MEDANALES, N.M. (AP) _ What's in a name? Well, here it's generally a misspelling.

This name of this tiny Rio Chama community in northern New Mexico has been misspelled so often the locals do little more than shrug.

Folks who live here sometimes misspell it. So do newspapers. Even the state highway department misspelled it as Medenales on a sign into town. Someone tried to fix the blooper by scrawling an ``a'' over the incorrect ``e.''

Occasionally, someone will try to get the highway sign fixed.

``Especially the newcomers. They say, `That's terrible. Let's fix it.' But the state always gets it wrong,'' Marcy Coronado, local postmaster and historian, said Tuesday in The Santa Fe New Mexican.

So do letter writers. Coronado has seen mail come in to Medenales, Mendanales and Mendales.

The newspaper, in a computer check of its files, found the name spelled correctly 47 times since 1994 _ and misspelled 12.

Coronado's grandfather, Gusevio Martinez, named the town in 1945 because he wanted to establish a post office, she said. The name means ``a sandy place.''