Local News

  • Relay for Life planning moves ahead

    The planning for the Los Alamos County American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life 2017 is moving ahead, with another meeting planned for 6 p.m. Tuesday in the small conference room of the Los Alamos Medical Center.
    The hope of the next meeting is to attract volunteers as team captains, and to have people attend who are cancer survivors and anyone interested in getting involved with this year’s Relay for Life.
    Many aspects go into planning Relay for Life, and to make it a successful event, the group needs the community’s  help, according to organizers.
    The following positions need to be filled this year:
    • Recruitment point of contact
    • Sponsorship point of contact
    • Entertainment point of contact
    • Fundraising point of contact
    • Survivor dinner point of contact
    • Logistics point of contact
    The organization’s goal is to raise $25,000 for cancer research for the American Cancer Society. This goal can be achieved by fundraising on-site during the event, off site prior to the event (bake-sale, car wash, silent auction, etc.), luminaria sales and donations from private parties and businesses.

  • Museum idea picks up steam

    A group of residents are continuing to drum up support through speaking engagements for an art museum in Los Alamos.
    Their latest event was at the UnQuarked Wine Room Feb. 9, where Ruth Tatter and Amy Bjarke explained their case as to why Los Alamos needs its own art museum.
    “We always think it’s great when we meet people who we think can get the word out,” Tatter said at the event.
    Their talk at UnQuarked centered on getting a building for their museum and their strategy going forward.
    While they look for a building, the Los Alamos Museum of Art group plans to give more talks and start volunteer and art programs the community can participate in. They are due to speak again at Karen Wray’s Gallery in March where they will show some artwork from the museum’s board members. They also plan to have lectures and events at Project Y. They are also a 501 C 3 corporation.
    The group has already been promised some art collections from some Los Alamos residents. Keeping those collections together, and in Los Alamos, is also an important priority.  
    “There is a sense of urgency,” Tatter said to the audience. “We have these collections promised to us, but they are currently being housed with the collectors. We really want to make a new home for them.”

  • LAPS superintendent’s contract extended another 3 years

    The Los Alamos School Board agreed to extend Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus’ contract another three years Tuesday. The contract now ends in 2020.
    The three-year extension is the maximum number of years allowed by state law. The approval was made during an executive session of the board.
    “That is the strongest possible statement that the board could make about our confidence in our superintendent,” said school board member Matt Williams.
    Steinhaus’ annual salary will remain at $160,000.
    Steinhaus noted during contract negotiations that the board would consider giving him a raise when the time came to consider raises for staff.
    “I would politely decline a raise, because I want the money to go to our teachers,” Steinhaus said.
    The board was impressed by Steinhaus’s performance since the board picked him two years ago to replace Superintendent Gene Schmidt.
    “From the discussions I’ve had with him and conversations with individual board members, I think the board is quite pleased with Kurt,” said LASB President Jim Hall.

  • Mobile home transfer scheduled for Friday

    El Rancho Mobile Home Transport will be transporting two halves of a mobile home Friday.
    Starting on San Ildefonso Road to North Mesa to Diamond Drive and finally to East Jemez Road.  
    The transport will begin at 9:30 a.m. and end by 11 a.m.
    Residents are urged to plan their travel during these dates and times accordingly.

  • Familiar complaints about drilling have easy solution

    Outside a packed legislative hearing room, activists were handing out circular tags declaring the wearer a “water protector,” a term borrowed from the Standing Rock Sioux protest in North Dakota. When a woman offered one of the tags to Daniel Tso, he respectfully declined.
    Tso was the articulate expert witness for a measure to relieve a lit fuse in northwestern New Mexico over drilling near Chaco Canyon National Monument.
    This year, a freshman legislator, Rep. Derrick Lente, D-Sandia Pueblo, introduced as his first action House Joint Memorial 5.
    It asked the federal Bureau of Land Management to issue a temporary moratorium on oil and gas lease sales involving drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the greater Chaco area until the agency can complete its amended Resource Management Plan.
    Lente said the memorial wasn’t intended as an affront to the oil and gas industry. It was a point others made as well. “This is not an anti-industry thing,” said one resident. “It’s a pro-community thing.”

  • Local teachers testify Saturday about HB 158

    Several local teachers showed up at the Roundhouse Saturday to testify about House Bill 158, a bill that would, if passed, allow selected school districts to create their own pilot teacher evaluation programs.
    “I urge you strongly to pass this bill in order to improve the evaluation system for teachers in New Mexico,” Chamisa Elementary School Teacher Megan Lee told the House Education Committee Saturday. “It will be an immense benefit for developing improved instruction for New Mexico students.”
    The bill is sponsored by State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-43. Garcia Richard chairs the committee. The bill was tabled because of a needed language modification. It is currently in the House Education Committee.  
    Teachers from school systems all over the state lined up and spoke about the bill and what’s wrong with the current teacher evaluation process for about three and a half hours, starting shortly after 9 a.m.
    The committee scheduled the hearing on a Saturday to allow teachers and other stakeholders in HB 158 and the other education bills being considered to speak.
    If the bill passes, selected districts will be required to submit data and annual progress reports to NMPED and the Governor’s Office for a six-year period.

  • Sipapu to host popular family event this weekend

    Sipapu Ski Resort will host its annual President’s Day weekend celebration, the February Fun Fest. 
    It’s Sipapu’s most popular free family event, which includes a giant snow castle, costume contest and parade, mountain-wide treasure hunt, games, prizes and more.
    Sipapu Snow Castle
    Every year, a giant snow castle is built by the mountain team at Sipapu. It’s a snow playground for all ages and the only one in New Mexico. Each year, the snow castle changes in design, but what remains constant is the sheer size, which is usually two- to three-stories tall, the unique creation of stairs, slides, flags, and plenty of places to play in the snow.
    The building of the snow castle begins Tuesday and lasts throughout the week.
    The snow castle opens at 9 a.m. Saturday and is open for all to explore and enjoy.
    Treasure Hunt
    This weekend, Sipapu hosts a fun Treasure Hunt, which is part scavenger hunt and all adventure. Search the mountain Saturday, Sunday and Monday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for laminated letters. When letters gathered spell CLOWN, return them to Ski School for a great prize.
    Costume Parade and Contest

  • Military Order of World Wars to host Col. Ted Spain

    The Military Order of World Wars, Chapter 229, will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Los Alamos Research Park, the second floor conference room. The speaker will be COL Ted Spain USA (ret).  
    Spain was the Commander of the 18th Military Police Brigade during the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the first year of the occupation. He will talk about his personal involvement in the following areas: the invasion plan, weapons of mass destruction, looting in Baghdad, conflict over who was in charge – civilians or the military, opening of Abu Ghraib Prison and Camp Cropper and the standing up the Iraqi Police.
    The presentation will start at about 7:15 p.m. The meetings are open to citizens for the dinner and program with RSVP, or the program at no cost. The Hot Rocks Java Café staff will be catering the dinner of Fajitas and appropriate side dishes. Cost of the dinner is $25. RSVP for the dinner by Sunday. Call LTC Gregg Giesler, USA Retired, Chapter Commander, 662-5574 (g.gieslercomputer.org) or Eleanor Pinyan, 672-3750 (depinyan@cybermesa.com).

  • Lunch with Leader to feature Nurse Cunningham

    Lunch with a Leader will feature Andrea Cunningham, who was the nurse at the public health office in Los Alamos that is located directly across the street from the high school.  
    The lunch will be at 11:45 a.m. Feb. 21 at the Mesa Public Library.
    Cunningham will discuss the role of a public health office in Los Alamos, as well as what steps might be possible since the  services were drastically reduced.
    Cunningham graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s of science and nursing, and has practiced nursing for 27 years. She started her career at the University of Michigan Medical Center transplant unit before moving to Los Alamos with her husband 25 years ago.  
    Professionally, Cunningham is currently a program coordinator for Juvenile Justice Advisory Board.
    After leaving the New Mexico State Department of Health as the public health nurse manager for Los Alamos County, she took over as program coordinator for  theJuvenile Justice Advisory Board  
    In past years, she was employed at Los Alamos National Laboratory Occupational Medicine as well as other medical entities and performed various roles from case manager to team lead for medical records.

  • Small groups can change the world

    I really love the saying, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has,” by Margaret Mead.
    It only takes one person to start something that can change a community, but sometimes we insist that it must be large sweeping acts that take large amounts of money to get something good done.
    White Rock resident Trina Shrader was once part of a Los Alamos group during Friendship week, but later moved to White Rock…lucky for us.
    She emailed a handful of friends last year looking to swap fun anonymous things during friendship week and finally revealing themselves at the end of the week.
    The first year her family had about 10 families participate. This year it was about 15, and the word spread. There were three new families that signed up that they’ve never met.
    She is hoping that the numbers increase each year. She said it has been a fun way for people to get to know each other.
    “I think it breaks down invisible walls we inadvertently put up when we stick to our own little bubble,” she said. “It allows an opportunity for us (and the kids) to think about the people around us that might not be directly next to us or in our paths.”