• This week, I wanted my column to focus on the Asset building ways and pending retirement of Chief Wayne Torpy.
    Chief Torpy is one of those people that the terms, “true gentleman,” and “a man’s man,” comes from.
    Since I moved to Los Alamos, every time a chief retired, or moved on, it has always seemed like big shoes to fill. I believe this time the shoes are pretty gigantic.
    There are some people that only need one name for you to know exactly who you are talking about, like Oprah, you only need “Chief.”
    The Chief is an Asset builder in a variety of ways.
    He was instrumental in getting the skate park here and was rather savvy in the placement location and actually involving teens in the entire process, not just in the lip service.
    He pushes his officers to be their best, in placing on boards and committees, allowing us to get to know more of his people.
    My favorite Torpy story is when we both sat on a local committee. At one point, we were both nominated for the vice chair position by other members on the committee. I almost swallowed my tongue at the thought that there was even a small chance that I would be selected over the Chief.

  • We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who planned and contributed to Corporal Alfred Roybal’s funeral.
    To work with people as dedicated as police officers has always been counted a blessing; one that most in the public never realize until they directly receive the benefit of protection or comfort that comes from their presence.
    On Thursday, we publicly witnessed the manifestation of honor, sacrifice, esteem, and dedication that a unique, and often underappreciated, group of men and women bestow on one of their own and to their family. The demonstration was in the way of full police honors for Alfred who died during the early morning of Aug.9.
    The fellowship that is shared throughout law enforcement, brought police officers from Española, Santa Fe, New Mexico State Police, Taos, Rio Rancho, Albuquerque, and Bernalillo County to pay their last respects with an Honor Guard providing a 21-gun salute, Taps, the Last Call and bagpipes playing Amazing Grace.
    In the spirit of the camaraderie of first responders, the Los Alamos Fire Department was also joined by Española Fire Department to also pay tribute to Alfred and his family with the suspension of a huge American flag between two ladder trucks at the entrance to the cemetery.

  • The Los Alamos Kiwanis Club presented Janali Gustafson with a scholarship recently. Gustafson will be attending Quest University in Canada and will study exercise science and psychology. Pictured from left to right are: Key Club Advisor, Morrie Pongratz, Gustafson, Don Casperson, Kiwanis president, John Gustafson, dad and Sarah Gustafson, mom. Gustafson was selected because of her active service in Key Club, as well as the Captain’s Table, Environmental Club and in particular Los Alamos Youth Leadership for the past four years and spearheading the Los Alamos Wild Day in 2013. Kiwanis meets each Tuesday at noon at Trinity on the Hill Church in Kelly Hall. For more information on Kiwanis, visit their website at losalamos.kiwanisone.org.

  • The Los Alamos Animal Shelter, 226 East Road, 662-8179, has a great selection of adoptable pets just waiting for their forever home!
    New shelter hours: Beginning Monday, the shelter’s hours change to Noon to 6 p.m., Monday thru Friday. Weekend hours will be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    Be sure to check out the website at lafos.org, to get more information about volunteering, adopting and donating. Also check out the Petfinder page for pictures and to learn more about all adoptable pets.
    All adoptable pets are microchipped, spayed or neutered, and up-to-date on vaccinations.
    Bella — Bella is active and friendly — in fact, when she sees someone she likes, she loves to bounce up and down and show off her big floppy ears. She is a little shy initially with strangers, but quickly warms up to friendly human interaction. Bella is good with other dogs and loves going to the dog park. For a personalized introduction, call her sponsor at 412-3998.
    Charlie — This 18-month-old, yellow and white, female Collie/shepherd cross was surrendered when her family moved away and couldn’t take her along. Her two favorite things are hiking and sniffing.

  • The Los Alamos High School Class of 1963 will celebrate its 50th reunion here in Los Alamos October 3-6, 2013. Classmates and their spouses and guests will be able to enjoy a wide variety of activities including a mixer, wine and cheese party, dinner/dance and picnic at various venues around town.

    In addition, tours of Los Alamos and of the Bradbury Museum, a golf tournament, a hike, a bird-watching excursion, lunch at the ski lodge, a memorial for deceased classmates, a tour of the new high school, and of course, the Hilltopper homecoming football game are all on tap.

    In addition to classmates, reunion organizers are interested in reaching out to and inviting teachers of the class era to the event. Anyone who knows classmates or teachers who would be interested in attending may refer them to Dennis O’Mara, class president, at (505) 899-0151. He would also appreciate information on how to reach classmates.

  • The League of Women Voters and UNMLA invite the public to attend a Town Hall meeting 7-8 p.m., Aug. 29 at UNM-LA Lecture Hall, room 230.  The Los Alamos High School Hilltalkers debate team will present pros and cons of the mil levy election question, followed by a presentation by Dr. Cindy Rooney, the new Dean of Instruction for UNM-LA.  She will describe the unique programs offered, the high standings. There will also be a question and answer session, moderated by the League of Women Voters.  

  • The Los Alamos Kiwanis Club presented Allison Rooney with the Jay Wechsler scholarship recently. Rooney will be attending the University of New Mexico and will study neuroscience and biology. Pictured from left to right: are: Brian Rooney, dad, Cindy Rooney, mom, Rooney, Becky (Wechsler) Oertel, Kiwanis President Don Casperson, Kiwanis President and Kiwanis Key Club Advisor Morrie Pongratz. Rooney was selected because of her active service to Key Club since 2009, Natural Helpers, and Café Scientifique. She led and participated in many community activities including helping tornado victims in Missouri and Key Club’s “Soles for Sole” project that sends shoes overseas to needy children. 

  • Manny Overby will tell his bear story, 7 p.m. Aug. 20 at Pajarito Environmental Education Center.
    “Everyone has a bear story or at least has heard a bear story,” Manny Overby said, who is an instructor at the Advanced Training Bureau of the NM Law Enforcement Academy. “Often times these stories are of a brief sighting in the forest or perhaps a camping trip encounter. More and more these stories consist of bears in our neighborhoods, our backyards or digging through our trash.”
    Overby will share his stories of handling hundreds of bears in New Mexico and speak about what to do if encountered by a bear. “Come ready to learn as well as share some of your stories,” Overby said.
    This presentation will include information about bear history, physiology, behavior and myths, so as to better understand bears and what to do if encountered by one. Overby will also talk about human behavior: what we should do and not do, whether living in or visiting bear country.
    All ages are encouraged to attend the presentation, to make themselves more “bear aware.” The program is free and there is no advance registration required. To learn more about the program and PEEC, visit pajaritoeec.org, email programs@pajaritoeec.org or call 662-0460.

  • Los Alamos
    China Moon, 121 Central Park Square
    Date inspected: July 24
    Violations: Two moderate-risk violations. Cutting board has deep groves and must be replaced immediately, need thermometers.
    Status of Establishment: Approved. No follow up required.

    Sombrillo Nursing and Rehab, 1011 Sombrillo Court
    Date inspected: July 24
    Violations: None.
    Status of Establishment: Approved. No follow up required.

    BPO Elk’s Lodge, 1601 Trinity Drive
    Date inspected: July 25
    Violations: One low-risk violation. Food handlers must wear hair restraints. This violation was corrected.
    Status of Establishment: Approved. No follow up required.

    Santa Fe
    Kingston Residence of Santa Fe, 2400 Legacy Court
    Date inspected: July 25
    Violations: None.
    Status of Establishment: Follow up. Approved. No further follow up required.

    Duel Brewing, 1228 Parkway Drive Unit D
    Date inspected: July 26
    Violations: None.
    Status of Establishment: Approved. No follow up required.

    Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza, 100 Sandoval Street
    Date inspected: July 26
    Violations: None.
    Status of Establishment: Approved. No follow up required.

  • Taos artist Mark Gould has been featured prominently in a six-page article in August’s edition of Southwest Art Magazine.

    Gould’s contemporary, vibrant and compelling paintings reflect his out-of-the-box way of thinking, where the boundaries of convention are challenged through vivid landscapes.

    Raised in a small farming community in Iowa, Gould taps into his memories as a child as inspiration before embarking on most paintings.
    Now a Taos resident with his wife, Mary Domito, Gould has always been deeply affected by New Mexico’s landscape.
    Yet, when it comes to his artistic interpretations, he offers imaginative renditions which offer “sensory based experiences” that are transformative.
“Taos has staggeringly beautiful combinations of geology, meteorology, and astronomy,” he said. “Just stand at the Rio Grande Gorge’s edge while a full moon rises above the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the sun sets behind the Brazos, and you will see what I mean.”

    The Southwest Art Magazine by Rosemary Carstens said of Gould: “Gould is achieving growing recognition for his bold approach to interpreting the natural world.”

  • Taos Ski Valley has announced it has opened several new attractions including a new beginner gravity-based flow/cross country trail; a newly designed professional disc golf course; and a brand new High Alpine Playground for children.
    In addition, the resort — named by National Geographic as one of the world’s “25 Best Ski Towns” — will host its first “King of the Mountain Beach Volleyball Tournament” on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.

    “Taos Ski Valley is a great destination for cool temperatures and clean mountain air, especially now that the Carson National Forest is open again,” Alyson Hyder, executive director at TSV Chamber of Commerce said. “Come discover a wealth of summer activities including rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, chairlift rides and full moon hikes in a unique mountain setting.”

    Taos Ski Valley’s new beginner gravity-fed flow trail and cross country trail are free to the public and located around the Pioneers beginner slope.
    The trail is .25 miles of continuous track with multiple rollers and berms, which allow both novice riders to learn new bike handling skills and experienced riders to improve.

  • Santa Fe Indian Market is the ultimate venue for world-class Native art. On Saturday and Sunday, thousands of world-renowned Native American artists, visitors and collectors will come together to celebrate the 92nd annual Santa Fe Indian Market.

    The Santa Fe Indian Market showcases works of art in all varieties of media, along with events and parties that allow collectors to get to know esteemed Native American artists.

    The Santa Fe Indian Market, which draws more than 1,000 artists from more than 130 tribes from across the United States and Canada, showcases traditional and contemporary Native art of the highest caliber and quality. Indian Market Week™, a weeklong celebration of Native arts and culture that began Monday, will precede Indian Market weekend. With an abundance of fine art, famous artists and exciting events, the 2013 Santa Fe Indian Market will be the cultural and artistic event of a lifetime.

    Indian Market offers collectors the unique opportunity to view and purchase stunning pieces of Native artwork in innovative forms of media. In addition, it provides an ideal venue for meeting and celebrating with the artists themselves.

  • As the Los Alamos Public School staff returned for the first day of school, several groups met with the staff as they arrived for breakfast on Aug. 9 at the common room of the new high school building. Steve Watt was there to give out information about the Co-op, and Lisa Wismer and other UNM-LA staff talked with Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard about her ongoing support of the UNM-LA mil levy vote that is coming up in a few weeks. 

  • The Los Alamos County Library System is offering its patrons free “Wowbrary” email alerts that showcase the library’s newest items ordered each week.
    The email alerts feature the latest bestsellers, movies, music CDs, audio books, children’s titles, cookbooks, mysteries, travel guides, health books, science fiction and more purchased by the library.
    It’s so easy to sign up: go to wowbrary.org to sign up or learn more. Emails received each Saturday will list all the new items ordered so the public can place a hold on their favorites right away.
    “This is a great new way to enjoy and use your public library more,” Gwen Kalavaza, Electronic Resources Manager of the Los Alamos County Library System said. “People are truly amazed when they see in one place just how many great new titles we order each week, which they can reserve and borrow at no cost. And we cover all age groups and many diverse interests.”
    Kalavaza notes that the new Wowbrary alerts are convenient and quickly show what’s new, whether an item is checked out, or not at both Mesa and White Rock libraries, all from the convenience of one’s home, work, or computer.

  • At age 20, Chief Master Sgt. Chase Britton has more titles to his name than many achieve in a lifetime. To top it off, after taking his Federal Aviation Administration check ride, a test that determines if a candidate is a suitable pilot, he is a fresh Civil Air Patrol pilot.
    When he was 12 years old, Britton, a Los Alamos native, got his first taste of piloting through the CAP, an auxiliary of the United States Air Force. Though he took a large break in between his first flight and the time he started pursuing his pilot’s license, the passion was always there. In 2011, when Britton was 18 years old, he began taking flying lessons.
    Acquiring a pilot’s license is no easy task, yet Britton described it as an overall pleasurable experience. Prior to the FAA check ride, he was required to take part in 45 hours in the air of which 10 were solo hours, and hundreds of hours on the ground, reading a thick aviation manual and attending classes. Before being able to take the hands-on test, he took a theory test of 60 questions, which was based on lectures, as well as textbook material.

  • The Major General Franklin E. Miles Chapter 229 of the Military Order of World Wars announces Dr. Kevin D. John, Los Alamos National Laboratory Science Program Office.
    John will present a talk about the LANL Isotope Program at the August dinner meeting of the Military Order of the World Wars Chapter 229, 6 p.m., Aug. 20 at the Los Alamos County Research Park, Hot Rocks Java Café.
    The Military Order of the World Wars dinner meetings are open to interested citizens for the dinner and program, or the program only at no cost. The meeting will begin with a social period at 6 p.m. followed by a brief business meeting and dinner at 6:25 p.m. Dr. Johns’ presentation will begin at about 7:15 p.m.
    The Hot Rocks Java Café is catering the buffet dinner entrée, meatloaf. Cost of the dinner is $25 per person. Dinner reservation made is a commitment to the chapter to pay for the reserved dinner. RSVP for the dinner is needed by Sunday.
    Call or email LTC Gregg Giesler AUS Retired, Chapter Commander, 662-5574, g.giesler@computer.org, or Lt. Col. Norman G. Wilson, USAF Retired, Chapter Adjutant, 662-9544, NrmWil5@cs.com.

  • This past weekend, the 2013 Los Alamos County Fair and Rodeo served as an excuse for people to take a relaxing, fun-filled promenade down Central Avenue. The fair, which featured exhibits, arts and crafts, a concert, a parade and, of course, rodeo, brought together crowds of all ages, from little children, to post-grad interns, seniors and everyone in between.

    This year’s theme was “100+ Years of Homesteading,” honoring those that set foot on Los Alamos soil before the lab era. The fair officially began on Friday, with a pool tournament at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Exhibits at the Mesa Public Library were also open that day. The summer concert series featured James Hyland and Joint Chiefs, who put on a mellow show for the County Fair-goers.

    The Saturday morning parade drew big crowds. While people-watching, one could observe every age group present at the event. The parade itself featured local businesses in a fun, carefree environment, which included a giant squirrel and vintage cars. Each participant tried to spice up his or her own march by adding twirls, dances, or just good ol’ large smiles across their faces. The parade was organized by the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce.

  • Stop the presses, hold the phone, and wait just a dog gone minute, where has the summer gone?
    OK, maybe it really isn’t just the summer; it is the last 12 years.
    You see, tomorrow, my husband and I will send our oldest child off to his last first day of school.
    Twelve years ago, it was a lovely day with two younger brothers in tow, as we headed to the doorstep of Chamisa Elementary to Mrs. Becky Sims’ class.
    While a handful of moms celebrated with a noontime margarita party, I found the day sad because from this moment on, life as we know it would change.
    There would be no more midday movies, story times, trips to Santa Fe, or weekday opportunities to do nothing at all.
    I have learned from parents with older children that this year will fly by, at mach speed. I have learned that there is a lot to do and the time that use to drag by will fly.
    Our once former kindergarten students have now become the top dogs or in this case the top ‘Toppers.
    If you are the parents of a child entering kindergarten this year, let me tell you how fast this time is going to go. I don’t just mean the year, but the next 12 years.

  • Los Alamos Sportsman’s Club Young Guns, the club’s youth shooting development program is hosting two raffles to raise funds for activities.
    Young Guns was established three years ago by Mike O’Neill and Rex Crooks, and currently has 28 active male and female members ages eight to 18 years.
    More than a dozen coaches work with the young shooters during practices at the Los Alamos Sportsman’s Club in Rendija Canyon.
    The Young Guns have won state level competitions for the last two years in trap, skeet, five-stand, and international bunker trap.
    Several of them qualified for the Junior Olympic competition at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and one shooter became the female J3 national champion. Funds raised will be used for equipment and travel costs for the Young Guns.
    The first raffle is for an Apple iPad 16 GB Black WiFi. Tickets are $10 each and a maximum of 200 will be sold. Tickets for the second raffle are $50 for three chances at the following three prize packages:
    • Browning A-Bolt rifle in 257 Roberts, and a Mini-A-Bolt in 257 Roberts.
    • Two Winchester S3 shotguns, full size or compact, 12 gauge or 20 gauge, winners choice.
    • Two pistols, Smith and Wesson MP9 and MP22, or a Glock 17 and a .22 long rifle conversion kit.

  • The Los Alamos Animal Shelter, 226 East Road, 662-8179, has a great selection of adoptable pets just waiting for their forever home!
    Be sure to check out the website at lafos.org, for more information about volunteering, adopting and donating, as well as read up on some of the favorite animals and learn more about special needs animals or cats and dogs that are currently in foster care. Also check out the Petfinder page for pictures and to learn more about all adoptable pets.
    Also, Friends of the Shelter would like to thank Don Taylor for taking such beautiful pictures of the shelter dogs.
    All adoptable pets are microchipped, spayed or neutered, and up-to-date on vaccinations.
    Charlie — This 18-month-old, yellow and white, German Shepherd cross was surrendered when her family moved away and couldn’t take her along. Her two favorite things are hiking and sniffing and she’s hoping that a new family will come along for her to give her a forever home with lots of exercise! She will be available for adoption starting Aug. 13.