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Features

  • By Debbie Stone

    Special to the Monitor

    Visitors entering Oxford, Mississippi’s historic Square will come nose-to-nose with its famed Courthouse. The stately white building stands in the heart of town, creating a scene that looks like it came right out of one of John Grisham’s legal thrillers.

    The well-known author is actually one of many writers who lived in Oxford, a town with an impressive literary heritage and more published writers per capita than most big-time American cities.

    As a state, Mississippi boasts such distinguished wordsmiths as Richard Ford, Willie Morris, Eudora Welty, Donna Tartt, Jesmyn Ward, Larry Brown and Curtis Wilkie. Perhaps the most acclaimed, however, is William Faulkner. Regarded as one of the greatest writers in the twentieth century, Faulkner made Oxford his home after briefly attending the University of Mississippi, and lived in his antebellum-style house, Rowan Oak, from 1930 until his death in 1962.

  • This is a Valentine’s Day love story about a man, his wife and his girlfriend.

    The man is Doug Pippin, 75, who lives in White Rock with Phyllis, 74, his wife of 56 years. Phyllis is, in fact, the one who introduced Doug to his girlfriend when he turned 70, six years ago.

    The “girlfriend” is actually a bright yellow 1931 Ford Model A, five-window coupe he received as a surprise gift from his wife.

    “We call it ‘his girlfriend’ because that ‘girlfriend’ is costing him money (in repairs),” Phyllis laughed.

    Doug’s love affair with that kind of vehicle started when he was in high school in Española. Another young man had a 1932 Ford Model A, five-window coupe and Doug offered to buy it. They made a “handshake agreement,” and soon after Doug towed the car to his house and was making payments to the young man at a rate of $8 a month, money he collected while working at a full-service gas station for 50 cents an hour.

    “I was going to hot rod that car,” Doug grinned.

    In the meantime, Doug found his real love the day in 1960 when Phyllis rode into the gas station where he worked.

    “That’s how I met her,” Doug said, “working at the gas station.”

  • Since the Secret City Kitchen opened a café in the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Student Center in November 2016, students, university employees and community members have enjoyed the convenience of having a restaurant on campus.

    Owner Jeremy Varela’s menu of breakfast and lunch items has a regular following of customers, and draws new customers every day.

    Initially, the Secret City Kitchen operated the café as a satellite service, with their main catering kitchen in a different location. Recently, Varela centralized his operations at UNM-LA.

    “I chose to locate the Secret City Kitchen on the UNM-LA campus to make an investment in the community,” explained Varela. “It was a way to fill a need for food service at UNM-LA, and also to complement their facilities rental program by offering on-site catering.”

    “This is the best place in Los Alamos to host meetings,” Varela continued.

  • TODAY
    The Jemez House Thrift Shop at 13 Sherwood in White Rock will have a Bag Day sale from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
    FRIDAY
    Gentle Walk at 9 a.m. at the Nature Center.A gentle walk for which the emphasis is on discovery, not mileage gained. Free. More information at peecnature.org.

    The Jemez House Thrift Shop at 13 Sherwood in White Rock will have a Bag Day sale from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

    Astronomy Show: Water Worlds at 7 p.m. at the Nature Center.
Join Dr. Rick Wallace on a journey to discover and explore watery worlds. Cost is $6 for adults, $4 for children. More information at peecnature.org.
    SATURDAY
    Feature Film: Exoplanets
at 2 p.m. at the Nature Center. How do we know there are planets outside our solar system: Exoplanets? Find out and venture past the edges of our solar system. 2:00 PM Admission: $6/adult, $4/child. More information at peecnature.org.

    The Jemez House Thrift Shop at 13 Sherwood in White Rock will have a Bag Day sale from 9 a.m.-noon.

  • Leadership New Mexico is pleased to announce that Marcus Lucero, Business Development Executive, Feynman Center for Innovation, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Andrea Martinez, Prime Contract Manager, Los Alamos National Laboratory from the Los Alamos area are among 30 statewide young professionals who recently graduated from the 11th Leadership New Mexico Connect New Mexico “The Next Generation of Leadership” Program.

    Open to 25-40 year-old leaders, this program is designed to offer young professionals the opportunity to develop personal leadership skills, learn how New Mexico systems and structures work, and explore critical issues facing the state.

    Participants represent the various geographic regions and communities, from the public, private, government, and non-profit sectors. Connect New Mexico “The Next Generation of Leadership” encourages participants to cultivate new ideas and introduces participants to recognized leaders who provide insight into a wide range of issues and topics.   

    In addition to the Connect New Mexico “The Next Generation of Leadership” Program, other Leadership New Mexico programs include the Core Program and the Local Government Leadership Program.

  • While I don’t want to be divisive, congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles on their Super Bowl win! I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was excited to see them win the big game.

    The win will be a huge sense of pride for the “City of Brotherly Love.” I also think that the nation could use a good underdog story.

    Personally, I have been feeling like I need a positive to focus on and recently one came to mind.

    As the Wilson Pickett song goes, “Late in the midnight hour,” when the brain winds down and there is a different kind of time to think, it hit me.

    I took the idea to two sources I felt needed to approve the project and feel that it has passed the test.

    You see, this April, a very dear person, Joy Handsberry would have turned 50 years old. Joy passed from cancer in November. We may have lost her this school year, but we will never lose the joy that Joy brought us. As a way to do that, I could use your help.

    To demonstrate to her son Max the love for that still remains, I am asking people that ‘Do Facebook,’” to post a photo, a story or a reflection on her Facebook page for 50 days, every day starting Feb. 15.

    I’m writing this early because I know around the 14th, folks may be too busy to read the paper or get online.

  • The Los Alamos Community Foundation will host a nonprofit training from 5-6 p.m. Thursday, at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos, building 2 in the lecture hall.

    Chris Daniels, the finance director of the Los Alamos Family YMCA, will present “Internal Controls for Nonprofits: Viable solutions that are easy to apply.”

    Embezzlement and fraud within the nonprofit sector is probably more common and also more preventable than you would think. The damage and effect of fraud can be extensive and community trust hard to regain. By raising awareness of how it happens and implementing a few simple methods nonprofits can avoid such a calamity.

    In this interactive presentation attendees can learn the following:

    • Common ways that embezzlement and or fraud can occur.

    • The critical areas where controls are most needed.

    • Effective ways to establish internal controls with a limited staff.

    • Specific controls that can be applied immediately with minimal effort.

    • Examples where controls could have prevented fraud or errors.

    Nonprofit training sessions sponsored by Los Alamos Community Foundation are made possible with generous support from UNM-Los Alamos and the LANL Foundation.

  • The Los Alamos Democratic Party monthly will meet at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos, building 5.

    The guest speaker will be Pat Davis from ProgressNowNM.

    ProgressNowNM is New Mexico’s largest progressive advocacy organization and helps to train candidates and activists statewide to run for office. As the executive director of ProgressNowNM, Davis traveled around the state talking to small groups of frustrated Democrats and progressives and got them involved in actions to fact-check conservative news and get trained to win elections.

    Davis is an Albuquerque city councilor and is running for Congress.

  • The Pajarito Players will present free staged readings of the play “Still in the Game” by local playwright Robert F. Benjamin, an upbeat family drama about aging with grace, courage and humor.

    The readings will be at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 3 and 11 at the Los Alamos County Libraries.

    Following the performances audiences can participate in a talkback with director, cast and playwright.  Also, the library will provide a display of library books related to the play’s themes.

    In the play, David, who is recently widowed, strives to restart his life. His adult daughter Dawn lashes out at him for romancing. After his fling ends, he tries speed-dating, where he meets Ruby (60s), garbed in her new emotional care-wear.

    Sparks fly when David’s eccentricity undermines Ruby’s insistence on protocol.  Years later, David’s relationships with Dawn and Ruby take unexpected turns as he grapples with end-of-life issues. En route to tour a residential hospice, a wacky encounter with a policewoman complicates his plan. Where can he best find peace and spirituality while staying closely connected with loved ones?

    The performance features local actors Pat Beck, Dianna Duerre, Trish Ebbert, Tom Farish, Namrata Menon, and Kate Ramsey.

  • The Pig + Fig Cafe will welcome Kurt Beitler, owner and winemaker at Bohème Winery at 6 p.m. today.

    The restaurant will serve a five-course dinner with pairings from the wines from the Bohème winery, including the 2014 Boheme English Hill Vineyard Chardonnay and the 2013 Bohème Old Mancini Ranch Zinfandel and three different Pinot Noirs.

    These wines aren’t available in New Mexico. Beitler is travelling to New Mexico to represent Bohème in the Taos Winter Wine Festival, where he plans to meet distributors in the state. 

    Laura Crucet, Pig + Fig Café’s executive chef and owner, said she is pleased to introduce Beitler to her customers and present these wines.

    “These wines are very fresh and approachable. Their pinot noirs are especially delightful,” she said.

    Tom Hill, a local wine enthusiast who helps plan the wine dinners at the Pig + Fig said, “Across the board, the wines are outstanding...but in a more refined and elegant style than a typical in-your-face California style favored by many winemakers. The Syrah is a classic cold-climate Syrah with a lot of peppery character.

    The Zin, a one-off production, comes from the very old Mancini Ranch in the Russian River Valley along Olivet Lane. I think you will be impressed.”

  • By Debbie Stone

    Special to the Monitor

    St. Augustine, Florida, is a treasure trove of historical attractions. The city has more than 60 points of interests, including Ponce De Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaological Park.

    Visitors can enjoy the city’s many attractions but with all of this activity, it is a good time for sustenance. Not to worry, St. Augustine’s got you covered. Restaurants and bars dot the city and surrounding areas, offering a variety of cuisines.

    Head to intimate and trendy Catch 27 for some of the most delectable seafood in town. The establishment prides itself on preparing and serving fresh, locally caught seafood, and everything is made from scratch.

    Another special place is Michael’s Tasting Room, which emphasizes fresh, local and seasonal Spanish and Mediterranean inspired creations. This St. Augustine gem resides in a converted historic home dating back to 1764. Also memorable is lunch at Café Alcazar. This elegant eatery is situated in the Lightner Museum in a space originally designated for the largest indoor swimming pool of the Hotel Alcazar. The menu emphasizes entrees made from the freshest ingredients, local and organic.

  • The public is invited to the program of the Summit Garden Club at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the United Church, 2525 Canyon Road. 

    Gillian Sullivan, owner of Flowers by Gillian (flowersbygillian.net/index.html) will provide information on treating flowers from the gardens or florist.

    She will also demonstrate how to use unusual vases and containers for flower arrangements. If you have a vase or container you would like to use for an arrangement, bring it or a photo to the meeting for an opportunity to have Gillian’s input. 

    The public is invited to attend and learn more about the Summit Garden Club, participate in the program and enjoy refreshments.  For more information, contact Susan Larocque 695-0378 fdlsjl@yahoo.com or Shelby Redondo 662-2625 redondo@cybermesa.com, co-presidents of the Summit Garden Club. 

    Included among the club’s projects are maintaining gardens at the Bandelier National Monument and the White Rock Community Garden (across the highway from the Visitors Center).

    The Summit Garden Club is a member of the New Mexico and National Garden Clubs. The mission of the NGC is to provide education, resources, and national networking opportunities for its members, to promote the love of gardening, floral design, and civic and environmental responsibility.

  • Talking about money is one of the trickiest conversations for couples.

    A workshop is set for Saturday at projectY cowork Los Alamos that aims to empower individuals to hear each other’s values and bring their actions into alignment. 

    Financial Coach Pi Luna and Relationship Coach Nameh Marsin will offer practicals for developing a budget as well as gaining insights for what can help partners reach consensus.

    The workshop will be from 1-4 p.m. Saturday at projectY cowork, 150 Central Park Square, Los Alamos.

    The cost is $39 for individuals or $59 for couples. To register, visit bringlovefinances.eventbrite.com.

    Participants will receive a copy of Pi Luna’s book “Budgeting Basics” with the class.

    Some of the topics covered at the workshop will include how personal values will lead to spending habits. Couples will learn how to communicate with their partners around differences and find common ground.

    Attendees will also learn how to build a budget to bring objectivity and clarity to relationships and create long-term financial goals with partners.

  • The February Brown Bag Performance will feature Juanita Madland, who will perform classical piano compositions.

    To the delight of Los Alamos audiences, Madland will present a program of music by composers Chopin, Granados, Brahms, Schumann, and Schubert. The program will conclude with a special rendition of a composition by Juanita and David Madland. Mary Helen Klare, violinist and educator, will join Madland in a reading of her poem about Glenn Gould.

    The Los Alamos Arts Council invited the public to join them from noon-1 p.m. Feb. 7 in the Pajarito Room at Fuller Lodge for this special free performance. Donations are accepted.

    Los Alamos Arts Council has been presenting the free Brown Bag Performances to audiences, who enjoy the warm acoustics and atmosphere of Fuller Lodge, almost every month since 1973. Join them in supporting talented performers by spending your lunch period every first Wednesday of the month at the Lodge.

    For more information, call 663-0477, or visit LosAlamosArtCouncil.org.
     

  • SUBMITTED TO THE MONITOR

    Students, small businesses and other community members and groups in northern New Mexico will benefit this year from a recent, nearly $1.9 million grant from Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS), which is the managing and operating contractor for Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    The LANS Board of Governors approved the funding through Oct. 1 to support education, economic development and community giving in the region.

    “The board’s decision continues their legacy of positive community support that totals $34.8 million since 2006,” said Laboratory Director Terry Wallace. “This commitment allows us to continue to work with organizations across the region, magnifying the impact of our employees generous support of nonprofits.”

    Funds approved by the LANS Board of Governors are administered through a Community Commitment Plan managed by the Laboratory’s Community Partnerships Office.

  • I love when the student becomes the teacher!

    Occasionally, we need our eyes opened by a child, so we can see clearly and know there is hope for the future.

    Last week, a friend shared a wonderful, heart warming story with me. While I didn’t witness the story with my own eyes, I did verify it myself, before sharing it with you.

    A very young teenage boy witnessed what he believed to be someone treating a special education student in an unkind manner. The student mustered the fortitude to call the person he thought was being ignorant, on their handling of the situation.

    The person was then equally ignorant to the young boy, probably never dreaming their actions would be called into question. The boy replied a second time in defense of the special education student.

    The next time I crossed paths with the young man, I asked if he indeed stood up to the person in question. He cast his eyes downward as if he were about to be reprimanded by me.

    I smiled and while trying not to choke on the huge frog in my throat, I told him how very proud I was of him.

    You see, what I haven’t shared with you is that the young man stood up to an adult for being too harsh. He did it not once, but twice.

  • The Valle Grande Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution will meet on Feb. 10 at the Betty Ehart Senior Center from 10 a.m.-noon.

    This month’s program will feature the New Mexico State President, Children of the American Revolution, Samantha Streseman.

    Streseman will speak about her state project, and provide information about other NM C.A.R. activities.

    DAR is a service organization open to women who can prove descent from a Patriot during the American Revolution.
    For more information on the DAR, visit the National website dar.org.”

  • FRIDAY
    Gentle Walk
at 9 a.m. at the Nature Center. A gentle walk for which the emphasis is on discovery, not mileage gained. Free. More information at peecnature.org.

    February Night Sky Show at 7 p.m. at the Nature Center.
Discover and identify objects visible in our night sky this month, and enjoy their beauty on our planetarium dome. Cost is $6 for adults, $4 for children. More information atpeecnature.org.
    SATURDAY
    Feature Film: Black Holes at 2 p.m. at the Nature Center.
Voyage through the galaxies in search of answers to explain the riddles of black holes! Cost is $6 for adults, $4 for children. More information at peecnature.org.
    SUNDAY
    Cowboy Breakfast from 7-11 a.m. at the Los Alamos Sheriff’s Posse Lodge, 650 North Mesa Road, near the stables. Cost is $7 for adults, $4 for children 10 years and under. Proceeds will benefit the Los Alamos Sheriff’s Posse.

    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. More information at peecnature.org.
    MONDAY

  • February is the perfect time to begin planting seeds indoors to extend your growing season. In a two-part class at the Los Alamos Nature Center, Natali Steinberg will teach everything you need to know to start your veggies and annuals from seed. The class meets Sundays, February 11th and March 18th, from 1:30-3:30 p.m.

    This class will teach attendees how to read a seed catalog and a seed packet, what equipment they need to start seeds indoors, how to transplant successfully into the garden, and how to start some veggies directly in the garden.

    There will be a lot of handouts and demonstrations, but no seed planting during class.

    Steinberg has taught this class for 20 years at a nursery/greenhouse in Boulder. She had a large vegetable garden on her farm, and she sold produce at the Boulder Farmers Market. Steinberg also raised and sold bedding plants.

    The cost is $50 for both sessions. Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) members can take the class for a discounted rate of $40. Advance registration is required.

    To register or learn more information about this and other PEEC programs, visit peecnature.org, email programs@peecnature.org or call 662-0460.