Today's News

  • Community Calendar 7-20-16

    Summer Family Evenings: Aparejo Burro Packing System at 6:30 p.m. at the Nature Center. Del Norte Credit Union sponsors this evening of family fun. Cost is $5 for non-member families and free for PEEC member families.
    Nature Yoga at 6:30 p.m. Practice yoga at the nature center with Christa Tyson, where you have a great view of nature. Cost is $15 for non-members and $12 for PEEC members.
    The United Thrift Shop at 2545 Canyon Road is having a half price sale on glassware from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The thrift shop has had an especially nice donation of glassware.

    Gentle Walks from 8:30 a.m. to noon. at the Nature Center. A gentle walk for which the emphasis is on discovery, not mileage gained. Free.

    Fourth Friday Fractals at 7 a.m. at the Nature Center. See fractals in nature as a full-dome planetarium show! Cost is $10 for adults and $8 for children.
    Rockhound Geology Outing: Small Fry Prospect Mine from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Nature Center. Explore an old mining site to find fluorescent deep purple fluorite. Free for member families, $20 for non-member families.

    Young at Heart Hike at 9 a.m. at the Nature Center. Join us on a hike that brings together people of all ages to connect, learn, play, and explore. Free.

  • New laser light show in planetarium

    Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) is bringing all new laser light shows to the Los Alamos Nature Center July 31 through Aug. 7.
    Visitors can choose from up to four different shows each day. Enjoy laser shows choreographed to music as a full-dome experience in the nature center planetarium.
    With 14 laser light shows, there is truly something for everyone. Music fans will love to see how laser light transforms their favorite bands in Laser Rock, Laser Retro, and Laser Vinyl. There are separate shows dedicated to the music of Metallica, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, U2, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, and Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Family friendly offerings include Greek Legends, Laser Magic, Laser Mania, and more. The Laser Light Shows are sponsored by Los Alamos National Bank.
    Tickets are limited. Each show is $6 for adults and $4 for children. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Los Alamos Nature Center or reserved by phone.
    Ticket sales will end 10 minutes before the start of the show. To see which shows are offered on a particular day, please visit our website at peecnature.org, and click on the “Events” tab.

  • LA’s Hsieh Ratliff completes internship with Sen. Udall

    U.S. Senator Tom Udall thanked Los Alamos native Gillian Hsieh Ratliff Monday for her work as an intern in his Washington, D.C., office this summer. During her seven weeks on Capitol Hill, Hsieh Ratliff worked primarily on health-related issues.
    “Gillian has worked on a number of important health policy issues this summer and has been of great help in my Washington, D.C. office,” Udall said. “I hope that she finds her experiences during her internship valuable as she finishes college and begins her career.”
    Hsieh Ratliff said her desire to help others led to apply for an internship in Udall’s office, and that the time she spent in the Capitol gave her a more positive perspective on Congress and the lawmaking process.
    “I’ve learned that it’s hard working on the Hill, and the hours are long, but it is also very rewarding,” Hsieh Ratliff said.
    Hsieh Ratliff is the daughter of Linda Hsieh and Gilbert Ratliff. She graduated from Los Alamos High School, and studies human biology at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, where she will be a senior this fall. She is a member of the Asian Pacific American Coalition. Hsieh Ratliff served as an intern at Los Alamos National Laboratories beginning in 2012.

  • Assets in Action: Keep building assets to change world

    We are hearing a lot of negatives about the Pokémon Go game, but if your kids are old enough and know better, let them play. OK, slather those teens up with sun block because many of them have not seen the sun since school let out. Recently, I saw two adults out walking the routes with their ‘tweens and I was elated.
    Engage, engage, engage – all kids and every time your conscience will allow you. It does have to be in a grand and over-powering way, say “hello,” give a nod, pass a compliment and be on your way. If they are kids you see often, try something different the next time.
    I have said before that you never stop gaining assets, so if young people make you too nervous, pick on someone your own age. Think of the change you might make at work when you say something kind to someone that annoys the stuffing out of you.
    Try someone older, if so inspired by asking if there’s something you can do to help or bring them a small treat.
    One of my favorite things is to tell someone thanks for their service. You can target folks in the grocery store; police officers, firemen, men and women in uniform and of course the young person that bags your groceries.
    Think of people you can say something kind to about the work they do and change the direction of their day.

  • What’s your bedroom worth on Airbnb?

    It’s called the sharing economy, and it’s dismantling our economic models.
    Need a ride? Text Uber to have a driver show up and take you there in his or her own vehicle. Need a vacation rental? Go to Airbnb.com to book everything from a castle to a couch directly from the owner. Need tools, sports gear, photo equipment, garden space? Somebody will rent them to you for a few bucks.
    Last week the city of Santa Fe and the town of Taos reached an agreement with Airbnb to collect lodgers’ taxes from Airbnb hosts, beginning August 1.
    Until now, people renting their homes or mother-in-law quarters or bedrooms have been invisible to the tax man, but traditional hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns pay lodgers’ taxes to promote their areas. This, in fact, was a complaint during legislative Jobs Council hearings last year.
    Santa Fe has an estimated 1,000 short-term rentals operating, even though the local ordinance allowed just 350. The City Different estimated it was losing up to $2.1 million in lodgers’ taxes each year, along with uncollected gross receipts taxes, and hoteliers complained the underground rentals were unfairly competing. Santa Fe now allows 1,000 and requires a permit; violations can mean stiff fines. Santa Fe and Taos city officials look forward to new revenues to help balance the budget.

  • Is romantic, exotic “Land of Enchantment” overlay useful today?

    With her energy, money and international company of luminaries, Mabel Dodge Luhan helped create New Mexico as a romantic ”Land of Enchantment.” By the time Luhan and others wrote in New Mexico Quarterly, Summer 1951, she had been in Taos for 33 years. It is likely her leadership time had passed. Luhan died in 1962.
    (My complete notes from the New Mexico Quarterly are posted at capitolreportnm.blogspot.com.)
    Drawn by romance and exoticness, pilgrims continue to come. In 1980 I met an aspiring poet who couldn’t spell.
    I mock the pilgrims occasionally for their mantra, “I came to New Mexico, saw the sun set over the mountain and found God.”
    Such folks are prone to overlooking the details of paying the bills. Unless, like Luhan, they bring money, such details catch them. Then they return to New York or wherever, mumbling about stupid New Mexicans. Very annoying.
    The sixties brought hippies and communes. In 2013, New Mexico Magazine said that by the late 1960s, the state had 25 communes, “according to one count.” The reception was mixed. One view shows in an essay, “Taos: Hippies, Hopper and Hispanic Anger,” in “Telling New Mexico A New History.” Other perspectives appear in “Scrapbook of a Taos Hippie,” by Iris Keltz, published in 2000.

  • Public input low for new wildfire protection plan

    Few people provided input to the county’s new wildfire protection plan, but officials in charge of the update are comfortable that what they did get was enough.
     Most of the information came from an online survey residents were asked to fill out, said Matt Piccarello, the county’s coordinator for the plan.
    Only 40 surveys were returned.
    “That was our primary method for getting public involvement, since sometimes it’s difficult to get people to show up for meetings,” he said. “They can fill out a survey on their own time.”
    Piccarello and his organization, The Forest Stewards Guild, distributed surveys to many Los Alamos-based organizations, such as the North Mesa Stable owners, The Los Alamos County Open Space and Trails Page, and the Los Alamos County Fire Department’s web page on the county website.
    Piccarello said he’s not surprised that after all that, they only got 40 back. He said that when it comes to planning meetings about plans, that’s usually what happens.
    “To be honest. It doesn’t surprise me. Any kind of community process is like that, unless it’s some very controversial issue,” Piccarello said. “To get people to try and show up for a planning meeting is a challenge.”

  • ScienceFest puts the fun in science

    Even those whose eyes glaze over when someone starts talking science could find something to love at the Los Alamos ScienceFest. Crowds flocking to last week’s event could play with robots, learn what produces the colors in their plasma TVs and challenge themselves on a drone obstacle course.
    ScienceFest, an event produced by Los Alamos MainStreet, has become the county’s signature event. A Los Alamos County Council proclamation declaring July 14-17 as “Los Alamos ScienceFest Weekend” states that “ScienceFest provides an opportunity for the community to take pride in its science heritage, to celebrate its unique relationship between science and creativity, to inspire the next generation to carry it forward, and to celebrate the evolution of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.”
    “It’s an outstanding event with a great organization led by Suzette Fox (MainStreet executive director) and others,” said council Chair Rick Reiss. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for visitors to become acquainted with our community, and for us to show off what a wonderful community we have. Local businesses enjoyed a steady stream of out-of-towners and the community will benefit from the dollars spent here.”

  • LA delegates join GOP Convention

    Two Los Alamos residents are among New Mexico’s contingent of delegates at this week’s Republican Convention. Lisa Shin is an elected delegate and Kelly Benner was chosen as an alternative delegate.
    Shin also has a three-minute speaking slot about midway through Thursday night’s program, which begins at 7 p.m. EDT.
    “I’m thrilled and honored, because I didn’t expect anything like that,” Shin said. “I thought there would be like elected officials. There’s so many people that they could choose from, and for me to be an outsider and unknown, just a layperson, it’s pretty incredible. So I’m pretty excited.”
    Shin has created a website called Korean Americans for (Donald) Trump (ka4trump.com). Shin is second generation Korean American. Her parents migrated to America about 40 years ago and became naturalized citizens.
    “That’s just something I started to try to get my message to Koreans, because I am Korean. And I want to give a positive message that Trump’s economic plan and proposals for job growth and better trade deals, I think these could really benefit the Korean community as well.”
    According to Shin, Asian Americans have historically had low voter turnout. One of her goals with the website is to get them more involved.

  • School renovations in peril

    Possible calculation errors made by the New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority may have knocked Barranca Mesa Elementary out of the running to receive construction funding from the state’s Public Schools Capital Outlay Commission.
    Earlier this year, the Los Alamos School Board chose the school as next in line for needed renovations.
    The school was selected because, according to the board, the district had a better than average chance of getting about $8 million in funding from the state commission. Barranca Mesa was numbered 17 on a list of about 100 schools that had major infrastructure problems.
    The school  has aging and faulty boilers, and leaking roofs. In 2013, the school’s gym roof was blown off by a strong gust of wind. It was later repaired, but it officials took it as a sign that the school needed a total structural overhaul.
    At a recent school board meeting, school officials expressed fears that a key part of the project’s funding might not come through because of the miscalculation. School administration officials learned this when they attended a New Mexico Public School Capital Outlay Council meeting in Santa Fe.