Today's News

  • LA native, author uses Trump, Clinton to teach youth life lessons

    Los Alamos native Adam Bruckner’s new children’s book that depicts characters based on Donald Trump as a bully and Hillary Clinton as a liar is meant to help children understand this year’s election and promote informed voting.

    The book has also changed the way some people think about the presidential candidates, he said.

    Called “Bully Back,” the book follows the twists and turns of an elementary school election, where candidates “Ronald Triumph” and “Beverly Linton” are running neck-in-neck for school president. 

    Throughout the book, Bruckner dissects the assumptions students have made about the two candidates and turns them into lessons about bullying and how to stop being a bully. 

    “It’s personalized the candidates in a way that kids can understand,” said Bruckner, who now lives and works in Philadelphia. 

     “Bully Back” is the second book by Bruckner based on bullying. His first book was called “Better Bullying.” In that book he focused on understanding the bully. 

  • Comp plan moves into final stages

    The Los Alamos County Council gave staff the heads up on Tuesday to draft the final version of the revised comprehensive plan. 

    Los Alamos County Principal Planner Tamara Baer and consultants Stephen Burstein, principal planner for Architectural Resources Consultants (ARC) and Tim Karpoff, independent planner and facilitator from Karpoff & Associates, presented the plan to council at a work session. 

    For the most part, council’s reaction to the draft plan was positive. 

    “There is so much information in here that is going to help me do my job and help us understand what our citizens want,” Vice Chair Susan O’Leary said. “I think the public outreach was fantastic, and it was necessary in order to make this a credible document.”

    Karpoff and Burstein described the public outreach they had conducted and the results it yielded. Baer gave and overview of the plan’s purpose. 

  • Clerk candidates respond to voters

     Voters posed questions to Republican Naomi Maestas and Democrat Amy Woods, the two candidates for Los Alamos County Clerk, at the Oct. 13 League of Women Voters of Los Alamos candidate forum.

    One person asked what distinguished the county clerk’s role from that of the staff in the clerk’s office.

    “As somebody who has a very limited experience in the clerk’s office, I do know that the probate judge is supported by us in terms of recordkeeping and by customer service,” Woods responded. “And to that extent, the clerk is responsible for all of the records, not just the probate judge but the marriage licenses and the recording of deeds and the transfers.”

    Maestas, who serves as senior deputy clerk in that office, noted that the clerk’s involvement is likely to change when the position becomes full time in January. She called the current part-time position “more of a figurehead” and more involved with management duties such as oversight and the budget. She expected the position to become more hands on in January. 

  • Comment period on geothermal leasing in Jemez ends Friday

    Santa Fe National Forest is accepting comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the potential effects of geothermal energy development on 195,000 acres of land within SFNF boundaries, located west and north of Valles Caldera. The EIS process was initiated in response to an Expression of Interest from Nevada-based Ormat Technologies. The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance and the All Pueblo Council have both come out against the project. Find information on the project at http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=46886. For best consideration, submit feedback before the formal comment period ends Friday. Send comments to comments-southwestern-santafe@fs.fed.us, fax to 505-438-5390 or mail to Comments, Santa Fe National Forest Headquarters, 11 Forest Lane, Santa Fe, NM 87508. Read Friday’s Los Alamos Monitor for the full story.

  • New Mexico National Guard launches probe into bonuses

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The New Mexico National Guard is investigating whether soldiers received improper enlistment bonuses like those paid to some soldiers in California who have been told to give them back, New Mexico National Guard Joseph Vigil said late Tuesday.

    Vigil did not say whether officials have uncovered examples of New Mexico guard members receiving improper enlistment bonuses but said in a statement that "we here in New Mexico are doing our due diligence to determine if any of our members are affected by this matter," Vigil said.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday ordered the Pentagon to suspend its effort to seek repayments of enlistment bonuses given to thousands of California National Guard members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The announcement does not end the reimbursement process but postpones collection efforts while the Pentagon and Congress look for a long-term solution.

    Vigil said recovery of bonuses given to guard members is a routine matter when "a soldier or airman fails to live up to his or her enlistment contract."

    He added: "We will work to identify and resolve any issues related to this matter to ensure that we fulfill our commitment to our Guard members as well as our taxpayers."

  • Baby fawn set to be released

    The Los Alamos Police Department said Tuesday an injured baby deer that was near death when it was rescued by officers this summer may be released into the wild.

    Police were called out to rescue a baby fawn in July. The fawn was stuck behind a fence on a property in Los Alamos. When Los Alamos Public Service Aide Alysha Lenderman came across the baby deer, it had cuts on its face and was bleeding from its mouth. It also was suffering from stress and heat exhaustion. It was also crying out for its mother, but the mother could not be located. Lenderman observed the fawn was breathing through its mouth. 

    “I had major concerns that the little fawn was going to suffer from heat stroke from running so much and the fact that it was stressed,” she said. 

    Another officer, Officer Gabriel Nieto, was called to the scene, and between the efforts of the two officers, they were able to capture it.

    Closer examination of the fawn revealed that it was five to seven days old. It was transported to the Española Wildlife Center for rehabilitation and to heal from its injuries. 

  • Judge sets trial date for lawsuit over teacher evaluations

    SANTA FE (AP) — An ongoing legal fight between teachers unions and the state over New Mexico’s teacher evaluation system will get its day in court next year.

    A District Court judge on Monday agreed to hear the case on Oct. 23, 2017. The long wait comes after Albuquerque Teachers Federation and American Federation of Teachers-New Mexico attorney Shane Youtz requested time to review New Mexico Public Education Department changes to the evaluation process.

    The federation’s national president, Randi Weingarten, attended the hearing.

    “This is an important lawsuit nationally,” she said outside the courtroom. “There is the right way and the wrong way to actually build the capacity of your workforce, and what PED has done is the wrong way.”

    In January, the department announced changes that simplify the evaluations, moving from 107 assessment categories to just three.

    The teachers unions argue the evaluation system is forcing veteran educators to retire or have their licenses jeopardized. The system ties teacher performance to test scores.

  • Start holiday shopping early at arts and crafts fair Nov. 5

    The Los Alamos County Employee Fund Committee invites the community to start holiday shopping early by attending the Arts and Crafts Fair sponsored by the LAC Employee Fund Committee.

    The fair is set for Nov 5. The event will last from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Fuller Lodge. 

  • Visiting Nurse Service to hold annual memorial Nov. 6

    Each year the Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service holds a Community Memorial Service to honor those loved and those who have died in the last year.

    Everyone in the community is invited to the  20th annual memorial program.

    A simple non-denominational service is held with a ceremony of flowers, during which family members and friends have an opportunity to briefly remember their loved ones and place a flower into the memorial vase. 

    The flowers will be provided by Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service.

    This year, the memorial will be held from 1-3 p.m. Nov. 6 at Fuller Lodge. Light refreshments follow the service.

    Those who would like to attend the special event are asked to call Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service at 662-2525 if they would like to participate.

    The service is grateful to Los Alamos National Bank for sponsoring this memorial service.

  • Schools, community rally around teachers

    The Los Alamos school district and the community have reached out to the district’s school teachers after many teachers voiced concern about receiving flawed performance evaluations from the New Mexico Department of Education. 

    The teachers also pushed back against the state department’s new teacher attendance rules, which many say have left them very little leeway when it comes to taking care of their health and family emergencies.

    On Thursday, school district officials took a proactive stance on the issue, seeking clarification on the new attendance rules from the NMPED, and submitting 80 appeals to the department on behalf of teachers who said their evaluations were flawed.

    Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus said the third issue the district is working on with the NMPED is teacher peer groups, where teachers are grouped together in accordance to their skill level and experience.  

    At an Oct. 11 school board meeting, many complained the NMPED included on their evaluations tests their students didn’t participate in that were used to factor teacher scores. Some said the number of students they taught also was incorrect.