Today's News

  • Science standards meeting fills state hearing room

    Hundreds appeared Monday in Santa Fe for the single public hearing scheduled to comment on controversial science standards proposed by the state’s Public Education Department.

    Throughout the morning, no one spoke in favor of PED’s proposal, many saying the department’s rewritten version of the national Next Generation Science Standards, known as Next Gen, were politically motivated.

    The hearing was overseen by Kimberly Ulibarri, a PED hearing officer. Monday was the last day to submit comments.

    Two Los Alamos schools officials, Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus and board member Andrea Cunningham, had signed up to speak, but due to a lengthy interruption from a false fire alarm and problems managing the hearing’s sign-in sheets, the two didn’t speak. A second board member was called on to speak.

    Next Gen science standards were developed in 2013 by a consortium of 26 states, including people in New Mexico, and other organizations, such as National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Research Council.

    Changes made at PED include replacing references to climate change with “temperature fluctuations,” removes mention of the earth’s age as 4.8 billion years, and tweaks instruction on evolution.

  • Serving from the heart

    Though the sheriff can no longer afford to pay him, Los Alamos County Sheriff’s Deputy John L. Horne said that was never an issue.

    Horne, father of the former Undersheriff John N. Horne, continues to accompany Sheriff Marco Lucero on rounds as a volunteer deputy.

    It has been a tough year for Horne. His son died in his sleep unexpectedly June 16 of what Horne thinks was  caused by sleep apnea. 

    His son also worked for Lucero as a volunteer, after the Los Alamos County Council slashed the office budget in its quest to shut down the office over concerns about duplication of services.

    To the Hornes, It’s was all about loyalty to their friend Lucero and preservation of the office, and nothing else.

    “We figured Marco needed the help and we believed in what he was doing,” John L. Horne said.

    To John L. Horne, that’s all it continues to be about. Though he misses his son immensely and will soon be to Missouri, he remains focused on the job.

    When asked if he still helps Lucero in remembrance of his son, he said it goes beyond all that.

    “No, that’s totally separate. My son spoke for himself,” Horne said.

  • Los Alamos School Board meeting on Monday

    The Los Alamos school board will meet at 1 p.m. Monday to consider the rankings of schools for construction and renovations in the school district’s Five Year Facilities Master Plan.

    The board will discuss moving Mountain Elementary closer to the top of needs for capital improvement.

    The meeting will be in the school board meeting room, at the Administrative Offices, 2101 Trinity Drive.

  • School community to debate later start times

    The time school should start for teens and pre-teens will be under scrutiny in Los Alamos with several discussion-based events planned for the public school community over the next two weeks.

    Representatives of New Mexico First, a public policy think-tank, will ask – in a variety of forums – whether Los Alamos High School and Los Alamos Middle School students should come to school later.

    The comment gathering will culminate in findings released at the school board meeting Oct. 26, according to documents provided by the Los Alamos School District.

    Why change start times?

    The question has been gathering momentum in public school communities following research showing sleep patterns for young adults and teens are somewhat different than younger children and older adults.

    New Mexico First has offered a White Paper, which summarizes the issue, compiles cases of start time changes in other school districts, and focuses on the demographics of Los Alamos and how they might impact changing start times at the high school and middle school.

    New Mexico First was paid $29,500 for the project by the school district.

    The paper also delves into recent findings about the biology of sleep, as well as findings from a Start Time Working Group organized at Los Alamos High School earlier this spring.

  • Los Alamos National Bank lays off 10 percent workforce

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Los Alamos National Bank is laying off about 10 percent of its workforce as part of a broad effort to reduce business costs.

    The bank's CEO, John Gulas, announced the 26 layoffs on Friday.

    He says the decision is based on a strategic business review conducted by the bank's board of directors and senior executives in the last few months.

    Gulas told the Albuquerque Journal that the bank is reorganizing some operations to cut costs.

    It replaced old data-processing systems with more modern ones and it revised staffing models.

    Los Alamos National Bank also expects to save money by fully exiting from temporary consent orders it reached with federal regulators a few years ago to resolve problems in its loan portfolio in the aftermath of the recession.

  • Scary surprise
  • Supreme Court backs push to remove Ten Commandments monument

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with a lower court that ordered a New Mexico city to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the lawn outside City Hall.

    Civil liberties advocates behind the case called the decision involving the city of Bloomfield a victory for the separation of church and state.

    ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson said it sends a "strong message that the government should not be in the business of picking and choosing which sets of religious beliefs enjoy special favor in the community."

    However, David Cortman, a senior counsel and vice president of U.S. litigation with Alliance Defending Freedom, said the outcome did nothing to resolve confusion in lower courts involving such monuments.

    "Americans shouldn't be forced to censor religion's role in history simply to appease someone who is offended by it or who has a political agenda to remove all traces of religion from the public square," said Cortman, whose group represented the city of Bloomfield.

    The decision came after attorneys for the city argued that the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ignored previous rulings by the Supreme Court that simply being offended by such a monument did not give someone a legal basis to challenge the monument.

  • New Mexico education secretary defends science overhaul

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's public education secretary is defending new proposed science standards that have been widely criticized for deleting or omitting references to global warming, evolution and the age of the earth.

    State education official are holding their one and only public hearing Monday to gather comments on the proposed standards.

    In a public message published Sunday, Public Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski says the new standards will give teachers and families flexibility and local control around science materials, curriculum and content. He did not specifically address how the standards address the teaching of evolution and climate change.

    Top scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, science education associations and major New Mexico school districts are asking the state to adopt unedited standards developed by a consortium on states.

  • Jail Report 10-15-17

    In jail at the Los Alamos County Detention Center Oct. 9 and 10:

    Tyson M. Collins, 24, arrested on a Magistrate Court bench warrant on Oct. 9.

    Desiree M. Nitz, 27, arrested on a District Court warrant on Oct. 10.

  • US astronaut’s memoir provides blunt take on year in space

    AP Aerospace Writer

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — In his new autobiography, retired astronaut Scott Kelly gives an unflinchingly blunt take on his U.S. record-breaking year in space and the challenging life events that got him there.
    This isn’t your usual astronaut’s memoir.

    Kelly recounts dumpster diving on the International Space Station for discarded meals after a supply capsule was destroyed and ending up with “some dude’s used underwear” in his hands. He writes about the congestion, headaches and burning eyes he endured from high carbon dioxide levels and the feeling no one cared at Mission Control in Houston.

    In his book, Kelly tells how prostate cancer surgery almost got him banned from space station duty, and how his vision problem during an earlier spaceflight almost cost him the one-year mission, which spanned from March 2015 to March 2016.

    He tells how he visited a tattoo parlor before launch and got black dots all over his body to make it easier to take ultrasound tests in orbit, and how he fashioned extra puke bags for a nauseous crewmate.

    Kelly said his goal in writing “Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery” was to tell the whole story.