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Today's News

  • Rose pruning workshop Saturday

    The Los Alamos Garden Club invites anyone who is interested to come to a special rose pruning workshop at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Memorial Rose Garden, to learn all about the care and pruning of roses.  
    Carlos Valdez from the Los Alamos County Cooperative Extension Services Department will conduct a workshop demonstrating techniques and answering questions about growing roses here in our environment.  Be sure to wear long sleeves and bring pruning shears and gloves. Attendees will get hands-on experience helping the Los Alamos Garden Club prune the roses in the Memorial Rose Garden.  
    The workshop is free and sponsored by the Los Alamos Garden Club. For information, contact Judy Handy a JudyHandy@msn.com or 672-9414.

  • ‘Edward Scissorhands:’ a timeless story

    Calling all topiary and Avon aficionados: Tim Burton’s classic “Edward Scissorhands” (1990, PG-13) will screen at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Mesa Public Library.
    In this timeless story, earnest Avon lady Peg Bogg (Dianne Wiest), unable to sell to her friends, decides to try her luck at the scary castle at the end of the street. In it, she finds Edward (Johnny Depp), an artificial man created by a brilliant inventor (Vincent Price) who died before completing Edward’s hands. Therefore, his temporary appendages – several pairs of giant, old-fashioned scissors – remain.
    Peg brings poor Edward home with her, and he promptly transforms her boring, pastel neighborhood into a fantastical land of well-pruned dinosaurs and courageously-groomed dogs. The women, all bored housewives straight out of stereotypes of the 1950s, adore him. The men, who exit and re-enter their driveways simultaneously each day, accept him as one of the boys, despite all evidence to the contrary.
    Everything is wonderful until Edward proves himself slightly more human than they allow.

  • Community Calendar 5-4-16

    TODAY
    Brown Bag Performance Series at noon to present “Trio de los Alamos” at the United Church of Los Alamos. Violinist Brian Newnam, pianist Cindy Little and cellist Shanalyn Kemme will perform in the Sanctuary of the United Church.

    Green Hour Hike at 10 a.m. at the Nature Center. Join other families for a kid-centered hike. Free. More information at peecnature.org.
    THURSDAY
    Nature Yoga at 6:30 p.m. at the Nature Center. Practice yoga at the nature center with Christa Tyson, where you have a great view of nature. Cost is $15 for non-members and $12 for PEEC members.

    Los Alamos National Day of Prayer at praise music 11:30-11:50 a.m. by Centerpeace (Filer family) and prayer time at 11:50 a.m.-12:50 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 715 Diamond Drive. Everyone is welcome. For more information call 672-3863 (Bonner family).

    Investment group meeting at 10 a.m. at Betty Ehart Senior Center. This is an informal group that meets weekly at senior center. Investment strategies, stock and mutual fund tips may be discussed, as well as general discussions about the economy, except that politics is usually avoided. Anyone interested in attending can contact Harry Watanabe at 662-6284, Don Blossom at 984-9995, or just show up at the meetings.    
    FRIDAY

  • Assets in Action: Compassion for transgender bathrooms

    This week, I would like to discuss the hot debate of bathroom facilities, which has ignited a fire storm in North Carolina and by default the nation.
    I think it is a fine time to dedicate facilities for what I will call general use or multi-use, whatever term you like best.
    You see there are a great many people that could or would never enter a transgender marked bathroom. There are many people going through major strife related to gender fluidity that aren’t able to discuss it or show it and may not ever or may not for quite some time feel safe enough to do it.
    How about we don’t set the school-age student up for endless torment by needing to make a judgement call on the spot that could create a firestorm or future judgement.
    Do you think someone of the opposite gender isn’t going to try and go into a restroom with the crass comment that they were questioning at the moment, just to do it on a dare? If so, how could we say they are or are not questioning based on our assumption?
    How about we don’t try to put labels on groups of people and just try to help people that may be in need some extra privacy for whatever reason is clearly none of our business.

  • Some ‘sustainability’ proposals don’t pass

    “Sustainability” permeates our world. But what is sustainability?
    Consider this comment from new Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent Raquel Reedy: “The fact is that our students move many times. Consequently, there is very little sustainability, very little consistency where children stay at one school the entire time.”
    Likely, whatever Reedy means by “sustainability” and APS sustainability measures is different from the meaning of the people who proposed sustainability resolutions for consideration at the annual meeting of PNM Resources Inc., parent company of Public Service Company and a Texas utility.
    PNM’s board of directors wisely recommended voting against the proposals.
    For those not owning stock, a brief primer is that corporation divides ownership into shares. People can buy those shares. I bought 1.5 shares of Disney for my new grandson, Christopher. Shareowners have a slight say in what a company does, depending in part on the number of shares owned. But shareholders can also ask the company to do things thorough proposals to the annual meeting or by asking questions at the annual meeting.

  • Former chief files response

    Attorneys for former police chief Wayne Torpy recently replied to an insurance company’s claims that he violated a clause in its contract that caused the insurance company “Union Surety  and Indemnity Company,” to discontinue long-term health benefits to the retired former chief.
    The clause stated that Torpy would be given the benefit (60 percent of his monthly salary) if he became disabled and could no longer work.
    Torpy became disabled in 2012 after suffering a heart attack and a stroke. Torpy was Los Alamos County’s police chief for eight years. He officially retired in 2013.
    While the insurance company initially paid Torpy his long-term benefit, it ceased after USIC reps said he was also receiving benefits from a “government plan,” which apparently are not allowed under the contract he signed when he signed on as chief. USIC claims the government plans were retirement benefits he was receiving from his previous job as deputy chief of the Melbourne Police Department in Florida.
    “The pension the plaintiff receives from Melbourne is not paid to him by a government entity. It does not meet the definition of a government plan,” according to a statement from his attorneys. “Plaintiff was fully vested in the plan before his employment (with Los Alamos) began.”

  • LAPS gets top spot in national report

    Los Alamos Public Schools have once again received a high ranking in a national study conducted through the U.S. News & World Report news magazine and website.
    The Los Alamos Public School District was ranked top public district in New Mexico. Los Alamos High School was ranked fourth in the state by the national magazine.
    The U.S. News & World Report’s “Ranking and Advice” issue and survey is a 30-year tradition of national magazine.
    LAPS’s rankings were noted in the “Education Rankings” section.
    “For public schools, we’re No. 1, because the other schools were charter schools and they’re able to get a higher ranking, because they’re smaller,” said Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus.
    Steinhaus said he found out about the achievement like everyone else, through the website at usnews.com.
    The publication has been coming out with the annual survey and ranking issue since 1983 as way to give its readers the best choice in whatever it is they’re seeking, whether that’s a new car, medicine or education.

  • Council OKs pay hikes

    During last week’s budget hearings, the Los Alamos County Council voted 6−1 to approve $428,674 to bring approximately 100 county salaries in line with the market. Vice Chair Susan O’Leary opposed the motion.
    County Manager Harry Burgess explained the reason for the request. According to personnel regulations approved by council, staff is required to conduct a market study comparing the county’s salary structure to other counties every four years, and to propose adjustments if appropriate.
    The Human Resources Division recommends positions for evaluation that have issues such as difficulties with recruitment.
    This year’s market study revealed several positions that were being compensated below market values, some as many as four or five grades below parity.
    According to Burgess, raising salaries for those positions also affects job “families.”
    “So if you have a certain position such as an equipment operator, it also typically moves parallel with an apprentice operator as well as a senior operator…We want to have appropriate spread between the various grades to incentivize people to promote through the ranks,” Burgess said.

  • NNSA manager optimistic about LANL budget

    National Nuclear Security Administration’s field office manager in Los Alamos Kim Davis Lebak talked with local leaders last week about next year’s budget, the status of the Los Alamos National Security contract, and various environmental and construction projects the NNSA will oversee.
    Los Alamos National Laboratory could receive more money for its billion-dollar budget than last year’s budget, Lebak said.
    President Barack Obama’s requested budget for LANL is $2.2 billion, compared to this year’s enacted budget of $1.95 billion.
    “That a nice, strong hardy budget,” Lebak said. “Our friends in Congress are doing their work was we speak... it’s a good solid budget, it’s strong, and we have tons of scope to do.”
    She also talked about the NNSA’s total budget, using numbers directly from president’s budget request to Congress.
    For fiscal year 2017, President Obama requested $12.9 billion for the NNSA, which is $357 million more than the enacted budget of 2016.

  • Council approves FY2017 budget

    Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved a fiscal year 2017 budget of $188,398,147 Monday.
    After four previous nights of wrangling over budget options proposed by each department, the vote for final budget approval proceeded without additional discussion.
    After the vote, several councilors applauded the process for this year’s budget hearings. Council had asked staff to present a flat budget, along with optional items for approval.
    Each department presented the flat budget as requested, then made their case for additional areas they felt required more funding.
    Some of those requests were new, such as the option to create a placeholder for a full-time county clerk’s salary (council will consider whether to change the clerk’s position to full time at a later meeting) or  $56,672 to staff the new kitchen at the White Rock Senior Center.
    Other requests were to restore funding that had been cut in order to maintain a flat budget. One such request was to return $29,677 to the Los Alamos Police Department’s budget in order to fully fund anticipated overtime. The Community Services Department asked for inflationary increases for contracts with service providers such as the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and the Los Alamos Family Strengths Network so they would not have to reduce services.