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Features

  • For nearly a decade, Natali Steinberg has been involved with the Pajarito Environmental Education Center from its infancy. Several members of her family have also been a part of PEEC’s history, since the early days at its Orange Street location to the new Nature Center.
    Born and raised in Winnetka, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, she realized her love for the southwest while spending summers in Colorado as a teen. After college, she and her husband moved to Denver. “We had two farms there,” she said in a recent interview with PEEC. “A big farm where we grew sugar beets, corn and alfalfa and a small farm where we lived and raised our kids.”
    The children each had a 4-H project, which provided the family with meat and dairy products. “We enjoyed the farming lifestyle. It felt like a great place to raise kids and teach them responsibility,” she said.
    A decision was made to move to New Mexico after 60 years of living in Colorado. Although she said it was difficult at first, she fell in love with the area. “Colorado had gotten to be too populated for me — too many people and too much traffic,” she said.

  • This week’s topic for the On Tap Series is Art.
    Local art therapist/counselor Trish Ebbert will talk about the benefits of art for one’s good mental health.
    She will also have the audience engage in a simple group art therapy activity. The talk is 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Manhattan Project.
    “No fear — you will not be graded on this. Expect a lighthearted and fun evening — no one will be ‘analyzed’ either. However, I cannot guarantee that you may or may not discover something about yourself,” Ebbert said.
    Art Therapy has been a nationwide accredited profession since 1960. Licensed art therapists have a master’s degree in art therapy and counseling.
    Art is precognitive; therefore it is symbolic, metaphorical, subconscious and therapeutically informative. It accesses deep parts of the self.
    Creative mediums, such as watercolor, clay, chalk, collage, or a variety of other mediums are used to facilitate a therapeutic process. This process allows individuals to integrate unconscious aspects of their experience and increase one’s self-awareness.
    No art experience is required as the finished product is not necessarily the aim of art therapy.

  • The Family YMCA is taking registration for its free Diabetes Education and Prevention program. Topics to be covered are what Type 2 diabetes is; what having pre-diabetes means; the signs, symptoms and risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes; how to reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes; and how to make the necessary lifestyle changes to lower your risk.
    The class is taught by Sara Pocernik, a registered dietitian with experience in many areas of nutrition. .
    This class is made possible by Lou Santoro State Farm Insurance Agency and is free to the public.
    Classes will be for six weeks from 10-10:45 a.m. Oct. 7-Nov. 18. Pre-register at The Family YMCA. Class size is limited.
    The Family YMCA is also taking registration for its Weight Management class to be in White Rock at The Family YMCA fitness studio at 106-A Longview Dr.
    This class will focus on a “non-diet” method of weight management and will consist of six classes which will address various nutritional topics, as well as provide fitness advice. Meetings will also include nutritional handouts, healthy recipes, motivation, support, a trip to the grocery store and more.
    Pocernik will also teach this class, which will be 9-9:45 a.m. Oct. 7-Nov. 18. This class will be for six weeks and preregistration is required through the Family YMCA.

  • The Family YMCA and Los Alamos Heart Council co-sponsored a Heart Smart Poster Contest for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Posters were judged on originality and the healthy message it depicted, winning posters were displayed at the Los Alamos Health Fair. The following children won prizes for their posters:
    K-third grade: First Place — Zoe Bent, Second Place — Aspen Jaramillo (pictured), Third Place — Zoya Kahn and Fourth Place — Hannah Hsu. Fourth-sixth grade: First Place — Grace Xie, Second Place — Aidan Cooley, Third Place— Annika Fox and Fourth Place — Adam Rahn. YMCA/Courtesy

  • If there is any one person to blame for this column, it would be Morrie Pongratz. OK, it would be me first and then Morrie Pongratz? Why, you ask?
    Well until I met Morrie, I was never really a data person. If you haven’t heard the story, I graduated from college a semester late for putting off math because, well, I’m a speech major, need I say more?
    However the newest youth data has been released and at some point during this week, I will be pouring over it in scant amounts of free time in between events.
    On Monday, I attended a state meeting about the newest release of data and I’m so excited. Sad huh?
    Well, the good news is a data release refreshes organizations that create the documents, which receive funding that makes programs happen locally.
    I’m sure I will bore you over the next several weeks with data about different topics from the Youth Risk & Resiliency Survey, but for now, let’s take a gander at some statewide data.
    It sounds unimportant when compared to more serious topics, but what do you think is the number of high school students that rarely, or never wear a bicycle helmet? That number self-reported by students is 83.2 percent. I think of the other things that go along with something that at face value seems simplistic.

  • 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 a new best friend today! Be sure to check out the Petfinder website for pictures of all adorable adoptable animals:
    petfinder.com/shelters/friendsoftheshelter.html
    NEW SHELTER HOURS: Noon to 6 p.m. Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and noon-3 p.m. Sunday.
    Also, be sure to check out the website at lafos.org, to get more information about volunteering, adopting and donating, as well as read up on some of your favorite animals and learn more about special needs animals or cats and dogs currently in foster care.
    All adoptable pets are microchipped, spayed or neutered, and up-to-date on vaccinations.
    CATS
    Babes — A 9-year-old, spayed, female surrendered due to an owner move. She is black and white with tuxedo markings. She loves cuddling, petting and sleeping near her humans. Babes’ former owner reported she is good with children, but a bit afraid of dogs.

  • The Los Alamos Co-op Market is offering two nutritious Shop with a Chef cooking classes this month.
    Each class starts with shopping for the ingredients, takes participants through the cooking process and concludes with enjoying the final product.
    The first cooking class will be 6 p.m. Oct. 7. Emily Schmidt will teach participants how to make healthy, gluten-free meals utilizing nutritious whole foods without excessive time and money. The class Healthy One-Dish Meals, includes samples of nutritionally balanced dinners of black bean soup and fauxgetti.
    Local nutritionist and author Lisa Bakosi will share recipes from her new book, “Balance for Busy Moms.”
    As a mother, she understands how a busy lifestyle can make it difficult to cook delicious and nutritious meals. Her class will be 6 p.m. Oct. 21 and offer time saving techniques for anyone who wants to make tasty, healthy food.
    All cooking classes are in the co-op café at 6 p.m. Registration is available at the co-op, 95 Entrada Dr. Class size is limited to accommodate the space.
    To register for classes and for more information, visit losalamos.coop or call 695-1579.  

  • Los Alamos High School and other schools across the district showed their appreciation for National Custodian Appreciation Day and heralded their staff members that work so hard throughout the year. From left, Alvaro Trujillo, Henry Trujillo, Tony Romero and Jesus Garcia install new hand sanitizer machines at Los Alamos High School.

  • Known for its vibrant culture and rich history, Taos and the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway have earned their positions among leaf peepers and national media alike as being one of the top locations in the United States to see an impressive fall landscape dotted with a palette of warm reds, oranges and gold foliage.
    In the past month alone, Taos and the Enchanted Circle have topped several “best fall trip” lists in the country including Huffington Post (“10 Best Fall Foliage Trips In The U.S.”), National Geographic (“10 Best Fall Trips in World”), Los Angeles Times (“New Mexico’s Enchanted Byway Brings Fall Foliage Viewing Full Circle”), and USA Today (“10 Best: Places to see fall colors”).
    According to Forest Service officials from the Carson National Forest which encompasses Taos County, elevations above 8,500 are beginning to peak and will reach their height by the first week of October. In the Carson National Forest, several hiking spots allow for prime leaf peeping while hiking. They include Middle Fork Trail 24 (25 miles south of Taos on N.M. 518 in Peñasco); Devisadero Trail, once used by the Taos Pueblo Indians standing guard against raiding Apaches (three miles east of Taos along U.S. 64); and Williams Lake Trail (near Taos Ski Valley).

  • Recently, the Jemez Mountain salamander was placed on the endangered species list. They are not the only ones facing severe challenges; amphibians around the world are experiencing declines, extirpations and extinctions.
    In a free talk Oct. 9, the Pajarito Environmental Education Center will feature fish and wildlife biologist Michelle Christman who will discuss the challenges faced by amphibians around the world and in our own backyard.
    The program will begin at 7 p.m. No advance registration is required to attend.
    In her presentation, Christman will briefly cover general amphibian biology, threats amphibians face, general amphibian declines, and scale it down to New Mexico and the Jemez Mountains. The biology of the Jemez Mountains salamander, and some of the factors that supported a recent decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list this salamander as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, as amended, will also be discussed.
    Christman is a Fish and Wildlife biologist with the New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Albuquerque. Christman has worked with amphibian and reptile conservation in New Mexico since 2000, and in 2008, she became the species lead for several listed and sensitive species of amphibians and reptiles for FWS.

  • The New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe has many events throughout the month of October for history buffs, music lovers, science efficianados and more.
    At 6 p.m. Friday, Dr. Jon Hunner, interim director of the museum, explores the complicated life of the atomic bomb’s father, J. Robert Oppenheimer — from his childhood through his scientific career to his involvement with governmental policies during the early Atomic Age. The talk “Broken by Secrets: Robert Oppenheimer and the Early Atomic Age” is the free first Friday talk. Museum admission is free from 5–8 p.m.
    The Albuquerque Baroque Players play 17th- and 18th-century chamber music from Italy, Germany and France by MaryAnn Shore (oboe and recorder), Mary Bruesch (viola da gamba) and Susan Patrick (harpsichord). The show starts 2 p.m. Sunday. The event, part of the exhibit “Painting the Divine: Images of Mary in the New World,” is free with admission; Sundays free to New Mexico residents. Children 16 and under free daily.

  • Jemez Valley Yard Sale Oct. 18-19

    The 11th Annual Jemez Valley 26-Mile Trail Sale is 10 a.m. Oct. 18-19, along N.M. 4 from San Ysidro to La Cueva.
    The Jemez Valley at the peak of the fall colors is the backdrop for the sale, a yard sale shopper’s paradise.
    Sellers will be set up in cluster (multi-vendor) locations in business parking lots along N.M. 4, as well as in individual yard sales. The sale starts in San Ysidro at Mile Marker 0 on N.M. 4 and extends through the Jemez Valley to La Cueva at Mile Marker 26.
    This year, the Trail Sale has expanded beyond La Cueva to include Thompson Ridge to the north. Follow the signs.
    The two-day event is sponsored by the Jemez Valley Community Association and the Jemez Springs Lodger’s Tax Board. For seller/shopper information, visit JemezSprings.org and Facebook.com/The26MileTrailSale.

    Opera SW hosts ‘Amleto’ seminar Oct. 11

  • Santa Fe
    Roadrunner Café, Hwy. 284, Pojoaque
    Date inspected: Aug. 12
    Violations: Three high-risk violations. Can opener had food build up. Salsa date label over seven day limit, no wash cloth in sanitizer bucket. All high-risk violations corrected at time of inspection. One moderate-risk violation. Dish washing machine below proper temperature. Two low-risk violations. Grease from ceiling fan dropping on floor. Hood has grease build up.
    Status of Establishment: Approved. No follow up required.

    Gabriel’s, 4 Banana Lane, Tesuque
    Date inspected: Aug. 12
    Violations: Two high-risk violations. Salsa stored at improper temperature. No date labels on black bean container. Four moderate-risk violations. Dry storage bins not stored at dry storage area, which was corrected at time of inspection. Dish washer not at proper temperature. Back door of food prep area has 2-inch gap. Dirty can opener. Two low-risk violations. Floors have build up throughout food prep area. Hoods and vents have grease and dust build up.
    Status of Establishment: Approved. Follow up required on Aug. 22.

  • The Arts in Public Places Committee and members of the Pajarito Environmental Education Center recently met with artist Greg Reiche to formally kick off the design process for the sculpture to adorn the outside of the new Los Alamos County Nature Center. The group toured the construction site where the facility is under construction, giving the artist a chance to better understand PEEC, its mission and the role the center will play in the community.
    Reiche is a New Mexico sculptor with public art commissions on his résumé, such as a monumental 30-foot-tall steel and glass sculpture at the El Camino Real International Cultural Center in southern New Mexico, and as a member of Albuquerque’s “Big I” Landscape Design Team. Each of Reiche’s pieces is designed with the location and the client’s needs in mind.
    The next step in the process will be for Reiche to return with a set of conceptual drawings, from which the art board will choose one or more for further refinement, with input from PEEC. Subsequently the design will be finalized and construction of the piece will begin. The goal is to have the sculpture in place at the nature center for the building dedication next spring.

  • Los Alamos has a new nonprofit in town, Champions of Youth Ambitions also known as C’YA.
    The youth development program has worked for two years to get through the paperwork and red tape of officially becoming recognized 501(C)(3).
    The Board of Directors includes Valerie (Adams) Harris, a former Los Alamos Public School teacher now teaching in Andrews, Texas, with new husband Tim, Pauline Powell Schneider, Los Alamos retired and senior organization director, Debra Minyard, Pojoaque Valley High School music instructor and Link Crew leader, Karen Greenfield, Los Alamos Family Council and Megan Pfeffer, a Department of Health employee and former Mercy Award recipient.
    The C’YA executive director is Bernadette Lauritzen, who along with husband Chad, known by many elementary students as the “Sci Guy” have worked hard to volunteer for many programs locally, regionally and occasionally a little further.
    There were so many things we wanted to accomplish,” Bernadette said. “There were always small grants and opportunities available, but without being recognized as a nonprofit, the doors were closed to us.
    The duo put many hours into projects like the Festival of Trees and Chocolate as they envisioned future funds for programs from youth development to hands on science in the schools.

  • The Los Alamos Middle School football team descended on the school garden, as part of their practice last week.
    Its volunteer work assisted the “Hawks Landing,” project from a Keep New Mexico Beautiful grant. Aid from the LAMS Parent-Teacher Organization, Los Alamos Landscaping and More and community donations of soil and compost will help the school achieve phase two of their project.
    Donations can still be made to the prevention office by calling 663-3252.
    The football team will play at home Thursday and Oct. 9. 

  • As Los Alamos High School Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps heads into its 31st year, Senior Naval Science Instructor LCDR Wes Shumaker welcomed MSgt. Phil Carter to the program.
    Shumaker has been leading the unit since 2002 and Carter came to Los Alamos after spending five years at Rio Rancho High School and a year at Atrisco Heritage Academy High School in Albuquerque as a Marine JROTC instructor.
    Shumaker says the cadets are back in full swing following a busy summer full of activities ranging from precision air rifle shooting camps to participation in the Montrose Adventure Race in Montrose, Colorado.
    Cadets Victor Kim, Rigel Baron, Sam Wolfe, Mikyla Smith, JoAnna O’Neill and Felicity Kubic, along with Commander Shumaker, traveled to Montrose for the race, which was hosted by the Montrose High School NJROTC unit.
    The cadets competed in activities such as orienteering, canoe races, knot tying and extensive physical training.
    Another aquatic camp was the Sail Academy at Cochiti Reservoir, which was attended by Cadets Jared Rodriguez, Deja Sandoval and Zach Carson. Cadets learned about boating safety, knot-tying, how to sail a 14-foot laser sailboat. They also completed their initial sail qualification among other activities.

  • There are so many things I would like to discuss today, but the one that rises to the top is something fun.
    Did you know that Oct. 2 is National School Custodian Day?
    Custodians are such an important part of the school day. I don’t mean just in the area of their job duties, but the relationships they build with students every day.
    On a job duty note, much to a recent letter to the editor about schools and potential illnesses, these find men and women work each day to keep our buildings clean.
    While I have not witnessed middle school-aged students climbing all over each other drooling and dripping snot, I have noticed within a one week period of time two high school-aged students eat something off a public floor.
    It is my belief that a portion of the reason we don’t see major outbreaks of illness once the germ pools come together in August is due to the attention to detail these fine folks bring to their work every day.
    Let’s salute Piñon Elementary and Patsy Sanchez, Isidro and Neil Gallegos. Then we head over to Aspen with Jesus, Leonard and Bruce.
    Hello to Barranca and Santiago, Daniel and Maria. Those Mountain Lions are joined by Randy, Eileen and Bruce. Chamisa is graced by the fine work of Jorge, Carol and Neal.

  •  The Los Alamos Animal Shelter, 226 East Road, 662-8179, has a great selection of adoptable pets just waiting for their forever home.
    petfinder.com/shelters/friendsoftheshelter.html
    SHELTER HOURS: Noon to 6 p.m. Monday – Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekends.
    CATS
    Abby and Maddie — Older, declawed cats who were surrendered when their owner’s health prevented her from keeping them. Abby is almost all black. Maddie is part Abysinnian. Abby and Maddie would love to be adopted together for $35.
    Dantez — A young, gray and white cat who had to have his left eye removed. He has been recovering well at the shelter, but is still a bit leery of most visitors. Stay tuned for more information about this guy.
    Hazel — A white and gray tabby. He (yes, he) is 4-5 months old and a bit shy.
    Jay — A very cute, long-haired gray and white kitten who was a little leery of humans at first, but he is quickly warming up to human attention, and he loves attention from other cats!
    Kittens — The shelter has many that will be available for adoption as soon as they are old enough to spay or neuter.
    Naftali — An all-black young female cat who was left at the front door. She will be spayed soon.

  •  

    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 a new best friend today! Be sure to check out the Petfinder website for pictures of all adorable adoptable animals:

    petfinder.com/shelters/friendsoftheshelter.html

    SHELTER HOURS: Noon to 6 p.m. Monday – Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekends.

    Also, be sure to check out the website at lafos.org, to get more information about volunteering, adopting and donating, as well as read up on some of your favorite animals and learn more about special needs animals or cats and dogs currently in foster care. 

    All adoptable pets are microchipped, spayed or neutered, and up-to-date on vaccinations.