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SUMMER 2014

Cutting Edge

Innovation in Carlsbad Keeping in the Game Relay Our Story of Success The CPD’s Eyes & Ears Special Olympians Chamber News & More!

TECHNOLOGY


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FROM THE EDITOR FOCUS ON TECHNOLOGY

CARLSBAD INNOVATION PROFILES FOCUS ON AUTOMOBILES

AUTO REPAIR ON THE CUTTING EDGE FOCUS ON VIDEO GAMES

KEEPING IN THE GAME FOCUS ON CURRENT EVENTS

CEMRC AT WORK

FOCUS ON MAINSTREET

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MAINSTREET & TECH

PHOTOS IN FOCUS FOCUS ON THE GARDEN

TURN OFF YOUR PHONE & PLAY IN THE DIRT! FOCUS ON VOLUNTEERING

RELAY OUR STORY OF SUCCESS FOCUS ON EDUCATION

HAS TECHNOLOGY CHANGED THE WAY WE EDUCATE? FOCUS ON LAW ENFORCEMENT

ELECTRONIC EYES & EARS OF CPD

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ABOUT THE COVER

Ed Stephenson welding a part for Tessenderlo Kerley Services that will eventually be part of a petrochemical plant. See Story on Page 9. Photo by Jennifer Coats Photography.

Kyle Marksteiner, Editorial Director - Lilly Anaya, Advertising Photography by Kyle Marksteiner, Brand Eye Photography, Jennifer Coats & submitted photos. Special Contributors: Amanda Melvin, Margaret Barry, Staci Guy, Eve Flanigan, Donna Birchell & The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce FOCUS ON CARLSBAD IS PUBLISHED QUARTERLY BY AD VENTURE MARKETING

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F O C U S from the editor

It’s time to get

Tech-Savvy “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU STILL USE INTERNET EXPLORER!” “I can’t believe you still listen to CDs!” “Maybe it is time to get a new phone!” KYLE MARKSTEINER Editorial Director

FOCUS ON CARLSBAD

These are the kind of comments that I hear, a lot, from my younger or simply more technically astute friends and associates. The theme of this edition of Focus is science and technology, and there’s no doubt that it is good stuff. The pages beyond this one feature some of the impressive technological and scientific feats going on right now in or near your backyard. But before you turn the page, dear reader, allow me to at least make the counterpoint that, at least when it comes to commercial technological advancements, we should develop some degree of perspective. (For those of you who follow my blog on focusnm.com, this is an adaptation from a similar column written several months ago.) I think we can all agree that we live in an era with an increasingly hurried pace of technological improvements. This is certainly a good thing in many ways, but I also think it can get a little overwhelming and wasteful at times. There were no telephones for most of history. Then we had dial phones for several decades until a big innovation added buttons you could push. Then all of a sudden the rate of change really accelerated. Now we revamp phones and add new features every few months, and if you don’t keep up, then you are a hopeless Luddite interfering with progress. You finally catch up on your DVDs, and suddenly you need a Blu-ray. You finally get used to Windows 8, and Windows 9 comes out.

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Even art seems to be on fast forward. A popular film series is “rebooted” before the third movie even concludes, and a song recorded in 2008 is so outdated that it might as well have been recorded in the roaring 1920s. Art used to be forever; in 1545, the Sistine Chapel was not dismissed with a “that’s so 1541.” I’m not saying we should avoid all technological improvements, but I do think we’ve allowed ourselves to be convinced that we are missing out if we aren’t in an assembly line, quickly replacing the product we purchased a few months ago with a new one. Plus, it gets kind of annoying and expensive, since you constantly need to buy new stuff due to the perfectly OK older stuff being unavailable. Many of the reasons for this stepped up pace are obvious. For the Windows coder to keep his job, the company needs to sell a new operating system, not just let me continue to use the old one. Nobody makes any money if I use the same phone for 20 years. There are more people in the world today, and a higher percentage of those people are working in creative industries of some sort. We’ve sort of become addicted, economically, to our own perpetual need for improvement.

A few centuries ago, life spans were quite a bit shorter than they are now, but objects, say grandma’s kettle or great-grandpa’s hunting knife, could last forever. The material world was solid and our own consciousness was the short-lived intruder. But we’ve flipped the timeline on the material world around us. If I live to be 100, I’ll easily outlast another 20 new cell phones, each offering a few increased features. So perhaps we’ve found a way to work toward the perception of immortality by decreasing the lifespan of the material objects around us. Or, you know, we just like getting cool new stuff. Look, you guys are free to frantically keep updating your cell phones every few minutes, but I wish you’d also allow a little bit of room for those of us who don’t see the need to do so. And stop forcing me to learn how to use new operating systems!

There’s also the reality of competition to consider and the fact that many of these improvements are legitimately good ones. Or so I’m told.

At least think about that for a bit, while I go watch a few of my VCR tapes.

But our fixation on getting the iPad 12 so we can trash the iPad 11 seems to be so intense that I can’t help but wonder if it is something beyond just being a highly successful marketing and commercial necessity. It also gets pretty overwhelming, for some of us.

A B O U T T H E E D IT O R

Kyle Marksteiner is the Editorial Director of Focus on Carlsbad magazine. He can be reached at editor@ad-venturemarketing.com or by sending up a carefully-worded smoke signal in his direction. FOCUSNM.COM


F O C U S on technology

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FULL SPEED AHEAD

From the halls of Carlsbad Medical Center to the shores of Sandia National Laboratories to the fabrication shops of Tessenderlo Kerley Services, Carlsbad is on the cutting edge when it comes to building and experimentation. Below are a few profiles of some local locations where innovation and technology are going full speed ahead.

Sinus Seekers W

hen Dr. Thomas Chasse, Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist, came to the table to negotiate with Carlsbad Medical Center, he set his sights on something more than a new desk or computer. Chasse agreed to take the helm of Pecos Valley ENT in exchange for some high level ENT surgical equipment.

PHOTOS : Dr. Thomas Chasse demonstrates some of the surgery equipment he uses at Carlsbad Medical Center.

He got his wish.

“The equipment here in Carlsbad today is as good as anywhere in the world,” praised Chasse. “This is the top of the line, most sophisticated equipment available.” One of the

key instruments, the Fusion Image Guided Endoscopic Sinus Surgery System and Sinus Video System, is an image guided sinus surgery system that operates, according to Chasse, “as a mini GPS system for the head. I’ve probably done 12,000 to 15,000 sinus cases, and I feel very comfortable. What this does is it adds a measure of security when doing more complex cases. It makes the surgery more efficient and safer.” Chasse uses the mini GPS to help him perform precise surgery in a part of the body millimeters from the eye and brain. “You are using instruments to remove polyps and swollen tissue,” he explained, noting the difference between patients with significant sinus problems and people without such problems. The device might not be necessary were the patient’s sinus cavities are clear, but it becomes more and more important as the patient’s sinus problems become more significant. “Sometimes there is so much swollen tissue. If you are going to land a plane and there’s a clear blue

“The equipment here in Carlsbad today is as good as anywhere in the world,” praised Chasse. “This is the top of the line, most sophisticated equipment available.”

SUMMER 2014 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE

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sky, that’s different than if you can’t even see the airfield and need to land in a cloud. You need to have very close navigation systems.” Chasse revealed that one goal as a physician is staff communication. Having the right tools is fine, but he also wants to make sure they are used properly. “We’ve had pretty intensive training sessions from myself and also the manufacturers over the past several months. I also have the same surgical team every time I operate here, so patients are getting a team that works together all the time.” That’s important, he emphasized, because groups who know how to work together work well. “One thing I’ve learned is that everybody should enter on the same page. When the patient goes into surgery, outpatient surgery or the recovery room, all those things should mesh. What we are doing in ENT is everybody who is going to see a patient meets and goes over every case.” The extra discussions are important, Chasse pointed out, and his team also tries to keep a patient with the same nurses on a visit whenever possible, “So you’ll wake up and see a familiar face,” he explained. “It’s a crucial development because it makes it about the person, not about the technical procedure.” The price tag for the Fusion Image Guided Endoscopic Sinus Surgery System and Sinus Video System is $150,000. Additional new equipment includes an ear surgery microscope and micro-instruments to assist patients with ear problems and hearing loss. “We recently performed a hearing improvement surgery on a lady where we had to put in an artificial bone,” Chasse recalled, noting that the ear surgery microscope was important. “The entire bone measured to 0.25 millimeters, so it had to be just right. As with the sinus process, it is a very high tech monitoring system that allows precision.” Chasse also considers more routine ENT surgeries, such as tonsillectomies and vent tubes, to be of significant importance. Chasse, 61, began practicing with Carlsbad Medical Center last May. He has more than 30 years of ENT experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree in science from Boston College and an M.D. from the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine. He conducted his residency at UCLA Medical Center. His academic appointments include serving as an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. He is board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Same day and next day appointments are often available by calling 234-1670 or patients can request appointments online at PecosValleyDocs.com.

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Long Term Experimentation at Sandia

S

andia National Laboratories scientists combine hightech computer modeling with some old fashioned physical experimentation in their long-term analysis of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), the Department of Energy’s (DOE) underground repository for defense-related transuranic waste.

Every five years, WIPP submits a lengthy Compliance Recertification Application (CRA) to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The entire document used to take up an entire U-Haul trailer, though the content is now delivered via portable hard drives. Recertification has nothing to do with the recent events at WIPP, but is a process to verify that changes at the site over the previous five years comply with EPA disposal standards. The EPA first certified WIPP as compliant in 1998 when the Compliance Certification Application demonstrated how the geological, hydrological, physical, chemical and environmental characteristics of the site would operate from the moment WIPP seals its shafts through the next 10,000 years. Scientists and engineers at Sandia National LaboratoriesCarlsbad put together more than 1,500 pages for the 2014 application. Their

contribution included extensive detail on experiments and modeling results demonstrating that WIPP continues to comply with EPA standards related to disposal. The DOE, Carlsbad Technical Assistance Contractor, Nuclear Waste Partnership, Regulatory Environmental Services, and Los Alamos National Laboratory were all part of the application to the EPA as well. “This data shows that WIPP is in compliance with regulations through the EPA for long-term performance,” stated Sean Dunagan, Sandia’s performance assessment and decision analysis department manager. “This CRA was a little different, in that it included quite a bit more data and added more realism to some of the parameters.” For example, Sandia conducted

This Sandia National Laboratories-Carlsbad Programs Group flume was used to refine parameters used in WIPP hypothetical intrusion scenarios.

PHOTO :


WHAT IS TRANSURANIC WASTE?

Transuranic waste is officially defined as waste contaminated with alpha-emitting radionuclides, having atomic numbers greater than 92 and with half-lives greater than 20 years in concentrations greater than 100 nanocuries per gram of waste. additional experiments related to the steel corrosion of the drums containing the transuranic waste. Steel tags are submerged in a variety of salt solutions for lengthy periods of time to gain additional understanding of how WIPP’s drums will corrode over time. Additional experiments also refined understanding of how the engineered barrier magnesium oxide placed in the WIPP underground will bond with other materials over time. There were also additional experiments related to testing waste shear strength, or the ability of the waste to resist hydraulic erosion. In order to conduct the new experiment, Sandia designed a special vertical flume to simulate hydraulic conditions that might be applied to the waste hundreds of years from now. Technical Lead Chris Camphouse said the shear strength of WIPP waste is one of the most important parameters used in WIPP’s performance assessment. Erosion tests originally used San Francisco Bay mud. “The reason mud or clay was [originally] chosen as an analog for the shear strength of waste was a lack of experimental results on either real degraded waste or an adequate surrogate material,” Camphouse explained, noting that it also had the lowest shear strength reported in literature at that time. Numerous attempts have been made since to refine the experiment, but these approaches were not previously adopted due to perceived shortcomings in the experimental approach taken. That was resolved this time. “To address these shortcomings, a vertical flume was designed and built,” Camphouse revealed. “The vertical orientation of the flume is important, as it addresses the need to have flow running vertically up a flume channel to more realistically simulate field conditions where a drilling fluid is flowing up a borehole. Surrogate waste materials were developed and experiments were performed by Sandia in the vertical flume to determine a more suitable range for the shear strength of WIPP waste.” Ultimately, the experiment helped

establish a more precise understanding of the underground waste’s ability to withstand force put on it in the event of a hypothetical drilling intrusion hundreds of years from now. “These experiments led to more precise parameters for modeling,” Dunagan pointed out. “The more appropriately we can model it, the more we can understand long-term performance.” The research process is not done in a void, and Sandia and other WIPP researchers also add quite a bit of detail about other experiments conducted over the past five years while compiling their information. Updates are also included from Los Alamos National LaboratoryCarlsbad’s experimental program and inventory teams. As Dunagan noted, the physical and chemical experiments ultimately provide the measurements for the computer modeling phase of the process. In fact, each application has included 24 different conceptual models, all of them subjected to rigorous peer review. Analysts then simulate the models hundreds of thousands of times using parameters developed from the new data to cover the full range of possible repository performance in the future. The results from the models are then used to establish the best and worst case limits for hypothetical intrusions into WIPP after the facility closes. This data is part of the package sent to the EPA establishing WIPP’s long-term compliance. Site recertification is a two-step process. First, the EPA will determine the completeness of the application or request additional information for its review. Once the EPA determines the application package is complete, the agency has six months to perform a technical evaluation and reach a final decision regarding WIPP’s compliance with radioactive waste disposal regulations. While most of the experiments at Sandia’s Carlsbad lab are directly related to WIPP, Dunagan said the office also conducts experiments through small business development grants aimed at improving the lives of New Mexicans.

Busy Builders at TKS

T

he name Tessenderlo Kerley Services (TKS) may sound like a mouthful, but the company has been designing and constructing processing plants for the refining, gas processing and petrochemical industries for a long time now. “The official explanation is that we are an engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction company,” stated TKS Vice President Stan Power. “Our primary business is to design and build petrochemical plants for our parent company.” Basically, TKS builds really big things in Carlsbad and ships them to other parts of the world. The parent company, Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc. (TKI), produces and markets specialty chemical solutions, including fertilizers and crop protection chemicals, and process chemicals and services to diverse markets. TKI, in turn, is a subsidiary of Tessenderlo Group, a worldwide specialty company focused on food, agriculture, water management and valorizing bio-residuals. Locally, TKS has an office in downtown Carlsbad and a large American Society of Mechanical Engineers certified fabrication shop near the airport. About 100 Carlsbad residents work for TKS and another few dozen work in different project construction zones. “We started as Western Environmental, but that was purchased by the Kerley brothers,” Power revealed. The company was later acquired by the Tessenderlo Group, which originated in Belgium. TKS nearly had to move its local shop to Phoenix a few years ago due to insufficient operating space. The Carlsbad Department of Development, in conjunction with the City of

SUMMER 2014 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE

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Carlsbad, found suitable space at the Carlsbad Airport Industrial Park. The move resulted in a surge in jobs and revenue for the company. TKS engineers and welders design and build facilities and large skids for industrial use. There are several different clients, but many of the products are built for TKI. “Some of our primary plants design and build sulfur recovery units,” Power explained. “We clean up those refineries so they meet EPA emissions standards and turn it (sulfur) into other products.” TKS has not really benefitted much from Carlsbad’s oil boom. In fact, Power said it has become a bit harder to find and hire qualified welders due to the healthy local oil and gas economy.

TKS employee Lon Hill demonstrates graphic modeling. Photo by Jennifer Coats

PHOTO RIGHT :

PHOTO BELOW : Welder Ed Stephenson hard at work fabricating

a Tessenderlo Kerley Services part that will eventually be part of a petrochemical plant. Photo by Jennifer Coats

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Meanwhile, TKS remains as busy as ever. “We’re always building,” noted Power. While TKS makes a lot of regular improvements to design modeling and fabrication, Power said many of the innovations are made at the parent office. TKI is continually developing new products for the agriculture, mining and industrial industries, and with water treatment. “Really, we’re a full-service engineering company,” he contended. “We try to keep the process at our (TKI) plants around the country very similar.” Each fabricated unit costs in the $25 to $50 million range and consists of all of the electronics, instrumentation

and monitors necessary. TKS often uses a modular design, so the different skids can be transported to where they are needed and assembled Lego style. A single, large project can last 12 to 18 months. “We ship the materials here and build most of the vessels here,” Power replied. “Then we will send it to someone, and they’ll finish up the electrical connections.” TKS is bringing a total of $50 to $60 million into the community each year, Power estimated. Power and his wife, Amy, have lived in Carlsbad since 1990, “when I came here on a two-month job,” he revealed. “Carlsbad has been very good to our family. My wife loves it here.”


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F O C U S on automobiles

on Auto Repair the

Cutting Edge THIS IS NOT YOUR GRANDFATHER’S AUTO REPAIR SHOP. David Warengo, master technician with Carlsbad’s Atwood Automotive, still has plenty of wrenches at his shop, but he spends more time these days tapping into your car’s computer to find out what is going on.

Fuel injection was a new thing when he first started, and now very few cars have carburetors. The biggest change in vehicles over the past 28 years is

that cars used to have one or two computers. Now they have upwards of 30. “Originally, there was a computer that ran the engine,” he recalled. “Now we have automatic windows, radios and air conditioning. They all have computers and they all talk to each other, but they also each do their own thing as well.”

“I don’t get as dirty as I used to,” he observed. “I’m spending a lot of my time now looking at computers and accessing information. Sometimes, the actual physical repair is minimal. It is finding the problem and getting the knowledge of how to fix the problem that takes most of the time.” “After all this time, I still enjoy it,” Warengo confided, saying he has been repairing automobiles for the past 18 years and a decade working in parts before that. PHOTO: David Warengo, with Atwood Automotive, performs an inspection on a vehicle at the shop. Atwood is located at 601 W. Mermod and can be reached by calling 887-3934.

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Most of the computers are also extremely reliable. “It is true that there is more computing power in our vehicles now than what was used to put a man on the moon,” he said. What that means for Warengo and others in his profession is that they spend a lot of time using scanners to download diagnostic reports from a vehicle’s computers. He said he’ll typically combine the computer diagnostic, a visual inspection of the vehicle and the customer’s complaints to get a pretty good idea of a path forward. The increased reliance on technology makes a career as an automotive technician different. “I am constantly trying to stay up to date with the current technology,” he admitted. When he is hiring new employees, the skill set needed by members of his profession has changed over the past few decades. “I’m looking for someone who can change and adapt. Before it was just switching out parts, but now there is a different mindset. You can’t always see the part that needs to be replaced just by looking.” The modernization of automotive technology has also meant that it has become more difficult for amateurs to handle what had previously been a routine repair. “[Cars have] all gotten more compact. Once you figure out what is wrong, it has gotten harder to get to,” he noted. The advantage to modern automobiles

is that their overall fuel economy is better and features, such as power windows and remote starts, improve customer convenience. Computer technology also helps Warengo make a more precise diagnosis. “I’d say they are simpler to fix and harder at the same time,” he observed. “I can still fix cars the old way, but the special tools make my job more accurate.” Additional training includes classes and tests for certification along with reading up on new technological developments. Warengo predicts that automotive electronics will continue to become more and more precise. “I think we’ll see more connectivity of vehicles to the internet. We’ll also be seeing more electric and hybrid cars and models where an electric motor assists a gas engine. I think we will also start seeing more diesel cars.” All that means that the training and education component of automotive repair is here to stay. “If I took two years and didn’t learn anything new, I would be behind,” he confided. “If you have guys in shops who have gone five to ten years without trying to stay up to date, soon they will only be working on older cars.” So the days of the naturally-gifted grease monkey have passed? “The kid straight out of high school who just likes tinkering with cars—that’s probably diminishing,” Warengo mused. “I think it takes a

certain mindset, along with training. It’s not what their grandfathers and their dads did. The basics are still the same, but there’s a lot more involved.” Even brake jobs and oil changes have become more technical processes. Beyond the changes in automobiles themselves, running a business in the information age means that Atwood Automotive (company name Hardcastle, LLC) relies less and less on vehicle manuals lying around the shop. Vehicle information is all accessed online, and computers are also used to write service notices and perform estimates. Some things stay the same, however, and Warengo noted that many of the steps for repair processes are still very similar to what they were 30 years ago. With so many repairs now computerized, Warengo said there’s even an increased focus on showing the customer what has been done. “It used to be that when you get your car back from the shop, you could open your hood and see what was done,” he remarked. “These days, most of the time you can’t see what was done. So if I have the opportunity to make a visual impression, just by cleaning the car or painting the new part, I’ll do it. Personally, for myself and my shop here, we try very hard to present a professional image.” So one thing that has apparently not changed over the years? The importance of customer service.

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F O C U S on video games

Keeping in the Game BEING A KID THESE DAYS IS GREAT, especially when your dad and his best friend are both lifelong video game enthusiasts who are determined to provide you with the opportunity to play all of the games from their childhood. Such is the life of five-year-old Lyric Villarreal. His father, Roman Villarreal, related that friend James Leyva approached him one day with a picture of a homemade arcade cabinet. “He said, ‘We should build one. It will be fun,’” Villarreal recalled. “Building the cabinets really pushes my craftsmanship and woodworking to the limit, but it is a lot of fun. James does most of the arcade software programming, and I do most of the woodwork.” The two men are building the table top arcade for Lyric. (At least that is what they tell everyone.) “I want him to have the experience playing older arcade games any time he wants,” Villarreal asserted, adding that he has coded video games in the past. Leyva said he began creating video games when he was 14 and had a program that allowed him to design games fairly quickly. He also ran a website dedicated to fan-made video games. “I used to make tutorials for other people to make games,” he recalled. “Then I became addicted to playing video games, and I lost the habit of making games.” He’s done quite a bit of research into designing video games and is even looking into designing a game that stars Villarreal’s kids.

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Leyva and Villarreal are close friends and former college roommates. Both men have lived in Carlsbad for about four years and both are employed in the computer industry – Villarreal is a systems analyst with the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and Leyva works with the Information Technology Department for Carlsbad Municipal Schools. Villarreal’s first video game memory was Super Mario Brothers. “I was about four years old, and my sister was given a Nintendo Entertainment System for her birthday,” he recalled. “Super Mario was included with the console. Even though it wasn’t my birthday gift, it was still one of the most exciting experiences of my life.” Leyva’s very first game was the original version of Pong. “Simple, yet fun,” he described it. He also had about ten different games on his Atari 2600. Since then, he’s enjoyed single player role playing games (RPG)—he recalls playing Final Fantasy 3 for hours each day in his youth—and first person shooters. Villarreal prefers real-time strategy games, such as Age of Empires and Starcraft. “But,” he confessed, “Pokemon is still my all-time favorite.”


The ways to play video games have grown over the years. Villarreal has the option of playing games on his PS3, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo Wii, the computer, an Android phone, and an iPad.

being excited as a kid opening a brand new game and reading the instructions to the game. These days most video game manuals are more boring and dull, comparable to an IKEA build-it guide.”

Modern technology isn’t always a plus; both Leyva and Villarreal admit missing the old style of games. “The graphics of newer games are significantly better and more detailed than older games,” noted Villarreal. “However, I sometimes miss the simple graphics of older games.”

Most modern games are multiplayer with an online platform. Both gamers say they often prefer single player games when they don’t want to be online or interact with others. Even single player games today often require an online login through a cloud network such as Steam.

Leyva commented that despite their poor graphics, some of the older games often had a more detailed plot and better music. “Also, video game manuals!” he recalled. “I remember

“I hate the fact that you have to be online or log into the game by internet once in a while, even for single player games,” revealed Leyva, but noted that he believes the measure is an antipirating procedure. An advantage to computer games over their console counterparts is that they have caused an increase in home-brewed games, including fan modifications to official games. While the computer game aisle at the local gaming shop seems to shrink to allow more space for systems such as Xbox and PlayStation, Leyva and Villarreal remarked that is partially because computer games can now be downloaded online.

Roman Villarreal (left) and James Leyva (above). PHOTO BELOW LEFT: Lyric Villarreal enjoys playing a video game with his father.

PHOTOS ABOVE:

Photos by Brand Eye Photography

Villarreal said he hasn’t been addicted to a video game since he first got into the video game version of Pokemon in 1998. He did get very interested in researching the social virtualization that occurs in online RPGs. However, he knows that video game addiction is possible. “My son is addicted to Plants vs. Zombies,” he added. “I do know someone who has been [addicted],

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but I won’t mention any names— James.” Leyva admits to a former video game addiction but said he only plays a couple of hours a week now. He still has friends addicted to games such as World of Warcraft and believes new systems allowing for real world money to be used to buy virtual items have made the dangers of video games even worse. “One time in college, I held a Super Nintendo marathon,” Leyva confessed. “The marathon lasted 14 hours.” These days, Villarreal waits until his two children are asleep before turning on a game system. “If I don’t wait, I will never get a turn,” he joked. Leyva said he now has a pretty good grasp of his video gaming habits and has no difficulty balancing his hobby with his social life and career. What’s down the road? Leyva noted that the PlayStation 4 and personal computers will soon add a virtual reality headset. “With motion sensors already in place in current consoles, it would not surprise me if we see a full virtual reality gaming system in the future.” Villarreal confessed he’s hoped for a virtual reality system since he was his son’s age. “I remember talking to friends about how awesome fighting games would be in the future,” he concluded. “None of us ever thought we would see it become reality, but virtual reality video games don’t seem to be such a far-fetched idea anymore.”

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F O C U S on current events

CEMRC at WORK C A R L S B A D E N V I R O N M E N TA L M O N I T O R I N G A N D R E S E A R C H C E N T E R

TO SAY THAT RADIOCHEMIST PUNAM THAKUR HAS BEEN A LITTLE BIT BUSY IN 2014 WOULD BE A GROSS UNDERSTATEMENT. Thakur works for the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center (CEMRC), a division of the College of Engineering at New Mexico State University. CEMRC’s job is to independently monitor at and around the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), the Department of Energy’s (DOE) facility for defense-generated transuranic waste that is located 26 miles east of Carlsbad. In February, Thakur and CEMRC were the first to release information about the detection of trace amounts of americium and plutonium around WIPP. Thakur has been with CEMRC for nearly five years. She previously did post doctorate work with Florida State University. Now she manages CEMRC’s radiochemistry lab, a job which includes analysis of air filters, surface water, drinking water, soil and other environmental samples. “We look for actinides, as well as natural radionuclides, to see the impact from the WIPP operation,” Thakur explained. Actinides are the 15 chemical elements with atomic numbers between 89 and 103, including uranium and plutonium. The radioactive material disposed of at WIPP, transuranic waste, consists of actinides. CEMRC pulls monitoring filters at two stations at the WIPP site—one on each side of the underground facility’s High Efficiency Particulate Air filtration system at the exhaust shaft. CEMRC also has three stations for monitoring ambient air located near the facility. WIPP and the State

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of New Mexico also have monitoring stations around the facility, and the Environmental Protection Agency has added mobile stations since the incident. Detection-wise, things have been pretty quiet for most of the past 15 years since WIPP began receiving waste. CEMRC’s ultra-sensitive instruments, on a couple of occasions, picked up trace amounts of radioactive material thought to be left over from the Nevada Test Site or Project Gnome (a 1961 experiment conducted near Carlsbad), but nothing that bore WIPP’s radioactive signature. A few years ago, CEMRC even detected a few atoms that could be traced to the 2011 Fukushima meltdown. “Over the years, our methods have improved,” Thakur noted. “The good thing is that you can see each atom, and the bad thing is that you can see each atom. The sensitivity of modern techniques is that nothing can go undetected.” Thakur’s day-to-day work scope changed quite a bit in February of 2014 when CEMRC detected trace amounts of americium and plutonium near WIPP. In this case, evidence indicated that this radioactive detection, though well below the level of risk, did come from the WIPP underground. An underground Continuous Air Monitor at WIPP went off just before midnight on Friday, February 14. CEMRC was unable to pull the station filters at the WIPP site over that weekend, but did bring back the

filters from the ambient air monitors around the WIPP site. Thakur and her assistant began working on the samples on Sunday. It can normally take around five days to complete an analysis, and although the lengthier process allows for a more detailed breakdown of background radiation levels, CEMRC went into emergency mode to get results more quickly. By Tuesday, CEMRC issued a press release indicating that trace amounts of radioactive material were detected at the ambient air sampler closest to WIPP. Thakur has been at work every day since, including weekends. She’s CEMRC’s only radiochemist, though she does have an assistant. It’s a profession with a low graduate turnout in the United States—only about eight new radiochemists a year graduate from American universities. “I knew it was going to be busy,” she admitted. CEMRC Director Russell Hardy certainly seems to appreciate his radiochemist’s capabilities and work ethic. “I am amazed at both the quantity and the quality of the work that Dr. Thakur performs for CEMRC,” Hardy remarked. “Throughout this event, she and her team have worked tirelessly to prepare and analyze the samples and to verify that the data obtained is accurate. Her hard work and dedication to environmental monitoring and radiological analysis is an asset to CEMRC and to the citizens of Carlsbad and southeast New Mexico. We are truly blessed to have someone of Dr. Thakur’s stature at CEMRC.” Here’s how the CEMRC laboratory process works: WIPP’s 47 mm exhaust shaft filters are collected in 8-hour intervals from Stations A and B at the facility. The FOCUSNM.COM


8X10 inch glass fiber filters from the off-site ambient air monitors are collected weekly. CEMRC staff bags the filters and presents them to Thakur and her assistant at the laboratory in Carlsbad. Filters are digested using an acid solution and hot plates which turn them into a liquid solution. Once the liquid solution is prepared, half of the liquid sample is used for a 48-hour gamma analysis while the other half undergoes an actinide separation process. To separate out each of the individual potential WIPP isotopes (such as americium), CEMRC takes smaller, carefully measured samples of the liquid solution and adds a known amount of a particular isotope. This is done for each isotope of interest. “Once each of the smaller samples has been spiked with the particular isotope, the sample is then poured into an isotope separation column that uses a special resin to trap everything except the isotope of interest,” explained Hardy. “Again, we will use a resin column for each isotope of interest.”

that was originally on the filter. The whole process typically takes three to five days. CEMRC keeps the samples for a year before disposing of them as a waste. Thakur stressed that the levels detected around WIPP do not present a health risk. CEMRC has radiation detection equipment in the laboratory as a safety precaution, but the scientists have never been at risk. “Young kids these days will talk on the cell phone for one or two hours straight,” she observed. “That’s much more radiation.” While it is true that inhalation or ingestion of radioactive material presents a higher risk than external exposure, in this instance, the levels are so low that the threat is still negligible. “This release event is not going to impact your health or the environment because the levels are so low,” she noted. “Yes, if you are exposed to higher levels of plutonium, there is a significant impact on your health, but

this—this is nothing.” CEMRC is funded by the Department of Energy, but Thakur stressed that DOE has no control over the monitoring agency. “The DOE does not tell us what to do or what to say,” she emphasized. “This was my data that was reported.” In fact, CEMRC’s creation was effectively a part of a legal settlement between the State of New Mexico and the federal government prior to WIPP’s opening. The state agreed that WIPP would be allowed to come to New Mexico if the federal government footed the bill on several projects, including highway funding and CEMRC. Thakur’s thoughts on WIPP’s next step is that the situation needs to be used for improvement. “We are all human, and you can’t run any facility thinking that nothing is going to happen,” she observed. “The main thing is how you address the issue and what you can do to improve, so that incidents like this will never happen again.”

Once the samples have dripped through the columns, the lab is left with small samples containing pure isotopes. “We will use heat to boil these pure samples down to dryness onto stainless steel planchetes,” Hardy continued, “which are then placed into the alpha spectrometer and counted for 24 hours. The spectrometer will generate a spectrum that identifies the isotope type and the activity measured.” A computer attached to the spectrometer provides Thakur with a variety of options for breaking down the information. Once the total amount of activity per isotope is known, CEMRC then subtracts the added activity and any background activity from the sample solution. The amount of activity remaining after background subtraction is the amount Dr. Punam Thakur and Associate Research Scientist Brant Lemons break down a filter sample to test it for radiation. CEMRC’s small staff has been extremely busy since the February 14 radiological incident at WIPP.

PHOTO:

SUMMER 2014 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE

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F O C U S on mainstreet

MainStreet & Tech I

AMANDA MELVIN

Executive Director

CARLSBAD MAINSTREET

n April, Carlsbad MainStreet participated in the annual Spring Fling event at the Pecos River Bandshell. Parents, children, families and friends learned about safety and community and enjoyed music, games, food and prizes. To prepare for the event, MainStreet staff and volunteers discussed games to use in its booth. Ideas spanned from building an extravagant fun house to fashioning a historic facade. They settled on an interactive, complex structural design—Plan A—and all they had to do was build it. On the day of the event, that design was still just a concept and in its place was Plan B, a simple spin-wheel made of cardboard and duct tape.

If you are a regular subscriber to Focus on Carlsbad, you may recognize that each issue has a theme and that this issue’s theme is technology. You may also be questioning what MainStreet’s jazzy pink, duct tape spin-wheel has to do with technology. The answer is forthcoming. Carlsbad MainStreet focuses on four points to accomplish revitalization and development of its downtown district: economic positioning, organization, promotion and design. The technology tools for each point are

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specific to accomplish the objectives established by its committees. For example, the organization committee relies on marketing software to generate and circulate its newsletter and to gather information. The promotions committee uses social media like Facebook and Twitter to share information. The economic positioning committee depends on research and statistical software to help forecast trends for businesses in downtown Carlsbad. Lastly, the design committee uses geographical software to map downtown locations, boundaries and signs. When making a decision to invest in technology it is advisable to ask questions to determine if the investment is worth it, or in business jargon, what’s the ROI (return on investment)? A few examples of questions to ask:

1. How will the technology/project add value to your organizational operation? Does it save time or money or improve your market reach? 2. What will it cost? Include financial and non-financial expenses like training and implementation costs or time and energy expended on customer orientation and education. 3. Does the technology/project convey your mission, values and brand? Does it reflect the culture of your organization and communicate your value of quality or customer service? Carlsbad MainStreet is currently asking these questions and more as they look into technology to assist downtown tourists. They are considering tools for smartphones

such as QR codes and phone apps. During preliminary research, they learned that over half of the U.S. population own smartphones yet only 19% of those have scanned a QR code. More to the point, if they decided to use QR codes, they would need to encourage and educate the other 81% of smartphone users to scan the codes. In other words, they would need to invest time and money in a QR code outreach campaign. This brings me back to Spring Fling and the questions for calculating ROI. MainStreet staff and volunteers were eager to build something grand to engage kids and educate attendees on MainStreet’s approach to revitalization. However, when the cost for Plan A was calculated and determined to require 20-30 volunteer hours and $150 worth of material, Plan B became the obvious choice. Plan B required two volunteer hours and $27 in materials, and it conveyed Carlsbad MainStreet’s mission, value and brand. When deciding on technology solutions, make sure your choice supports your needs and is worth the investment. While grand ideas are fun and exciting and can bring about great innovation, sometimes, the solution is as simple as cardboard and duct tape.

For more information, contact Carlsbad MainStreet at (575)628-3768 or carlsbadmainstreet@gmail.com. Visit their Facebook pages Facebook.com/ CarlsbadMainStreet and Facebook.com/ CarlsbadDowntownFarmersMarket. FOCUSNM.COM


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SPECIAL OLYMPIAN S 1 • Special Olympians pose during a break in practice at CARC, Inc. HON ORIN G MLK 2 • Poetry reading at this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration was one of several activities scheduled after the annual march. SPRIN G F LIN G 3 • The Spring Fling celebration in Carlsbad was a huge hit for local children. CAVERN CITY CLAS S I C 4 • The Cavern City Classic, a national bike race that raises funds for the United Way, drew about 100 participants this year. 4

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BIG TIME BOAT RAC E 5 • A boat race during the Spring Fling celebration at the Carlsbad beach bandshell. AWARD WIN N IN G ES S AY 6 • Sunset Elementary student Sydney St. John reads her award winning essay at this year’s United Way victory luncheon.

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RAY AN AYA SAN JOS E P LAZA 7 • Family members admire the monument dedicated to community volunteer Ray Anaya.

SUMMER 2014 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE

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Carlsbad Museum &

center The Museum is a casual place to relax, experience, and enjoy some of the best of New Mexico’s art and history. 

Native American pottery, from early Mogollon, Anasazi and Mesa Verde vessels to the historic period.

An exceptional art collection, rich in the work of early 20th century New Mexican artists including paintings from the “Taos Ten,” plus works by other notable artists.

Surprising stories of Carlsbad’s history.

Always find something new in changing and traveling exhibitions ranging from works by local artists to exhibits produced by the Smithsonian Institution and others.

May 17—September 7 Open Mon-Sat 10am-5pm

FREE Admission

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Carlsbad Museum & Center

Call 575-887-0276 for details.

Upcoming At Your Museum Exhibits May 17-Sept 7

Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats Come by, check our Facebook, or website for details about bat programs for young and old.

Peter Jones The Caves of the Guadalupe Mountains Photography

Sept

Zia Quilting & Stitchery Guild

Oct

Carlsbad Area Art Association

Nov-Jan

Underground of Enchantment Created here at the CMAC, this exhibit about Lechuguilla Cave will return

Be sure to check out the progress on the Old Carlsbad Layout and the Pioneer Exhibit

Programs June 2-Aug 29

Summer Art Academy

Art Academy offers different classes each week for ages 5-99. Registration begins May 12th at the Carlsbad Museum & Art Center. First come, first serve basis; seating is limited and registration is complete only with full payment. Scholarships are available and based on need. Class fees vary. Call the Museum for more info 575-887-0276.


F O C U S on the garden

GardenNotes

Turn Off Your Phone Play in the Dirt! by Margaret Barry

Everyone these days seems to be addicted

to technology in the form of smart phones, tablets, computers, gaming consoles, etc. Life seems to center on the access to an unending stream of information and fun unprecedented at any other time in human history. The Digital Age has even made it into the world of gardening, with timers and rain sensors for more efficient watering methods and more efficient methods to grow under plastic to extend the season. However, sometimes it’s nice to have a time and place where the crush of daily technological life doesn’t intrude, where is possible to just sit and tend plants and pull weeds and listen to the chatter of birds. Peace and solitude are hard to find in this world of constant, on-demand, 24-hour information. That familiar ringtone, ding or vibration breaks what little silence there is around us. Life seems to happen at such a fast pace and everyone is busy or in a hurry most of the time. Multitasking is a way of life. Everywhere

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people are tuned in to their hand-held devices, including while driving (a very dangerous “diversion” indeed). Heads are down and eyes are focused on a small, lighted screen while life happens all around. We’ve all seen the familiar pictures of a family gathering where all the members are texting or playing games, hardly aware of others around them. Access to the world via the internet is nothing short of magical—instant everything right at your fingertips— but human beings also thrive on the connections to one another and nature. Children and adults need to interact to develop a sense of place in society. A recent study by the


Nature Conservancy found that parents worldwide are very concerned that their children are not connecting enough with the natural world. Our bodies are actually made of the very elements found in soil, so we have a special connection to dirt and the plants that grow in it. It is where our food is grown. The beneficial “flora” (good bacteria) that inhabits our digestive tract and helps us to break down our food is abundant in the soil. Even if you never choose to grow your own food, take a moment to enjoy looking over someone else’s garden, look over a farm field or go to one of the many parks or trails that we have in our area. Children benefit by learning how to enjoy the colors, smells and beauty of all living things. Cornell University conducted a survey of schools that had gardening programs and found that children who garden, whether at school or outside of school, are likely to be more physically active than those who did not. Other studies have pointed out that children who

grow even a small amount of their own vegetables are more likely to eat them. Even planting a few radish seeds in a pot of soil gives children a way to connect with the natural world and to see how food is actually produced. Our biology has not quite caught up to our technology. Some day our world may be inhabited by an artificial intelligence that we can only dream of now, but we’re far from that day. We, as humans, must stop and smell the roses occasionally. Human beings have a great connection to nature and have evolved within it for millions of years. Psychologically, we all require that connection. So find some time to put away the technology and just dig in the dirt! ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Margaret Barry has lived in Carlsbad since January, 1999, and is a fiber artist and avid, life-long gardener. She is an Eddy County Master Gardener and a vendor at the Carlsbad Downtown Farmers’ Market. She is currently Board President of Carlsbad MainStreet, which sponsors the Farmers’ Market. She also teaches Organic Gardening at NMSU-C for the Continuing Education program.

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F O C U S on volunteering

RELAY by Staci Guy

I

f you’ve lived in Carlsbad long, you know exactly what takes place during the first weekend of every May—Relay For Life!

Our Story of Success

Carlsbad’s Relay For Life event began as a candlelight vigil in 1999 and according to Dorothy Nelson, Relay For Life Specialist for the Great West Division of the American Cancer Society (ACS), since then the event has “only gotten bigger and better!” In 2013, Carlsbad hosted the biggest Relay in New Mexico, both in terms of participation and net income. “Volunteers raised over $196,000 in total,” Nelson noted. “They are always mindful of the need to keep expenses low so that more fundraising can be directed toward ACS research and other programs. In fact, the 2013 expense ratio was only 3.8%, mostly spent for event and survivor t-shirts.” To further the bragging rights, Eddy County, which includes the Carlsbad and Artesia Relays combined, was recognized in 2013 as third in the nation in fundraising in their population grouping. And according to Nelson, hundreds of cancer survivors and caregivers attend the Carlsbad event each year, which is more than any other event in New Mexico. Most of the credit for the successful stream of events, Nelson will tell you, can be attributed to the local and dedicated ACS volunteers right here in Carlsbad; volunteers like Heather Burton and Linda Palma. Burton and Palma have something in common, aside from the fact that they help spearhead Carlsbad’s immensely successful Relays: both women are cancer survivors.

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PHOTO:

Heather Burton and Linda Palma are long-time Relay For Life volunteers and cancer survivors.

Photo by Staci Guy. Additional photos from Carlsbad’s Relay for Life Facebook Page.

Burton has fought the battle three times since her teenage years. “I was finally diagnosed with breast cancer at 16, but it took a while because no one thought it could be breast cancer in such a young girl,” she recalled. As she lifts up the sleeve on her shirt, she shared, “These scars are from the radiation. It was so harsh back then that it literally burned my skin and made it peel off. Chemo and radiation

have come a long way since then.” Most recently, she was re-diagnosed in late 2011. A couple of months after Burton’s latest diagnosis, Palma herself was diagnosed as well. “I did Relay all those years and then in February of 2012, I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Palma shared. “All of the sudden it all had a whole new


meaning for me.” She might have been diagnosed with cancer in early 2012, but that didn’t stop her a few months later from participating in the annual event to which she had spent years volunteering her time. “It was really emotional for me but after I got there I was glad I did it,” she exclaimed. “I had family here from Nevada, Colorado, Texas, California and other places in New Mexico to show their support. But what made it even more special was that my brother, my three sons and all of my nephews who were there all shaved their heads to show their support since I was bald at the time due to my chemo treatments.” A month after the 2012 Relay, Palma underwent surgery followed by seven weeks of radiation. The entire ordeal gave her a newfound appreciation for Relay For Life and a better understanding of the survivors whom she now marches alongside. So what is the key to hosting a hugely successful event like Relay For Life, year after year? Palma and Burton will both tell you it’s the community at large. “The people in our community look forward to it each year and they see how meaningful it can be,” Palma marveled. “It usually just takes them volunteering once to get hooked and they tend to come back and participate again and again. It’s like once they get involved, it’s hard to get ‘uninvolved.’” Burton added, “They always want to know how we’re going to beat

last year! We’re always looking for ways to add to it and make it better and better.” Another secret to Carlsbad Relay’s success is the group of volunteers who form the planning committees. “We’ve had a core committee for a number of years and we really work well together,” Palma shared. Burton piped in, “It’s our Relay family! We think of ourselves as a family because we spend so much time planning and going to meetings. After a Relay is over we will usually call each other up and say, ‘Let’s go out for pizza!’ because we miss each other and that friendship.” While each person on the committee has a different role, it tends to be a group effort as people step up and help one another when needed. They often shift roles from year to year, which they say has helped them become well-rounded and capable of filling in the gaps when people fall out or are not able to help as planned. In addition to a large community buy-in, Palma and Burton admit Relay wouldn’t be possible without the corporate and business sponsorships and participation as well. “There are so many businesses that, in addition to sponsorships, will have several teams as well,” Palma declared. “They are vital to our success!” If they each had one word to describe Carlsbad’s annual Relay For Life event, Burton’s would be “Awesome!” while “Inspiring!” was Palma’s choice.

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F O C U S on education

A COMMENTARY:

HAS TECHNOLOGY CHANGED THE WAY WE EDUCATE? by Donna Birchell

GONE ARE THE DAYS WHEN CHILDREN WERE ASSIGNED THE TASK OF CLEANING THE BLACKBOARDS. In fact, you may be hard pressed to find a blackboard at all; they rarely exist in classrooms anymore. Back in the day, the most technologically advanced piece of equipment for the classroom was the overhead projector. Today, it is an entirely different story with LED projectors for PowerPoint presentations given by teachers and students, 3D visualization tools and individual networked computers in the classrooms which promote collaboration. In order to educate our students, everything has to be held to the highest standards and follow rigorous policy procedures, all within an extremely low budget. Technology is expensive, but it also replaces equally expensive counterparts, such as textbooks, reference materials and audio/visual equipment. Until 20 years ago, research materials such as encyclopedias, dictionaries and thesauruses were the norm, but the internet has changed the way students, teachers and parents retrieve the materials necessary to complete an assignment. This information must be double checked on a regular basis to ensure its validity, because anyone can put anything on the Internet.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES?

Technology is a powerful tool for learning, especially since everything in the world is becoming more computerized. In the future, children will be looking for their first job and will have to know how to fill out an online application and possibly do an interview via Skype. In order for children to be able to compete in

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FOCUS ON CARLSBAD | SUMMER 2014

the real world, they must be able to navigate their way around a computer station, tablet or even smart phone. Expensive textbooks are becoming a thing of the past. Students can now download the materials needed for the class in e-book form onto their devices and carry it with them. In many schools, the budget is so tight that a classroom set of textbooks are all that is available to the student, and these generally do not leave the watchful eye of the teacher.

Teachers are now expected to provide much of the materials their students will require during the course of the year, making a huge expense for them. This expense is one of the reasons behind the long supply lists given at the first of the year. These items would have been provided by the teacher as well if it weren’t for the help of the parents. There are two sides to every concept, but for the most part, technology has enhanced students’ desire to learn. Technology is thought of as a game to entice and stimulate young children. As the child grows, so do the tools which he or she uses to advance. Education is a reflection of the development of the society and the foundation of the future. Positive effects of technology include Sixth grader Gabriella Salazar is able to access a homework assignment through her computer, even during Spring Break. Photo by Donna Birchell

PHOTO:


the ability of the teachers to make their classes more fun while being able to interact with their students and allow them to better explain a concept. From the student’s aspect, there is more cooperation between peers. If a student is highly efficient with computers, he or she is more likely to help a classmate who may not have as much knowledge. Confidence is one of the best side effects of technology in schools. Students are able to create their own worlds which helps them to feel special and gives them the ability to advance more quickly. Research skills are a definite plus with all of the online resources available to today’s students. Teachers have found that common sense and judgment skills have risen dramatically as students are using both to determine what information to include in their projects. Ideas are unlimited online, so creativity has also reached new heights. The lack of geographic limitations provided by technology allows students to be schooled from virtually anywhere. Online degree programs have become an extremely popular means by which to obtain a degree. In our busy world today, finding time to attend a class during the parameters set by the school can be difficult, but with online courses students have the freedom to choose the time which is best for them. Most online courses have required chat sessions and online assignment submissions with specific due dates, but for the most part, the students are able to set their own reasonable pace.

WHAT ARE THE DRAWBACKS?

Teachers have also found that although technology has many pluses, it also can create other problems. Laziness in preparation of reports, being able to copy and paste information, and increased procrastination have been reported as common problems. One of the largest drawbacks has to be cheating. With texting, inphone cameras and accessibility

to the Internet on most cell phones, students are able to transfer data between themselves with great ease. Some teachers have resorted to collecting phones at the door or installing scrambling devices to temporarily block signals to cull cheating. Also, at the rare times when technology fails, the students are left without the means to access their homework assignments or lessons. The class must then resort to old-fashioned methods such as physically opening a book. Other complaints include a decrease in teacher-student relationships in college situations. Without the face-to-face interaction it is hard to build rapport. Costs are a huge factor. Many school systems are financially strapped and providing a tablet or personal computer to every student is impossible. Luckily, there are many grants readily available to struggling schools financially backed by such technology visionaries as the Bill Gates Foundation.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?

Technology is advancing by leaps and bounds and imagination is the only limitation for the future. Formal classrooms may be a thing of the past as well, as students may be doing their work from home while interacting with other students from around the world. Devices are being developed each day for the advancement of education and entertainment. According to the National School Boards Association, “technology has completely changed the scope of education in America. Most states require a technology aspect to their school improvement plans. They have embraced the idea that using technology in the classroom makes the subject—anything from math to art—more accessible to many kinds of students. Educators, administrators, parents and students are so well-versed in technology that it has become the norm in even the most economically disadvantaged schools.”

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F O C U S on law enforcement

WATCHGUARD DASH CAMS

The Electronic Eyes and Ears

of the Carlsbad Police Department by Eve Flanigan

O

n January 29, 2014, Carlsbad residents watched the evening news with a mix of horror and relief. The day before, a high-speed pursuit nearly ended in tragedy for Sergeant Adrian Rodriguez and Corporal Tony Baca. The pair had left their vehicles to lay spike strips on Illinois Camp Road when the truck

they were chasing spun out of control and flipped, totaling Rodriguez’s parked patrol unit and narrowly missing the two officers. That harrowing encounter between police and the suspect, whose child was in her car for part of the chase, was made available in visually stunning detail to the public, and later the judicial system, thanks to the high tech cameras that have been in use by the Carlsbad Police Department (CPD) since 2011. The WatchGuard model 4RE is the on-board video/audio system used by CPD. The system was first selected as CPD’s choice for a camera update by then-officer James McCormick, who is now the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force Commander. Today, Lieutenant Jon Blackmon

Lt. Jaime Balencia shows his WatchGuard monitor. The adjustable, full-color touchscreen of the camera has two views, front and back. The system also has a hard drive which is mounted to a unit’s console and “talks” to the CPD server.

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PHOTO BELOW RIGHT:

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Lt. Jon Blackmon inspects a video stored on the WatchGuard system. Photos by Eve Flanigan

FOCUS ON CARLSBAD | SUMMER 2014

is the primary officer in charge of the “dash cam” system, to use the colloquial term. CPD’s WatchGuard is actually two cameras in one, filming simultaneously to the front and back. It’s state of the art in dash cam systems and is serving the Department as well as the community in ways that readers may not have imagined. There are numerous features on the WatchGuard system to make the recording of officers’ interactions with detainees and other subjects as accurate and clear as possible. The cameras record video all the time while audio is recorded only on select settings. All routine, daily recordings are available for approximately one week before they are automatically deleted from the CPD server. This makes it possible to access retrospective looks at incidents that may have seemed trivial at the time but, as a case unfolds, are discovered to be important.


It is also a tool for mutual accountability in the event a citizen expresses concern over an interaction with an officer. When a unit is driven within broadcast range of the CPD server, camera data, including video and audio, is automatically uploaded to the server. Manually transferring files, as required with early dash cam models, is no longer necessary. Within the station or in their units, officers can view their own video/audio. Only officers ranked as lieutenant and above can access the data of other personnel “It’s been a great training tool for us,” acknowledged Blackmon, explaining one frequent use of the system. Some features of the system are triggered by an officer’s actions so that recording is done while he or she stays focused on the action. For example, if an officer turns on sirens or lights or releases the catch that secures the patrol rifle, the camera instantly begins not only recording audio along with

its customary video, it recaptures audio input starting 60 seconds before the triggering action. The forwardand backward-focused lens views, according to Blackmon, deliver more pertinent information than older models that included a partial view of the officer as he or she drove. Although that setup wasn’t as useful for evidence collection, noted Blackmon and his colleague Lieutenant Jaime Balencia, it did once provide comic relief to their dangerous work. They relate a memorable incident when an officer witnessed a traffic accident as it occurred—a school bus ran a stop sign and collided with a large oilfield truck. “The 60-second retroactive video and audio really captured his reaction. His was so surprised. It was funny. No one was seriously injured in the accident, and his reaction turned out to be something we all watched and laughed about for a few days,” Blackmon remembered.

The cameras help keep officers safe from high-risk detainees as well. The rear-view camera can be zoomed and focused on individuals in custody in the back seat. Incidentally, CPD’s units are outfitted with another innovative product: easy-to-clean, one-piece, molded plastic rear seats that reduce the risk of disease transmission and prevent the stashing of contraband or weapons, as is possible with upholstered seats. The front-view camera can be focused and zoomed in or out by the officer, and some controls are available using remote technology and the portable mic. This became important one night when a man decided to steal a patrol unit that was parked, still running, outside a local establishment during a nighttime emergency call. The suspect soon crashed the unit and fled, but he was easily identified and quickly apprehended thanks to the dash cam’s clear view of his clothing and tattoos. Balencia feels the WatchGuard system “helps on all accounts, especially in

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ARTESIA HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS WELCOMES

Dr. Sergio Rybka TO OUR TEAM

pursuits and our ability to reach convictions.” He explains that the way the videos are uploaded maintains a clean chain of custody of evidence for later use in court. In one instance, officers who pulled over and eventually arrested a drug-trafficking suspect were careful to focus the camera on the hood of a unit, where they proceeded to search the cuffed man. “They were pulling bags and bags of drugs out of this guy’s pockets,” related Balencia, “and placing them on the hood so the bags could be on camera. As they searched him, he thought he’d just try and get some of those bags in his mouth. Later in court, he tried to lie and say he didn’t have drugs. The video showed what really happened.”

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Anyone who has worked with a home computer can understand the frustration of butting up against the system’s limitations or dealing with malfunctions, but CPD’s experience with WatchGuard has been mostly a positive one. The system has one drawback, however. “With the widespread use of cameras comes the expectation that practically everything in a case gets recorded,” stated Blackmon, “and that’s just not always possible.” Some things still have to be reported the old-fashioned way. Events that occur outside the capabilities of the lens and microphone, but still affect the situation at hand, can be critical components of documentation and testimony. WatchGuard 4E units include portable microphones, which the company has freely upgraded over time. Balencia and Blackmon praise the microphones for their ease of use, including both portability and automatic synchronization when moved from one unit to another. In

addition, the new mics effectively screen out most background noise and record conversation better than other models they’ve used. WatchGuard cameras are currently installed on all CPD units at a cost of $4,995 each. “We didn’t have a grant,” added Blackmon, explaining that the department made this high-tech method of evidence collection a budgetary priority. The WatchGuard company continues to provide ongoing service and technical support to CPD. Blackmon and Balencia view it as a worthy investment and an asset to policing.


SCIENCE TRIVIA 1 • More than any other languages, scientific material has been printed in which two languages?

2 • Which two bones in the human body extend from the elbow to the wrist? 3 • How many planets in our solar system are smaller than the earth? 4 • The first vaccine, developed by the English physician Edward Jenner in 1796, protected people against what disease? 5 • Most commercial jets take off and land at about the same speed. What is that speed in miles per hour? 6 • There are how many nanoseconds in a second? A thousand, a million or a billion? 7 • What is the primary ingredient in glass? Answers

1. English and Russian • 2. Radius and Ulna • 3. Four • 4. Smallpox • 5. 160 miles per hour • 6. A billion • 7. Silicon dioxide, silica and sand (www.triviacafe.com)

BOTANY TRIVIA

• Willow bark, which provides the salicylic acid from which aspirin was originally synthesized, has been used as a pain remedy since the Greeks discovered its therapeutic power nearly 2,500 years ago. • The oldest living thing in existence is not a giant redwood, but a bristlecone pine in the White Mountains of California, at 4,600 years old. • Dr. Joel Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, brought the poinsettia to the U.S. in 1828. The plant, called “flower of the blessed night” in Mexico, was renamed in Poinsett’s honor. • No species of wild plant produces a flower or blossom that is absolutely black, and so far, none has been developed artificially. • In 1932, James Markham obtained the first patent issued for a tree. The patent was for a peach tree. • Tea was so expensive when it was first brought to Europe in the early 17th century that it was kept in locked wooden boxes. Info from sandra-marie.webs.com/flowermeaningsplants.htm

SUMMER 2014 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE

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F O C U S on animals

LIVING DESERT THERE’S A KITCHEN IN CARLSBAD THAT CATERS to the individual needs of each customer, with adjustments even made based on the time of year. Meals are pretty much routine, but there’s a special treat once every week, such as pieces of chicken or maybe a rat or mouse. The animals at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park get room service each day, receiving a specially-prepared diet taken from a bustling binder on General Curator Holly Payne’s desk. “Basically, all the animal diets are measured out. This is something we’ve put together over the years,” Payne disclosed. There’s a basic daily diet, but animals also receive special treats on occasion, such as rodents or quail or chicken donated from Lakeside Meats. Many animals need to chew bones as a part of their diet. The carnivores and birds of prey also have “fast days,” which would be a realistic routine in the wild. As a bonus, the animals are very hungry the following day so it is easier to administer medication. Each species also has a diet based on the seasons. For example, Maggie the bear gets less food as winter approaches and she begins to slow down, but many other animals actually get more to eat during the colder months. “It is amazing how the animals are pretty

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consistent over the years,” she observed. “The keeper will say that an animal is leaving a lot of food, and I’ll say that I was going to reduce their diet in a day or two.” Payne acknowledged there’s a standard list of nutritional suggestions for feeding animals through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, but the Living Desert has also made modifications over the years based on working with the animals. New animals join the zoo with information about their dietary habits provided.

vitamins, and it has been tested on that species.” Captive animals have a higher lifespan due to diet and medical care, but the zookeepers also want to make sure that the animals are mentally stimulated.

Dry food diets are specifically formulated for each species in captivity. “We can’t just go to the store and buy hamburger meat,” she cautioned. “It’s formulated with

The park’s hoof stock animals are fed each morning. Carnivores and birds of prey get fed in the evening. Maggie is fed three times a day. “Her diet is scattered and hidden throughout the

LIVING DESERT FOOD by the numbers... • The bison eat 5.47 tons of herbivore grain each year. • The thick-billed parrots eat 34.21 pounds of pinon nuts per year. • The roadrunners eat 68.43 pounds of Nebraska Brand Bird of Prey meat per year. • The porcupine eats 228.12 pounds of produce per year. • The western diamondback rattlesnake eats 24 rats per year. • The black bear, Maggie, does not hibernate during the winter because she is fed

every day and our weather does not get or stay cold enough.

FOCUS ON CARLSBAD | SUMMER 2014

FOCUSNM.COM


exhibit,” Payne replied. “It is a form of enrichment.” Maggie also gets a special treat on her birthday each year. The wolves have a system set up that is designed to provide them with food throughout the day. “They are in a pack, and we don’t want them fighting over food,” she noted. The prairie dogs get their food delivery mid-morning. Some animals eat out in the open, while others are brought back to holding areas to allow park staff time to clean their exhibits. Albertson’s donates its extra produce to the park, so zookeepers make a trip to the local grocery store every day. Wal-Mart donates all broken bags of dog and cat food. “Their help saves us so much money,” Payne pointed out. “If all of that had to come out of our

budget, we probably would not be here.” The Living Desert sets up animal meals in a special animal commissary. It looks a lot like any other kitchen in some ways—there are bowls of fruits and veggies—but there are also cages of crickets and the occasional bowl with a frozen rodent inside. A smaller notebook in the animal kitchen contains copies of the relevant menus from Payne’s notebook. While diets are designed around nutrition, there’s also room for some personal preference. “Over time, you learn what they like and don’t like,” Payne observed. Just like any other customer. PHOTO RIGHT: General Curator Holly Payne shows the lunch that will be delivered to Maggie the bear at the Living Desert.

Dinner is served - Animals at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park enjoy their meals.

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F O C U S on fitness

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FOCUS ON CARLSBAD | SUMMER 2014


NATIONAL COMPETITION UP NEXT FOR

Special Olympians TWO BOCCE PLAYERS WILL SOON REPRESENT CARLSBAD AT THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS 2014 USA GAMES IN NEW JERSEY. Heather Anne Robertson, 37, and James Munoz, 21, both clients of CARC, Inc., say they are excited about representing Team New Mexico at the event, which will be held June 14-21 this year at a variety of facilities around New Jersey. Almost 3,500 athletes from around the United States will compete in 16 sports. “James Munoz and Heather Robertson are just two members of our outstanding Special Olympics NM - Carlsbad team!” boasted CARC Special Olympics Coordinator Carolyn Olson. “This exciting year-round program gives our intellectually disabled athletes an opportunity to learn new skills, become part of a team, and compete at the area and state levels. They are both honored to be chosen as part of Team New Mexico.” The Special Olympics was created by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation for the benefit of persons with intellectual disabilities. “There is going to be a ton of stuff to do,” exclaimed Robertson. “We’ll get to visit the Olympic Village there and take a boat ride up and down the Hudson River and see the New York City skyline.” Robertson also looks forward to trading pins with competitors from other parts of the country.

Team New Mexico will bring a total of 13 athletes to the competition, including five in bocce. “We’ll be going with great people,” added Munoz. “It’s good to know that you have good teammates behind you.” Special Olympians who medaled in the state competition last year were eligible to be selected for the national event. “They take whoever finishes first, second or third, and then they pick your name out of a hat,” Robertson disclosed. “If you get picked, then you are eligible to go.” Munoz also competes in poly hockey, basketball, and track and field. He demonstrated his bocce technique during a recent practice at CARC. “You just have to know how hard to throw or how soft to throw, and how far you have to go,” he volunteered. Robertson is an employee of Rainbow Recycling. She said she wanted to thank CARC volunteer Carolyn Olson for everything. “Carolyn is a wonderful lady. Without her, we wouldn’t be going nowhere,” she concluded.

James Munoz and Heather Robertson pose at their practice field at CARC. The duo will represent Carlsbad at the upcoming Special Olympics 2014 USA Games.

PHOTO LEFT:

SUMMER 2014 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE

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F O C U S on fish

Taking Stock

NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF GAME AND FISH

C

onstruction along the banks of Lake Carlsbad will soon be completed, and that means the water of Lake Carlsbad will be allowed to return to the level it was at prior to the onset of the project. While the lowering of the river did not seem to deter local fishermen, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish will soon be inspecting Lake Carlsbad and the Pecos River to see if a summer restocking is needed. Shawn Denny, warm water fishery biologist with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, noted that the river does not lose all of its fish when the lake is pulled down, but the state does want to check populations. Denny reported the state will conduct an electro-fishing survey of the river’s supply of large-mouth bass, spotted bass and other fish. “From there, we’ll make a decision on what we will stock and won’t stock.” The main issue is the availability of fish. The state has access to six cold-water fish hatcheries, but only one warm-water hatchery. The process for stocking rainbow trout or larger fish is pretty direct—the Department brings a truck to the river filled with healthy fish. “We check the water temperature and pH, and

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish stocking Lake Sumner. (Submitted Photo)

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if everything is in spec, we dump them,” Denny commented. Warm water fish, such as largemouth bass, are usually delivered to the river as young fish. “With those fish, we try to temper them before release,” he stated. “We’ll add lake water to the truck to balance the water chemistry.” Rainbow trout are usually stocked in the late fall and early winter time with truck deliveries of about 1,500 fish per visit. (There are different visits to the Bataan Bridge area and the Carlsbad municipal area.) Rainbow trout typically don’t survive in Carlsbad through the hot summer, so each fish stocked is intended to be caught. Bass, however, can grow and reproduce in Carlsbad. They are typically stocked, if needed, near the end of June or beginning of July. Denny noted the state will soon literally test the waters to see if the lowering of the river caused a need for restocking bass. “We usually do a survey to see if we need to stock bass every three or four years, and it just so happened that when this (the lowering of the river) came up, we were in the cycle to check on those fish.”

with large light generators that have electrodes in the front. The Department uses electricity to stun the fish in a given area. “After ten minutes of shock, we stop and weigh and measure all the fish,” Denny replied, adding that the Department performs sampling at several sites. The survey gives the Department a good idea about the health, length, weight and even variety of fish in the river. The state also gets some idea about how many fish are in the river, but the data is not conclusive because there may just happen to not be many fish in one specific area. Still, it will help the Department make a final decision on the summer restocking plan. Please visit www.wildlife.state. nm.us for more information.

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F O C U S update

Training Center Grows Through Virtual Campus THERE IS A LOT GOING ON AT CARLSBAD’S Permian Basin Regional Training Center (PBRTC) these days, much of it online. Over the past few years, the training center has followed the lead of numerous other educational facilities by adding significant online components. “The biggest thing is that we’ve received pro-board accreditation,” stated Jeff McLean, the facility’s executive director. “When we offer certifications and training, they can do the cognitive training portion online, along with the knowledge-based testing.” The certification process also involves a skills test, but the center now has nine satellite locations where such testing can take place. What it all

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means is that the PBRTC is as busy as it has ever been training firefighters and other professionals. “In order to move up, firefighters have to have certain certifications,” McLean explained. “We offer eight different levels of certification and are looking to expand those. We can build any training class in 21 days in 18 different languages, and it will be built by certified instructors.” The training center’s fire prop course,

which includes simulations designed to emulate a burning house or tower, is still in use.“But a lot of education and training is conducted through a virtual campus,” he noted. “Training and travel budgets get cut every year. We recognize that and are trying to find ways to allow people to get certified [online]in certain areas.” The non-virtual component of the PBRTC is a 72,000-square-foot facility on 95 acres in south Carlsbad featuring ten training props. McLean Jeff McLean, Executive Director of the Permian Basin Regional Training Center, stands in front of the entrance to the fire grounds.

PHOTO:


said his staff has made a lot of improvements to the props over the past few years. “It’s been here for quite some time now, but what we’ve done is finetuned and reprogrammed the electronics within the system to make sure everything is safe. We’ve cleaned up a lot of things and made them more appealing to our customers,” he observed.

industry leaders and doctors. He also stressed that the center’s mission is not all about fires.

The center keeps costs down with a staff of just three fulltime employees, one part-time employee and seven adjunct instructors. There are also two mobile fire trainers that can bring training to other locations. One trainer features a kitchen and bed panels that can be moved around to change the scenario a bit. That way, firefighters don’t know exactly what to expect when the smoke comes pouring through and they are inside the training maze. “It’s the only one I know of in a 1,000-mile radius,” McLean declared. “It is loaded on the back of a semi-trailer, and we can take it to people who want training done.” The training center also has a mobile fire extinguisher trainer.

The center, thanks to support from the local Elks Lodge, will also soon launch a free technology safety course to the public online that can be accessed via the PBRTC website. “We want to help parents understand what their kids are doing online,” he declared.

Down the road, McLean disclosed there are plans to put in an FAA accredited pit that will simulate a fuel spill and allow for training to deal with fires that might happen at an airport. McLean said the PBRTC’s board consists of 13 members, including retired fire chiefs, local

“People think of this place as fire training, but really anything that deals with safety in general is what we look at,” he noted. “For example, we offer CPR and first aid instruction with the American Heart Association.”

The PBRTC’s history is rooted in the response to a tragedy. An August 18, 2000, pipeline explosion killed 12 members of an extended family and psychologically injured many of the first responders who came to the horrific scene. Martha Chapman and other family members of the 12 victims envisioned a place to provide first responders with the education, skills and hands-on experience to meet future catastrophes. This vision became a reality when the Center held its grand opening in 2008. For more information on the PBRTC, visit pbrtc.info or email Jeff McLean at jmclean@pbrtc. info.

The Training Center Memorial honoring the 12 people that were lost, and the first responders, in the pipeline explosion on August 18, 2000.

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F O C U S business briefs

Some Bulls Have All the Luck THE STOCK EXCHANGE AT OLD CITY HALL MAY HAVE A NEW NAME, NEW DÉCOR AND NEW OWNERS, BUT MANAGER/OWNER JEREMY MOLINAR SAYS THE FOCUS ON HIGH QUALITY FOOD IS THE SAME AS IT EVER WAS. It helps that the restaurant kept the entire kitchen staff and many of the same popular recipes, including the highly-coveted formula for green chile cheese grits. The new restaurant, dubbed “The Lucky Bull,” aims to provide a wide

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range of dining options, from fare for the kids up to the high-end steaks enjoyed by patrons of The Stock Exchange. The Stock Exchange was co-owned by Kevin Zink and Patty Fry, who also run K&P Catering. Molinar

and members of his family, who also run another Carlsbad restaurant, now share ownership with local businessman Scott Goodale and members of his family.

“It all worked out perfectly,” Molinar confessed. “Kevin and Patty have been really busy with catering, and Scott and I had been looking elsewhere to open another place.” The Lucky Bull is a play on the PHOTO: Lucky Bull Owners Scott Goodale and Jeremy Molinar stand in front of the bull that serves as their restaurant’s namesake.


restaurant’s former name. The large metal bull outside of the restaurant continues to draw visitors. “Sometimes one of our head chefs will fire up the bull and throw some charcoal in there so it smokes,” he mentioned.

The Lucky Bull Burger is one of the most popular items on the menu. “People are not sure about having an egg on their burger, but once they try it, they are amazed,” Molinar noted. “And you can’t get our quality of steaks anywhere else.”

Molinar said Zink, a former culinary Olympian and Iron Chef winner, remains involved with the restaurant as a consultant. “Kevin is a really good friend of mine who has mentored me since I’ve been in the restaurant business,” he noted.

The green chile cheese grits remain a crowd favorite, however. “You’d just be

blown away by how many grits we go through,” Molinar added. The Lucky Bull is located at 220 W. Fox Street. For more information, call 7255444 or visit www.thestockexchangenm. com. Hours are 4:00-9:00 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 4:00-10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

PHOTO: Lucky Bull’s kitchen employees bring plenty of experience to the restaurant. Pictured are General Manager Destinie Anderson-Elizondo, Chris Gibson, J.P. George, Shawna Dowd and Skylar Williams.

The transition began early in 2014. Molinar and Goodale made some changes to the restaurant’s appearance and menu. “What we wanted was a family-friendly environment,” he remarked. “We put in some TV’s and opened a few windows to bring in some more light and air. We wanted more of a big city environment.” The menu has also been expanded. The high-end items from the Stock Exchange are still on the menu, according to Molinar, but there are also more burgers and sandwiches for the more casual visit. “We wanted it so that the menu was not just for special occasions but for weekly anything.” The house seasoning and high-quality meat for the steaks has remained the same, but new weekly vegetable dishes, desserts and specials are now on the menu, including coconut shrimp and salmon. The Lucky Bull will continue to serve beer and wine. Molinar still helps with the family business at Mi Casita as well, so he has his share of busy days. But he also has plenty of experience running a successful restaurant. “Quality is a big issue for me, and that’s the great thing about Kevin because it was the same for him,” he explained, noting that the restaurant kept all of the Stock Exchange’s kitchen staff. “We only made a few changes when we came in.” Molinar said some customers have been nervous about the change, but they’ve left satisfied after trying out the restaurant. The upstairs area is currently being remodeled. Zink actually purchased the bull that became the inspiration for the new restaurant prior to the sale. SUMMER 2014 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE

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F O C U S business briefs

Major Impact JONATHAN FOLSOM AND KRISTEN LEBRUN ARE THE PROUD OWNERS OF IMPACT FITNESS, LLC, A NEW GYMNASIUM AND FITNESS PROGRAM WITH A FOCUS ON CROSS TRAINING. The idea behind cross training, they explained, is to get out of a specific discipline and focus on broader fitness. This helps with weight loss and also compares to the fitness needs of regular life. “Our main thing is personal training in a one on one environment, classes and community, and it is super fun,” LeBrun asserted, noting that the company’s message is “Impact your Health, Impact your Life.” Folsom is a Carlsbad native while LeBrun grew up in Kentucky. They moved back to Carlsbad a few years ago. “It started out when she (LeBrun) was doing personal training in different people’s homes,” Folsom revealed, and business kept growing. “Last April, we got this land, but we were originally not using it for anything.” They filed paperwork to become an LLC and opened the gym last September. LeBrun meets with her individual clients at the new location, and weekday group classes are held there every day at 5:00 p.m. and Monday through Thursday at 6:15 p.m. Open gym begins at 4:00 p.m. Multiple levels of cross training classes exist, but they all offer high-intensity interval training for functional strength and conditioning. The equipment at the gym is kept pretty simple, mostly weights and kettle bells, though there is a rowing machine. “As a trainer, I pride myself on not using machines,” LeBrun declared. “We want to help your functionality in daily life.” She is the gym’s fitness

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director while Folsom serves as a trainer. Erin Kuh works with clients as a nutritional coach. While the company’s fitness equipment is simple by design, Folsom and LeBrun go pretty high tech when it comes to marketing. Their web page, www. impactfitnesscarlsbad.com, includes regular blog updates, schedules and testimonials. With so many new residents in Carlsbad looking for connections, the classes have also become a social networking group. “Tonight we’re having dinner with members of our group to watch some March Madness games,” LeBrun confided. “We want to be community based.” Impact Fitness has current clients ranging in age and ability, so down the road they are looking into putting together a youth summer camp to reach that age group. For more information, call Kirsten LeBrun at 706-7575 or visit impactfitnesscarlsbad.com. PHOTO: Kristen LeBrun and Jonathan Folsom, owners of Impact Fitness, stand in front of their gym at 604 E. Cherry Lane.


F O C U S on the chamber

WORKING HARD & MAKING PLANS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD The Chamber has had a busy first quarter of 2014! We began our year with the annual “Bat Brigade” legislative trip to Santa Fe. More than 50 individuals spent two days in Santa Fe visiting with Governor Martinez, Lt. Governor Sanchez and various departments including Transportation, Tourism, Environmental, Education and Veteran’s Services. The Carlsbad and Artesia Chambers of Commerce and the Carlsbad Department of Development also hosted the Eddy County Legislative Reception for elected officials and cabinet secretaries at the Hotel Santa Fe. The 13th Annual Taste of Carlsbad was held in March with six restaurants and two local wineries providing samples of food and wine. This year’s theme was “Carlsbad Bandstand – 50’s Sock Hop” and included a dance contest. Ken and Joan Peeper were the

winners of our first-ever dance contest and Lucy’s Restaurant won the best decorated restaurant contest. At press time for this edition of Focus on Carlsbad, we are finalizing plans for two springtime events—a banquet in April recognizing the 2014 Class of 40 Under 40 and the Microbrew Festival on the Pecos. The Class of 2014 banquet honors and recognizes 40 young leaders for both their occupational and community leadership. Nominations were reviewed by a selection committee and the Class of 2014 was announced and celebrated on April 24. The Carlsbad Current-Argus prepared a special insert profiling each member of the class. Congratulations to these young leaders!

Council, chaired by Susan Crockett, was pleased to bring the first Microbrew Festival on the Pecos to Carlsbad. Held on May 10, the Festival featured six New Mexico microbreweries, specialty food vendors and live music. We’d like to thank Intrepid Potash and Madron Service, Inc. for their sponsorship of this new event. Coming soon is our annual golf tournament on June 14 and our Annual Meeting & Banquet on July 17. Please contact the Chamber at 887-6516 or visit www. carlsbadchamber.com for additional events and announcements.

The Chamber’s Special Events PHOTOS:

Snapshots from “Taste of Carlsbad!”


F O C U S on the chamber

CARLSBAD: BECOMING AGE FRIENDLY “Age-friendly communities treat all residents and visitors with respect, regardless of age, income or physical ability.” According to AARP’s Age-Friendly Program, “These communities meet the needs of those age 5 or 105, pushing a stroller or boarding a bus with a cane.” According to Chairman Marsha Doss and Co-chair Wanda Durham, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce Retirement Committee is embarking on a process to get our area designated as an “Age-Friendly Community.” Age-friendly topic areas: • Social participation • Respect and social inclusion • Civic participation and employment • Communication and information • Community support and health services • Outdoor spaces and buildings • Housing • Transportation Being an age-friendly community requires a commitment by the community to continuous improvements. The process will need the participation of all the citizens. Suggestions from the Mayor’s Long Range Plan and Implementation Committee will be included in baseline assessment meetings and a three year community-wide action plan will be developed based on these findings. Carlsbad was once called “The City on the Go” and we are growing rapidly. A well-designed community promotes health and economic growth and makes for happier, healthier residents of all ages. Carlsbad is truly “a place to call home.”

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Janell Whitlock, Director of Retirement, can be reached at 575-887-6516.

FOCUS ON CARLSBAD | SUMMER 2014

CARLSBAD TOURISM TOURISM TO CARLSBAD CAVERNS CREATES $22M IN ECONOMIC BENEFIT A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 381,058 visitors to Carlsbad Caverns National Park in 2012 spent $22,584,700 in communities near the park. That spending supported 296 jobs in the local area. “Carlsbad Caverns National Park is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” stated Acting Superintendent Doug Neighbor. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides and to use the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy—returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service—and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.” The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey Economists Catherin Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber as well as Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service. The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of national parks. This spending supported 243,000 jobs

nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion. According to the spending analysis report, most visitor dollars support jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39%), hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts (27%), and other amusement and recreation (20%). “It is a tremendous opportunity for our community to have such a wonderful natural treasure like Carlsbad Caverns practically in our backyard,” affirmed Robert Defer, Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. “The tourists who visit Carlsbad just to see the caverns have a very positive impact on our local economy. We are happy to welcome each and every visitor and proud to share our wonderful city with them.” To download the analysis report, visit www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/ economics.cfm. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. To learn more about national parks in New Mexico and how the National Park Service works with New Mexico communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/newmexico.


F O C U S on the chamber

YOUR CHAMBER STAFF ROBERT DEFER, Chief Executive Officer director@carlsbadchamber.com

DONNA CASS, Senior Admin. Assistant carlsbadnm@carlsbadchamber.com

BRENDA WHITEAKER, Director of Operations operations@carlsbadchamber.com

JELENA DUARTE, Admin. Assist./BPA Intern temp@carlsbadchamber.com

LISA BOEKE, Director of Marketing & Tourism tourism@carlsbadchamber.com

RANDY BAKER, Director of Facility Maintenance facility@carlsbadchamber.com

JANELL WHITLOCK, Director of Retirement retirement@carlsbadchamber.com

JESUS TORRES, Facility Maintenance JOE MARTINEZ, Facility Maintenance

BEAUTIFLY WELLNESS SPA 117 W. Mermod

CARC COUNTRY STORE & GARDEN CENTER 902 W. Cherry Lane

WELCOME NEW CHAMBER MEMBERS! Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce is proud to welcome the following businesses as new members. ABACUS BOOKKEEPING & BUSINESS SOLUTIONS BEAUTIFLY WELLNESS SPA BELLA DESIGNS CARING ANGELS, LLC CAVERN CITY TAX & ACCOUNTING, LLC COTTONWOOD WINE & BREWING, LLC DRAB TO FAB ENSIGNAL FUSON INDUSTRIAL MAINTENANCE, LLC LUCKY BULL GRILL RITA LONDON ROADRUNNER SPEEDWAY STANDARD ENERGY SERVICES STELLA DAVIS THE DAWGON GROOMER UNITED TEACHER ASSOCIATES INSURANCE CO. U-STORE-IT VIPER SERVICES For more information or to join the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce call 575-887-6516 or visit carlsbadchamber.com.

CARC GROUP HOMES

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Business After Hours/Open House 2155 S. Canal Street

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XCEL ENERGY SERVICE CENTER 1601 Commerce Drive

SUMMER 2014 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE

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One of the top in the nation. Three years in a row.

By focusing on quality care for patients and doing what’s right, The Joint Commission Top Performer on Key Quality ® Measures 2012

we have received national recognition. The Joint Commission recognizes Carlsbad Medical Center* with the distinction of 2012 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® for attaining and

• Heart Failure

sustaining excellence in the following measure sets: Heart Failure,

• Pneumonia

Pneumonia and Surgical Care. Carlsbad Medical Center is one

• Surgical Care

of only 182 hospitals to achieve the distinction of being recognized as a Top Performer for the third year.

®

So what does this recognition in using evidence-based care mean for you? Peace of mind in knowing that our local care is among the top in the nation. Find out more at CarlsbadMedicalCenter.com.

*Carlsbad Medical Center, LLC d/b/a Carlsbad Medical Center

Focus on Carlsbad Summer 2014