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  • Families looking for a fun way to celebrate the arrival of 2016 are invited to Mesa Public Library and the White Rock branch on New Year’s Eve to celebrate “Noon Year’s Eve.”  
    This event gives kids and families a chance to have all the fun of New Year’s without having to wait until midnight.
    Drop in Youth Services at Mesa Public Library or at the White Rock library branch between 10:30 a.m. and noon on Thursday for games, crafts and a special countdown to noon. There will be a chance for children to color New Year’s crowns and create cards celebrating 2016. They have board games, Legos, blocks, a scavenger hunt and a special play area for even the youngest children.
    Those who join can come all dressed up to greet the New Year or dress comfy and cozy. Registration isn’t necessary and families with children of all ages are welcome.
    And of course, there will be a fantastic countdown to … noon. The party will celebrate, cheer and dance for 2016 exactly at noon – while everyone is still awake and happy. What better way could there be to welcome the New Year?
    For more information, call Mesa Public Library Youth Services at 662-8258 or the White Rock branch at 662-8264.

  • BY DEBORAH STONE
    Special to the Monitor

  • A Santa Fe writer and local artist have teamed up to craft a picture book for children in foster care. Author Rosemary Zibart and illustrator Sandi Wright who’s also an art therapist collaborated to create “Kit Coyote: A Tale of Hope.”  
    The sensitive, imaginatively illustrated book portrays the issues faced by a child entering foster care – validating their emotions of confusion, fear, loss – and encourages them to be resilient and express their feelings verbally and artistically.
    All the characters in the book are animals – Kathy Rabbit, the social worker, Bruce Hedgehog, therapist, Rayna Fox, foster mom, Rebecca Raccon, the CASA worker and, of course, Kit Coyote – a small winsome boy. The story is told from his perspective.
    “I was a foster parent over 20 years ago,” Zibart said. “And I know how children have mixed emotions. However difficult their home life may have been, they usually miss their parents. And feel uncertain about their future.”
    “I showed this manuscript to many in the art therapy field and no other book like it exists,” Wright said.  

  • Los Alamos native, Airman First Class Daniel Nebel will play a free classical concert of solo horn and piano music at noon Thursday at Fuller Lodge.
    Nebel, a 2004 graduate of Los Alamos High School, is currently serving as a bandsman with the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West stationed at Travis Air Force Base, California.
    The public is invited to come to Thursday’s event and can bring a sack lunch.
    Growing up in Los Alamos, Nebel began his musical studies on piano with Marilyn LaForge in third grade and went on to study horn with Karole Felts at Los Alamos Music, organ with Frances Meier, and voice with Karolyn Coulter.
    The flourishing arts community in the Los Alamos area gave him the opportunity to perform in many ensembles with ranging from band, orchestra and choir at Los Alamos High School to the Los Alamos Community Winds, Los Alamos Symphony, Los Alamos Choral Society, Los Alamos Light Opera and the Santa Fe Youth Symphony as well as playing organ for the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.  
    Recognizing the direct impact these organizations had on his choice of career (and success with it), Nebel will be taking a free-will donation to support the Santa Fe Youth Symphony at the event.

  • Dec. 20-26, 2015
    For information, call the Betty Ehart Senior Center (BESC) at 662-8920, the White Rock Senior Center (WRSC) at 672-2034 and “Day Out” (adult day care, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.) at 661-0081. Reservations must be made by 10 a.m. for lunches.

    Betty Ehart

    MONDAY
    8:45 a.m.        Cardio
    10 a.m.        Senior Civic Discussion Group
    10:30 a.m.        NO Advisory Council Meeting
    11:30 a.m.        Lunch: Baked Potato Bar
    1 p.m.        Pinochle
    6 p.m.        Argentine Tango Dancing
    7 p.m.         Ballroom Dancing

    TUESDAY
    8:45 a.m.        Variety Training
    11:30 a.m.        Lunch: Beef and Bean Burrito
    1:30 p.m.        NO Party Bridge
    7 p.m.        Bridge
    7:30 p.m.        Table Tennis

    WEDNESDAY
    8:30 a.m.        NO LAVA Quilters

  • The following Eastern New Mexico State University students from Los Alamos were named to the Dean’s List for the fall of 2015:
    Trisha Barks of Los Alamos
    Amanda Dermer of Los Alamos
    John Dermer of Los Alamos
    Jacqueline Fernandes of Los Alamos
    Ian Forsyth of Los Alamos
    Eric Maez of Los Alamos
    Julia Montoya of Los Alamos
    Amethyst Moon of Los Alamo
    Kendall Schneider of Los Alamos
    Kiana Zerr of Los Alamos
    Mariah Zerr of Los Alamos
    To be eligible for the Dean’s List, a student must complete a minimum of 15 credit hours with a GPA between 3.25 and 4.00.

  • Giving an adorable puppy or kitten as a gift this holiday season may seem like a wonderful idea, but it is important to remember that pets need a lifetime of care and commitment long after the holiday season. Surprising your family with a new fuzzy friend on that special holiday morning is tempting, but be sure to first consider these facts to avoid being unprepared when bringing a pet home.
    Giving the gift of companionship requires a considerable amount of research and preparation. There can be many reasons why a pet may be unsuitable for a home, such as if the receiver is not financially or mentally prepared for a pet. Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained how pets can often come with hidden expenses. “Pets, even healthy ones, require a financial commitment for basic requirements, such as food, collars, and leashes, as well as medical needs, such as basic vaccinations,” she said. “Unexpected illnesses or injury may also add to that financial burden, which can be too much for some owners to handle.”

  • The Los Alamos Animal Shelter, 226 East Road, 662-8179, has a great selection of adoptable pets just waiting for their forever home, so come adopt your new best friend today! All adoptable pets are micro-chipped, spayed or neutered, and up-to-date on vaccinations. Shelter hours are noon – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturday, and noon–3 p.m. Sunday.
    Be sure to check out our website at lafos.org, where you can get more information about volunteering, adopting, and donating. You can also check out our Petfinder website for pictures of our adorable adoptable animals: petfinder.com/shelters/friendsoftheshelter.html.
    CATS
    Mandy—A 6-month-old black and white female kitten that was originally thought to be feral. But after a few days in the cat room, she learned how great humans are, and this sweet girl cannot get enough attention. She’ll be heading to the vet soon and then will be ready for adoption, but interested adopters can still stop in to meet her.

  • TODAY
    Special Planetarium show: “Our Solar System” from 7-7:45 p.m. Learn more about the planets in our solar system and some recent discoveries in planetary science. Admission charged.
    SATURDAY
    Christmas Bird Count at 6:30 a.m. Participate in the longest running citizen science project in the world, the National Audubon Society’s 116th Annual Christmas Bird Count. Free.

    Pajarito Masonic Lodge No. 66 installation of officers at 10 a.m. at the lodge, at the corner of 15th and Canyon. The Installation Ceremony is one of the very few traditional Masonic Rituals that is open to the public. If you and any of your family, friends, or neighbors are interested or curious about Freemasonry, this is an opportunity to come to the Lodge and get a taste of what we’re all about.

    Coping with the Holidays from 11 a.m.-noon at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service Hospice is offering this grief support group for those coping with loss of a loved one. People are invited to join to share feelings and to talk about new ways of planning for this season. To reserve a space, call 662-2525.

  • Los Alamos County’s White Rock Branch Library was given a Citation award from the American Institute of Architects Albuquerque Design Awards Program. The annual awards program encourages and recognizes distinguished architectural achievement by New Mexico architects.
    The program serves to increase public awareness of the outstanding services provided by architects, and emphasizes the importance of the architect’s role in shaping the quality of the built environment through design excellence.
    This year’s entries were judged by a panel of AIA Architects from the San Francisco, California area.

  • DeAnza Valencia-Sapien has been named associate state director for advocacy for AARP New Mexico.
    Valencia-Sapien, a lawyer with more than 18 years of experience in strategic communications, public policy and community affairs, began her new position Dec. 7.
    Valencia-Sapien will lead the office’s federal and state efforts in legislation, guide and support AARP volunteers on health, consumer and utility issues, and work with lawmakers, community leaders and other organizations.
    “We are very excited to have someone with DeAnza’s experience and enthusiasm join our office,” said Gene Varela, AARP New Mexico state director.
    “Advocacy is the thread that has run through my entire career,” said Valencia-Sapien.
    Sapien is the former president of a health care advocacy consulting firm and is the former deputy director of the New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool. As a founding partner of The MVM Group, she developed and implemented an eight-week entrepreneurial business accelerator for the City of Santa Fe and served as the executive director of the Regional Coalition of Los Alamos National Laboratory communities.

  • Holiday shoppers looking for a gift idea about Los Alamos should stop by the Los Alamos Historical Society and Museum shop. The Historical Society has published a new children’s activity book based on the life of Bences Gonzales called “Meet Bences Gonzales” that is now available for $7 at its temporary location at 475 20th St.
    The coloring pages and activities of “Meet Bences Gonzales” let children experience what life was like through many different eras of Los Alamos’ history.
    Gonzales was an important community leader from the homesteading era through the post-war period. The book follows his life as he homesteaded, ran the Trading Post for the Los Alamos Ranch School, worked for the Manhattan Project and contributed to civic life after the end of World War II.
    The activity book gives a window into daily life in Los Alamos throughout history. There are cabins to build, pack trips to plan and even a mysterious explosion to investigate. Local artist Turner Mark-Jacobs created the coloring pages and illustrations, based on historic reference photos from the Historical Society archives.

  • Baha’i Faith
    For information, email losalamosla@gmail.com. For general information, call the Baha’i Faith phone at 1-800-228-6483.
    Bethlehem Lutheran
    Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, a member of the ELCA, is located at 2390 North Road, 662-5151; see a map at bethluth.com. The Eucharist is celebrated each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. followed by fellowship time with refreshments starting at 10:45 a.m. Preceding worship is our Christian Education hour which begins 8:30 a.m. The preaching is biblical by our Pastors Bruce Kuenzel and Nicolé Ferry, the music is lively, children are welcome and abundant, and a well-staffed nursery is provided. All are welcome! Come Join the Family!
    Bryce Ave. Presbyterian
    The church is located at 3333 Bryce Ave. The Rev. Henry Fernandez preaches, bapca.org, info@bapca.org. For information, call 672-3364.
    Calvary Chapel
    Sunday school classes for all ages at 9:15 a.m. and worship at 10:30. Our current series is “Kingdom Reign” as we study the book of 2 Samuel.
    The Christian Church
    92 East Road, 662-6468, lachristian.org. 9-10 a.m. Sunday school; 10-10:30 a.m. Coffee Fellowship; 10:30 a.m. Worship Service. Rev. Doug Partin, Assoc. Rev. Ben Partin.
    Christian Science
    1725 17th St. 662-5057.
    Church of Christ

  • Welcome to finals week. Hang in there, I hear some free time just ahead. I often talk to students and remind them that this is the time of year, along with spring break, that some students and some staff members seem to lose their minds.
    Now while I say it in a joking way, it is to draw attention to the fact that, this week can be stressful for many and in many different ways.
    As a parent of teenagers, I remind you that depending on their stage of schooling, they may not yet be aware of the onslaught of stress that seems to hit.
    This week, take some extra time to make sure they get to bed at a decent time, stay hydrated and try to get some breakfast in there somewhere. Maybe this is the week that you pack some nice treats in their lunch, take some extra time for dinner or ease off other pressures a bit.
    Our kids today and yes, I’m ball parking us all in the same age category, do not leave the life we led when we were their age. It is true, their technology alone is the primary cause. Our parents couldn’t be breathing down our necks with every missed assignment…truthfully until the report card came home.
    This is the first year that I hear elementary aged parents talking about the extreme stress their young children are under. To that I say, at the elementary age there is a lot that you can control.

  • Whether visitors are interested in landscape photography, birdwatching, Ancestral Pueblo astronomy, or just enjoying the charms of the park, Bandelier National Monument will have special events for many tastes through December.  
    Three of the park’s Artists in Residence will be hosting the opening of a “Pop-Up” show of their works in the Visitor Center theater from 2-4 p.m. Saturday. The artists will be present and refreshments will be served. Featured artists are Philip Metcalf, Patricia Galagan and David Halpern.
    “Three Visions of the Landscape” demonstrates how differently these three photographers have seen and interpreted the landscape, approaching it with different visions and techniques. Halpern has photographed the American landscape for more than six decades. “The more understanding one develops of a place over time, the more likely it will be that one’s photography will define the character of that place,” Halpern said.  

  • The public is invited to a special Christmas Concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at Kelly Hall at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church. Nothing says Christmas quite like the sound of a choir performing carols. This choir happens to be composed of tubas and euphoniums.
    The group came together in 2002, and has played at various venues throughout Los Alamos every holiday season since then. The choir is made up of a core of adult musicians from other groups in Los Alamos (Big Band, Symphony, etc.) and is augmented by talented high school students. They play an eclectic mix of arrangements specifically created for a tuba choir. There is no admission charge.

  • TODAY
    Coro de Cámara presents “Gaudete! A Joyful Christmas Concert” at 7 p.m. at United Church in Los Alamos and at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 at First Presbyterian Church, 208 Grant Avenue in Santa Fe.
    SATURDAY
    Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service present a grief support group focused on “Coping With the Holidays” at 11 a.m. at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. The holiday season evokes feelings of joy, celebration and love but can be difficult for those who are experiencing grief. Emotions, stress and loneliness can feel overwhelming and a support group focused on coping strategies and new ways of planning for the season can be enormously helpful. The session is open to the community and will facilitated by Collette Fordham, LMSW, medical social worker for the Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service. To reserve a space, call 662-2525.
    MONDAY
    Chapter AK, P.E.O. social meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the home of Joan Brown, 325 Aragon Ave., in White Rock. Joy Beery is the co-hostess. Katie Brousseau will present a program on Christmas customs from the days of our seven founders. There will be a little holiday music by Joann and Joan Brown. RSVP by Dec. 13 to Joan at 672-1534.
    TUESDAY

  • Winter may be knocking on New Mexico’s door, but it is not too early to think about spring planting.
    More than 65,000 tree and shrub seedlings are now available for purchase through the New Mexico State Forestry Division’s 2016 spring conservation seedling program. Seedling sales began earlier this week, with distribution for spring planting beginning on March.  
    Careful planting of tree and shrub species is an important part of New Mexico’s healthy forests and watersheds.
    “Tree seedlings help rehabilitate areas affected by fires and protect crops,” said Conservation Seedling Forester Carol Bada. “They promote energy conservation and improve the health of lands throughout New Mexico.”
    Seedlings are available to landowners who own at least one acre of land in New Mexico, and who agree to use the trees for conservation purposes.  
    These include reforestation, riparian restoration, windbreak establishment, tree plantations, erosion control and wildlife habitat.
    Seedlings can be ordered online at nmforestry.com and by mail-in application form. All proceeds are reinvested into the program.

  • Wreaths Across America is a national program designed to honor fallen veterans of all wars at national, state and local cemeteries. The mission of Wreaths Across America, “Remember, Honor, Teach” is carried out, in part, by coordinating wreath laying in all state ceremonies, and the 24 national cemeteries on foreign soil.
    This year’s ceremony will be conducted at 10 a.m. Saturday throughout New Mexico, and specifically at Los Alamos’ Guaje Pines Cemetery, which is officially recognized by Wreaths Across America.
    The American Legion, Frank G. Frainier Post 90, American Legion Riders Chapter 19, in Los Alamos is once again honored to carry out the Wreaths Across America program in Los Alamos County.
    The sponsored wreaths will be placed on the veterans’ gravesites at the Guaje Pines Cemetery in Los Alamos at 10 a.m. Saturday, following the ceremony.
    Dignitaries and special guests have been invited to speak in honor of our veterans and active military. The wreath-laying ceremonies are non-political and all groups are invited to attend.
    — Staff Report

  • Tony Fox at UnQuarked: The Wine Room will introduce the 2015 La Bomba Grande Red Table Wine tonight in tribute to his winemaking mentor John Balagna.

    Balagna created the original La Bomba Grande in 1993 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Manhattan Project, to which he was a contributing chemist.
    Balagna arrived in Los Alamos in the spring of 1944 and continued working at the Laboratory until 1985. After retirement, he opened his White Rock winery, Il Santo Cellars.

    As a pioneer in New Mexico winemaking, he used locally grown grapes and assisted wineries throughout the state to get their start in the industry.

    Fox, a long-time Los Alamos resident, began making wine at Balagna’s winery in 2001. Balagna mentored Fox until Il Santo Cellars closed in 2007. Fox continues to make hand-crafted, small batch wines at Black’s Smugglers Winery in Belen, which is sponsoring La Bomba Grande.

    The tribute and unveiling of the new label art will begin at 5 p.m., followed by a complimentary tasting. UnQuarked is located at 145 Central Park Square in Los Alamos.