Sandoval Signpost


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La Farge Gravel Pit

Aerial view of the LaFarge Gravel Pit’s encroachment on Placitas
Photo credit: —Aerial photo by

re: giving up our peace from the skies

V-22 Ospreys, out of Kirtland, flying below five hundred feet at any time of the day, along with increased military training of Chinooks, Apaches, and other unidentified helicopters coming from as far away as the East Coast to refuel on the West Mesa have affected our quality of life here in Placitas.

There is no political mechanism in place to protect Placitas from this, and it’s not going to get any better, folks. The FAA is concerned only with safety issues.

I’m still trying on behalf of all of you who can’t take this in stride to preserve silence. Good luck, me. For those of us who have lived here so very long, it was one thing to give up our peace and quiet as developers scraped off and built on the land, but to give up peace from the skies is another thing, isn’t it? The stars we once saw are dimmed by security lights off newcomer’s homes, San Felipe search lights, and so much else. Our wildlife has been poisoned by people not wanting a bit of inconvenience, which was part of the joy of Placitas living, and in turn, our owls and snakes are dying off. We are urban when only a just few years ago we weren’t.

Lafarge Gravel Pit has expanded. Please look for me at the Merc Flea Market parking lot in the next month as I sit with a high-priced aerial photo showing the expansion of this thing, which was supposed to be shut down a few years ago. It’s not and it looks like it won’t. We can’t control our skies, nor what has happened to Placitas, but we really need to do something about Lafarge. The noise off this thing starts up at 6:00 a.m. for six days a week. Please be a community and ask Sandoval County Planning and Zoning to do something about it.

—Chris Huber, Placitas

Paging through the past—Signpost article reprints from twenty years ago

Placitoons—“Store Wars”

—PJ and the Marz

This is what no one has written about. It’s like certain bodily function: everyone knows, but no one mentions it. What is it? “It” is the fact that we now have two grocery stores in Placitas. Well, we’re going to risk liability, slander, and losing what few friends we have by teleporting this column into the middle of STORE WARS.

On one hand, some Placitonians hunch down in their car seats as they drive by, figuring it’s safer to shop in Bernalillo than to take sides. (No, no, no—this isn’t a feud. There won’t be any shots fired across the road.) Rise up in your seats and enjoy the view.

And, on the other hand, others are shopping at both places, just to be fair. As we see it, if you need eggs, bread, and a newspaper, you would buy the bread and a Sunday paper at one store, cross the street, and at the other store buy the eggs and another Sunday paper. Two papers were fine when it was cold, and the wood burner always needed extra paper. But summer is nearly here. What’s going to happen now?

Well, just like an alien, there are more hands to this. On the third hand, this is the stellar opportunity to see our free market system in action. The competition should be a dazzling extravaganza!

Even though some people think that Placitas is too small for two grocery stores, we here at Placitoons think that this is all a great American drama about to unfold. We’ve set up the lawn chairs, made a heap of popcorn, and we invite you to join us in the newest Placitas drama—”Store Wars.”


After a great store license rolls up into the sky, the scene opens to the front doors of two grocery stores. The signs say, “No more than four students at a time.” Heck, we’ve never needed to buy even one student.

As the days roll by in this epic drama, customers show up with shopping lists at both grocery stores. The parking lots are littered with grocery carts. Inside of both stores, we see security cameras and a customer service desk.

At first there are groups of people arriving at 7:30 at night. On one side of the road, there is a deep ecological discussion group on food and our planet. At the other, there’s a poetry reading where our artists can wax poetic about groceries.

One store holds a Midnight Madness Sale (everything half price looks good to us), while the other holds a twenty-four hour soap sale. Bring in a bar of soap and get one dollar off on your purchase. (All soap donated to clean up the governments. Foreign ones, naturally.)

But why stop there? Why not book signings or grocery signings—“Tonight at 7:30, a General Mills representative will be here to sign your box of Cheerios.”

Or, better yet, let’s not set our sights too low. Let’s make this entire story truly epic. Let’s blast it into the tour guide maps. “See the New Mexico Store Wars, the eighth wonder of the world.”


Look at the meteoric ads we can have: “Darth Vader specials on breath mints.” Outside orbiting banners welcome you saying, “Come aboard the Starship Mountainview.” Once inside, the customer sees little security cameras that look just like R2D2 robots. Each aisle is stocked under a theme. The Helm for necessities like detergents, dog biscuits, etc. Recreational Deck for videos and magazines. Engine Room for sugar, sweets, coffee.

And right on schedule (programs available at the Post Office) Princess Lizzie gets kidnapped by the Interplanetary Terrorists and it’s up to Commander Wayne to find her. Each Placitas neighborhood participates as the Commander searches the far-flung galaxies of Ranchos de Planets, Homestars, West Warp Drive, Telescope Trails, Rocketship Valley, Space Probe Heights, Galactic Gulch, Dome Videos, Indian Flats Force Fields, San Francisco Satellites, and, of course, the Vector Village.... we can have old-fashioned star scenes. You know the kind. They’re in all the movies.

Ah yes, I hear the cash registers ringing until late in the night. Don’t you?


But wait, if we’re that enormous, the next thing you know, Disney Productions will get involved. Property values will go hyper-space. And we’ll have to reroute the road.

You know what all this means? It means no more “running a tab.” We’ll all be taken over by the “professionals.” It will no longer be “The Placitas Signpost.” They’ll probably put in their own people and call it “The Starpost.” Oh no. (Note to editor: We can outrun ‘em, Barb.)

“Shields up,” as you drive between the two.

Next thing you know, what with all the staged shoot outs, we’ll have to drive through at five miles per hour, and that will add ten parsecs to my driving time to work, and then we’ll have another reason for being late...nah, shoot. Forget the whole thing.

So, do you like butter or ghee on your popcorn?

Reprinted from the June 1993 Signpost.

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