The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


The restored buildings of the mining town of Bland

The restored buildings of the mining town of Bland

SCHS fall program investigates ghost towns

A rare glimpse into New Mexico’s past will be offered this fall by the Sandoval County Historical Society under a grant from the New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities.

Photos and exhibits featuring ghost towns of Sandoval County—Bland, Hagan, Cabezon, Guadalupe, San Luis, and Casa Salazar—will be interpreted by local scholars.

On September 7 at 3:00 p.m. the program at the DeLavy Museum will focus on the towns of Bland and Hagan.

On October 5 at 3:00 p.m. there will be a program on the four villages of the Rio Puerco at the DeLavy House Museum.

On October 19 at 3:00 p.m. a program on all these ghost towns will be held at the Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales.

The program presenters include: Dirk Van Hart, a geologist, whose interest is in relating geology to social history; Nelson Welch, a researcher of the history of Bland; Terry Lamm, a historic preservationist; Nasario Garcia, a noted author and professor emeritus of Highlands University; Anne Shelby Jersig, a writer on the history of New Mexico; and Martha Liebert, who is project director of the grant and archivist for the historical society, and served as librarian for the town of Bernalillo for twenty-three years.

The meetings are open to all at no charge. The DeLavy house is immediately west of the Coronado Monument and east of the Santa Ana Casino. Watch for the Sandoval County Historical Society sign.

Field trips to these almost forgotten ghost towns have been arranged for members of the society. If you would like to become a member, call Martha Liebert at 867-2755.


Corrales Harvest Festival rolls around again

The Corrales Harvest Festival, a special fiesta celebrating the very special and marvelous attributes of this centuries-old agricultural community, takes place in Corrales on September 27 and 28 from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. both days.

Come and enjoy the annual pet parade, take a complimentary hay ride, visit the juried arts-and-crafts show (judging is at noon on Sunday, September 28), enjoy entertainment on two stages, feast at the International Flavors Food Court, take part in the 5K or 10K Fun Run on Sunday morning, taste the best chile at the chile cook-off (also at noon on Sunday) at the Growers Market—and buy some home-grown produce while you are there. Visit the Old Church and enjoy lots of other activities for children and adults. Admission is $2 for adults, and parking is free. For more information, go to


Big goings-on in September at anthropology museum

CANCELED (see notice on home page) Norma Libman’s lecture “The Secret Language of Nu Shu” at 6:30 p.m. on September 4 will bring to her audience a centuries-old secret language used by the women of Hunan Province in China. The women embroidered this language into textiles, which allowed them to communicate with their mothers, sisters, and friends in their home village. Their husbands thought they were only designs on cloth. The free presentation will beheld in the Hibben Center Auditorium.

On September 13 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. the opening of the exhibit “Images of San Ysidro” will be held. The exhibit features santos made by New Mexican santeros and photographs of San Ysidro celebrations by Miguel Gandert. There will be music and refreshments. This exhibit and accompanying programs are part of “Attachments to Place: Land and Water in New Mexico,” an Extending the Reach Grant funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Additional programs are running through the month, as well. For information on programs or the Celebrate Asia! gala, call 277-0196. The Museum Store offers a special 15 percent (25 percent for MMA members) off everything except books. The Maxwell Museum of Anthropology is on University Boulevard just north of Dr. Martin Luther King Avenue.


It’s amaze-ing!

Maize Maze 2003, Rio Grande Community Farms’ sixth annual corn maze, opens Saturday, August 30, at 11:00 a.m. at Los Poblanos Fields Open Space in Albuquerque’s North Valley. This year’s opening day honors the firefighters who helped extinguish the bosque fires; they and their families are invited to attend the grand opening at no charge if they make a reservation by calling 345-4580 or e-mailing

For further information about “A Crane In The Corn Maze” or other farm projects, please call the Community Farms at (505) 345-4580 or visit A picture of the 2001 Rio Rattler maze can be seen at


County withdraws approval of duplex rentals in Placitas

On April 8 the Sandoval County Extra-Territorial Zoning Authority approved the building of twenty duplex townhouse rentals by the developers of Anasazi Trails Subdivision in Placitas. In May, Wayne Connel and four other residents of Trails Subdivision filed suit in district court.

The plaintiffs contended that the approval process was illegal because several steps of the public notification process were incomplete and had not been done in a timely manner. On July 24, after the case was reviewed by county attorney David Mathews, the county decided to withdraw its approval and start the process over again.

Connel said that eighty-two home owners in Trails had signed a petition opposing the duplexes. He said that the duplexes would add traffic and could negatively affect property values and the quality of life in the subdivision.

Anasazi Trails developer Tom Ashe commented, "At this point we are not moving ahead with the townhouse concept, especially if there is a groundswell of opposition. We are sensitive to the neighborhood's concerns."


Park at Farmers’ Market for Wine Festival

Early arrivals to the Bernalillo Wine Festival Labor Day Weekend—August 30, 31, and September 1—will have a chance to park close to the Festival Grounds and, at the same time, support the Bernalillo Farmers’ Market by parking at the Farmers’ Market site. The site is located at the north end of Bernalillo, between the Family Dollar Store and Our Lady of Sorrows Church on Camino del Pueblo. The Market will use the parking fees to gravel its space, which will help to prevent the “goat heads” and mud bog that mid-August’s rain caused.


Typical late afternoon traffic on US 550 between I-25 and NM 313.
This stretch averages 26,600 vehicles per weekday (2001 figures).

Traffic forecast: increasing congestion,
uncertain funding for highways

Bill Diven

A new traffic forecast for southern Sandoval County predicts increasing congestion over the next twenty years with widely scattered money for needed improvements.

Albuquerque metro motorists are already enduring higher traffic peaks of longer duration on roads stretched beyond capacity, according to Metropolitan Transportation Plan 2025. The plan suggests that compact and infill development and better transit by bus and rail would provide only limited relief.

The new study by the Mid-Region Council of Governments looked at $600 million in projects but identified only $220 million in expected money.

“Everyone involved has to deal with the reality of the financial constraints,” said Chris Blewett, MR-COG director of transportation and planning. “The money doesn’t go very far.”

However Blewett is quick to add that the new plan is conservative compared to the last update three years ago when MR-COG was criticized as too optimistic about potential funding. Late in August Governor Richardson optimistically announced an ambitious plan for $1.4 billion in road projects, although bond financing remains to be worked out.

Two unknowns in the 2025 plan are the amount of federal transit funds that might become available and the extent and effectiveness of an Intelligent Traffic System. ITS provides better traffic monitoring and public information so motorists can plan trips and avoid problem areas and times.

“You can say, okay, we want infill development, and that’s great, but it’s not happening, so you have to be realistic,” said Corrales village councilor Laurie Rivera, a member of the COG transportation board. “The only way to address what is obvious, at least to those of us in Corrales, is some way of mass transportation.”

The state department of transportation has announced that it is pursuing federal transit funds for rail commuting. The state also released $1 million each to the DOT and MR-COG for a serious look at beginning commuter rail service from Bernalillo and Belen into Albuquerque on existing tracks and possibly commuter rail between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

The 2025 plan includes two area highway projects: adding a lane each way on I-25 between Bernalillo and a rebuilt Tramway Boulevard interchange in Albuquerque, and a study of US 550 from I-25 across the Rio Grande to NM 528. No projects are listed for NM 165 in Placitas which averages 6,800 vehicles weekdays, and Blewett remarked that a connection from Placitas east to NM 14 that was studied briefly a few years ago never came up.

The cost of upgrading I-25 and the Tramway interchange is estimated at $60 million with no construction funding currently in sight. The recent renovation of the south Bernalillo interchange widened the overpasses for future lanes.

About $500,000 becomes available in 2005 for the US 550 Corridor Study. In 2001 the corridor averaged up to 29,300 vehicles on weekdays, mostly to and from Rio Rancho on the northernmost of metropolitan Albuquerque’s river crossings.

According to Rio Rancho mayor Jim Owen, whose city is growing nearly 5 percent a year, US 550 already is beginning to fail as its capacity tightens.

“If you look at the corridor, Bernalillo commercial buildings are built right up against the highway, and that complicates the issue,” Owen said. “The bridge crossing there is not designed for additional lanes, so it’s not going to be a quick fix.”

An alternate route linked to a Northwest Loop Road around Rio Rancho would require an additional river crossing, perhaps with cooperation from Sandia Pueblo or Santa Ana Pueblo, to reach I-25, he added.

The Mid-Region Council of Governments is a regional planning agency covering Sandoval, Bernalillo, Valencia, and Torrance counties and the town of Edgewood in Santa Fe County. Its governing board is made up of elected officials and staff officers from the local governments.

Metropolitan Transportation Plan 2025 is available for $18.95 from MR-COG. It may also be downloaded free from Copies are available also at public libraries in Bernalillo and Rio Rancho.






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