Today's News

  • Pete Domenici, longest-serving NM senator and strong supporter of LANL mission, has died

    Associated Press and Staff Report

    Former Republican Sen. Pete V. Domenici, a six-term senator who was known for his work on budget and energy issues and support of the state's national laboratories, died Wednesday. He was 85.

    Domenici died at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, his son Pete Domenici Jr., said. The senator had undergone abdominal surgery in recent weeks.

    Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan released a statement to the Monitor Wednesday about Domenici’s contributions to the lab.

  • Accident on Diamond Drive Tuesday causes traffic delays

    Traffic was delayed Tuesday about 5 p.m. following a two-car accident on Diamond Drive.

    A blue BMW sedan driven by a 17-year-old girl was headed northbound on Diamond Drive about 5 p.m. Tuesday when her car collided with red Volkswagen SUV driven by a 72-year-old woman who was driving south on Diamond Drive. The 72-year-old woman was attempting to make a left turn onto Orange Street.

    No injuries were reported, no citations were issued at the scene, according to Los Alamos Police.

  • New Mexico attorney general fights call to serve as witness

    SANTA FE (AP) — State prosecutors are asking a court to reject an unusual effort to call New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas as a witness at a high-profile corruption trial being prosecuted by his office.

    Balderas is being listed as a potential witness as an October trial date approaches for former Sen. Phil Griego on allegations that he used his position as a state senator to profit from the 2014 sale of a state-owned building in downtown Santa Fe without proper disclosure.

    Balderas spokesman James Hallinan on Monday described the maneuver as a "last ditch effort by Phil Griego's defense attorney to delay the trial."

    Defense attorney Thomas Clark is listing Balderas as a trail witness and highlighting a $1,500 campaign contribution by Griego to the attorney general's 2014 campaign.

  • Russ Gordon Day
  • Man attempts to steal liquor bottle

    A 21-year-old man from Santa Fe, Lance Pena, was arrested for attempting to shoplift a $9.65 bottle of vodka from Smith’s on Aug. 29.

    Around 10 a.m. that day, Los Alamos Police Department Cpl. Leandro Gallegos was dispatched to Smith’s for a suspected shoplifting incident.

    Gallegos met with the Loss Prevention Officer, Melissa Chamberlin, and the offender, Pena. Next to Pena, there was a plastic bottle of Premier Vodka on Chamberlin’s desk.

    Chamberlin stated that Pena took the bottle off the shelf while inside Smith’s and concealed it inside his pants.\

    According to the incident report, Pena then walked around the store before walking past all points of sale without attempting to pay for the liquor.

    “Lance admitted that he tried to steal the bottle of Premier Vodka,” said Gallegos in his report. Apparently, Pena thought if he were cooperative with law enforcement and the loss prevention department, he would simply be charged with trespassing and let go.

    That was not the case, however, and Gallegos promptly arrested Pena for shoplifting. After conducting a search of Lance, it was found that he did not have any cash or cards on his person to pay for anything from Smith’s.

  • CAP cadets pass milestones

    Aug. 28 was a big night for Los Alamos Civil Air Patrol Cadet Juan Romero and his air patrol.
    Romero was promoted to 2nd Lt, and he received his Billy Mitchell Award.

    The award marks a civil air patrol cadet’s transition from enlisted rank into the officers ranks, and is considered a turning point in a cadet’s career.

    The Los Alamos Civil Air Patrol has had nine cadets achieve the rank in the past five years.

    “Only 15 percent of all cadets nationally get this far,” Deputy Commander for Cadets Annette Peters said. “For us to have had this many cadets achieve this milestone speaks volumes about the awesome cadets we have. They are so focused on the cadet program.”

    His mother, Army National Guard LT. Col Pia Romero and his father, Ryan,  presented him with his new rank and award as the rest of Romero’s  crew looked on.

    “It’s a very proud moment,” Pia said. “He has a lot of discipline and stick-to-it-ness.”

    The award was created in 1964, and was named in honor of Army Gen. Billy Mitchell. He is one of the key figures in the formation of the U.S. Air Force, which he advocated heavily for when he became deputy director of the Air Service shortly after World War I.

  • Billions of dead trees force US fire crews to shift tactics

    Associated Press

    ALBANY, Wyo. — Vast stands of dead timber in the Western U.S. have forced firefighters to shift tactics, trying to stay out of the shadow of lifeless, unstable trees that could come crashing down with deadly force.

    About 6.3 billion dead trees are still standing in 11 Western states, up from 5.8 billion five years ago, according to U.S. Forest Service statistics compiled for The Associated Press.

    Since 2010, a massive infestation of beetles has been the leading cause of tree mortality in the West and now accounts for about 20 percent of the standing dead trees, the Forest Service said. The rest were killed by drought, disease, fire or other causes.

    Researchers have long disagreed on whether beetle infestations have made wildfires worse, and this year’s ferocious fire season has renewed the debate, with multiple fires burning in forests with beetle-killed trees.

    But no one disputes that dead trees – snags, in firefighter parlance – present an unpredictable threat, prone to blowing over onto people or getting knocked down by other falling trees. Amid the noise and distraction of a fire, firefighters sometimes get little warning.

  • LAPS gets latest teacher evaluation results

    Los Alamos school officials received the results of the latest round of teacher evaluations Friday from the Public Education Department but the district does not yet have the overall results.

    Principals began meeting with teachers Friday about the evaluations.

    “At this point, we do not have a summary of the results,” said Kurt Steinhaus Friday.

    Whitney Holland, president of the Los Alamos Federation of School Employees, said not much has changed since the PED started the evaluation system.

    “The general sense is that these evaluations will continue to be an unfair snapshot based on inaccurate data until the PED proves otherwise,” Holland said.

    About 74 percent of public school teachers in New Mexico are rated as effective or better when it comes to their success in the classroom, officials announced Friday after statewide results were released, according to the Associated Press.

    That’s the highest percentage of effective or better teachers since Gov. Susana Martinez adopted a new teacher evaluation system four years ago.

  • McMillan talks housing, LANL’s future, community

    Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charles McMillan gave two similar yet different talks in Los Alamos last month, each one focusing on housing and jobs.

    At Los Alamos County Council’s Aug. 29 meeting, McMillan emphasized the lab’s employment strategies and how that figures into the council’s plans to create more housing opportunities.

    “We continue to bring new talent to the laboratory. As what  many organizations are experiencing today, we’re seeing retirements from the baby boom generation and, recognizing that was the case several years ago, we started working with the laboratory statisticians in the HR (human resources) organization, developing staffing plans that would address the future needs of the laboratory workforce, taking into account the projected retirements,” McMillan said. “Those projections are running very close to what we’ve expected and the consequences of that is that we hired over a thousand people last year at the laboratory, and this year, we are on track to hire almost another thousand.”

    McMillan said he and his staff were able to accomplish this goal with a five-year plan that is reviewed yearly. He also gave county council a breakdown of where the workforce lives.

  • Atomic City Update: Key injuries will test LAHS teams throughout season


    The adaptability of the teams at Los Alamos High School is being tested this year because of injuries and holes left by graduating seniors.

    How they adapt to these situations will determine what their record looks like at the end of the year.

    The most glaring example so far this year is on the boy’s soccer team, which is dealing with injuries to its top two goalkeepers. Sophomore Jacob Majors has a season-ending broken finger, while freshman Jaxson Martines is nursing a dislocated finger.

    Without true backups available, the team is relying on a pair of defensemen to help out while Martines recovers.

    The two defensemen, Cid Rice and Alex Bullock, started to learn the goalkeeper position when the injuries occurred last week.

    Their head coach Ron Blue said that although preparing for a game without a natural goalkeeper minding the net changes things, he just has to make sure his team is prepared for each game.

    “That’s just how it works in high school sports,” Blue said.

    He brings up an interesting point, because high school is the highest level of competition in which you’d see a situation like this occur. Every higher level of sports is so specialized that there would be many backups available to step in when an injury occurs.