Today's News

  • Local Habitat for Humanity preps for its next build

    By Wren Propp

    Special to the Monitor

    Preparing for its 12th build beginning April 22, local Habitat for Humanity organizers are gearing up for a busy season.

    There’s been a steady stream of fundraising events that are supportive of Española Valley and Los Alamos (EVLA) Habitat for Humanity, with more on the calendar, said Victoria Erhart, who is in charge of communication and grants management for the organization. 

    “People have generous impulses,” she said.

    Last Saturday it was an all-day-until-midnight luau at the Pajarito Brewpub and Grill in Los Alamos. The event was geared to help “shake of the winter chill,” said owner Patrick Mocker-Wood.

    This coming Sunday EVLA Habitat for Humanity will be the beneficiary of the community breakfast, Erhart said.

    This year’s house will be a three-bedroom, 1.5-bath, valued at $70,000, Erhart said. There are several volunteers preparing to spend time at the site, but more are always welcome, she said. For example, a group of 18-to-22-year-old New Mexicans, who are obtaining work skills while they complete their GED, will be working at the site for several months.

  • LA History Museum, county win state award

    It wasn’t just the thousands of visitors that noticed all the changes and enhancements to the Los Alamos History Museum. The Historical Society of New Mexico noticed, too. 

    Last week, the Los Alamos Historical Society announced the museum won the “Edgar Lee Hewett” award. 

    The award is presented by the Historical Society of New Mexico for “outstanding service to the people of New Mexico as related to New Mexico history.” 

    LA History Museum Director Heather McClenahan also gave credit to Los Alamos County for the award, since the museum also shares responsibility of the facilities with the county. 

    “Working together as partners, we’ve been able to do a lot to preserve our history over the past several years, and the Historical Society of New Mexico Historical Society has recognized that.” McClenahan said.

    The county owns the museum building and funded major renovations to the museum last year.

  • Local scientists to march at Roundhouse on Earth Day

    Local scientists plan to participate in a March for Science event in Santa Fe at the Roundhouse. The event is scheduled to coincide with Earth Day, April 22. 

    “All are encouraged to join with signs about their own reasons for marching for science. The rally will encourage support for and protection of our science-based research and discoveries, and the expo hopes to bring community members and orgs together to celebrate all that science does for us daily,” said local march organizer Cristina Olds, a graphic designer at Olds Creative in Los Alamos. “The goal is to unite in support of science that’s being threatened by the current administration.”

    The march is scheduled between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The event will be on the steps of the Roundhouse, New Mexico’s State Capitol. 

    The event is expected to be family friendly, and will also feature booths, exhibits and science-based activities. 

    Speakers will include Nina Lanza, a planetary scientist and Mars geologist, scientists and AIDS researcher Bette Korber, climate modeling expert Todd Ringler, community activist Lindsay Conover and Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales.

  • Biannual Trinity Site tour to be met with protest

    TULAROSA (AP) — New Mexico residents living near the test site of the first atomic bomb plan to hold a demonstration as visitors caravan to the Trinity Site for a tour.
    The Alamogordo Daily News reports that the Tularosa Basin Downwinders advocacy group will be protesting Saturday.
    On July 16, 1945, scientists from the then-secret city of Los Alamos successfully exploded the first atomic bomb at the Trinity Site. The bomb later was dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    The group says the test altered the gene pools of residents in surrounding communities. Members say descendants have been plagued with cancer and other illnesses.
    The group has been lobbying for compensation and apologies from the federal government for years.
    The Trinity Site is open to the public only on the first Saturdays in April and October.


  • New Mexico governor warns of furloughs, fiscal crisis

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — State employees could face the prospect of furloughs as New Mexico considers closing museums and other cultural sites and limiting the time children are in the classroom as officials look to save cash in the midst of what Gov. Susana Martinez on Monday called a crisis.
    Martinez outlined the state's grim fiscal outlook during a luncheon attended by business leaders. She spoke about the recent legislative session and her disappointment that lawmakers crafted a budget dependent upon hundreds of millions of dollars in tax increases and fee hikes.
    She vowed not to sign any of the tax measures and said she would soon be calling lawmakers back to Santa Fe to renegotiate the $6.1 billion budget for the next fiscal year and to address the shortage of operational funds for the current year.
    Cash reserves are dwindling, which will soon leave state finance officials unable to cut checks. The governor warned that will affect the state's ability to make payroll and pay contracts.
    "We are facing a crisis, and this has become truly a result of the inaction of our Legislature," Martinez said. "We are staring down the path of a government shutdown."

  • 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.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports that currently, such elections draw little attention, with some garnering zero ballots.

    Political analyst Brian Sanderoff says combining school board and municipal elections could boost turnout significantly. School elections draw maybe 5 percent turnout on their own, but Sanderoff says municipalities attract up to 45 percent.

    Municipalities would have the option of opting out of the combined elections.

  • ‘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


    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


    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.