Today's News

  • LA School Board votes for budget

    The Los Alamos School Board passed its budget for 2015-16 Thursday night, but not after a lot of soul searching from administrators and board members, since this $38.6 million budget includes a list of $2.7 million in expenditures and business increases projected to be paid for through the district’s “lease funds.”
    Those are funding the district receives from its portfolio of properties it leases to businesses, including the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    Most of the properties are former school sites. At present, the lease fund contains a reserve of about $7 million, an amount that according to LAPS’ chief operations officer was built up over a period of 10 years.
    The $38.7 million budget was passed 4-1, with board members Bill Hargraves, Jenny McCumber, Andrea Cunningham and Board Vice President Matt Williams voting for the budget.
    President Jim Hall was the lone dissenter, stating that he did not believe in taking the $2.7 million in lease funds to balance the budget and urged his fellow board members to vote for asking the administration to take one more week to find ways to help the board reduce the $2.7 million deficit.

  • Vehicle request denied again

    Last week, the Los Alamos County Council rejected Sheriff Marco Lucero’s request for $26,000 for a dedicated vehicle for his department.
    Councilor James Chrobocinski made a motion to approve Lucero’s request as soon as discussion on the sheriff’s department budget opened, even before councilors had a chance to direct questions to staff regarding the budget.
    After questions and discussion, the motion failed by a 5-2vote.
    Lucero made his request at Monday’s hearings. It was the fifth year in a row the county’s second-term sheriff has made a vehicle request.
    “During the last five years I’ve logged over 26,000 miles on my personally owned vehicles to travel throughout the state and Colorado on your behalf and as your sheriff to do my job as required and keep the interest of the sheriff’s in place,” Lucero said.
    In response to questioning, Lucero suggested that with an estimated 10-year life for a vehicle, the purchase price would be comparable to the $13,000 in mileage reimbursements he has received the last five years.

  • Union, SOC agree to an extension

    Los Alamos National Laboratory announced Friday the two sides of a labor dispute that could’ve impacted the lab’s security have come to a temporary agreement.
    Securing Our Country-Los Alamos (SOC-LA) and the International Guards Union of America Local 69 have reached a 60-day contract extension.
    The two sides had come to a negotiating impasse recently on a new contract and a potential work stoppage had been on the table between the two sides.
    SOC-LA is contracted to LANL to provide security forces and services. SOC-LA, which operates under parent company SOC-LLC, is reportedly in the final option year of its five-year service agreement.
    LANL spokesperson Kevin Roark said union security personnel at LANL will continue to work as normal during the extension period.
    When LANL announced potential trouble between SOC and the union — neither SOC nor the local chapter of the union returned messages by the Los Alamos Monitor seeking comment — it also announced that it and SOC were putting together a contingency force to try to ensure no security issues would occur during a work stoppage, if that situation arose.
    Roark said the contingency plan “will not be implemented at this time.”
    The work stoppage prior to the extension was scheduled to begin today.

  • Hoffman, Zurek are honored by LANL

    Darleane Hoffman and Wojciech Zurek are 2014 Los Alamos Medal recipients, the highest honor bestowed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, LANL’s press office announced Thursday.
    “Darleane Hoffman’s distinguished career and her contributions to nuclear science and actinide chemistry make her a trailblazer and role model for all women in science, while Wojciech Zurek’s world-renowned work in quantum theory has inspired Nobel Laureates and provided a bridge between classical and quantum mechanics,” said LANL Director Charlie McMillan. “Los Alamos does not necessarily award a medal each year, preferring instead to wait to bestow the honor only upon a prestigious subset of nominees who have demonstrated the highest levels of scientific achievement. This year’s recipients are well worth the wait.”
    The Los Alamos Medal was established in 2001 to honor those who have contributed to the laboratory at the highest level. The Los Alamos Medal recognizes individuals who have made a contribution that changed the course of science, a major enhancement of LANL’s ability to accomplish its mission, a significant impact on sustainability and/or established a major direction for the lab and the nation.

  • Update 4-26-15

    Clean Up LA

    The 12th annual Clean Up Los Alamos Day is set for May 2. Volunteers may sign up online to receive trash bags from Los Alamos County. All participants in the Clean Up Day are invited to a picnic at 1 p.m. at Ashley Pond. For more information, call Environmental Services at 662-8163.


    The opening night performance of “Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Kids” is scheduled for Friday night at Mountain Elementary School. The performance will be at 7 p.m. Admission is free.


    A “thank you” reception for Gene and Wendy Schmidt is scheduled for Tuesday. The event will be at Fuller Lodge from 4-6 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

    Rotary Club

    The Los Alamos Rotary Club will meet at noon Tuesday at the Manhattan Project. Scientist Ralph Chapman will speak.


    Los Alamos County will hold a White Rock Master Plan Showcase Event May 4 at the White Rock Visitor Center. The White Rock Master Plan Committee will present information on present and future projects related to the plan. For more information, call Darby Martinez at 663-1727.

  • Washburn offered a new job

    Los Alamos Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Gerry Washburn has agreed in principle to a new job in Oregon.
    Washburn confirmed Saturday he is negotiating a contract to become superintendent of Roseburg, Oregon’s public schools.
    He is a longtime teacher and administrator at LAPS and coached the girls basketball team for a dozen years.
    The announcement comes just days before Superintendent Gene Schmidt starts his new job at Farmington.

  • Recognition

    Los Alamos County’s Environmental Services was recently nominated for the prestigious 2015 Secretary of Defense Freedom Award.
    County Councilor Rick Reiss, Public Works Director Philo Shelton and Environmental Services Manager Angelica Gurule attended the Awards and Recognition Luncheon hosted by the New Mexico Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve on Thursday at the National Guard Readiness Center.
    Los Alamos County did not win the award, but officials said count employee Joseph Baca was also deserving of recognition for nominating Environmental Services for this prestigious award.

  • Today in history April 26
  • Outpouring of help follows quake

    LONDON (AP) — World leaders and global charities offered condolences and emergency aid to Nepal following the earthquake Saturday while grappling to understand the scope of a disaster that left more than 1,100 dead.
    With Internet and cell phone communications spotty, and many roads closed due to damage, the outside world did not yet have a clear picture of what is most needed following the devastating quake.
    But it was clear that help was needed — and fast.
    “We know the damage is extensive and that access into rural areas will be very, very difficult for everybody,” said Ben Pickering, Save the Children’s humanitarian adviser in Britain.
    “Children will be affected in many ways. Physical injuries. Separated from families,” he said. “The priority now is understanding the scale, what the emergency needs are right now and in the coming weeks.”
    Charities assembled disaster teams based on the assumption that sanitation, shelter and medical help are urgently required but the most convenient pathway into Nepal — one of the world’s poorest countries — was not available because the international airport in Kathmandu was shut down.

  • Fire department gets high marks

    An international accreditation agency tasked with grading fire departments from around the world for safety and how effectively they serve their community has recommended that the Los Alamos Fire Department be reaccredited.
    LAFD is one of only 207 departments out of 35,000 in the United States that’s been granted the accreditation, which is performed by the The Center for Public Safety Excellence, Commission of Fire Accreditation International. The department is also the only one accredited by the CFAI in the state of New Mexico.
    According to CFAI Assessor Gary Aleshire, their process is so rigorous and extensive, it’s an accomplishment just to get an on-site visit.
    “There’s 78 core competencies that have to be met before we can even consider doing an on-site visit,” he said.
    LAFD Deputy Chief Justin Grider said the approval means many things to the LAFD.