Today's News

  • Council tentatively approves 4 budgets

    The Los Alamos County Council tentatively approved four more budgets during Tuesday night’s budget hearings.
    The County Assessor’s budget of $608,682 was tentatively approved, but council rejected Assessor Ken Milder’s request for an additional $12,037 in General Fund expenditures. County Manager Harry Burgess had moved that amount to the Property Valuation Fund after discussion with Milder about how to meet council’s request for a flat budget. Milder disagreed with Burgess’s decision. Follow the Los Alamos Monitor for more on that story.
    The $17,166,687 County Manager’s budget was tentatively approved unanimously. That includes $3,519,671 for the General Fund, $278,219 for Lodgers’ Tax expenditures, $3,386,500 for Economic Development and $9,982,297 for Risk Management.
    The motion to approve included $295,000 for six additional requests, which included funding for signage and other items related to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park (MPNHP), maintaining last year’s funding level for Progress through Partnering initiatives and $10,000 to bring a “big name” to ScienceFest in order to increase attendance.

  • Community Services gets budget approval

    Supporters of various organizations that receive funding through Los Alamos County’s Community Services Department packed council chambers during Tuesday’s budget hearings to support those entities’ requests for more funding.
    Their efforts were largely successful, at least in the initial round of voting. Twenty-five of 28 optional budget items received tentative council approval. All motions are tentative until council casts its vote to approve the entire fiscal year 2017 budget.
    The flat budget Community Services Department (CSD) Director Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan presented to council was $11,883,895. It received unanimous approval.
    Councilors David Izraelevitz and Kristin Henderson cast the only votes in favor of $2,500 to provide additional program staff support for various volunteer driven events, primarily for the triathlon. Additional funding would have expanded the responsibilities of a support position for running the event and provided additional funding for prizes and food and drink. The triathlon is currently an all-volunteer effort.
    “This is a longstanding event that we need to nurture, and it adds to our quality of life,” Izraelevitz said.

  • Man arrested for theft of LANL tools

    A 52-year-old Española man has been arrested for reportedly trying to steal at least $12,673 in tools and equipment from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in September 2015.
    Richard Atencio was charged with crimes related to the theft April 4, pending an investigation.
    Atencio was caught north of Tech Area 18 after an eyewitness said he saw Atencio taking the equipment out of his car and tossing the items into the bushes on the side of a road near the technical area.
    The witness told the police at the scene where the tools were found that the suspect drove a car, but he did not get the color. However, the witness also said the suspect was wearing a brown shirt.
    Items recovered at the scene included a band saw valued at $5,493, and two dollies valued at $7,180.
    Police were able to match the exact price of the items through records kept by LANL. Other stolen items included a box of pipe fittings, two pairs of work gloves, a bottle of liquid cleaning agent, a yellow roll of tape, a silver metal transport hitch, two rolls of white tape, blue and silver tow rope, and a green water hose.
    One of the tools was found to be radioactive, which prompted all employees who may have had contact with the tools to be called to TA 54 to be tested.

  • VIDEO: Hear and see the Strike-a-Sound Ensemble

     The "Strike-a-Sound Ensemble, from Mountain Elementary, perform "I Caught A Fish Alive" at the April 12 meeting of the Los Alamos School Board

  • New Mexico says more families eligible for child care help

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has launched a push to get more eligible families to apply for federally-funded child care assistance and announced Thursday the state will expand eligibility requirements until late May

    The Republican governor said the effort is needed to get families to seek assistance for a program that some might not even know exists.

    Under the new changes, New Mexico families earning as much as 200 percent of the federal poverty line — an increase from the previous 150 percent — may apply for the child care assistance program.

    That's means a family of four earning around $48,600 or less a year is now eligible. Before the expansion, the same family earning more than around $36,000 a year would not have been eligible for the services.

    The program subsidizes the cost of child care for low-income families who are working or going to school and need child care.

    "With this expansion, we will be providing safe and reliable child care to more families who need it the most," Martinez said. "This program is one of our most important resources for helping to prevent child abuse, and I encourage New Mexico families who need it to apply for our child care assistance."

  • Today in history April 21
  • Council OKs 7 budgets Monday

    The Los Alamos County Council tentatively approved seven departmental budgets on the first night of budget hearings Monday, including all requests for funding above and beyond the flat budgets each department put forward.
    All were approved by a 7−0 vote except for the budget for the sheriff’s department.
    During budget guidance, council asked County Manager Harry Burgess to present a flat budget this year, along with a list of optional additions.
    The probate court ($5,885) and the county attorney ($683,762) departments had no requests for additional resources. The attorney office’s budget has actually decreased due to a retirement.
    Councilor David Izraelevitz asked that $15,000 be added to the council budget to provide training opportunities for councilors. That was approved unanimously.
    The fire department budget increased 13 percent this year to $29,376,361, due to the terms of the Cooperative Agreement with the Department of Energy (DOE)/National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
    The 10-year agreement changes the proportion paid by each entity. The split has been 80 percent DOE/20 percent county. That changes to 74/26 in the next fiscal year.

  • Teen Court gets budget boost

    The Los Alamos County Council tentatively approved the Municipal Court budget on Monday. Council unanimously approved not only the $461,010 flat budget for the department, but an additional $43,105 requested by Judge Alan Kirk.
    All departments were asked to report on what they were able to accomplish with their budgets this year (find those in attachment C in the agenda packet at losalamos.legistar.com). Kirk elaborated on his department’s achievements.
    One was reducing the amount of time it takes to put youth with misdemeanor offenses through Teen Court. In the past, the process went through the Juvenile Probation Office (JPO) and took eight to 10 months.
    “So here are kids that are being charged with very minor offenses, that are usually nonviolent misdemeanors, yet their family has been held hostage for eight months until they find out what’s really going to happen,” Kirk said.
     Now the court is working directly with the Los Alamos Police Department (LAPD) on a diversion program for nonviolent violations. The juvenile and their family are given the option to go through teen court. Once the offender completes the sanctions set by the court, the offense is removed from their record. Approximately 85 to 90 percent of offenders are choosing that option and are completing the program in four to six weeks.

  • Treasury official says Harriet Tubman will go on $20 bill

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has decided to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, making her the first woman on U.S. paper currency in 100 years, a Treasury official said Wednesday.

    The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of Lew's official announcement, said that the 19th century abolitionist and a leader of the Underground Railroad, would replace the portrait of Andrew Jackson, the nation's seventh president.

    Lew's announcement is expected to provide details on other changes being made to the $20, $10 and $5 bills.

    The decision to place Tubman's portrait on the $20 likely means that Lew has decided to keep Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, a victory for those who had opposed his initial plan to remove Hamilton.

  • Strategic Plan takes the cake

    The Los Alamos School Board adopted its new “Strategic Plan” last Tuesday during a regular meeting of the board. In January, the board decided to simplify and update the plan in order to better carry out the objectives of the board.
    In the past, because the document was so detailed and large, the board found itself only carrying out parts of the plan, according to School Board Vice President Jenny McCumber, who undertook the revamp of the plan.
    Three public hearings were held in Los Alamos and White Rock to get the public’s input.  
    McCumber led the revamp, with direction from the board and the public. The board opted to make the plan into more of a living document, which will allow the board to quickly test new ideas and discard the ones that don’t work. It will also allow the board to react to change more quickly than it has in the past.
    The vote to adopt the plan was unanimous.
    “I would like to express my appreciation to all the people who really worked hard on this,” said LASB President Jim Hall, who also specifically thanked McCumber. “Thank you very much for making this happen. I think it’s very worthwhile, and it will help us move forward.”