Today's Features

    The Taos News

    TAOS — The old convent in the middle of the parking lot at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Taos has mostly sat quiet for 43 years, since the nuns that used to run Central High School packed up and moved on.
    But in the last three weeks, the former convent on Don Fernando Street has been a lively place. Buzz saws whined as coats of paint have gone up on the walls, and the kitchen — a currently unusable artifact of a bygone era — is getting a makeover.
    The historic two-story building needs to be warm and comfy because a group of monks who had been looking for a new home have finally landed in Taos.

    Five Benedictine monks from the Abbey of Christ in the Desert, located along the banks of the Chama River near Abiquiú, are in the midst of establishing the Monastery of San Juan Diego.

    A special mass is planned for Sept. 15, when Archbishop John C. Wester will be in Taos to bless the burgeoning Benedictine community.

    With the help of the archbishop, the men searched for an ideal location to establish the new monastery in New Mexico.

    Special to the Monitor

    Soaring high above O’ahu, from my comfy perch in a Blue Hawaiian helicopter, I marveled at the diversity of the island. From craggy cliffs and mountains to dramatic coastlines, verdant valleys and lush rainforests, this special slice of paradise has it all. And a helicopter ride is one of the best ways to appreciate such vast natural beauty.

    On a Blue Hawaiian Helicopters O‘ahu Complete Island tour, you’ll experience the full range of landscape, from the turquoise reefs of Waikiki and iconic Diamond Head to pristine Hanauma Bay and white sand Waimanalo Beach. You’ll get to see Mokoli’i Island, otherwise known as “Chinaman’s Hat,” Sacred Falls and the coral formations in Kaneohe Bay, as well as fly above the Nuuanu Valley Rainforest and the panorama of the Dole Pineapple Plantation. The ride concludes with sweeping views of Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial and the Battleship Missouri.  

  • This week, I encourage you to take time off. That’s right, if you have vacation days or are storing up PTO (Paid Time Off) like a squirrel storing nuts, use some. Did you know some places don’t pay you for time off if you leave the job, so use it or lose it?

    You can surprise the family with a middle of the week day off and a trip to somewhere fun. Maybe you go to a mall in Albuquerque, the zoo to see the new penguins or a waterpark. I loved taking our three boys to the Build A Bear workshop. You say who can afford that? I say they did, after they raised the money through a series of lemonade stands. I swear before they all off to college, we should put up a lemonade stand for the neighbors to reminisce.

    This is an excellent time to go see a movie together. The new Lion King is out and it will be a blockbuster. You could possibly take your kids and hit some movie milestone in the process. Imagine a soundtrack for a kid’s movie where you will enjoy singing along and not be haunted by the tunes. No, I purposely didn’t mention any particular song by name.

    If your kids are older, I suggest the latest showing possible.

  • Local favorites The Hill Stompers Band will bring their award-winning jazzy music and colorful, crazy antics to the Pajarito Brewpub and Grill, Smith’s Marketplace, and Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op for the third Los Alamos Pub Crawl.

    This is a free, family friendly event and will be Thursday from 6-10 p.m.

    This lively group was formed in 2000 by Jeff Favorite, a snare drum player, and his wife, Kandice. In the past, the Hill Stompers have led a Mardi Gras Pub Crawl around the Plaza area of Santa Fe and down the main streets of Durango and Telluride. These events feature marching band music in the streets and other unexpected venues.

    Now they are bringing the fun home to Los Alamos for the third time and the public is invited to join in on the energy and liveliness.

    “We are thrilled to be doing the Pub Crawl for the third straight year. We want to make it a summer tradition.” Hill Stompers Band leader Jeff Favorite said. “We want to take advantage of the enthusiasm of the large number of summer students in town.” The flashy, sweet-sounding, and always strikingly costumed troupe would like to welcome fans of all ages to join the fun. “People don’t think of a ‘pub crawl’ as a kid gig, but all the venues are family friendly.” said Favorite. Come on out and have some fun!

  • Speaker of the House of Representatives Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) has been selected for the national Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership.

    The program will bring together elected officials who have shown exceptional leadership and the ability to work across party lines.

    Egolf was nominated for the fellowship by Tobias Read, the State Treasurer of Oregon, and is one of only 24 elected political “rising stars” from around the country to be chosen.

    “Speaker Egolf has been a long-time champion for New Mexico families,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “He leads the most diverse House of Representatives in our state’s history with strength, honesty, and a commitment to put the people of New Mexico ahead of any political ideology, and I congratulate Speaker Egolf on this important recognition.”
    Egolf said he was honored by the selection.

    “It’s an honor to be selected as one of this year’s Fellows,” Egolf said. “I look forward to representing the great state of New Mexico, learning from colleagues across the country, and showing our nation that in New Mexico we work together, listen to each other, and lead with our values.”

  • Destiny has found a home for the White Rock Presbyterian Church, as it calls a new head pastor, the Reverend Deborah Church Worley.

    Worley is a compassionate person of deep faith, seeking to bring the reality of God’s loving presence and care to bear on those who are hurting or in need of kindness, comfort, courage, or hope. She’s known to be more interested in listening and acknowledging questions and doubts than providing easy answers. She demonstrates an authentic faith combined with passionate preaching that builds a bond with congregation members, that stands the test of time.

    “I am extremely excited to be stepping alongside the good folks of the White Rock Presbyterian Church, in ministry to White Rock and the world around us in the name of Jesus,” said Worley. “I had been engaged full-time in the “ministry of motherhood” for over 15 years, and I loved that, but felt the nudge to move back into more formal ministry. 

    Discovering that a local, vibrant congregation was looking for a pastor at the same time felt like an indication of God’s Spirit at work, to bring us together.”

  • A single-tree, lightning-caused fire in upper Frijoles Canyon was reported Monday evening in Bandelier National Monument.

    The fire, the Frijoles Fire, is about 5 miles southwest of Los Alamos, creeping low and smoldering with flame lengths of less than 1 foot.

    The area received some rain the same evening it was reported and weather forecasts predict thundershowers by early next week.

    Low intensity, naturally caused wildfires burned the forested areas of the Jemez Mountains every seven to 15 years historically.

    The area around the Frijoles Fire last burned in the 2011 Las Conchas Fire. Fire Managers at Bandelier are seeing this low intensity fire as an opportunity to reduce the fine fuel and debris on the forest floor by allowing it to burn. Doing so helps restore natural conditions in this fire-dependent ecosystem.

    Firefighters are monitoring the Frijoles Fire and are ready take actions as necessary for public safety.

    Smoke may be visible from N.M. 4 west of Los Alamos. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health by using the 5-3-1 visibility method can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health

  • Outbreaks of vesicular stomatitis (VS) occur in Texas every several years, but until this June, there were no reported cases since 2014. Because horses near Austin were recently diagnosed with this disease, horse and livestock owners in nearby areas should take precautions to keep their animals safe.

    VS is a highly-contagious zoonotic disease that causes blisters in the mouth, tongue, teat, or hooves; crusty sores around the muzzle or hooves; and excessive salivation in horses and livestock, according to Dr. Michelle Coleman, assistant professor of large animal internal medicine at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

    While this viral disease can affect horses, cattle, sheep, goats, and other livestock, on rare occasions, the disease can spread to people and cause flu-like symptoms, though VS is not highly contagious to humans.

    “The virus can be spread through direct contact with infected animals, through saliva that can contaminate the environment, or by blood-feeding insects,” Coleman said. “People handling sick animals should wear gloves.”

    Luckily, most animals are able to recover from VS with proper treatment, which mainly involves supportive care as blisters and sores heal by ensuring that animals continue to eat, drink, and behave normally.

  • Fredrick is an old cat, but he’s a cool cat.

    He’s a10-year-old gray tabby who apparently loves to sit on people’s laps and be in the sun all day. He’s been around the block a few times, and was a stray for awhile.

    Frederick has some battle scars, which puzzle the staff at the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter, because he really is a gentle cat with a great disposition.

    As far as they can tell, Fredrick is just looking for one last forever home to spend the rest of his days in peace and quiet.

    His adoption fee is just $35.

    For more information, call the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter at 662-8179 or email the shelter at psa-officer@lacm.us.

  • A new food truck has rolled into White Rock and brought with it some old, hometown flavors that are sure to please many appetites.

    J.R.’s BB has opened for business between Metzger’s and the gas station, in front of the Los Alamos Training Center.
    “BB stands for breakfast burritos,” explains owner and cook Larry Roybal.

    Locals might recognize Roybal from Los Alamos’s Chile Works. He spent 20 years at the hometown favorite located on Trinity Drive. His father started Chile Works 30 years ago.

    “I finally went out on my own,” Roybal said.

    Roybal opened for business three days last week and has already managed to snag a few regular customers with his specialties of soft tacos and burritos.

    J.R.’s BB serves breakfast bagels, shredded beef tacos, chicken tacos, Frito pies, enchiladas, hamburgers, jumbo hotdogs and ice cold drinks. The truck is open Monday through Fridays from 6:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. If he runs out if food, he might close early some days, he said.

    “I was open last week for three days and I thought I did pretty good for nobody knowing,” he said.