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Today's News

  • Marczak: Innovation is the key

    Monday was busy day for Superintendent candidate Chris Marczak.
    The day started off with an early morning interview on KRSN before heading off to spend the rest of a very long day being interviewed by various school board-appointed subcommittees comprised of parents, teachers, school administrators, the business community, as well as the Los Alamos School Board.
    By the time 7 p.m. rolled around, the time when he was to make a presentation to the general public at the Los Alamos High School’s speech theater, one would think he’d show some signs of slowing down.
    Instead, the general public got a man dressed in a newly pressed business suit and a crisp tie who didn’t have a hair out of place.
    Marczak jumped right into his 10-minute presentation about his background and what he was all about.
    “Innovation doesn’t happen with my position… innovation happens in the classroom,” he said toward the close of his presentation. “So what do I do to remove barriers so that more teachers and principals have what they need to be successful? I could sit up in central office and bark orders all day long, but unless I get out of my office and I get into the classroom and I find out what teachers need for kids, that’s where the innovation takes place. I remove barriers.”

  • Little demand for SNAP at market

    Families that rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have a difficult time making ends meet, especially since the United States Congress cut $8.7 billion from the program a year ago.
    Buying nutritional food for the amount allotted — approximately $4 per person per day — is a challenge.
    However, some of New Mexico’s farmers’ markets — slightly less than half — are making an effort to provide fresh farm produce to low income families by participating in the SNAP program. Those include Santa Fe, Española and Pojoaque, but Los Alamos is not one of them.
    Market director Cindy Talamantes said she would be willing to take the training and offer the program, but that so far only two people have requested it.
    “If we had enough people that needed it or wanted it, then we’d look into it. But two people is not enough to warrant the cost,” Talamantes said.
    The cost is in the amount of time required to set up and run the program. Farmers market must apply for an EBT machine, get trained on managing the program and basically operate like a small bank during market.
    SNAP recipients swipe their EBT cards and request a certain number of tokens or script to purchase at market. Farmers then return the tokens for cash, paid out by the market.

  • More cold temps expected

    Winter is making a late-season comeback with snow expected to return to the area tomorrow.
    The National Weather Service is predicting a slight chance of showers this evening, followed by a 60 percent chance of snow Wednesday.
    This will be the second snowstorm to roll into the area in just a few days. Friday night and Saturday, Los Alamos was hit with more than a foot of snow, which canceled several events around town.
    The good news for those suffering from cabin fever is that Wednesday’s storm isn’t expected to be severe and should be out of the area by Thursday. Only about an inch of snow is forecast from the storm.
    It will be cold Wednesday, however. Highs are predicted to reach just the mid-30s and lows will be in the teens.
    The NWS, however, is predicting a warming trend. Daily highs should approach 50 degrees by the weekend.

  • RECA award total is over $2 billion

    The United States Department of Justice announced Monday that it has now awarded more than $2 billion in “compassionate compensation” to claimants under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA).
    The RECA stems from 1990. It was started as a non-adversarial alternative to litigation for individuals who contracted certain illnesses following exposure to radiation as a result of the United States’ atmospheric nuclear testing program and uranium ore processing operations during the Cold War.
    In 2000, Congress changed the act its present form, which allows for lump-sum compensation payments to individuals who contracted specified diseases in three defined populations: uranium miners, millers and ore transporters, who are eligible for $100,000 per claim, participants in atmospheric nuclear weapons tests who are eligible for $75,000 per claim and individuals who lived downwind of the Nevada Test Site, who are eligible for $50,000 per claim.
    Compensation has been awarded to individuals residing in all 50 states.
    According to the Justice Department, nearly 43,000 claims have been filed and 32,000 claims have been approved since 1990.

  • Students around the state stage walkouts

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New assessment tests that have angered parents and teachers across the nation prompted walkouts Monday by hundreds of high school students in New Mexico who had been set to take the exams.
    The backlash came as millions of U.S. students started taking the rigorous tests aligned with Common Core standards that outline math and language skills that should be mastered in each grade.
    New Mexico is among a dozen states debuting the tests this year.
    Opponents say the exams distract from real learning, put added stress on students and staff members, and waste resources, especially in poor districts.
    Parents and students in Colorado, Pennsylvania and New York have already opted out of the exams. Others are lobbying lawmakers and education officials for change.
    In Florida last week, Gov. Rick Scott suspended spring testing for 11th graders.
    In New Mexico, a few hundred students at Albuquerque High School joined the walkout despite warnings from administrators that they could face discipline. About 100 other students at nearby Highland High School also left class as testing began.
    Students at both schools took to the sidewalks with signs and chanted as supporters honked their horns.

  • Update 3-3-15

    County Council

    A Los Alamos County Council meeting is 7 p.m. today in council chambers. On the agenda is contract for the Pajarito Environmental Education Center to manage the new Nature Center.

    Fuller Lodge

    A regular meeting of the Fuller Lodge Historic Districts Advisory Board is scheduled for Wednesday at the Municipal Building. Meeting time is 5:30 p.m.

    Public Schools

    Los Alamos Public Schools will hold a forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday 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. The meeting will be at the Los Alamos Public Schools administration building.

    P & Z meeting

    Planning and zoning will meet at 5:30 p.m. March 11. The meeting will be at the Municipal Building.

  • Chilean volcano erupts, thousands flee

    PUCON, Chile (AP) — One of South America’s most active volcanoes erupted in southern Chile, spewing heavy smoke into the air as lava surged down its slopes, prompting authorities to evacuate thousands of people.
    The Villarrica volcano erupted around 3 a.m. local time, according to the National Emergency Office, which issued a red alert and ordered evacuations. Local media showed images of the volcano bursting at the top, glowing in the dark amid heavy smoke and rivers of lava. Authorities worried that mudslides caused by melting snow could endanger nearby communities.
    The 9,000 foot volcano in Chile’s central valley, 400 miles (670 kilometers) south of Santiago, sits above the small city of Pucon, which has a population of about 22,000 people.
    “It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen,” 29-year-old Australian tourist Travis Armstrong said in a telephone interview from Pucon. “I’ve never seen a volcano erupt and it was spewing lava and ash hundreds of meters into the air. Lightning was striking down at the volcano from the ash cloud that formed from the eruption.”

  • School committee seeks budget input

    Those wanting “in” on how the Los Alamos Public Schools can best educate children, or those who feel like they have something constructive to say about how the schools are run will have a chance to speak up.
    The Los Alamos School Board as well as its 2015-16 School Budget Committee, in fact, wants to hear those ideas.
    From now until mid-April the committee will be holding a series of public hearings at Los Alamos High School to hear what residents have to say about budget priorities. Its second meeting on the subject will take place Tuesday at Los Alamos High School’s speech theater, from 4-5 p.m.
    The school district has to have its Fiscal Year 2015-16 Budget completed in two months. This year, it’s projected the school budget will be about $34 million, which includes annual funding the district receives from the U.S. Department of Energy.
    “We build budgets every year and by state statute, we have to present to the New Mexico Public Education Department a balanced budget,” said Superintendent of Schools Gene Schmidt. “In this case, we are in a hurry because we have to present our budget to the New Mexico Public Education Department by May 1.” Schmidt added that at these meetings there will be places at the beginning for the public to give comment.

  • Today in history March 3
  • ’Envelope’ help program spurred by LAPD’s Keane

    The lack of resources available for the homeless or someone escaping a domestic violence situation outside of regular business hours came into sharp focus for Los Alamos Police Department Cpl. James Keane one bitter evening.
    It was late at night and the temperature was dropping, threatening to turn the rain that was falling to snow, when Keane responded to a call about someone asleep in a front yard. Keane discovered that the person was under the influence and had nowhere to go.
    Keane also realized he had no good options for helping that individual.
    “I couldn’t take that person to the hospital, really, because sometimes you fear that they’ll become confrontational with the staff, or, if they’re under the influence, the staff won’t treat them for anything,” Keane said. “It’s just kind of a place for them to hang out. Plus, oftentimes they don’t have medical insurance.”
    Keane also ruled out asking if that individual could sleep in a church.
    “When you have someone you don’t know how they’re going to act, you don’t want to put them in someone else’s hands and risk a possible threat to someone who has no idea of what’s going on but is just trying to help,” Keane said.