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Features

  • Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service  announced that it has been named a Top Agency of the 2012 HomeCare Elite, a compilation of the top-performing home health agencies in the United States.
    Now in its seventh year, the HomeCare Elite identifies the top 25 percent of Medicare-certified agencies and further highlights the top 100 and top 500 agencies overall.
    Winners are ranked by an analysis of publicly available performance measures in quality outcomes, process measure implementation, patient experience (Home Health CAHPS), quality improvement and financial performance.
    “The 2012 HomeCare Elite winners demonstrate a commitment to providing patient-centered care and serving as leaders in the home health community. Their success offers data-driven proof of being well-managed and high quality care providers to hospitals, managed care organizations, ACOs and other potential referral partners across the healthcare continuum,” said Susan L. Henricks, president and COO of National Research Corporation, the parent company of OCS HomeCare.
    “Again, this year, we updated our methodology to reflect the rapidly evolving quality-focused healthcare landscape and national value-based purchasing trends.

  • Marcus Gutierrez, a senior at Los Alamos High School, was honored as Rotary Student of the Month for October.  Gutierrez is the son of Melinda and Joaquin Gutierrez and brother of Deanna and James.
       The Rotary Club of Los Alamos selects one student each month of the school year to honor as a Student of the Month.  In addition to high school seniors, high school juniors are now eligible for the recognition. Students are nominated by their teachers and chosen on the basis of their academic achievement, extra-curricular activities, and in particular, their service to the community.
       Community service has been an important part of Gutierrez’s academic life. For the past two summers, he has volunteered at the medical offices of Dr. James Ziomek, assisting with office work and minor procedures, as part of a physician-shadowing opportunity. Service trips to orphanages in Honduras and Colorado inspired him to coordinate a school-wide toy and school supplies drive at LAHS, to benefit these children and resulted in the collection of donations large enough to fill seven suitcases.

  • See and learn about reptiles and amphibians of New Mexico from 2-3 p.m. Sunday at Pajarito Environmental Education Center.
    Scott Bulgrin, president of the New Mexico Herpetological Society, will give a talk on New Mexico herpetological fauna, followed by a live animal demonstration and display.
    New Mexico is home to at least 123 species of reptiles and amphibians. The Pajarito Plateau boasts around 30, including 12 species of snakes and 11 species of lizards. Many of these are often overlooked or well camouflaged, so getting the chance to see such seldom seen and wild animals up close can be a treat.
    Some of the critters Bulgrin might bring include a Couch’s Spadefoot Toad, Great Plains Toad, Sonoran Desert Toad, Box Turtle, Painted Turtle, Snapping Turtle, Side-Blotched Lizard, Bull Snake, Glossy Snake, Great Plains Ratsnake and Desert Kingsnake.
    For almost 50 years, the New Mexico Herpetological Society has promoted the scientific study of the state’s reptile and amphibian populations and the recognition of their role in the ecosystem. They educate the public about these unusual and unique animals through field trips, community outreach programs and monthly meetings.

  • The following restaurant inspection reports were provided by the New Mexico Environment Department.

    Española

    Pig Boy Willy
    Date inspected: Nov. 17
    Violations: None
    Status of establishment: Approved, no follow-up required.

    Santa Fe

    Andiamo, 322 Garfield St.
    Date inspected: Nov. 16
    Violations: One moderate-risk violation for contaminated equipment — dishwasher solution is not dispensing into the dishwasher. Temperature, 149 degrees, not adequate for hot water sanitizing. Three low-risk violations, two for floors/walls/ceilings — carpeting is used in the bread cutting area. Few tiles by the hand sink wall are missing. Seal. Remove carpeting around this area of dining room, where loaves of bread are sliced. Remove within three months. One violation for ventilation/lighting — light bulb in walk-in cooler does not have cover. Corrected during inspection.
    Status of establishment: Approved

    Casa Real, 1650 Galisteo St.
    Date inspected: Nov. 19, opening

  • The 2012 public ceremony at the Rotunda of the New Mexico State Capitol in Santa Fe, will be at 10 a.m. Dec. 10 to honor all who have served in the nation’s military.  
    A wreath donated to the people of New Mexico by the Worcester Wreath Company, will be presented and remain on display through December. The event is celebrated simultaneously at other state capitols across the country and marks the hour that Wreaths-Across-America begins its annual transport of  gravesite wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
    The state wreath is three-feet in diameter, made from Balsam Fir and displays flags representing each of the branches of the military, as well as POW/MIA designated service members. An invitation  is extended to members of those branches to attend and be recognized during the ceremony.  
    The mission of Wreaths-Across-America is summed up in its motto: “Remember, Honor, and Teach.” The Stephen Watts Kearny Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, invites the public to join them in this national event.  More information about Wreaths-Across-America can be found at wreathsacrossamerica.org/.
    For information about the ceremony at the Rotunda, contact Judy Reed at pandjreed@comcast.net or 986-1048.

  • Join Pajarito Environmental Education Center from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday for a winter hike to Ancho Rapids and the Red Dot Trail in White Rock. Paul Arendt, local hiker and outdoor enthusiast, will lead this moderately difficult day hike.
    This one-way hike can be a perfect outing for a winter day, since in the summer, the trails are often too hot.  
    In order to have a shuttle from the end point back to the beginning, hikers will meet at the bottom of Piedra Loop, at the parking area for the Red Dot Trail, then carpool to a parking area about three miles south of White Rock. From this second parking area, the hike will proceed eastward, eventually dropping in to Ancho Canyon.  
    Ancho Canyon terminates at Ancho Rapids in the Rio Grande, where there are some rock formations to observe.
    Hikers will rest and eat an early lunch at the rapids before continuing north along the route, which parallels the rio. They’ll be able to enjoy another rest stop at the waterfall near the bottom of the Red Dot Trail. To finish, hikers will proceed up the Red Dot Trail to the cars parked at the trailhead. The total hike time and length are estimated at five-and-a-half hours and seven miles.

  • Don’t miss the 44th annual Earth Treasure Show, sponsored by the Los Alamos Geological Society. The show will be from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 8 and from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Masonic Lodge, on the corner of 15th Street and Canyon. Note that the show has been moved one week later than usual, to coincide with WinterFest activities around town.
    This year’s theme is “Collecting New Mexico.” Activities include exhibits, a silent auction, geode sawing, a wheel of fortune and food. Budding geologists of all ages are invited to bring their rocks and minerals for identification. In addition, a special craft activity is planned for this year; the Sand Man from Ouray, Colo., will provide sand, jars and expertise on the art of creating sand jar scenes at the kids craft table. This piece of smithsonite, the New Mexico state mineral, is from the Kelly Mine in Magdalena.

  • First, a big thank you to all the citizens of Los Alamos County who gave generously to the recent Letter Carrier-Boy Scout Fall Food Drive Nov. 17.
    An estimated 18,000 lbs. of food and supplies were collected with about 1,000 pounds sent to the San Martin de Porres Soup Kitchen in Española.
    The remainder was donated to LA Cares, for local monthly distribution to those in need within our community.  
    The Atomic City Letter Carriers (NALC-4112) and their volunteers worked long and hard, performing the triple duties of delivering flyers, picking-up food and all while performing their regular duties of delivering your mail.
    Many volunteers from LA Cares and other organizations and individuals worked hard preparing, sorting, transporting and storing all the donations.
    LA Cares distributes food boxes monthly throughout the year, so please call 661-8015 if you can help with these distributions or are in need of food assistance.
    In addition, every Los Alamos and White Rock BSA unit in the Northern New Mexico District participated for two- to three-hour shifts (some scouts worked much longer), including Cub Scout Packs 20, 22, 27, 222, 229, 326, 422; Boy Scout Troops 22, 71, 122, 129, 222, and 422; and co-ed Venture Scout Post 20.

  • The annual Community Asset Awards search is underway and the Los Alamos Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and Chamber of Commerce want to know who you think stands out for 2012.
    The Community Assets Awards strives to recognize the things people do — in and around Los Alamos — to make the community or the world a better place.
    “I love that the Community Asset Awards honor those unsung heroes, those people who are not looking for praise or attention, but just do good things for the community because they enjoy doing them,” said Katy Korkos, Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce Member Services Director. “ I love it that people who have a good idea and follow through with it are honored.”
    Each year, people of every age and background are nominated to receive recognition, with a youth and an adult recognized to receive the Director’s Choice Award and someone who will receive the Spirit of the West Award.
    The Spirit of the West Award was created to honor former Los Alamos County Councilor and Leadership Los Alamos alumni Jim West. Before his passing away, West knew the award was created, in his honor.

  • The Thrift Shop at the United Church moved to the lower level of Craig Hall and had a grand opening Nov. 14

  • Happy holidays!
    This week, we are still in the asset category of empowerment with a look at the asset of safety (#10).
    I will stretch on this area, but bear with me for a minute.
    This Saturday, the Trinity on the Hill will offer the best event of the season, the Children’s Bazaar.
    The event allows families, with children in kindergarten through sixth grade, an opportunity to shop for holiday gifts on their own.
    Children arrive at the church between 9 a.m. and noon, with a list of 10 names or less. Youth workers escort them to a special room, where they can purchase gifts to surprise family members on upcoming holidays.
    The items are varied and the prices are more than reasonable, but the increase in the asset category of empowerment is huge.
    It doesn’t matter what holiday you celebrate. Yes, I realize it is a Christian church, but think of all of the upcoming holidays, including birthdays, during which your children would love the opportunity to surprise the adults in their lives.
    While the pint-sized shoppers go on their merry way, parents and caregivers are treated to baked goods, newspapers and the excitement yet to come.
    Trinity on the Hill has thought of everything, as they even wrap the gifts and include gift cards for each item.

  • The Los Alamos Animal Shelter, 226 East Road, 662-8179, has a great selection of onsite adoptable pets waiting for their forever home.
    Come find a companion that will give you unconditional love. Be sure to visit lafos.org, where you can get more information about volunteering, adopting and donating.
    All adoptable pets are spayed or neutered, have their shots and are micro chipped. Visitor guides: Between 4-6 p.m. Friday, volunteers will be at the shelter to give potential adopters personal introductions to the adoptable animals.
    DOGS
    Axle — Don’t let those sad-looking eyes fool you. Axle is a playful and affectionate neutered male. The shelter temperament testers describe this Pit-mix as a “total sweetheart.” He would love a family that appreciates big, sloppy dog kisses.  
    Ciera — Spayed female Shepherd-cross who likes to get to know her human associates before she shares her story with them.
    Coqueta — Six-year-old spayed female Retriever/Chow-mix surrendered. Good with adults and gentle children. Has been an outdoor dog.
    ThreeBorder Collie puppies (Reggie, Fly and Romper) — Border Collie puppy siblings, six-months-old. Neutered/spayed and up-to-date on shots. Responding very well to soclialization by shelter volunteers and guidance from other shelter dogs.

  • Pajarito Environmental Education Center invites students in grades K-4 to come to their annual Holiday Eco Crafts event from 2-4 p.m. Dec. 5.
    There, kids can hand-make gifts out of natural and recycled materials for everyone on their list.
    Gifts to make will include pinecone fire-starters, recycled notebooks, cornhusk dolls, tree cookie ornaments, rock carvings and more.
    Plenty of materials will be available to make gifts for parents, grandparents and brothers and sisters.
     There will also be recycled wrapping paper and cards on hand, so kids can wrap their gifts and address them to the recipients before they head home.  
    Parents are welcome to stay during the class, or to leave kids at PEEC and enjoy a few hours of kid-free shopping.
    PEEC’s own shop also has some holiday gift ideas, including stocking stuffers and animal adoptions.  
    The class costs $15 or $12 for PEEC members. Register in advance at PajaritoEEC.org, call 662-0460 or email Programs@PajaritoEEC.org.

  • Visit Pajarito Environmental Education Center from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday or from 1-3 p.m. Dec. 1, to contribute ideas about the natural qualities of the Pajarito Plateau.
    PEEC would like to know what aspects of local nature they should showcase, and public input is desired.
    PEEC volunteers, board and staff are working to create an interpretive plan.
    When completed, the interpretive plan will answer questions like: What should a nature center in Los Alamos say and show? What are the key messages should it send to visitors and residents? What activities will best address those key messages?  What will it mean to the community it represents?
    PEEC wants to hear stories about the natural area and learn from the people of Los Alamos, exactly what they think of when asked to describe the Pajarito Plateau.
    This input will help PEEC’s interpretive planning committee write a plan that reflects what is important to the community.
    The events will start with a presentation on PEEC’s mission and vision.
    Then, participants will join in an interactive idea-generation activity and have a chance to vote on the natural qualities they like to see addressed by PEEC.  
    Those ideas will, in turn, help PEEC create a plan to strengthen people’s connection with the natural world around them.

  • It’s an Indoor Holiday Bazaar at the Art Center
    ’Tis the season to go shopping. At many stores, one can expect to see the same kinds of things year after year, increasing the challenge of finding the perfect gift. Things are different at Fuller Lodge Art Center’s Affordable Arts sale, where there are always new artists joining the mix of regional artists, who share their artistic manifestations of what they believe makes the perfect gift.
    This year, 33 new artists join the 98 regular Gallery Shop artists, to offer gifts for everyone, with all prices at $250 or less. There are many things for sale at less than $100. These artists are driven to produce and nothing makes them happier than knowing their art will be shared and loved by others.
    For the Affordable Arts sale, the artists search their creativity to come up with work that will fit well into others’ lives.  When preparing for Affordable Arts, Gallery Manager Amy Bjarke specifically looks for things that will make good gifts — from the functional to the quirky. Functional items include things like  pottery and hand-tooled pens, cards and clothing. Quirky means whatever will tickle one’s fancy and make them smile. Melted record mirror anyone?

  • Mesa Public Library will offer a Sunday afternoon of events as part of the downtown Winterfest celebration.
    A new exhibition, “The Plazas of New Mexico” will open with a reception at 2:30 p.m. Dec 9., in conjunction with a talk by Chris Wilson of the University of New Mexico, the author of the book of the same title, at 1:30 p.m. in the upstairs meeting rooms of the library.
    “The Plazas of New Mexico” documents the heritage of New Mexico’s public plazas and the everyday life and community celebrations that help sustain them. It traces three distinct design traditions — the Native American center place with kiva and terraced residential blocks; the Hispanic plaza with church and courtyard houses; and the Anglo square with courthouse and business blocks.
    The exhibit, comprised of images from the book, bring to life three urban design traditions, while profiling recent plaza revitalization projects and newly designed community plazas.
    “The Plazas of New Mexico” is about the past, for the future. Plaza site plans, elevation drawings, bird’s-eye views, community histories, historic photos and documentary photographs bring to life the history, physical setting and social life of 22 communities.

  • The 19th Annual Crèches From Around the World, an annual exhibition featuring nativity sets collected by members of the many churches in Los Alamos, will be from 1-7 p.m. Dec. 7 and from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 8, at 1967 18th St. (off 15th and Sage Street).
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Los Alamos Ward, sponsors the event. The event is free and refreshments will be served throughout the day.
    The crèche, a French term, is the portrayal of the nativity through figurines of people and animals that often include the setting of a stable or a village scene.
    The exhibit features crèches from more than 100 countries, collected by residents of Los Alamos, or by members of the LDS church, who have served missions in many parts of the world.
    Crèches featured represent South and Central America, most of Europe, many from most of the United States, as well as many from most pueblos in the area; many Asian countries; most African countries; and many hand crafted by artists in nearby communities.
    The nativity figures are made from a wide variety of materials, to include: wood, ceramic, papier-mâché, various nuts, straw, glass, fabrics, wood, stone, clay and bamboo.
    The Créche Show is part of the annual WinterFest week, the first week of December.

  • The following restaurant inspection reports were provided by the New Mexico Environment Department.

    Santa Fe

    Alicia’s Tortillas, 1314-A5 Rufina Circle
    Date inspected: Nov. 13
    Violations: One moderate-risk violation for other — chlorine sanitizer tested more than 200 ppm. Corrected.
    Status of establishment: Approved, no follow-up required.

    Amancer Early Head Start, 1320 Agua Fria
    Date inspected: Nov. 13
    Violations: None
    Status of establishment: Approved, no follow-up required.

    Carl’s Jr., 1640 St. Michael’s Dr.
    Date inspected: Nov. 13
    Violations: None
    Status of establishment: Approved, no follow-up required.

    Grandma’s Recipe Rugelach, 1730 Camino Carlos Rey, #203
    Date inspected: Nov. 9
    Violations: None
    Notes: Rugelach cookies baked at the Shure Bread kitchen facility.
    Status of establishment: Approved

    Puerto Peñasco, 4681 Airport Road
    Date inspected: Nov. 13

  • The Los Alamos County Library System online catalog will be unavailable to patrons from 8 a.m.-noon Nov. 27, for a system catalog software update.
    Though patrons may not notice a big difference, the planned upgrade to the integrated library system software will increase efficiency for librarians’ behind the scenes tasks, according to Mesa Public Library’s Carol Meine.
    While the system is unavailable, patrons will not be able to use any online services. They will not be able to search for books, make requests, check their account or use the downloadable e-books and audio books services.
    However, patrons are still encouraged to visit either library to browse and, if they bring along their library card, library staff can check in and check out books. However, even the librarians won’t be able to look up patron account information.
    For more information, contact libweb@lacnm.us or call 662-8253.

  • A variety of trees and wreaths were on display during the annual Festival of Trees Nov. 17 at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. A silent auction was held, during which trees could be bid on.