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Features

  • The Mountain Elementary School Robotics Team, Project VeX, traveled to Arizona Dec. 1-3 to compete in the Northern Arizona VeX IQ Challenge. Out of 40 teams, they finished 3rd in the skills portion of the competition, an impressive feat for a brand new team.

    Not only was this the first competition for the young team, they were also the only team from New Mexico.
    Mountain’s PE teacher, Tony Hinojosa, lead the budding team of nine 6th grade students (including his son) who met after school every Monday for two hours to work on designing, building, and programming a competition robot. Project VeX, named after the building platform they use, had about seven weeks to prepare before traveling to Arizona to compete against 40 other teams.

    This year, the challenge game was “Ringmaster” and the object of the game was to attain the highest score by successfully placing colored rings on a 4’x8’ rectangular field with posts.

    There were two main categories in the competition: the Teamwork Challenge and the Robot Skills Challenge. Project VeX placed 3rd in the Skills Challenge, which consisted of a driver controlled round and an autonomous round.

  •  “And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside”-Lin-Manuel Miranda.
    Mr. Miranda said these words at the 2016 Tony Awards and I feel it was really a much, needed anthem for the year.

    I see this love shown in many ways and for a variety of people throughout the year. The ladies of Alpha Zeta showed it once again as they saw fit to find volunteers to adopt 80 families with kids in our local schools, for the holidays.

    Kate Stoddard, one of those people you love to be around and her band of merry makers, some husbands and a few children dragged along for fun pulled off the annually impossible last weekend. They transformed the Christian Church into, “Love Central,” preparing for many to feel the love this holiday season. They weren’t even miffed if you showed up a bit late or with something not wrapped yet.

    Ironically for 2016, the ladies with their “sweetness of spirit,” received a Community Asset Award for the work that they do in our community. It was just a small opportunity to let them feel some of that love in return.

    So now, here is my final plea, a chance for you to do a kindness for someone that otherwise we may never know about.

  • United Way of Northern New Mexico would like to thank Metzger’s Do It Best for their generous gift of just over $700 from their successful Small Business Saturday.

    United Way of Northern New Mexico and Metzger’s have been partners since Small Business Saturday began encouraging businesses to donate to nonprofits in 2012. 

    Together, UWNNM and Metzger’s have raised thousands of dollars to support the mission of UWNNM and the people of Northern New Mexico.

  • With the holidays and 2018 approaching, Bandelier National Monument is offering news on upcoming events, both this year and next.  

    First on the list is Winter Solstice, Dec. 21, shortest day of the year and the point on the calendar when the days begin to lengthen again.  Many peoples all over the world recognized the solstices and built markers into structures or found them in the surrounding landscape.

    The Ancestral Pueblo people in Frijoles Canyon may have built parts of Tyuonyi, the large pueblo on the canyon bottom, in alignment with the sunrise and sunset on the Winter Solstice.  Ranger walks will be offered that day to greet the sunrise and sunset and see the possible alignments.  The Sunrise Walk meets at 7:15 a.m. in front of the Visitor Center, and the Sunset Walk meets there at 1:30 p.m.  The times are a reminder that sunrise and sunset happen at different times in the bottom of the 400-foot-deep canyon than they do in the wide-open landscapes on the mesa tops.  No signups are required for these walks, but participants should be sure to dress warmly.  If the sky is overcast, the walks will be held the following day.

    The Visitor Center, book store, and administrative offices in Frijoles Canyon will be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, and the snack bar is closed until March.

  • When a veterinarian uses a stethoscope to listen to your dog’s heart, chances are that the heart will sound normal. However, in some cases, a veterinarian may hear an abnormality such as a heart murmur.

    Sonya Wesselowski, a clinical assistant professor of cardiology at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said heart murmurs are abnormal heart sounds caused by turbulent or rapid blood flow within the heart. In dogs, heart murmurs are usually the result of a leaky or narrowed heart valve.

    Heart murmurs are not always a cause for concern. Wesselowski said that some soft heart murmurs could be normal in growing puppies less than 6 months of age. However, most heart murmurs in dogs do indicate that there is an underlying abnormality of the heart. In some cases, the heart murmur could be caused by a congenital heart defect the dog was born with, or due to a heart disease that develops later in life.

    How can you know if your dog has a heart murmur? Wesselowski said that regular examinations with your veterinarian are crucial for detection of heart murmurs, as a heart murmur itself does not cause any signs or symptoms. Instead, a heart murmur is a finding that suggests a cardiac problem may be present.

  • Paxton is all tail-wagging, toy-squeaking, puppy dog, a kind-hearted American Staffordshire terrier who enjoys a friendly visit with other dogs.

    Rated RTP or “ready to play,” Paxton seems perfectly happy and has plenty of energy, say the folks at the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter.

    He is 13 weeks olds and will be equipped with a microchip very soon. He’s been neutered. He was a transfer from another shelter. Due to his youth, his outlook on cats and other issues are unknown.

    This boy will get big, however, and his exercise schedule should be fully booked.

    Adoption fee is $100. Please contact the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter at (505) 662-8179 or communicate police-psa@lacnm.us.
     

  • Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory released 62 newly declassified videos Thursday of atmospheric nuclear tests films.

    The videos are the second batch of scientific test films to be published on the LLNL YouTube channel this year. The team plans to publish the remaining videos of tests conducted by LLNL as they are scanned and approved for public release.

    LLNL nuclear weapon physicist Gregg Spriggs is leading a team of film experts, code developers and interns on a mission to hunt down, scan and reanalyze what they estimate to be 10,000 films of the 210 atmospheric tests conducted by the U.S. between 1945 and 1962.

    With many of the films suffering from physical decay, their goal is to preserve this priceless record before it’s lost forever, and to provide more accurate scientific data to colleagues who are responsible for certifying the stockpile every year.

    “We’ve received a lot of demand for these videos and the public has a right to see this footage,” said Spriggs. “Not only are we preserving history, but we’re getting much more consistent answers with our calculations.

  • Art exhibits
    House of Eternal Return, Meow Wolf. A unique art experience featuring a wild new form of non-linear storytelling, which includes exploration, discovery and 21st century interactivity. Located at 1352 Rufina Circle, Santa Fe. Call 395-6369 for information. Hours are Sunday through Thursday 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Closed every Tuesday. Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

    New Mexico History Museum and Santa Fe Opera to recognize “Atomic Histories” in 2018 and 2019. The History Museum’s exhibition opens June 3 and will run through May 2019. The History Museum is located at 113 Lincoln Ave. in Santa Fe. Call 476-5200 for information. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, May through October and closed Mondays November through April.

    Taos Art Museum at Fechin House will present a retrospective exhibition of the artwork of painter Walt Gonske, to open at the beginning of the Taos Fall Arts Festival. The exhibition runs through Jan. 7, 2018. Winter hours (through April 30) are Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Summer hours (starting May 1) are Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
    Cooking
    Gluten-Free Holiday baking class from 1:30-5:30 p.m. Friday at the United Church, 2525 Canyon Road in Los Alamos. Cost is $10. Contact the LA Cooperative Extension Service, 662-2656.
    Dance

  • Local residents Janet Harris and Jennifer Jordan tied for first place in the Los Alamos Small Business Saturday GooseChase Scavenger Hunt, and were each awarded $200 in Chamber Checks.

    This year, Los Alamos Small Business Saturday shoppers had the chance to join in some scavenger hunt fun through a smart phone app called GooseChase. 

    “GooseChase scavenger hunts combine the fun of a traditional scavenger hunt with smart phone technology,” said Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation Executive Director Patrick Sullivan. “It’s a great way to give shoppers a fun reason to get around to as many businesses as possible, accumulate points in real-time, and this year’s winners visited some local businesses they didn’t even know existed!”

    The Los Alamos Small Business Saturday Scavenger Hunt opened at 9 a.m. Nov. 25 and closed at 5 p.m. Dec 2. Scavenger hunt participants downloaded the GooseChase app on their smart phones, signed into the “SmallBizSaturday” game, then visited the listed businesses and took pictures of themselves at each location. 

    The photos are submitted through the app awarding points in real-time at each location. Scavenger hunt participants could be in teams or individuals.

  • The New Mexico History Museum and the Santa Fe Opera will each feature presentations exploring New Mexico’s Atomic Histories in 2018 and 2019.

    The History Museum’s Atomic Histories exhibition opens June 3, 2018 and will run through May 2019.

    The exhibition will highlight American artist Meridel Rubenstein’s artwork including two photo/video/glass/steel installations from the traveling exhibition Critical Mass (1993-97) and Oppenheimer’s Chair (1995) commissioned by the first SITE Santa Fe Biennial to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first atomic test.

    “To enhance understanding of the legacy of the Manhattan Project, the New Mexico History Museum is developing an interpretive exploration of our state’s atomic history,” said Andrew Wulf, executive director of the New Mexico History Museum.   

    “Through our extensive collaboration with the Los Alamos History Museum, the Atomic Heritage Foundation, the Santa Fe Opera, Los Alamos’ Bradbury Science Museum and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History,  the New Mexico History Museum will exhibit a wide variety of resources to tell our state’s nuclear story,” said Melanie LaBorwit, Museum Educator.

  • Los Alamos High School dance students invite the public to a special Winter Dance Show Dec. 18.

    The show performance will showcase dance talents of many students who actively participate in the LAHS Dance Club.

    They will create their own dance pieces in a variety of dance styles, such as Hip Hop, ballroom, Latin, swing and Bollywood.
    Students from the local dance studios are also frequent guest-performers in the show, as well as LAHS dance program alumni.

    The free show starts promptly at 7 p.m. and is expected to end at 8:15 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

    The Smith Auditorium is still undergoing construction, so the performance will be held in the auxiliary gym.

  • TODAY
    Luminaria Walk and Buffet at Sombrillo Nursing Facility and Aspen Ridge Lodge, 1010 Sombrillo Court, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Community is invited. No RSVP required. Dinner and Dessert at our facilities. Contact Cynthia Goldblatt, liaison, at 695-8981.
    THURSDAY
    Poet Jon Davis will speak at 7 p.m. at the Mesa Public Library in the upstairs rotunda, 2400 Central Ave., Los Alamos. Davis is the author of six chapbooks and four books of poetry. He has received numerous awards for his poetry, including a Lannan Literary Award, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. He occasionally performs as the peripatetic poet Chuck Calabreze.
    FRIDAY
    December 15 —
Gentle Walk
at 9 a.m. at the Nature Center. A gentle walk for which the emphasis is on discovery, not mileage gained. Free. More information at peecnature.org.

  • Chartwell’s Food Services has rolled into the holiday season with a little help from their friends and family members, as they kicked off their Thanksgiving service with about 400 pounds of turkey, 210 pumpkin pies, an obscene amount of mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans.

    “Service of all the schools during our Thanksgiving Extravaganza was nuts,” said Chef Mia Holsapple. “It was much better than last year when we tried to serve all the schools on the same day, but this year we spread it out over a one-week period.”

    Chamisa Elementary kicked off the first holiday meal with 240 served, followed by Aspen Elementary, which served 720, thanks to a generous donation of meals for the entire student body by Del Norte Credit Union. The middle and high school added the Thanksgiving offering in addition to their regular menu, but estimate about 300 turkey meals between the two schools. Pinon Elementary was on Thursday, with 320 meals and Barranca Mesa and Mountain elementary schools brought up the end of the week with Barranca having 400 meals and Mountain 515. 

  • Serena Birnbaum from Los Alamos has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest and most prestigious achievement in Girl Scouting.

    The Gold Award, which challenges Girl Scouts to make a difference in their communities, is presented to fewer than 6 percent of Girl Scouts each year.

    The award is recognized by colleges and employers.  

    Birnbaum’s project “Choir Risers” addressed the need to support the arts program at Los Alamos High School. 

    The current risers were decades old and rickety. Birnbaum said she “hopes future students benefit from a rehearsal space that is well equipped and conducive to an active learning environment.” 

    “I learned a lot from this project including how important it is to support what you enjoy in life,” she said. “I learned about leadership and what it means to be in charge of a large scale project. This knowledge contributed to my growth as a person and leader because it gave me valuable experience and knowledge that I will use throughout my life.”

    Other Los Alamos awardees include Kaya Loy, Emily McLaughlin, Jaida Connolly, Isabel Meana, Seanna Shedd and Katelyn Tapia. All Bronze awardees, the highest award a junior level team can achieve.

  • This is a such a great time of year for so many reasons, that I thought it might be nice to address some pitfalls, before they take place.

    “Happy Holidays” is a general term of greeting exchanged this time of year. There is no disrespect to anyone involved, it is just a holiday greeting akin to, “have a nice day.” There are so many things being celebrated this time of year and this is the opportunity to embrace them all.

    I enjoyed a commercial I heard recently from KOAT’s Doug Fernandez. He said that he loves the fact that they call it the holiday season because of how long we celebrate. I feel exactly the same way, it starts Oct. 1 with decorating for Halloween and goes for a solid five to six months.

    It really kicks in as Thanksgiving approaches and you can wish everyone happy holidays and cover all of the bases. You can’t tell by sight what someone celebrates, but happy holidays kind of says it all.

    This is the time of year that some people get ruffled that you may seem disrespectful by not saying, Merry Christmas and I say not at all. You are just being respectful of everyone. If you disagree or think you do, then I challenge you to Google, can a non-Jewish person wish someone a Happy Hanukkah? Go ahead, I dare you to do it anyway.

  • USDA Forest Service visitor maps will increase in price from $10 to $14 effective Jan. 1.

    Rising costs of production, printing, and distribution have driven the need for the price increase of the paper and plastic-coated visitor maps, the first such increase in almost a decade. The agency continually updates its maps, seeking to enhance them as well. The Forest Service also expects to shorten the revision cycle as its cartographers continue applying new digital technology to the map revision process. 

    The agency is also working to increase the availability of digital maps, which cost $4.99 per side. Digital maps for mobile applications can be downloaded at avenza.com/pdf-maps/store. 

    As always, forest visitor maps are available for sale at those Forest Service offices in Arizona and New Mexico that currently sell them. 

    Volume purchases are available from the National Forest Map Store and can be ordered at NationalForestStore.com or by phone at 406-329-3024.

    To help offset the price increase for volume sales, discount pricing will now be available to all customers starting Jan. 1.

    Discounted maps are only available when purchased through the NFMS.

  • BY BARBARA CALEF
    League of Women Voters of Los Alamos

    Because the existence of a chromium plume in the regional aquifer below Sandia and Mortendad Canyons has been a source of concern for citizens of northern New Mexico, Voices of Los Alamos asked experts to discuss the problem at a meeting on Nov. 27.

    Danny Katzman is the Technical Program Director for LANL’s chromium project and a hydrogeologist.  Katzman began by saying that he was working on a way to explain the complicated technical project, putting together FAQs (frequently asked questions) for the DOE website. This is now posted at the linkenergy.gov/sites/prod/files/2017/11/f46/Chromium-Project-Fact-Sheet-Fall-2017-FINAL.pdf.

    Katzman explained that chromium occurs in two forms: chromium-3 or trivalent, which is harmless, and chromium-6 or hexavalent, which is toxic to humans. The hexavalent form, which dissolves in water, is used for chrome plating. At the lab it was used to prevent corrosion in the power plant cooling towers from 1956 to 1972. During that time about 160,000 pounds of excessive concentrations were released into Sandia Canyon.

  • The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos will close for winter break from Dec. 22 through Jan. 2.
    There will be no classes or activities, and buildings will be closed.

    Throughout the year, UNM-LA strives to keep the community notified about weather delays, cancellations, closures and emergencies, through the media, the UNM-LA website, and the UNM-Los Alamos Facebook page. Additionally, students, faculty, and staff can sign up for text message LoboAlerts at loboalerts.unm.edu

    The UNM-LA campus, at 4000 University Dr., will reopen on Jan. 3, with classes beginning Jan. 16.

    UNM–LA is an innovative, rigorous and affordable comprehensive branch community college that provides foundations for transfer, leading-edge career programs, and lifelong learning opportunities.