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Features

  • This is a such a great time of year for so many reasons, that I thought it might be nice to address some pitfalls, before they take place.

    “Happy Holidays” is a general term of greeting exchanged this time of year. There is no disrespect to anyone involved, it is just a holiday greeting akin to, “have a nice day.” There are so many things being celebrated this time of year and this is the opportunity to embrace them all.

    I enjoyed a commercial I heard recently from KOAT’s Doug Fernandez. He said that he loves the fact that they call it the holiday season because of how long we celebrate. I feel exactly the same way, it starts Oct. 1 with decorating for Halloween and goes for a solid five to six months.

    It really kicks in as Thanksgiving approaches and you can wish everyone happy holidays and cover all of the bases. You can’t tell by sight what someone celebrates, but happy holidays kind of says it all.

    This is the time of year that some people get ruffled that you may seem disrespectful by not saying, Merry Christmas and I say not at all. You are just being respectful of everyone. If you disagree or think you do, then I challenge you to Google, can a non-Jewish person wish someone a Happy Hanukkah? Go ahead, I dare you to do it anyway.

  • USDA Forest Service visitor maps will increase in price from $10 to $14 effective Jan. 1.

    Rising costs of production, printing, and distribution have driven the need for the price increase of the paper and plastic-coated visitor maps, the first such increase in almost a decade. The agency continually updates its maps, seeking to enhance them as well. The Forest Service also expects to shorten the revision cycle as its cartographers continue applying new digital technology to the map revision process. 

    The agency is also working to increase the availability of digital maps, which cost $4.99 per side. Digital maps for mobile applications can be downloaded at avenza.com/pdf-maps/store. 

    As always, forest visitor maps are available for sale at those Forest Service offices in Arizona and New Mexico that currently sell them. 

    Volume purchases are available from the National Forest Map Store and can be ordered at NationalForestStore.com or by phone at 406-329-3024.

    To help offset the price increase for volume sales, discount pricing will now be available to all customers starting Jan. 1.

    Discounted maps are only available when purchased through the NFMS.

  • BY BARBARA CALEF
    League of Women Voters of Los Alamos

    Because the existence of a chromium plume in the regional aquifer below Sandia and Mortendad Canyons has been a source of concern for citizens of northern New Mexico, Voices of Los Alamos asked experts to discuss the problem at a meeting on Nov. 27.

    Danny Katzman is the Technical Program Director for LANL’s chromium project and a hydrogeologist.  Katzman began by saying that he was working on a way to explain the complicated technical project, putting together FAQs (frequently asked questions) for the DOE website. This is now posted at the linkenergy.gov/sites/prod/files/2017/11/f46/Chromium-Project-Fact-Sheet-Fall-2017-FINAL.pdf.

    Katzman explained that chromium occurs in two forms: chromium-3 or trivalent, which is harmless, and chromium-6 or hexavalent, which is toxic to humans. The hexavalent form, which dissolves in water, is used for chrome plating. At the lab it was used to prevent corrosion in the power plant cooling towers from 1956 to 1972. During that time about 160,000 pounds of excessive concentrations were released into Sandia Canyon.

  • The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos will close for winter break from Dec. 22 through Jan. 2.
    There will be no classes or activities, and buildings will be closed.

    Throughout the year, UNM-LA strives to keep the community notified about weather delays, cancellations, closures and emergencies, through the media, the UNM-LA website, and the UNM-Los Alamos Facebook page. Additionally, students, faculty, and staff can sign up for text message LoboAlerts at loboalerts.unm.edu

    The UNM-LA campus, at 4000 University Dr., will reopen on Jan. 3, with classes beginning Jan. 16.

    UNM–LA is an innovative, rigorous and affordable comprehensive branch community college that provides foundations for transfer, leading-edge career programs, and lifelong learning opportunities.

  • Last week, the Los Alamos Middle School Native Hawks celebrated a Feast Day, as Native American Heritage month came to an end.

    Throughout the month, students attended a special gathering at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos, to spend time with Native poets and potters. The artisans shared their talents and backgrounds inspiring young students for the future.

    The Native Hawks “Rocked their Mocs,” and spent the early portion of the month fundraising for a school project.

    Students sold turquoise ribbons and scented pencils to raise $200 to share their culture with their fellow hawks. Several local residents were inspired by their efforts and made  donations to support their work.

    The fundraising was not to benefit their club directly, but to create awareness of local cultures for their fellow students.

    A Feast Day would give a real world learning opportunity to all hawks as they came together to sample cuisine.

    The Native Hawks raised the funds to hire Chef Norma Naranjo to bake Native American items to share. Narano of, The Feasting Place, baked Indian cookies, Horno Bread and Pies that arrived fresh in the morning, straight from the Okay Owingeh, also called the San Juan Pueblo. Her husband Hutch and master of the horno, is from the Santa Clara Puebo.

  • The Los Alamos Nature Center will be closed Dec. 24, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 and open all other days in December and January.

    The nature center is free, and offers a great place to bring family to orient to the Pajarito Plateau before venturing outside or to the neighboring national parks and preserve.

    People of all ages enjoy exploring the nature center’s interactive exhibits, watching the local wildlife, discovering more about the geology of our area, and exploring the unique collection of nature-inspired items in their gift shop.

    The Los Alamos Nature Center, located at 2600 Canyon Road, is open from 10 AM to 4 PM on

    Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays as well as 1-4 p.m. on Sundays. The nature center is open late on Tuesdays, until 8 p.m., closed Thursdays for regular maintenance.

  • BY MARLEY JAY
    AP Business Writer

    NEW YORK — ‘Tis the season to keep that office holiday party from adding to the list of workplace sexual misconduct scandals.

    With the names of Weinstein, Spacey and Lauer likely getting more mentions this year than Dancer, Prancer and Blitzen, employers are making sure their year-end staff merrymaking doesn’t generate more inappropriate conduct.

    There will be less booze at many. An independent business organization has renewed its annual warning not to hang mistletoe. And some will have party monitors, keeping an eye out for inappropriate behavior.

    TV and movies often depict office parties as wildly inappropriate bacchanals or excruciatingly awkward fiascoes, if not, horrifyingly, both. But even a regular office party can be complicated because the rules people normally observe at work don’t quite apply, which makes it easier for people to accidentally cross a line – or try to get away with serious misbehavior. Especially when too much drinking is involved.

  • The holiday tree lighting ceremony at the County Municipal Building Saturday was one for the record books.

    This year’s key attraction was a 23-foot blue spruce from the Jemez Mountains, picked and decorated by employees from the Los Alamos County Public Works Department. The big buildup, leading up to the lighting, which included a concert from Schola Cantorum Choir and Mountain Elementary, did not disappoint.

    “This was the first time I’ve attended an actual lighting ceremony, and I thought the singing was beautiful too”, Los Alamos County Councilor Antonio Maggiore said. “It was very nice.”

    County Councilor Rick Reiss led the tree lighting, thanking residents “for coming out tonight to see the lighting of our tree, our community tree.”  He had the crowd do a backward countdown from 10 before flicking on the tree’s lights.

    There were plenty of “oohs” and “ahs” and applause at the critical moment, as the tree’s silver and blue ornaments caught the lights just right.

    Reiss also thanked Public Works for making the trek out into the Jemez to bring the tree back.

    “It’s just as beautiful this year as it was last year, we are lucky to have it,” he said.

  • Join the crowd this Friday, for a dive-in movie at the Walkup Aquatic Center. 

    Float in the warm water while watching “Despicable Me 3” on the big screen.

    The movie ticket, snacks, popcorn, drinks and glow necklaces will be provided for the low cost of $5. 

    Tickets are now on sale at the Aquatic Center or can be purchased on-line or at the door the night of the event. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the movie will starts at 7 p.m. 

    For any questions, contact the Walkup Aquatic Center at 662-8170.

  • This week, I am writing about a community asset that is an asset in a very different way, but like a person that is an asset, may go unnoticed by many. The Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization and staff.

    You might need to sit down for the next bit of information I am about to share with you. Ready? You can join the Los Alamos Senior Center at the age of 50. Sure, the older you are the better the benefits and resources, but yes, just 50 years old.

    I want to highlight one program today, their wonderful home-delivered meal program. Los Alamos and White Rock have a fabulous staff and some pretty great volunteers, too.

    As winter approaches, maybe you would prefer that mom or dad doesn’t head out on those snow-covered roads during the next few months. While hot lunches are served at both senior centers during the week, maybe you didn’t know that those meals could come to the door.

    If you, a family member or friend are not able to cook for themselves sometimes due to a life situation, long or short term, good nutrition is imperative in healthy outcomes. Their meals not only have the ability to arrive compliments of a friendly driver, but also include milk, juice, an entrée, sides and dessert. 

  • The public is invited to an afternoon of holiday songs by Shashi Light Charles at 2 p.m. Saturday at Mesa Public Library in the Upstairs Rotunda.

    Her program will include holiday songs and some original work, all presented in her unique jazz-folk fusion style.

    Light fell in love with music at an early age, which beckoned her into singing (badly but passionately) and plinking on the piano and plucking on the guitar.

    She spent several years traveling around the country playing music and ended up in Nashville, where she played at places like The Nashville Palace, The Commodore, The Bluebird Cafe, Douglas Corner, The Broken Spoke, etc. She loves to share her music with others, so join her for an afternoon of some Christmas favorites, other fun tunes, and an original or two.

    Performing with her will be Bill Waganaar on acoustic guitar and Joy Charles on cello.

    Seating is limited in the Upstairs Rotunda, and people will be turned away when the room capacity is reached, so come early and enjoy the show! For more information about events at the library, visit losalamoslibrary.org

  • Next up in the Mesa Public Library’s Free Film Series is a film Chicago Tribune critic Michael Wilmington called “the greatest rock concert movie ever made – and maybe the best rock movie, period.”

    Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Waltz” (1978, rated PG) will screen at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the library’s upstairs meeting room.

    It’s Thanksgiving, 1976. An ice rink and music hall in San Francisco called the Winterland Ballroom hosts a crowd of 5,000 for what concert promoter Bill Graham dubs “rock ‘n’ roll’s last supper” as The Band plays its farewell concert, also known as “The Last Waltz.”

    “The Last Waltz,” both the concert and the film, features some of the biggest names in ’70s rock. Those joining The Band onstage for its legendary grand finale (though it regrouped, without guitarist Robbie Robertson, and began another tour in 1983) include Neil Young, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Wood, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, and Bob Dylan.

  • This month’s League of Women Voters’ community event, Lunch with a Leader on Dec. 12, will feature three women from Voices of Los Alamos.

    The speakers will be Becky Oertel, Cristina Olds, and Anagha Dandekar.

    The lunch begins at 11:45 a.m. upstairs at Mesa Library. The speakers will discuss how and why they formed Voices of Los Alamos, the activities they have accomplished and their plans for the future.

    Oertel grew up in Los Alamos and is the daughter of Jay and Carol Wechsler, who were active volunteers and founding members of the Los Alamos Community. After obtaining a degree in Biochemistry from University of Wyoming, Oertel enjoyed 30 years of working with people from all walks of life - from remote valleys and mountains of eastern Kentucky to the white sterile halls of biomedical research facilities. Oertel has been a Volunteer Fire Department officer and a PEEC board member. She is a board member for Living Treasures of Los Alamos and a founding member of Voices of Los Alamos.

  • TODAY
    Nature Yoga and Trail Run at 11:45 a.m. at the Nature Center.
Practice yoga with Christa Tyson at the nature center, where you have a great view of nature. Optional: Arrive at 10:30 a.m. to join Christa for a pre-yoga run. Admission: yoga or run for $7/$5 for members; yoga and run for $12/$8 for members.

    Feature Film: Mysteries of the Unseen World
at 2 p.m. at the Nature Center. Discover what is normally too fast, too slow, too small, or outside the visible spectrum. There is far more to nature than meets the eye. Cost is $6 for adults, $4 for children.

    North mesa Stables welcomes the public to take a evening stroll through the stables. Leave the vehicle in the ball fields parking lot off North Mesa Road. Dogs must be on a leash. Owners decorate in the spirit of the holidays.
    MONDAY
    Nature Playtime, Sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of NM
at 10 a.m. at the Nature Center. Join local families for fun, hands-on activities, hikes, games, and stories in nature. Free.
    TUESDAY
    Kiwanis meets from noon to 1 p.m. the first three Tuesdays of each month in Kelly Hall at Trinity-on-the-Hill Episcopal Church, 3900 Trinity Drive.  Eileen Sullivan, the new library director for Los Alamos County, will be the speaker.

  • During this special time of year, the San Ildefonso Pueblo Visitor’s Center invites the community to its annual bazaar Saturday.

    The 9 a.m.-4 p.m. event will feature the newest creations from pueblo artisans for the holiday season.

    The Pueblo de San Ildefonso Tourism Department holds the annual Holiday Bazaar at the Pueblo’s Tewa Center. The exact address for first time visitors, is 74 Povi Kaa Road in Santa Fe.

    “The bazaar is open to the public and features the artwork of the local artists of our Pueblo, such as: pottery, paintings, jewelry, sewing and handmade crafts,” said Denise Moquino, of the Tewa Visitor’s Center. “There will also be baked goods including; Indian bread, pies and cookies, cakes and more.”

    The concession stand is staffed by members of the Tribal Youth Council to benefit the program. Members will have an array of good food, snack items and drinks on hand throughout the day. 

    Pueblo artists will also donate an item that will be raffled off throughout the day. All questions can be directed to Denise Moquino at 455-3549 or 692-5580.

    This story has been corrected to reflect the correct date of the event.

  • The annual Breakfast with Santa, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos and DelNorte Credit Union, will be from 7-11 a.m. Saturday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center.

    The breakfast is free. In return, attendees are requested to donate either non-perishable food items or money. Food collected will be used by LA Cares to feed local families in need. Money donated will be used for the Kiwanis/CYFD Foster Children Christmas party.

    Any money left over from the Foster Children’s party will be used for Foster Children needs.

  • Those planning to attend the annual Holiday Pops Concert this Friday evening at the Crossroads Bible Church, better brush up on their conducting skills. There may be a test.

    The Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra will choose one person through a raffle to conduct the 60-member orchestra for one song during the concert.

    The program will also feature a singalong.

    Songs for this year’s concert will be:

    “From the Realms of Glory,” “Winter Wonderland,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24,” “A Christmas Festival,” “Trepak,” “Waltz of the Flowers,” “Jingle Bells,” “A Most Wonderful Christmas,” “The Christmas Song,” “Christmas Sing-a-Long” and “Sleigh Ride.”

    LASO Conductor David Chavez said choosing the songs was a collaborative effort with LASO President David Korzekwa.

    “Overall, it was a collaborative effort between he and I, with songs that haven’t been done, with those that have been done traditionally in years past,” Chavez said.

    This is one of the orchestra members’ favorite concerts. The concert will be a first for many in the orchestra.

  • A litter of six tiny kittens was transferred from an animal shelter in Moriarty to the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter Nov. 17. The kittens are still trying to figure out where they are and what it’s all about.

    Animal shelter volunteers were going to attempt getting a picture of all six together but their curiosity level and willingness to make friends was just too strong.

    They said just two of them, Nikolai, a Russian Blue and Laka, a Bombay, was the limit, as far as pictures were concerned. Nikolai has grey fur, like two of her siblings, and Bombay has black fur, like two of his siblings.

    All of the kittens in the litter are spayed and neutered. They are also litter-box trained and have been vaccinated.

    While attentive and well-behaved, they seemed to have other things to do than sit for a picture. Nikolai and Laka seemed more interested in jumping off the table in an effort to get to know their new, older friends at the shelter.

    Very curious and active, Nikolai, Laka and the rest of the crew are also healthy, friendly with humans, and very anxious to explore the world outside the shelter.

    For those looking to provide a forever home for these curious kitties, they can, call the shelter at 662-8179 or email at police-psa@lacnm.us.   

  • The Betty Ehart Center will host a free play reading at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, and the White Rock Senior Center will have a free play Thursday of “Epiphany” by David MacGregor.

    The play is directed by Pat Beck and features Jim Nesmith and Pat Beck. It centers on a long-term couple’s discussing what (and who) is truly important in their lives. How can one man’s simple epiphany trigger such a reaction in his partner? Are we really hard-wired by biology to live only 30 years or so, and now that medical science lets humans live much longer, how does that affect the way we should live our lives?

    The readings are part of an ongoing partnership among the Senior Centers, Los Alamos Little Theatre, and playwright Robert Benjamin to bring live theater in enjoyable snippets every few months to the senior community.

    The readings are intended not only to be entertaining, but also to spark conversation about issues relating to aging.

    Previous readings include “I’m Herbert,” by Robert Anderson; “Final Gift,” “Fresh Out,” “Swerving” and “Too Soon,” by Benjamin; “MusicPoemMusic” by Elaine Jarvik; and an excerpt from “Not Quite Right,” co-authored by Jarvik and Benjamin.