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Today's News

  • Winterfest is a success for local nonprofits

    For many Los Alamos residents, the holiday light parade and tree lighting at Ashley Pond are probably the highlights of Winterfest. But many of the day’s events are not only community celebrations but also fundraisers for local nonprofits.
    Kiwanis Los Alamos’ annual “Breakfast with Santa” raises money for a Christmas party and presents for area foster children in Española and for other initiatives that benefit kids. Both breakfast and photos with Santa are provided on a donation only basis. The Kiwanis also take in canned food donations for LA Cares during the event.
    Del Norte Credit Union sponsored the breakfast, donating $1,500 to purchase 150 pounds of pancake mix, 1,400 sausages, 60 pounds of liquid eggs, 12 32-ounce containers of orange juice, 30 containers of chocolate milk, 50 containers of white milk and five gallons of maple syrup.
    According to organizer John Arrowsmith, almost all those supplies had run out by 10:15 a.m. Arrowsmith and other organizers believe this year had the best turnout ever, with more than 850 people attending. Volunteers took more than 350 photos with Santa.
    “So we’re doing very well today. It’s exciting. It’s exciting to see so many young families come out,” Arrowsmith said.

  • Gun safes issue on hold

    The decision to install gun safes for the Los Alamos Police Department in the Los Alamos Middle School and the high school might not be decided until next year.
    LAPD Chief Dino Sgambellone is putting together a proposal to talk to the school district, but he has not completed it yet.
    Sgambellone’s initial idea was to install gun safes inside the buildings where they would be accessible only to police officers in active shooter or other emergency events, when they needed more firepower than what they normally carried.
    One officer is assigned to each school. The safes would contain AR-15s, shotguns, safety and first-aid equipment.
    “There has been nothing new on that…we are currently putting together a proposal that we will eventually discuss with the superintendent,” Sgambellone said.
    Sgambellone wants to come back to the district with a proposal that is acceptable to the community.
    “If we are going to do this, it will be in a way that makes the best sense for us,” he said.
    When the proposal returns, Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus said student and staff safety will be the No. 1 priority.

  • LAFD buys 2 wildfire trucks

    The Los Alamos Fire Department hopes its latest acquisitions will help with faster response times and better wildfire fighting.
    In November, the department bought a specially equipped Ford F-550 pickup truck and an International truck to help the department fight wildfires. The trucks will be called “Brush 1” and “Brush 4.”
    The trucks are the first ones purchased by the LAFD. All other department vehicles were bought and owned by the U.S. Department of Energy.
    To LAFD Wildland Division Chief Ramon Garcia, having equipment the department owns outright means more fluid cooperation with other departments in the region and more wildfire training opportunities for the men and women in the LAFD.
    “Up until now, everything we owned was purchased by the Department of Energy,” Garcia said. “If we needed to send something off the hill, such as to Tennessee to help fight the wildfires out there, we would have to ask the DOE for permission. Now, we don’t have to ask for permission anymore. If a department needs help, we can immediately go help them.”
    Garcia said the department had no problems with the DOE in getting permission to lend equipment to other departments.

  • Today in history Dec. 7
  • Williams won’t seek 2nd term on school board

    Los Alamos School Board member Matt Williams announced Monday he won’t be running for a second term. Williams made the announcement through an email to The Los Alamos Monitor that also included a public meeting about school issues he will be having in White Rock on Thursday.
    “I would also like to take this time to announce that I am not running for reelection. I appreciate very much the opportunity that I’ve had to work for the Chamisa community and the Los Alamos community in general,” he said. “I’ll make more comments at the meeting on Thursday. I would be happy to lead or assist in a conversation concerning our next LAPS School Board representative at the end of the meeting.”
    Williams was elected to the board in 2012.
    Part of William’s platform then was making sure the state kept its formula for distribution of education dollars intact.
    “I’ve heard that there may be changes in how the state is going to give funding to the school districts, and we need to have a strong presence at the state level to make sure we’re well represented,” Williams said in 2012.
    Williams served on the board during a time of many changes, including the resignation of former Superintendent Gene Schmidt and the search for his replacement, Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus.

  • New Mexico senator decides against running for governor

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall says despite the encouragement of supporters, he has decided against running for governor in his home state of New Mexico in 2018.

    The Democrat made the announcement in a statement issued Wednesday, putting to rest any speculation that he might be in the lineup of fellow Democrats who will be seeking the seat.

    Udall said he believes he has the experience to address issues that have plagued New Mexico, but that he can better serve the state by remaining in the Senate.

    He sits on the influential appropriations committee as well as panels that oversee commerce, American Indian issues and foreign relations.

    The senator said he consulted with his family, colleagues and some constituents before making the decision.

    Udall was re-elected to the Senate in 2014.

  • No public opinion survey on projects

    During its Dec. 29 meeting, the Los Alamos County Council decided not to conduct a public opinion polling survey about the 2017 recreation bond in advance of an election.
    Earlier in the year, councilors had directed staff to conduct a survey to gage public response to the upcoming bond and the proposed projects for inclusion, something that several residents proposed during public meetings.
    County Manager Harry Burgess explained that avoiding conflict with the November General Election and the Los Alamos Public Schools/UNM-LA bond election in January would mean conducting the survey in March, too late to compile a report on the survey results and make any adjustments to the bond proposal in time for a May election.
    Despite those issues, Henderson made a motion to conduct the poll, which failed for lack of a second.
    O’Leary made the motion to not conduct a survey.
    “I think we’ve had a tremendous amount of public input. We’ve been working on this since October of last year. We’ve had many town halls; we’ve had many individual conversations with citizens,” O’Leary said. “I’m comfortable that we’re going to be able to come together next month with a package that makes sense for our community.

  • Chicken coop catches fire on Connie Avenue

    Los Alamos fire crews responded to a fire call in the 400 block of Connie Avenue in White Rock at 3:15 p.m. Monday.
    When crews arrived, they found a chicken coop in the backyard engulfed in flames. Crews from Los Alamos Fire Station 3 were able to extinguish the small blaze without incident. The house itself was not affected. The owner was not home at the time.
    The fire was reported by Cheryl Avenue resident Arlene Merayo.
    “I was looking out my back patio when I saw some smoke and I immediately called the fire department,” she said.
    The incident did pen in a few residents on the street, but within an hour of the fire being extinguished traffic was free to move again.

  • LAPS lowered to ‘B’

    The Los Alamos Public Schools has been downgraded to a “B” by the New Mexico Public Education Department. The district received its annual report card Tuesday.
    “Overall I’m pleased with how are kids are performing and also well aware we can do better and we are going to do better,” said Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus, which was based on last year’s performance.
    The summary includes assessments of student achievement, school board qualifications, educator quality, demographics, expenditures and parent satisfaction.
    The report card included a specific grade for each of the district’s seven schools.
    Aspen Elementary and Los Alamos High School each received an “A,” and the other district elementary schools received a “B.”
    Los Alamos Middle School received a “C.”
    Students were graded in reading, math and science in grades three through 11.
    “There’s always room for increasing the percent of students who are proficient in reading and mathematics,” Steinhaus said. “We are going to continue to provide that extra support.”

  • Public meeting on wastewater treatment plant replacement Wednesday

    Residents are invited to a public meeting on the Los Alamos County White Rock Water Resource Recovery Facility (wastewater treatment plant) Project from 4 – 7 p.m. Wednesday at the White Rock Branch Library.

    Los Alamos County is in the process of rehabilitating and replacing the existing White Rock Water Resource Recovery Facility. The project is proposed to begin design in early 2017, with project completion by late 2019.
    Several alternative methods are under consideration to complete this action including using various treatment options to update the system and updating the facility infrastructure.
    The purpose of this public meeting is to review the preliminary engineering report (PER) and environmental information document (EID), seek public comment, identify issues of concern, present the range of alternatives considered and enlist public participation in development of the project plan.
    Agenda:
    4 – 4:30 p.m. – Open house
    4:30 – 5:30 p.m. – Presentation
    5:30 – 6:30 p.m. – Question and answer session
    Printed copies of the PER and the EID are available for review at the White Rock Branch Library, 10 Sherwood Blvd., White Rock, NM. Copies of available documents may also be requested from Julie Dickey, Marron and Associates, at the information below.