Today's News

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Bliss to run for County Council

    The ninth candidate running for Los Alamos County Council, Republican John Bliss, was not included in the March 14, Los Alamos Monitor article “19-year-old student looks to make a difference, files for County Council,” because of Los Alamos Monitor press deadlines.

    There are four county seats available, and nine candidates, including Bliss, have filed.

    Other candidates include Democrat James Robinson, Republican Dawn Trujillo Voss, Democrat Quentin David Dimick, Democrat Tim Morrison, Libertarian Helen Milenski, Democrat David Izraelevitz, Democrat Randall Ryti, Republican Brady Burke and Democrat Sara Scott.

    Bliss is chair of the Los Alamos Republican Party.

  • 19-year-old student looks to make a difference, files for County Council

    By far the youngest candidate to file for elected office Tuesday in Los Alamos County was Los Alamos High School graduate and University of New Mexico-Los Alamos nursing student Quentin David Dimick, 19.

    As the stream of other candidates came through the county clerk’s office, Dimick, a Democrat, filled out paperwork.

    “I guess I’m a little nervous, but I feel confident in my abilities,” Dimick said. When asked about what made him decide to run, Dimick said. “It’s time for the young people of Los Alamos to make a difference.”

    Dimick’s dad, Denis, a Libertarian, said he was very proud of his son and his bid for public office.

    “Politically, I disagree with him, but I support him, because it’s their world, and they might as well try and make the changes they want now,” Denis Dimick said.

    Los Alamos County had few other surprises on filing day, but many candidates streamed in to the county clerk’s office to file paperwork to run for county council, sheriff, municipal judge, county assessor, magistrate court judge and probate judge.

  • Push for gun laws faces resistance in most states

    IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The campaign for tighter gun laws that inspired unprecedented student walkouts across the country still faces an uphill climb in a majority of states, an Associated Press review of gun legislation found.

    The AP survey of bill activity in state legislatures before and after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting provides a reality check on the ambitions of the “Enough is Enough” movement. It suggests that votes like the one in Florida, where Republican lawmakers defied the National Rifle Association to pass new gun regulations, are unlikely to be repeated in many other states, at least not this year.

    The student-led activism might yet lead to future reforms, but for now, the gun debate among most lawmakers still falls along predictable and largely partisan lines, with few exceptions, according to the analysis.

    Because Congress shows no sign of acting, state legislatures dominate the national debate over guns. And major changes won’t be easy to achieve in statehouses that are mostly controlled by the gun-friendly GOP.

  • US and French companies form venture for nuke waste storage

    HOBBS (AP) — A Dallas company and a France-based multinational corporation are forming a joint venture to license an interim storage site in West Texas for high-level nuclear waste.

    Orano USA and Waste Control Specialists announced on Tuesday their intent to form the joint venture as a competing group tries to promote its proposal for southeastern New Mexico, the Hobbs News-Sun reports.

    Waste Control Specialists had notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission three years ago of its plan to seek the license to build the facility in rural Andrews County, Texas, that would store spent fuel rods from power plants. There's currently no such disposal site in the U.S.

    The proposed site is five miles east of Eunice, New Mexico.

    Orano USA is a division of the Paris, France-based Orano company that specializes in nuclear power and renewable energy.

    The move comes as a debate over what to do with spent fuel generated by the nation's nuclear power plants. Backers of another plan to build a temporary storage site in southeastern New Mexico are pressing Washington officials to support their proposal.

  • Fire warnings issued for 6 states in nation's midsection

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The National Weather Service has issued fire warnings for six states in the nation's midsection.

    The Red Flag warnings issued Friday include most of Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, southern Kansas, northeastern New Mexico, southeastern Colorado and southeastern Missouri.

    Oklahoma Forestry Services has already requested and received firefighters and equipment from Alabama, Kentucky and Louisiana because of the fire threat that is expected to continue into next week. Additional firefighters and equipment from Georgia and Mississippi are on the way.

    Forestry spokeswoman Michelle Finch-Walker says they are positioned at various areas of the state and that could change daily in anticipation of which area is under the greatest threat of wildfire.

    Finch-Walker said the firefighters and equipment could be sent to any of the other states as needs arise.

  • LAHS students show support for Parkland victims

    Students gathered on the front lawn of Los Alamos High School this morning to show their support for the victims of the recent shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

    The event was organized by students and included a speech by state Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard.

    Members of the Los Alamos Police Department were on hand to provide protection for the students at the event as well as support to LAHS.

    “As the principal here my first concern is for the safety and well-being of our students,” said LAHS Principal Carter Payne. “We have a lot of diversity and individuality here and we’re happy to support and honor that and this was a way we could do that. We are happy to support the students in this manner.”

    LAHS student Sophia Jeffery thanked the administration for “its flexibility” in allowing the students to organize the event. She also thanked the League of Women Voters for being on hand to register students to vote and thanked LAPD for being present “to make sure our safety was not compromised.”

    After the crowd observed a minute of silence for the 17 victims of the shooting in Parkland, Garcia Richard addressed the gathering.