• Seen @ The Scene: LAMS construction

    Workers brave the cold temperatures as construction continues at the Los Alamos Middle School.

  • Vigil honors victims

    As the crowd huddled with their candles in the cold twilight at Ashley Pond Friday evening, Soumyo Lahiri-Gupta, president of the Los Alamos High Student Council, started reading the names many of the attendees were already too familiar with, even though Newtown, Conn. is 2,000 miles away.

    As he made his way down the list of names and ages of victims in the horrific tragedy from just one week ago, some looked straight ahead and some bowed their heads in silent prayer. Many also wept.

    Gupta organized the candlelight vigil, saying it was something he had to do.

    “It reminded me of Columbine,” he said. “People needed to think about this, they needed to let their sadness out, because no matter who you are, this affects everyone.”

    Featured speakers at the event included county council Chair Sharon Stover and Superintendent of Schools Gene Schmidt.

    “Tonight, we’re here because we care about others,” Schmidt said to the crowd. “It is my belief that love is stronger than hate,” Schmidt told the crowd. “It is my belief that light is stronger than darkness. That’s why we’re here today with our candles.  …My guess is that there are many candles burning tonight for the children of Newtown, Connecticut.”

  • LAMS student suspended for having knife

    A routine inspection of a middle school student’s backpack took a dark turn Dec. 19 when police found a folding razor knife, a metal pipe and a rock inside the backpack.

    It all started when Principal Rex Kilburn told the school’s resource officer to take the student out of his morning class. Kilburn told the officer the student may be carrying a knife of some sort on his person.

    When the student, described in the police report as a 13-year-old male was interviewed, he at first allegedly denied he had a knife on him.

    But when Kilburn inspected the backpack he found the knife as well as the rock and a metal pipe in his backpack.

    The student told Kilburn the pipe was a piece of his parent’s piano and that he wanted to use it to replace a part missing of the school’s orchestra piano. The rock was something he just liked to kick on the way home, the student said.

    While waiting for the child’s mother to come to the school, other students came forward and stated that the 13-year-old was allegedly threatening to kill another student, and was also allegedly trying to recruit other students to help him do it.

  • Middle school goes vertical

    Steel has started to go up at Los Alamos Middle School, as part of their construction project.

  • Apply now for LANL Foundation scholarships

     Northern New Mexico students aiming to pursue four-year college degrees are eligible for tuition help ranging from $1,000 to $30,000 from the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund.
    Scholarships will be announced in March for the next school year. The deadline for applications is Jan. 22.
    The fund, which has awarded $3.3 million since 1998, is administered by the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation. Funding comes from donations by LANL employees, contractors and a matching amount from Los Alamos National Security, LLC.
    Awards are based on academic performance, leadership potential, critical thinking skills and career goals. Financial need, diversity and regional representation are also part of the selection process.
    Students interested in scientific or other careers may be linked with internships at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    Eligible students must live in Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Rio Arriba and Taos, San Miguel, Sandoval or Mora counties.
    Requirements and applications are online at lanlfoundation.org.

  • Locals react to massacre

    Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut may have happened on the other side of the country, but emergency and school officials here in Los Alamos seemed to know right away that the event hit too close to home for some residents, especially those with children.

    On Monday, LAPS Superintendent Dr. Gene Schmidt issued two statements, one to his staff and one to the community at large, about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

    His staff memo emphasized how important it is to be in touch with what the students may be feeling about the event, which due its horrific nature and death toll, was a large part of the 24-hour-a-day news cycle all weekend.

    “It’s very likely that over the course of the day, students will look to adults for support and comfort in their efforts to understand why events like this happen,” Schmidt said in his statement. He also urged staff members to give him a call.

    “Know that I care for each and every one of you,” he said in the statement. “As such, take care of yourselves. If this tragedy strikes you hard, I encourage you to talk with a friend, school counselor or give me a call.”

    Schmidt’s second statement was mainly directed to parents as well as the community-at-large.

  • Board weighs in on sequestration issue

    It may seem like a small gesture, but the Los Alamos Board of Education took time from a busy agenda this week to add its voice to the many school boards across the nation concerned about the “sequestration” issue.

    The board’s passed a resolution, which urges the U.S. Congress and the president to protect public education against a proposed budget action that will cut $1.2 trillion in spending over the next decade. The law was passed last summer, and is due to go in effect Jan. 1.  

    The resolution is for the school board to call on senators and representatives and tell them that we oppose sequestration,” school board member Dawn Venhaus said of the action. “We oppose this 20 percent cut across the board and that they need to make a deal.”

    “The Los Alamos School Board urges Congress and the administration to amend the Budget Control Act to mitigate the drastic cuts to education that would affect our students and communities, and to protect education as an investment critical to economic stability and American competitiveness,” the last section of the resolution stated.

    If the school board passed it, then it would be forward to Los Alamos representatives in congress, Venhaus said.

  • LAHS wins two design awards

    Los Alamos High School came up with two design awards at a ceremony last week in Albuquerque.
    The first award, presented by the New Mexico Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, named Los Alamos High School the winner of the 2012 Contractors for Excellence in Construction Award.
    Los Alamos also received the National Association of Industrial Office Properties 2012 “Merit Award.” Accepting the award on behalf of the school, Sanjay Engineer stated he was very proud of the award that “recognized the modern design and respected the tradition of the historical campus.”
    Sanjay Engineer from Fanning, Bard and Tatum Architects, was the lead architect on the high school project. He shared news Los Alamos High School also won the Associated Builders  and Contractors’ 2012 “Excellence in Construction Award” at the ceremony Oct. 26 in Albuquerque.
    High School Principal Sandy Warnock attended the NAIOP ceremony and accepted the plaque on behalf of the staff, students and community of Los Alamos.

  • Officials target Aspen

    Los Alamos Public School officials are hoping that when the district’s request-for-bonding ballot arrives in the mailboxes of Los Alamos residents in early January, residents will vote “yes” for the district to release another $20 million in general obligation bonds to help the school system rebuild its infrastructure.

    If the bond request sounds familiar, it’s because residents already voted for the bond issuance back in 2009. Then, residents voted for a one-time tax increase to fund $40 million in general obligation bonds for a project dubbed the “20-year Facilities Renewal Plan.”

    The district has already spent $20 million and is sending out a ballot again in early January asking residents for permission to release the next $20 million.  

    While the last bond funds cycle was earmarked for improving and renovating Los Alamos High School, LAPS officials have made Aspen Elementary School the next top priority in this round, asking residents for $12.4 million in bonds to fund a total rebuild of the school. New Mexico’s Public Schools Facilities Authority has even pledged an additional $5 million toward the rebuild of Aspen — if the voters approve the bond.

  • Global study of student scores a mixed bag for US

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Students in the U.S. perform better than the global average, but still lag behind many of their peers in Asia and Europe, an international study found.

    Fourth-graders have improved their scores in reading and math over the past four years, according to a study released Tuesday. But progress seems to fall off by eighth grade, where math and science scores are stagnant.

    Meanwhile, kids in countries like Finland and Singapore are outperforming American fourth-graders in science and reading. By eighth grade, American students have fallen behind their Russian, Japanese and Taiwanese counterparts in math, and trail students from Hong Kong, Slovenia and South Korea in science.