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Today's News

  • LANL hosts nuclear deterrence exercise

    U.S. and South Korean defense and diplomatic experts will conduct a tabletop exercise examining nuclear deterrence on the Korean Peninsula, a Pentagon official told reporters Wednesday.
    Los Alamos National Laboratory is playing host to 40 U.S. and South Korean officials for the extended exercise, which will look at deterrence methods in response to a nuclear threat scenario, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
    Lab officials were unavailable for comment on how long the joint exercises will be taking place or who the representatives are from each participating country.
    This is the second exercise of its type. The first was at U.S. Strategic Command in 2011. It is conducted under the auspices of a bilateral committee formed in late 2010 to discuss alliance response in the event of a nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Little said.
    Exercise participants will look at concepts, crisis decision-making and the requirements of employing extended deterrence assets in response to a nuclear threat scenario, he said.
    “The exercise demonstrates that extended deterrence for the ROK is credible, capable, and enduring, by fostering the joint study of deterrence challenges and by identifying opportunities for cooperation and collaboration,” Little said.

  • Outside political groups spent nearly $4M in New Mexico

    SANTA FE (AP) — Two outside political groups free from New Mexico’s campaign contribution limits spent nearly $4 million to influence legislative races, which ended up with Democrats retaining control of the House and Senate.

    According to a campaign finance report filed on Thursday, a political committee with ties to Republican Gov. Susana Martinez spent $2.4 million in the primary and general election campaigns. The group — Reform New Mexico Now — paid for advertising and mailings in 31 House and Senate races, including several Democratic primary contests, according to Jay McCleskey, the governor’s political adviser.

    A Democratic-leaning political group called Patriot Majority New Mexico dumped almost $1.4 million into general election contests. The group was formed in August and received most of its money from labor unions. It backed about 20 House and Senate candidates, according to Craig Varoga, the PAC’s president and a Washington, D.C.-based Democratic strategist.

    The two political committees were the biggest spenders in legislative contests, and were free to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money because they didn’t coordinate their campaign strategy with candidates.

  • Update 12-07-12

    Swearing in

    The public is invited to attend the official “swearing in” ceremony for newly elected officials at 10 a.m. Dec. 21. in the Municipal Courtroom of the Justice Center. A reception with light refreshments will follow in the lobby of the Justice Center.

    Calendar

    To kick off its 50th anniversary celebration next year, the Los Alamos Monitor will distribute a commemorative 2013 calendar Sunday Dec. 9. Look for it inside your newspaper.

    Make a craft

    Make holiday crafts during WinterFest at Mesa Public Library. Just drop in and make a free seasonal craft project. Kids and parents are welcome. Go to Youth Services downstairs from 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Call 662-8258 for more info., email ysweb@lacnm.us or visit the calendar at losalamosnm.us/library.

    DWI council

    The Los Alamos County DWI Planning Council will meet at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 11 at the Los Alamos Police Department Training Room, 2500 Trinity Dr., Suite A.

    Have a news tip?

    Send press releases, photos and videos to laeditor@lamonitor.com or contact the newsroom at 662-4185.

  • N.M. 502 plan to get revisions

    The Los Alamos County Public Works department will present a revised plan for N.M. 502 improvements to council at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 in council chambers.

    A plan approved by council last February was bounced by the New Mexico Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration after traffic studies determined that the Level of Service for side streets Arroyo Lane and Sombrillo Court would not meet minimum standards.

    The NMDOT and FHWA are requiring that N.M. 502 be increased to four lanes through that area to address the issue.

    Staff has been negotiating with the agencies to find alternatives, since area residents argued against widening the road. The county’s argument that a “context sensitive solution” was needed has been rejected.

    If the county does not revise the design to meet NMDOT and FHWA requirements, the county risks losing nearly $4 million in federal funds earmarked for the project.

    Staff is also proposing a two-phase project for the area.

  • Police seek suspects in $20K coin heist

    Police are currently looking for two suspects in connection to a Los Alamos man’s missing gold coin collection.

    The coins are reportedly valued at more than $20,000, according to the owner of the collection.

    The owner told police he suspects his sister-in-law and her male companion may have taken them when they stayed at his house without his knowledge on May 8.

    According to the collection’s owner, who was identified only as a 57-year-old male living in the 500 block of Camino Cereza, the couple was staying at his house without his knowledge, and when he drove up to his house that day, the couple had a U-Haul out front and soon left without saying goodbye.

    Police are currently trying to contact the couple, who live in Austin, according to the police report.

    So far though, the police have not tracked down the 18 gold coins that are missing, even though the owner has turned over the serial numbers to police.

    “We are following up on a couple of leads, and we’re also trying to determine where the coins have gone at this point,” Los Alamos Police Department Acting Chief Randy Foster said.

  • Grieving Family Receives Shock on 'The Rock'

    It’s been just a little more than two weeks since an auto accident on N.M. 4 claimed the life of high school freshman Nikolas Ventura-Arencon.

    Friends and relatives of the young man received a bit of a shock recently when they drove by “The Rock” in White Rock.

    A message they wrote on the rock to their departed friend was gone. In place of the big “Goodbye Nik” message on the rock’s front face, was an even bigger “Marty makes 40 look sporty.”

    Also gone were the flowers and other items that friends and family brought to Nik’s makeshift memorial. It’s not clear whether whoever painted over it moved everything to the site of the accident on N.M. 4, but the red booster chair that was part of the memorial at the rock, has been moved to the roadside tribute.

    A passerby who saw the memorial wasn’t surprised.

    “That’s just the nature of the rock,” the passersby said. “It gets painted over all the time.”

    Ventura’s uncle Bernie Herrera, had a different take. He said his sister-in-law, Jennifer Ventura-Trujillo, (Ventura’s mom) is devastated that someone would do that so soon, and that the entire family is really hurt.

  • DPU structure gets scrutiny

    The Charter Review Committee’s intensive examination of the county charter revealed a major flaw in charter sections addressing the Department of Public Utilities and its board.

    At Tuesday’s council meeting, County Attorney Rebecca Ehler summarized the problem.

    “State law prescribes responsibility and liability for municipalities; and H class counties, of which Los Alamos is the only one, is included in that definition of municipalities.

    “The responsibility for what goes on in a municipality rests solely with this council. And by law you can’t delegate your liability that way to any other organization. We don’t want our government passing on its responsibility to organizations we can’t hold accountable as voters.

    “Under the current system of our charter, you’ve not been given oversight. So if there is an operational infirmity, you can be held liable ultimately, but you don’t have the ability to direct the operations to correct whatever that infirmity might be.”

    Under the current charter, the DPU is virtually autonomous. The manager reports to the Board of Public Utilities, not the county administrator. Council’s only oversight is its ability to appoint board members and approve all budgetary issues.

  • Church Listings 12-07-12

    Baha’i Faith
    For information, e-mail losalamosla@gmail.com. For general information, call the Baha’i Faith phone at 1-800-228-6483.

    Bethlehem Lutheran
    Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, a member of the ELCA is at 2390 North Road. 662-5151, bethluth.com. Worship services are at 8:15 and 10:45 a.m., with coffee and doughnuts served between services during our Education Hour of classes for all ages. The preaching is biblical by our Pastors Bruce Kuenzel and Nicolé Ferry, the music is lively, children are welcome and abundant and a well-staffed nursery is provided.  All are welcome. Come Join the Family.

    Bryce Ave. Presbyterian
    The church is located at 3333 Bryce Ave. The Rev. Henry Fernandez preaches, bapca.org, info@bapca.org. For information, call 672-3364.

    Buddhist
    Kannon Zendo, 35 Barranca Road. kannonzendo.org. Henry Chigen Finney, 661-6874. Meditation in the Zen tradition will be offered Wednesday evenings at the Kannon Zendo in Los Alamos.

    Calvary Chapel
    Sunday school classes for all ages at 9:15 a.m. Join us at 10:30 a.m. for worship and a study of the Biblical Jesus as He relates to people in our look at the Gospel of Exodus.

  • Ask Fr. John: Thoughts about the Mayan calendar

    What do you think about the end of the Mayan Calendar on Dec. 21? — AN

    It seems there are two common opinions regarding Dec. 21, 2012. One is that it signifies the end of the world; another is that it signifies a major world transformation.
    Since, for most Christians, “the end of the world” means “the second coming,” and since this can be a source of anxiety, this is the signification I will address.
    The Lord spoke clearly on this subject. “No one knoweth the day and hour.” Matt. 24:36. This includes the Mayans. For Christians, “the apocalypse,” is indicated by “the second coming.”
    The Second Coming is frankly none of our business. To think that it is prelest — the worst spiritual delusion. The Lord did not say, “try to figure out the day and hour.” Rather, He said “watch,” “be ready.” Orthodox do not live our spiritual lives based on the second coming, but rather, on the fact that he is already in our midst today, in his body, the church.
    Many Christian groups and sects have become so concerned with the end times that it has become a way to manipulate others, as well as a source of distraction, division and fear.

  • Bond to help schools

    On Jan. 29, the voters of Los Alamos County will have the opportunity to build a brighter future for students with their vote on an all-mailed ballot for a $20 million construction bond that would not raise the tax rate.
    The upcoming bond will fund the replacement of the academic wing of Aspen Elementary School.
    The bond will also fund a variety of infrastructure costs such as new sewer and water lines for several schools. The bond will fund other much needed infrastructure costs including replacement of windows, repairs to some locker rooms, and improved fire alarm systems. In addition, the bond will fund the design costs for renovating the music wing of the high school, the middle school gym, and the next elementary school after Aspen. Some funding from the upcoming bond will be set aside to reinstate the courtyard that had been value engineered out of the middle school project.