Rotarian Skip King conducts the first reading of Oliver Morris during Tuesday’s meeting. Rotarian Linda Hull is sponsoring Oliver Morris.
Rotary President-Elect Rob Metcalf encourages everyone to sell tickets for the Rotary Club of Los Alamos’ newest fundraiser, a raffle. Tickets cost $50 and the first drawing will be held at the Rotary Club’s other fundraiser, Crabfest, Feb. 27 at the Knights of Columbus. Participants have the chance to win from $500 to $100.
Executive Director of the Los Alamos Historical Society Heather McClenahan provides Rotarians with an update on the Manhattan Project National Historic Park during Tuesday’s regular meeting at the Los Alamos County golf course clubhouse. She explained currently the park only exists on paper. There is no staff and no budget on the National Park Service’s side. However, there is currently a temporary visitor center setup next to the Teen Center. She added the county has made the national park its top economic priority. An estimated 250,000 people are expected to visit the park. McClenahan also said the National Parks and the Los Alamos Historical Society are collaborating together on this project. Los Alamos National Laboratory is also involved. For instance, the lab is developing an app that will provide an almost virtual reality experience for visitors. For instance, if visitors download the app onto one of their devices, and hold their device up to Ashley Pond, they will see the pond as it looked back in 1944. Or if they hold their device up to the statutes of J. Robert Oppenheimer or Gen. Lesley Groves, they will see Oppenheimer extend his hand to shake theirs.
The Rotary Club of Los Alamos unanimously approved its new board members during the assembly meeting Tuesday at the Los Alamos Golfcourse clubhouse.
The new board members are;
Eric Van Eeckhout-Treasurer
When Alex Zubelewicz graduated from Los Alamos High School, he wasn’t sure what should be his next step. Ultimately, he decided to attend University of New Mexico-Los Alamos and work toward a pre-business degree.
His decision helped paved the way for him to become UNM-LA’s special events coordinator, Zubelewicz explained to his fellow Rotarians during the assembly meeting Tuesday at the Los Alamos Golfcourse Clubhouse.
“I love my job,” he said. “I do it for the passion.”
His experience working as an intern in the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s protocol office and working as an assistant manager at the Reel Deal Theater as a high school student also helped him in his career.
Zubelewicz explained he developed customer service and communication skills.
Zubelewicz brings these skills to the Rotary Club of Los Alamos as well as STARS. “I’m very glad I’m a Rotary member,” he said.
“My father said, ‘We are living history-do not forget it,” Los Alamos resident and Living Treasure Mary Zemach told members of the Rotary Club of Los Alamos as she recalled her experience as a young girl in Honolulu the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Zemach shared her story during last Tuesday’s regular club meeting. She and members of her family were driving in their car when a police officer pulled them over and informed them that the Japanese had attacked. They eventually made their way to a police station where cars’ headlights were being painted black so they could be driven unseen. Meanwhile, Zemach’s mother was put in charge of the neighborhood block. Her responsibilities were to tell people to turn off their gas and water lines and keep everyone calm. That night, Zemach’s home was transformed into a bomb shelter with 21 people housed in her family’s basement. “I remember a child’s point of view,” she said. “But I do remember (it) very clearly.”
Los Alamos High School senior Faith Koh spoke to the Rotary Club of Los Alamos about the 2014-15 school year she spent in France as part of the Club’s Youth Exchange Program. Koh is wearing her Rotary blazer heavily-laden with pins she collected from other Rotary exchange students abroad. For more information about the Rotary Club’s Youth Exchange Program, contact Rob Metcalf at 661-2358.
Famine to Feast, a not-for-profit organization that will offer speedy food pickup and delivery to food pantries, will soon be open for business in Los Alamos.
Local residents Jaret and Jen McDonald, who founded the organization, shared their progress with the Rotary Club of Los Alamos the first week of November at the Los Alamos Golf Course Community Room.
Jaret, who is a Rotarian, explained the idea for Feast to Famine originated while he and his wife were on vacation. Rather than stay in hotels, the McDonalds rent vacation homes for their family.
This requires them to purchase a number of items including groceries. At the end of their trip, they have hundreds of dollars worth of food and other donatable items that have to be pitched, he said, and there is no time to locate a community food pantry because they have a plane to catch.
“That’s why we developed Famine to Feast,” Jaret told the group.
The McDonald’s figure vacationers can download an app, input items they would like to donate to local food pantries and have the food picked up and delivered. The idea expanded from just those on vacation and the McDonald’s said they started working on “how do we apply this to the real world.” As a result, they decided to use Los Alamos as their test bed to see how well the idea works.
Los Alamos is one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S. but hunger is still an issue, Jaret said. According to the Hunger Summit in Albuquerque, 11 percent of the Los Alamos community experiences “food insecurity,” meaning a person has the ability to purchase food but not necessarily enough food for every day. Additionally, the local food pantry LA Cares served 336 residents during a recent quarter. This spurred the McDonalds into action.
“Maybe we can make a difference,” Jaret said.
Many have shown support for the organization, including Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, he said. Several local entities and individuals also have lent a hand in Famine to Feast. Local resident Michael Ham volunteered to help the McDonalds create their app and former Los Alamos resident David Van Etten volunteered his time to help develop the Famine to Feast website.
Mandy Marksteiner also was hired on to assist initial business development. Plus, the Los Alamos Volunteer Association (LAVA) agreed to provide drivers to pick up the food donations.
To start off, the plan is to operate once a week. Participants can download the app or go to the website, faminetofeastnow.com, enter the food items they wish to donate, and provide their location. The food will be picked up, a tax donation receipt will be printed, and the items will be delivered to LA Cares. There will be a list on the website identifying what can and cannot be donated. Donations can also be made at http://conta.cc/1PjE2n7. The website, faminetofeastnow.com is still under development but the McDonalds planned to have the nonprofit operational after Thanksgiving.
Jaret said he sees this as a major benefit to LA Cares. It will provide the food pantry with a “very consistent amount of food on a regular basis.” This not only helps out LA Cares but also cuts down the volume of food waste.
“Our mission is to reduce food waste by 1 percent,” Jaret said, adding that working with LA Cares has been a great experience. “LA Cares has been wonderful” and its staff are “so smart … so dedicated.”