Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  The Gauntlet

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letters, opinions, editorials

Signpost welcomes letters of all opinions. Letters are subject to editing for length, clarity, libel, and other considerations. Anonymous pen name letters will not be published. Attach your name and contact information. Send to: Signpost, P. O. Box 889, Placitas, NM, 87043 or

re: dead coyotes

Bunny Bowen’s notice in the Signpost’s August, 2015, issue Gauntlet, concerning the occurrence of coyote remains on her property, was insightful and constructive. It made me aware of how dangerous our quick cure responses to pests like packrats can be to the environment. We have the science and technological expertise to lay waste to the ecosystems that surround us. We also have the responsibility not to. Thanks for the heads up, Bunny.

—K. Kallestad

re: call 911

Last month while I was walking along the side of Juniper Road in Placitas, I tripped over a large rock, took a hard fall, and landed on the side of my face. I suffered a deep cut on my left palm, and I was bleeding profusely from my head, palm, arms, and legs. I got up and was standing stunned and in shock at the side of the road.

While I was standing there, three or four cars passed. I know they all saw me, but not one car stopped to offer assistance or to offer to call 911. I walk in Ranchos every day so it is not as if I was a stranger.

Once I regained some presence of mind, I managed to call my wife on my cell phone and she came and collected me and took me to urgent care where I received seven stitches, plus care for multiple cuts and abrasions. We were both amazed at the lack of decency and humanity exhibited by these neighbors who obviously saw me but couldn’t bother to stop to offer assistance.

In this day and age when everybody has a cell phone, there is just no excuse not to stop and at the very least offer to call 911. Next time it could be you.

—Gary W. Priester, Ranchos de Placitas

re: Chinooks

At 5:50 a.m. on Sunday, August 2, we were treated to two low-flying Chinook helicopters flying in tandem right over our casita, well below five hundred feet above the ground. For the past few years we’ve been trying to ask nicely (not always) both Kirtland and Bode Aviation out at Double Eagle to please tell pilots to respect our community regarding military aircraft noise. Chinooks are not based at Kirtland but come from Colorado/Texas bases and have a contract with Bode on the west mesa to re-fuel. So, we are in their direct flight path.

If you are a purist, you agree that our tax dollars pay for this stuff, yet we can’t ask for relief from the noise pollution from these helicopters (and other non-military ones) nor ask for a little respect for our neighborhood peace and quiet.  Chinooks flying below the five hundred foot altitude requirement like the ones this morning do not have the same altitude restrictions that fixed wing aircraft have. Helicopters are allowed to fly at any low altitude they like. Also, the Placitas area on aeronautical charts is not a restricted airspace for any aircraft. To make it so could be done if there is enough community support asking the FAA to consider changing the next sectional aeronautical chart (they are updated every six months). Changes are generally based on population and cultural factors, and as Placitas has grown so quickly, plus we are adjacent to the Cibola National Forest, we might have a shot at this. Contact Ken Hand, ASI-OPS, FAA Albuquerque, 764-1214, or email if you have a complaint regarding those Chinooks.

—Chris Huber, Placitas

Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association

—Chris Daul

The Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association (ES-CA) held its general meeting on August 15. The keynote speaker was Bernalillo Mayor Jack Torres, who spoke about the positive changes taking place in Bernalillo. ES-CA has been meeting regularly with the Mayor to discuss regional issues in the County and how Placitas and Bernalillo can work together. The biggest example of this coordination was the agreement on limiting the time period in which the Fisher Sand and Gravel mine can operate, as well as the other restrictions that were put in place. ES-CA believes that it is important to work with the surrounding towns and areas, such as Algodones, since many of the issues that affect Placitas also affect these areas.

The meeting also dealt with discussing the major issues we are facing, such as the disposition of the Buffalo Tract of the BLM land, proposed future mining in the area, and the current lawsuit with Lafarge. Also, it was noted that the four district officer positions for the ES-CA board are up for election this year. Any members interested in running for these positions should contact Bob Gorrell at

ES-CA, along with the Las Placitas Association (LPA), jointly crafted a Resolution that was adopted by the Sandoval County Commission at their August 6, 2015 meeting. The Resolution states the County’s opposition to any new mining on the Bureau of Land Management land to the north of Placitas (Buffalo Tract). ES-CA President, Bob Gorrell, along with LPA President Sandy Johnson, and others, met the week earlier with Commissioner James Dominguez and the Sandoval County Administration to construct a document that was satisfactory to all parties. While ES-CA and LPA would have liked even stronger language in the Resolution, both groups were pleased with the actions of the County Administration and the County Commissioners. ES-CA would like to thank Commissioner James Dominguez and County Manager Rios for their help in working to find language that was acceptable to the County and for moving the Resolution through the adoption process.

ES-CA is continuing the fight against any new mining in the BLM Buffalo Tract and is going to be meeting with members of Governor Martinez’s administration to make the argument that mining is an economic detriment to the area. ES-CA’s research has shown that mining has an adverse effect on residential communities and retirement wealth transfer into New Mexico, while providing no tax benefits and very little employment opportunities. Sandoval County adopted a zoning plan that designates the Placitas area for residential development and ES-CA believes that Buffalo Tract would best serve New Mexico as open space.

Enterprise Products, which owns and operates three pipelines that traverse the Placitas area, made a presentation to the ES-CA Board at the last meeting on August 3. ES-CA has been communicating with the three companies that own and operate pipelines in the Placitas area and have already received a presentation from Western Refining. Kinder Morgan is expected to make their presentation at the next ES-CA Board meeting.

Enterprise’s pipelines consist of two pipelines that transport liquid gases and one line that transports refined fuel product. These pipelines are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT), and there are specific regulations that must be followed. However, it remains unclear specifically what oversight exists to ensure regulation compliance and the Federal DOT excludes the PRC’s Pipeline Safety Bureau from any oversight.

Enterprise has an Integrity Management Program, a Damage Prevention Program, and an Emergency Response Plan to insure that the pipelines are properly maintained and any emergency situation is handled quickly. Enterprise has also made a presentation to the Fire Department and has a plan in place to coordinate with them in the event of an emergency. Enterprise can be contacted at The pipelines are monitored 24 hours per day/ 365 days per year and there are automatic shut-off valves along the lines. However, there is always the danger of a leak. The liquid gases are heavier than air and will lie along the ground until they disperse. They are combustible. There are also refined fuel liquids that would seep into the ground. Enterprise would be responsible for all mitigation should a leak occur. Should you observe a leak, call 888-883-6308.

Pipeline safety is an important issue in Placitas. The current pipelines have been in place for some time, and we must all be vigilant in making sure that no one accidently breaches a line. Please call 811 before you dig anywhere in the area. ES-CA will continue to stay in communication with the pipeline companies and insure that they are responsive to Placitans questions.

The next ES-CA board meeting is scheduled for September 14, at the Placitas Fire Station on Route 165, beginning at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend. Visit the ES-CA website at

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