Local News

  • Energy Communities Alliance discusses Manhattan Project Park

    Several representatives from Los Alamos attended an Energy Communities Alliance meeting in Denver, Colorado, last week to discuss cooperative efforts to promote the Manhattan Project National Historical Park (MPNHP).
    The Los Alamos contingent was comprised of councilors James Chrobocinski and Kristin Henderson, County Manager Harry Burgess, Deputy County Manager Brian Bosshardt, Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director Heather McClenahan, Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation Executive Director Patrick Sullivan, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) MPNHP Program Manager Vicki Loucks and LANL Historian Ellen McGehee.  
    Representatives from the other MPNHP sites in Hanford, Washington and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, were also present, along with Department of Energy and National Park Service personnel.
    “It was real positive. It was kind of the three different communities really working together to see how we can cross promote each other and cross promote the park,” Chrobocinski told the Los Alamos Monitor. “It wasn’t a feeling of animosity or competing, but rather, how can we all work together to help promote it? So there was a positive feeling to it.”

  • Magnitude 3.9 quake hits near New Mexico-Colorado line

    TRINIDAD, Colo. (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey has downgraded the strength of a small earthquake near the New Mexico-Colorado border.

    Geophysicist Don Blakeman says Tuesday's quake had a magnitude of 3.9.

    Initial reports put the magnitude at 4.5.

    The quake struck just before 11 a.m. and was centered about 26 miles west-southwest of Trinidad, Colorado.

    Authorities in Las Animas County, Colorado, and in New Mexico's Colfax and Taos counties say there are no reports of damage.

  • County establishes new four-way stop near Aspen Elementary School

    LAPD would like to notify all drivers that Los Alamos County Traffic and Engineering has established a new four-way stop sign intersection.  The intersection at Villa and 33rd Street, in front of Aspen Elementary, has been converted from a two-way stop to a four-way stop.  Officers will be out enforcing this new change. LAPD would also like to remind parents that there is no parking on Villa Street from 34th Street towards Aspen Elementary/33rd Street on both sides of the street at the start and end of school.     

  • N.M. student scores up, but less than 1/3 proficient

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico student tests scores are up across the state, but less than a third of students remain proficient or better in reading and math, according to resulted released Thursday.
    The new numbers show around 20 percent of students tested this spring are proficient or better in math and about 28 percent are proficient or better in reading. Both results are slight improvements from the 2014-15 school year when officials first gave assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.
    The tests, administered by New Mexico and 10 other states, are designed to show how well schools helped students from grades 3 to 11 meet Common Core standards.
    State data show all grades tested except third saw small increases in the percentage of students scoring proficient or better in reading. All grades except 11th saw an increase in the percentage testing proficient in math, the results said.
    Albuquerque Public Schools, the state’s largest school district, had decreases in some categories. For example, only around 21 percent of the district’s third-graders scored proficient or better in reading. That’s a 10 point decline from the previous year.

  • Rael pleads no contest to DUI

    David Rael, 36, of Los Alamos was sentenced Aug. 16 for driving under the influence and causing an accident at the intersection at Central Avenue and Diamond Drive in January.
    Rael pled no contest to the charge in Los Alamos Magistrate Court.
    Rael was sentenced to 364 days in jail with 30 days of credit for time served with 334 suspended. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised probation and to 96 hours of community service. He was also fined $750 and must also pay $291 in court costs.
    No one was injured in the accident on Jan. 29. Rael was out on bail for a prior offense when the accident occurred.
    In September 2014, Rael was arrested on suspicion of distributing, manufacturing and possessing child pornography. Rael is scheduled for trial for those offenses in January 2017.
    While being examined for injuries at the accident, Rael admitted to driving while intoxicated.
    “I admit I’m DWI,” he reportedly told police, according to court documents.
    Rael also reportedly told police at the scene he consumed a six-pack carton of an alcoholic beverage two hours before the crash.
    While on probation, Rael must perform community service and avoid breaking state or federal laws for the next three years.

  • Los Amigos de Valles Caldera, NPS sign cooperative agreement

    Los Amigos de Valles Caldera, the friends group for the Valles Caldera National Preserve (VCNP), will continue supporting the preserve as it has since 2007.
    The organization recently reached a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service to continue serving in that capacity under NPS jurisdiction.
    “It’s an agreement so we can work together, and so they can transfer money to us. And they are giving us some money this year so we can work on restoration projects,” said Los Amigos Vice Chair Barbara Johnson. “It’s not unusual for them to have some sort of cooperative agreement with their friends group to do some variety of tasks that need to be done on the park unit.”
    Los Amigos was formed when the preserve was still held as a national trust, with a mandate to become self supporting by 2015 or be transferred to the National Forest Service. New Mexico’s congressional delegation and supporters from around the state – including Los Alamos residents and elected officials – fought to place the Valles Caldera under NPS jurisdiction.
    The bill granting VCNP national park status passed in December, 2014, and on Oct. 10, 2015, the preserve officially joined the national park system.

  • Lujan in favor of more drug treatment funds

    U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-3) vowed to keep fighting for $1.1 billion in federal funding that, if passed, would strengthen and create new drug treatment resources in New Mexico and the U.S.
    “Remembering that addiction is an illness and addiction is something that can be cured, I believe with that being said our members, our colleagues in the house, the Republicans, when I offered the amendment in committee and our colleagues offered the language to fund the legislative package at $1.1 billion, which is the president’s 2017 request level, it was our Republican colleagues who refused to request that. It did not pass,” Lujan said. “We’re standing to hold our colleagues accountable and to make sure we’re able to get a vote on that funding package by the end of the year. That’s our hope.”
    The announcement was made during a conference call to state media about an upcoming community forum on drug treatment in Albuquerque Thursday.
    In July, President Obama signed into law the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016. In May, Lujan proposed the $1.1 billion in funding for the act in House Bill 5216, The Opioid and Heroin Abuse Crisis Investment Act of 2016. The bill is in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.

  • ‘Enthusiastic’ kids get back to class

    Thursday was the first day of school in Los Alamos, and as could be expected, thoughts and feelings were wide ranging.
    In the Mountain Elementary School neighborhood, some former students decided to get an early start to the bus stop.
    First year middle-school students Grace Xie and Nina Johnson were first to arrive. They said one thing would enjoy was being back with their friends. However, they’ve never been to the middle school before, so that would be a challenge.
    “It’s so big,” Xie said, as she and Johnson headed past Mountain Elementary and up North Street to the bus.
    Cody Rosson, another new middle-school student, wasn’t far behind. He said it was good to be back, but he was a little apprehensive about going to a new school.
    “I’m a little nervous, because of all the classes and the stuff you have to do.” he said. “Other than that, I think it’s going to be fun,” Rosson said.
    Mountain Elementary School Principal Jennifer Guy arrived at the school hours ahead of schedule, making last minute preparations to make sure all the students and teachers got off to a good start.
    “It’s going to be a great year,” she said. “I’m ready.”
    Guy said the school has five new teachers.

  • Relay for Life at Ashley Pond tonight

    Community members touched by cancer, and those who support them, will spend tonight walking around Ashley Pond to raise money for the American Cancer Society (ACS).
    During the annual Relay for Life event, individuals and teams will camp out at Ashley Pond Park and take turns walking.
    Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times “because cancer never sleeps.” Participants may be survivors, walking in remembrance of someone or celebrating a cure.
    Despite the fact that participants are raising money to combat a grim disease, Community Manager Manuel Luna is quick to point out that the event is anything but somber.
    “For the most part, everybody’s just walking, you’re visiting, you’re having a good time. You have your chairs out there, you have your picnic tables,” Luna said. “You’re just having a good old time. The luminaria ceremony is probably going to be the only somber part of the whole event.”
    During the sunset luminaria ceremony, Relay for Life participants and donors personalize luminaria bags with a name, photo, message or drawing in memory or honor of a friend or loved one who has been affected by cancer.

  • US says $400M payment was contingent on release of prisoners

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said Thursday that a $400 million cash payment to Iran seven months ago was contingent on the release of a group of American prisoners.

    It is the first time the U.S. has so clearly linked the two events, which critics have painted as a hostage-ransom arrangement.

    State Department spokesman John Kirby repeated the administration's line that the negotiations to return the Iranian money — from a military-equipment deal with the U.S.-backed shah in the 1970s — were conducted separately from the talks to free four U.S. citizens in Iran. But he said the U.S. withheld the delivery of the cash as leverage until Iran permitted the Americans to leave the country.

    "We had concerns that Iran may renege on the prisoner release," Kirby said, citing delays and mutual mistrust between countries that severed diplomatic relations 36 years ago. As a result, he explained, the U.S. "of course sought to retain maximum leverage until after the American citizens were released. That was our top priority."

    Both events occurred Jan. 17, fueling suspicions from Republican lawmakers and accusations from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump of a quid pro quo that undermined America's longstanding opposition to ransom payments.