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Features

  • BY DEBBIE STONE
    Special to the Monitor

    This is the first in a two-part series on Austria. Part two will appear in the Oct. 18 edition of Diversions.

    The act of toasting in Austria is a custom with its own set of rules. As a visitor to this land of sophistication and unassuming elegance, it’s important to know the correct protocol.

    First, make eye contact with each and every person at the table, loosely hold the wine glass by the stem and solidly clink on a slight diagonal plane to achieve the ideal ring. And, remember to never cross paths with someone else’s toast, as this would be considered rude.

    Following these guidelines is trickier than one might imagine – particularly the aspect of eye contact. Austrians believe it’s essential to acknowledge everyone individually, as it gives special meaning to the toast. It’s all about making a personal connection. Know that you’ll get plenty of practice, as it’s common to toast multiple times during the course of a social gathering.

  • Local geologist Patrick Rowe will lead an outing Oct. 14 to the Cabezon Peak area in search of geological treasures at two sites.

    Participants can expect to find minerals and marine fossils at the windmill site, and Shark’s Tooth Ridge is aptly named for the fossilized teeth from five species of Cretaceous Period sharks that the group will find.

    This program is organized by the Pajarito Environmental Education Center. Space is limited.

    The windmill site lies roughly between Cabezon peak and the Ojito Wilderness, where the group will be collecting nodules containing calcite crystals and fossil gastropods and ammonites.

    The nodules in this area often contain open pockets with beautiful calcite and every now and then barite crystals. The calcite crystals are found within some very large, partially buried and highly weathered concretions.

    To collect them, participants should be ready to do some digging in loose sand to expose the concretions. Once exposed, use prying tools and hammers to take apart the concretions while keeping an eye out for calcite.

  • SANTA FE — Would-be archaeologists can be part of a mock excavation at the Oct. 14 New Mexico Archaeology Fair held this year in Taos at the Millicent Rogers Museum.

    Presented by the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division, Department of Cultural Affairs, the fair is a chance for children and adults to experience activities associated with cultures that trace their origins back thousands of years. At the same time, they can learn techniques developed over the last 150 years that have helped people better understand the lives of some of New Mexico’s earliest inhabitants.

    “The mock dig is new to the fair this year,” said State Archaeologist Michelle Ensey, who also is the deputy State Historic Preservation Officer at HPD. “We’re conducting the excavations using some of the same tools archaeologists use to excavate prehistoric and historic sites.”

    The fair runs from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. and admission is free. The museum is hosting the event and will be open during the fair, which also features the Taos Archaeological Society, state Office of Archaeological Studies, Archaeological Society of New Mexico and the New Mexico Archaeological Council. Several HPD archaeologists and cultural resource professionals will be on hand.

  • The Los Alamos debut of concert pianist Natasha Stojanovska will be at 7 p.m. Friday in the Sanctuary of the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos, 1738 North Sage St.

    The performance is free to the public.

    Stojanovska, a Macedonian native, is a true world-class artist and has just moved to Los Alamos.

    She has performed solo and chamber music recitals in France, Portugal, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Romania, South Korea, Haiti, and the United States.

    Her performances have been broadcast on radio and television.

    Those who love piano repertoire will not want to miss her solo performance.

    On the program are pieces from Bach, Schubert, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and one of Stojanovska’s.

  • Jemez Village is gearing up for its annual Jemez Mountain Trail Sale, which will happen at the same time people start coming from all over to see the fall foliage on the 132-mile Jemez Mountain Scenic Byway.

    This year, the sale will take place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 21-22.

    The village tries to hold the sale when the leaves are turning and the fall colors are at their peak. 

    The massive yard sale is more than 26 miles long. It starts at San Ysidro and continues past La Cueva.

    The Jemez Mountain Scenic Byway is more than 163 miles long and starts in Bernalillo and ends at Bandelier National Monument. 

    The Jemez Mountain Trail Sale is an annual event where food vendors, artists, craftsmen and yard sale sellers can set their wares out on the side of NM 4 for shoppers and sightseers.

    Items for sale range from handcrafted items, jewelry and artwork to used cars, furniture, books, appliances and knick-knacks. Pottery, art and handcrafted items from Jemez Pueblo along with fundraiser tables set up by churches, schools, and other organizations may also be available.

    In addition to the sales and bargains along the way, the view will be great everywhere one looks.

  • TODAY
    Today-Dec. 13 —
Forest Explorers Hike and Play from 1-3 p.m. at the Nature Center.
Get outside this fall by exploring with PEEC! This six-week class is for youth ages 5 to 8. Cost is $135 for non-members, $110 for PEEC members.

    Nature Loom Installation from 2-4 p.m. at the Nature Center. Discover Earth Art and use natural objects in artistic expression during this hands-on group art installation with Liz Martineau. Cost is $5 for members, $7 for non-members.

    Jemez House Thrift Shop at 13 Sherwood Blvd. in White Rock will have a bag day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  
    THURSDAY
     Nature on Tap: Bandelier Bird Banding at 5:30 p.m. at the Nature Center. Join in a discussion about the 2017 Bandelier bird banding experience with Bandelier biologist Sarah Milligan and bird banding interns Daniel Dorantes and Kim Geissler. Free. More information at peecnature.org.

    FRIDAY
    Gentle Walks
at 9 a.m. at the Nature Center. A gentle walk for which the emphasis is on discovery, not mileage gained. Free.

    Astronomy Show: Asteroid Threats at 7 p.m. at the Nature Center.
Join us to learn about asteroids: the close calls, current risk, and how we know what to expect. Cost is $6 for adults, $4 for children. More information at peecnature.org.

  • A Better Way for LA invites the public to attend a fall meeting on Monday, Oct. 16, at the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce at 15th Street and Central Avenue. A light supper will be provided.
    The program begins at 7 p.m. with a talk by William Mead on the “History of Roundabout Decisions for N.M. 502 in Los Alamos County.”
    The planned roundabout at the intersection of Trinity Drive and Central Avenue will force drivers to travel in conflicting “circular” paths, negatively impacting both pedestrians and vehicles.
    Next, Heather Ortega will present a talk on “Neighborhood Associations: Helpful or Hurtful to Community Relations”. The Los Alamos County Council is proposing the use of public funds to form “voluntary” neighborhood associations.
    While they are intended to be an advocate for residents, there is the potential for fraud, abuse, harassment and onerous fines.
    Brady Burke will give concluding remarks. He recently announced his candidacy for the Los Alamos County Council.

  • Robert Altman’s acclaimed Western “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” (1971, rated R) will screen at 6:30 p.m. Thursday upstairs at Mesa Public Library.
    It’s winter in the Old West. John McCabe (Warren Beatty), a newcomer to town, partners up with Constance Miller (Julie Christie), a professional madam, who offers to use her experience to help McCabe with the business in exchange for a share of the profits.
    Success ensues. However, a large mining company, drawn by the town’s zinc deposits, wants to buy out McCabe along with the rest of the town. What will happen if he refuses?
    Christie received an Oscar nomination for her role, and the film was nominated for several other awards as well. In 2010, the Library of Congress selected “McCabe and Mrs. Miller,” which is based on the 1959 novel McCabe by Edmund Naughton, for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”
    Additionally, Leonard Cohen fans will be interested to know that the film’s soundtrack consists entirely of three of Cohen’s early works: “The Stranger Song,” “Sisters of Mercy,” and “Winter Lady.”

  • Visitors are invited to spend a fine autumn day in Frijoles Canyon at Bandelier’s annual Fall Fiesta from 11-3 Saturday at Bandelier National Monument’s Visitor Center.

    Each weekend through the summer, Pueblo cultural demonstrators showcase their work at the park.

    For the Fall Fiesta, all these artists are invited to come on the one day, sell their crafts, and talk with visitors.  In addition, it’s also a chance for the artists to visit with each other.

    Handmade items that are expected to be available include pottery, jewelry, drums, and carvings.  A Pueblo dance group is scheduled to present traditional dances several times during the day, and the Santa Fe Raptor Center is planning to bring their rescue birds.

    “We are very lucky to have these fine Pueblo artisans and demonstrators come and share their skills, knowledge, and beautiful work with us,” said Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott. “Their stories and traditions go back in an unbroken line to their long-ago relatives here. Visiting with them helps the rest of us to make connections with the Ancestral Pueblo people who made their homes in Bandelier’s cliffs and canyons.”

  • Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention month and the month also includes Unity Day?

    Unity Day is a day when we all wear orange, talk about bullying and try to make our community, however we define one, a little better. Check them out at pacer.org.

    Oct. 25 is the day for 2017, and I really hope community members will bring the message forward, in any way that works best for you.

    You can start something in whatever club, organization or community you claim or wear orange to bring awareness.

    Bullying can lead to really bad choices no matter what age, income bracket or community it seems to visit. I heard of a local story where someone was verbally assaulted at our Health Fair because of her apparel choice.

    I haven’t been able to speak with the person to verify the story, but what makes me even more sad is when I was told that no one came to the aide of the person under attack.

    If you see something, I beg you to please stand up. If you see something, say something or nothing will ever change. If we allow people to be ugly than ugly becomes the norm.

    I am always afraid that I may err on the crazy side and read someone the riot act, or at least I hope I would be the one to intervene.

  • Getting a new puppy, kitten, or older cat or dog is an exciting experience, but having pets comes with certain responsibilities, including potty training. It may be a time-consuming process to potty train your pet, but Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said it is necessary to develop a long-lasting, positive relationship with your pet.
    “Inappropriate eliminations are one of the biggest reasons pets are surrendered,” Stickney said. “Developing good bathroom habits early is key to having a pet you will enjoy for a long time.”
    Potty training should begin as soon as you bring your pet home. If you’re training an adult dog or a puppy, be sure to give them plenty of time to use the bathroom and stay with them until they go. Then, reward the animal with a treat or positive praise so they understand that eliminating outside is good behavior.
    If you’re training a kitten or cat, Stickney said finding a litter box that your pet is comfortable getting in and out of is key. Additionally, if your kitten was using a litter box before it came to live with you, it could be helpful to start potty training your pet with that specific litter.

  • The next Family Night at the Los Alamos Nature Center is Oct. 10.

    Enjoy an evening of games and hands-on activities with Mesa Public Library’s Melissa Mackey from 6-7 p.m. The Nature Center will be open for exploring the exhibits until 8 p.m.

    This October’s Family Night will be the last of the season to have a campfire and make s’mores, one of the most popular features of warm-weather Family Nights.

    And mark your calendars – the second Tuesday of each month is Family Night at the nature center.

    Thanks to a generous sponsorship from the Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos, this program is free for all. Next month’s Family Night will take place on Nov. 14.

    For more information about this and other programs offered by the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC), visit peecnature.org, email programs@peecnature.org, or call 662-0460.

  • The public is invited to join the Los Alamos Family YMCA for a panel discussion on “Attracting and Nurturing Volunteers: A Conversation,” from 5-6 p.m. Oct. 19 at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos in the Lecture Hall, building 2.

    The discussion will be led by Diana Martinez, of the Los Alamos Family YMCA, and Todd Nickols, of the Los Alamos Historical Society.

    These are leaders of two local organizations with robust volunteer programs. The speakers will discuss the joys (and pains) of engaging the community in nonprofit efforts. Among the topics will be:

    • How to recruit and retain volunteers for your organization

    • Different ways to recognize the work of your volunteers

    • Identify resources for developing or strengthening your own volunteer program

    • How to engage youth volunteers

    • Recruiting volunteers to help with programming

    • Preparing for group volunteer activities.

    Martinez and Nickols will begin the discussion with their experiences and insights, but they hope to engage the audience with their questions and comments.

    Bring ideas and questions regarding this lifeblood of any nonprofit organization.

  • No doubt about it, Whiskers likes to be top dog, even though he’s a cat. This is according to volunteers at the Los Alamos Animal Shelter, where Whiskers currently resides.  
    Whiskers, who is about 4-years-old, doesn’t like to be around other cats. Adult cats maybe, but he tends to bully kittens. He loves humans, though, and he is on the hunt for his forever home.
    His previous owner had to give him up, as Whiskers couldn’t live in an assisted living facility. Whiskers is an American Shorthair with orange-and-white markings. If adopted, Whiskers is guaranteed to shower his new owner with all the attention they give him back.
     He’s neutered and chipped.
    Whiskers has had all his shots, and is negative for the FeLV-FIV virus. He does have one awesome medical anomaly though, he has a bent tail. It doesn’t seem to bother him, and he seems to be rather proud of it. For more information, call the shelter at 505-662-8179 or email the shelter at police-psa@lacnm.us.
    Photo By Paulina Gwaltney Photography, (910) 333-6362, Gwaltney’s studio is located at 3500 Trinity Drive.

  • The Los Alamos Arts Council and Los Alamos County and many arts groups in the area will celebrate National Month of Arts and Culture with an Evening of Arts and Culture Oct. 13.

    The three-hour tour of the Arts District will be from 6-9 p.m. and include performers, artists, poets and others. There will be short programs in nine venues within the Arts District.

    Patrons can pick up a program card – a guide to who is doing what, where and when – from an information booth at Fuller Lodge, or at any of the nine venues, then walk to each venue enjoying the arts diversity of Los Alamos.

    This will be a way to celebrate local arts creativity and cultural diversity. There is no admission fee to experience the Evening of Arts and Culture, thanks to the generous support of all participating groups and the sponsors.

  • Join Pajarito Environmental Education Center’s Jemez Mountain Herbarium curator Chick Keller at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 2 for an easy walk to identify local wildflower species. It is free to attend the last Wildflower Walk of the season, and no advance registration is required.

    You won’t want to miss the last Wildflower Walk of the year.

    Participants receive a plant list that, along with instruction from Keller, will help them learn how to identify the late blooming wildflowers in Los Alamos.

    The group will meet at 5:30 p.m. at the Los Alamos Nature Center, located at 2600 Canyon Road, to carpool to the trailhead.

    For more information, visit peecnature.org, email programs@peecnature.org or call 662-0460.

  • Enjoy Bandelier - And Other Public Lands - With No Entrance Fee on National Public Lands Day
    Often just known as National Public Lands Day is generally billled as the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands.

    On this day, thousands of people do volunteer work such as trail maintenance and litter pickup, while others make a special point of taking the day to enjoy the public lands that belong to everyone. To celebrate this special day, many federal lands, and some state parks as well, offer free admission. 

    This year in New Mexico, volunteer opportunities are as diverse as trail work projects on the Santa Fe and Lincoln National Forests (U.S. Forest Service), tagging monarch butterflies at the Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and work projects on the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument (Bureau of Land Management) and at Cochiti Lake (Army Corps of Engineers).

    At Bandelier National Monument (National Park Service), no work projects are planned this year, and the emphasis is on exploring and enjoying this treasured part of the Jemez Mountains. No entrance fees will be collected that day. The bookstore will have everything on 15-percent discount.

  • WASHINGTON — In a quest to end cookie-cutter health care, U.S. researchers are getting ready to recruit more than 1 million people for an unprecedented study to learn how our genes, environments and lifestyles interact – and to finally customize ways to prevent and treat disease.

    Why does one sibling get sick but not another? Why does a drug cure one patient but only cause nasty side effects in the next?

    Finding out is a tall order. Today, diseases typically are treated based on what worked best in short studies of a few hundred or thousand patients.

    “We depend on the average, the one-size-fits-all approach because it’s the best we’ve got,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

    That’s changing: The NIH’s massive “All Of Us” project will push what’s called precision medicine, using traits that make us unique in learning to forecast health and treat disease. Partly it’s genetics. What genes do you harbor that raise your risk of, say, heart disease or Type 2 diabetes or various cancers?

  • Love, romance, action and science fiction collide Saturday at Bandelier National Monument’s annual Opera on the Rocks event. Held at the Juniper Campground Amphitheater, this year’s presentation will be excerpts from Mozart’s “Abduction from the Seraglio,” done Star Trek style.

    “Though the opera’s trappings may be out of this world, Mozart’s memorable melodies remain intact. You really don’t have to be a Star Trek fan or an opera fan. As long as you enjoy a good laugh and some impressive singing, you’re going to have a really good time,” said the Pacific Opera Project, the original creator of the concept.

    Los Alamos’ own opera guild, Opera Alta, will be staging the event Saturday, with all the characters singing in German.

    Those looking to go can still purchase tickets at guildsofsfo.org. Those attending are encouraged to bring a jacket, warm clothing and dress as their favorite Star Trek character. Campers at the site are welcome to see the production too, ticket or no ticket. Food vendors include Sirphey, and beverages from Santa Fe Cider Works, Velarde and Gruet Winder and Black Mesa Winery.

    The opening act with by drumming by renowned musician Cochiti Pueblo resident Arnold Herrera.

  • The second of the monthly Brown Bag Performances, will be presented at Fuller Lodge from noon-1 p.m. Oct. 4, and will feature trumpet player, Jan McDonald, leading the locally acclaimed Black Mesa Brass Quintet.

    The program will present popular and classical tunes arranged for brass quintet and drum set. Favorites such as “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Basin Street Blues,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” along with the music of Bach and Rossini will be featured in this toe-tapping, sassy and brassy performance.

    All Brown Bag Series performances are informal and are free to the public.

    The public is invited to attend and bring a lunch to munch on, while enjoying some gifted performers presenting uplifting and stress-relieving music.

    McDonald has been a mainstay of the Los Alamos and Santa Fe music scene for decades. He is recognized nationally as an accomplished trumpet player and educator. He performs with many professional groups in New Mexico, and is the recipient of the Outstanding Secondary Educator Award and the Outstanding New Mexico Jazz Educator Award.

    Black Mesa Brass Quintet was formed in 1990 and still has three of the original five members.

    Their repertoire is an eclectic mix of classical, modern, pop, and jazz tunes.