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White Rock Senior Center opens

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By Tris DeRoma

Monday marked the first day seniors in White Rock didn’t have to travel to the Betty Ehart Center in Los Alamos for a hot lunch.
The White Rock Senior Center was recently outfitted with a kitchen for the first time in its long history.  It also now has a bigger recreation area.
“This has been a vision for many, many years,” said Los Alamos Senior Services Director Pauline Schneider to the applauding crowd Monday.
The senior center was one of the last projects in the White Rock Master Plan. It was completed this year.
Seniors who sat down for the lunch were treated to fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas and carrots, rolls and fruit cocktail.
Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. weekdays. Reservations are preferred. Reservations can be taken up until 10 a.m. on the day seniors plan to lunch. Lunch is free for seniors 60 or older. Others can attend for $7.50. For now, the best way to make reservations is to visit the center at 133 Longview Drive. Phones are still being installed.
Schneider said that it will be a little bit before the other programs and features of the center are in place.
“We will get our rhythm, where things need to be placed,” Schneider said. “There’s still a few things that aren’t ready to function so we’re pinch hitting a bit. I guess the answer will be from our customers.”
The first customers thought the first lunch wasn’t bad.
“I think it’s great. We’re making some progress,” Daniel Valdez, Sr. said.
They also said they really enjoy the fact that they will no longer have to make the trek up to Los Alamos to get lunch.   
“It’s a new experience. It makes it more convenient. You don’t have to go up at noontime to Los Alamos if you’re a White Rock resident,” said Richard Shaner.
One person who was really excited about the center’s opening was Denny Erickson, the last chairman of the White Rock Master Plan Implementation Committee. Renovation of the center was one of the last projects in the plan that he and the committee oversaw before disbanding. The project took about 10 years to complete.
“This is great,” he said. “This is worth all of the effort over many years. The county and its contract have just done a super job. Having this kitchen right here in White Rock is just a great thing for Los Alamos and the rest of the community.”
Staff said the seniors couldn’t wait to get back
“Everywhere I’d go they’d ask me about it,”  White Rock Senior Center Coordinator Annie Bard said. She joked her trips  to the local grocery store were sometimes more eventful than most.
“We had a wonderful meeting in the produce aisle, and several meetings in the detergent aisle... They were just so anxious to get in. They were ready to be back,” she said.