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Today's News

  • Nearby burns scheduled for Monday

    Officials from the Valles Caldera National Preserve and Santa Fe National Forest are planning a pair of prescribed burns in the local area.
    Burns in the area could start as early as Monday, according to caldera and National Forest officials.
    At the VCNP, a burn will take place within about an 2,300-acre project area in the Banco Bonito district, near mile marker 30 off N.M. 4.
    The caldera burn will could take between 3-10 days to complete, depending on conditions.
    Meanwhile, starting early next week, the SFNF has plans for burns about 15 miles north of Los Alamos in a 2,500-acre treatment area, which is expected to take two or three days to complete. Additionally, another burn will take place in the Cuba Ranger District area, although that will be located in a smaller treatment area.
    All the planned burns will get rid of dead forest fuels and pre-cut limbs and other debris.
    For the burn at the VCNP, officials warn of possible traffic delays on N.M. 4, as well as for visibility issues for drivers.
    Both the caldera and the Santa Fe National Forest officials warn of potential health hazards to those with allergies, chemical sensitivities or cardiorespiratory issues.
    Smoke will likely be visible from the Los Alamos town site from both the burns at the caldera and in the Espanola Ranger District.

  • Board OKs Barranca Elementary $14.8 million budget for construction

    Preliminary plans for renovation and additions at Barranca Elementary received approval of an estimated construction budget of $14.8 million by the Los Alamos Public School board on Tuesday.
    The project includes a new two-story classroom building for first through sixth grades, a cafeteria, administrative offices and a vestibule for two wings. The plan also calls for demolition of three wings of the current structure.
    The board approved the estimated budget, but the decision also entails putting off renovations of the field house and other structures at the football stadium until more funding is available.
    Initial estimates have risen from $12.7 million discussed last month with board members and FBT Architects to the current estimate, which includes furnishings and fixtures, said Assistant Superintendent Lisa Montoya, who is in charge of finance and operations.
    The project’s cost would come out of bond funds and state funding. 

  • Fireman's Competition

    Los Alamos Fire Department firefighter David Apodaca participates in a competition at the training center in Los Alamos Monday.

  • Education secretary visits Los Alamos

    New Mexico has a chance to be among those in the forefront to update science standards for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, said the secretary of the Public Education Department during a visit to Los Alamos on Tuesday.
    Adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards, also known as Next Gen, would put New Mexico among 19 states to embrace new science instructional requirements and updated content, said Cabinet Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski.
    He was in town to congratulate schools in Los Alamos for being among 121 schools statewide earning the “A” designation.
    PED has taken fire – particularly from the Los Alamos school board, local scientists and engineers and students – for modifications proposed to Next Gen, which includes switching out content on the human causes of “climate change,” for “temperature fluctuations,” and other modifications. Most recently the agency was the target of a letter signed by 61 scientists and engineers, Fellows of Los Alamos National Laboratory, published as an advertisement on Monday.
    The letter said the proposed modifications had “no scientific rationale,” and would tarnish the state’s reputation.
    Ruszkowski expects more discussions throughout this week, culminating in a hearing in Santa Fe on Monday.

  • Citizen's group urges residents to take code enforcement survey

    The Los Alamos County Citizens in Action group released a survey this week for residents to take on code enforcement, and more than 700 residents have already responded.

    Helen Milenski, one of the group's co-founders, put the county on notice about the survey at the County Council meeting Tuesday.

    "So far I'm not going to speak to what the analytics are showing, but we are getting a very good and fair and broad response from not just a handful of rabble-rousers," Milenski said. "I think it would do all of the county some good to reflect on this matter."

    Milenski said the response has been overwhelming.

    "One of the interesting things that was told to me before I did this is that I wouldn't get much of a response, because nobody cares about it. Apparently only the people who care about it are a handful of rabble-rousers who are all on social media," she said. "I have had almost 700 responses in over 48 hours (since the survey was released Monday)."

    The group, which has criticized the strictness of the county's code enforcement policies on private citizens, is hoping to persuade the county to modify the code enforcement policies through its survey.

    Some people at Tuesday's meeting used the public session to discount their claims.

  • LAPS board passes immigrant resolution

     The immigration status of students at Los Alamos schools won’t be recorded, or reported to federal immigration officials, under a resolution approved Tuesday by the school board.

    After urging her fellow members to refrain from discussing the politics surrounding immigration, Board President Jenny McCumber asked them to instead consider the resolution as a way to support student wellbeing at the schools.

    The resolution would be the first step in creating a policy and, ultimately, rules for staff regarding keeping students’ status private.

    “We want to make sure staff has a process to follow and can competently follow it,” McCumber said.

    The board met Tuesday. 

    According to the resolution, personnel and third-party contractors are expected to not report students who may be undocumented immigrants to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

    A student’s immigration status, or visa status, is not part of their record, although the resolution also calls for Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus to determine if such records are being kept.

  • LAHS cross country heads to Colorado

    The Los Alamos High School cross country teams headed to Northglenn, Colorado, this past weekend hoping to continue building momentum as the season moves along.

    While the varsity boys were able to do that with a third-place finish, the varsity girls were unable to finish their race due to lightning in the area.

    The conditions were less than optimal for the runners, as they battled heavy winds throughout the event, as gusts reached over 40 miles per hour.

    The wind could not stop LAHS’ top runner, freshman Rafael Sanchez, from having another great outing, as he finished in sixth place with a time of 16:16. He was with the top group of runners for the entire race, as he was just four seconds away from the fourth place finisher.

    LAHS’ runners impressed at the meet, as the finishers that followed Sanchez all improved on their times from the previous meet at Albuquerque Academy in late September.

    Joshua Strevell finished with a time of 16:47, which was good for 24th place. Steven Strevell finished in 17:02, which earned him 34th place. Duncan Fuehne finished right behind him with a time of 17:05, and Kevin Parkinson finished in 37th place with a time of 17:07.

  • Girl’s soccer dominates district road matchup

    The Los Alamos High School varsity girl’s soccer team got back in the win column Saturday afternoon against Capital High School with an 8-0 victory in which the Hilltoppers controlled the action from beginning to end.

    The win was important for the Hilltoppers, as the team was coming off a 3-1 loss against Albuquerque Academy earlier in the week.

    Though head coach Ann Cernicek was pleased with the victory, she stressed the importance of playing that way against every team her girls face.

    “We need to be steady and play the same way against every team, so that’s what we need to keep working on to get better,” Cernicek said.

    LAHS scored early and often against Capital, going on top in the 10th minute on a shot from Alissia Haagenstad to go up 1-0.

    Haagenstad scored again eight minutes later, as she made a play off of a free kick, sending a high, arcing shot toward the net and looping it right underneath the crossbar, giving her team a 2-0 advantage.

    Katie Hopkins made the score 3-0 in the 32nd minute with an easy tap in goal, and the team carried that lead into halftime.

    The Hilltoppers upped the offensive intensity even more in the second half, scoring five additional goals, leaving little doubt about the outcome as the second half progressed.

  • New Mexico lawmaker donates Harvey Weinstein's contributions

    SANTA FE (AP) — U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico donated money that was given to his campaign by Hollywood producer and Democratic Party benefactor Harvey Weinstein.

    Weinstein has recently been accused of rape and sexual harassment by multiple women — accusations that he has denied.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Tuesday that Weinstein donated a total of $5,400 to Heinrich's campaign.

    Campaign spokeswoman Marsha Garcia says that money was donated to Community Against Violence, a nonprofit in New Mexico.

    Searches of state and federal databases showed no other contributions by Weinstein to any other New Mexico politician.

  • Boy’s soccer picks up big win over Capital

    The pressure was on the Los Alamos High School varsity boy’s soccer team heading into Saturday’s matchup on the road against Capital High School, and they responded with a 3-1 victory.

    It was an important district win for the Hilltoppers, as Albuquerque Academy had defeated them 3-1 earlier in the week.

    A loss against Capital would have dropped the Hilltoppers to 1-2 in district play.

    Instead, LAHS is back in good shape, sitting at 2-1 in district play with momentum on their side heading into the second rotation of district games.

    “We made an adjustment to bring more energy into the game and it worked,” LAHS head coach Ron Blue said. “We played together more. It was much better all around, and I appreciated that.”

    After the teams played in the middle of the field for the majority of the early action, the Hilltoppers were able to take control in the 27th minute, as junior Arthur Steinkamp scored his team-leading 20th goal of the season to give LAHS a 1-0 lead.

    “He has been outstanding for us,” Blue said. “When he is playing with that kind of energy, it’s really great.”