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  Around Town

Dan Gips

Dan Gips floods the garden from the Las Acequias to water the plants.

Juliet Jones

Juliet Jones helps to water the garden.

The Jubilee Garden Project

—Charlotte Lough, Chair Casa Rosa Food Bank

In the spring, Valerie Forbes, a resident of Placitas, called and volunteered to donate a sum of money to support a garden project with clients from Casa Rosa to do the day-to-day work in the garden. Dan Gips agreed to be the general overseer of the garden this year; Juliet Jones, a volunteer at Casa Rosa, offered to organize a workforce of food bank consumers and other volunteers. Betsy Model purchased seeds, plant starts, and supplies from High Country Gardens in Santa Fe, and Juliet purchased plants from High Country Garden in Bernalillo. Max Ellison plowed the garden with his tractor, Dan rototilled, Casa Rosa clients helped develop the rows and planted, and the food bank consumers and other volunteers have been assisting with the watering, weeding, and maintaining of the garden on a regular basis.

When the garden begins to bear fruit, the Casa Rosa clients who have worked on it will be able to harvest the crops. Excess produce will be brought to Casa Rosa for those clients who cannot work in the garden, but still need the fresh produce.

This is truly a community effort, as participants come from Casa Rosa, volunteers at the food bank, church members and friends of the church, and Placitas community members at large. The garden is located across the highway from the church, to the west of the basketball court.

As Casa Rosa serves the Village of Placitas on a weekly basis and the larger community of eligible Sandoval County residents on a monthly basis, there is an ongoing need for support from the community in order for the food bank to remain self-sustainable. The food bank is an outreach of Las Placitas Presbyterian Church (LPPC), but is not included in the church budget. LPPC allows Casa Rosa to use the pink house next door to the church during the week and the fellowship hall on a monthly basis for the Mobile Food Pantry to distribute food.

All of the food and toiletries provided for consumers is ordered through Roadrunner Food Bank’s low-cost food program or donated by congregation and community members. Monetary donations are used to order the food from Roadrunner. Their program offers the awesome opportunity to order on the Nine Times Principle: For every $1 that is donated, $9 worth of food can be purchased; for every $10 donated, $90 worth of food can be purchased; and for every $100 donated, $900 worth of food can be ordered. Each week, Casa Rosa spends an average of $300 to provide for 50 to 60 families. In real money, that allows about $5.45 per family, but with the Nine Times Principle, it comes close to $50 worth of food per family. What Casa Rosa offers to the Village of Placitas helps clients to get by on a fixed lower

What’s happening at the new library

—Anne Grey Frost

The beautiful new Placitas Community Library is full of activity and energy this summer. So many of you have stopped by to see the building and found books, music, and movies that interest you. The children’s Summer Reading Program is brimming with children ages 2-10 every Thursday morning at 10 a.m. Bring your kids, and see what all the excitement is about. Sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge… this year, the adults have started one, too. You don’t want to let the kids win do you??

Summer Reading Program for Adults

The Placitas Community Library is sponsoring an adult Summer Reading Program this year—Catch the Reading Wave! It’s a very informal program, open to all adults 18 and older and will run from now until August 14.

There are no meetings, and no specific books everyone needs to read. Just complete a registration card at the library and start reading whatever books interest you. When you complete a book, ask for the reading logbook at the front desk, find the log sheet with your name at the top, and list the book or books you’ve read. If you don’t want to write the title out, just make a check mark in the appropriate column—Fiction or Nonfiction.

It’s easy and meant to be fun. We want to congratulate the first person to sign up—Alan Aman—and the first person to read five books—Kathy Ervien. For every five books you list on your log, you can place a sticker on the Catch the Reading Wave! poster located near the logbook.

We have over 110 readers signed up so far and are looking for another 100. Come and join in on the fun, and see how many books our adult community can read this summer. Can we beat the kids summer readers?? We plan to have a party for all participants, complete with prizes, in August, so come in, and sign up now. If you have any questions, call Judy at (505) 771-0253, or ask any of the volunteers at the Help Desk.

Collin Meeting Room Available for Your Group

The new library has a meeting room available for use by community groups. The Collin Meeting Room holds up to 50 people and has chairs, tables, LCD player, and screen available. A new podium will arrive soon. To use the room, you must sign up in advance and have the dates and times cleared by one of the directors. The room is available from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. each day. Finally, a place for your group to meet in Placitas! An especially interesting group is starting up on Thursday, July 8 at 7 p.m. The Placitas History Project will meet for the first time. Anyone interested in exploring the history of this area during a variety of periods is invited to join this planning session.

Your Library Needs Your Support

Many Placiteños may not realize that this beautiful new library is supported by community donations—not tax dollars. Yes, we receive some GO bond funds for resources and technology (so when you see a library bond, please support it!), but no money for rent, electricity, phones… all those little expenses that really add up fast. These are covered entirely by your contributions. And salaries… Oh NO… the Placitas Community Library is staffed entirely by VOLUNTEERS, over 50 of us. We love new volunteers and will give you all the training you need. Please call (505) 867-3355, drop by to pick up an application, or fill one out online at

Upcoming Events:

  • Thursdays: 10:00-11:30 a.m.—Children’s Summer Reading Program
  • Monday, July 5: 4:00-5:30 p.m.—PCL Book Group #1
  • Wednesday, July 7 and 21: 1:30-3:30 p.m.—Story Time Yoga
  • Thursday, July 8: 7:00-9:00 p.m.—Placitas History Project
  • Tuesday, July 13: 3:00-4:30—Bilingual Story Time
  • Saturday, July 17: 1:00-2:30—Read to the Dog
  • Wednesday, July 21: 7:00-9:00 p.m.—PCL Board meeting

Library Hours:

  • Tuesdays: 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
  • Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays: 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Placitas History Project

The initial meeting of the Placitas History Project will be held on Thursday, July 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Collin Meeting Room of the Placitas Community Library. The idea for this project was launched a few years ago after a number of people, in casual conversations, expressed an interest in learning more about the history of the Placitas area.

With the opening of the beautiful new library building on Highway 165 and its wonderful meeting facilities, the Placitas History Project is finally getting organized and ready to research and discuss a number of subjects suggested by history buffs in the area. Some of these topics include the ‘60s counterculture and the Hippies who built the communes in and around Placitas, an aerial photo survey of current and past structures in the area, movies filmed in and around Placitas, reports of President Dwight D. Eisenhower driving in a motorcade on Tunnel Springs Road, and stories of the scientists from Los Alamos coming to their favorite restaurant on Camino de San Antonio in the Village.

The Placitas History Project will begin looking into the varied and fascinating activities, adventures, and personalities that have made, and continue to make, the place we call home so special. Everyone who is interested in learning more about Placitas is invited to come on July 8 to share and learn.

If you have any suggestions or questions, contact Bob Gajkowski at (505) 771-0253.

Sandia Vista Amateur Radio Club to hold initial meeting in July

The first meeting of the new Placitas area amateur radio club will be held on Saturday, July 17, at 9:30 a.m. at 310 Camino de las Huertas.

Amateur radio, often called ham radio, is both a hobby and a service in which participants, called “hams,” use various types of radio communications equipment to communicate with other radio amateurs for public services, recreation, and self-training.

Amateur radio operators enjoy personal (and often worldwide) wireless communications with each other and are able to support their communities with emergency and disaster communications if necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of electronics and radio theory. An estimated two million people throughout the world are regularly involved with amateur radio.

In a disaster, emergency, and/or terror attack, amateur radio is recognized as the prime means of communication by Homeland Security, Red Cross, state, county, and city emergency services.

All “hams” and those interested in becoming “hams” living in Placitas are invited to come to this first meeting. The club’s preamble states: “We, the undersigned, wishing to secure for ourselves the pleasures and benefits of an association of persons commonly interested in Amateur Radio, constitute ourselves the Sandia Vista Amateur Radio Club (henceforth SVARC) and enact this constitution as our governing law. It shall be our purpose to provide communication and serve the public/community, especially in time of disaster; to serve as “Elmers”/mentors to future amateur radio operators & those interested in upgrading; and to conduct club programs and activities as to advance the general interest and welfare of Amateur Radio in the community.”

The intention in the formation of SVARC is for members to be duly trained so the club can represent Placitas by becoming an integral part of this network.

SVARC has the call NM5SV.

For information prior to the meeting, call Andy, AE5EA, at (505) 280-6665.

Rail Runner offers first ever Georgia O’Keeffe Anniversary Excursion

On Saturday, July 17, in celebration of both the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s 13th anniversary and the New Mexico Rail Runner Express’ 4th anniversary, a special “O’Keeffe Express” train excursion is planned.

“This is a great way to expand the anniversary celebrations of two of the state’s most recognized attractions,” said Dewey Cave, interim executive director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments. “This anniversary excursion will give people a chance to appreciate the convenience of New Mexico’s commuter train, while taking in a dose of our state’s unique and artful culture.”

For starters, anniversary passengers will begin their journey in Albuquerque by boarding a specially designated train car headed north to Santa Fe. Once on their way, they will be treated to an informative narrative given by O’Keeffe Museum docents, who will talk about O’Keeffe’s life and art, including the artist’s first visit to New Mexico by train. When they arrive at the Santa Fe Depot Rail Runner station at 4:10 in the afternoon, busses will whisk passengers a half-mile to the museum, where they will be greeted with an O’Keeffe/Rail Runner anniversary gift bag and afforded an opportunity to view Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction—the museum’s critically acclaimed O’Keeffe exhibition, which was named to the top-10-of-the-year lists by Time, the New Yorker and Art + Auction Magazine. The evening will culminate with an exclusive courtyard wine reception before a return shuttle and waiting train takes “O’Keeffe Express” passengers back to Albuquerque.

“The Rail Runner has transformed the way people come and visit downtown Santa Fe,” said Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Public Relations Manager Ryan Stark, who is also a regular Rail Runner commuter. “And with the Santa Fe Depot just a few blocks away, the Rail Runner is the perfect way to come visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum from Albuquerque.”

Tickets for this event are $50 (plus ticketing fees) and must be purchased in advance. Tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling (505) 988-1234.

Please Note

Ticket holders should board Train #506 at any station south of the Sandoval County/US 550 Station. This will ensure that they will be on board to hear the full docent presentation.






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