Local News

  • Middle school music room gets upgrade

    The Los Alamos Middle School’s Music Room got a new start this year, thanks to a partnership between the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation and the Los Alamos Public Schools.
    Members of the Kiwanis Club, Music Teacher Ryan Finn, parents, members of the LA Public Schools Foundation and the Los Alamos Public Schools worked hard all summer refurbishing the school’s music room.
    The music room is adjacent to the school’s gym.
    They added new lighting, refurbished the storage lockers for the instruments and redid the room’s flooring. They also added acoustic panels to absorb sound.
    The Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation contributed $25,000 to the project, and the Los Alamos Public Schools contributed $10,000 to the project.
    This classroom makeover like most of those performed by Foundation was the joint effort and expense of the Los Alamos Public Schools, said Joanna Gillespie executive director of the foundation. “LAPS is heartwarmingly thanked for contributing $10,000 in materials and labor helping the Foundation keep costs down by adding our project to those already being performed here at the middle school.”

  • LAFD promotes from within

    The Los Alamos Fire Department had its annual promotion ceremony in late July, where the department promoted eight firefighters from within the department.
    Deputy Chief Steven Dawald said most of those promotions were to fill retirements that happened earlier in the year. Dawald himself was promoted to the department’s deputy chief position after long time Deputy Chief Justin Grider retired earlier this year.
    Firefighters within the department looking to be promoted often find what they need within the community.
    People that do promote forecast what they need to do to be promoted,” Dawald said.
    Resources could include anything from courses to obtaining a degree. Firefighters looking to become battalion chiefs, for example, must have at least an associate’s degree.
    Many firefighters have taken advantage of the Fire Science program at the University of New Mexico, Los Alamos campus. Dawald is co-chair of the EMS/Fire Science Program at UNM-LA.
    “We’ve got quite a few, and we have some taking courses from our department as we speak,” Dawald said.
    Promoting from within the department is important, he added.

  • Emergency exercise planned Friday

    Residents should expect to see some commotion around town Friday as Los Alamos National Laboratory conducts an emergency preparedness exercise.
    The Laboratory routinely conducts emergency exercises to test the preparedness of emergency response and other LANL personnel who would respond to an actual emergency, the lab said in a release Tuesday.
    Other agencies participating in this planned exercise include Los Alamos County and the Los Alamos Medical Center.
    During the exercise, lab employees may see emergency response vehicles with their lights running in the area of the Pajarito Corridor/Pecos Road as well as heavy activity around the Los Alamos Medical Center. “Exercise in Progress” signs will be in place to alert employees and the public that an emergency exercise is in progress.
    Motorists should expect some traffic control along Pecos Road but it the road will not be closed to traffic.

  • ‘Secret City’ app now on Android

    Although Los Alamos does not yet have tours of Manhattan Project National Historical Park (MPNHP) sites “behind the fence” at Los Alamos National laboratory (LANL), it does have something the sites at Hanford, Washington and Oak Ridge, Tennessee lack: an app that offers a virtual tour of what Los Alamos looked like during the Manhattan Project years.
    The app has been available for iPhones since April and was recently launched for Androids.
    “Virtual tour” is an understatement. The app strives to recreate the some of the experiences a scientist recruited to “Project Y” might have encountered.
    The app opens with the view of a desk. Tapping on the image brings up a telegram that reads:
    “Thank you for agreeing to work on the project. Report to the train station in Lamy, NM. When you arrive, make your way to 109 E. Palace in Santa Fe, NM. Thank you.
    “P.S. Relay this information to no one or your commission will be forfeited.”
    The next image is of a dining car, with text about the events that led up to the founding of the Manhattan Project. Tapping on each tidbit brings up additional information about each topic.

  • Science teacher wins presidential award

    Kathy Boerigter, a science teacher at Los Alamos High School, learned Monday she won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
    The award recognizes teachers for teaching excellence, contributions to public education and their profession. About 108 teachers, kindergarten through 12th grade are awarded every year.
    “A big congratulations on a very well-deserved recognition,” said Superintendent of Schools Kurt Steinhaus upon hearing the news. “It’s a reflection of her quality teaching, and as she says, the quality of teaching we see all over Los Alamos.”
    Boerigter will receive a certificate signed by President Barack Obama, $10,000 and will also travel to Washington, D.C. for an official recognition ceremony Sept. 8. While there she will also participate in professional development opportunities and attend more recognition events.
    Boerigter said she’s looking forward to representing her school and the district at the ceremonies. To Boerigter, the award is not about her, it’s about the high school.
    “I’m going to be the same teacher I’ve always been. I think what it does is bring recognition to the high school,” she said.
    She plans to use some of the funds from the award to thank her fellow colleagues and staff.

  • 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.