Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  Public Safety

Firewise group learns about fire safety

Firewise presents preparedness workshop

—Jon Couch, Firewise Placitas Steering Committee

“It’s a matter of choice,” said Sandia District Ranger Cid Morgan. “You choose to live in fire-adapted ecosystems. You can choose to be prepared when wildfire strikes, or else stuff jam in your pockets, because you’re going to be toast.”

She was speaking to a group of thirty Placitas residents who turned out for Firewise Placitas’ Emergency Preparedness Workshop on July 27 at the Placitas Community Center.

Dave Bervin, Assistant Chief of the Sandoval County Fire Department, said potential danger exists from wildfires, floods, hazardous material on the highway, pipelines, flying aircraft, and dams. The actual plans for emergency response are not available to the public for security reasons, but the county has many ways to inform residents of emergencies. Bervin suggested investing in a low-cost battery powered NOAA weather radio because the county will air emergency warnings over the local transmitters.

Ready, Set, Go! is another national program that complements Firewise’s techniques for fuels reduction around the house (only it’s for the home itself). Information on both are available at the website or the N.M. State Forestry website.

If an evacuation occurs, the Red Cross is ready to open shelters and to assist with immediate needs. return. Keep basic documentation, water, some nonperishable food, and your prescriptions in your car, and have a solar charger for your cell phone.

For more information on Firewise Placitas, contact or Vicki Gottlieb at 404-8022.

AG warns against flood victim scams

Attorney General Gary King is warning New Mexicans to be wary of scams that falsely solicit funds to help victims of recent flooding here in our state and in neighboring Colorado.

It is fairly common after natural disasters that scam artists begin tugging at heartstrings to entice unsuspecting people to give money to “victims.” Attorney General King’s Office is advising people to be smart about donating by asking questions and guarding their personal financial information.

The AG’s Office is sharing the following simple tips from the Federal Trade Commission:

  • Donate to charities you know and trust. Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events.
  • Ask if a caller is a paid fundraiser, who they work for, and what percentage of your donation goes to the charity and to the fundraiser. If you don’t get a clear answer—or if you don’t like the answer—consider donating to a different organization.
  • Don’t give out personal or financial information—including your credit card or bank account number—unless you know the charity is reputable.
  • Never send cash: you can’t be sure the organization will receive your donation, and you won’t have a record for tax purposes.
  • Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
  • Find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state by contacting the National Association of State Charity Officials.

New Mexicans can report suspected scams to the AG’s office by filing a complaint report or via email at Consumer Complaint forms are available at

Wild Horse Soil and Water Conservation District

—Ty Belknap

The Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District (CSWCD) met twice in September. The antagonism between Gary Miles and the other five supervisors, which has been prevalent since Miles took office in July, continued at both meetings. Miles has filed a complaint alleging violation of the Open Meetings Act by inadequate notice prior to the meeting in June when CSWCD voted in favor of a resolution calling for the removal of free-roaming horses from Placitas. Miles claims that he has been verbally abused and threatened twice. He called the Sheriff’s office to report a perceived threat from fellow Supervisor Lynn Montgomery during an August meeting.

Miles complained that he has been denied access entry to CSWCD office to inspect financial records. He said that he would press charges against CSWCD if not provided with certain public records within a week of the September 19 meeting. Other CSWCD board members have dropped objections to Miles’s videotaping of meetings, as is his right under the Public Meetings Act.

In executive session at the September 3 meeting, the other supervisors decided that even if Miles interferes with CSWCD objectives, they lacked the authority to remove him from the board for “violating his oath of office.”

“Placitas County” advocate Charles Mellon recorded the September 3 meeting when Miles introduced his concept of splitting the district in two to create a new “Wild Horse Soil and Water Conservation District” for the district east of I-25. He claims that most of the CSWCD focus centers on Placitas at the expense of the tribes and other public entities east of I-25.

CSWCD operates the Piedra Lisa flood control dam above Bernalillo east of I-25. Supervisors have been trying for years to work out a cooperative agreement on maintenance and emergency action planning with Sandoval County and the Town of Bernalillo.

Dates and agendas for the twice-monthly meetings, along with other information, will be posted at The public is welcome to attend all meetings. Sandy Johnson, of the Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association and the Las Placitas Association, regularly attends. Bob Johnson (no relation) attended the September 19 meeting out of curiosity. He complained that he was named by the Signpost as a Wild Horse Observers Association (WHOA) plaintiff in the pending case vs. the Bureau of Land Management.

Correction: The September 2013 Signpost erroneously reported Bob Johnson as WHOA co-plaintiff and husband of Sandy Johnson. He is neither. Chuck Johnson is a WHOA co-plaintiff and the husband of Sandy Johnson.

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