• Event planning goes 'green'

    Going “green” and becoming dedicated to sustainable living are buzz phrases in today’s society.
    Los Alamos resident Kimberly Hoch has started Piñon Events, a business which consists of conference and event management, but on a level where it is environmentally friendly and a way to reduce a carbon footprint.
    “I strive to provide quality event management services for everything from fundraisers to weddings, to large scale conferences and trade shows,” Hoch said.
    While living in Colorado, Hoch was employed by BBI International as event manager. BBI International was one of the first professional conference and event companies to implement full scale “no-low waste” greening services for the its events, Hoch said. The point was to use reusable, compostable, or recyclable materials for events, such as cups, napkins, toilet paper, paper towels, signage and marketing materials.
    “I’m particularly passionate about leaving the lightest footprint possible and continuing the greening initiatives I learned and implemented,” she said.
    Efforts a business can to achieve a green event may include full scale composting and recycling stations, use of bio-products for food and beverage disposable items, electronic marketing and reusable print marketing.

  • Roasting Peppers

    Smith’s employee Joseph Crocker roasts a 25-pound box of Hatch green chiles for a customer at the White Rock store Monday afternoon. The soil and growing conditions in New Mexico’s Hatch Valley contribute to the flavor of chile grown there. Most of the varieties of chile cultivated in the Hatch Valley have been developed at New Mexico State University over the last 130 years, according to Wikipedia.

  • Hunger Week, Summit address larger issues

    The Los Alamos County Council joined the New Mexico legislature in declaring July 14−18 as Hunger Week.
    Hunger Week — initiated to raise awareness about hunger throughout the state — coincided with the first End Hunger in New Mexico Summit, sponsored by the North Central New Mexico Economic Development District Non-Metro Area Agency on Aging and the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department. The summit took place July 17−18.
    “When people think of individuals or families going hungry, they often think of people living in extreme poverty, living in some distant land,” said Tim Armer, Executive Director for the NCNMEDD.
    “It might surprise them that there are many people experiencing hunger right here in New Mexico and most likely right in their own neighborhoods. People can have a house, a car and a job but still struggle with putting food on the table.”
    Here are some statistics about hunger in New Mexico provided by summit organizers.
    • New Mexico is one of the highest states facing food insecurity with at least 40,000 New Mexicans seeking food assistance each week, including many children or senior citizens. Currently New Mexico ranks No. 1 in the nation for childhood hunger and second for senior hunger.

  • Hidden in plain sight: Poverty in LA

    Forbes ranked Los Alamos County the third wealthiest county in the United States this year. The county also has the highest number of millionaires, according to Phoenix Marketing International. Livability.com just named Los Alamos the best small town in the country.
    So it is very hard for most people to believe that poverty exists in the county.
     “I think there is a perception that Los Alamos doesn’t have poverty. In areas of affluence, sometimes the issues of poverty become invisible. And it is true in Los Alamos that the great majority of people are doing rather well,” said Ellen Morris Bond, executive director for Self Help, Inc., a program dedicated to enhancing life skills and empowering individuals by providing programs and services that focus on developing self-reliance.
     “Whenever I do public talks, people are kind of shocked at my reports of what I deal with on the ground here, as an agency that deals with struggling people in Los Alamos almost every day. Every day I hear and see and meet with families that struggle to stay here.”
    Statistics show that 3.9 percent of the county’s population lives in poverty, based on such things as the number of food stamp recipients. And the story does not stop there.

  • Central Avenue construction

    Even though there’s a lot of construction going on at Central Avenue, local businesses are doing all they can to remind residents they are open, as the banner on CB Fox’ front window demonstrates.

  • Smith’s start is a strong one

    The ribbon cutting for the new Smith’s Marketplace Wednesday was relatively quiet, at least compared to what followed.
    Within an hour of opening, the parking lot was starting to fill up and by lunchtime it was packed.
    Reports kept coming back to Los Alamos Monitor — at 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 11 p.m. — it was still packed.
    The trend continued Thursday and Friday and shows no sign of letting up any time soon.
    “I can’t release sales information, but I can tell you that both yesterday and today (Wednesday and Thursday) we exceeded anything we thought was possible at this store,” manager Erik Boehm said. “So it will be an impressive store when it’s all said and done.”
    Boehm was able to provide some figures about the number of transactions. The store racked up 8,900 transactions the first day from an estimated 14,000 people. Day two saw 7,000 transactions from approximately 12,000 customers.
    “So we probably put 26,000 people through the store in the last two days,” Boehm said.
    That estimate may even be a little low, considering the number of people who just came in to check out the store without making a purchase.

  • Microsoft announces 18K layoffs

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Microsoft announced the biggest layoffs in its history Thursday, saying it will cut 18,000 jobs as it streamlines its Nokia mobile device business to focus on using the Windows Phone operating system.
    Although the job cuts were expected, the extent of the eliminations is a surprise, amounting to 14 percent of the company’s workforce.
    It’s CEO Satya Nadella’s boldest move since taking the reins from Steve Ballmer in February. Ballmer announced the Nokia acquisition last September, a month after he announced that he would resign.
    In a public email to employees Thursday, Nadella said the changes were needed for the company to “become more agile and move faster.”
    Nadella indicated that Microsoft will largely abandon low-price Nokia Asha phones — which work on their own non-Windows operating system — and reverse a strategically questionable move by Nokia in February to launch a line of phones called “X’’ that supported rival Google Inc.’s Android platform.

  • Surprises abound in new store

    Smith’s Food & Drug President Jay Cummins summed up the general euphoria with the new Smith’s Marketplace on Tuesday.
    “I can’t wait for our customers to walk in here tomorrow, because I don’t think they know − no pun intended − what’s in store,” Cummins said. “This is definitely one-of-a-kind in the Smith’s division, and I’d be willing to bet one-of-a-kind in the 2,600 Kroger stores that are across the country. It’s a spectacular store.”
    Smith’s is a division of the Kroger Co.
    Although Smith’s has six Marketplace stores in Utah, the Los Alamos store is a new prototype and one that promises to outstrip even those that follow in its wake.
    The Los Alamos Marketplace has several unique features: a wine bar serving wine and beer by the glass, made-to-order sandwiches, pizza, salads and other prepared foods and a patio offering wine and beer service as well as canyon views.
    The store is filled with little surprises.
    The climate-controlled wine cellar offers a touch of elegance as well as a distinctive assortment of wines and a cigar humidor.
    A demo grill in the fresh meat and seafood department allows associates to prepare samples for customers. That department offers specialty items such as house-prepared sausages.

  • Finally!

    Hundreds of people were on hand for the grand opening of Smith’s this morning.
    Los Alamos resident Paula Olson was the first shopper in line, arriving at 6:30 a.m.
    “It’s a beautiful store. A little chaotic at the moment,” Olson said. “I hope it goes well, I hope that everybody likes it, and I hope they keep the prices low. Because big stores get big heads.”
    Olson especially loved the counter full of artisan breads and the selection in the housewares department.
    In general, people were amazed at the size of the store and excited to see it open.
    A resident who has lived here 40-plus years said, “I’m excited, but I can’t imagine putting something like this is a town like this. The town’s too small? Why are they doing it? They say it takes two hours just to get around the store.”
    “I’m excited to be able to buy a bath towel in the county,” said one shopper who preferred to remain anonymous. “A bath towel and a lamp and car seats in the county.”

  • Less than 24 hours away

    Smith’s Marketplace, on the Trinity Site in Los Alamos opens Wednesday. It is the first Smith’s Marketplace store to be built in New Mexico and will replace the existing Smith’s combination food and drug store in the Merrimac Shopping Center on Central Avenue. Ribbon cutting ceremonies will begin at 7:45 a.m. and the doors will open at 8 a.m.