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Features

  • Springtime is the time of year when a certain energy returns to the air and the ground. It is a time when gardeners have to think about how best to use that energy.

    According to gardening experts, the first step one has to do right now is clear a space for that energy to flow.
    Clear away all the dead stuff, the perennials, last year’s tomato plants… make sure there’s nothing to stop the new plants from coming up.

    While the experts recommend clearing away the dead plants and debris and keep an eye on the weather if the plan is for plants. Seeds are OK, but according to Master Gardener Denise George, there still may still be some frosts in the forecast, especially in Los Alamos and in the Jemez Mountains.

    “You don’t want to spend a lot of money, put it all out there only to have everything die,” George said.

    Another good thing to do he said was prime the soil. Because Los Alamos County was in primarily a desert climate, the soil lacks nutrients and other natural additives to encourage growth.

    Fertilizer and mulch are key ingredients.

    “Things won’t do well here if you just plunk them in the ground,” George said. “Our soils are not that conducive to growing flowers, though some native plants will do just fine.”

  • By Laural Hardin
    General Manager, Petree Garden Center and Florist

    There are so many great trends in floral and indoor gardening these days. Succulents in shades of blue, aqua and pumpkin. Tropical houseplants in deep greens and magenta. Specialty-cut flowers like protea and pincushions, and eucalyptus in a dozen varieties. But how do you choose from this abundance of color and texture? Which plants and fresh cut flowers are right for your unique space? Here are some tips to help you choose.

    For houseplants, start with whether or not you can have toxic plants in your home. If you have small children or pets, you’ll want to avoid plants that can be a danger. Some of the most toxic houseplants are often the most readily available. 

    Next, consider your skill level. Some of the ferns are lovely, airy and soft, but require an attentive caretaker. Peace Lily needs about the same light, but is more forgiving if you miss a watering, it’s also toxic.

    The super popular air plants only need a drink once or twice week, and don’t even need soil! Succulents are a great way to get into the houseplant hobby as they require very little care. In fact, most folks tend to over love them with too much water.

  • Living on top of a mesa, and for many who have relocated to work in Los Alamos, sometimes finding small ways to reconnect with home can make a difference.

    Filling a house with photos and memories can help. Scents from your childhood and a neighborhood garden can also work to fill in the new with the old.

    Homesick Candles offers a candle for every state, each with layered notes meant to stir olfactory memories of the purchaser’s hometown.

    To see how close to home these reach, I check into New Mexico’s candle. The description says it is filled with scents of chile pepper, cactus and spicy notes of clove, bay and nutmeg. They also add in cedar, sandalwood and musk. Hard to say if these would hit the scent on the nose, but it sounds interesting.

    I have also lived in Oregon, so I took a peak at that one. The Oregon candle sounded more spot-on, with maple, pears, roasted almonds, fir needles, pine, sandalwood, vanilla, musk and cedar.  

    They offer a candle for each of the 50 states and several cities.

    The company also offers memory candles, including its First Kiss, New Job and Friday Night Football candles.

    Check out this eclectic shop at homesickcandles.com.

  • Join in the fun at the Chamisa Elementary Glow Run set for April 26. Open to children and adults, runners and walkers can choose between a 5k or a one-mile course.

    All participants will receive glow jewelry, snacks and water. They will also be entered to win great door prizes.

    An exciting part of the evening is the Underwater Glow Tunnel. The black light underwater-scape will be available to anyone there that night. In addition, the Hillstompers will be on hand to entertain runners and supporters.

    Check in starts at 6:15 p.m. Runners will take off at 7:30 p.m. for the 5K, followed by the one mile runners at 7:40 p.m. The Glow Run is sponsored by the Chamisa Elementary PTO. Participants may register at bit.ly/chamisaglowrun.

    The cost is $5 per person for the one-mile, $15 people 13 and over for the 5k, $5 for children ages 3-12. Children younger than 3 are free. Payment is due by 3 p.m. on April 25, either online or a check made payable to Chamisa PTO. Payment may be dropped off at the school or you can mail it to  Chamisa Elementary 301 Meadow Lane, White Rock, NM 87547. We urge you to register and pay before the event to help things run smoothly that night.

    For more information, contact Chamisa Elementary School at 663-2470.

  • It was no April Fools joke for Scarlet, a German shepherd golden retriever mix  that wound up at the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter April 1.

    Scarlet’s previous owners had a change in their life circumstances and had to leave Scarlet at the shelter.

    Shelter staff said Scarlet is a bit of a nervous Nellie. She gets nervous around quick and unexpected movements. When she gets scared, she barks and tries to hide.

    She is good with other dogs. Cats, livestock and small children are another story.

    Scarlet would do well with a childless couple or a family with older children.

    Her best quality is her loyalty to her people. She also loves attention, toys and treats.

    She walks well on a leash and knows basic commands like “sit,” “stay,”  and “down.” She is also house trained.
    Scarlet is 3-years-old, microchipped, vaccinated and free of health issues, unless loneliness is included.

    For more information, call the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter at 662-8179 or email staff at police-psa@lacnm.us.

  • Deer and elk shedding their antlers is a sign of spring in the Jemez Mountains. Many people like to collect these "sheds" which is fine on private land or areas administered by the Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Forest Service.

    The activity is illegal in the Valles Caldera National Preserve and Bandelier National Monument, and other National Park Service areas.

    The National Park Service was establish in 1916 and administers NPS lands using the 36 Code of Federal Regulations. The 36 Code of Federal Regulations prohibits the removal of any park property, which includes antlers, bones or skulls, as well as rocks, flowers and artifacts like arrowheads, potsherds or old bottles and cans and more.

    Anyone caught collecting, disturbing or removing antlers or other items protected by law in Bandelier or the Valles Caldera Preserve can be fined or even barred from the area for life.

    Most national park units are considered living museums, where everything is important to the story that is told there or to the natural ecosystem. Shed antlers left on the ground provide an important source of minerals for many small animals. Antlers are bone and are mainly composed of calcium. Humans need calcium to keep their bones and teeth strong and growing normally, so do wild animals.

  • The Los Alamos Photo Club invites the public to attend the walkthrough of the Club’s annual photo show on Tuesday, in the upstairs gallery of the Mesa Public Library. 

    The walkthrough will be held from 7-9 p.m. 

    Participating photographers will be available to discuss and comment on their work with the attendees.

  • Ellen Ben-Naim, executive director of the First Born Program of Los Alamos (FBPLA), recently described the non-profit’s service to the community during a meeting of the Rotary Club of Los Alamos.

    FBPLA provides “parents and primary caregivers with education and support to encourage normal growth and development of happy, healthy babies in positive, nurturing families.”

    Free home visitation services to all families in Los Alamos County are also provided, and any of the program’s services may be requested at any time during pregnancy, at the birth of the baby, or until the baby is two months of age. 

    Service then continues until the child is 3 years old or until he family no longer requests services.

    FBPLA is dedicated to the principle that a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby are not only critical to the immediate well-being of mother and child but are also integral to the long-term health and success of the family and community.” 

    For more information, please contact welcome@firstbornla.org, 661-4810.         

  • Los Alamos Public Schools students took in over 30 special awards and placed in almost every category at the New Mexico State Science Fair held at New Mexico Tech last weekend.

    Los Alamos High School took three of the five Grand Award in the senior division, and Los Alamos Middle School garnered one of two Grand Awards in the Junior Division.

    “We are very proud of the accomplishments of our students,” said LAPS Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus.

    LAPS will also be represented at the International Science and Engineering Fair in May. Heading to Phoenix, Arizona, will be Robert Strauss, who won a Grand Award in Physical Science, Karin Ebey, who won a Grand Award in Life Science,

    Charles Strauss, who won a Grand Award in Life Science and Lillian Petersen and Garyk Brixi who took home the regional Grand Award.

    Petersen and Brixi also received second place in the paper competition.

    Results from the state competition are:

    Junior Division

    Katie Crooker, Los Alamos Middle School: Grand Award, physical science

    David Reichhardt, Mountain Elementary School, first place, paper/talk competition

    Mikey Bane, Aspen Elementary School: second place, Special Award in paper competition

    Zoe Bent, Chamisa Elementary School: third place, animal category

  • Join the Bradbury Science Museum and the Los Alamos Creative District for Science On Tap Monday at 5:30 p.m. Monday at UnQuarked Wine Room.

    This On Tap will feature a conservation conversation with Dr. Sven Vogel about the Ram’s Horn wire gold specimen and DAHRT capabilities at the Lab.

    Recently, researchers at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) had the unique opportunity to peer inside the

    Ram’s Horn, one of the world’s most amazing and secretive specimens of wire gold.

    A National User Facility supporting the lab through critical research on nuclear weapons performance, reliability and safety, LANSCE capabilities include unique characterization techniques for materials analysis.

    Thanks to these mission-critical capabilities, Vogel of the lab’s Materials Science in Radiation and Dynamics Extremes group learned some surprising information about the Ram’s Horn specimen, including the fact that’s it’s actually only about 70% gold.

    To learn more about research on the Ram’s Horn join the On Tap conversation at UnQuarked.

  • The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce is celebrating the Grand Opening of the new Los Alamos Visitor Center location at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

    The new location is in the Community Building at 475 20th St., Suite A.

    Minnie Bakery, a new home-based business that prepares made-to-order baked goods, is providing the breads and pastries.. To see a selection of their bakery goods, visit minniebakery.com.
    Coffee will also be served.

    Ribbon cuttings are a benefit of being a Los Alamos Chamber Member. For more information about Chamber membership, visit losalamoschamber.com or contact Ryn Herrmann at 661-4807.

  • The Center for New Mexico Archaeology, an affiliate of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, will collaborate with Audubon New Mexico to host “Audubon Day: A Celebration of Birds,” at CNMA from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 4.

    The event coincides with “Birds: Spiritual Messengers of the Skies,” an exhibition currently on view at CNMA, and celebrates the importance of birds across the Southwest.

    The event schedule will be family friendly and includes live demonstrations as well as hands-on activities.
    Attendees will have the opportunity to see CNMA’s exhibition, which centers on Native relationships with birds, as well as how archaeology is used to garner knowledge about the use and importance of birds. Audubon Day and the exhibition work in tandem to illustrate the prominence of birds within the environment, fulfilling roles within ecosystems and cultures.

    Diana Sherman, assistant collections manager for the Archeological Research Collections at the CNMA and MIAC, curated the exhibit and discusses the celebration.

    “Birds appear in nearly all facets of life in Native American culture, both in the past and today. The spiritual power of birds — or ‘bird power’ as I like to call it — extends to every culture, everywhere,” Sherman said.

  • Spring is in the air and with it will come the exhilarating sounds of the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra’s spring concert.

    The Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra is playing at the Crossroads Bible Church  7 p.m. Saturday. On the program is Rossini’s “William Tell Overture,” Alan Hovhaness’s “Mysterious Mountain” and Brahm’s “Violin Concerto in D Major, Opus 77.”

    Joining the orchestra for the violin concerto is Renee Hemsing Patten, who grew up in Los Alamos. Patten said she is looking forward to playing back in her hometown.

    “As to why I chose the Brahms, well, April is a significant month for my family. My Mom - who passed away in Los Alamos in 2009 - would be turning 72 in April this year.  Two of my brothers’ birthdays are in April. We all lived in Los Alamos from birth through high school graduation, and I love it,” Patten said. “When LASO asked me to play, I thought, if the time and place are so significant to me, why not play what I consider to be the most significant violin concerto?”

  • Art exhibits

    National Museum of Nuclear Science & History has opened a permanent exhibit by American sculptor Jim Sanborn called “Critical Assembly, the Secrets of Los Alamos 1944: An Installation by American Sculptor Jim Sanborn,” which recreates the Manhattan Project experiments that determined when plutonium goes “critical in an atomic bomb.” The museum is open seven days a week from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and is located at 601 Eubank Blvd. SE, in Albuquerque. Call 505-245-2137 for information, or visit nuclearmuseum.org.

    Dance

    Los Alamos Scottish Country Dancers meet every Monday from 7:30-10 p.m. at Fuller Lodge. New dancers are welcome at any class. No partner or special dress is needed to participate. Cost is $3 per night or $35 for five months of dancing. Classes meet from September through June. For more information about the classes, call 930-9785 or 661-8317 or go to nmscottishdance.weebly.com.

    Los Alamos Folk Dance Club from 7:15-9:30 p.m. every Tuesday (except fifth Tuesdays) at the Los Alamos Little Theatre, 1670 Nectar St., Los Alamos, Cost is $3 a night. Family friendly and fun exercise. Teaching is 7:15-8 p.m. and dance requests are 8-9:30 p.m. Call Dennis at 661-4240 for information.

    Classes

  • The chamber singers of Coro de Cámara invite the community to experience the joy of enchanting choral music in their exciting new program “E = mc2 : Energy = Mozart, Courtney, and Chilcott.” 

    This innovative concert weaves music from the classical era with contemporary works, culminating in Bob Chilcott’s A Little Jazz Mass with jazz trio. The program will be offered at three different venues.

    * United Church of Santa Fe, 1804 Arroyo Chamiso Road in Santa Fe. The show starts at 8 p.m. Friday.

    * White Rock United Methodist Church, 580 Meadow Lane. The show starts at 4 p.m. Saturday.  

    * Unitarian Church of Los Alamos, 1738 N. Sage Street. The show starts at 3 p.m. Sunday.  

    The concert opens with four pieces by contemporary American composer Craig Courtney, who is known for the beauty of his sacred choral works and for his choral arrangements of works by master composers like Schubert and Vaughan Williams. 

    Works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart follow the Courtney selections.

  • The League of Women Voters’ community event, Lunch with a Leader, will be at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday at Mesa Public Library, 2400 Central Ave.  

    This month’s speaker will be Lt. Gov. Howie Morales.

    Morales was raised in Silver City and has spent his life working to improve the lives of people in his community and across the state. Since 2008, Morales has been an aggressive leader for children and classrooms in the state Senate.

    He has pushed progressive policies such as universal health care. He fought for rural and tribal economic development, mental health programs, and made sure veterans’ and senior services across the state were protected. He served on the Legislative Finance Committee for 11 years.

    His father was a Vietnam Veteran who worked in the copper mine while his mother worked multiple hourly-wage jobs.

    Morales went to work to pay for a degree at Western New Mexico University. The first in his family to go to college, he taught students in special education in Silver City and Cobre school districts, and became active in the community. He coached local high school baseball teams to state championships. Morales went on to earn a Ph.D. in education from

    New Mexico State University.

  • The Los Alamos Federated Republican Women will hold a monthly meeting at 1 p.m. Thursday in the downstairs Patio Room at 1001 Oppenheimer.

    Joanne Lestone, volunteer coordinator for HOPE Pregnancy Center, will give a a presentation about how abortion isn’t always as empowering as society would have people believe.

    Her informative program will be followed by a monthly general meeting.

    The public is invited to the presentation.

    There will be a short break after the presentation, and all registered Republicans are welcome to remain for the general business meeting.

    For questions, contact Shona Neff, LAFRW president, at 505-672-1456.

  • TODAY
    Los Alamos Chapter No. 63, Order of the Eastern Star, will have a business meeting at 7 p.m. in the Masonic Lodge, North Sage Street, (on the corner of 15th and Canyon). Social meetings are held the fourth Wednesday of the month. This month’s Social Meeting is April 24 at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Worthy Matron Teri Roberts, 672-0270, or Past Matron Judy Goldie, 662-3797.

    Atomic Film Series, “The Bed Sitting Room,” 1969, at 7 p.m. at Fuller Lodge. A great watch for fans of “Dr. Strangelove” and “Monty Python,” this movie envisions a post-apocalyptic future through the delirious lens of British humor. The Atomic Film Series fosters discussion about the ways we continue to live with atomic legacies.

    Town hall meeting at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Municipal Building. The meeting will feature councilors Pete Sheehey, Katrina Schmidt and James Robinson. The meeting will focus on two of seven goals adopted in the 2019 Strategic Leadership Plan, the infrastructure and open space goals.

  • Ramya Stevens, of Los Alamos, will be competing in the 11th season of “American Ninja Warrior,” a show in which contestants attempt obstacle courses of increasing difficulty.

    She will travel to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for a regional competition Friday. Top finishers will then move on to nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

    The season will be broadcast on TV this summer.

    Stevens, a 2018 LAHS graduate, was a gymnast for 14 years. She started at Los Alamos School of Gymnastics at age 3, and finished her career at Zia Gymnastics in Santa Fe.

    Stevens has been training at the Los Alamos Family Y and at the Ninja Force Obstacle Gym in Albuquerque. Her career goal is to be a pastry chef, which led to the nickname of “Pastry Ninja” for the competition. She combined these two interests by selling homemade French bread as a fundraiser for expenses in Oklahoma City.

  • The Los Alamos High School Hilltalkers Speech and Debate team has announced their 2019 qualifiers for the National Tournament to be held in June in Dallas, Texas.

    The Hilltalkers sent 13 speakers and debaters to compete at the New Mexico National Speech and Debate Association National Qualifying Tournament at Albuquerque Academy on March 21-23.

    Of those 13, eight Hilltalkers advanced to the national tournament. Qualifying to compete at the national tournament includes double-elimination rounds in speech and debate events.

    All 13 Hilltalkers who competed made it out of preliminary rounds and, in many cases, were finalists and alternates in their events.

    Only those placing first or second place can advance to compete at the national tournament in June.

    Of the eight Hilltalkers who qualified, seven of them are products of the Los Alamos Middle School Speech and Debate program.

    “I’m so proud of the hard work and preparation that all of our Hilltalkers put into their events. The National Qualifying tournament is extremely competitive and these students rose to the occasion,” said LAHS Hilltalkers Speech and Debate Coach Margo Batha.

    The following students qualified to compete at the national tournament:

    * Antonio Dowdy - Lincoln Douglas Debate