• Celebrate black bears with the Pajarito Environmental Education Center and Land of Enchantment Wildlife Foundation at the second annual Bear Festival! The festival will be held on Saturday, Aug. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the nature center’s schedule is packed full of bear-themed programming all week long leading up to it.

    The week will kick off on Tuesday, Aug. 21 at a talk called “A Cub’s Life” from U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist Daryl Ratajczak. Ratajczak will discuss the life of a black bear cub from the moment it’s born in a darkened den to its first steps as an independent yearling bear. The talk is free and will begin at 7 p.m. at the nature center.

    On Aug. 24, PEEC and LEWF will host the second-ever “Eat Like a Bear Buffet” from 6-8 p.m. Attendees will eat a dinner completely inspired by a black bear’s diet. The menu will feature smoked salmon catered by Pig + Fig, stuffed mushrooms off the grill, ants on a log, a big salad, rose hip tea, sub sandwiches served from a trash can, log cakes, chocolate acorns and more. The night will be fun, educational and delicious! Tickets for the dinner are on sale now at peecnature.org and are $50 for non-members and $40 for PEEC members.

  • During the most recent of my travels among the mesas and canyons of Northern New Mexico I discovered not one, but two, fabulous places to hunker down and ride out a storm.

    And both were on either side of the highway that takes travelers to and from Abiquiu.

    Since moving to Los Alamos, I’ve been trying to connect with locations in this part of the Land of Enchantment that played host to movie or television productions.

    I love watching movies and have gotten several suggestions on ones to watch that were filmed in the area.

    Our pressman here at the Los Alamos Monitor, Brian Dunwoody, told me he’s related to the owners of the rattlesnake that makes an appearance near the end of the movie “Hell or High Water” and how the movie was filmed in New Mexico.

    I’ve been close to where scenes for Only the Brave were filmed on the ski hill. And to Diablo Canyon in Sante Fe, which was mentioned in Hostiles and 3:10 to Yuma.

    There are so many more. Which is why I loaded up after church a couple of Sundays ago and headed for Abiquiu, a place rich in movie history.

  • In the waning days of The Black Hole in 2012, hundreds, if not thousands, of people stopped by to purchase what was left of the military surplus store’s inventory during a massive liquidation sale.

    The store’s founder, prominent anti-nuclear activist Ed Grothus, died in 2009, and his family no longer had the resources to keep the well-known store and institution to anti-nuclear activity in New Mexico open.

    As visitors came to purchase or take away the many pieces of castoff equipment from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, one visitor came to give something back to the store that served as a rallying point for those against nuclear warfare and those that weren’t afraid to put the activities going on at the Los Alamos National Laboratory under a microscope.

    Janire Najera, a photographer and visual artist who lives in the United Kingdom, dropped by at first because she was curious.

    “I was in New Mexico preparing for another project which entailed a month long road trip following the Old Spanish Trail from Santa Fe to Los Angeles when a friend shared with me a local newspaper article about the liquidation sale of The Black Hole,” Najera said.

  • Ed and Mary Little are celebrating their 75th anniversary today.  

    The Littles were married in Austin, Texas, where Ed was a pilot for the Army Air Corps at Bersgtrom Field during World War II.  Mary, then 20, took the long train ride from their home in Greensboro, North Carolina, to marry Ed.  

    There were only two attendants that attended their wedding and after the ceremony the four of them celebrated at The Chicken Shack. 

    After the war, they moved back to North Carolina where Ed got his degree in physics from UNC-Chapel Hill. Mary helped put him through school by working at the IRS and other jobs. 

    They moved to Los Alamos in 1950 and have lived in town ever since. They still make their home on Barranca Mesa in the house that they helped build in 1963. 

    Ed worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory for his entire career. They joined First Baptist Church in Los Alamos when they arrived and have been active in the church their entire lives. They are still faithful members and attenders.  

    Their two children, Robert and Susan, were born in Los Alamos. 

  • Registration for the New Mexico Master Gardeners’ State Conference will be closing soon. 

    The conference is open to the public and will be held in Albuquerque Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 at the Marriott Pyramid Hotel. Cost is $150 and registration is online at nmmgcon2018.org.  

    The theme is “sustainability,” or “Don’t fight Mother Nature – work with her.”

    Topics will include edible landscapes, waterwise growing for home gardeners, four-season gardening for pollinators, green roofs, sustainability lessons learned from ancient pueblos, composting and even learning how to develop your own vegetable, herb and flower varieties.

    Speakers include well-recognized experts such as author Judith Phillips, Landscape Architect Baker Morrow, sustainability consultant Jeff Goebel and others. 

    “We have designed this conference in the hopes of providing our attendees with new tools for their gardening toolkit, information on the latest sustainability trends and issues and some hands-on workshops to sharpen skills,” said conference co-chair Sam Thompson. “If you have a serious interest in southwest gardening, this is the place to be.” 

  • The LANL Foundation and invited guests celebrated the recipients of three scholarship categories Wednesday.

    Northern New Mexico Tribal Business Scholarships support Native students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business-related fields. Regional College/Returning Student (RCRS) Scholarships are awarded to nontraditional students seeking a two-year degree or certification after a significant gap in formal education.

    The first Abiquiú Land Grant – Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Scholarship winner was also honored during the reception. This new award is specifically designated for descendants of an Abiquiú Land Grant family pursuing a bachelor’s degree, two-year degree or professional certificate in any field of study.

    A complete list of winners may be found at lanlfoundation.org/scholarship-recipients.

  • Summer fun continues at Pajarito Mountain with more events, a downhill Enduro race, live music, and hiking!

    On Aug. 23, Pajarito is hosting Dog Days of Summer from 4 p.m. to dusk. 

    Pajarito Mountain will offer lift-served mountain biking and hiking from 4-7 p.m., beer from Bathtub Row Brewing from 5-8 p.m., and live music from Eddie and the Nomads from 6-8 p.m.  

    Celebrate Equinox Day from 4-7 p.m. Sept. 20 with more lift-served mountain biking and hiking, beer from Bathtub Row Brewing, and live music. 

    Receive discounted lift tickets and rentals for both of these events, including $15 uplift tickets and $50 rentals that are available for purchase in the ticket office. 

    Pajarito will host the Party at Paja Enduro Sept. 8, with a lift-accessed Enduro mountain bike race hosted by Team Trail Party.  Gravity riders will enjoy this 100-percent lift-accessed Enduro race with four to five stages. 

    In addition to these events, Pajarito is open for bike and hike uplifts every Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 28.

  • The League of Women Voters’ community event, Lunch with a Leader, will be at 11:45 a.m. Aug 21 at the United Church of Los Alamos, located between Canyon and Rose across from the Aquatic Center. 

    The location was changed from the usual location at Mesa Library. There is parking all around the church. The event is in Graves Hall. 

    Additionally, the Atomic City Transit Bus no. 3 stops right outside the Church on Rose Street.

    This month’s speaker is Robert Rhatigan, who is currently at the University of New Mexico, in the Geospatial and Population Studies group.  

    Rhatigan is  originally from New York City, but  moved to New Mexico with his wife, Allyson, from Austin, Texas, so that she could study Ayurvedic Medicine. 

    They have a 3-year-old daughter.

    Rhatigan previously served as an environmental specialist for Texas’s largest rural development grant administration firm. 

  • Bonnie is a 5-year-old girl from Rio Rancho who needs a home. The German Shepherd and Australian Cattle Dog mix was transferred to Los Alamos County Animal Shelter about a week ago. She is very sweet and loves all kinds of people.

    Bonnie is spayed but she is a little overweight and would fit perfectly in a home that loves exercise.

    House training, leash training and obedience commands have all been taught to Bonnie already. She loves car rides and hikes as long as she can go her own pace.

    If you are interested in adopting this sweet dog or would like more information, the shelter can be reached at 505-662-8179.

  • This week, I would like to suggest that you practice getting up a little earlier, if you have kids attending school next week. It is always a harsh reality to all involved in the process.

    If you back up the going to bed time and make the time to rise earlier too, it will make the first few days much less harsh. It is the reason that I am always happy that school starts on a Thursday.

    Those two days of intensity really help to assist in the getting back in a routine.

    I think as parents and caregivers, we forget that it is a mad dash from the alarm going off to heading out the door. It helps if we plan ahead and help our children to plan ahead, too. Think about easy things to pre-package the night before and leave items in a row and easily accessible to make it easier on everybody, especially of you require kids to make their own lunch.

    This will be my last, first day back to school and I still want to make sure it is a positive start. Life is too short to be grumbling about anything on such a great day. You would feel the EXACT same way as the kids if you have 10 weeks off and had to go back to work.

  • Los Alamos Little Theatre will hold auditions for Neil Simon’s “Rumors” at 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. Aug. 17 and 2 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Performing Arts Center, 1670 Nectar St., Los Alamos.

    Scripts are available at Mesa Public Library.

    This over-the-top farce is a non-stop romp of confusion, miscommunication and  
    hilarity as an anniversary party goes awry when the host shoots himself, his wife goes missing, and the help is nowhere to be found.

    Directed by Patrick Webb. Performances will be Nov. 2-17.

    Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script and improvisational exercises. Characters needed are 10 characters, including four men, four women and two gender-neutral characters.

  • Once again, The Los Alamos Opera Guild of The Guilds of The Santa Fe Opera, Inc. is joining Bandelier National Monument to present Opera on the Rocks Sept. 15.

    The performance returns this year with a concert staging of scenes from several popular operas.

    The New Mexico Performing Arts Society will present selections from Gounod’s “Faust,” Richard Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier,” Johann Strauss, Jr.’s “The Gypsy Baron” and Offenbach’s “Barcarolle,” all selections from their sold-out performances in Santa Fe.

    The New Mexico Performing Arts Society was founded to promote the work of New Mexico-based professional musicians and features several singers who have already delighted audiences at past Opera on the Rocks performances; Andre

    Garcia-Nuthmann and Jennifer Perez will be welcomed back. Artistic Director Franz Vote brings to Santa Fe many years of international experience, including conducting at Bayreuth and the Metropolitan Opera. Artist information may be found at NMPAS.org.

    Opera on the Rocks is an informal, family-oriented introduction to the world of opera, set in the beautiful, rustic amphitheater at Bandelier’s Juniper Campground.

  • The Los Alamos Choral Society (LACS) has selected the time, place and music for its first concert in 2019.

    The concert will be at the recently renovated Duane Smith Auditorium in Los Alamos at 4 p.m. Feb. 17, 2019.

    Beethoven’s “Mass in C” will be featured. The concert will also include Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus,” Copland’s “The Promise of Living,” and Charles Ives’ “Psalm 90.”

    Members of the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra will join Choral Society in the performance.

    Choral Society is a large, non-audition choir that is open to all interested singers. It has existed since the Manhattan Project. Its rehearsals are normally held on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. at the United Church of Los Alamos. The first rehearsal for the Feb. 17 concert will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

    Steven Paxton, the director of the choir, noted that new members will be welcomed in all sections.

  • I like the word “penultimate.” It’s actually one of my favorite words because it’s not too big and is a fun word to say.

    And it has a meaning that makes perfect sense, not one you have to go fishing for a reason to understand it with wrinkled brow after you’ve heard it used in a sentence.

    It simply means next to the last.

    It’s a good word, kind of a blue-collar type, one that can be used to “dress up” a sentence without making it look too pretentious.

    Like I said, just a fun word to use.

    Still, there are some sad connotations in which the word “penultimate” can be used. Saturday was one of them.

    Saturday I attended the penultimate date of the first-Saturday-of-the-month arts and crafts festival at the White Rock Visitors Center. The final date is Sept. 1.

    It’s sad because of all the fun I had at the next-to-the-last event in White Rock.

    Even though there were less than 10 tents set up with artisans showing and selling their wares on the grass at the Visitors Center, the ones in attendance were very friendly and enjoyed talking about their crafts to potential customers whether they walked away with a purchase or not.

    Special to the Monitor

    When I told friends I was going to Detroit, I received a lot of puzzled looks and raised eyebrows, followed by the question, “Why?” They were skeptical when I explained that my reason for visiting the town was curiosity-based, as rumor had it that “The D” was a reinvigorated destination and worthy of a look-see.

    Most people that I spoke to all had the same negative impressions of the city, as a gritty, seedy place with boarded up buildings, major unemployment and a high crime rate. Their views were likely shaped several years ago, based on photos and stories detailing some of the toughest and most challenging times in Detroit’s history.

    Filing for bankruptcy back in 2013 was a devastating blow to the image of this once storied town, the heart of the country’s auto industry and home to the Detroit Tigers, Eminem, the White Stripes, Motown and (maybe) Jimmy Hoffa’s body.

    Special to the Monitor

    The Santa Fe Opera’s opening night of “Ariadne auf Naxos” offered an evening of glorious music by Richard Strauss and dazzling singing by a magnificent cast under the elegant baton of Maestro James Gaffigan. Director Tim Albery’s inspired production captivated with his eye-for-detail direction. Staging, in particular, was excellent. Albery (2016 “Cappriccio”) also provided the English translation.

    A play within a play, “Ariadne auf Naxos” is a one-act opera with Prologue. The Prologue is sung in English, the opera in English and German. Hugo von Hofmannsthal, formed the libretto from Molière’s comedy, “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme.”

    It consisted of two acts with incidental music by Strauss followed by a third act, the opera, “Ariadne auf Naxos.” Its premiere in 1912 was a disastrous failure. Part of the audience expected a new Strauss opera and was not interested in the Molière play and those who came to see a play were not ready for an opera. Four years later, after frequent contentious communication between Hofmannsthal and Strauss, the work was revised with most of the Molière play becoming a Prologue followed by the opera “Ariadne auf Naxos.”


    Cowboy Breakfast from 7-11 a.m. at the Los Alamos Sheriff’s Posse Lodge, 650 N. Mesa Road, near the stables. Cost is $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 10 and under. Menu includes plain, blueberry, banana, chocolate chip and seasonal surprise pancakes, plus sausage, bacon, eggs, juice and coffee. The breakfast benefits the Alzheimer’s Association. 


    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.


    Art on Tap! will feature photographing New Zealand with Leslie Bucklin at 5:30 p.m. at the UnQuarked Wine Room. Free. New Zealand, photography, travel, . . . Join the conversation at Art on Tap with Leslie Bucklin, photographer and Los Alamos County Visual Information Specialist, who will share about her grand 21-day photography adventure touring New Zealand on a tiny ($3,000 per person) budget! This talk will give you practical information and artistic images that will leave you dreaming of travel.

  • Bennet, a five-pound Chihuahua, who arrived at the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter July 28, comes with a unique feature not normally found in Chihuahuas. 

    Bennet is a quiet dog. According to the staff at the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter, he’s not only quiet, but very sweet. He was given up for adoption at the Albuquerque Animal Welfare center because his owner had too many other animals. 

    On the plus side it also means Bennet has a nice temperament around other dogs, cats and humans, according to shelter volunteers.

    Bennet’s $75 adoption fee includes neutering and a heart worm test (Bennet tested negative and is now on prevention medication). 

    Bennet has been microchipped and dewormed. He has also been vaccinated for parvo, bordetella and rabies.

     For more information call the Los Alamos Animal County Animal Shelter at 505-662-8179 or email police-psa@lacnm.us.

  • Don’t be fooled by the name, because The Burger Shack at Taos Ale House in Taos makes more than just burgers.
    That’s what I found out Saturday after sampling maybe the best hot dog I’ve eaten since moving to New Mexico.
    It was a green chile cheese hot dog, to be exact, and it was the perfect late lunch to soften some of the white-knuckle moments from earlier in the day.
    A butterscotch frozen custard, called a “concrete,” from Freddy’s in Española would later provide the ideal culinary capper to the excursion.
    It all started with a drive to Santa Fe to pick up a friend for the day’s adventure. Along the way, I went through my usual exercise of counting casinos between Los Alamos and Santa Fe. (It seems to make the trip go by faster, not that it’s that long a trip anyway.) Then it was off to Taos to check another location off my list of places I’d never been before.