Local News

  • New Mexico governor appoints commissioner as state auditor

    SANTA FE (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez has appointed Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson as the new state auditor.

    Her office made the announcement Friday after calling earlier this month for applications to fill the remainder of the term vacated by Democrat Tim Keller, who was elected mayor of Albuquerque. Johnson, a Republican, was unsuccessful in his mayoral bid.

    Keller stepped down as auditor Thursday.

    Johnson was chosen from among 10 applicants and will hold the office until the next general election in 2018.
    Johnson is a two-term county commissioner, a business owner and member of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority.

    Martinez says Johnson has championed transparency, ethics and accountability during his time on the Bernalillo County Commission and she's confident he will bring those standards to the auditor's office.

  • Fire alarm at LANL's plutonium technical area Thursday
  • Angel Fire resident puts hat in ring for Congress

    Angel Fire resident Steve McFall announced today he’s making a run for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District. McFall said he really didn’t have a choice.

    “The shortest answer is I didn’t pick this, it picked me. I was teaching skiing, playing golf and fishing for a living when the Lord told me I had better use of my big mouth than teaching Texans how to ski.”

    McFall, who’s running on the Republican ticket, is interested in streamlining the government processes people use everyday, and helping people become less reliant on government in general. He is also interested in reforming the federal tax system and immigration. He also wants to introduce term limits for “career politicians.” He is also interested in bolstering states’ rights when it comes to medical care, providing better care for war veterans and public education.

    McFall is 52 years old and has one daughter, Maia, and a granddaughter, Alice.

    Log onto the Los Alamos Monitor Friday at lamonitor.com for more details.

  • East Road detour today, Thursday

    Los Alamos County Traffic and Streets crew will be detouring west bound traffic on East Road on to the existing median today and Thursday. The detour will be on East Road between Canyon Road and Central Avenue. East bound traffic will not be affected.

    This detour will occur from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

    In addition to this detour, crews will cone off a section of shoulder and sidewalk on Central Avenue at the Old Hilltop House parking lot. This will not affect vehicle traffic, however, it will affect foot traffic.

    Drivers are asked to slow down and proceed through work zones with caution.

  • School start time, custodial contract and antidiscrimination on agenda Thursday

    The Los Alamos school board has at least three options for changes to school start time for older students.

    Those options – and a fourth, which would be to make no changes – will be discussed at the school board’s work session 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Aspen Elementary, 2182 33rd Street in Los Alamos.

    The board will review the final report from Think New Mexico, which was commissioned by the school district to study whether Los Alamos students would benefit from later start times. Studies have shown that the sleep cycle of older teens causes them to obtain deeper, more healthful sleep, later than older adults and younger children.

    Other items on the agenda include consideration of an annual custodial contract for the high school and middle school, and a propose re-write of the district’s policy and rules regarding nondiscrimination.

    Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus outlined the three options regarding later start time in an email, noting that the issue for the school district is about improving “sleep hygiene for full daytime alertness and student success at school.”

  • Charter school to be discussed

    The public is invited to a discussion on establishing a charter school in Los Alamos for students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades. The meeting with organizers of the proposed school will be 6-7 p.m. Friday at the historic Fuller Lodge.

    The discussion to launch the Polaris School Project will include introduction of organizers, as well as providing details on the project’s mission and vision, according to a press release.

    According to state law, a charter school is defined as a school authorized by a chartering authority to operate as a public school. According to another section of the law, charter schools may be state-chartered or locally chartered.

    A member of the Polaris organizing committee, Bill Hargraves, is also a school board member. He has stated that he is working with the Polaris committee as a private citizen.

    Fellow school board members, at a meeting in mid-November, criticized Hargraves’ meeting with LAPS Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus to discuss the establishment of the charter school. Hargraves defended his actions, stating that he was not trying to pressure Steinhaus in supporting the school.

  • Books headed to Africa for school libraries

    Sharon Allen has always been interested in Africa.

    “I’ve always been fascinated by it,” the retired Los Alamos teacher said.

    And last year, when she concluded her career as a first grade teacher in Los Alamos, she wanted to pass along the books she had bought to share with her students over the past 35 years.

    “I looked on the internet for school libraries in Africa for my books, but they just wanted money. It wasn’t what I wanted,” she said.

    Eventually, though, she found an organization called the African Library Project that would accept books for school libraries, especially for girls’ schools. She also visited Kenya to visit the schools where her first shipment landed.

    “I was very excited; I was able to help the kids put the books on the shelves,” Allen said.
    Meanwhile, she talked to other local organizations and schools about her effort, she said.

    “I knew people at the school would be interested,” she said.

    On Tuesday, Allen and other volunteers welcomed boxes and boxes of books collected at local schools and by service organizations. In total, volunteers were expected to bring 14,460 books to the rental truck Allen parked near the high school.

  • Councilor, county in tussle over building permit

    Businessman James Chrobocinski, who is also a Los Alamos County councilor, has filed paperwork notifying officials of his intent to sue the county over permits related to a restaurant renovation in White Rock.

    Chrobocinski claims the county Community Development office and the fire marshal’s office has “harassed and retaliated” against him during the renovation process.

    Chrobocinski has been an instrumental figure in helping a local group, Citizens in Action, in its efforts to reform the county’s code enforcement regulations that it says code enforcements have been too overzealous with residents. He said he thinks this is why he’s allegedly being targeted.

    Chrobocinski alleges the two offices are conspiring to make it difficult for him to move White Rock’s Pig and Fig Cafe to a building he owns at 11 Sherwood Boulevard in White Rock. Chrobocinski is the owner and CEO of Zia Realty Group and ZRG Investments. ZRG owns the building.

    Chrobocinski believes his troubles began when the Pig and Fig’s current landlord, Kent Waterman, allegedly acted vindictively because he was about to lose the Pig and Fig to Chrobocinski.

  • Wallace named new LANL director

    Los Alamos National Laboratory’s new director Terry Wallace remembers when the front gate came down.

    He was a child back then. His father, Terry Wallace, Sr., worked at the lab. He loved the outdoors, played chess in the chess club and basketball at Los Alamos High School. His mother, Jeanette Wallace, was a Republican state representative for Dist. 43 for 22 years. 

    Wallce said he really loved Los Alamos, and the unique experiences the town offered him.

    “It was the greatest experience possible, but that’s probably because I didn’t know anything else,” he said.

    “By the time I left high school, I already had the equivalent of an undergraduate degree in mathematics,” he said.

    Wallace was appointed director of LANL and president of Los Alamos National Security, LLC, the company that manages and operates the laboratory for the National Nuclear Security Administration, the lab announced Tuesday. His appointment will officially take effect Jan. 1.

    Wallace first worked at LANL while getting his undergraduate degree at New Mexico Tech. He worked in the J-8 section of the laboratory, where they tested and monitored large explosions.

  • Court gives Congressman Steve Pearce access to campaign cash

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republican Rep. Steve Pearce won access to a $1 million stockpile of campaign cash that he raised while in Congress to use in his run for New Mexico governor, under a federal court ruling issued Tuesday.

    Albuquerque-based U.S. District Court Judge Judith Herrera blocked enforcement of limitations on campaign transfers from Pearce's federal campaign account to a state one. The preliminary injunction gave Pearce access to the campaign funds while underlying issues are litigated.

    The Secretary of State's Office has said that only $11,000 can be transferred by Pearce, based on a New Mexico law that limits campaign contributions to $5,500 in a primary election and again in the general election.

    Attorneys for Pearce contend that New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, has misinterpreted state law that limits campaign contributions, effectively violating Pearce's constitutional rights to free speech under the First Amendment.

    In her ruling, Herrera said it was likely Pearce will succeed during further litigation in showing that the $5,500 per-election limit on transfers is unconstitutional and obstructs free speech.