Today's News

  • Police recommend safety options to LAPS board

    The Los Alamos School Board heard security recommendations from the Los Alamos Police Department during its monthly meeting Tuesday night, proposals the department feels can help make the district’s students, teachers and staff safer than what they may be now.

    Chief Dino Sgambellone and Sgt. Chris Ross attended the meeting. They addressed the board before a presentation by Ross, and then answered questions at the conclusion of the presentation.

    Ross began his presentation to the board by pointing out the fact that the last time a student was killed in a school fire was in 1858 when 92 students and three nuns died in a fire at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic School in Chicago. The school apparently ignored a lot of the common practices at that time when it came to fire safety and what they were doing to prevent possible fires.

    After that incident he explained that 16,500 school districts across the nation changed the way they do things where fire safety and prevention is concerned.

    “That’s almost 70 percent within one year,” he said.

    Ross then made the correlation that the same immediate action needs to be made where school shootings are concerned.

  • N3B Los Alamos talks focus, jobs

    If it isn’t about the cleanup of toxic waste, the leadership at N3B Los Alamos isn’t interested. That was the promise Regulatory and Stakeholder Interface Manager Frazer Lockhart gave to the members of the Northern New Mexico Advisory Board Wednesday afternoon.

    “With the focus we have on the environmental mission and nothing else, we won’t care about the weapons mission, we won’t care about nuclear nonproliferation,” said Regulatory and Stakeholder Interface Manager Frazer Lockhart. “I do as a taxpayer, but not on this contract. On this contract our business is the environmental management mission and working with Doug (Hintze) and his staff for our contract.” Doug Hintze is the Department of Energy, Environmental Management Field Office’s manager.

    In December 2017, the Department of Energy awarded a $1.39 billion contract to N3B Los Alamos, a subsidiary of Virginia-based Huntington Ingalls. The Department of Energy installed an Environmental Management field office in 2015 to focus on waste cleanup of legacy waste after an investigation of a toxic waste accident at a waste treatment plant in Carlsbad found Los Alamos National Security, the contractor that manages the lab, at fault.

  • LANL’s Regional Coalition plows ahead; promises additional reviews

    The embattled Regional Coalition of LANL Communities met Friday to discuss how to move forward after Los Alamos County officials in February questioned expenditures made by coalition’s former director during a lobbying trip to Washington, D.C. 

    Newly-elected treasurer and Santa Fe City Councilor Peter Ives said after the meeting that he plans to perform a complete examination of the coalition’s financial policies.

    “What I will undertake immediately is an assessment of our fiscal policies, and also figuring out if we need to change things,” Ives said. “I’ve heard there are some potential inconsistencies with some of those.”

    Friday’s meeting was Ives’ first meeting as a coalition member. Ives also plans to work with his fellow coalition members on policies regarding expenses.

    “Beyond that, I plan to do training with everybody involved in this organization on some of the issues that are causing such concern to ensure that that never happens again,” Ives said.

    He also wants to consult with Los Alamos County officials for help. Los Alamos County is the coalition’s fiscal agent.

  • Science museum celebrates anniversary

    The Bradbury Science Museum and the Los Alamos National Laboratory hosted a 75th Anniversary merchandise launch Tuesday at the Bradbury Science Museum with all proceeds benefiting STEM education outreach.

    “The response was overwhelming!” said Shari Foley, BSMA Gadgets Gift Shop manager. “We are so pleased with the response to the 75th Anniversary products.”

    The museum’s products are already sold out, but more are on the way, Foley said.

    The BSMA is the laboratory’s vendor for official 75th Anniversary merchandise through a memorandum of understanding between the BSMA and the laboratory.

    The BSMA is the 501(c)3 non-profit partner to the Bradbury Science Museum, and all proceeds from merchandise sales support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education outreach efforts in northern New Mexico.  To learn more about the BSMA’s STEM education outreach mission, visit bradburyassociation.org.

    BSMA members always receive a 10 percent discount on all merchandise purchased, so bring membership cards and save.  Memberships may be purchased at the BSMA gift shop or visit bradburyassociation.org/membership to purchase your membership online.

  • School district struggles to find bus drivers

    A shortage of bus drivers is something school districts all across America face on an annual basis. So the Los Alamos school district, which is struggling to find enough drivers, is not alone.

    That doesn’t make the issue any less troublesome, though, and making it worse is the fact the driver deficit is beginning to cut into the number of activity trips the district’s schools might usually take.

    “We need to have one driver for every route and right now we’re running substitutes on three of our routes,” said Los Alamos Public Schools Director of Facilities and Transportation Keith Rosenbaum, who is in charge of the district’s 16 bus routes. “This year we have had to begin denying schools extra activities because we don’t have enough to do what is required by the state, which is to transport students to and from school. The activity trips are a bonus. They give the drivers a little bit of extra money but they also give the students extra educational opportunities for them to go on trips.

    “It’s difficult to say ‘No,’” he said, “but sometimes we have to.”

    Rosenbaum said the district needs one driver for each route, with substitutes then being able to step in for the regular drivers when they need to drive a bus for an activity trip.

  • Board extends school chief’s contract

    The Los Alamos School Board voted Tuesday night to extend the contract of Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus and approved a raise for him that hinges on final figures from the 2018-19 budget that are under review.

    “It is an honor and a privilege serving as superintendent of the Los Alamos Public Schools,” Steinhaus said following the vote near the close of the board’s monthly meeting. “Along with incredible students and parents, we have outstanding teachers, school leaders and staff supporting the learning process. I enjoy working with the whole team.”

    Steinhaus said he would accept a raise only if the money was first available for other staff raises.

    “I accept the school board’s contract extension and salary raise proposal only after we identify funds to provide a much-needed raise for all LAPS staff,” he said.

    The one-year extension means Steinhaus, who started with LAPS in May 2015, is now under contract through the end of the ’20-21 school year and puts him at the three-year extension limit allowed by New Mexico state law.

    While the vote for the raise was unanimous, the vote for the one-year extension wasn’t, with the lone dissenting vote coming from Bill Hargraves, who said it wasn’t a reflection on the superintendent.

  • Romero says she will not return to coalition

    Andrea Romero, former executive director of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, said Thursday she would not rebid for the contract to head the coalition.

    Romero was hired as the coalition’s executive director in 2015 through Andrea Romero Consulting, LLC. Her contract naturally expired Feb. 28.

    “I don’t plan to (submit a bid) at this point,” Romero said. “It’s been way too politicized with the board, and there are a lot of other decisions to be made.”

    Romero is still running as a Democrat for a House seat in Santa Fe County’s District 46.

    “I just filed yesterday,” Romero said. “That’s what’s next… there are a lot of other things going on to relation to the race. I’ve obviously made the commitment to run for this race and I will.”

    Romero will face incumbent Carl Trujillo in the June 5 Democratic primary.

    Romero said that though politics played a part, she believes in the mission of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities.

  • Police Beat 3-18-17

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department records.
    Charges or citations listed in the Police Beat do not imply guilt or non-guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons or issued a citation.

    March 7
    11:14 a.m. – Los Alamos police responded to a call of an unattended death.
    7:30 p.m. – Los Alamos police responded to a call of a runaway juvenile.

    March 8
    8 a.m. – Los Alamos police responded to a trespass call at Los Alamos High School and cited an individual for larceny.
    11:58 a.m. – Concha S. Herrera, 39, of Truchas, was arrested by Los Alamos police on a district court warrant.
    2:41 p.m. – The Los Alamos bomb squad responded to a call in Santa Fe.
    5:04 p.m. – Rachel Ann Weiss, 27, White Rock, was arrested at the Española Probation and Parole Office for parole violation.
    11:50 p.m. – Los Alamos police answered a call of a threat of suicide. The case is inactive.

    March 9
    5:38 a.m. – Los Alamos police executed an arrest warrant on an individual in Los Alamos.

  • Geisik gets first status hearing

    SANTA FE – A former Los Alamos resident charged with violating the parole sentence he received on sexual misconduct charges almost three years ago appeared in Los Alamos District Court Thursday for the purposes of a parole violation status hearing.

    Stephen Geisik, 27, of Hernandez, was arrested by New Mexico State Police on Feb. 23 and is being held in the Los Alamos County Detention Center.

    He is charged with violating the 20-year parole sentence he received April 6, 2015. At that time he pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal sexual contact of minor second degree (child under 13) and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of minor.

    He appeared before Judge Mary Marlowe-Sommer Thursday after the filing of a notice of alleged probation violation, of reopening of case and of hearing. During Thursday’s hearing the judge set Geisik’s next appearance for April 5 for the purpose of a parole violation arraignment.

    Following his 2015 sentence, Geisik was released to supervised probation and required to register as a sex offender in the County of Los Alamos.

    He moved to Hernandez on July 5, 2017, and registered as a sex offender with the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department in Española.

  • US reviews New Mexico land boss’ concerns on border access

    Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE  — U.S. Customs and Border Protection is looking into concerns by New Mexico’s top land manager about whether federal agents can access a milelong stretch of state land along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Federal officials sent New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn a letter this month about his concerns over the installation of a border wall, infrastructure and roads on state trust land years ago. The letter released Thursday says the agency is gathering records and plans to meet with Dunn in early April.

    Karl Calvo, an assistant commissioner that oversees Customs and Border Protection’s facilities and assets, said in the letter that the agency values its relationship with the State Land Office.

    “An important part of CBP’s strategy to successfully secure the nation’s borders includes developing and leveraging partnerships and dialogue with state and local stakeholders to ensure that the unique operational needs of each region are effectively met,” Calvo wrote.