Local News

  • Central Ave. warranty work begins Monday

    Century Club Construction will begin construction warranty work on Central Avenue from Oppenheimer Drive to 20th Street on Monday.  
    The work includes replacement of a sidewalk ramp at Ashley Pond. The crosswalk will be closed through April 27. Pedestrians will be detoured to crosswalk at Bathtub Row.
    Beginning Thursday, an asphalt patch will be placed on the westbound lane of Central west of the crosswalk located at the corner of 20th Street and Central Avenue. Century Club Construction will have a flagging operations from 20th Street to Bathtub Row during working hours of operation.
    Contact the Public Works Department at 662-8150 or lacpw@lacnm.us with any questions or concerns.

  • Violent domestic call involves scissors

    Police responding to a domestic disturbance call last week found a mother stabbed by her daughter with pair of scissors.
    Los Alamos Police responded April 11 to a call at an apartment on San Ildefonso Road, where a complainant was telling dispatch she was being stabbed by her daughter.
    When police arrived they could hear yelling coming from inside the apartment but could not enter because the doors were locked. As they attempted a forced entry, the victim opened the door. She was “covered in blood,” according to police.
    “While I was escorting her down (to the awaiting paramedics) I asked (the mother) what happened and she stated that Andrea Rivera (victim’s daughter) stabbed her with scissors,” an officer wrote in a report.
    Police noted that the mother had a one-inch cut on her left forearm.
    “I could not determine if she sustained any injuries to her legs at that time,” an officer said in a report contained in court documents. “In addition, she stated that Andrea Rivera cut her hair off.”  The victim was transported to the emergency room, where she was treated for her injuries.

  • PEEC given governor’s Environmental Excellence Award on Earth Day

    Pajarito Environmental Education Center announced late Friday it had marked Earth Day by accepting a governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for environmental education and outreach.
    The award ceremony was held at the Rio Grande Nature Center, where awardees accepted recognition of excellence in one of seven environmental categories: water resource protection, resource stewardship, wildlife and ecosystem stewardship, environmental education and outreach, youth projects, environmental leader of the year, or lifetime achievement.
    The Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards recognize and celebrate the hard work of New Mexicans dedicated to restoring and protecting the natural heritage and environmental health of the state.
    Before the award ceremony, each winner shared their work with guests.
    New Mexico Environment Department Cabinet Secretary Ryan Flynn opened the ceremony with a speech acknowledging and appreciating the many people who work to make Earth Day values important.
    PEEC’s Executive Director Katherine Watson, Board President Felicia Orth, volunteer Sue Barns and marketing manager Sandra West accepted the award.

  • Partners in play

    After two years and some hard work, the Mountain Elementary School Parent Teacher Association has finally reached its goal.
    The association, with help from volunteers, parents and kids from the Mountain Elementary School community and Los Alamos, raised $5,000 to help replace worn out playground equipment and add other items for the children to enjoy.
    “I thank the Mountain PTA and the district for working together to replace the broken equipment,” said Mountain Elementary School Principal Jennifer Guy.  
    A climbing wall that was donated by a family on one of the playgrounds brought joy to many children through the years, but it developed cracks, became worn out. The school district paid for a “Monarch Climber” to take its place, and the PTA paid for additional equipment, including balance boards, spring pods and a “Buddy Bench.”
    Mountain PTA Treasurer and parent Kristen Kucko said that the equipment is spread out among the older and younger kids, so everyone will have something to enjoy.
    “The lower playground has the Buddy Bench for the younger kids and the upper playground has some balance boards and some other things like that American Ninja Warrior stuff that they like a lot,” she said.

  • Assessor’s request raises questions

    During last week’s budget hearings, Los Alamos County Council questioned County Assessor Ken Milder’s request that $12,037 allocated to the Property Valuation Fund be reallocated to the General Fund. Council approved a flat budget of $608,682 for the department, but refused the request to reallocate funds and asked for further discussion on the issue.
    County Manager Harry Burgess explained that he had moved that amount to the Property Valuation Fund after discussions with Milder about how to meet council’s request for a flat budget. Milder disagreed with Burgess’s decision.
    “This fund has been growing a balance for the last several years, and is projected to continue to do so, based on our evaluation and use of that fund,” Burgess said.
    “Given our zero percent direction, we looked at that fund and suggested that some of those salaries could be put into the valuation fund as opposed to pushing the assessor’s general fund portion beyond the flat budget.
    When questioned, Milder stated that the amount in question was mostly for salaries and benefits, which led Councilor Pete Sheehey to ask why those costs had jumped so much.

  • County, LANL consider colocation space

    One of the optional budget items the Los Alamos County Council tentatively approved Tuesday night was $50,000 from the Economic Development Fund to help finance an incubation colocate workspace.
    The proposed space – named Project Y, Cowork Los Alamos – is a collaboration between the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Richard P. Feynman Center for Innovation, Central Park Square and possibly the county – provided the funding tentatively approved Tuesday remains in the final budget.
    Los Alamos County Economic Vitality Administrator Greg Fisher called colocate spaces “the rage around the country.”
    “The county’s been searching for a small business niche for some time, that wouldn’t put all the burden on the county, and it really is relevant to the modern business world,” Fisher said.
    LACDC has already committed $75,000 and LANL’s Feynman Center and Community Programs Office have pledged $30,000. Central Park Square’s in-kind donation provides reduced rent for the venture. The group also plans to seek grants and corporate sponsors.

  • Teacher settles discrimination suit against LAPS

    Los Alamos School teacher Zeynep Unal has settled her case against the Los Alamos County Schools and Kathryn Vandenkieboom, the principal of Aspen Elementary School.
    Unal filed her suit in 2013, alleging that Vandenkieboom regularly harassed and discriminated against her, due to Unal’s nationality.
    Unal is Turkish, and she is also a Muslim.
    Unal’s attorney, Kate Ferlic, said both sides agreed to settle the case before it went to trial for an undisclosed sum.
    “All I can say, in pursuant to the agreement, is that the case has settled, and we are thrilled,” Ferlic said. “It was a good result, a good settlement and I think both parties can move on with educating children.”
    As a condition of the settlement, the lawsuit will be dismissed.
    Ferlic added that Unal will continue to teach at Mountain Elementary School.
    “She will continue in her role as a Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) teacher there, and she thinks the world of that school. She loves it, and I think she’s doing very well there.”
    In her suit, Unal also alleged that Vandenkieboom also excluded Unal from staff meetings and other events, and also further isolated her by allegedly turning the staff against her.

  • Community Services gets budget approval

    Supporters of various organizations that receive funding through Los Alamos County’s Community Services Department packed council chambers during Tuesday’s budget hearings to support those entities’ requests for more funding.
    Their efforts were largely successful, at least in the initial round of voting. Twenty-five of 28 optional budget items received tentative council approval. All motions are tentative until council casts its vote to approve the entire fiscal year 2017 budget.
    The flat budget Community Services Department (CSD) Director Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan presented to council was $11,883,895. It received unanimous approval.
    Councilors David Izraelevitz and Kristin Henderson cast the only votes in favor of $2,500 to provide additional program staff support for various volunteer driven events, primarily for the triathlon. Additional funding would have expanded the responsibilities of a support position for running the event and provided additional funding for prizes and food and drink. The triathlon is currently an all-volunteer effort.
    “This is a longstanding event that we need to nurture, and it adds to our quality of life,” Izraelevitz said.

  • Case against former LAPD cop dismissed

    A case against a former Los Alamos police officer accused of illegally taking payment from the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos in June of 2014 has been dismissed.
    Assistant District Attorney Joshua Humphries dismissed the case against Jordan Redmond Tuesday. The police officer’s attorney, Marc W. Edwards, said what his client really wanted was a jury trial. A trial did not happen because the state’s 182-day window needed for a jury trial simply ran out, Edwards said.
    Edwards said that was unfortunate.
    “Jordan really wanted his day in court,” Edwards said. “He would have rather gone to trial. Acquittal is pretty good validation that he didn’t commit the crime. He was really looking forward to that, and didn’t get that opportunity. He’s disappointed he didn’t get his jury trial, but he’s very happy that this process is over.”
    Jordan was formally charged with “honoraria prohibited” which meant Redmond, who was on duty as a police officer at the time, could not accept payment or gifts from other sources in the course of carrying out his duties as a police officer.

  • Council tentatively approves 4 budgets

    The Los Alamos County Council tentatively approved four more budgets during Tuesday night’s budget hearings.
    The County Assessor’s budget of $608,682 was tentatively approved, but council rejected Assessor Ken Milder’s request for an additional $12,037 in General Fund expenditures. County Manager Harry Burgess had moved that amount to the Property Valuation Fund after discussion with Milder about how to meet council’s request for a flat budget. Milder disagreed with Burgess’s decision. Follow the Los Alamos Monitor for more on that story.
    The $17,166,687 County Manager’s budget was tentatively approved unanimously. That includes $3,519,671 for the General Fund, $278,219 for Lodgers’ Tax expenditures, $3,386,500 for Economic Development and $9,982,297 for Risk Management.
    The motion to approve included $295,000 for six additional requests, which included funding for signage and other items related to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park (MPNHP), maintaining last year’s funding level for Progress through Partnering initiatives and $10,000 to bring a “big name” to ScienceFest in order to increase attendance.