Local News

  • UbiQD receives DOE award

    Founder and President of UbiQD, a Los Alamos high tech startup, announced last week that the company has just been awarded a Small Business Vouchers pilot program grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
    SBV grantees receive vouchers valued at $50,000 to $300,000, which are exchanged for technical assistance from one of the country’s 17 national laboratories.
    The goal is to assist small businesses to deliver solutions that drive the clean energy economy toward greater commercial success.
    UbiQD received the maximum award of $300,000 and is partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). One other New Mexico company, Pajarito Powder, LLC in Albuquerque, was among the 43 recipients in the second round of the pilot program. Thirty-three companies were selected for round one.
    SBV grants are awarded in several categories: advanced manufacturing, bioenergy, buildings, fuel cells, geothermal, solar, vehicles, water power and wind.
    UbiQD’s grant is in the building category, for technology that uses low-toxicity quantum dot window tints and solar cells built into window frames to harvest sunlight for electricity.

  • LA students score high on ACT

    Los Alamos High School students who took the American College Testing college readiness exam received higher scores than the state average this year.
    In 2016, 204 graduating Los Alamos students took the exam, which gauges how well students will do in their freshman year of college. The 204 were among the 13,435 New Mexico students who took the class.
    Los Alamos students’ average overall score was 24.4 while the state average was 19.9. Los Alamos students averaged at 24.1 in English, a 23.3 in mathematics, 25.2 in reading and 24.4 in science. The average for New Mexico was 18.9 in English, 19.5 in mathematics, 20.5 in reading and 20.1 in science.
    The American College Testing organization has established benchmarks for each subject. According to ACT, students that meet or exceed the established benchmarks should be able to master beginning college courses.
    Benchmark scores are: an 18 in the English test for a college English composition class, a 22 in mathematics for a college Algebra class, a 22 in reading for a college social science class, and a 23 in science for a college biology class.

  • Gun safes to be installed at middle, high schools

    At Thursday’s special school board meeting, Police Chief Dino Sgambellone requested the police department be allowed to install a gun safe inside Los Alamos Middle School and the Los Alamos High School.
    Sgambellone said that if an active shooter incident should occur at the schools, he felt it best that his officers have appropriate weaponry on the premises. Too many times he said, valuable time and strategy options are lost if an officer has to go out to his or her car and get what’s needed to stop a shooter.
    The cases will be bolted down and in a secure area, Sgambellone said.
    Only officers will have access to the case, and the cabinet will only be stocked with the appropriate type and number of weapons and equipment needed to counteract a threat to the school.
    When asked about what types of weapons would be stored in the safe, Sgambellone said it would be weapons that are more powerful and effective than the side arms officers normally carry.
    “It will be stocked with shotguns and AR 15s,” said Sgambellone. “The reason for that is, and this isn’t in all cases, but in some layouts of schools a pistol is not an appropriate weapon because of the long hallways. Also, a pistol does not always appropriately counter what is brought to these types of situations.”

  • Henderson withdraws from race

    Los Alamos County Councilor Kristin Henderson, who was seeking reelection this year,  announced on Friday that she is withdrawing from the race.
    “Basically, it’s just a timing thing,” Henderson said. “I have so appreciated being on council, and I have felt since the beginning that it’s an honor to be one of the people making these kind of decisions for the community.”
    Henderson cited wanting more time to spend with her 11- and 14-year-old daughters and to devote to her career as her reasons for withdrawing.
    “For the last four years I’ve worked full time and I’ve had kids at home, and I think I’ve done a good job on council,” Henderson said. “To do that for four years is one thing, but to think about eight years in a row is another.”
    Henderson hastened to add that she did not want to give the impression that the demands of serving on council could only be met by retirees.
    “I don’t want there to be a message of, women can’t do that, because they can,” Henderson said. “I’ve been working full time, kids at home, on council for the last four years, and it was fine….I think the most important thing about being on council is the perspective people have and the outlook they have.”

  • LAHS football downs Pojoaque in season opener

    The Los Alamos football team defeated Pojoaque 63-24 in a physical encounter Friday night at Sullivan Field.

    The Monitor's Wednesday edition will include a full recap of Friday's season opener. 

  • Police seek info on shoplifters
  • County to start homebuyer assistance program

    During the Los Alamos County Council work session on Tuesday, Community Development Department Director Paul Andrus updated council on a variety of issues related to housing, including the state of the current housing market, how many lots might be available for building and some of the challenges facing the county in terms of having housing available for approximately 2,000 employees Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) expects to recruit in the next five years.
    According to Andrus, the market for both rental properties and homes for sale is very tight right now. However, staff estimates there is enough vacant land zoned residential to build approximately 800 homes to accommodate an additional 2.000 residents.
    “This is encouraging. I didn’t expect that we already had that capacity,” Councilor David Izraelevitz said. “Another statistic that’s useful is a lot of large chains have kind of a minimum community size of about 20,000, so if we can get above that threshold we can satisfy what I call the ‘spreadsheet in the sky.’ And Applebee’s might actually come here because we fit a certain spreadsheet.”
    Andrus also provided an update on the Los Alamos Home Renewal Program and announced that CDD will launch a first-time, low-income homebuyers assistance program in the spring of 2017.

  • Wood agrees to plea deal in 2014 death

    A Los Alamos man who killed an Española woman in a car crash Nov. 29, 2014, has agreed to a preliminary plea arrangement in the case.
    The agreement includes additional charges stemming from an arrest in February when he was charged with smuggling drugs into the Santa Fe County jail.  
    The suspect, Robin Wood, 37, has pled guilty to charges of causing great bodily injury by vehicle and homicide by vehicle as the result of an accident in the early morning hours of Nov. 29, 2014.
    According to police reports, Wood was driving his Chevrolet Impala northbound on NM 30 when he crashed into a car driving southbound.
    Elizabeth Quintana was driving to work at Smith’s Marketplace when she was killed instantly. Wood’s passenger was seriously injured the crash and was taken to a nearby hospital, where she eventually recovered. Wood was arrested at the scene.  
    In February, Wood was supposed to turn himself in on an electronic monitoring warrant to the Santa Fe County Jail. Police became suspicious when he voluntarily turned himself in after the deadline a few days later.
    Police tracked his phone calls he made from the jail, and reported that they discovered Wood attempting to smuggle illegal drugs to other inmates.

  • Councilors back more aggressive policy to go after vacant homes

    During Tuesday’s Los Alamos County Council work session on housing, the major topic of conversation was how to deal with vacant and/or blighted properties.
    Community Development Department Director Paul Andrus and Housing and Special Projects Division Manager Andrew Harnden provided a status report and a range of new options for addressing the issue.
    According to the staff report, determining which properties are actually vacant can be a challenge. Records of ownership or responsibility can be dispersed among occupants, investors, servicers and lenders.
    Harnden described his efforts to determine which properties are actually vacant. Using utility records and follow up visits, 91 homes were determined to have a high certainty of vacancy. Approximately 25 percent of those are in foreclosure, 10 percent are in a family trust and 25 percent belong to out-of-state owners.
    The conditions of those homes range from good to very poor, with 21 “definitely or possibly” in code violation. Six of those have been resolved. The most common code violation was for weeds and vegetation.

  • Today in history Aug. 26