Essence Aug-Sep 2011

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the Essence of Los Alamos and White Rock August/September 2011, Volume 4, Issue 5

YOUTH In Los Alamos Next Big Idea Comes to LA Inspiring Teacher Remembered Local Programs Help Youth Development the

Essence August/September 2011


Local’s Guide to Los Alamos & White Rock The most comprehensive community events _calendar Searchable local business directory Portal to all major Los Alamos news sources Active community job board Local coupons and special offers Local links – handy links to important local _web sites and resources 2


Essence August/September 2011

the Essence

NBI: Sparks Interest in Science .. 6 Coming Home to LA .......................... 8 Local Baseball Dynasty............. 10 Support Helps Park Excell ........12 Quartet Learns Life Skills..........14 Inspirational Teacher Remembered .........................................16 Grant Helps Young Business Owners.........................................................18 Youth Program Cultivates ConďŹ dence ................................... 18-20

Local baseball star, Connor Mang, winds up for a pitch.

Calendar of Events

Local Happenings in Your Town.................


Essence August/September 2011



Editor’s Note

Participating CommunityMatters Chamber Members Assets in Action Atomic City Cleaning B & B Environmental Safety Inc. Bennett’s Jewelry Best Westerm Hilltop House Hotel Blue Window Bistro Brownells Hallmark CB FOX & CB FOX Kidz Don Taylors Photography Enchanted Paradise Spa Family Strengths Network Family YMCA Fuller Lodge Art Center Hill Diner Juvenile Justice Board- LA Lorraine Hartway Los Alamos Family Council Los Alamos Farmers’ Market Los Alamos Fitness Center Los Alamos Heart Council Los Alamos Historical Museum Los Alamos Medical Center Los Alamos National Bank Los Alamos Properties Los Alamos Public Schools Lou Santoro State Farm New York Life North Road Inn Pajarito Greenhouse Pajarito Mountain Ski Area Pet Pangaea Real Estate Associates United Way of Northern NM UNM Los Alamos UPEX


Welcome to the Essence! The Essence, a bi-monthly publication, created to inform and remind the community of what’s special about living in Los Alamos and White Rock. First, I’d personally like to thank everyone involved with helping to keep our town safe. Our town’s vitality and quality of life is more important now than ever. We need to support each other, our local businesses and keep our community strong. The theme of this issue is a ‘Celebration of Youth’ and youth appreciation. It is important to communicate our appreciation and provide them with opportunities to blossom to their full potential. We need to realize young people’s needs (from elementary to post graduate students) and offer an environment that supports them. Our economic vitality depends on young people sticking around. On the business front, internships to high school and college students are highly encouraged. Forming a bond with young people is essential. Not only is it rewarding for them learning tools for success, but to the business community as well. What they give back is immeasurable. They educate us in technology, design and social media and that helps local businesses speak to young people at large. In this issue you will be inspired by the talents of our youth • • • • • • • •

Marvel at the Mang family and their dedication to sports Read about the musical accomplishments of our local high school quartet Admire the programs that teach and encourage youth to focus on environmental issues Learn about youth business grants and the entrepreneurs that took advantage of these funds Feel the appreciation Meagan Maez feels for our community Remember the local teacher who made a difference in the lives of youth Rejoice in the stewardship of Jin Park’s dedication to giving back and making a difference Discover an event that inspires young people into science, technology, engineering and math

Take the time to encourage, teach, mentor and inspire. Remember what it was like to be young and the hardships faced on a daily basis. Recognize your ability to impact youth and take responsibility to pass on knowledge, integrity and lead by example.

Suzette Fox, Editor Community Projects Coordinator Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation 505.661.4844,


Essence August/September 2011

the Essence Suzette Fox Editor

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Essence August/September 2011


‘Next Big Idea’ Festival Aims to Spark Interest among NM Youth in Science, Technology as Career Path Los Alamos has the highest number of people with PhD’s per capita in the country, many who are inventors and scientists, which is why it’s only logical to host the 4th annual “Next Big Idea” Festival - a festival of discovery, invention, and innovation - Saturday, September 17, with STEM Student Day on Friday, September 16. But visitors to the “Next Big Idea” don’t need a PhD to appreciate Alamos’ unique creative history, especially since the event has the potential to inspire many young New Mexicans to consider a future career in science, technology, engineering, math, and innovation. The Next Big Idea is not only a great venue for adults interested in new and innovative ideas, but is a great way for young people to get a sense of what scientists and inventors do in a fun, relevant and hands-on way. Besides scientists and inventors with hands-on science activities, Kraz-E Science shows, an Einstein look alike contest, flash mobs, a telekinetic Mind Flex game challenge and a variety tasty food will be served from 11 am to 3 pm at Ashley Pond. Study after study has shown that students in the United States lag behind their peers in many other countries when it comes to test scores in science and math. This academic disadvantage means that students turned-adults are less inclined to become engineers, scientists and inventors - something with which other countries have the competitive edge. Making science and technology more interesting by letting students experiment and experience science in a laboratory rather than a book is the key, according to inventor Bob Hockaday, President of Energy Related Devices, who will also lead a workshop at the Festival. “A child’s vivid imagination is his or her greatest asset because they can eventually improve on an existing invention or come up with a new one - when you think about, childlike curiosity is at the root of discovery,” Hockaday said. “I can say from experience that a child can make daydreams useful and she can make herself smarter just by asking questions and wondering how and why - there’s a world of discovery out there; it hasn’t all been discovered yet.” Like many inventors who are participating in the Festival, Hockaday has several inventions that are currently being utilized, and patents pending on other inventions. Some inventions are even being used to protect the U.S. military including Hockaday’s safety goggles that prevent fogging and improve air flow to reduce the collection of dust - something that is very useful in sandy environments such as those found in Iraq.

“I was a daydreamer as a kid and at the bottom percentile of my class because of my grades, so I’m proof that you don’t have to be a genius to become an inventor or a scientist, you just have to have the desire to learn more and to improve people’s lives with your ideas. Like Einstein said - ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’ Inventors are ultimately a bunch of dissatisfied people trying to figure out how they can make something better,’” Hockaday added. On September 16th, from 9 a.m to 3 p.m., students from grades 7 through 12 can learn more about a future in the field of science, technology, engineering or math during the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Student Day. Activities include a full, fun day of meeting scientists and inventors and featuring Ryan McGarvy at the last FREE summer concert at 7 pm at Ashley Pond sponsored by Del Norte Credit Union. Then on Saturday, September 17 kids of all ages will feel right at home interactive displays of innovations and discoveries that people can actually touch, see and experience with all their senses. The Festival is FREE to the public and takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ashley Pond in Los Alamos. The Next Big Idea is sponsored by Los Alamos Main Street, Los Alamos County, Los Alamos National Bank, Los Alamos National Securities LLC, Compa Industries Inc, Innovate-Educate New Mexico and the New Mexico Consortium, Del Norte Credit Union and many others. For more information, contact Suzette Fox at (505) 661-4844 or Visit for complete details.. For general information on Los Alamos, visit or

About Los Alamos MainStreet Los Alamos MainStreet, a program of Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation. The goal of Los Alamos MainStreet is the support a vibrant downtown through events, promotions, participation in planning and design projects, and business assistance. Other events produced by Los Alamos MainStreet each year include the Fair & Rodeo Parade, Halloweekend and Winterfest. Visit

UNM Chemistry Professor Dana Brabson demonstrates a chemical reactioin to an avid audience at lat year’s Festival



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Home Sweet Home Editor’s note: In the Essence, we tell the stories of the people, places, business, events, and activities that make Los Alamos and White Rock a special community. The CommunityMatters interview explores the concept of community with a local resident. This month the Essence interviews Meagan Maez, a local young adult that recently returned to Los Alamos after graduation from college. Essence: Thank you so much for taking time to do this interview. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what drew you back to Los Alamos. Meagan: I am 23 years old - grew up in Los Alamos, graduated from Los Alamos High School, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I heard something from a professor that stirred in me memories of my upbringing. It was on my first day sitting in the back row of a mid-size lecture hall at the Anderson School of Management. It was 8:00 am exactly - my first ever lecture, in my first ever business class, in my first ever semester, the first thing Dr. Sandoval said was “Always surround yourself with positive people.” Not an earth shattering revelation I will admit. But for some reason, I remember him saying it as clearly as if it were yesterday. Essence: Why did Dr. Sandoval’s words have so much meaning? Meagan: Because it was the essence of my entire upbringing and those six simple words changed the way I approach my life on a daily basis. Only, I didn’t realize it when I was seventeen. I was an ornery, snobby Hilltopper who thought my parents were complete idiots and that they had no idea what they were talking about. I was not a bad kid per se, but I would be described as a pain in the butt, I am certain. And then there were my famous last words: “I will not end up back in Los Alamos”. Ha! Well, here I am - back in Los Alamos! Essence: What changed within you to come back to our community? Meagan: I slowly found myself missing all the things this small town has to offer



that I had previously been taking for granted. For instance, people in Los Alamos are kind! Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of nice people elsewhere, but everyone is kind in Los Alamos. I found myself missing the ever predictable genuine smile and nod of hello from passersby on the street, regardless if you have met before. Albuquerque did not offer that same level of appreciation. I began resenting the sense of urgency that hovers over the city. It is noticeable everywhere and learned the “live-for-today” mentality of the city. I drove like a maniac, forgot to smile at the baristas at the coffee shops because I was in a hurry, always in a hurry. Above all, in the four years I spent living on the same crowded street surrounded by a multitude of neighbors, I never felt like I was part of the neighborhood which I always had here in Los Alamos. I was missing the superior feeling of community and overall positive nature of my hometown, of my upbringing. I was deviating from my roots and losing site of a piece of my identity. Essence: What are your favorite things about our community? Meagan: The places I loved back in 2006 (like Ruby K’s, Reel Deal Theater, Otowi Station Bookstore, etc.) are still my favorite places. They have successfully established themselves as permanent fixtures in this community. Essence: In closing, anything else you would like to say about what makes Los Alamos and White Rock a desirable place to live? Meagan: Now that I have come back to Los Alamos, I am enjoying (instead of fighting) the superior feeling of community and overall positive nature of my hometown, of my upbringing. I have returned to my roots and regained the part of my identity that had slipped away. This is an undeniably selfless community in which each member genuinely wishes to see everyone else happy and successful - something none of us should take for granted anymore.

Essence August/September 2011

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Essence August/September 2011


The Frolic A League of Their Own By Mike Maez-Cote The Mang family, much like the Lucky Starr song, has been everywhere. Well, maybe not everywhere, but the Mangs have been to Colorado, Arizona, Texas and in the Four Corners area just this summer alone and still have a big trip to Utah scheduled for August. And why does this family hop around the southwest, logging plenty of miles and hotel reward points? It just so happens that the Mang children are some of the premier young athletes in Los Alamos and in the state. This summer, and every summer, is all about baseball and softball. Jared and Connor Mang have been playing baseball almost nonstop since February, at the same time their sister, Lexi, started her softball season. Since school let out, Jared and Connor have been playing baseball for several different traveling teams while Lexi is on the roster of the New Mexico Thunder. “It’s just for fun,” says Lexi, who starts in center field for the Thunder, a team consisting of some of the top players from Los Alamos County, many of whom also play together with Los Alamos High School’s softball program. “We have a great time playing for the high school, but the Thunder, it’s less pressure.” While it may be less pressure, it’s no less competitive. In a tournament in mid-July, Lexi got drilled with a fastball directly on the right elbow, which swelled up almost immediately. It was several days, however, before their mother, Jackie, got to see the effects of Lexi’s injury, as she was shuffling Connor and Jared to Dallas for a baseball tournament. Jared, who is just entering high school this year, has already established himself as a force at the prep level. In the 2011 Hilltopper season, Jared was the starting shortstop and hitting in the No. 3 hole – a spot usually reserved for a baseball team’s best offensive weapon – in the Hilltoppers’ lineup. In the history of Hilltopper baseball, it’s almost unprecedented that an eighth grader make the varsity roster, let alone turn into its star player, but Jared did just that this season, leading the team in home runs and several other statistical categories. This summer, Jared’s playing on three different teams and says he has a batting average somewhere in the neighborhood of .500 (which equates to 1 hit for every 2 at-bats), although Jackie insists it’s quite a bit higher than that. He’s also gotten to play more catcher this summer, a position he loves. He’s not terribly picky about where he gets to play, however, as long as he’s on the field. “I like them both a lot,” Jared says, comparing his experience at catcher and shortstop, which is considered the most important position in the infield. “I feel more involved as a catcher, but both are great.” Connor, however, might be having the best summer of the three of them. Connor, who will go into eighth grade this year and could well equal Jared’s rare feat of being a five-year player for the Hilltopper varsity, has been lighting things up with his traveling squads. Connor, who plays shortstop and pitches, is hitting a whopping .750 at the plate this summer and, at the mound, has pitched and won four tournament championship games, including throwing a no-hitter in early June. He faced and set down 12 straight batters as his team cruised to a 10-0, four-inning victory at the tournament in Denver – youth games are often shortened when the score becomes lopsided. “Usually, after the third inning, you start to feel a little pressure,” said Connor of his no-hitter. “With two outs in the fourth, I got a lot of adrenaline and I threw a lot harder to the last batter.” That game at the plate actually wasn’t one of Connor’s better ones. He managed just one single. It’s not likely that anyone on his team was complaining, however, after the numbers he’d put up earlier in the tournament. In Denver, he hit eight home runs and knocked in a whopping 25 runs. This summer, Connor’s slugging percentage is north of 1.000, a number that isn’t often approached at any level. His summer hasn’t gone totally without any hitches, however. In late May, Connor was hit with a ball right on the nose, breaking it. He now has to wear a protective faceguard when



he bats, something that it took several at-bats to get used to. “At the beginning, I got caught swinging at pitches in the dirt a lot,” he said of the mask. Jackie, who has more taste for hitting the road than does her husband Joe, who is an assistant coach for the Hilltopper baseball, says the costs can mount up quickly when heading in all corners of the region. Those costs, however, could well be offset if her kids earn scholarships to play college ball, something that former Hilltopper baseball and football star Zach Mang has already achieved. Zach, a 2009 graduate of Los Alamos High School, is currently playing baseball for Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colo. One might wonder if playing ball nonstop would cause the Mangs to burn out at some point, but none of them say that’s an issue for them at all. “It’s definitely tiring. It takes a lot out of you,” Jared said. “But it’s worth it.”

Essence August/September 2011

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Rock Solid Foundation Propels Park Into Successful Endeavors by Bernadette Lauritzen Once in a while a young person emerges who is so dynamic you know they are destined for great things. Los Alamos’ Jin Park, is just one of those kids. When inquired about his success winning the Music Teachers National Association Senior Piano Competition, Jin was quick to point out his parents efforts that helped him achieve such a feat. “My parents have always gone the extra mile to give me anything and everything I have needed to succeed,” said Park. “For instance, my parents are the ones who paid for the grand piano that sits in our living room. They went out of their way to find me the best instruction in the area. Without it I surely would not have been able to compete at the level that I have in piano performance.” Park comes from a family of philanthropists, Min and Monica Park, owners of The Central Avenue Grill. Jin says his parents didn’t push him to excel in any certain area, they just supported the things where he had an interest. This was evident at the age of five when a younger Park took up the Los Alamos tradition of Kinderkick, a soccer program of the Y. When Jin realized that the idea of being in the middle of a group of kids who were kicking each other in the shins wasn’t for him, his parents had no objections to his dropping out. He came back to the sport in seventh grade and found he really enjoyed it. While he occassionally wonders how much better he would be if he stuck to it at the age of five, he realizes that it was not his cup of tea and it “has really made me an autonomous person.” As part of the LAHS Varsity Soccer team, he has coached their soccer camp for the last three years, finding a niche with the three year olds. “Three year olds are the most challenging because they don’t quite understand what soccer is or why they are there,” said Park. “A lot of them play with dandelions and it’s difficult to get their attention sometimes.” Park also understands how his current and past efforts are building assets in what just might be future members of the Hilltopper soccer team. It isn’t all sports and music that make this local youth astounding, but his compassion to mankind, in the largest sense of the word. During spring break, Park and his parents went with The United Church of Los Alamos to build homes for those less fortunate in Mexico. While the overall trip was described by Park as, “a fun experience,” the work requires spending the days working long hours in the hot sun, it offer Jin an eye opening experience.



“It was opportunity for me to understand more about myself and question what it really was that made me special. I had to reevaluate what had brought me to that point in time and gain a better understanding of what would carry me forward in the future,” said Park. “Our own perspective on different circumstances are what will eventually lead to each person’s success in paving an outstanding path. The trip made me eager to learn more about everything, and continue to expand the way I think.” Park recently acquired the Boy Scout rank of Life Scout. While he is the only one of his orginal group to still be involved, he took a three year hiatus before returning to Boy Scouts. “I really truly believe that the beliefs that Scouting is centered upon are the foundations to lead a successful, healthy, and meaningful life. I believe it will make me a better person.” After the recent events of the Las Conchas fire, a new goal was born - The Seed Ball Drive. “Seed balls are balls of clay, seed, and potting soil that can be thrown anywhere people want some vegetation,” said Park. The small balls of clay, seed, and potting soil are mixed together and formed into balls. The seed balls can be tossed anywhere, and during times of rainfall, the balls will dissolve and the seeds will germinate. Jin hopes to take the idea to a larger scale, perhaps multiplying it by a few hundred, in order to create tens of thousands of seed balls. “With this fire being the second devastating fire in roughly a decade, it really hits home, figuratively and literally, and it only feels right to do my part to help rebuild what we have all lost,” said Park. He would create a stockpile of these seed balls, to be deployed once the fires are extinguished. Utilizing community help, he believes this would be a fun community event where residents could do their part in helping with the burn restoration. “Community members could slip in and out of these seed ball stations and make seed balls to add to the stockpile,” said Park. With the loving support of family, friends and a handful of Boy Scouts, Park would now like to rally the community to support his lofty goal. Park is also involved with Natural Helpers and the United Way Youth team. He is a current member of the Los Alamos Youth Leadership Program sponsored by the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board (JJAB). He is equally skilled with his work on the violin and with the Los Alamos High School Symphonic Orchestra, where he has filled the role of Concertmaster for two years. In addition, he plays golf for LAHS which according to him is some of the hardest work by far. Jin currently heads into his senior year. Naturally, it is time to ponder his future, one that is so bright it bears mentioning. There is no doubt that he will tackle many projects, accomplish many goals and help a great deal of people along the way. We eagerly await to see where life leads him. To learn more about how to help with The Seed Ball Drive or to make a donation, contact Park at 505-690-4349.

Essence August/September 2011

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Essence August/September 2011

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Arts & Culture Student gains life skills by forming a string quartet By Mandy Marksteiner When Emily TenCate started String Theory, a local string quartet made up of high school musicians, she learned about more than just chamber music. While she and three friends prepared to perform classical music for weddings and parties, she gained business, organization and communication skills that will serve her well throughout her professional life. Last summer Emily applied for a youth business grant from the Los Alamos Small Business Development Center. Since many of the students in the high school orchestra are open to being in a quartet, Emily always has access to enough talent to play for any event. “There are so many kids that can play. If someone has an event that needs music they can just call.” She used the grant money to buy everything she needs to have a fully functioning quartet – sheet music and an account with a virtual music store. The experience of leading a quartet beefed up TenCate’s organization, planning and communication skills. For example, she recruited and motivated the other members to join the quartet and rehearse week after week. “I learned how to get four people to meet at the same place and the same time,” she said. “It’s a lot harder than you’d think!” The members include Judy Lee on first violin, Emily TenCate on second violin, Alex Kendrick on viola, and Lauren TenCate on cello. Each of the members started playing their instruments in 4th grade and play in the Los Alamos High School Orchestra. “Emily recruited me to play four months ago. I had never played in a quartet or even outside of school,” said Kendrick.



Lauren TenCate, Emily’s younger sister, said playing with her sister is just like playing in any other group, with one added benefit: “We can practice together at home.” Being in the quartet has given all the members the opportunity to expand their musical skills by learning pieces without the help of a teacher or director, and finding opportunities to perform in public. Their first performance was playing music from the Harry Potter movies at Harry Potter night at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church. They are working on their own arrangements of popular songs for a wedding reception. “If I want to be in a quartet in college I’ll know how to do it,” said TenCate. She also knows what mistakes to avoid. In the case of String Theory, the biggest mistake was to try to plan rehearsals around the players’ busy schedules, instead of establishing a regular rehearsal time. “We all had AP tests to prepare for, but didn’t realize how long it would take to prepare the music.” Even though Emily and Alex aren’t planning to study music in college (Emily is going to MIT with plans to study bioengineering and Alex plans to study physics at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA), they both hope to play their instruments. “I’ll bring my viola and play it whenever I want to blow off steam,” said Kendricks. Emily said, “I am interested in playing music throughout my whole life. The nice thing about music is that, even though you have to work hard to do it, it’s weirdly relaxing. It’s a methodical thinking process, but it’s a different kind of thinking.” String Theory formed because TenCate noticed that so many students were interested in playing chamber music. Organizing a quartet can benefit young people in every area of their lives, plus it’s just fun to get together and play music.

Essence August/September 2011

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Boys from the Los Alamos Ranch School on horses in front of the Big House.

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Essence August/September 2011


Essential Person

N A M O A W TO E T A L U M E MJ Nilsson inspired thousands of students by how she lived her life. By Carol A. Clark Every so often a unique and special person is born into this world. One such person, Mary Jeanne “MJ” Nilsson, was born in Selman, Okla., on Oct. 28, 1921. She moved to Los Alamos 24 years later where she left an indelible impression over the next six decades. “MJ was simply extraordinary,” said longtime friend Alice Mann. “She was so wonderful … she could do anything.” MJ was 89 when she died peacefully at her Los Alamos home on March 22. She was surrounded by her beloved family including her children Karen, Jan and Alan. Hundreds of people from Los Alamos and across the country filled the United Church on May 29 to celebrate the remarkable life of this special and gifted woman. MJ’s teaching career spanned 35 years. She taught at Central, the first school in Los Alamos; Mesa, now the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos and Mountain and Barranca Mesa elementary schools. Her three children watched with respect and admiration as through the years her former students returned home to share their memories of luaus, Thanksgiving dinners, time capsules and other highlights of their time with her that made such lasting impressions on them. Many of those students, some now with grandchildren of their own, attended the celebration of MJ’s life. “She was such a wonderful person and teacher and I wanted to be just like her,” said Kelly Myers. Myers followed MJ, as well as her own father, former Superintendent of Schools Duane Smith for whom Smith Auditorium is named, into the teaching profession before becoming a top real estate agent in town. MJ cared deeply for young people. She served as a Brownie and Girl Scout leader and was an early supporter of the Family YMCA. Her home on Barranca Mesa became known as the “Nilsson Hilton.” Students, friends and family shared meals, tragedies and triumphs in her warm, supportive home. The Los Alamos High School Class of 1971 homecoming float and several YMCA floats filled the Nilsson Hilton; as did the students decorating those floats, often until the wee small hours of the morning. One of MJ’s favorite organizations was the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for women educators. She served two terms as president and welcomed the group many times into her home to create table decorations for state conventions.



A Christian Education intern called the Nilsson Hilton her home for an entire summer. A former YMCA director moved here from California and frequently forgot to eat before the restaurants closed. He knew, however, that a late night meal could always be found at the Nilsson Hilton. MJ shared her home and her joyful outlook on life with so many people through the years. “I believe in an open-door policy,” she would say. “The welcome mat is always out.” MJ’s enormously generous heart is legendary. She greeted friends and family with wide open arms and an endearing smile that made people feel incredibly blessed to be a part of her life. Her son shared the fact that it was next to impossible for anyone to pay for a restaurant meal when his mother was present. MJ was honored as a Living Treasure of Los Alamos in September 2004 for her “outstanding dedication to the life, heart and spirit of the Los Alamos community.” She helped create the Memorial Rose Garden at Fuller Lodge. Los Alamos had no cemetery for nearly 20 years. Guaje Pines Cemetery was not dedicated until May 30, 1961. So in the late 1950s, MJ and a small group of women from the Los Alamos Garden Club began work on a remembrance garden. By planting roses dug by hand, MJ said that the community found a way to honor the deceased. “There was now a place of beauty where residents could come to remember their loved ones…,” she said. MJ was a gifted gardener and floral designer. Her creations brightened the day for students going to prom, brides, friends celebrating milestones and people lying ill in the hospital. MJ’s floral arrangements also graced private and community events such as the Manhattan Project reunions and Oppenheimer Lecture Series receptions. A memorial rose has now been planted in the Memorial Rose Garden in her honor. MJ and her husband, Clifford “Cliff” Nilsson were founding members of the United Church in Los Alamos. She served on the board of elders and as chairperson of the church council and on the ministerial search and stewardship committees. After she retired, MJ joined the LIFT Committee where she devoted time to preparing for the fellowship at the conclusion of funerals and memorial services. MJ remarked that her own family experienced an outpouring of community support at the time of her husband’s sudden death in 1983. As a teacher, MJ inspired her students by how she lived her life. She shared with enthusiasm both her knowledge and her home. She was kind, supportive, generous and fun loving. Most importantly, MJ found the way to balance her time between family, career, friends, church and community – and that’s a life and a woman worth emulating.

Essence August/September 2011

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Jazz Night at the Blue Window featuring

The Bob Jones Quartet With Chris Ishee on keyboards, Richard Snider on bass, Bob Jones on alto sax, and Dave Brady on drums

Saturday, August 27 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Tickets $15 per person Dinner reservations required. 813 Central Avenue For reservations call (505) 662-6305 For updates visit or follow us on Facebook


Essence August/September 2011


Business SBDC Youth Business Grant allows local youth to shine The Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) Youth Business Grant Program is going strong with local youth offering services from lawn care and pet services to grocery shopping and weaving. Young entrepreneur Derek Selvage applied for the grant program last May after deciding to focus on the area of photography. “I chose to do photography after my mom received a nice camera. I used the camera and loved it,” said Selvage. He was granted funds through the project which allowed him to purchase needed supplies and get to work. “I really like photographing animals. I never know what they are going to do next. My favorite photograph right now is one I took of a mountain lion.” Local businesses have stepped up to support Derek. “My framed photographs can be seen at Village Arts and Daniel’s Café.” Selvage is currently moving into a line of postcards, now featured at The Best Western Hilltop House and Deli and Otowi Bookstore. Assets In Action hired the Los Alamos Middle School eighth grader to photograph an event in June. The Los Alamos Monitor used his photograph accompanying an article. The local newspaper also offered three days of free advertising to ALL youth business recipients to assist with the benefits of advertising. KRSN AM 1490 offered Selvage twenty minutes of air time to boost his sales. Don Taylor, Mike Young and Minesh Bacrania all mentored him. United Church of Los Alamos has hired Selvage to photograph their new pastor, David Elton. The Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provide oversight for the Youth Business Development Program. Staff members, Don Wright and Heather Campbell set up the interview panel for the young candidates administer funds and follow up on reports due at the completion of the project. Each candidate is required to write a mini-business plan and come up with publicity materials prior to the interview process. “I was particularly impressed by the presentation of the applicants,” said Don Wright, Director of the UNM-LA Small Business Development Center. “They had to come in a room and face four strangers, tell us what they were going to do and nd why they needed the grant. And then answer a series of questions about their proposal. Without fail they all performed well. The repeat applicants’ experience ce showed through, but they all displayed a lot of thought and preparation.” Wright worked with Campbell, the SBDC Assistant, to administer funds and mentor the six candidates that applied for the Youth Business Grant program. bell, Small The committee selected to review applicants included Wright, Campbell, lbert, Business Development Center Counselor Bryan Farmer and Matt Holbert, Engineer with SMSI, a local business. er, Pet Pangaea, a local business and Chamber of Commerce member, oung offered to post a digital flyer on their electronic display, when one young entrepreneur made it a point to purchase his pet supplies locally. These small efforts by local businesses not only support youth withh their committed demonstration to the work, but increased the relationship capac-

ity with their customer base by showing they care. Additional businesses that received grants: Isaac Martinez, of Espanola. Martinez is back offering lawn services, with his business, called Raw Energy. He specializes in mowing and trimming, and can be reached at 505-901-0734. Ashley Garduno continues her work with Garduno’s Weaving of Chimayo. Ashley has used her youth business grant to further her art and carry on the tradition of hand weaving. Her craft includes everything from placemats and table runners to coats and more. You can inquire about her services at 505-614-5082. Miles Mojica-Freeland has completed his first year at New Mexico State University and continues his dance lesson offerings. This time around, Mojica-Freeland will focus on classes for students ranging in age from 13 to 19. Additional information on prices and lessons are available by calling 505-412-0541. Who says teenagers don’t like to run errands? Luke Johnson, of Grocery Deliverance, is happy to pick up your groceries and prescriptions. The eighteen-year-old provides service to both Los Alamos and White Rock. Johnson can be reached at 505-470-8982. If you need pet care in White Rock, Spencer’s Pet Sitting Services are available. Pet walking, washing and breath freshening services are being offered for a reasonable fee. Bath services are available for both cats and dogs, with portable tubs, and a water free bathing option. Products are hypo allergenic and veterinarian recommended. The pet sitting also includes free mail, newspaper and plant watering services. The company plans to branch out into pooper scoopers services as well. Spencer Lauritzen can be reached at 672-4089. The Youth Business Grant Program began in 1985, and to date, more than 245 young business leaders have benefitted from the program. You can learn more about the program or make donations at or by calling 661-4803. Applicants from Los Alamos, Espanola, Pojoaque and Jemez Springs are encouraged to apply.

The Small Business Development Center’s Youth Business Grant Program helped make it possible for Derek Selvage to start his own photography business.



Essence August/September 2011


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Essence August/September 2011


Y Youth Programs Cultivating Confidence at a Community Level By Sylvan Argo, YMCA Adventure Program Director Daily, we navigate, affect, and react to myriad environments – whether they are social, mental, physical, cultural, or spiritual. Every choice we make, every action becomes an interaction that affects us and those around us. This summer, we have all felt the effects of ecological management decisions made over our lifetime, and these effects are playing out in bigger fires and more opportunities to explore fire ecology and connect kids to our community and their relationship to our local landscape. At the Y, our areas of focus are Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility. Every program incorporates at least one of these areas of focus. When it comes to youth, we strive to instill values and start conversations that will carry healthy choices and social awareness and responsibility into all the environments to which our youth are reacting, navigating, or affecting. Three of our Y youth programs are dedicated to stainability and ecology: iCARE, Y Earth Service Corps (YES Corps), and the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC). These three programs span the ages of 5 to 25, each meeting the developmental and age-related needs of the participants, while developing environmental and ecological awareness through guided nature play and exploration (iCARE), service learning, job-skills training and community projects (YES Corps and YCC). My own professional background and training have been directly influenced by the Youth Conservation Corps and the YES Corps. As Adventure Program Director at the Y, I feel lucky that I get to help connect kids to our environments, and support them in creating a more hopeful and resilient future for us all. In our iCARE school-year and summer programs, we have 5 year olds who jump at the chance to turn the compost or plant a seed in our Y vegetable garden, and we have 7 year olds who pick up a piece of trash and immediately start listing all the things they can make with it or what they can do to repurpose it. As the smoke settles around our town, you might see the yellow hard hats of our YES Corps, or the blue hard hats of our YCC out along our trails. We will spend the remainder of our summer programs focusing on fire ecology, restoration, watershed management and erosion control along our trails and the landscape around Los Alamos. Both the YES Corps and YCC are trained and equipped to help in situations like this, and we see this as a wonderful hands-on learning opportunity to better prepare ourselves and our community for the fires that will occur in the coming years as a natural and beneficial process for our landscape and wildlife. Middle and High School youth also have the opportunity to stay involved during the school year with restoration projects through the Middle School Green Team, and the High School Environmental Club; both groups are co-sponsored by The Family YMCA and Pajarito Environmental Education Center, and meet weekly at lunchtime periods, and plan community projects and activities throughout the fall and spring. As we face the runoff of the monsoons and the end of the fire season, we will have endless opportunities to get involved in community efforts – and hopefully our youth will help lead the way for all generations to join together. Sandra West, who is one of the YES Corps Summer Directors, explains “By planting seeds to restore grasses in an eroded area or grow vegetables to eat, we plant ideas in the minds of our youth. Through these programs, our youth are learning how our actions impact each other now and in the future. They learn through all the activities we do, and each activity gives our youth a sense of accomplishment, respect, and another example of how each and every one of us can change the world.” Often, it is the same youth who planted that tree or worked on a trail years ago who find their way back to lead programs like these. Logan, one of our YCC Crew Leaders this summer, speaks of this continuity: “I was once a Youth Corps Crew Member, and feel like I gained skills that helped me to combine wilderness adventuring and employment – and now, I’m thrilled to be facilitating similar experiences for our local youth.” Alexis Towlerton, a YES Corps Summer Director, highlights the importance of youth leadership, emphasizing that “the lessons learned from these experiences with nature, with others, and as leaders instills in each participant a unique understanding of the world.” It all comes down to the choices we make, and our awareness of the interconnections of our environments and the world. As our youth participants explore their own decision-making and communication, they strengthen their group bonds and find their confidence in taking action at a community level. Whether our participants are 5 and deciding where they want to explore and play for the day, or whether they are 16 and having their first job experience, or whether they are 20 and have worked with the YCC for the last 3 summers – they are learning through every choice they make. Our youth participants constantly surprise and inspire me and our Y staff, and it is these same youth that will be the future movers and shakers and decision makers as environmental awareness and concerns grow and climate change becomes an even more critical issue.



Essence August/September 2011

1%$ 5QWVJGTP 4QEMKGU 0CVWTCN Tickets Now On Sale! August 6, 2011 Duane Smith Auditorium Call 505-662-5232 Or email Promoted by Los Alamos Fitness Center

Just some of the many benefits of being a Y Member: FREE to Members Fitness Classes Over 50 fitness classes a week to choose from: Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, Y-Ride (“spinning�-type classes), Step, Aerobics, PowerUp, Exercise Lite, SilverSneakers...

FREE to Members Child Watch The Family YMCA 1450 Iris Street 662-3100

Child Watch provides Y Members with free on-site supervision for their children, while in the facility working out or attending classes. Too many benefits to mention here, call us, come in or visit our website, for information on all of our programs.


Essence August/September 2011


Events August 2011 3 Movies in the Park, Tangled at Urban Park Enjoy a summer evening in the park with a fun, family movie. Bring your blankets, pajamas, and snacks to watch a movie under the stars. All showings are FREE and open to the Public.

group from your country to participate in this culinary and cultural event. In keeping with our theme, prepare a traditional food dish that would highlight your heritage. The cost of ingredients will be covered - you just have to cook!

20 Los Alamos Triathlon presented by the Los Alamos Recreation Division

4 Los Alamos Farmers Market at Mesa Public Library parking lot Produce, meats, cheeses, plants, prepared food items, crafts, and more from Northern New Mexico. An inviting and colorful community tradition!

Los Alamos County is finishing the Diamond Drive project so the event is a Bike/ Run/Swim, with the race starting on West Jemez Road by Fire Station 1.

5 Los Alamos Summer Concert Series presents Los Pinguos at

A fun introduction to the multi-sport world for children and youth with an emphasis on fun and fitness, not competition. All finishers receive a participation medal.

the Best Western Hilltop House

6 Southern Rockies Natural Bodybuilding Competition pre-

21 Los Alamos Kids Triathlon presented by the Los Alamos Recreation Division

sented by Los Alamos Fitness Center at Duane Smith Auditorium

22 Mesa Public Library presents Exhibit: Ursonate by Jack Ox

6 Relay for Life at Ashley Pond 6pm

Music visualization painting installation by multmedia artist Jack Ox. 800 one square foot painting components combine as a visual representation of artist Kurt Schwitters’ musical score entitled Ursonate.

6 YMCA Firecracker Fun Run Fun for the whole family – walk or run

25 Los Alamos Farmers Market at Mesa Public Library parking lot

10 Movies in the Park Toy Story 3 at Aquatic Center Lawn

Produce, meats, cheeses, plants, prepared food items, crafts, and more from Northern New Mexico. An inviting and colorful community tradition!

Enjoy a summer evening in the park with a fun, family movie. Bring your blankets, pajamas, and snacks to watch a movie under the stars. All showings are FREE and open to the Public.

25 Mesa Public Library Authors Speak Series: Shelby Tisdale

Produce, meats, cheeses, plants, prepared food items, crafts, and more from Northern New Mexico. An inviting and colorful community tradition!

Mesa Public Library’s Authors Speak Series presents Shelby Tisdale, Director of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe. She will speak about her book, Fine Indian Jewelry of the Southwest: The Millicent Rogers Museum Collection.

12 – 14 Los Alamos County Fair and Rodeo

27-28 14th Annual Los Alamos Sportsman’s Club Gun Show

Annual county fair and rodeo. Many community groups and organizations team up on a great weekend of events.

Annual gun show. Vendors from all over the state. New, used, and antique firearms, ammunition, reloading supplies, knives, shooting and archery equipment, other items and crafts.

11 Los Alamos Farmers Market at Mesa Public Library parking lot

12 LA Summer Concert Series presents Thomas Mapfumo & the Blacks Unlimited at Ashley Pond Park Incredible dance band from Zimbabwe,Africa

12 SuperSax New Mexico musical performance at Crossorads Bible Church The new but already celebrated New Mexico group plays original charts for Charlie Parker’s solos arranged for 5 saxes by Med Flory. Arlen Asher and Dave Anderson, altos; Kanoa Kaluhiwa and Lee Taylor, tenors; Glenn Kostur, baritone and Ben Finberg, trombone with Bert Dalton piano, Michael Glynn bass and Cal Haines drums.

13 Los Alamos Concert Series presents Jimmy Stadler at Ashley Pond Park Kicking off the Fair & Rodeo Weekend! FREE Concert outdoors. Taos rock favorite.

18 Los Alamos Farmers Market at Mesa Public Library parking lot Produce, meats, cheeses, plants, prepared food items, crafts, and more from Northern New Mexico. An inviting and colorful community tradition! 19 Fuller Lodge Art Center Art Opening Reception for Summer Art Camp Showcase Artwork created by our younger artists during Summer Art Camp 2011.

19 Los Alamos Concert Series presents Carolyn Wonderland at Del Norte Credit Union

20 Fundraiser: Taste of Los Alamos at the Betty Ehart Senior Center Share a taste of your country with the community of Los Alamos! Organize a



Essence August/September 2011

September 2011 1 Los Alamos Farmers Market at Mesa Public Library parking lot

17 Kraz – E – Science (Science Show) by Dave

Produce, meats, cheeses, plants, prepared food items, crafts, and more Schwellenbach at the Next Big Idea Festival. Science from Northern New Mexico. An inviting and colorful community tradition! Show at Ashley Pond – NBI Festival; Fun for All - FREE shows from 11am to 2:30 pm 1 LA Arts Council Brown Bag Performance Series presents Los Alamos Piano Quartet and Piano Quintet at Fuller Lodge 22 Los Alamos Farmers Market at Mesa Public Library parking lot Los Alamos Piano Quartet and Piano Quintet Produce, meats, cheeses, plants, prepared food items, crafts, and more from Northern New Mexico. An inviting and colorful community tradition! 1 Mesa Public Library FREE Film presents Social Network Mesa Public Library’s FREE film series presents Social Network, in honor 22 Authors Speak Series: Local Symposium of Los Alamos Arts and Culture Month and Next Big Idea, creativity in Playwright Robert Benjamin, mystery novelist James ‘Danny’ Doss, chilscience. dren’s author Shirley Raye Redmond, poet Jane Lin.

2 Fuller Lodge Art Center Art Opening Reception for Paintings by Umi Raby

23 Guitars at the Lodge - Michael Chapdelaine

5 Los Alamos Historical Museum Exhibit Opening: Maps of New Mexico

Michael Chapdelaine is the only guitarist ever to win First Prize in the world’s top competitions in both the Classical and Fingerstyle genres; the Guitar Foundation of America International Classical Guitar Competition and the National Fingerstyle Championships at the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in Winfield , Kansas.

Museum exhibit of varied maps of the state of New Mexico

23 Fuller Lodge Art Center Art Opening Reception

8 Los Alamos Farmers Market at Mesa Public Library parking lot Produce, meats, cheeses, plants, prepared food items, crafts, and more from Northern New Mexico. An inviting and colorful community tradition!

Fuller Lodge Art Center celebrates the opening of the exhibit ‘Muerto’ with an artists’ reception from 5-7 pm. The public is invited to enjoy refreshments and meet the artists in a casual atmosphere.

9,10 Los Alamos Little Theater presents: 8 X 10 (cubed)

23,24 Los Alamos Little Theater presents: 8 X 10 (cubed)

The public is invited to enjoy refreshments and meet the artists in a casual atmosphere. This exhibit runs until September 17.

Short Play Festival produced by Roxanne Tapia and Pat Beck

Short Play Festival produced by Roxanne Tapia and Pat Beck

10 2011 Walk to End Alzheimer’s at the Betty Ehart Senior Center

24 Pajarito Mountain Ullr Fest

With more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, and nearly 11 million more serving as caregivers, the time to act is now!

Fun for the whole family! Aspen lift will serve bikers and hikers from 9-3 pm. Live music by The Nomads from 1-5pm. Free bus from LAHS Sullivan Field all day. Beer garden on the deck from 12-5 pm

13 Centennial Lecture Series presents History of Los Alamos & the Pajarito Plateau at Fuller Lodge

25 Eliot Fisk Classical Guitar Los Alamos Concert Association

Part of the Centennial Lecture Series presetned by the Los Alamos Historical Society Kecture Series

at Duane Smith Auditorium Eliot Fisk, “the king of the American classical guitar” will perform at the Duane Smith Auditorium to kick off the Los Alamos Concert Association’s 26th season.

15 Los Alamos Farmers Market at Mesa Public Library parking lot Produce, meats, cheeses, plants, prepared food items, crafts, and more from Northern New Mexico. An inviting and colorful community tradition!

29 Los Alamos Farmers Market Produce, meats, cheeses, plants, prepared food items, crafts, and more from Northern New Mexico. An inviting and colorful community tradition!

15 Guitarist Sandy Hoffman in Concert at Fuller Lodge

Everyday in September our cultural organizations will be bringing you great opportunities to experience art and culture.

Sandy Hoffman will be playing acoustic guitar selections from “Sereno”, his latest CD.

15 White Rock Family Friendly Film at White Rock Town Hall Film to be announced

16 - 18 Los Alamos Little Theater presents: 8 X 10 (cubed) Short Play Festival produced by Roxanne Tapia and Pat Beck

16 Los Alamos Summer Concert Series presents Ryan McGarvey at Ashley Pond Park Fresh blues and rock to kick off the Next Big Idea Festival.

17 The Next Big Idea! Festival Festival of Discovery, Invention, and Innovation at Ashley Park Annual event highlighting Los Alamos’ unique creative heritage inspiring young people about futures in science, technology, engineering, math, and innovation. 11 am to 3 pm


Community Calendar, searchable business directory, full event details, more events, and contact information at

Essence August/September 2011


Los Alamos County Fair & Rodeo 2011





THURSDAY, AUGUST 11 3:00-7:00pm Indoor Exhibit Check In (Mesa Public Library)

FRIDAY, AUGUST 12 8:00am Pool Tournament (Betty Ehart Senior Center)

11:30-12:30pm Western BBQ Lunch (Betty Ehart Senior Center)

5:00-8:00pm County Fair Exhibits (Mesa Public Library)

7:00pm LA Concerts: Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited (Ashley Pond)

SATURDAY, AUGUST 13 9:00-4:00pm Arts and Crafts Show (Fuller Lodge Lawn)

9:00-4:00pm Festival & Fair (Ashley Pond)

10:00am County Fair & Rodeo Parade (Central Avenue, Downtown)

10:00-4:00pm County Fair Exhibits (Mesa Public Library)

11:00am LA Concerts: Jimmy Stadler Band (Ashley Pond) 2:00pm Rodeo Queen Presentation & Rodeo (Brewer Arena) 4:00-10:00pm Cowboy Dinner & Rodeo Dance (Posse Lodge)

SUNDAY, AUGUST 14 1:00-3:00pm Rodeo (Brewer Arena) For more information call:

LA CNTY RECREATION: 505-662-8173 LA County Fair & Rodeo is sponsored by:



Essence August/September 2011