The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Placitas Recycling Center vandalized

The Placitas Recycling Center, on Highway 165 east of I-25, was broken into a few weeks ago and its SUV was vandalized. The vehicle is used by the center to transport recycled materials to their vendors. One of the doors, the rear window, and wiring were damaged in an apparent attempt to break into the vehicle, perhaps to steal it. “If the SUV had been stolen or made inoperable, we would be out of business,” commented Placitas Recycling Association Board president Len Stephens.

“This is very disturbing,” added board vice president John Richardson, “not only for us but for the community in general. We encourage all Placitas residents to stay alert and to report anything unusual to the police.”

This is the latest problem plaguing the vehicle, which is aging and nearing the end of its useful life. “The SUV is going to need to be replaced very soon,” noted Stephens, “or we won’t be able to continue providing the service we do to the Placitas community. We frankly could use some help.” The association is investigating various avenues for obtaining a replacement vehicle and is appealing to the community for ideas.

The recycling association only receives enough income from recycled materials to cover marginal operating expenses, such as fuel, maintenance, and insurance. All labor is provided by volunteers. “If anyone has a suggestion or a contribution to make, we would like to hear from them,” concluded Stephens. “They can contact me, at 867-3077, or John Richardson, at 771-3383.”

In other news, the Recycling Association has learned that Mt. Taylor Machine is opening a wood-waste collection facility in Albuquerque’s South Valley. They accept wood-waste cutoffs from construction lumber such as 2x4, 2x6, 2x8, etc. The material must be clean and free of resins and glues. No particleboard, plywood, or MDF products are accepted. Mt. Taylor can offer a fifteen- or twenty-yard roll-off container for collection at large-volume job sites, and they will place several forty-yard containers around Albuquerque as centralized collection points. The material will be made into wood pellets for heating applications.

“We are in the business of promoting recycling in our community,” commented Len Stephens. “We take what we can at the Placitas Center and try to let people know where in the region they may be able to take materials we can’t accept.” More information on recycling is available at The Placitas Recycling Center is open every Saturday from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Trash or treasure? Frecycle.

One person's trash can be another person's treasure—that's the premise fueling the New Mexico Freecycle Movement, a fast-growing computer-based group of reusers. Members pass their used and unwanted items to others to keep the stuff out of landfills. “Freecycling” is an online garage sale—without the sale. All items are free, and no trading or swapping is permitted.

Freecycle is a grassroots movement that began in the United States in 2003 and has recently spread to communities throughout New Mexico. Using the Internet, Freecycle members give away and receive items free in their own communities. The goal is to reduce waste and save items from needlessly going to landfills.

“Members can give and get great things for free, in an effort to keep unnecessary waste out of landfills,” said Calvin Ivy, market area manager of Waste Management of New Mexico. “If you’re buying a new home computer and no longer want your old one—but it still works fine—you can offer it up for free to another person or nonprofit. It’s so simple: just post a description or respond to a member’s offer. After that, it’s up to the giver to decide who receives the gift and to arrange a pickup time for passing on the treasure.”

There are several dozen Freecycle communities across New Mexico. Items exchanged range from appliances to furniture to sports and leisure equipment, and can be offered to individual members or even local charitable groups. The only rule is that all items posted be free, legal, and appropriate for any age group.

A local volunteer moderator runs each Freecycle group.

embership in the Freecycle Network is free and if there’s not already a group in your area it’s easy to start one. To find a group near you or for step-by-step instructions about how to start a local Freecycle community, go to

LPA invites you to join in September events

Wildflowers, spectacular open-space views, and the satisfaction of doing good work in places you love are just some of the treats Las Placitas Association has for you this month.

On September 2, join members of the City of Albuquerque Open Space Division for a day out on the Placitas Open Space. We're going to focus on removing an old fence from the interior of the Open Space. We'll meet at the parking lot of the Placitas Mercantile at 8:30 a.m. and carpool to the site from there. We plan to work until 3:00 p.m., but a ride back to the Merc after lunch will be provided for those who need one. See for directions, photos, and link to the Placitas Open Space Master Plan.

On September 9, we'll head up to the Las Huertas Creek Picnic area for a morning of post-Labor Day cleanup in Las Huertas Canyon. This is one of our favorite events—the wildflowers and the meadows will be glorious. Meet at the Placitas Post Office at 8:30 a.m. and we'll carpool up to the picnic area.

These are free events sponsored by LPA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving open space, restoring ailing watersheds, and helping Placitas residents "learn to live like a local."

LPA will provide tools, drinks, and yummy snacks for both of these events. Box lunches may be reserved for the Open Space event—please call Lolly at 771-8020 to specify your choice. To help us plan, please log onto and use the Contact Us link to send an e-mail on how many will be in your group. Computer-less? Leave a message at 771-8020.

Wilderness water-retainting "guzzler"

A wilderness water-retaining “guzzler”

New Mexico guzzlers provide water to wildlife

New Mexico is known for its people, its climate, and its wildlife, including three subspecies of the North American wild turkey: Merriam's turkeys, in the mountains; Rio Grande turkeys, along the river bottoms; and Gould's turkeys, in the state’s extreme southwest corner.

"The availability of water is a major consideration in wild turkey habitat, as well as for other wildlife species in New Mexico," said Scott Lerich, National Wild Turkey Federation regional biologist for New Mexico. "Even desert species of wildlife need a certain amount of water to survive."

Water-retaining structures called guzzlers have been used since the 1940s by state and federal wildlife agencies to improve water availability for wildlife. Ben Galding, with the California Fish and Game Department, was one of the first to design and develop artificial water devices for game birds and other wildlife. He coined the phrase "gallinaceous guzzler," referring to self-maintained man-made watering units for ground-nesting birds and other wildlife.

Through the Guzzlers for Gobblers program, NWTF chapters not only build guzzlers but they plant trees and improve natural water sources.

Since its inception in 1999, the NWTF's Guzzlers for Gobblers program has spent almost $60,000 to create water sources in New Mexico to enhance wildlife habitat that otherwise would be too dry for many species of wildlife. More than $2 million has been spent enhancing water sources in the western states through Guzzlers for Gobblers.

In addition to building new guzzlers, the NWTF recently provided $12,900 to repair one water guzzler on Bureau of Land Management property and two on the Cibola National Forest. Repairs included fencing, rain catchments, pipes, storage containers and drinkers.

For more information about the NWTF, its New Mexico chapters or its Guzzlers for Gobblers program, call 800 THE-NWTF.

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