of LPPC, related the history and inception of Casa Rosa, and Judie Hendry and John Bullock sang “Sandia Holy Day“ by John Pitney, as John played the acoustic guitar. A number of certificates of appreciation were awarded to businesses who have contributed to Casa Rosa, individuals who sponsored Mobile Food Pantries, Casa Rosa Board members, and volunteers who dedicated many hours of service to Casa Rosa. Three special “Golden Chile” awards, designed and created by Gene McClain, were given to Ellen Baker, Elsie DeLara, and Diane Williams for significant contributions of time and effort during this first year.

A special recognition board was displayed, noting sponsors of the bi-monthly Mobile Food Pantries, corporate partners who consistently contributed goods to Casa Rosa, and individuals who contributed monetarily.

After the awards, it was time to eat, while one of the Casa Rosa consumers and some of his musician friends played and sang for the crowd. Everyone enjoyed hamburgers, hotdogs, posole, green chile stew, potato salad, and all the other fixings that go along with a cookout. Watermelon was served for dessert, along with cupcakes and brownies. The weather was very cooperative and it was a lovely, successful event, bringing together the clients of Casa Rosa, volunteers, members of the broader community, and LPPC members in celebration of the success of this important outreach to our beautiful Village of Placitas!

Also on sale at the celebration were Adobe House pins, which are the fundraising project for Casa Rosa this fall. The pins were created by “Designs by Lucinda,” a company owned by Lucinda Yates, who was homeless for two years before designing and creating a simple pin in the shape of a house as a fundraiser for the homeless. That was nineteen years ago. Through her designs, Lucinda has helped thousands of nonprofit organizations raise money to create positive change in people’s lives. These pins are on sale in the office of LPPC during the week and after church on Sundays this fall. They will also be available for purchase at the holiday sale the weekend before Thanksgiving. Look for them and do your holiday or birthday shopping, all while supporting Casa Rosa. They make wonderful gifts and are so southwestern! The pins are handcrafted, so each is an original.

Although our economy is slowly recuperating, many are still feeling the stress of the recession. Jobs are still being eliminated as businesses are downsizing to make it through these sparse times and companies are not yet re-hiring. As a sign of this still-recovering economy, Casa Rosa has continued to grow, with several new consumers coming to the food bank each Saturday. This has brought the average number of households that participate every week to fifty. Casa Rosa has remained sustainable so far, but as the need continues to grow, the food bank continues to need the consistent support of the community and LPPC members and friends so that we are able to provide ongoing services to the Placitas residents who utilize the food bank.

Recently, clients, as well as community members, have brought fruits and vegetables from their gardens to share at Casa Rosa. If any of you have produce from your home gardens that you are not able to use, please consider bringing the overflow to the food bank on Saturday morning. Volunteers are there at 8:30 to open up and receive donations, and clients shop the food bank between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon. Some other items that cannot be consistently purchased from the Roadrunner Food Bank low-cost goods include: white sugar, cooking oil, canned fruit, facial tissue, toothbrushes, toothpaste, as well as canned meats such as chicken, tuna, turkey, pork, and beef, for our clients who do not have refrigeration. Any of these items would be greatly appreciated and gratefully accepted.

With the help and support of the LPPC congregation, the Presbytery of Santa Fe, Placitas community members and groups, local businesses, and other corporate sponsors, this first year of Casa Rosa has been an outstanding success. The Food Bank has been able to help meet some of the needs of those in the Village and community of Placitas. All of the volunteer staff appreciate your continued help and support and we look forward to an ongoing partnership with each of you as together we serve the Village of Placitas.

Kelly Horton

Kelly Horton, the reigning Miss Rodeo New Mexico 2010, is hosting a fundraiser to benefit (MRMN) which is a non-profit organization that supports the sport of professional rodeo.

Placitas’s Kelly Horton named Miss Rodeo New Mexico 2010

November 14, 2009 has been set as the date for the Annual Miss Rodeo New Mexico Fundraiser and it will be held at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town. This year’s event will benefit Kelly Horton, who will reign as Miss Rodeo New Mexico 2010. The night’s activities will start at 5:00 p.m. with a meet and greet, followed by dinner, a silent auction, and a live auction which will feature western art donated by New Mexico artists, a Wagon Ride, NFR ticket packages, and ProRodeo Cowboy Memorabilia.

This is the primary fundraising event for Miss Rodeo New Mexico and will set the stage for her upcoming year of travel. Miss Rodeo New Mexico (MRNM) is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote the sport of professional rodeo, the pageant, and most especially the western way of life. With the pageant held in Clovis each June, the girl selected a ‘Lady in Waiting’ has six months to prepare for her year by putting together travel plans and setting up this fundraiser with the help of the MRNM board. She will take over her reign in January and start a busy year off right with an appearance at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. After that, she will continue traveling across America and preparing for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant, held in conjunction with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada in December, where she will vie for the prestigious title.

Kelly Horton was announced this June during the Miss Rodeo New Mexico Pageant festivities, which were held along with the Pioneer Days Professional Rodeo. Kelly is the daughter of Rick Horton and Gene Anderson of Placitas, New Mexico. She is twenty-two years old and recently graduated from New Mexico State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. She has grown up actively involved in the New Mexico horse community, showing Arabians, Quarter Horses, Buckskins, and NRHA. Kelly was also a member of Bernalillo County 4-H, where she was President of Horse Council and held many other leadership positions. As she grew up, she developed her interests in breakaway roping by competing in high school and 4-H rodeos. She represented Sandoval County as Queen from 2006 to 2007 and is currently the Assistant Queen Coordinator. At home, she rides her Quarter Horses in preparation for Ranch Horse Versatility, which she started while competing for the Ranch Horse Team at NMSU.

Kelly is very proud to be a representative for the amazing horse community that New Mexico holds, and looks forward to building friendships with those great and inspiring people who share her love of the western way of life.

For more information on the Miss Rodeo New Mexico Fundraiser and to purchase tickets, call (505) 620.7792 or email RSVP by October 25. For more information on the Miss Rodeo New Mexico Pageant and how you can get involved and compete, visit






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