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Local News

  • ‘Around the World’ in White Rock

    Chamisa Elementary School was buzzing with students, families and faculty Wednesday for the Multicultural Fair. This annual event unites two local schools and “celebrates the cultural diversity in White Rock.”
    Chamisa and Piñon elementary students gathered to display their cultural research projects for their friends and family.
    The event kicked off with an introduction by Piñon Elementary Principal Jill Gonzalez and Chamisa Elementary Principal Suzanne Lynne. They recognized that this was the sixth year of the Multicultural Fair and how great an opportunity it is for Chamisa and Piñon elementary to collaborate.
    Mariachi Sonidos Del Monte, a lively mariachi band from Santa Fe, performed the first show of the evening. They played original songs from their upcoming album and also a few “Santana” covers, which the crowd enjoyed.
    In addition to Mariachi Sonidos Del Monte, other groups performed including Moving Arts Española, HillStrummers, Hula Mai Kalani, Chamisa and Piñon Choirs, YMCA Dance Troupe, Chamisa Chimes, the Sikh Community and a Hawaiian dance by school staff.
    Booths spanned the hallways showcasing the diverse cultures represented by these students. Customs, food and religions from countries such as Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and many more, were present. Students carried “passports” that they filled up with stickers from each booth they visited.

  • A friend indeed

    BY WREN PROPP

    Special to the Monitor

    It started with William.

    He’s the dear friend of 8-year-old Bailey McVay, a third-grader at Barranca Elementary in Los Alamos.

    He’s recovering from childhood cancer, and he’s half a world away, living with his parents in Australia. And, he’s the reason she decided – months ago – that she’d go under the electric razor at a charitable “shave” for childhood cancer research sponsored annually by the nonprofit St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

    In Los Alamos, the event is organized by members of the Los Alamos Fire Department. This year’s event on March 17 has generated $2,466 so far, with 23 individuals having their heads or faces shaved, organizers said. Those donating to Bailey’s decision, like paying up when someone successfully acts on a “dare,” have contributed $526, with more donations expected. In the five years the LAFD members have held the event, they’ve raised a total of $22,669.

    But it wasn’t about the money, for Bailey.

  • NM 30 project to start in April

    BY WREN PROPP

    Special to the Monitor

    Less than a mile on NM 30 – also known as the Los Alamos Highway – will go under the shovel in early April.

    The New Mexico Department of Transportation project poses slow and go conditions for the estimated 13,000 drivers on the road most weekdays until December. The two-lane road is the main route to work each day for Los Alamos National Laboratory employees who live in and around Española, Santa Clara and San Ildefonso pueblos. NM 30 connects to NM 502, the last leg to Los Alamos. 

    The $4 million project was explained Thursday at the Santa Claran event center in Española by the department’s District 5 leaders, the construction contractor and Santa Clara Pueblo Gov. J. Michael Chavarria. About 50 members of the public attended.

    Most of the speakers recognized that the 180-day project will try the patience of commuters and residents during the project’s work schedule of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. But they asked for patience.

     “Please be respectful of one another,” urged Gov. Chavarria.

  • Hunger, homelessness go hand in hand in Los Alamos County

    Plugging in “Los Alamos County” and “millionaires” into any search engine yields results guaranteed to astonish. 

    “Los Alamos County tops nation in millionaires” reads one headline, “Atomic City USA: How once-secret Los Alamos became a millionaire’s enclave…” 

    Underneath all that though is another story – a story about the not-so-rich and the network of companies, charities and religious institutions that help support them.  

    One person who has seen this first hand is Helen Morris Bond, the executive director of Self Help Inc. 

    Bond has been a part of Self Help, Inc. for 18 years. Self Help, Inc. is a Los Alamos organization that helps Los Alamos residents who are down on their luck get back on their feet. Self Help does so by connecting people to the funds and resources they need to make a new start.

    Bond spoke to residents at the Trinity On The Hill Episcopal Church in Los Alamos Thursday about what Self Help does to combat hunger in Los Alamos. 

    A United Way agency, Self Help employs Bond and one staff member, and numerous volunteers who help members of the community get the help they need.

  • Multi-color fare
  • Hecker: Talk, don’t tweet, to North Korea

    BY WREN PROPP
    Special to the Monitor

  • 7 arraigned in LA drug raid

    The seven suspects rounded up by police Monday in a drug bust were arraigned in court Thursday.
    The suspects include Nichole Marsh, 36, Nicholas Conner, 35, Amanda Osborne, 32, Anthony Knief, 32, Allan Houle, 29, Kathy Gibbons, 54 and Byron Henderson, 49.
    Thursday was their first appearance, so they did not enter pleas. Their next appearance will be their preliminary hearings.
    Marsh was charged with trafficking in controlled substance, two counts of use or possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, and three counts of possession of dangerous drugs.
    She was released without bond on her own recognizance. When asked by Judge Pat Casados why she should be released, Marsh said she has a child to take care of.  When Casados told her she was going to be released on her own recognizance, she expressed her relief by briefly putting her head in her hands.

  • Council asks DPU to rewrite water report

    Council asked the Department of Public Utilities’ on Tuesday to redo it’s Long Range Water Plan, citing faults in wording and the high priority given to acquiring San Juan-Chama water rights.
    The plan forecasts water usage and changes to the county’s water supply over a 40-year-timeline. San Juan-Chama water rights refer to those along the Rio Grande River near White Rock.
    “Earlier today, I sent the utilities department an email asking them to consider correcting the language in the plan that incorrectly identifies the utilities department as the owner of the water rights that are at issue (and related contracts). Is there a problem with doing that?” Councilor Chris Chandler said to Deputy Utilities Manager James Alarid, one of the presenters of the report at the meeting.
    Chandler said the wording suggests the DPU owns the water rights instead of the county. In other places in the report, the moniker used made it sound like the county managed its water supply.

  • Woman faces arraignment in hit-and-run incident at store

    Ashley Garcia left a court appearance March 9 and went to the Los Alamos Bealls department store. Her day would end in the hands of law enforcement again, a suspect in a case of shoplifting and hit-and-run.
    At her arraignment Thursday on charges related to that incident, it was revealed that her March 9 court appearance involved shoplifting charges as well.
    Garcia, 23, of Hernandez, was there for a preliminary hearing, but it was postponed due to a conflict involving her defense attorney, Michael Jones. She also told court officials she had an 11:30 a.m. court appearance scheduled in Española that day.
    “So, even though she was going to be late for that appointment, she still took the time to stop at Bealls here in Los Alamos, committed a new felony shoplifting charge, and strike a pedestrian as she made her escape,” Santa Fe Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist said to the presiding judge, Magistrate Court Judge Pat Casados. “That shows a significant flight risk, a significant inability to comply with court orders.”
    Wahlquist asked Casados to set a $25,000 cash-only bond for Garcia’s release.
    “If she’s able to post that, then I would also request she be placed on electronic monitoring,” Wahlquist said.

  • Martinez to consider bill to combine local elections

    SANTA FE (AP) — A piece of legislation awaiting Gov. Susana Martinez's signature would reshape the political landscape for school boards, cities and other nonpartisan local governments in New Mexico by consolidating elections and putting them before voters in November every other year.
    Currently, such elections draw little attention, with some garnering zero ballots, The Albuquerque Journal reported.
    Political analyst Brian Sanderoff said combining school board and municipal elections could boost turnout significantly. School elections on their own draw maybe 5 percent turnout, but Sanderoff said municipalities attract up to 45 percent.
    "School board candidates are going to have to reach out to a larger proportion of the electorate in order to get their message across and be successful," he said.
    Municipalities would have the option of opting out of the combined elections. Other agencies with taxing authorities could not opt out and would have to consolidate their elections into one in the fall.
    Some cities like Albuquerque and Las Cruces already hold their elections in the fall, meaning shifting over wouldn't be too hard.