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Local News

  • Deadline looms for county response to IPRA complaint

    Los Alamos County has until Monday to turn over emails to Patrick Brenner and Lisa Brenner, who are suing the county for alleged violations of the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act.

    The suit was filed by Attorney A. Blair Dunn on June 2 in Los Alamos Magistrate Court. The complaint accuses the county of withholding emails that were sent by council members on May 15. According to Blair, the county had until May 31 to supply all the emails requested.

    Patrick Brenner and Jennifer Brenner are suing members of Los Alamos County Council and Custodian of Records Barb Ricci after they were not supplied with emails requested in an IPRA request filed June 2. 

    According to Dunn, state law says the county has until Monday to supply the requested emails. As of Thursday, Dunn said he has had no communication with the county.

    “They have not responded to the complaint in court yet, and I haven’t heard anything from them either,” Dunn said.
    If the county does not file a response, Dunn said the Brenners would win their suit by default.

    “We are then entitled to a default judgment, where we get an order from the court telling them to produce the documents we’ve asked for and they have to pay for attorney’s fees,” Dunn said.

  • Fourth of July celebration awes thousands

    The Fourth of July was celebrated with a bang on Tuesday evening at Overlook Park. The Los Alamos Kiwanis Club and Los Alamos County put on their annual Independence Day festivities where fireworks, food, bouncy houses, great music, and a whole lot more entertained the estimated 8,000 people that attended.

    Many vendors provided great food, like Smokin’ Bear Barbecue, North Shore Shaved Ice Company and Houdini’s Kettle Corn.

    This is the fourth year Houdini’s Kettle Corn has participated the event and it has been a success every time.

    According to employee Shannon Steinfadt, the lines for kettle corn are unstoppable once the evening cools off at these outdoor events.

    Chaz’s Marshmallow Shooters has sold three years in a row at the Fourth of July celebration. Chuck Hill, who manned the booth, said that it was a good event and a “good crowd from Los Alamos.”

    The marshmallow shooters are especially popular with the youngsters in the park.

    A few sports teams held fundraisers like Corrina Hughes’ rugby team and the Los Alamos Youth Football League.

    Every year, the Kiwanis Club sponsors the special Fourth of July celebration and Steve Boerigter is the chairman for that specific committee.

  • FUMC to host Maker Fun Factory

    A summer kids’ event called Maker Fun Factory VBS will be hosted at First United Methodist Church of Los Alamos from July 24 to July 28.

    At Maker Fun Factory, kids discover that God made them – and for a purpose! Kids participate in memorable Bible-learning activities, sing catchy songs, play teamwork-building games, make and devour yummy treats, experience one-of-a-kind Bible adventures, collect Bible Memory Buddies to remind them of God’s love, and test out Sciency-Fun Gizmos they’ll take home and play with all summer long.

    Plus, kids will learn to look for evidence of God all around them through something called God Sightings. Each day concludes with the Funshop Finale that gets everyone involved in living what they’ve learned. Family members and friends are encouraged to join in daily for this special time at 11:45 a.m.

    Kids at Maker Fun Factory VBS will join a missions effort to fund the digging of effective clean water wells for remote villages in Peru.

    Maker Fun Factory is for kids from 3 to 12 years old and will run from 8:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. each day.
    For more information, call 662-6277 or visit FirstInYourHeart.org.

  • LANL to hire 2,400 in next few years

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory is working to replace an expected upcoming wave of 2,400 vacancies with recent graduates from northern New Mexico.  

    The lab is working with colleges and universities in the region to achieve this goal and has hired 1,000 workers since July 2016.

    “The Laboratory continues to use an integrated budget and attrition model to guide our five-year staffing strategy, which was completed in 2016. That strategy envisions around 2,400 vacancies being created and filled between 2016 and 2020,” LANL’s Human Resources Director Susan Harris said. “We continue to refine our budget and attrition models, so actual numbers may change slightly. To date, our hiring has kept pace with attrition.”

    The lab expects to be hiring across the board.

    “It hasn’t really hit one area more than the other. We’re seeing it across the laboratory,” LANL Community Partnership Office Director Kathy Keith said of the lab’s needs.

    LANL has already started meeting with the presidents of several northern New Mexico colleges and universities about how the students’ and the laboratory’s needs could be met.

  • Trinity Drive closed to traffic through Tuesday

    According to the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities, Trinity Drive will remain closed between 4th Street & DP Road in both directions through Tuesday, July 11, 2017.

    This emergency closure is due to a sewer line break.

    East Bound traffic is being diverted to Knecht.

    West Bound traffic is being diverted to Central Ave.

    Local business access to DP Road is open via eastbound Trinity Drive

    No interruption in sewer services is anticipated.

  • Red Caps meet with laboratory retiree group board

    The Los Alamos Retiree Group is a civic-minded group of retired Los Alamos National Laboratory employees that is constantly looking for projects to better the community.

    The LRG may not be the best organization to have an outing to pick up trash around the Los Alamos Reservoir and so the idea of welcoming visitors to the city was attractive. They have already received some Red Cap head cover. They have accepted the promise to wear the cap downtown and to engage any tourists they meet.

    In speaking to the board of directors, Vernon Kerr noted that the town needs more eating places as one board member expressed it, “If I come to Los Alamos on a weekend, I can’t find anything open to get a good meal.” There are no downtown shops to buy souvenirs.

  • UNM-LA says farewell to Kay Willerton

    The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos faculty and staff gathered on June 29 to celebrate Kay Willerton’s long and successful career at the college. After 30 years of service, Willerton is retiring from UNM-LA.

    Willerton began her employment with UNM-LA in 1987 as a teacher of mathematics, and over the years she has served in a number of capacities while continuing to teach.

    She has supported the college with committee work, strategic planning, accreditation reviews, bond elections, and grant proposals.

    She has served as mathematics department chair, division head, and Associate Dean of Instruction. In the fall of 2015, CEO Dr. Cindy Rooney appointed Willerton Interim Dean of Instruction for UNM-LA.

    Willerton first taught at UNM-LA as a substitute for math classes. In 1987 she accepted an adjunct position as a math instructor. Soon thereafter she became a continuing faculty member and the curriculum coordinator for developmental studies and math. Willerton continued to teach math classes at UNM-LA through spring 2016.

    Before her work with UNM-LA, while teaching high school math in Texas, Willerton developed a style in which she would alternate providing short lessons with engaging students in math exercises.

  • Looking forward to old-fashioned holiday

    This week our family is on an adventure – a staycation if you will – but a vacation for others.

    You see this week, we have three young visitors from the State of Utah. They are Dakota, Brynlee and Ella.

    Dakota will be in sixth grade next year, Brynlee in third and Ella in kindergarten. How I wish that time would be spent at Chamisa Elementary, alas, we will just play there for the next two weeks.

    It has been a long time since our boys were elementary age but it seems like just yesterday, too.

    Chad junior, the dad and mom Crystal will have some quiet nights, but days filled with work just like usual.

    We will take our young tourists to all of the hot spots in town, Rocket Park, Rover Park and the Overlook to name a few.

    Of course, the White Rock highlights were the LDS funfest on the Fourth and the Kiwanis fireworks…perhaps viewed from our roof, but don’t tell Crystal.

    We will head uptown to do the Bradbury, the PEEC and I am sure a trip to Bandelier. We’ll also visit each library because they are pretty wonderful in and of themselves.

    There’s that great mini golf course by the dog park and free movies at the Reel Deal. Who knows how many great, cool things we overlook and take for granted each day.

  • 3 of 4 University of New Mexico health sciences deans depart

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The University of New Mexico has some hiring to do after three of its four Health Sciences Center deans have decided to accept jobs at other colleges.

    Deans Lynda Welage and Nancy Ridenour are leaving for the University of Minnesota and Barnes-Jewish College in St. Louis, respectively, and dean Deborah Helitzer is going to Arizona State University, The Albuquerque Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2tjh9sK ).

    The last dean remaining, Health Sciences Chancellor and School of Medicine Dean Paul Roth, said the departures are unlike anything he’s ever seen. Roth conducted an exit interview with each of the three women, and none of them had one specific reason for leaving, he said.

    “This is the first time we’ve had all of this happening at the same time,” said Roth, who first came to the university in the late 1970s as a medical resident. “We kind of categorize when people leave: Is it that they’re being pushed out of the institution? Or are they being pulled places? And I think it would be very easy to say that in all of these cases, it’s a combination of both.”

  • Hearing for Smith’s shoplifter set for Thursday

    Joshua Padilla-Spanarkel, 22, of Santa Fe is scheduled to appear before Judge Pat A. Casados on Thursday for charges of shoplifting over $500 and conspiracy to commit a felony.

    The criminal complaint was filed by Los Alamos Police Department Corporal Sheldon Simpson.

    According to the arrest warrant affidavit written by Oliver Morris, on Feb. 3 around 2:47 p.m., “(A Smith’s employee) called

    LAPD dispatch to advise that two males shoplifted $429.79 worth of meat. Cpl. Simpson of LAPD obtained Smith’s surveillance video and he believed he identified the suspects as Noberto Garcia and Joshua Padilla-Spanarkel.”

    The Smith’s employee gave a vehicle description of a red Chevy truck and a Santa Fe Sheriff’s Deputy stopped the same vehicle about an hour later near the Cities of Gold Casino.

    “Both Joshua Padilla-Spanarkel and Noberto Garcia were in the truck wearing the same clothing Cpl. Simpson viewed in the surveillance video,” stated Morris.

    Padilla-Spanarkel wore a white t-shirt and jeans with a specific logo and Garcia wore jeans and a darker colored shirt.