As a parent one of my concerns has always been what I don’t expose my kids to, that could have been the passion, or in Asset terminology, the SPARK, that ignited their discovery of a future love.

    The problem is with three kids and two parents, providing experiences and opportunities can be expensive and I can’t imagine that for even larger families.

    There are often plenty of activities that one would like to attend, but sometimes the price tag is just too high to justify.  

    One example would be traveling exhibits that frequent museums in New Mexico. The ability to take the learning out of the textbook and into real life could be a huge impact on the path to lifelong learning. The current exhibit of the Titanic would be an example of the idea. The price tag for that would be in the ballpark of $70, not including gas. Prior to that, there was the exhibit of King Tut.

  • Free educational program provides New Mexico’s adult cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones with tools to better manage the disease.
    Cancer Services of New Mexico’s Fall 2013 Family Cancer Retreat will be Sept. 6-8, at the Marriott Pyramid North hotel in Albuquerque.
    This free, three-day educational program will provide the tools and information they need to manage the treatment and recovery process.
    More than 300 people from over 125 New Mexican families coping with cancer are expected to participate, making this the largest general cancer education program in N.M. and the largest program of its type in the United States.
    The program will combine discussions and lectures by many of New Mexico’s leading cancer specialists with fun activities that provide a break from the day-to-day challenges of living with cancer.

  • Los Alamos Youth Leadership has extended registration deadline to July 10 at the Family YMCA. This year’s application can be downloaded from the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board website. LAYL is supported by JJAB, Los Alamos National Bank and the Family YMCA. The First Step Orientation will be Aug. 3 and 4, which will be an overnight camping event. Sean Hall will lead the team building session the first day. The following day will be a physical challenge for the students to break out of their comfort zones. For information or inquiries, email layl@laymca.org or call 204-8860.

  • What began as a small neighborhood parade down Donna Avenue in the 1970’s is now an annual community event in White Rock sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    Last year, more than 300 children dressed in red, white and blue and an equal number of parents, grandparents, friends and family participated in an old fashioned children’s parade and carnival.
    After a brief welcome and flag ceremony beginning at 10 a.m., decorated bikes, tricycles, wagons, scooters, strollers will follow scouts and cub scouts carrying flags and marching behind a police car around the half mile block of Ridgecrest and Grand Canyon Streets beginning and ending in the parking lot of the LDS church, 366 Grand Canyon.
    The carnival follows in the backyard of the church and is free for everyone. Free balloons, popcorn, snow cones and prizes are part of the activity. Games include tug of war, three-legged and gunny sack races, plus many more.
    All members of the community are invited to participate and feel the great spirit of America. It’s a great place to meet your friends.

  • The Los Alamos Animal Shelter, 226 East Road, 662-8179, has a great selection of adoptable pets just waiting for their forever home!
    Be sure to check out the new website at lafos.org, where you can get more information about volunteering, adopting and donating, as well as read up on the animals and learn more about special needs animals, or cats and dogs that are currently in foster care. Also, check out the Petfinder page for pictures and to learn more about all of our adoptable pets.


  • The League of Women Voters’ Lunch with a Leader will feature Ellen Morris Bond the executive director of Self-Help, Inc. on Thursday, July 11, at 11:40 a.m. in Mesa Library. This monthly event is open to the entire community.
    Bond graduated from University of New Mexico with a degree in English and then earned her masters in community development from University of California-Davis. She has lived in northern N.M. for 35 years. Currently she, her husband and daughter live in Pojoaque.
    She became interested in the nonprofit service world while working as a Vista Volunteer from 1978-1981. The Cerro Grande Fire in 2000 brought new challenges to Los Alamos and gave Self Help an opportunity to be of service to the families who lost their homes.
    During that period, Bond was asked to be a full-time employee and then became the executive director in 2001. She has broad experience in case work, advocacy, case management, resource development and extensive experience in receiving and managing public and private funding.
    Bond will talk to the group about needs and issues in northern New Mexico, as well as the history and what Self Help does for our community.
    To order a lunch, call Karyl Ann Armbruster at 661-6605 or email her at kaskacayman@gmail.com after July 1.

  • The Wallflowers exhibit will be enhanced by a live flower show beginning at noon Friday at Fuller Lodge.
    The exhibit is like a garden in which the flowers never wilt, there are no weeds and the plants are not restricted by a climate zone. “Wallflowers” the works of 60 artists fill the gallery with bursts of color. In floral terms, there are five dozen artists presenting eight dozen blossoms. Not every blossom is a flower but they all fall within the theme of “Wallflowers.” Several artists from the Pastel Society of New Mexico entered the show. Other media represented include watercolor, acrylic, colcha (fabric), clay, wood, glass, photography, jewelry and even an automaton called “Cranky Flowers.”
    Last week a hummingbird flew into the gallery and staff wondered if it was attracted by all the color.
    Once again, the physical space of the gallery has been adapted to host the theme, with white garden trellises to support the floral profusion. It’s a celebration of summer, a veritable oasis amidst our New Mexico drought.
    Also on Friday, the N.M. District II Judges Council is hosting a flowers show at the lodge to compliment the exhibit.
    A small standard flower show has three divisions.
    Division 1 — Horticulture
    Division 2 — Design

  • Santa Fe
    Albertsons Restricted Menu, 3542 Zafarano Drive
    Date inspected: June 7
    Violations: Two high-risk violations. Cutting boards have deep cuts and need to be made smooth. Soap dispenser not working properly. Two low-risk violations. Sink in prep area needs to be sealed to wall. Floor is damaged and in need of repair.
    Status of Establishment: Approved. Follow up required in one month.

    Albertsons Meat Market, 3542 Zafarano Drive
    Date inspected: June 7
    Violations: Four high-risk violations. No 90-day shellstock tags records kept. Spray bottle needs to be labeled. No sanitizer in three-compartment sink. Plunger and tools must be kept out of food prep areas. Spice bottles are covered with food build up and need to wiped. Four moderate-risk violations. Rusted equipment needs to be made smooth. Meat splatter on walls and ceiling need to be cleaned. Walk-in cooler units need to have indicating thermometers. Door handles have food build up. Beef, chicken and pork need to be labeled in walk-in refrigerator. Four low-risk violations. Hose on floor under sink. Lights in walk-in refrigerator in the fish section needs end caps. Fan and vents have dust and mold build up.
    Status of Establishment: Approved. Follow up required in one month.

  • According to NerdWallet, a website which offers free tools to find deals on things such as credit cards and airlines, Los Alamos is number five in a list of 10 least expensive cities in the United States.
    Inspired by The Economist’s Big Mac Index, which measures the purchasing power of currencies around the world by answering the question “How many burgers can you get for $50 USD?” for each country, the leaders of NerdWallet have developed a similar index which focuses on bthe value of a dollar in different cities across the U.S.
    The Quarter Pounder Index, or QPI measures the cost of living in different cities across the country based on the price of a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder Burger with cheese.
    Los Alamos ranks in the least expensive cities list, with the Quarter Pounder valued at $2.81. Prices around the country range from $2.24, in Conway, Ark., to $4.82, in Juneau, Alaska. The median price for a Quarter Pounder is $3.52.
    Data from the least expensive list suggest that North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee are all smart location choices, each containing two cities in the top 20 “Least expensive places in the United States, according to the QPI” list.

  • July 10 — 70th Anniversary Lecture at 5:30 p.m. — Noel Pugach, University of New Mexico, discusses President Harry Truman’s decision to use atomic bombs.
    July 12 — Pinocchio Reanimated — The return of a popular exhibit simulating nuclear fission from the old Bradbury Science Museum. Another evening when the Gordon concert will be at Ashley Pond. The BSM will be open late until 8 p.m. as part of Downtown Los Alamos.
    July 13 — Get to Know the Arduino Workshop hosted at the Bradbury Science Museum by Stan Cohen of New Mexico Highlands University and Gordon McDonough, Bradbury Museum educator. This will be a hands-on workshop that will teach people how to build and program arduinos. An arduino is a single-board microcontroller with an open-source platform designed to make the process of using electronics in multidisciplinary projects more accessible.
    July 17 — Brown Bag lunchtime lecture — Alan Carr — Norris Bradbury, The Early Years
    July 26 — LANL 70th Anniversary Signature week — Another evening when the Gordon concert will be at Ashley Pond. The BSM will be open late until 8 p.m. featuring grand openings of two new exhibits. One on Bio/Algae and the other on CINT. 

  • Los Alamos, New Mexico’s Bradbury Science Museum has been named one of the top 10 “Best Science Museums” to visit in the United States by American Mensa.
     Mensa is an internationally recognized high-IQ society that provides a forum for intellectual exchange. Mensa members reside in more than 100 countries around the world.
    Bradbury Science Museum was ranked fifth in a list of the top science museums as nominated by educators and scientists who are also Mensa members. Among other factors, having a variety of exhibits and hands-on learning activities were some of the considerations members noted when voting for the best museum.
    The most common feature that respondents looked for, however, was interactive elements.
“The Bradbury Science Museum has over 40 interactive exhibits to help visitors explore the world of science, engineering, math and technology,” said Bradbury Science Museum Director, Linda Deck. “Some are computer simulations and animations; others are hands-on ‘try it for yourself’ puzzles and games. We know people learn in a variety of ways, and this gives plenty of opportunities for all.”

  • This week, we look ahead to some fun community events.
    Once again, Time Out Pizzeria in White Rock will host some Assets and community building fun with a Minute to Win It.
    Come spend an inexpensive night supporting the Assets program by playing games and building relationships on July 1. The fun begins at 6:30 p.m., so bring a quarter or two, a big smile and little or no skill.
    Come buy an ice cream cone, or milkshake and burn those calories with some games for an hour or so away from the television.
    Then we arrive at the Fourth of July!
    If you don’t do anything else, find a service man or woman and thank them for their service. Past, present, or someone about to leave for basic, thank them for the sacrifice they make so you can live free.
    If you don’t know someone in the service, post something positive of Facebook or Twitter and praise them all.
    If you plan to spend the day in Los Alamos, head on down to the festivities at the Overlook.
    It doesn’t matter if the fireworks fly or not, every Kiwanian you know will be donating countless hours to making a family friendly fun fest for all.
    This single event is one that funds so many community projects and scholarships.

  • The Los Alamos Animal Shelter, 226 East Road, 662-8179, has a great selection of adoptable pets just waiting for their forever home!
    Be sure to check out our new website at lafos.org, where you can get more information about volunteering, adopting, and donating, as well as read up on some of your favorite animals and learn more about special needs animals or cats and dogs that are currently in foster care.
    Also check out our Petfinder page for pictures and to learn more about all of our adoptable pets: petfinder.com/shelters/friendsoftheshelter.html.
    All adoptable pets are micro-chipped, spayed or neutered, and up-to-date on vaccinations.
    Bruce — A big brown tank — some exotic breed, no doubt! He is proving to be very nice on a leash; we highly recommend the collar on his kennel to help control the enthusiasm of this 90 pound love. He has been neutered, had his shots and is available for his new family to come find him!

  • The work of local artist Meg Kremer is being featured at the Los Alamos Mesa Public Library, upstairs gallery.
    The “New Work” exhibit is a selection of elegant and evocative drawings and prints from a project that started November of 2011 and was completed this past January.
    “The work is the result of a disciplined process producing one or two drawings a day,” Kremer said. The subject of each piece was an arrangement of organic and inorganic material such as dried wild flowers and stems collected along the White Rock canyon rim. Sand dollars and smooth stones were gathered from an Oregon beach. “Some work has a serious feel to it, others are whimsical. Many have a lyrical quality,” she said.
    The work is rendered in a predominately square format using a limited color palette; this constraint provided a physical structure for the series.
    The mixed media work includes graphite, pen and ink, colored pencil and oil-based ink. “I use these alone or sometimes in combination,” Kremer said, “Line mark making and design are emphasized and much of the work is abstract in form. The challenge of creating work, everyday, over an extended period of time provided a premise and purpose of the series and also reinforced the discipline, the frustration and the joy of working.”

  • Laural Hardin will talk about beneficial insects for your greenhouse or garden. The talk is 6:30 p.m., June 27 at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center. Cost is $6 per person, or just $5 for PEEC members, and no advance registration is required.
    Predacious beneficial insects are becoming the preferred method for treating problem insects in professional greenhouse production and in the backyard garden. Many people are unwittingly destroying beneficial insect populations with poor gardening practices. This workshop will cover the types of beneficial insects and how they can be encouraged thrive, or be safely introduced into your environment.
    Hardin is a certified arborist and integrated pest management specialist. She specializes in diagnosing and solving tree and garden problems. With an interest in helping people understand the natural balance in the landscape, Hardin teaches how to avoid most issues by learning to see the root cause.
    Also at PEEC, artist and illustrator Lisa Coddington teaches botanical illustration. The all-day class is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 28. Cost $50 or $40 for PEEC members and advance registration is required.

  • Santa Fe
    Subway at Walmart, 3251 Cerrillos Road
    Date inspected: June 11
    Violations: Three low-risk violations. Confirm that light bulbs have shield protection. Insufficient lighting in back of cooler, light bulb out in freezer. Sanitizer bucket must have clean water in it.
    Status of Establishment: Approved. No follow up required.

    Pranzo Northern Italian Grill, 540 Montezuma St.
    Date inspected: June 11
    Violations: One moderate-risk violation. The cutting boards are stained and need to be sanded or replaced. Two low-risk violations. Light bulbs in dry storage have still not been covered. Wall by dish machine looks filthy.
    Status of Establishment: Approved. Follow up from May 13. Another follow up required at a later date.

    Hotel de Santa Fe, 1501 Paseo de Peralta
    Date inspected: June 11
    Violations: One moderate-risk violation. The cutting boards are stained and need to be sanded or replaced. Hot water sanitizer solution has ran out. Ice scoop was stored on a duty shelf and provide a holder for it. Two low-risk violations. Dish baskets were stored on the floor and has been corrected. The wall by dish baskets by the bar are peeling and loose and need to be sealed.
    Status of Establishment: Approved. Follow up from May 13. Another follow up required at a later date.

  • Santa Fe Brewery workers Matt and Andrew Fricek manned one of the many beer vendor booths at Summerfest June 15 at Pajarito Mountain. Among other New Mexico vendors at the festival were Marble Brewery, Second Street, Blue Corn, Mimbres Valley, Sierra Blanca, Taos Mesa, High Desert and more from around the state. 

  • Artisan announces two winners of the 2013-2014 Budding Artist Fellowship prize.
    Ana Elaine Hernandez, Alicia Stewart, students at Santa Fe School for the Arts and Sciences, and members of their families were present at Artisan in Santa Fe on June 2 as the winners received their certificates and gift cards. Each month for the next year they will have $100 added onto gift cards for purchasing art supplies from Artisan.
    The Budding Artist Fellowship went from awarding one prize to two prizes in this first year, when a longtime friend of owner Ron Whitmore came forward and endowed an additional prize. The Phoenix, Ariz., law firm of Evans Dukarich was represented by partner Gary Dukarich at the awards ceremony.
    This Fellowship is to give support to a young artist as they develop courage and heart in their pursuit of creative arts, with the support of quality art materials.
    Ana Elaine Hernandez and Alicia Stewart were selected from a field of 24 applicants whose work was voted on by the Artisan staff and owners in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

  • What is organic?
    Organic ingredients are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers and do not contain genetically modified or other artificial ingredients. Organic meat and dairy come from animals that eat organic feed and are not given growth hormones or antibiotics.
    1. Organic products meet stringent standards. Organic certification is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without persistent toxic chemical imputs.
    2. Organic food tastes great. Well-balanced soils produce strong, healthy plants that become nourishing food for people and animals.
    3. Organic production reduces health risks. Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. 4. Organic farms respect our water resources. The elimination of polluting chemicals and nitrogen leaching, done in combination with soil building, protects and conserves water resources.
    5. Organic farmer build healthy soil. Soil is the foundation of the food chain.
    6. Organic producers are leaders in innovative research. Organic farmers have led the way, largely at their own expense, with innovative on-farm research aimed at reducing pesticide use and minimizing agriculture’s impact on the environment.

  • • Eat with the seasons. Prices drop on fruits and vegetables during the peak of their growing season when there is a greater supply and demand. If possible, buy in bulk, then can or freeze for future meals.
    • Choose organic strategically. Buy organic when the conventional item is high in pesticides.
    • Partner up. Team up with someone else and buy in bulk, can or freeze together, or split shopping trips.
    • Look for store brands, sales and coupons. Check flyers each week for sale items and search websites for coupons. Visit frugalliving.about.com for money saving coupons.
    • End-of-market and in-store discounts. At the end of farmers markets there might be vendors that have unsold produce. Offer to buy a large quantity at a discount. Also, stores have areas with discounted items.
    • Trade your time for farm-fresh food. Volunteer at a local farm or farmers market and come home with fresh picked produce and food in exchange for time.
    • Don’t over buy. Buy only what can be realistically eaten. A lot of food budgets go in the trash because it spoiled before they could be eaten. Date food to keep track of how much time goes by before it can go bad.