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Local News

  • Newest council members train up

    The Los Alamos County Council adds two new members to its ranks in January to replace Geoff Rodgers and Frances Berting.
    James Chrobocinski and Susan O’Leary have been training for their new roles and spoke with the Los Alamos Monitor about what they have been learning.
    The first stage was attending the New Mexico Association of Counties’ New Mexico EDGE (Education Designed to Generate Excellence in the Public Sector) program for county commissioners and councilors. The program, offered through the New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service, provides training on the role of the commissioner/councilor, as well as ethics, finance, human resources/employment law and general governance issues.
    “It was a great confirmation of my understanding of the role of the county councilor,” O’Leary said. “The county council is essentially the board of directors. And there are three main roles for the council. It’s to set policy and high level strategy, to approve resources in order to achieve those policies and then to evaluate and improve the management and effectiveness of the county government.”

  • Today in history Dec. 24
  • Controversial film to be shown in Santa Fe

    For a while there, it didn’t look too good for fans of Seth Rogen and James Franco comedies, but Sony Entertainment announced Tuesday that it will be releasing the controversial film “The Interview,” albeit limiting its release to 400 “art house” theaters across the country.

    According to Jon Bowman, program director for Santa Fe’s Jean Cocteau Cinema, who is also a former editor for the Los Alamos Monitor, his theater was one of those art houses selected by Sony Tuesday to show the film on Christmas Day.

    The film is scheduled for 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Bowman said the movie will then continue to be shown for at least the next two weeks.

  • Tourism boss will take over child welfare division

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez on Monday announced another round of cabinet changes, including a shift that will have the state’s tourism chief leading the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department.
    Yolanda Deines, who has headed the agency for four years, will be stepping down. Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson will take her place.
    Martinez said Jacobson has a strong desire to improve the well-being of children and is willing to work alongside case workers and child advocates.
    “Moving forward, I feel Secretary Jacobson is the right person to lead the Children, Youth and Families Department,” Martinez said in a statement. “Her strong intellect and impeccable management skills will serve the agency well, and she is a leader who is well known for producing results.”
    The agency has been hampered in recent years by staffing shortages, an overwhelming caseload and a series of high-profile abuse cases that have drawn criticism.
    It’s also in the midst of a massive reform effort aimed at changing the way child abuse and neglect cases are investigated. The reforms were initiated earlier this year in response to the case of 9-year-old Omaree Varela of Albuquerque who police say was kicked to death by his mother in December 2013.

  • Update 12-23-14

    Luminaria Skate

    Los Alamos County Ice Rink will host a Luminaria Skate Wednesday. It will be from 5-7 p.m. at the ice rink. Price for participation is $6.50 or $2.50 for kids 5 and under. For information, call 662-4500.

    County Council

    The next scheduled Los Alamos County Council meeting is 7 p.m. Jan. 6 in council chambers.

    Walkup Center

    The Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center will have abbreviated hours for the upcoming holidays. Wednesday, the aquatic center will close at 5 p.m. and will remain closed until Dec. 26. It will also close at 5 p.m. Dec. 31 and will be closed on Jan. 1. Call 662-8170 for more information.

    Trash collection

    Los Alamos County will pick up curbside trash Wednesday for those whose regular collection day is Thursday. Customers should also put trash out Dec. 31 for those whose regularly scheduled collection day is Jan. 1.

    Ken Burns film

    Mesa Public Library will present “The Dust Bowl,” a film by Ken Burns, Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

  • Young musicians encourage giving

    Salvation Army volunteers are a regular sight at storefronts during this time of year, but a couple of Los Alamos High School students decided to put their own spin on that Sunday.
    Caleb Hatler and Sally Grindstaff did their shifts in front of the Smith’s Marketplace Sunday afternoon.
    But, along with the traditional bell ringing, the two also brought their own instruments to play Christmas favorites for customers going in.
    “I thought it would be a great chance to use my ability and to help bring some money to the Salvation Army,” said Hatler, a freshman at LAHS.
    Hatler brought his bassoon to his shift. The bassoon, a wind instrument in the double-reed family of instruments, is often featured in orchestral bands.
    He said he’s been playing the bassoon for about five years.
    “My favorite thing about the bassoon is its unique tone,” said Hatler. “It’s very beautiful and it can be loud or soft. It can play some very fun melodies and some very emotional melodies, too.”
    Bell ringers for the Salvation Army, which was founded in England in the 1860s, are usually most active around the Christmas season, collecting donations in their red kettles to help those in need.
    Today was the final day for local efforts for the Salvation Army.

  • Buses will have limited service during holidays

    Bus service to and from Los Alamos, as well as around town in Los Alamos, will be limited for the holidays.
    Los Alamos County announced that Atomic City Transit will not be in operation Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. The transit provides several routes around Los Alamos and to and from Los Alamos and White Rock.
    Meanwhile, the North Central Regional Transit District will not be in service either Wednesday or Thursday in observance of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
    The NCRTD also will not be in operation Jan. 1.
    Regularly scheduled routes will run on the days immediately preceding and following those closure days.
    Also, Atomic City Transit will provide Dial-a-Ride service on New Year’s Eve.
    Despite having days off coming up, the NCRTD was busy last week. Friday, the bus service announced it will assume operation of the Taos Express.
    The NCRTD, which operates free bus routes on weekdays to several service areas around northern New Mexico, including Los Alamos and Rio Arriba counties, will take over the Taos Express route from the current operator, the Taos Chile Line. The change will be effective Jan. 1.

  • Christmas Characters

    These may or may not be the characters you’re looking for in Los Alamos this holiday season, but numerous residences have clever outdoor displays, including a happy snowman on a high deck and R2D2 from “Star Wars.”

  • Airline resumes regular schedule

    Without much fanfare, New Mexico Airlines resumed its normal operating schedule last week at Los Alamos Airport, following more than two weeks of suspended service.
    The airline had canceled its flights Dec. 4 for service in both Los Alamos and Carlsbad. The Carlsbad Current-Argus was also reporting that its service to that airport had resumed Monday as well.
    The airline suspended its flights indefinitely earlier this month, something that caught Los Alamos County, which subsidizes flights to and from Albuquerque, off guard. According to the Associated Press, the airline had decided to ground some flights due to mechanical issues.
    Airport manager David Ploeger said in a statement released this morning by Los Alamos County that New Mexico Airlines has not informed the county of any maintenance issues, nor is the airline required to inform the county about such issues.
    “We don’t know anything specific about what those issues were,” he told the Los Alamos Monitor.
    In this morning’s statement, Ploeger said that “safety is a top priority for our passengers using the service.”
    He added that if the county learns of any documented safety-related issues, they would be addressed with New Mexico Airlines.

  • Machine will extract gases at Eco Station

    People driving down East Jemez Road past the Los Alamos County Eco Station may notice an odd piece of tech near the landfill — a tripod-like structure with a smokestack sticking out of it.
    According to county officials, the device, known as a “methane extraction system,” will probably be here for a few months.
    According to Angelica Gurule, environmental services manager for Los Alamos County’s Environmental Services Division, works like a vacuum sucking methane gas out of the landfill through a network of pipes connected to the stations methane monitoring wells. The goal, according to a consultant with SCS Engineers, is to contain and gradually reduce the amount of methane that has built up within the 40-acre landfill.
    “It’s not really a reduction, it’s keeping it from leaving the landfill on its perimeter,” said SCS Engineers Consultant Marcia Pincus.
    Gurule said the extractor will be here for about six months, or until they start seeing satisfactory results. According to a press release from the Los Alamos County Public Information Office, detected levels have ranged from zero to 41 percent of gas in the air, by volume.