Today's News

  • 'Reach' helps students cope

    For many high school students, high school is a fun and exciting time. Often, that time is marked with achievement, self-discovery and coming into one’s own.
    Unfortunately students also discover that those good things sometimes don’t happen without some rejection, failure and disappointments along the way.
    And some of those students become so overwhelmed by that they take their own lives.
    In the past three years, Los Alamos High School and the community at large has lost at least three students to suicide and those same years are marked with many unsuccessful attempts, as well.
    In response, there’s now a program called “Reach Toward Not Away.”
    Reach Toward Not Away was started last year by then Los Alamos High School senior Sophan Kellogg.
    Formed in the wake of the suicides by two Los Alamos seniors, the aim of RTNA was to extend an ever-present lifeline to students needing help getting through a difficult situation. The outreach program accomplished this through specialized apps, pledge drives, phone numbers, and other means of outreach and support.

  • Ketterling Accepts Excellence in Nursing

    Kate Kettering talks to school board members about her award at a recent school meeting. Kettering, a nurse at Los Alamos High School, recently received an “Excellence In Nursing Practice Merit” award from the New Mexico School Nurse’s Association.
    “I appreciate all the support of all school nurses and I appreciate your support of us as school nurses,” she said. “We feel that better health, and better learning, go hand in hand.”

  • RLUOB team gets award from DOE

    The Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building (RLUOB) Transition Team at Los Alamos National Laboratory received the U.S. Department of Energy Secretary’s Achievement Award for its teamwork and performance.
    LANL made an announcement of the award Tuesday.
    “What the National Nuclear Security Administration achieved with its contract partner on the RLUOB/REI Project is our goal — safe, high-quality, state-of-the-art facilities that provide a great value to the taxpayer,” said NNSA Associate Administrator for Acquisition and Project Management Bob Raines. “The NNSA and the RLUOB/REI Project team demonstrated that final metrics of cost and schedule can be achieved when clear expectations are set, the federal and contractor site and headquarters teams are aligned and all parties accept accountability for their role in project delivery.”
    LANL Director Charlie McMillan presented the RLUOB Transition Team with the award Aug. 28. The team consisted of Brett Cederdahl, David Gallimore, Tim Leckbee, Mark Myatt, Tim Nelson, Michael Parkes, Denise Thronas, Scott Warnock and Amy Wong.

  • Firing Up The Crowd

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper band and flag corps were out in full force for the season-opening football game Friday night at Sullivan Field. Los Alamos took on one of its oldest rivals, the St. Pius X Sartans.

  • LAPS ranked best school district in state

    This afternoon, Los Alamos Public Schools announced it had been named the top public school district in New Mexico by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Ratings, on a scale of 1-100, were taken from the Education department's Smart Ratings System. Los Alamos scored a 94 on the scale.

    According to the announcement, ratings wre based on math and reading proficiency, state assessment tests and other factors, such as student-teacher ratio.

    Los Alamos was ranked 14th among the top school districts in the nation with its score.

  • United Way salutes LANB for its efforts

    United Way of Northern New Mexico and Los Alamos National Bank announced a significant milestone.
    The United Way this week that the bank and its employees have invested more than $1 million into the local community through its partnership with the charity.
    “Los Alamos National Bank has been, and continues to be part of the platform, not only for United Way of Northern New Mexico, but for all of the communities they serve. We are lucky to have their philanthropic culture here in our Northern New Mexico communities,” said Kristy Ortega, executive director of the United Way of Northern New Mexico.
    To celebrate reaching the milestone, the United Way is hosting an event starting at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Those in attendance can get cupcakes provided by Ruby K’s.
    According to the United Way, LANB’s support has come from fundraising events, bake sales and through its employee giving campaign.
    In recent years, LANB has raised approximately $250,000 in support of the Community Action Fund.
    “Los Alamos National Bank recognizes the importance of a strong, healthy community,” said LANB CEO John Gulas.

  • Judge forces issue on N.M. teacher evals

    SANTA FE — On Thursday, Santa Fe First Judicial District Court Judge David Thomson put the fight between unions and the New Mexico Public Education Department’s over the teacher evaluation process on a very fast track.
    In February, the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico, the Albuquerque Federation of Teachers and several individuals filed a lawsuit against the New Mexico Public Education Department and the New Mexico Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera.
    The plaintiffs called the new teacher evaluation process “flawed” and a violation of a teacher’s constitutional rights.
    A request for a preliminary injunction was filed three months later by the plaintiffs in an effort to halt the evaluation process, saying that it was already doing “irreparable harm” to thousands of teachers across New Mexico.
    Thursday, Thomson heard from both sides on why he should, or should not, file a preliminary injunction.

  • Working the night shift at Los Alamos County

    If you have ever attended an evening event, class or council meeting, you may have noticed a county worker in a cowboy hat waiting quietly for it to end.
    That man is Event Attendant Phil Vigil, who has the lonely duty of cleaning up and locking up after everyone goes home.
    Vigil does not mind his solitary duties. In fact, he enjoys them.
    “I like that I’m on my own most of the time,” Vigil said. “Also, on my two previous jobs, because I worked at night, I spent a lot of time on my own and I think I work better on my own. Tell me what my responsibilities are and I’ll take care of them. I don’t need a lot of management. I’m a grown man.”
    Before joining county staff in October 2013, Vigil spent 11 years as overnight security for the Inn of the Anasazi, followed by four years with similar duties at Rancho Encantado.
    “That entailed a lot more than security when you’re working at a four star, four diamond property,” Vigil said. “I did everything there — valet, everything — but officially I was the security guy.”
    Vigil’s late shift at the county is a breeze compared to the 11 p.m.-7 a.m. shift he pulled at the hotels.

  • Violation notice is sent to LANL

    The National Nuclear Security Administration is taking a long, hard look at problems at Los Alamos National Laboratory, according to a letter from Frank Klotz to the lab dated Aug. 25.
    According to the letter, that was addressed to LANL director Charlie McMillian, the NNSA “considers the programmatic deficiencies in the LANS nuclear criticality safety program to be of high safety significance.” LANS is the contractor that manages the lab.
    Along with the letter to LANL, Klotz, who heads the NNSA, said LANL is receiving a Preliminary Notice of Violation (PNOV), which cited one severity level one violation and five severity level two violations. The violations come with a proposed base civil penalty, before mitigation, of $560,000.
    According to the PNOV, the Department of Energy conducted an investigation into deficiencies at the Plutonium Facility (PF-4) at Technical Area 55. Safety violations were first identified 10 years ago — prior to the award of the management contract to LANS — and continued as late as 2013.
    Among the violations cited included LANS’ failure to “develop adequate procedures and properly implement procedures,” train personnel properly and identify deficiencies that needed to be corrected at the facility.

  • Bandelier stepping up preparedness efforts

    2011 was a turning point for Bandelier National Monument.
    That not only the year of the Las Conchas Fire and post-fire flooding, it began with a severe drought that prompted backcountry closures and included manmade challenges such the discovery of a marijuana operation in the park, a critical electrical infrastructure failure, frozen pipes and a natural gas shortage.
    At an Aug. 27 presentation to the Local Emergency Planning Committee, Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott stressed the lessons learned during that time and the steps Bandelier has taken to address the issues. Those include asking for help, delegating authority and “over communicating.”
    Lott came back to communication again and again, and the importance of building relationships ahead of time.
    “You can’t spend too much time working together,” Lott said. “Otherwise, if I sit in this hole over here and other people sit in their offices and you don’t network, that’s how you get a Cerro Grande Fire. And a big part of that Cerro Grande Fire was that we didn’t have good relationships.”
    Lott pointed to a similar disconnect during the Las Conchas blaze.