Today's News

  • LANS to fund $2.5 million in community projects

    Los Alamos National Security, LLC reaffirmed its investment in the community Wednesday, announcing that its board of directors approved $2.5 million to fund community support projects.

    The investment will go to support education, economic development and charitable giving in the northern New Mexico region.

    LANS is the management and operations contractor for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    “The board’s decision to invest in our communities and their priorities reaffirms their continuing commitment to northern New Mexico,” the director of LANL’s Community Partnership Office, Kathy Keith said. “In this coming year, we will strengthen partnerships with community organizations in order to have maximum impact for the Lab and northern New Mexico.”

    The $2.5 million is part of the LANS’ Community Commitment Plan, which has provided $32.5 million to New Mexico since 2007. The plan is managed by the LANL Community Partnerships Office. One of the main goals of the plan is to provide career paths and opportunities that lead to STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math) to area students.

    “With our continuing investments, an area we look to help spark and nurture an interest in is science, technology, engineering and math among students in the region.” Keith said.

  • Today in history Jan. 18
  • Garcia Richard thinks a balanced budget is possible

    Although Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard was eager to talk about her legislative priorities with the Los Alamos Monitor Monday, there was no avoiding the elephant in the room: New Mexico’s ongoing budget crisis.
    According to Garcia Richard, some estimates place shortfalls for the current fiscal year (FY 2017) at $150 to $200 million dollars.
    Garcia Richard sits on the House Legislative Finance Committee, which has developed a solvency package to address the issue.
    “The governor (Gov. Susana Martinez) has a solvency package as well, but some of her proposals are just too onerous, I think, for the legislature to consider,” Garcia Richard said.
    One of Martinez’ proposals that Garcia Richard places in that category is one that would decrease government pension contributions to the state’s two main retirement funds by 3.5 percent of salaries, which would affect government workers’ and teachers’ pensions. Both groups already contribute to their retirement fund.
    “LFC got to solvency without having to make teachers pay more into their own retirement,” Garcia Richard said.
    Martinez is also proposing a 5-percent cut to higher education budgets. Garcia Richard believes that higher education institutions have taken more than their share of cuts.

  • Former President George H.W. Bush, wife Barbara hospitalized

    HOUSTON (AP) — Former President George H.W. Bush was admitted to an intensive care unit on Wednesday, and his wife, Barbara, was hospitalized as a precaution, according to his spokesman.

    The 92-year-old former president was admitted to the ICU at Houston Methodist Hospital to "address an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia," family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement. McGrath said the former first lady was hospitalized as a precaution after experiencing fatigue and coughing.

    "Doctors performed a procedure to protect and clear his airway that required sedation. President Bush is stable and resting comfortable in the ICU, where he will remain for observation," McGrath said in the statement.

    McGrath later told The Associated Press that doctors were happy with how the procedure went. The 41st president was admitted to the hospital on Saturday for shortness of breath.

    "So it's just, how does his body respond. I don't think there's a whole lot of money to be gained betting against George Bush. We're just kind of in a wait and see mode," he said.

  • Lawmakers convene to resolve state budget crisis

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez urged lawmakers to avoid tax increases while making state government smaller and more efficient in the face of a budget deficit as the state Legislature convened.
    New Mexico lawmakers kicked off a 60-day legislative session Tuesday and took aim at closing the state’s large budget shortfall and finding enough money to maintain critical government services.
    Martinez outlined her budget plan in a State of the State address at the state Capitol and hailed progress from past policy initiatives on public safety, education and economic development.
    “Let’s not take the easy way out,” Martinez told lawmakers and state and federal officials gathered in the state Capitol. “There is a way forward without raising taxes on hard working New Mexicans.”
    With the start of the session, Democrats took back full majority control of the Legislature for the first time since 2014.
    Incoming Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf of Santa Fe urged his Democratic allies and Republicans to work in cooperation to provide greater economic security for local families and businesses, amid a sluggish state economy with the nation’s second highest unemployment rate.

  • Teacher evaluations top Garcia Richard’s legislative priorities

    Los Alamos’ state Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Dist. 43) plans to sponsor 11 bills during the legislative session that opened Tuesday. She spoke with the Los Alamos Monitor Monday about her top four priorities this session.
    Working with Los Alamos Public Schools to reform teacher evaluations tops Garcia Richard’s list.
    “The current teacher evaluation system really has our teachers demoralized,” Garcia Richard said. “It’s really been a blow to our teacher cadre – here, in one of the most successful districts in the state.”
    That effort started this summer when Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus and board President Jim Hall testified before the interim Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC) about the district’s desire to create an alternative teacher evaluation system.
    “They feel that with teacher and community and parent input they can really get at those components that allow us to recognize teacher effectiveness,” Garcia Richard said.

  • Authorities: Southeastern New Mexico sheriff killed in crash

    HOBBS (AP) — Authorities say a southeastern New Mexico sheriff has died in a crash.
    The Lea County Sheriff's Office said Sheriff Steve Ackerman died Tuesday as a result of injuries he sustained in the crash. There were no passengers the vehicle.
    The office says New Mexico State Police is handling the investigation. No other details were immediately available.
    It's believed that Ackerman may have been heading to Santa Fe for the start of the New Mexico legislative session.
    A husband and father, Ackerman was elected in 2014 as the top law enforcement officer in Lea County, which borders the Texas-New Mexico state line.
    Ackerman previously served as chief deputy and had worked for the sheriff's office for about 15 years. He also had worked for other county agencies and as an instructor at the law enforcement academy.

  • Snow day
  • Council to hold strategic plan meeting Jan. 24

    The county council has set an agenda item for their upcoming work session Jan. 24 to discuss the strategic plan.
    The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the conference room located inside Building 1 at Pajarito Cliffs Site.
    The strategic plan was first adopted in 2011 and goals are reviewed and updated annually by the council to provide direction to the staff, who then develop Management Action Plans (MAPs) to achieve the goals.
    The council will take public comment at the beginning and end of their work session and the public is invited to give feedback regarding the strategic goals, focus areas or areas that they would like to see made priorities for 2017.
    Citizens can track progress being made on the goals at losalamosnm.us/gov/council/Pages/PlanningOurFuture.aspx.
    The online and interactive 2016 Annual Report is provides an overview of the goals and work accomplished each calendar year. It is available atlosalamosnm.us/gov/Pages/Administration.aspx.
    The Jan. 24 strategic planning session is an informal work session for the council; the meeting will not be streamed or broadcast on PAC 8. The agenda will be available no later than Friday at losalamosnm.us/gov/council/Pages/default.aspx.

  • Reiss gives ‘State of the County’

    In his last act serving as Los Alamos County Council Chair, Rick Reiss presented a “State of the County” message at Tuesday’s council meeting. 

    A charter amendment approved by voters in 2014 calls for the council chair to give an annual State of the County address. Reiss is the first chair to act upon that directive. 

    Reiss described struggling with how to distinguish his message from the annual “State of the County” report given by County Manager Harry Burgess for the last five years. That report – presented at last Thursday’s Chamber breakfast – focused on the operational nuts and bolts, such as the status of county projects and finances.

    Reiss chose a high-level look at the county’s achievements. He opened his remarks with, 

    “I believe Los Alamos is a wonderful community with great amenities and beautiful surroundings. In summary, I believe the state of the county is “outstanding,” with excellent county staff that addresses the strategic goals of the council, operational excellence, which is the foundation of county government and comparable results that exceed our neighbors, the region and/or the state.”