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Today's News

  • Community briefs 2-25-15

    Applications available for cancer retreat

    Applications are available now for the spring 2015 Family Cancer Retreat. The free educational program provides New Mexico’s adult cancer patients/survivors and their loved ones with tools to better manage the disease, treatment and recovery process. The retreat is scheduled for April 17-19 and will be at the Marriott Pyramid North hotel in Albuquerque.
    More than 300 people from more than 125 New Mexican families coping with cancer are expected to participate, making this the largest general cancer education program in New Mexico and the largest program of its type in the United States. Space is limited, so early registration is encouraged.
    The program will combine discussions and lectures by many of New Mexico’s leading cancer specialists with fun activities that provide a break from the day-to-day challenges of living with cancer.

  • Teachers at the Roundhouse

    Many Los Alamos teachers came to show support of what they believe is the course the state needs to take to help students. Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-43) spoke to the crowd of more than 600 people during the rally earlier this month.

  • Co-op celebrates four years in business

    The Los Alamos Co-op Market is celebrating its fourth anniversary Saturday by offering fun learning experiences for all ages, live music, food sampling, cake and semi-annual Inventory Reduction Sale.
    Celebrate community while enjoying interactive booths by a variety of nonprofit organizations including the New Mexico State University County Extension, Camino de Paz, the Family YMCA, and Pajarito Environmental Education Center.
    To show appreciation for the co-op’s member/owners, the co-op is offering a 10 percent discount on all regular priced items.
    The co-op will have activities for all ages this weekend:
    • All Day:  Member/owners save 10 percent on regular priced items
    • Start of the member/owner Drive
    • Free gift for new, renewed or upgraded member/owners
    •  Free food and wellness samples
    • 9 a.m.: Local singer/guitarist Dana Smith
    • 10 a.m.:  Shrubs & Switchels (vinegar drinks) by the NMSU County Extension
    • Chair massages by Angela Love-Storkan
    • 11 a.m.:  Bouncy House provided by Little Forest Playschool
    • “I love my Co-op because…” photo shoot
    • Learning on a cellular level by Camino de Paz
    • Environmental fun by PEEC

  • White House says NCLB veto to come

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House threatened Wednesday to veto a Republican bill to overhaul the widely criticized No Child Left Behind law, calling the effort “a significant step backwards.” The veto threat came as lawmakers were set to debate the measure in the House.
    Republicans say the bill would restore local control in schools and stop top-down education mandates. Democrats say it would allow billions in federal dollars to flow out without ensuring they will improve student learning.
    The White House said the bill “abdicates the historic federal role in elementary and secondary education of ensuring the educational progress of all of America’s students, including students from low-income families, students with disabilities, English learners, and students of color.”
    The White House statement was the latest in a series of veto threats issued by President Barack Obama since both chambers of Congress went under Republican control last month.
    A vote is expected on Friday, and it’s possible that members will vote strictly along party lines. That’s what happened with a similar bill in 2013.
    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the education measure “a good conservative bill that empowers America and does not empower the bureaucracy here in Washington.”

  • Update 2-25-15

    Authors Speak

    Don Usner, author of “Chasing Dichos,” will take part in the Mesa Public Library Authors Speak Series. The talk is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the library.

    SAN meeting

    A Senior Appreciation Night meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. in the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center training room.

    Fire and Ice

    Santa Fe National Forest will host its Fire and Ice Festival Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Father Fitzgerald Park in Jemez Springs. The event will feature live music, arts and crafts and a cross-cut saw contest.

    APP board

    Los Alamos County’s Arts in Public Places Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Municipal Building.

    School board

    The Los Alamos School Board wil hold a work
    session Thursday at Barranca Mesa Elementary School. A report on the 20-Year Facilities Plan will be discussed. Meeting time is 5:30 p.m.

    County Council

    The next Los Alamos County Council meeting is 7 p.m. March 3 in council chambers.

  • Parents have right to opt children out of standardized testing

    There is a lot of misinformation circulating regarding the upcoming Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test (PARCC) that will be administered to students from grades 3-11 this spring. I want to clarify the options parents have in deciding to opt their children out of taking this test.
    Many of you have expressed concern and, indeed, dissatisfaction with the intensity of the current amount of standardized testing taking place in our schools.
    One of the top concerns I share is the elimination of a parent’s right in deciding whether or not their child has to take the test. I was appalled to be notified that school districts are intentionally telling parents that they cannot “opt out” their children from taking standardized tests.
    This blatant effort to misinform parents is a violation of a parent’s right to choose what is best for their children and it is unacceptable. Our children must not be used as leverage in a misguided national trend of high-stakes testing in public education.
    The fact is, according to the United States 14th Amendment of the Constitution, parents do have a say, and their rights are protected by Supreme Court decisions, especially in the area of education. It is their right to choose to have their children take these tests or not.

  • Fate of Christians kidnapped by ISIS unknown

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State group militants have moved a large group of Christian hostages to a city they control in northeastern Syria, while they continue to battle Kurdish and Christian militiamen for control of a chain of villages along the Khabur River, activists and state-run media said Wednesday.
    Hassakeh province which borders Turkey and Iraq has become the latest battleground for the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria. It is predominantly Kurdish but also has populations of Arabs and predominantly Christian Assyrians and Armenians.
    In pre-dawn attacks, the group on Monday attacked communities nestled along the river, seizing at least 70 people, many of them women and children. Thousands of others fled to safer areas.
    The fate of those kidnapped, almost all of them Assyrian Christians, remained unclear Wednesday, two days after they were seized.
    However, the state-run SANA news agency and the Assyrian Network for Human Rights in Syria said the hostages have been moved to the Islamic State-controlled city of Shaddadeh, south of the city of Hassakeh. The United States and a coalition of regional partners are conducting a campaign of airstrikes against the group, and have on occasion struck Shaddadeh, a predominantly Arab town.

  • State House OKs $6.2B budget bill

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico House of Representatives has approved a $6.2 billion spending proposal for the next fiscal year that includes pay raises for new teachers and state police officers.
    The House voted 42-25 Tuesday after three hours of debate. Five Democrats sided with 37 Republicans in the majority. The bill now moves to the Senate.
    While most department budgets remain largely flat, the bill boosts spending for education, the state’s child welfare agency and tourism.
    The amount of spending in the bill is nearly the same as that outlined by Gov. Susana Martinez and the Legislative Finance Committee earlier this year.
    Both laid out plans in January — based on revenue projections available then — to spend an additional $70 million or so on education. But with less new money available due to falling oil prices, the bill calls for a $37 million bump for learning initiatives.
    The figure represents about 44 percent of the more than $80 million in new money available to spend.
    As anticipated, local schools’ and districts’ control over the money versus disbursement by the Public Education Department became a contested issue during the House debate.

  • New emergency manager named

    Beverley Simpson, the former state operations director for the Department of Homeland Security, is now Los Alamos County’s emergency management director. She takes over the post from Philmont Taylor, who retired in August of last year.
    Simpson come to the job with over 20 years of combined experience in emergency response, homeland security, defense, and advanced knowledge in technologies related to weapons of mass destruction and terroristic threats.
    Prior to her job as state director of Homeland Security Simpson worked at the Los Alamos Medical Center as laboratory direct and emergency manager.
    Prior to that position she also led a multi-disciplinary team on the DHS Radiological Community Preparedness Resources Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she provided scientific and technical assistance on radiological dispersal devices.
    Simpson is a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force Reserves where she serves as the principal advisor to the command surgeon for all aeromedical evacuation management activities and concepts throughout NORAD-USNORTHCOM.

  • Heritage celebrated at N.M. Culture Day

    SANTA FE — All states have their own unique cultural heritage, but how many can boast cultural resources that stretch from the age of dinosaurs through space exploration or honor the contributions of American Indians, Hispanics and the American West?
    New Mexicans were invited to celebrate the state’s cultural treasures at the Roundhouse Tuesday. Staff and volunteers from state-run museums and historic sites, as well as arts, historic preservation, archaeology, and library programs engaged the public through displays and demonstrations at the annual Culture Day.
    Culture Day highlights the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs’ efforts to preserve and promote this multi-faceted heritage. Secretary of Cultural Affairs Veronica Gonzales emphasized how important that heritage is to not only the state’s identity but its economy.
    Gonzales noted that although New Mexico did not achieve statehood until 1912, Santa Fe’s 1610 designation as the capital for Spain’s northern territories makes it the oldest capital city in the United States.