Today's News

  • Fuller Lodge ceremony welcomes 20 new citizens

    On Saturday, naturalization ceremonies all across the states marked the 50-year anniversary of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which abolished the National Origins Formula initiated with the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and cemented in the Immigration Act of 1924.
    The 1924 act based immigration quotas on the country’s 1890 makeup, limiting the number of immigrants from countries that were not represented in the U.S. at that time to 2 percent of the annual quota.
    The 2015 act abolished the national origins quota system, replacing it with a preference system that focused on immigrants’ skills and family relationships with citizens or U.S. residents.
    Saturday’s ceremony at Fuller Lodge reflected the impact of that change in immigration law, with 20 applicants representing 10 countries: Australia, England, Equatorial Guinea, India, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Samoa, United Kingdom and Venezuela.
    “One of the greatest things about America is its acceptance of everyone, no matter where you’re from, who you are, what you look like,” said new citizen Ralston Robinson, who moved to the United States from Jamaica 10 years ago.
    Chief United States District Judge M. Christina Armijo presided over the ceremony.

  • New citizens celebrate taking oath

    Every new citizen has their own story to tell about why they chose to become citizens of the United States and what that means to them.
    Kumkum Ganguly was one of the new immigrants who shared her story with the Los Alamos Monitor. Ganguly left India to reside in the United States 14 years ago. She has been in Los Alamos nine years.
    Ganguly said that taking her oath was “a new kind of feeling. More responsibility. More opportunity to serve the nation.”
    Ganguly is especially looking forward to the opportunities her new citizenship will open up for her work at Los Alamos National Laboratory. There are several projects she has been unable to participate in because of her immigration status.
    “So I thought that this high time that I take the citizenship and contribute positively,” Ganguly said.
    Geoff and Sabina Webb, originally from Australia, have been in America 30 years. The couple owns Figaro Systems, the company that creates the subtitles for the Santa Fe Opera, and makes their home in Santa Fe.
    Sabina took her oath two months ago. Geoff was in Saturday’s group of applicants.
    “We came for one year and things grew from there,” Geoff said.

  • Community Bank users can expect more services

    Los Alamos Community Bank customers can rest easy, according to New Mexico Bank and Trust’s regional manager, Alan Austin.
    According to Austin, customers should see relatively little change in the way they bank now and how they will be banking as customers of New Mexico Bank and Trust.
    In April, Heartland Financial USA Inc., the parent corporation of New Mexico Bank and Trust, announced a merger with Community Bancorporation of New Mexico Inc. By November, Los Alamos’ Community Bank, located at 1475 Central Avenue, will become a New Mexico Bank and Trust.
    “We are excited about the prospect of expanding our New Mexico franchise,” said Lynn B. Fuller, Chairman and CEO of Heartland, in a written statement. “Community Bank is an excellent fit for our community banking business model, and its locations match our desire to ‘fill-in’ attractive areas in or close to our existing geographies. Community Bank solidifies our presence in Santa Fe, while bringing the opportunity to serve new commercial and retail customers in Española and Los Alamos.”
    As a result of the merger, Heartland will be taking over all of Community Bank’s offices in New Mexico, including those Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Española, Rio Arriba and Albuquerque.

  • Community celebrates new Teen Center

    A 20-year push for a space for Los Alamos’ youth is finally realized.
    Approximately 250 adults and teens were on hand Friday to celebrate the grand opening of Los Alamos County’s new teen center.
    “Thank you for joining us as we celebrate the incredible teens that we have in our community, and for providing a beautiful space where they can grow, learn and explore who they are and who they are becoming,” said Teen Center Director Sylvan Argo.
    “Through the programming and enrichment opportunities we offer, we strive to build community and create a safe place where teens can connect with friends, mentors and, most importantly, have a place where they are accepted for who they are, a place where they are celebrated, encouraged and where they can fully show up with their questions, ideas, challenges, any emotions and creativity.”
    The former community building has been completely transformed into a comfortable space for teens to gather, with a game room offering foosball, pool and table tennis, a snack bar, a music room with a stage, a TV room with three big screen TVs and classroom space.

  • Music facilities get funding

    After 60 years, music rooms at Los Alamos High School will finally be getting some much needed attention.
    Public hearings on the renovations will be scheduled in November, according to Los Alamos Public Schools’ Chief Operating Officer Joanie Ahlers, It’s expected that the public as well as the school’s music teachers will attend and suggest what type of improvements they would like to see done to the school’s music wing, which hasn’t seen any significant renovations since the school opened in 1946.
    The school however was redesigned and rebuilt when Los Alamos residents voted to release some $20 million in general obligation bonds to help with that project.
    One of the more vocal proponents to bring the music wing up to date has been Jason Rutledge, the school’s choir director. At recent school board meeting, Rutledge and others remarked how difficult it is for them to host competitions and music events in the music area, where the tiles are falling from the ceiling and hardly any storage or practice space is available to accommodate the school’s music programs, as well as Los Alamos’ Community Winds orchestra.  
    At a recent meeting, the Los Alamos School Board secretary remarked they must do something, if only for the safety of students, faculty and visitors.

  • Museum caper suspect caught, pleads guilty

    William Ryan Skelton, 30, who was suspected by police of stealing money from the Los Alamos Museum’s donation box Sept. 25, made an appearance in Los Alamos Magistrate Court Monday and pled guilty to two misdemeanor charges.
    Skelton turned himself into the Los Alamos County Detention Center Saturday.
    Skelton was charged with larceny (less than $250) and criminal damage to property (less than $1,000).  Skelton was sentenced to 90 days in jail. According to court documents, Skelton entered the museum that Friday afternoon while visitors were present and took money from the donation box. He then ran to his truck and drove down off the main hill road (NM 501) to the Totavi gas station at the bottom of the hill. Police tried to apprehend him then, but he was able to escape.

  • Arborist testifies in wildfire case about utility standards

    BERNALILLO (AP) — A certified arborist says an electric cooperative wasn’t following industry standards at the time an aspen tree fell onto a power line, sparking one of the largest wildfires in New Mexico’s recorded history.
    Kevin Eckert testified Tuesday in a civil case that’ll decide whether the co-op and the transmission company that supplies it with power should be held liable for the 2011 Las Conchas fire. Attorneys for more than 300 plaintiffs say negligence by the two companies is to blame.
    More than 240 square miles burned, dozens of homes were destroyed and one of the nation’s premier nuclear weapons labs was threatened.

    Eckert testified a trained inspector would have spotted the tree as a hazard, but there’s no indication the co-op had trained inspectors or a documented vegetation management program.

  • Today in history Oct. 7
  • Recreation could suffer without SWCF

    New Mexico sportsmen are decrying Congress’s failure to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which for 50 years has supported everything from community parks to federal protection of outstanding natural resources.
    “The Land and Water Conservation Fund for 50 years has been used to create outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans,” said New Mexico Wildlife Federation (NMWF) Communications Director Joel Gay.
    “It not only affects hunters and anglers, but also Little League baseball players, moms who want to take their kids out in a stroller in a really nice park. It’s shooting ranges, it’s boat ramps, it’s just an incredible diversity. It is really just the best of what America has done, is provide opportunity for all.”
    One of the early LWCF projects was the development of Camp May Community Park. Other local projects include the construction of six outdoor play areas, the North Mesa picnic area, ball field lighting, the comfort station at Overlook Park and improvements at Los Alamos Entrance Park. In total, Los Alamos has received $88,829 in LWCF funding since its inception.

  • United Way focuses on community

    The United Way of Northern New Mexico (UWNNM), with offices in Los Alamos, has changed its focus over the years.
    “We’re no longer just a fundraising, grant-making organization,” Executive Director Kristy Ortega said.
    “Now we’re much more of a community impact program, where what we call the offseason in our office is spent working with experts in their field and people in our community to identify these needs, so that we make the best use not only of our grant funding, but of our time and our programming ideas and our convening of other organizations in the community to meet those needs that we’re finding.”
    Program and Marketing Coordinator Jeremy Varela cited Los Alamos High School’s Link Crew program as an example of that work.
    After two suicides at the school, United Way worked with a medical expert to help identify gaps is supporting students and determining how those could be addressed. Their expert recommended a peer-to-peer mentoring program called Link Crew, which partners incoming freshmen with two upper classmen to welcome them to the school and to help them succeed through their tenure at LAHS.