Today's News

  • House ed committee kills bill

    A bill that would’ve transferred $25 million in operational reserves from New Mexico’s school districts back into state’s General Fund died in the House Education Committee Saturday. The bill, known as “Senate Bill 10” was one of several the legislature has tried to pass in this year’s special session to try and head off  $600 million shortfall in the state budget.

    Though the bill passed the Senate, all seven republicans on the House Education Committee voted against it, effectively killing the bill for this session. Shortly after the vote, the Republicans on the committee issued a statement sharply criticizing the six Democratic colleagues on the committee for trying to keep the bill alive. 

    “We shouldn’t try to balance the budget at the expense of schools, teachers, and students,” said Dennis Roch, R-67, chair of the Legislative Education Study Committee. “This bill punishes school districts that responsibly anticipated the current budget situation and built reserves to protect their ability to cover expenses and teacher salaries. We must look for other alternatives to resolve our budget situation.”

  • Report: LANL to end on-site radioactive waste disposal at Area G in 2017

    A Los Alamos National Laboratory environmental report released has revealed that by Oct. 1, 2017, the lab will cease disposing of low-level radioactive waste on site. 

    “The strategy for both low-level radiological waste and mixed low-level waste is to minimize its generation and to dispose of all newly generated waste off-site… No new, on-site disposal capacity will be developed,” read a statement in the report. The report also mentioned that the lab plans to dispose of  low-level waste at “Area G” by Oct. 1, 2017.  

    The report also indicated that for 2015 the amount of plutonium detected in the air was nine attocuries per cubic meter, which the lab categorized as the lowest it’s been in recent years, because there was not much soil activity at the site. The lab was shipping the low-level waste from Area G to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad. That stopped when an improperly packed barrel shipped from the lab exploded at the plant in February 2014. The WIPP plant is due to resume partial operations in December.

    Greg Mello, executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group, a nuclear disarmament and environmental organization, was pleased to hear the news. 

  • Today in history Oct. 4
  • Fatality at Bandelier National Monument

    A spokesman for Bandelier National Monument said officials plan to release the name Wednesday of the identity of a woman who died Monday at the park.

    A female park visitor died in Bandelier National Monument after being struck by a falling tree. Park rangers were notified of the incident at approximately 2:30 pm. Park rangers, the Los Alamos County Fire Department and the Los Alamos County Police Department responded to the incident.

    The medical examiner and law enforcement have not completed the investigation at the time of this release. Park officials said the victim was an adult and that they will be releasing more information later Tuesday or early Wednesday morning.

    "Out of respect for the family, we are making sure that the next of kin is properly notified," said Acting Superintendent Jeremy Sweat. 

    Sweat told the Los Alamos Monitor Tuesday afternoon they are contuing to work with the woman's family and officials would release details Wednesday.

  • Let’s rise above partisanship to do what’s best for students

    Republican candidate for House District 43

  • Smart supply chains outdo rules

    Regulatory engineering, as the forms of it evolve, ultimately will prevail in the world. For some five years, these columns have pictured ways of using current technology to do better, faster and cheaper regulating. New “smart” tools are very good at inspecting, reporting and assessing what they find.
    Farther on lies the frontier of engineering that bypasses regulation. There begins the next generation of smart tools that do better things than merely instruct.  
    Over time, such remedies will slow the growth of rules. Competing interests will begin to see that smart tools take care of problems more reliably than politicking does. In due course, it will seem normal to look for a smart tool instead of a regulation.  
    A leading example turns up in an unlikely place – today’s mining industry.
    A persistent problem in mining is the loss that results when drivers of heavy equipment fall asleep at the wheel. The same problem plagues airlines, trucking companies and all who share the road.

  • White Cane Awareness Week is Oct. 15-22

    Special to the Monitor

  • Recent astronomy discoveries to be discussed at Nature on Tap

    Anyone fascinated by discoveries in astronomy is invited to join this week’s discussion at Nature on Tap from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday at UnQuarked Wine Room.
    Local astronomers and astrophysicists Dr. Paul Arendt, Dr. Galen Gisler and Dr. Rick Wallace will provide an engaging discussion about black holes, NASA’s Juno probe, the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, the night sky, and upcoming planetarium shows.
    Nature on Tap is part of a series of conversations about art, history, nature and science.
    Arendt received his Ph.D. in physics at Ohio State University and now works in commercial manufacturing and the Applied Research and Development of Materials department at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Galen Gisler spent his life studying astrophysics around the world before furthering his career at the LANL. Rick Wallace, now a thirty-year member at LANL, attended U.C. Santa Cruz to study numerical calculations of stellar explosions and nuclear fusion.
    Nature on Tap, hosted by the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC), is part of an informal discussion series started by the Los Alamos Creative District. At each Nature on Tap event, the topic is introduced by a facilitator before being opened up to the group for informal discussion.

  • Chamber to host insurance seminar Wednesday

    The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce will host a health insurance seminar from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at Wallace Hall on the UNM-LA Campus.
    Topics to be addressed will include:
    • History of health insurance in New Mexico and how we got to where we are now;
    • The Affordable Care Act;
    • Options employers have now;
    • What is and is not legal for providing insurance to employees
    • Forms necessary to provide to employees.
    There will be time for questions and answers.  
    The chamber will plan a follow up seminar for early November to follow up with new questions and address them.  
    The presenter,  Anne Sperling, is the President and chief executive officer of Vanguard Resources. She has 32 years of employee benefits training and is a certified instructor for the New Mexico Office of the Superintendent of Insurance for Group Health Plan training.
    Sperling is a trainer for Leadership New Mexico and Leadership Santa Fe. She is also an author and instructor for the University of North Carolina continuing education series on retirement and employee benefit series.
    Register on the events page of the chamber website.

  • Kerr keeps plan alive for civics course

    Los Alamos resident Vernon Kerr, 88, isn’t about to give up on the youth of Los Alamos just yet.
    Kerr, who spent 17 years as a counselor with the American Legion’s Boys State Girls State Program, wants to start a similar program with the schools.
    The American Legion’s program is a civics course for high school kids held in the summertime that lasts one week at Eastern New Mexico University.
    In that time frame, students learn how local county and state governments run, how to write bills and at the end of the week, they nominate representatives that go to Washington, D.C. and learn about how things run on a national level. Called Boys Nation and Girls Nation, the trip for the representatives is paid for through the American Legion.
    Kerr wants to do something similar with the Los Alamos Public Schools. While a trip to D.C. may not be possible, he envisions a similar course for middle and high school students that they can take as an elective during the year.
    Though he said he’s had some positive feedback from conversations he’s had with board members and Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus about the program. Steinhaus said he had a lot of respect for Kerr and the contributions he’s made to Los Alamos through the years.