Today's News

  • Climate change project wins science fair grand prize

    Los Alamos Public Schools County Science and Engineering Fair grand prize winner Lillian Petersen seems to be 14 going on 40 – at least when she is explaining her project, “America’s Farming Future: The Impact of Climate Change on Crop Yields.”
    For a panel of best of show judges, Petersen’s project stood out among 471 entries from grades K‒12. She received a $100 gift certificate from CB Fox, in addition to her other prizes.
    Petersen estimates she put approximately 500 hours into the project, working 40 hours a week over the summer and another 60 hours over the holiday break. The quality of her project reflects that.
    Petersen posed the question, “How will various future climate scenarios affect future crop yields of corn, soybeans and rice?”
    She hypothesized that since crop yields are dependent on weather, more heat extremes will cause future crop yields to decrease.
    To test her hypothesis, Petersen created a statistical model that used past yields and weather data to predict future scenarios.
    Petersen began by downloading seasonal crop yield data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for every county in the United States since 1970 for corn, soybeans and rice.

  • Teen seeks to document WWII veterans' disappearing stories

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — While most 19-year-olds are enrolling in college, working their first full-time job or considering what's next in life — all of which keeps their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts buzzing 24/7 — Rishi Sharma is on a far different quest. The 19-year-old Californian has been interviewing at least one World War II combat veteran a day for more than a year, recording their stories and learning all he can from that quickly disappearing "Greatest Generation."

    To date, he's interviewed more than 260 such veterans, including several from New Mexico, reported the Albuquerque Journal.

    "My best friends are World War II veterans," said Sharma, the son of Indian immigrants who was raised in Agoura Hills, California.

    Armed with a video camera, a lengthy list of questions and a razor-sharp focus on the job at hand, Sharma has already traveled thousands of miles in his Honda Civic to interview any combat veteran with the mental acuity and time — typically four to six hours — to spare.

  • FBI asks for help to find WR bank robbery suspect

    It’s been three years and three days since a woman walked into the White Rock branch of the Los Alamos National Bank and robbed a teller of the all the cash in the teller’s drawer.
    The Federal Bureau of Investigation is again asking for the public’s help in tracking the suspect down.
    “I can tell you we have chased down every lead we got,” said FBI spokesman Frank Fisher of the Albuquerque Office. “We take bank robberies seriously and want to get this person off the street. Somebody out there knows who this person is.”
    The robbery happened just before 1:30 p.m. Feb. 5, 2013. The suspect is described as a Hispanic or Native American female in her late 20s or early 30s, approximately 5-feet-4 and about 150 pounds. She may have a scar or tattoo below her left eye.
    The suspect wore a black jacket over a black or gray hooded sweatshirt. She also wore winter gloves.
    The FBI office in Albuquerque is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest and conviction.
    No one was injured during the robbery.

  • Group hopes to start art museum

    While everyone knows about the Manhattan Project and Los Alamos’ historic role in it, Los Alamos County has another history hidden in the art collections of its many residents that hasn’t been told yet.
    A group of residents is working to start the Los Alamos Museum of Art in an effort to change that. They want to save, keep and eventually present those collections to the public.
    The group will present their concept and progress at an “Art on Tap” event at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Unquarked Wine Room, 145 Central Park Square.
    For about a year, LAMOA Executive Director Ruth Tatter and others have worked and documented collections within the community they would like to display. The group does not yet have a building.
    “Los Alamos has a science history that’s pretty well documented,” Tatter said. “But there’s also a parallel history of art, music, donors, and that hasn’t really been documented. The collections these people have are pretty incredible.”
    LAMOA is looking for a building, volunteers and funds to help keep those collections in Los Alamos.

  • Low turnout for Tuesday’s elections

    Voter turnout was low for Tuesday’s elections as the community decided who would take seats on the Los Alamos Public Schools School Board and University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Advisory Board.
    Only 1,432 voters cast ballots for the election, according to the unofficial results Tuesday issued by the Los Alamos County Clerk’s Office.
    This election decided four races in a nine-candidate race. The only candidate not challenged was UNM-LA candidate Michelle Hall, who was renewing her term for Position 2 on the UNM-LA Advisory Board.
    In the race for seats on the UNM-LA Board, incumbent David Sutton defeated challenger Michael Redondo for Position 1, and Sheila Schiferl received more votes than James Robinson for Position 5.
    Stephen Boerigter defeated opponent Darryl Sugar for District 2, a seat vacated by Matt Williams. District 2 includes Chamisa Elementary School in White Rock. In District 1, incumbent and school board chairman Jim Hall was facing a challenge by Ellen Ben-Naim. District 2 is where Piñon Elementary School is located.
    Ben-Naim said she couldn’t wait to hit the ground running. “I’m excited about continuing to have great schools and making improvements where we can,” she said. “This was the result of a lot of people working together to bring about change.”

  • LA girls hoops fall to Del Norte, 50-28

    The Los Alamos girls basketball team continues to struggle in District 2-5A play after falling 50-28 against Del Norte Saturday at Griffith Gym.
    After the first half of district play, the Hilltoppers are 1-4 in district and 6-17 overall. Los Alamos faced Albuquerque Academy on Tuesday after the Los Alamos Monitor’s print deadline.
    Del Norte took command of the game from the opening tip-off and jumped out to a 15-7 lead after the first quarter.
    The Knights continued to succeed on offense in the second quarter and outscored Los Alamos 16-9 to take a 31-16 lead at halftime.
    The Hilltoppers didn’t have much success on the offensive end in the second half and only managed four points in the final eight minutes. Meanwhile, Del Norte executed on both ends and sealed its third district win to improve to 3-2 and 12-9 overall.
    Savannah Lucero led Los Alamos with eight points, while Isabell Larribas and Susana Gallegos finished with five points, respectively.
    Del Norte got a game-high 12 points from Breana Desoto, while Victoria Casaus added 11.
    Going into Tuesday’s games, Los Alamos was in last place in district while Del Norte remained in third. Española Valley was atop the standings and Academy was second.


  • Prep boys hoops: ’Toppers down Sundevils

    The Los Alamos boys basketball team’s district title hopes will depend on what team shows up.
    If the Hilltoppers team that played in the first half of their game against Del Norte Friday shows up, hopes will be slim. But if the second half team and the team that upended defending state champion Española Valley Monday shows up, Los Alamos will be right in the midst of the District 2-5A title talks.
    The Hilltoppers took down the rival Sundevils, 55-48, in front of a ruckus crowd at Griffith Gym. It was Los Alamos’ first win against Española since the 2011-2012 season, ending a nine-game losing streak against the Sundevils.
    “There’s always that stigma of playing Española and trying to beat them,” Los Alamos coach Mike Kluk said. “This team (Los Alamos) has kind of struggled with its identity and its confidence a bit, but hopefully this is a big confidence builder.”
    Los Alamos improved to 10-12 overall and 2-3 in District 2-5A, while keeping pace with the middle teams in the district standings. The win put Los Alamos ahead of 2-3 Albuquerque Academy and one game behind 3-2 Española.

  • Nation's only Latina governor denounces 'racist' charge

    SANTA FE (AP) — The nation's only Latina governor is denouncing a claim by a white former mayor of Santa Fe that she is a racist because of her effort to make it more difficult for people in New Mexico illegally to get driver's licenses.

    During a rally Monday for immigrant rights advocates, former Santa Fe Mayor David Coss told activists that moves by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez were based on racism and compared her to President Donald Trump – who Martinez sharply criticized during the presidential campaign.

    Coss told the audience that he was proud to live in New Mexico, a state "that rejected the racism of Donald Trump, that rejected the racism of Susana Martinez."

    The former mayor then said people had suggested that he not call anyone a racist. "Well, you know what? When you're a racist, and you try to implement racist policies in my community, it makes me angry," Coss said.

    The white liberal said the effort by Martinez, a Republican, to change New Mexico's law that allowed immigrants already in the country illegally to obtain driver's licenses was "racist, and that was wrong."

    Chris Sanchez, a spokesman for Martinez, criticized Coss' remarks late Monday.

  • 2017 State Legislature; Senators halt proposal to revive state school board

    By Robert Nott

    The New Mexican

    Five Democrats joined four Republicans on Monday to block a bill that would have eliminated the job of Cabinet secretary of public education and resurrected a statewide board to oversee schools in New Mexico.

    The Senate Rules Committee voted 9-2 to table Senate Joint Resolution 2, a proposed constitutional amendment to create a 10-member school board that in turn would hire a secretary of education. In the existing system, the governor appoints someone to run the Public Education Department.

    Sen. Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, introduced the resolution, saying it would return power to school districts and would allow the state board to hire or fire a secretary of education at will.

    "If the individual [secretary] does a poor job, the state school board can take that individual out of the position," Padilla told the committee. Otherwise, he said, even if a secretary of education is doing a good job, a newly elected governor could "turn it upside down" by hiring his or her own person for the job.

  • 2017 State Legislature: New Mexico Legislature, Congress diverging on gun sales checks

    By Steve Terrell

    The New Mexican

    A House committee on Saturday advanced a bill that would expand required background checks to include most gun purchases in New Mexico.

    After a hearing that lasted more than three hours, the Consumer and Public Affairs Committee voted 3-1 along party lines in favor of House Bill 50, sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos. The committee's action mirrored that of a Senate panel that last week approved an identical proposal, Senate Bill 48.

    While the New Mexico Legislature is moving toward expanding mandatory background checks, Congress is heading in the other direction.

    The U.S. House of Representatives last week voted 235-180 to scuttle an Obama-era rule requiring background checks for gun purchases by some Social Security recipients with mental disabilities. If this measure passes the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate, Republican President Donald Trump is expected to sign it.

    In presenting her state bill Saturday, Garcia Richard said her family owns guns. But, she said, "New Mexico has a problem, a problem that contributes to New Mexico being the deadliest state for domestic violence."