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Today's News

  • Letter warns students about walkout protests of testing

    Around the state, there have been reports of walkouts at several public schools in protest of the state’s evaluation testing.
    As of Wednesday morning, there hadn’t been any at Los Alamos Public Schools. And Superintendent Gene Schmidt wants to keep it that way.
    LAPS released a letter to the press Tuesday afternoon warning students about the possible consequences of walking out on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing, which many teachers, students and parents have complained about on social media.
    Schmidt said in his letter LAPS was “aware of campaigns on social media” encouraging local students to walk out on testing. While his letter stated that the rights of students are respected, that anyone refusing to participate might “jeopardize their ability to obtain a high school diploma.”
    According to LAPS, the PARCC serves the purpose of a high school competency exam, which all students are required by law to pass in order to receive a diploma.
    Further, LAPS stated anyone taking part in a walkout protest would be considered unexcused and may be subjected to the district’s discipline system.

  • Today in history March 5
  • Vaccination resolution passes

    The Los Alamos County Council unanimously passed a resolution urging parents to vaccinate their children Tuesday night.
    Councilor David Izraelevitz introduced the resolution due to concern about the high number of vaccination exemptions in the county.
    Requests for exemptions have been rising statewide, going from 2,845 in 2012 to 3,335 in 2014.
    Although the county’s overall immunization rate is at 93 percent, with the highest rate in the state for adult immunization, the data is less encouraging for children.
    Los Alamos is second in the state for the number of vaccine exemptions, with 30.6 exemptions per 1,000, or 3 percent, for children 4-18 years.
    Los Alamos Public Schools physician Dr. Mike Nichols, who is also a physician at the Los Alamos Children’s Clinic, believes that number may be even higher among homeschooled children.
    “Given that Los Alamos is an employment center, with a lot of people commuting from all over Northern New Mexico, we have a fairly high number of out-of-district kids that travel out of the county and for business and pleasure there’s a high rate of international travel, it seemed appropriate to consider this in Los Alamos because this risk would be magnified and spread once it reached us,” Izraelevitz said.

  • On The Docket 3-4-15

    March 2

    Brock A. Koehler was found guilty by the Los Alamos Magistrate Court of assault.
    The defendant is to serve 180 days at the Los Alamos County Detention Center, all suspended. Defendant must also undergo 180 days of supervised probation and pay $73 in court costs.
    Probation conditions include: Defendant will obey all laws and not be arrested, indicted, charged or convicted of any other offense. Defendant will comply with all court ordered conditions of probation. Defendant shall not possess or consume alcohol or enter a liquor establishment and commit to paying $25 a month probation fees to the Los Alamos Municipal Court. Defendant shall not possess a firearm, destructive device or weapon.
    Defendant will meet with probation officers within seven days and maintain contact as instructed.

    March 3

  • CEO: Oil will remain cheap

    NEW YORK (AP) — Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson expects the price of oil to remain low over the next two years because of ample global supplies and relatively weak economic growth.
    “People kinda need to settle in for a while,” Tillerson said at the company’s annual investor conference in New York.
    In a presentation to investors outlining its business plans through 2017, Exxon assumes a price of $55 a barrel for global crude. That’s $5 below where Brent crude, the most important global benchmark, traded on Wednesday. It’s about half of what Brent averaged between 2011 and the middle of last year.
    The price of oil plunged in the second half of 2014 when it became apparent that production was outpacing global demand. U.S. production was particularly robust, with the increase of 1.5 million barrels per day being the third largest on record, according to a report from BP. Meanwhile, weakening economic conditions in China, Japan and Europe slowed the growth in oil demand.
    BP CEO Bob Dudley made remarks similar to Tillerson’s in a recent call with investors. The CEOs comments reflect an increasingly common industry view that new sources of oil around the globe, relatively slow growth in demand, and large amounts of crude in storage will keep a lid on prices for the foreseeable future.

  • Native American businesses receive grants

    Los Alamos National Security announced Tuesday six Native American-owned businesses have been awarded grants through LANS’ Native American Venture Acceleration Fund.
    The grants awarded by LANS totaled $60,000.
    “Our Native American Venture Acceleration Fund has become an important resource in the region for tribally held businesses,” said Kurt Steinhaus, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Community Programs Office. “Funds invested into these entrepreneurs helps sustain and grow employment in and around our Northern New Mexico pueblos.”
    Venture Acceleration Fund grants, according to LANS, are designed to help recipients create jobs and ultimately diversify the Northern New Mexico economy.
    The fund is managed by the Regional Development Corporation.
    LANS said more than $200,000 has been generated by the fund.
    In the past two years, nearly $700,000 in new revenue was generated by Native American-owned companies. The newest grant recipients are as follows:

    • Walatowa Timber, Jemez Pueblo: to develop business and manufacturing plans for timber products and expand into the wood pellet industry.

    • High Water Mark, Cochiti Pueblo: to purchase geographic information operating software.

  • Update 3-4-15

    Public Schools

    Los Alamos Public Schools will hold a forum at 7 p.m. today for the public to hear from superintendent candidate Kurt Steinhaus.The forum will be at Los Alamos High School’s speech theater.

    School board

    The Los Alamos School Board will go into closed executive session Thursday at 5 p.m. Following the session a motion may be made to present a job to one of the two finalist candidates. It will be at the Public Schools administration building.

    Construction

    The project manager overseeing Western Area Phase 3 construction will speak at a meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. March 11.

    'Mister Roberts'

    The Los Alamos Elks Lodge will host a promotional event for Los Alamos Little Theatre’s production of “Mister Roberts” at 6 p.m. Thursday.

    Free Film Series

    The Free Film Series will feature the movie “Of Gods and Men” at the Mesa Public Library upstairs meeting rooms. Showtime is 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

    P & Z meeting
    Planning and zoning will meet at 5:30 p.m. March 11 at the Municipal Building.

  • McDonald's to use chickens raised without antibiotics

    NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald’s says it plans to start using chicken raised without antibiotics commonly used in humans, and milk from cows that are not treated with an artificial growth hormone.
    The company says the chicken change will take place within the next two years. It says suppliers will still be able to use a type of antibiotic called ionophores that keep chickens healthy and aren’t used in humans. The milk change will take place later this year.
    Many cattle, hog and poultry producers give their livestock antibiotics to make them grow faster and ensure they are healthy. The practice has become a public health issue, with officials saying it can lead to germs becoming resistant to drugs so that they’re no longer effective in treating a particular illness in humans.
    Chipotle and Panera already say they serve chicken raised without antibiotics, but the announcement by McDonald’s is notable because of its size; the company has more than 14,000 U.S. locations. Chipotle has nearly 1,800 locations, while Panera has almost 1,900 locations.

  • Today in history March 4
  • Court is divided on subsidies

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court was sharply divided Wednesday in the latest challenge to President Barack Obama’s health overhaul, this time over the tax subsidies that make insurance affordable for millions of Americans.
    The justices aggressively questioned lawyers on both sides of what Justice Elena Kagan called “this never-ending saga,” the latest politically charged fight over the Affordable Care Act.
    Chief Justice John Roberts said almost nothing in nearly 90 minutes of back-and-forth, and Justice Anthony Kennedy’s questions did not make clear how he will come out. Roberts was the decisive vote to uphold the law in 2012.
    Otherwise, the same liberal-conservative divide that characterized the earlier case was evident.
    Opponents of the law say that only residents of states that set up their own insurance markets can get federal subsidies to help pay their premiums. The administration says the law provides for subsidies in all 50 states.
    The liberal justices peppered lawyer Michael Carvin almost from the outset of his argument to limit the subsidies.
    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the law set up flexibility for states to either set up their own markets or rely on the federal healthcare.gov.