Fourth Street Revitalization Moving Forward

The Village of Los Ranchos is embarking on an exciting project that will revitalize Fourth Street within the Village from just south of Osuna Road to just north of Ortega Road creating a better place to live, walk, ride, shop, and eat.

While we all love Fourth Street, the Village believes that it can become even more of a "Main Street” for our residents and businesses. During the fall and winter of 2014, we will be working on a Fourth Street Revitalization Project to help us accomplish just that. The renaissance envisioned for the street will improve the quality of the corridor, make it a highly attractive place for people and businesses; help it function better and improve its appearance. Potential changes include drainage improvements, sidewalks, trees, better lighting, and amenities for pedestrians.  

Sites Southwest, the planning firm that was selected by the Village to perform this exciting project, has begun collecting information about Fourth Street, including areas that are dangerous for cars and pedestrians, areas where it is difficult to walk, parking that does not meet current standards, and other items that could be improved. The Village's consultants will be conducting an extensive market study and workshop process with land and business owners along Fourth Street this fall followed by public meetings in the late part of the year. As part of their work, they will also be photographing the street and identifying aspects of the street’s unique character that contribute to the quality of life for Village residents.  

Fourth Street is our most important commercial street; a variety of retail and service businesses, as well as schools and housing are located along it. Fourth Street businesses provide convenient places for residents to shop and find the services that they need, and the street is important to the Village identity.  

The Village needs your opinions as a resident and Fourth Street customer. In this issue of Village Vision, we are asking where you shop, what goods and services are not available in the Village and what improvements would make your experience on Fourth Street better. We appreciate you taking the time to complete the survey.

You can pull out the paper survey in the center of the magazine, fill it out, and drop it off at the Village Hall or mail it to:

Fourth Street Survey
Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque
6718 Rio Grande Blvd NW
Los Ranchos, NM 87107

The survey can also be completed online. Look for the link on the Village of Los Ranchos website, losranchosnm.gov.  Again, thank you for your participation in this important work. Please fill out the survey, and watch for more information about the Fourth Street Revitalization Plan in future issues of Village Vision and on our website.

- Larry P. Abraham, Mayor

Posted on September 3, 2014 .

Welcome Summer in the Village!

The Los Ranchos Grower’s Market is off to a successful start and we wish all the growers a productive and bountiful season. Come out each week and make the Saturday morning market a part of your summer routine. Check the market page for the schedule and list of special events.

Speaking of growers, more specifically, future growers, the Village is hosting a summer farm camp for children ages 5 – 12. The April spring break farm camp was a great success. See the photos and article about spring camp in this issue. We are pleased to be able to use the Agri-Nature Center for such a fabulous program. Consider the Los Ranchos Farm Camp for your children or grandchildren this summer.

As we are all well aware, availability of water is a concern. Whether is be acres of alfalfa, rows of tomatoes or the beautiful trees that line the Village, water is a must. I am sure that most of us have water conservation on our mind. As well, we all probably share a concern for the number of dying trees and drying fields in the Village. There are no easy solutions but we are searching for informational resources on best practices for drought conditions. As we find helpful information, we will pass it along through the Vision.

Regarding the 4th Street Revitalization Planning, in April, we received the completed right-of-way survey and topographical mapping of 4th Street from Schulte Road north to Ortega Road.  At this writing, we anticipate that we will be able to have the planning process underway in early June.

I would like to thank and recognize Bernalillo County. Over the years, we have enjoyed a unique and highly beneficial relationship with the County. Our ties include partnerships in open space, building services, law enforcement, fire and emergency response. The merger of the Los Ranchos Fire Department with that of Bernalillo County has turned out to be a success for both entities. Our relationship with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office continues to be strong and promises to be even stronger with the addition to our staff of Sergeant McCoy. We have designated a portion of the old fire station at Village Hall to the Bernalillo County Fire and Rescue Department for use as a sub-station. The remainder of the building is being used by the Bernalillo County Sheriff to house several SWAT vehicles and the DWI Unit has moved their entire operation to the Village. To the employees and elected officials of Bernalillo County we offer our gratitude for the opportunity to partner with them to the benefit of our residents.

Enjoy the summer and I will see you at the market.

- Larry P. Abraham, Mayor

Posted on May 28, 2014 .

Chocolatier Expanding Shop, tout de suite

By Jessica Dyer / Of the Journal
UPDATED: Monday, April 28, 2014 at 12:20 pm
PUBLISHED: Monday, April 28, 2014 at 12:05 am

Grace Lapsys studied chocolate-making in Canada and France. She and her husband Troy have their own café and chocolate shop in Los Ranchos, (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

Grace Lapsys studied chocolate-making in Canada and France. She and her husband Troy have their own café and chocolate shop in Los Ranchos, (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

Grace Lapsys has a pretty sweet gig – but not too sweet.

She may be in the candy business, but as a French-trained master chocolatier, she doesn’t want to put anyone into a sugar coma. In fact, customers at her Los Ranchos café and shop, Joliesse Chocolates, often comment that her European-style truffles aren’t powerfully sweet.

“The French (style) is not sugary,” Lapsys says as she ladles a creamy concoction behind Joliesse’s seven-seat counter. “It’s very complex. You have a beginning, middle and ending (flavor).”

It’s a taste that clearly has resonated in Albuquerque. Joliesse, just a year old, is already expanding its N. 4th Street operation. The shop is currently quadrupling in size, absorbing two adjacent suites to create a single 1,800-square-foot space.

The growth gives Lapsys more room to craft her truffles ($2 apiece), toffees, chocolate bars, barks and sculptures and to introduce her own line of pastries and desserts.

The extra space also means additional seating for customers who want to savor a snack and hand-crafted drink – hot chocolate, coffee, tea or lattes – and for students in Joliesse’s chocolate-making workshops ($25-50 per person).

“We started out small and tried to keep our overhead as low as possible,” Grace’s husband Troy Lapsys says of Joliesse’s origins. “We’ve had a continuous and strong retail base, and our workshops have gotten much more popular as people became aware of them.”

Grace Lapsys herself honed her craft far away from New Mexico. She was working in the local film industry and logging long days (and weeks and months) in the art department of various TV and movie productions when she realized she needed a major life change.

Having had a longtime love of baking and chocolate – a typical breakfast in her native Philippines was chocolate, sticky rice and evaporated milk – she decided to enroll in a Canadian chocolate school. She traveled back and forth from Canada for three years to study and intern. That led to further schooling in France, where she completed her master training at the Valrhona school.

“All along, the (instructor) would say, ‘Respect the process,’” she recalls.

The training gave her the confidence and know-how to experiment and blend, Troy says.

“It’s getting it to the point where you start to know what’s going to work on a regular basis and being able to create very incredibly non-intuitive flavors that work so well,” he says.

Among Joliesse’s more unusual truffles are a dark chocolate-piñon-smoked serrano chile combo and a white chocolate-rosemary-pinot noir mix. There are more conventional options, too, like Hawaiian sea salted-caramel in milk chocolate and the dark chocolate pecan butter toffee crunch.

Joliesse remains open during its expansion, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday. The owners expect to celebrate a grand reopening in mid-May.

The address is 6855 4th NW. The phone number is 369-1561

Posted on April 29, 2014 .

Los Ranchos Elementary Celebrates a Century of School

Article courtesy of Albuquerque Journal, April 26, 2014

Article courtesy of Albuquerque Journal, April 26, 2014

Woodrow Wilson was president, students were transported to campus in wagons and Los Ranchos Elementary, a three-room building surrounded by dirt, was opening its doors to students for the first time.

Los Ranchos Elementary in 1914, the year it opened.

The year was 1914 and the land for the school cost $300. It was 140 feet wide and 400 feet long.

The school, like society, is almost unrecognizable today, but it still sits in the same spot, welcoming students from nearby North Valley neighborhoods. The school initially served first- through eighth-grade students and teachers were paid $75 a month.

It has had 16 principals since its opening, including Renee Gallegos, the school’s current head. She’s been responsible for organizing and carrying out the school’s yearlong 100th birthday celebration that will culminate in a community party next month. Classes were assigned to research different decades, and the school every month has held an assembly where students present what was happening in the school and the world during that time.

Los Ranchos Elementary is not only physically different than it was a century ago, but expectations for teachers and students have dramatically changed. Dancing back then was not allowed. Teachers were asked to follow instructions outlined in an 1872 document titled “List of Rules for Teachers.” They had to bring a bucket of water and a “scuttle of coal” each day. “Men teachers” were allowed to take one evening a week for courting purposes and two if they went to church. Female teachers had their own set of expectations.

“Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.”

All teachers were encouraged to read the Bible or other “good books” in the evening, and all were discouraged from drinking and smoking so their integrity would not be questioned.

In the early years, Gallegos said the school didn’t even have a cafeteria. The parent-teacher association raised money and literally built the school’s cafeteria, which sits virtually unchanged, in 1947.

Lore Aguilar, who turns 84 today, attended Los Ranchos Elementary in the late 1930s and early 1940s. She remembers packing and eating her lunch underneath some trees where the daily swapping of sandwiches would commence. Peanut butter and jelly for bologna or a cheese sandwich. The school sat between two small grocery stores, and students were allowed to walk there during lunch and recess, she said.

“The school was just one building then,” she said. “They had what they called a baby room and they put me in that. I’m not sure why, but I think it was for people who didn’t speak English. After I learned some English, they moved me to another room.”

Aguilar now lives a mile and a half from her childhood home on Edith and all of her 11 children attended the school.

It’s also a family affair for Esther Leyba, who turns 63 on Sunday. Two of her grandsons are currently students at the school. She said the boys like to ask her about what the school was like when she was there in the late 1950s.

“The building was really different than it is now,” she said. “It was all dirt and we didn’t have a gym.”

Both Aguilar and Leyba rode the bus but, until 1922, students were transported to school in a wagon. The switch from coal to gas heat came in 1949, followed by clocks in every classroom and square-dancing in the auditorium.

Gallegos said today’s school, with an enrollment of more than 300, is nothing like anyone could have imagined. It has multiple buildings, including a gymnasium and an entire wing for kindergarten students. In the beginning, the school had a few teachers and a principal.

But those days are long gone.

There are now 14 teachers, office staff, a librarian, seven special education teachers, a counselor, a reading coach, math interventionist, technology teacher and a PE teacher.

“It’s a lot bigger than its humble beginnings,” Gallegos said. “A classroom back in the day was a chalkboard and some desks. Now we have all this technology we never imagined.”

Posted on April 27, 2014 .

Fourth Street Project Update

Winter is over, the weather is warming, grass is turning green, flowers are blooming, water is flowing in the ditches, and the ducks and geese are paired up which can only mean one thing, it is finally spring time! There are a lot of things going on in the Village, including the opening of our Growers’ Market on the first Saturday in May.

Great things are also in the works for the Los Ranchos business community along Fourth Street. You may have seen some news coverage about the Fourth Street Improvement Project and I would like to provide more detail about what is to come. The Village received a $681,000 appropriation from the State of New Mexico and the Village Board of Trustees has set aside $1,000,000 in the current year for the Fourth Street Project, bringing the total available funds to $1,681,000.

The Village issued a request for proposals for the completion of a right-of-way survey and topographical mapping of Fourth Street from Schulte Road to Ortega Road. Proposals have been evaluated and the Board of Trustees has given approval to award the survey contract to Bohannan Huston, Inc. The survey is expected to be complete by April 18.

The Village also issued a request for proposals for planning the revitalization and redesign of Fourth Street. Bids have been completed and, as of this writing, those bids are still in the review and selection process. The firm chosen will engage the community in a planning process that will consist of seeking input from the property owners, tenants, residents and users of Fourth Street. The firm will conduct a market analysis of the business trade area, develop conceptual/alternative street designs and develop a final recommended street design.

It is anticipated that this planning and design process will take until November of 2014 to complete. We will have regular updates in future issues of this magazine and on our website, www.losranchosnm.gov.

Congratulations to El Camino Dining Room and Sadie's of New Mexico for being honored by the New Mexico Tourism Department and the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau as "New Mexico True Culinary Treasures."

As some maybe aware, Smith's Grocer is proposing to place a gas station at 6310 4th St. We have received a number of calls regarding this project. This property is in the City of Albuquerque. The application and approvals are the jurisdiction and responsibility of the City not of the Village of Los Ranchos. A number of you have asked that we get involved. Historically, with the zoning issues on County and City lands, we have sought to stay informed while recognizing that each entity has its separate rules, regulations and processes. However, there are several concerns that were raised which lead us to get more involved in this application. I appreciate everyone's interest and concerns with this project.

In other news, BCSO Deputy Robin Hopkins visited with us at Village Hall on several occasions. One big improvement is that she has started driving again. Her tenacity and discipline are impressive and she brings light into every room she enters. However, the unknown fate of Robin's leg is amongst the most challenging fears she faces and she still needs our support. Please visit any Bank of America and make a donation to the Los Ranchos Community Trust Fund for BCSO Deputy Robin Hopkins if you would like to help. Cards, notes, and well wishes are always welcome and can be dropped off or mailed to Village Hall.

Finally, remember to join us for our annual Easter Egg Hunt at Hartnett Park on Saturday, April 19, 2014. The whistle blows at 10:00 a.m. sharp, so make sure to get there early. I also look forward to seeing everyone at the market! 

- Larry P. Abraham, Mayor

Posted on April 11, 2014 .

Looking Forward in 2014

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our residents and businesses a happy and prosperous New Year. As a community, we have a lot to look forward to and many things for which to be grateful. I was encouraged by the success of the North Fourth Holiday Stop and Shop and appreciate the support for our local businesses. This year, we will be developing and hopefully finalizing plans for our Fourth Street corridor, as well as our Village Center at Fourth Street and Osuna Road. I feel confident we will see significant progress toward shaping the future of our commercial business district this year. It is vitally important that we get the design correct and that we establish a distinct sustainable shopping and walking corridor that will stand

the test of time and set us apart from other communities. On another note, I am happy to report that the Village is in great financial shape. We, once again, completed our year end audit for FY2013 with a clean bill of health and no audit findings. We have a great staff that is dedicated to serving our residents and businesses and this includes managing the resources of the Village in a prudent manner.

I am also pleased to report that we have entered into an agreement with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office to have a sergeant dedicated solely to the Village of Los Ranchos. Sergeant Matt McCoy is a seasoned Bernalillo County Deputy who is also a long-time Village resident. If you have not had a chance to meet Sergeant McCoy, please stop by Village Hall and say hello. If you have any public safety concerns, he is more than happy to discuss them with you. I encourage everyone to invite Sergeant McCoy to your neighborhood or homeowner association meetings. As a friendly reminder, if you have an immediate cause for concern or an emergency, always dial 911 and tell them you are in Los Ranchos. The non-emergency number for Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office is 798-7000. Sergeant McCoy can be reached by calling the Village Hall at 344-6582.

I also want to take this time to thank all of the donors to Deputy Robin Hopkins’ Trust Fund. I am proud of the fact that our community continues to rally to the deputy's aid. We came together when one of our deputies was involved in a horrific and regrettable shooting. Fortunately, for Deputy Hopkins, the shooting occurred directly in front of Fire Station 30. I also want to, again. take this opportunity to thank all of the first responders, EMS, and firefighters involved in saving Deputy Hopkins’ life. In December, I was honored to present our first responders with the medal of valor at a ceremony that was held at the Los Ranchos Agri-Nature Center.

Our trust fund is approaching $10,000 and we are still accepting donations at Village Hall or any Bank of America branch. Although Officer Hopkins appears in many photos to be on a fast recovery, her brave smile is misleading. She still has several surgeries ahead of her and been told by her doctors she may not be able to put any weight on her leg for a year. She was able to go home at the end of December, however; she has a long road to recovery. Meanwhile, she and her husband are trying to have a normal routine for their two-year-old son. We wish Robin and her family the best of luck and we appreciate her service to the Village.

Again, I wish everyone a Happy New Year. Our doors are always open if you have a concern or question about something going on in Los Ranchos. I look forward to a great 2014 and hope that your 2014 exceeds your expectations. 

- Larry P. Abraham, Mayor

Posted on January 6, 2014 .

Update on BCSO Deputy Robin Hopkins

Deputy Hopkins husband provided the Village with the following information.  This is the first public release of the extent of Deputy Hopkins injuries.  As you can see her recovery is going to be very long and tedious.  Your support of our BCSO deputy will be very much appreciated.

nmdeputy_11216974.jpg

"Deputy Hopkins sustained a single gun shot wound from a high-powered rifle bullet to her left thigh very high up and close to her left hip.  The bullet passes completely through her thigh and close to her left hip.  The bullet passed completely through her thigh and, in the process, shattered her left femoral bone and completely destroyed most of the arterial and venous blood vessels in her left leg that provide blood flow to and from this extremity.  A tourniquet placed by her fellow deputies on her leg stopped the massive bleeding, and BCFD medics from station 30 transported her to UNMH.

Deputy Hopkins has had vascular surgical repair to the arterial and venous blood vessels that could be saved to restore blood flow to her left leg.  She has undergone several surgeries to help treat swelling in her leg and maintain the viability of her thigh and lower leg muscles and has now finally been able to have all the surgical wounds closed.

The broken femur is being managed with a special orthopedic device temporarily to stabilize the broken bone, and she plans to have the final repair of her femur performed within the next few weeks."

Posted on November 19, 2013 .

Supporting All That Contribute To Our Community

As I write this blog post, it is early November in Los Ranchos where these are truly some of the most beautiful days of the year - ones for which we are thankful to live in New Mexico.

I am extending an open invitation to please join me in aiding and supporting the recovery of Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputy Robin Hopkins. As you may know, Deputy Hopkins was shot in the line of duty on Saturday, October 26. She was one of four law enforcement personnel wounded that day. Deputy Hopkins is particularly close to the Village of Los Ranchos as she has, for the past several years, been assigned to the north valley command and spent a great deal of time in the Village handling calls and interacting with our residents. Her caring and professional manner made her standout within our community.

She helped us when we needed her, now she will need our help. We want to give back a little of that care in her time of need. We have established the Los Ranchos Community Trust for BCSO Deputy Robin G. Hopkins at Bank of America. The purpose of the trust is to aid and support Robin and her family through her recovery. As you can imagine, this will be a long and potentially costly process of recovery for Deputy Hopkins.

I invite you to make a donation through any Bank of America location statewide. Just mention the Los Ranchos Community Trust for Deputy Robin G. Hopkins. Be assured that 100% of the donations will go toward Deputy Hopkins recovery and related family expenses. 

Thank you in advance for your generosity and support.

- Larry P. Abraham, Mayor

Posted on November 6, 2013 .