Sandoval Signpost


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Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association (ES-CA) notes

—Chris Daul

The Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association (ES-CA) Board met on September 14. Dwight Patterson, a board member of Las Placitas Association (LPA), made a presentation about pipeline safety. Dwight proposes a plan to monitor the pipelines for leaks and is working with Sandoval County officials, State legislators, and the State Public Regulatory Commission (PRC). His proposal, which is detailed on the LPA website, would involve the installation of monitoring wells along the length of the pipelines as they pass through Placitas. ES-CA has been working with the pipeline companies to learn about how they comply with all Federal safety requirements and will continue to work with all interested parties to insure pipeline safety and the safety of Placitans

ES-CA and our County officials are also in contact with PRC Commissioner Valerie Espinoza and with Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office, concerning pipeline safety. Since the pipelines are interstate, the Federal government has the authority over their regulation. However, the PRC can, by agreement with the US Department of Transportation, work with the Federal agencies that regulate pipelines. ES-CA is working to coordinate an agreement, which would result in the PRC Pipeline Safety Bureau having more authority over pipeline safety compliance.

Steve Vaughn, of the ES-CA Land Use Planning Trust (LPT), reported on meetings that the LPT had with NM Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela and with the Governor’s Chief Counsel Ritchie to discuss the impacts of mining on Placitas. ES-CA President Bob Gorrell presented a detailed analysis on the negative impact another 850+-acre mine on the BLM Buffalo Tract would cause to the State, County, and Placitas. This paper is posted on the ES-CA forum.

ES-CA is trying to work with the State to insure that no new mining is permitted on the BLM Buffalo Tract. We are asking that the Governor use the full sixty days allotted for review of the Resource Management Plan (RMP), which should be released within the next month, and that she takes into account the negative impacts that mining has on the Placitas area. Check both the ES-CA website and the LPA website for updates on the BLM’s RMP.

ES-CA will be holding elections for district representatives this fall. If any ES-CA members are interested in running for these positions, contact Bob Gorrell at or call 771-9464.

The next ES-CA board meeting is scheduled for October 5, at the Placitas Fire Station, on State Road 165. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. and is open to all.

re: Compassionate hearts

I read Gary Priester’s letter [September, 2015, Signpost] with shock and sadness. I am terribly sorry at the display of indifference he received after his fall on the road. A recent letter in the New Mexican about a similar incident spoke of a far better and caring response. We are capable of so much better, and I believe Gary’s letter will provide an outstanding opportunity to prove this. Thanks.

—Margaret Palumbo, Placitas

re: Keep up the good work, Signpost! Three items of interest to me

1) Kudos to the musical at the Placitas Community Library on August 22: to the volunteers for setting up tables, tents, chairs; to the coordinators; to the musicians; and the emcee. My granddaughter and I enjoyed a grand evening of music and Placitas friends. 2) Kudos to Bernalillo Tire. In my experience over the last several years, I have found it’s well run by office personnel, the employees do a good job and go the extra mile, and their prices are reasonable. 3) When are the potholes on 165 going to be repaired (both directions)? 

 —C. Chazdon, Placitas

re: Nativity scene controversy in Belen

This past August, hundreds attended a rally in support of Belen Mayor Jerah Cordova and the Nativity scene in Theresa Tabet Park. The rally was sponsored by the NM Center for Family Policy (NMCFP), and followed a letter sent to Belen by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, claiming the Nativity display is an unconstitutional violation of “separation of church and state.” Mayor Jerah Cordova said the rally was possibly the largest single-issue rally in Belen’s history.

Mayor Cordova told the crowd, “this Nativity is gonna stay.” NMCFP Executive Director Jonathan Gardner explained that “separation of church and state” has been twisted from a shield to protect expression into a sword to silence it, and encouraged the crowd not to shrink away from exercising their constitutional rights: “If you support this Nativity because it is part of your community… history… faith, you are no less an American.” 

—Jonathan Gardner, Albuquerque

“UFOs” return to New Mexico skies in September and into October

Reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) to the New Mexico Chapter of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) have already exceeded one hundred for 2015, a record number, and are likely to increase further in the coming weeks due to scheduled flights out of the Fort Sumner-based Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF).

“The CSBF planned four flights that began September 1, and will continue into October,” said Paul Garver, MUFON New Mexico’s Assistant State Director. “Three of these have the potential of terminating in western Arizona, so they will be seen by many, many pairs of eyes in New Mexico and elsewhere.”

According to Garver, these particular kinds of flights occur each year around this time and lead to multiple UFO reports to MUFON and elsewhere. “It is understandable given how extraordinarily strange these balloons look at high altitude and in different lighting conditions. They are large, silvery, and slow movers, but they are identifiable.”

If anyone spots these objects, Garver recommends that witnesses visit the CSBF’s website ( and utilize the site’s real-time mapping of the flight to learn more.

What is MUFON? Founded in 1969, MUFON is the nation’s largest and oldest civilian UFO investigative organization. Its goals are to investigate reports of unidentified flying objects, conduct research into the UFO subject, and educate the public about the scope and nature of the UFO phenomenon.

Last year, the New Mexico chapter received 85 UFO reports. This year, as of September, over one hundred have been filed and investigated.

As part of its public outreach and education, the chapter holds monthly meetings in Rio Rancho and Roswell. It also recently announced that the 2015 New Mexico UFO Conference will be held on October 17, 2015, in Rio Rancho. Well-known UFO experts John Alexander, Nick Pope, and Nick Redfern are the featured speakers, and their presentations will center on the Conference’s theme, “What Does the Government Really Know?”

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