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Today's News

  • LAPS to cut ties with federal school lunch program

    Los Alamos Public Schools will cut ties with the National School Lunch Program by next school year.
    The program serves the district’s five elementary schools. The middle school and the high school do not participate in the program because they do not qualify.
    The district has decided to leave the program because the portions are too small and the selection of choices slows the service.
    Once the new school year begins, students will have bigger portions of food, more variety and faster service, school officials said.  
    The federally funded program offers free and reduced lunch to students who qualify. By next school year, there will be funding in place to cover those students currently in the federal program.
    “The community will not see a difference in the food service structure and we will still be taking care of the children that require assistance. It’s imperative to the district and the board that we take care of all kids,” LAPS Chief Financial Officer Lisa Montoya told the Los Alamos Public Schools School Board Feb. 14.
    “We have listened to community and listened to what they’ve said they’ve wanted,” Montoya said.
    The federally funded program subsidizes the cost of lunch to students who qualify.

  • Supers’ plea to lawmakers: Save schools from further cuts

    BY MILAN SIMONICH
    The New Mexican

  • Automatic voter registration bill dies in committee

    BY ANDREW OXFORD
    The New Mexican

  • WR Complex opens Thursday

    Los Alamos County Council Chair David Izraelevitz and White Rock Senior Center Coordinator Annie Bard cut the ribbon on the new White Rock Municipal Complex Thursday, a project that has been years in the making.
    Accompanying them were Glenn Lockhart, member of the White Rock Master Implementation Committee; Project Manager Anthony Strain, Los Alamos Senior Services Director Pauline Schneider and County Councilor Chris Chandler.
    The complex’s Senior Center now includes a kitchen for hot meals, as well as ADA compliant restrooms and more space for recreation and activities. The renovations cost about $3.96 million and was one of the last projects in the White Rock Master Plan.
    “We are extremely excited to open up this beautiful expansion” Strain said.
    The improvements to the center include, new interior floor plans and finishes, new utilities and mechanical/electrical equipment, new ADA restrooms, window and doors, improved grading and drainage, fresh landscaping, and a new commercial kitchen and 1,200 more square feet of new space.
    The exterior has been refurbished with new tuck pointed masonry and fresh colors.

  • Water, sewer rates may go up by summer

    Los Alamos residents may see an increase in their water and sewer rates this summer.
    Officials from the Department of Public Utilities have had at least three meetings with the Board of Public Utilities over the rate increases. The department is proposing an 8 percent increase in the water rate and an 8 percent increase in the sewer rate.
    The reason for the proposed increase is to help replace the county’s aging water distribution infrastructure.
    “We are focusing on some of the capital replacement needs in our system that we have projected out over the next 15 to 20 years,” DPU Manager Tim Glasco said. “We feel we are going to be needing this additional revenue just to take care of some of these more pressing needs.”
    Part of the problem the DPU faces has to do with how fast Los Alamos was built. Unlike many U.S. towns and cities, Los Alamos and White Rock were created almost instantly – along with most of it’s water distribution system.
    The department is looking to replace the White Rock waste treatment facility at some point in the near future.
    “Unlike other cities, that grow over a period decades where things wear out and there’s a kind of a natural turnover, we have a little more of a logjam here,” Glasco said.

  • ‘Power of Pets’ to help animals

    Three Los Alamos boys have found a way to help the community through their love of skiing and pets.
    Aidan Ortiz, Stephen Boone and Jackson Boone hope to get many pets adopted and cared for through their love of skiing and ski racing.  
    The three have started a fundraiser event with the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area called the “Power of Pets.”
    The skiing event and competition for the whole family is set for March 5 on Pajarito Mountain.
    Proceeds raised at the event will go toward helping the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter.
    “This is about having fun learning how to ski and do racing,” Ortiz said. “It’s also about raising money for the animal shelter and finding homes for cats and dogs.”
    Attendees of the event can purchase a token for $3. Attendees can buy as many as they want, and each token represents one run down the hill. At the top, participants give one token to someone to race. Each participant and group will get their scores, names and times documented and announced.
    All money raised at the event goes to the animal shelter. Racers will also have the option of getting a group shot taken at the event for a fee.  

  • Manhattan Project NHP at Los Alamos seeks volunteers

    Volunteers are needed to help get the Manhattan Project National Historical Park at Los Alamos off and running.
    At least eight to 10 new volunteers are needed, according to District Interpretive Park Ranger Kirk Singer.
    The volunteers would work about three to four hours or more per week working the visitor’s center, or work on building more programs, such as planning guided ranger walks on the planned trails that will skirt through the park, Singer said.
    “This is the fun part, because it’s all new to all of us,” Singer said. “This is completely new every day.”
    The park was officially established in November 2015. The park preserves three sites where work on the atomic bomb was completed: Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Tennessee and Hanford, Washington.
    Federal officials said in 2015 the park will not glorify war or nuclear weapons, but will tell the story of the three historical sites from a range of perspectives, including the cities in Japan where two nuclear bombs were dropped in 1945.

  • Reward offered for info on burglary

    Police are offering a $250 reward for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of whomever burgled the Beall’s Department Store at 610 Trinity Drive.
    The suspect, gained access into the store between 2:30-3 a.m.  Monday morning by throwing a rock through one of the store’s display windows.  
    Surveillance cameras in the area  reportedly show one young male entering the store, running in, and then quickly running back out. All that appeared to be taken was one bra.
    “So far, we don’t think anything was disturbed,” Store Manager Valerie De Mello said. “We’ve been here a long time, and nothing like this has ever happened.”
    When the store opened Monday morning, neighboring merchants stopped by to see if she was OK.
    Police are currently looking through area surveillance camera footage to see if a suspect can be identified.

  • New Mexico House passes budget, tax package

    BY BRUCE KRASNOW
    The New Mexican

  • Senate bill allows state to impose steeper fines for oil spills

    A Senate panel approved a bill Thursday that would make it easier for state regulators to fine oil and natural gas producers for spills and other environmental violations. The bill, which advanced along party lines, follows years of sharp increases in the volume of spills involved in oil and gas production, and comes as major companies like ExxonMobil and Halliburton have shown a surge of interest in the Permian Basin of southeast New Mexico.
    Democrats and environmental advocacy groups say the measure would give teeth to an agency they describe as defanged by a 2009 court ruling that stripped away some of its authority to impose penalties.
    State data show a sharp drop in fines collected by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division since the ruling. The agency collected $735,500 in penalties in 2009 but only $14,000 the following year, according to an analysis by the Legislative Finance Committee. Penalties have been rare since then.
    The sharp decline followed a ruling by the state Supreme Court that said the division cannot on its own collect fines for violations of New Mexico’s oil and gas regulations. Under the ruling, the department can only ask the attorney general to file a lawsuit against the company in the judicial district where a violation occurred.