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Today's News

  • Bridging the gap
  • Investigation finds 7 more with deficient education licenses

    BY MARTIN SALAZAR AND MERCY LOPEZ
    Las Vegas Optic

    EDS NOTE: The jump on page 1 of today's Los Alamos Monitor should read: See PED, page 3.

  • Gun safe plan to be reconsidered

    The Los Alamos School District is going back to the drawing board with the police department’s plan to install gun safes in the middle and high schools following public outcry over the issue.
    Officials from the Los Alamos school district, school board and the Los Alamos Police Department said that when they do take up the proposal again, they will carefully consider the public’s input on the issue.
    A public hearing was held Tuesday night during the Los Alamos School Board meeting. The school board invited the public to weigh in on the issue after news reports about the idea garnered concern from the community.
    Los Alamos Police Chief Dino Sgambellone spoke to a full audience Tuesday about the proposal. He said he felt it was time the schools to consider allowing the police to install gun safes at the campuses, given the recent number of school shootings in recent years.
    Installing gun vaults, equipped with safety equipment, first aid kids and with more powerful weapons than officers normally carry, such as AR-15s and shotguns, would help officer respond to these situations.
    Sgambellone said the proposal was far from complete.
    “I know that there was a lot of concern in the community that this was a done deal, it’s ready to go, but we are not there. This is part of that process,” he said.

  • Mixed results for latest New Mexico teacher evaluations

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — More than 70 percent of public school teachers in New Mexico are effective or better when it comes to their success in the classroom, but there are just as many teachers who are struggling to make the grade as there are those who have improved over the last two years.

    The Public Education Department on Friday released the results of the latest round of teacher evaluations under a much-debated system that's the focus of an ongoing court battle between the state and teacher unions.

    More than 21,000 teachers received scores, most of them taking into account student achievement measures. The evaluations are also weighted by observations in the classroom and attendance.

    Education Secretary Hanna Skandera said she's pleased the data reflected an increase of about one-third in the number of highly effective and exemplary teachers since 2014.

  • Central Ave. work slated to be done Oct. 28

    The opening of the Central Avenue and 15th Street intersection Monday was a welcome milestone in the Central Avenue Phase 2 Improvements Project.
    The project is at the midway point, with substantial completion scheduled for Oct. 28.
    “The whole goal is to have the street open by the Halloween weekend so that the kids can do their thing,” County Engineer Eric Martinez said.
    With a month and a half to go, motorists will face several challenges in the weeks ahead.
    Construction between 15th and Knecht Street has closed the westbound lane, but does allow one-lane traffic eastbound. One-way traffic will continue when construction moves to the south side of the street, with a westbound lane open.
    Nighttime construction begins Sunday on the section between Knecht and 9th Street, when crews begin replacing the sewer line in that area.
    “If they can do a substantial amount of the underground utility work at night, then that would reduce the amount of inconvenience that we’re imposing,” Martinez said.

  • LA passed over for Super School project

    The Los Alamos “Odyssey Super School Project” discovered Wednesday it was not awarded the $10 million grant from the XQ Institute, but members are keeping their dream alive.
    The Los Alamos group entered the institute’s contest about a year ago in hopes of winning the $10 million to start another high school in Los Alamos.
    Once their plans were approved with the New Mexico Public Education Department, the school would have used the money to purchase a building in Los Alamos, hire teachers, enroll students and create a curriculum based on meeting the challenges of a modern day workforce.
    Members of the Odyssey Super School Project said that just because they didn’t win the grant, they haven’t given up. The support they’ve received surrounding their proposal has encouraged them to move forward.
    “We’ve talked to too many people in the community, which is probably well over a thousand people at this point, to know how important this is,” said Michele Altherr, a member of the Odyssey group and a teacher in the Los Alamos Public Schools.
    The proposal the group submitted included a curriculum that focused on challenge-based learning and a student’s mental health and well-being.

  • Firefighters honor 9/11 victims

    Dressed out in full gear weighing 80 to 90 pounds, Los Alamos firefighters hiked to the top of Pajarito Mountain on Saturday in honor of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives 15 years ago when the World Trade Center towers collapsed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
    Across the nation, firefighters paid tribute to the events of Sept. 11, 2001 and their fellow firefighters by climbing a flight of stairs totaling 2,200 steps (the equivalent of the 110 flights of stairs in the World Trade Center) in full gear.
    Pajarito Mountain is the closest equivalent that allows participants to make those 2,200 steps in Los Alamos.
    Those who participated acknowledged how difficult it was to hike from the ski lodge to the summit in full gear.
    “Yes, it’s very hard. And it’s the least we can do to try to remember what firefighters climbing up the stairs in the towers were doing at the time of the collapse,” said Firefighter William Nackers, who organized the event. “They knew there were people in trouble, so they were doing their best to get up and help them.”
    Firefighter Brian Palmer, who was participating for the first time, said it meant a lot to him to join the hike.

  • Judge: No probable cause in fake bomb case

    A Metropolitan Court judge found there was no probable cause to support a charge brought against a Los Alamos National Laboratory employee Tuesday after he was accused of trying to take a fake bomb past airport security in Albuquerque Sunday.
    The case against Jeremy Danielson, 40, did not meet the statute he was being charged with, according to his attorney, Dan Cron. The District Attorney could still pursue an indictment, but they would have to make a decision to take the case to the grand jury, Cron said.
    “It’s unusual for a judge to make a finding like this early in the case,”  Cron said. “In order for anything else to occur it would take some affirmative action on the part of the District Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque. Basically they would have to make a decision to take the case to the grand jury. We’re hopeful that they will see this case the same way the judge did and they will not pursue this any further.”
    Cron said Sunday’s incident that coincided with the 15th anniversary of 9/11 at the Albuquerque Sunport was a misunderstanding.
    Danielson, who was on official business with the LANL, allegedly tried to bring a device that he knew might be construed as a bomb through airport security.

  • August rainfall below average

    The summer monsoon continued from the end of July to August. Only five days were recorded for having no record of at least a trace of precipitation.
    August storms were not intense enough to exceed the average rainfall for the month, which was .18 inches below average, according to David Bruggeman, a meteorologist with the Environmental Protection and Compliance division, Compliance Programs group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    There was a report on Aug. 19 of lightning strikes near golf team members and coaches. No injuries were reported.
    White Rock measured .71 inches of above average precipitation.
    Several areas of New Mexico measured average to above-average precipitation.
    For the year, Los Alamos has measured 3.37 inches below average rainfall.
    The warmer-than-average summer ended in August, as multiple cold fronts moved through the state. Los Alamos and White Rock measured an average maximum temperature approximately 3 degrees below average.
    The second half of the month brought several days of cooler-than-average temperatures.

  • Police Beat 9-11-16

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    Aug. 28
    1:30 p.m. — Ralph Espinoza, 35, of Santa Cruz was arrested on possession of a controlled substance in the 1600 block of Trinity Drive.

    1:56 a.m. — Hannah Gutierrez, 21, of Los Alamos was arrested for breaking and entering at the Los Alamos police station for an incident that happened on 41st Street.

    Aug. 29
    9:14 a.m. — Anthony Montoya, 25, of Española was arrested on a magis trate court bench warrant at the Los Alamos police station. The original charge was shoplifting (more than $250, less than $2,500) at Trinity Drive, July 5.
    10:42 a.m. — Rosalinda Hurtado, 38, of Alcalde  was arrested on a charge of theft of a credit card at the Los Alamos police station.

    Aug. 30
    10 a.m. — Crystal Holguin, 28, of Española was arrested on a magistrate court bench warrant at the Los Alamos police station.