• Smith's, union reach accord

    The Kroger Co. Smith’s Division announced on Friday that it had reached an agreement with United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1564, which represents Smith’s workers throughout New Mexico.
    According to UFCW Local 1564 President Greg Frazier, 86 percent of Smith’s associates across the state ratified the four-year contract.
    “The members and I feel that we got something that was fair,” Frazier said.
    “We’d always like something more, of course, but that’s negotiations.”
    According to Frazier, the key issues resolved to the union’s satisfactions were wages, insurance and some improvements regarding vacation and holiday pay for workers hired after 2005.
    Frazier would not go into specifics, but he did answer questions regarding some of the main points of contention during negotiations.
    “Our biggest issue, besides insurance, was making improvements for those employees hired after ’05,” Frazier said.
    The union had previously made concessions regarding pay and benefits for workers hired after 2005 (73 percent of Smith’s workforce) in order to help Smith’s compete with Walmart.

  • Smith’s, union come to terms

    The Kroger Co. Smith’s Division associates working at stores in New Mexico have ratified a new labor agreement with UFCW Local 1564, according to a Smith’s press release.
    “We are pleased to reach an agreement that is good for our associates. This agreement provides wage increases, affordable health care and invests in our associates’ pension fund to support their retirement,” said Jay Cummins, Smith’s president. “I want to thank our associates for supporting the agreements and for the excellent service they provide to our customers every day.”
    The contracts cover 2,200 associates working in 25 stores in New Mexico including the new Smith’s Marketplace in Los Alamos.
    Kroger employs more than 375,000 associates who serve customers in 2,638 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 34 states.

  • Sullivan named LACDC head

    The Board of Directors of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation (LACDC) announced Monday the hiring of Patrick Sullivan as the Executive Director of LACDC effective Nov. 10.
    “The board conducted an exhaustive and thorough nationwide search and chose a solid, local candidate to be the Director,” said Board Member Katherine Chartrand who led the search committee, “Patrick stood out in a strong field because he knows the community and LACDC, and knows how the organization can be effective.”
    The search committee ran a unique search effort that allowed for in-depth discussion between the candidates and a wide range of stakeholders.
    “I want to thank Katharine Chartrand for leading the search committee and running such an inclusive, and effective process. Getting input from community members and LACDC staff was extremely valuable,” said Bill Wadt, President of the LACDC Board of Directors.

  • Business Spotlight: Graphic designer inspired by world travel, nature

    When Brenda Fleming was in Paris, she was studying the cuneiform writings from ancient Mesopotamia. Later she visited the Louvre and discovered an exhibit on Mesopotamia.
    While strolling through the city, she came across a Russian Orthodox Church and L’ Orangerie museum, where Monet’s lily pad paintings fill the entire wall, floor to ceiling, of the gallery.
    At the time Fleming was studying foreign languages at New Mexico State University. She didn’t know at the time that she would go on to own a graphic design firm, but she says her world travel was her biggest inspiration for her career.
    “In Paris, everywhere you look there are historical and well designed buildings,” Fleming said. “I loved taking in all these elements that make things stand out and be beautiful.”
    When businesses hire her to make logos, websites and other printed material, she draws upon her travel experiences, seeing designs from around the world, to come up with her best ideas. She said, “I love learning other cultures and seeing what resonates with other people.”
    She is also inspired by nature, especially the colors, sunsets and textures in the New Mexico desert.

  • Cooperative celebration

    The Los Alamos Co-op Market will be celebrating National Co-op Month this weekend by discounting cooperative products, showcasing local co-ops and offering cooperative activities for the community Saturday and Sunday.
    The co-op will have the following activities for all ages:
    Discounts on items by cooperative businesses — building the cooperative business economy
    • Sampling baked goods, holiday dishes and other items from the co-op deli
    • Bouncy House donated by Little Forest Playschool (a co-op) from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. both days
    • Scavenger hunts for all ages Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Chair massages on Saturday by Michelle Harkey (9 a.m.-noon) and Greg Barthell (1-4 p.m.)
    • The Los Alamos Co-op Market can be found at two locations: 95 Entrada Dr. and inside Fusion Multisport on Central across from CB Fox. The celebration will be located at the Entrada Drive location. Check the website losalamos.coop, or call 695-1579 for more information.

  • Hill Diner to be auctioned off

    The Hill Diner, located in the 1300 block of Trinity Drive, will be heading to the auction block at noon Oct. 15 on the steps of the Justice Center in Los Alamos.
    According to a legal advertisement in last week’s ’s Los Alamos Monitor, the sale is the result of a stipulated judgment from the First Judicial District Court in the County of Los Alamos in a case between Los Alamos National Bank and former Hill Diner owner Denise Lane and others.
    In her Sept. 4 ruling, Judge Sarah Singleton ruled a special master to conduct the sale.
    In July of last year, LANB filed suit against Chamisa Place, LLC, Hill Diner Inc., Denise A. Lane, Michael A. Lane, Lori M. Novak, the State of New Mexico Department of Labor, Workforce Solutions, Los Alamos County, the New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service.
    Also named in the suit were the trusts of Jennifer Shea Samora, Jacob Michael Smith and Caitlin Amelia Smith.
    According to the legal ad, LANB is owed $991,344.83 plus additional costs and attorney fees.
    In addition, there is also lien on the property, located in the 1300 block of Trinity Drive, for $28,193.02, as of Aug. 14.
    Lane closed the Hill Diner in late 2012 and bought and started up the Dixie Girl.

  • Day care available for disabled adults

    For those who are aware of the challenges of taking care of a mentally or physically disabled loved ones, a breath of fresh air has come to Los Alamos.
    All Individuals First is a nonprofit, privately owned business that caters to adults with developmental disabilities.
    Los Alamos resident Doris Roberts and her daughter Susanna run the program at 2101 Trinity Dr., Suite T. The doors opened Aug. 4.
    They are currently LLC status and they are in the process of receiving the nonprofit 501(c). The hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
    Since the opening in August, there are eight clients in the program, but they hope to expand in clients and staff. It is currently the mother-daughter team running the show. “We want to branch out one day, if we get big enough,” Doris said.
    The program starting with Doris Roberts working with Los Alamos County to get off the ground. The rental space is owned by the Public Schools Administration.
    Doris said that individuals with different types of disabilities can come and go as they please and live an independent life. “It gives their parents or caregivers a break and gives the individual a chance to learn and gain life skills in a safe environment,” Susanna Roberts said.

  • Tesla decision sparks campaign criticism

    SANTA FE (AP) — Political finger-pointing has started over New Mexico losing out to Nevada as a site for Tesla Motors’ a battery factory.
    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gary King said Wednesday that the electric car maker didn’t select New Mexico because of “a failure of leadership” by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, his general election opponent.
    Republican Rep. Monica Youngblood, of Albuquerque, said in a statement that King was trying to “score cheap political points” and his criticisms “completely ignore the state’s bipartisan efforts that have allowed us to compete for jobs like those offered by Tesla and other companies.”
    Martinez spokesman Enrique Knell said the state hasn’t heard officially from Tesla. An announcement was scheduled Thursday in Nevada.
    The Associated Press reported that Tesla still plans a second site in case Nevada can’t deliver promised incentives or possibly to build a second factory.
    King said in a statement “it’s not our location or lack of resources” that caused the state to lose out to Nevada. He criticized Martinez administration education policies and said New Mexico needs to better fund schools to produce highly skilled workers necessary for attracting manufacturers like Tesla Motors Inc.

  • Food Co-op Market achieves Certified Wildlife Habitat status

    The Los Alamos Co-op Market recently became one of many businesses in town that has achieved Certified Wildlife Habitat status from the National Wildlife Federation. Bird and bee friendly flowers were planted outside the building and the porch is lined with hummingbird feeders.

  • Wells to retire from LANB

    Steve Wells figured it was time.
    Last week, Wells notified the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Los Alamos National Bank and Trinity Capital Corporation of his intent to retire as President and Chief Administrative Officer of LANB and Secretary of Trinity effective Dec. 31.
     Wells serves as President and Chief Administrative Officer for LANB and as Secretary of Trinity, as well as a director on the boards of both Trinity and LANB. Wells has been employed with LANB since 1985. He served as Executive Vice President from 1985 to 1994, when he was named President.
    “My time with Steve has been very beneficial. We share a common passion for our customers, shareholders, employees and the community,” said John S. Gulas, CEO and President of Trinity and CEO of LANB. “Steve has been a great asset to me and LANB. I look forward to working with him over the next four months as we strategically plan for the bank’s future.”