Los Alamos welcomes the newest U.S. citizens

Chief U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo conducts the Oath of Allegiance for 20 individuals from 10 countries during the second annual Naturalization Ceremony hosted by the Rotary Club of Los Alamos Saturday at Fuller Lodge.

During the ceremony, Rotary Past President James Nesmith reminisced about his work as an immigration officer. He recalled the Russian woman, who upon hearing that she was granted U.S. citizenship, leapt up and gave Nesmith a bear hug.

Being an immigration officer, Nesmith said, was challenging but “so incredibly satisfying.” He added that those individuals working toward U.S. citizenship were inspiring.

“The energy and determination they displayed was incredibly amazing,” he said.

To the newest crop of U.S. citizens, Nesmith said, “What you have done will impact you, your children, your children’s children and on into the future.”

County Council Vice Chair and Research Scientist David Izraelevitz was the special guest speaker during Saturday’s Naturalization Ceremony. He spoke about his own experiences immigrating to the U.S. from Uruguay. Izraelevitz was 11 years old when his family arrived in America.

During his presentation, Izraelevitz remembered how the English language initially sounded like a dog growling and his awe of the supermarket with its breakfast cereal, shopping carts and automatic doors. “Everything in America was oversized,” he said. He added that the newest U.S. citizens have his admiration.

Judges sought for Hilltalkers’ speech and debate tournament


Rotarians interested in volunteering as a judge for the Hilltalkers Speech and Debate Team’s Peak Invitational, which will be held Sept. 25-26 at the Los Alamos High School, can sign up at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f094ea5af2aa5f94-peak. Training will be provided to volunteers.  More than 200 speakers and debaters from all over New Mexico are expected to compete at the tournament.

United Way Northern New Mexico to kick off fund raising campaign


Kristy Ortega, executive director of United Way of Northern New Mexico, provided the Rotary Club of Los Alamos with a preview of the United Way’s upcoming fundraising campaign. During the regular club meeting Tuesday at Cottonwood on the Greens, Ortega explained that United Way of Northern New Mexico operates its fundraising campaign in the fall and provides monies to nonprofits in Los Alamos and Rio Arriba counties in the spring.The criteria United Way uses to select organizations to receive funds are: they need to be a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, serve Los Alamos or Rio Arriba County, and filter into one of the focus areas that United Way supports, Ortega explained. These focus areas include education, financial stability and health. “We fund all the stages of life,” Ortega said. This includes everything from early childhood development and youth mentorship to financial planning and retirement workshops. Ortega added organizations apply for anything from $1,000 to $70,000. She credited the Los Alamos National Laboratory and its employees for helping United Way with its campaign. LANL matches every dollar each employee contributes. “(LANL has) down a really great job encouraging their employees to give,” she said. This year’s campaign officially kicks off Sept. 16. Troy Hughes, past president of the local Rotary Club and this year’s United Way campaign chair, encouraged his fellow Rotarians to support United Way. “It makes a huge impact,” he said.




Sheriff’s Posse Lodge shows appreciation to Rotary

rot photo 2_0

Los Alamos Daily Post photo-Doug Wilson

Rotary recognized members of the Sheriff’s Posse Lodge for their services to the community during the Rotary’s meeting Tuesday. In return, the Posse Lodge Cowboy Breakfast Manger  Annie Giambra said in an  e-mail to the club, “We, the LA Sheriff’s Posse, would love to offer the Lodge/Shack to your organization for evening fund-raisers. Maybe a spaghetti dinner, enchiladas, brisket or other dinner menu. I can’t speak for all our members but I would be willing to help with cooking, obtaining food permits, cleaning, whatever is needed.” Rotary members are encouraged to watch for updates as planning for a future fundraiser gets started.

Math tutors needed for GED students


Gabe Baca spoke during a recent Rotary Club of Los Alamos meeting.

Students enrolled in the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos’ high school equivalency program are requesting tutors. One student request help with math and two other students need assistance in several subjects.

A math tutor’s services could be used one or two nights a week. The class is held from 5-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the UNM-LA campus.

If interested, please contact Gabe Baca at gbaca@unm.edu or call 663-3400 for more information.

Rotary responds to assisted hearing needs in Smith Auditorium


Los Alamos Daily Post Photo-Carol Clark

Los Alamos Daily Post Photo-Carol Clark

When Los Alamos High School Graduate Chloe Keilers was a junior, she spoke at a Rotary Club of Los Alamos meeting. She shared her experiences as a deaf student as well as her blog for other deaf teens and their families. Keilers also mentioned to Rotary Club Vice President Linda Hull that Smith Auditorium could use an assistive hearing system.

Keilers’ suggestion and Hull’s initiative lead the local Rotary Club to fund an audio looping system in the auditorium. Hull presented a proposal to the Board, worked with contractors and consultants and the LAPS administration including Ross Mason and Joanie Ahlers, and ultimately reached an agreement with Gary Clark of GWC Looping. To serve a portion of the audience well and to stay within  budget, the center rows of the auditorium, the wheelchair aisle forward through the front row–about 14 rows total–are looped east- west, seat by seat.


Rotarians learn about the changes in UNM-LA’s GED program


The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos (UNM-LA) offers two alternatives to a high school diploma: the General Educational Development (GED) and High School Equivalency Test (HiSET). During the Rotary Club of Los Alamos’ regular meeting Tuesday, Gabe Baca, director of the Adult Learning Center at UNM-LA, said the branch campus prepares students for both the GED and HiSET.

A few of the differences between to two are the GED is now solely conducted online whereas the HiSET can be taken either on paper or online, Baca said.

Rotary offers financial support through a grant to help students afford these programs. “Your support-I can’t thank you enough,” Baca said. “It’s encouraging to know there’s support out there for our students.”

He added the GED and HiSET program have received some improvements. The classes have increased from just once a week to four days. A smart board was installed and classroom conditions were improved with new lighting and other changes.

Last year, 107 students went through the program, Baca said, adding this year’s classes have just started.

In addition to offering preparation for the GED and HiSET, the UNM-LA’s adult basic education features English as a Second Language classes and community education which includes enrichment programs, professional development and classes for the youth.