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Local News

  • Honoring Volunteerism

    The United Way of Northern New Mexico held a recognition ceremony for those who have helped with service and support Thursday. Among those honored at the event was Morrie Pongratz, who was the United Way’s Volunteer of the Year. Pongratz (right) was presented an award by Stephen Boerigter (left) and Kristy Ortega.

  • Pair of air carriers respond to county’s RFQ for service

    Los Alamos County has received two responses to its Request for Qualification (RFQ) for a carrier to provide air service to Los Alamos Airport.
    The two proposals will be evaluated, and then county staff will enter into negotiations with the highest scorer. If those fail, negotiations will open with the second respondent. To protect that process, the names of the two respondents will not be released until a contract is brought to council for approval.
    County staff will try to ensure that the new provider is more dependable than New Mexico Airlines.
    The county’s brief air service revival — 21 months between April 2013 and January 2015 — came to an abrupt end when New Mexico Airlines simply stopped flying. This was the third attempt to provide air service since the Department of Energy cancelled its contract with Ross Aviation in 1995.
    The Los Alamos Monitor asked Deputy County Manager Brian Bosshardt and Public Works Director Philo Shelton what went wrong and what steps the county would take to insure a better outcome this time.
    The county never did get any clear answers as to why the airlines suddenly stopped operating, failing to inform either customers or the airport of the cancelled flights.

  • Today in history March 7
  • NASA craft visits dwarf planet Ceres

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — After a nearly eight-year journey, a NASA spacecraft on Friday flawlessly slipped into orbit around Ceres in the first visit to a dwarf planet.
    The Dawn craft will circle the dwarf planet for more than a year, exploring its surface and unraveling its mysteries.
    “It went exactly the way we expected. Dawn gently, elegantly slid into Ceres’ gravitational embrace,” said mission chief engineer Marc Rayman at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the $473 million mission.
    Ceres is the second and final stop for Dawn, which launched in 2007 to the main asteroid belt, a zone between Mars and Jupiter that’s littered with rocky leftovers from the formation of the sun and planets some 4½ billion years ago.
    Dawn will spend 16 months photographing the icy surface. It previously spent a year at Vesta exploring the asteroid and sending back stunning close-ups of its lumpy surface before cruising onto the Texas-sized Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt.
    The 3-billion mile trip was made possible by Dawn’s ion propulsion engines, which provide gentle yet constant acceleration and are more efficient than conventional thrusters.

  • Update 3-6-15

    Masons

    The public is invited to learn about freemasonry. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Pajarito Lodge, 1400 Sage Loop. For information, contact@pajarito66.org.

    Construction

    The project manager overseeing Western Area Phase 3 construction will speak at a meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Fuller Lodge.

    GOP women

    The Los Alamos Federated Republican Women will have its regular monthly meeting Thursday from noon-1 p.m. at the Los Alamos Church of Christ. The public is invited to attend.

    Kiwanis Club

    Justin Ramsey, who grew up in Los Alamos but has recently lived in Australia, will speak on his adventures there and his new photography book on the interesting country “Down Under” at the next Kiwanis Club meeting. Kiwanis meets from noon-1 p.m. Tuesday at Trinity-on-the-Hill Episcopal Church. The public is invited.

    Gardening

    The second session of PEEC’s Jump Start Your Gardening will be from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Participant registration is required. For more information and to register, visit PajaritoEEC.org or call 662-0460.

    BPU

    The monthly meeting of the Board of Public Utilities is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. March 18 in council chambers.

  • Public weighs in on road design

    The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) and design consultant Souder, Miller & Associates (SMA) presented the 90-percent design for the N.M. 502/Trinity Drive project to the Transportation Board on Tuesday.
    The design calls for the construction of a roundabout at the Trinity Drive/Central Avenue intersection and expanding the roadway between Sombrillo Court and Canyon Road to four lanes, with medians and left turn lanes. The Canyon Road intersection will be redesigned to meet Trinity at a 90-degree angle directly across from Arroyo Lane.
    The design includes six-foot sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides of the street.
    Cyclists’ concerns about having to dismount at the roundabout were addressed in the new design. They will now have the option of sharing the roundabout with vehicles or diverting to the sidewalk without dismounting.
    Sidewalks through the roundabout have been widened to 10 feet to accommodate both cyclists and pedestrians.
    Utility infrastructure will be relocated and upgraded and the storm drain system will be replaced. Improvements include upgraded lighting and new landscaping.

  • Today in history March 6
  • School board selects Steinhaus

    It didn’t take very long for the Los Alamos School Board to select its man as the next Superintendent.
    Shortly after a special executive session Thursday, the Los Alamos School Board announced it had picked Kurt Steinhaus as the Los Alamos Public School’s next superintendent.
    Acting Board President Matt Williams said comments from the board about the decision will be released soon. For now, he said, they have contract negotiations to attend to next.
    Steinhaus thanked the board for its decision.
    “The board members put a lot of time and effort into conducting a national search and I appreciate all the work they put into this. I look forward to working with them.”
    He also thanked the community of Los Alamos.
    “I look forward to serving the community of Los Alamos as their next superintendent, and I look forward to working with all the great people in the Los Alamos School system,” Steinhaus said.
    He also said he wanted to stay in touch with Chris Marczak. As an assistant superintendent who works closely with another national laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Steinhaus thought Marczak had some good ideas as far as enriching the education of Los Alamos’ students.

  • Effort to blast right-to-work bill to Senate floor fails

    SANTA FE (AP) — Contentious right-to-work legislation has been assigned to three committees following the objection of Republicans who were unsuccessful in forcing a hearing before the full Senate.

    A motion by Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle to bypass the committees failed 25-17 Thursday.

    The bill that garnered hours of heated testimony and debate on the House side prohibits requiring workers to join a union or to pay dues as a condition of employment and includes a 50-cent-per-hour minimum wage hike.

    The bill would apply to both public and private sectors.

    The GOP-controlled House passed the legislation 37-30.

    The Democratic leadership in the Senate has said it's united in stopping the legislation, and referring the bill to three committees with two weeks remaining in the 60-day session may help to accomplish that.

  • Kilburn addresses PARCC testing

    Coffee with Kilburn, a talk with Los Alamos Middle School Principal, Rex Kilburn, was at LAMS on Tuesday to address the topic of PARCC testing. PARCC stands for the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career.
    The purpose of the collection includes gathering data, understanding mastery of content, providing students with effective individualized instruction, coursework and grade placement.
    The four types of assessments generally include formative short-cycle interim and summative.
    The requirements for schools on testing include those from the federal, state, district and school levels and even for staff, it isn’t always easy and is never optional.
    “I think that all teachers are feeling some stress as preparations for the upcoming PARCC assessment continue on,” Kilburn said. “I would like to compliment my staff for working together with each other and with the administration as we figure out exactly what our responsibilities are for administration and we work through the never ending technical glitches.”