Today's News

  • Prescribed burns continue in Valles Caldera next week

    National Park Service fire managers successfully treated 478 acres with prescribed fire in the Banco Bonito district of the Valles Caldera National Preserve,  north of NM 4 near mile marker 30. 

    Because the weather forecast for Thursday through Sunday is not favorable for smoke dispersion, fire managers will not conduct more fire starts during this time.

    Fire personnel are patrolling and monitoring the treated portion of the planned 1,200-acre prescribed burn area to ensure the fire continues to provide resource benefits in a safe manner. Ignitions may begin again as early as Monday if the forecast improves.  

    This was the second successful prescribed fire on the preserve this year. In May, fire managers successfully treated 1,250 acres of grassland in the Valle Grande.

  • Police Beat

    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.

    Oct. 5

    11:35 p.m. — Stuart Gwyn, 31, of Los Alamos was arrested for driving a vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor at Trinity Drive.

    Oct. 6

    3:44 p.m. — Daniel Delgado, 30, of Santa Fe was arrested for possession of a controlled substance on State Highway 4.


    10:48 p.m. — Mark Sisneros, 22, of Santa Fe was arrested for unlawful use of a license, driving when privilege to do so has been revoked at the intersection of Diamond Drive and University Drive. 


  • On the Docket

    Oct. 6

    Antonio Maldonado-Rodriguez was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.


    Dominic Browning pled no contest in Los Alamos Municipal Court to speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant’s sentence deferred until Dec. 4. Defendant was also sentenced to defensive driving school.


    Aurore V. Loranger pled no contest in Los Alamos Municipal Court following too closely and causing an accident. Defendant was fined $100 and must also pay $65 in court costs.


    Nicole C. Kowalski was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to display a current, valid registration plate. Defendant was fined $40 and must also pay $65 in court costs.


    Tai B. Bixby  was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of failing to yield or stop at a sign. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.


  • Victim of falling tree identified

    Officials of Bandelier National Monument released the identity Thursday of a female park visitor killed by a tree Oct. 3.
    Beverly Modlin, 81, was visiting from Wheeling, Illinois, was struck by the falling tree, according to Bandelier National Monument Superintendent Jason Lott.
    Lott did not say why park official withheld the information from the public.
    Modlin was with her children Susan Hines and Robert Modlin when the accident occurred, according to an obituary that ran in the Chicago Suburban Daily Herald Oct. 7.
    Modlin was returning to her car in the Frey Trailhead parking lot when she was struck by the tree, a live Ponderosa, that reportedly snapped in half.
    Park officials did not want to comment on details of the investigation, pending the conclusion of an ongoing investigation into the incident, Lott said.
    According to Modlin’s obituary, she was an active member of her community and her church. She loved music and was described as a “gifted pianist and organist” who  “taught hundreds of piano students in the northwest suburbs the entirety of her years here.” Modlin lived in Wheeling for 44 years.

  • LAHS to host financial aid information night Tuesday

    Los Alamos High School will host a Financial Aid/FAFSA Information Night on at 6 p.m. Tuesday beginning in the Speech Theater. 

    All interested students and parents are encouraged to attend.

    Cindy Black, guidance counselor at LAHS, and Jenny Duran, financial aid officer at UNM-LA, will provide information about FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), CSS Profile, Scholarships, Grants, Work Study programs and loan programs. 

    “This is an important first step for seniors and parents in planning how to pay for college,” said Mrs. Black. “With the skyrocketing costs of higher education, it is important to explore all the options available.”

    The LAHS MacLab will also be open for parents to complete the FAFSA form. FAFSA opened Oct. 1.

    For more information about the Financial Aid Information Night, please contact Connie Goettee in the Career Resource Center at 663-2595 or c.goettee@laschools.net.

  • Homeowners share energy-efficiency tips

    Los Alamos residents had a show-and-tell experience on energy efficiency and water-wise gardening Saturday at the county’s first Energy Efficiency Home Tour.
    Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) Education Programs Director Siobhan Niklasson proposed the idea to the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU). PEEC is contracted to do energy and water conservation education for the department. Five homeowners opened their homes to the 81 people who attended the event.
    The tour included examples of how to retrofit a home for energy efficiency or build an energy-wise home from the ground up. All had some common features, such as energy efficient appliances and lighting, energy efficient windows, but other features varied widely.
    The most visually impressive home on the tour was the contemporary, glass-walled home of Sally and Joe Fitzgibbon, which they built after the Cerro Grande fire.
    Both this home and the home of Tom and Rebecca Shankland incorporate passive solar orientation into the design. The homes are oriented 10 degrees and seven degrees east of south, respectively, to allow for optimal heating in the morning and shade in the evening. Both homes incorporate overhangs to shade the windows in the summer and mechanisms for increasing airflow through the house.

  • Today in history Oct. 18
  • Teachers speak out against policy

     It was standing room only inside the Los Alamos School Board’s meeting place Tuesday as more than 100 residents and teachers took to the podium to voice their anger and frustration over teacher evaluation scores.

    The teachers received their latest, annual evaluations from the New Mexico Public Education Department last week, and many reported inaccuracies and faulty data. 

    They were also there to report about the changes the department made to their sick days/time off policy in which the department has limited teachers to three days when school is in session before “points” begin to be taken off their evaluation scores. NMPED also made the new attendance retroactive to July 1. It also made it mandatory for all New Mexico school districts to count attendance toward a teacher’s evaluation. Before that, teachers could choose either counting attendance or student surveys for their evaluation. 

    Evaluations now work like this: 5 percent, teacher attendance; 5 percent, student surveys; 40 percent, observations; 50 percent, test scores. 

  • Local candidates rely on small donations, self-funding

    The second general campaign finance reports released on Tuesday revealed few surprises in the Los Alamos County council and clerk’s races. 

    Local candidates are relying on small campaign contributions ranging from $20 to $500 dollars, with most of those coming from local donors. Several of the candidates are donating and/or loaning their campaigns money. 

    In the council race, incumbent Steve Girrens (R) is entirely self-funding. Girrens has donated $950 to his own campaign since the start of the primary. His spending is well below other candidates at $253.

    Patrick Brenner (R) is also largely self-funding. The majority of his $1,777 year-to-date total – $1597 – comes from loans and contributions from himself or his business, EDJ ink. Brenner has spent $1,626 since the primaries began. 

    Chris Chandler and Antonio Maggiore, both Democrats, show the largest year-to-date totals, at $4,785 and $4,025, respectively.

    Nearly $1,100 of Chandler’s total is from donations or loans to herself. Chandler also had the largest number of expenditures, at $2,562.69.

  • Miles, founder of Monitor, dies at 95

    Dan Miles was a pioneer in many ways.
    He came to Los Alamos with the idea of starting a newspaper for a town that didn’t have one.
    He was one of the three founders of the Los Alamos Monitor.
    Miles started the newspaper with John Barnett and Mark McMahon in 1963, in a small office above a jewelry store.
    They started with nothing more than two typewriters, a headline machine and four employees.
    Miles was also a geologist for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    He died Wednesday at his home in Los Alamos. He was 95.
    His daughter Beki Welsch recalled some of the memories of her father’s time at the newspaper.
    As the Monitor’s advertising executive, Miles once secured an ad for the liquor store… and it ended up being placed on the same page as the police blotter and the DWIs.
    “The liquor store immediately cancelled their ad,” Welsch said with a laugh. As the paper’s main financial backer and money man, that’s just one of the many ups and downs Miles experienced in the Monitor’s early years.
    There was a bust in the oil business at the time, and they thought it would be a good idea to start a paper in Los Alamos.