Local News

  • New Family Orientation Wednesday at Aspen Elementary

    Those who are new to Los Alamos or have a student attending one of the Los Alamos Public Schools for the first time are invited to attend the New Family Orientation from noon-2 p.m. Wednesday at Aspen Elementary School gymnasium.

    Attendees will get a chance to learn more about the schools, the community and local organizations. They will also get the opportunity to meet school district leaders and community partners.

    The orientation will include time for a Q&A session.

    Lunch will be provided beginning at 11:30 a.m.

    Call 663-2222 or email d.larson@laschools.net for more information.

  • Republican businessman to run for US Senate in New Mexico


    ALBUQUERQUE — Republican construction contractor Mick Rich is making a second run for the U.S. Senate in New Mexico.

    The Mick Rich 2020 campaign committee filed paperwork Aug. 1 with the Federal Election Commission, opening the door for the Albuquerque resident to seek the GOP nomination.

    Rich, who lost to Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich last year, confirmed late Monday that he will run for an open Senate seat in 2020, though he has not made an official announcement.

    Rich told the Los Alamos Monitor Tuesday New Mexico needed an advocate for the state’s national labs in Washington, D.C.

    “We need a senator in Washington that’s going to be an advocate for our national labs, both Los Alamos and Sandia,” Rich said. “It tore me up that Los Alamos was going to take the lead for pit production and lost that lead to South Carolina. That wouldn’t have happened if Sen. Bingaman or Sen. Dominici were in office.”

    Rich said there is always a chance Los Alamos could lose pit production altogether in the future and he hoped to advocate for the program if elected.

    Democratic Sen. Tom Udall is retiring.

  • New Mexico taps nonprofit leader to carry out school reforms

    By MORGAN LEE Associated Press

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday tapped a Philadelphia-based executive at a nonprofit devoted to improving opportunities for poor, minority students to lead the state's Public Education Department.

    Ryan Stewart, a regional executive director at Partners in School Innovation, took control of the state agency as it redraws its student testing, teacher-evaluation and school ratings systems and rolls out investments to extend classroom learning time for a heavily Latino and Native American population.

    Lujan Grisham, a first-year Democrat, has made improvements in public education a priority. Last month, she shook up the education department by firing Education Secretary Karen Trujillo.

    Stewart said at a press conference he was persuaded to take the job by Lujan Grisham's description of a state poised for critical changes.

    "There is an opportunity to take a state that to-date hasn't yet fulfilled its potential, but that's investing in it, where the Legislature, the governor's office, the stakeholder community are all aligned," Stewart said. "You're going to have strong investment; you're going to have strong support to make a difference ... for kids who traditionally the system hasn't served well."

  • N.M. Department of Health reports first human case of West Nile Virus

    The state Department of Health reported the first confirmed human case of West Nile virus in New Mexico Monday.

    A 42-year-old woman from Dona Ana County was hospitalized and is recovering from the virus, according to the health department.

    West Nile virus is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can sometimes be fatal.

    New Mexico has seen human cases of West Nile virus every year since the virus migrated to New Mexico in 2003.

    Last year there were seven confirmed cases in New Mexico, including one fatal case, and in 2017, there were 33 confirmed West Nile virus cases in New Mexico, with one reported death.

    Mosquito populations tend to rise all over the state of New Mexico following the increased precipitation originating from the monsoon rains. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito for a person to get sick, the health department reported Monday.

    The health department urged New Mexicans to take precautions to protect themselves against West Nile virus.

  • 1 of the missing 'moon trees' in New Mexico believed found

    SANTA FE (AP) — Officials believe they may have found one of the missing trees planted in New Mexico from seeds taken to the moon during the Apollo 14 mission.

    KOAT-TV reports former New Mexico first lady Clara Apodaca and a naturalist identified last week a tree they believe to be one of those planted in the state four decades ago.

    Apodaca and the naturalist say a Douglas Fir located in a grassy area north of the state capitol in Santa Fe is a moon tree. Apodaca helped plant it.

    The discovery comes after the Albuquerque station reported that officials where the trees were planted decades ago said they have lost track of the trees.

    Moon trees were grown from 500 seeds taken into orbit around the moon by former U.S. Forest Service smokejumper Stuart Roosa during the 1971 mission.


  • Group finds a way to make cave less deadly

    Two deaths and one serious injury at a popular cave in White Rock over the past 12 years were enough to convince Los Alamos County to make Hell’s Hole safer for climbers.

    A group of cave explorers is headed to Los Alamos in September to block one entrance in a way that will also maintain the natural beauty and habitat area of the White Rock cave.

    The county will host the Southwestern Region of the National Speleological Society sometime in September. During that time, a local chapter of the society, the Pajarito Grotto, plans to construct a wall using rebar, cement and stones from the cave over a particular exit in the back of the cave that leads out to a canyon edge in “Hell’s Hole,” a popular cave in White Rock.

    Over the past 12 years, two cave explorers lost their lives falling of the ledge outside the exit and one explorer was seriously injured. The latest incident involved Trevor Matuszak, who, while exploring the cave with his friends, exited out the hole and fell off the narrow ledge to his death in 2017.

    The other victim, David Dickens died in 2002.

    In 2013, a 15-year-old girl was seriously injured when she fell from the same exit.

  • State, road company to meet about flooding

    Engineers from the New Mexico Department of Transportation will meet and talk with officials next week from Star Paving about how they can prevent future flooding on Verde Ridge Road.

    “The existing storm drain system is overwhelmed and does not have the capacity to handle these recent unusual heavy rains. The necessary construction phasing as designed, further reduces the capacity to carry these heavy runoffs,” NMDOT District Five Public Information Officer Rosanne Rodriguez said. “Star Paving will work with DOT to install interim measures to address flooding until the new storm drain system is fully operational.”

    Residents living in townhomes on Verde Ridge Road were hit twice in as many weeks by flooding, which were attributed to ongoing construction of a nearby traffic circle by Star Paving.

    The construction abuts an embankment that leads directly into the backyards of a row of townhomes on Verde Ridge Road.  

    For about two weeks, heavy storms have brought water over the berms designed to catch the water and down the embankment and into their homes.

    However, according to Rodriguez, it has been the weather that’s the problem, that Star Paving has built interim drainage according to state specifications.

  • Park holds two vigils to remember Japan bombings of WWII

    The staff at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park held two ceremonies this week to remember those who were killed in the U.S. bombings on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan, in August 1945.

    One was held Monday to mark the bombing of Hiroshima and on Friday, a short ceremony was held for the bombing of Nagasaki.

    One local resident, a county councilor and two tourists, who were visiting the historical park visitor center at the time, attended the vigil.

    Both of the events were held outside the entrance to the Manhattan Project National Historic Park Visitor Center on 20th Street. It was the first time the park held such an event.

    “The community of Los Alamos is central to the development of the atomic bomb,” said Bandelier Monument Ranger and Site Manager J.T. Stark.

    “Much of the science that went into its development took place all around you,” Stark said in his speech outside the Manhattan Project National Historical Park center.

    This was the first time the Manhattan Project National Historical Park held such an event.

    “Seventy four years ago, the world entered a new age. One bomb can now be used to destroy an entire city. Nagasaki was destroyed at 11:02 a.m., Aug. 9, 1945,” Stark said.

  • Forecasters warn of wet weekend in New Mexico

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque are warning that the weekend will be very wet.

    They said Friday that a deep plume of moisture will shift north into New Mexico through Sunday and lead to a monsoon "burst" pattern.

    The combination of abundant moisture, slow-moving storm and elevated soil moisture will increase the potential for flash flooding Saturday and Sunday.

    Widespread rainfall amounts from a half-inch to an inch are likely with locally higher amounts of 2 inches.

    The heaviest rainfall is expected to hit the western half of the state, and the greatest risk for thunderstorms with flash flooding will occur from early afternoon into the evening hours each day.

  • National forest planning spurs worries for Hispanic ranchers

    By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE — Hispanic ranchers in New Mexico are asking President Donald Trump and top federal officials to ensure the latest round of forest management planning considers traditional values that have helped shape the use of mountain ranges and pastures in rural communities for 500 years.

    Members of the Northern New Mexico Stockman's Association are accusing local forest managers of dismissing their comments while drafting a proposed management plan for the Carson National Forest.

    "Our concerns about protecting valid existing rights and traditional and historic uses have been ignored in this entire process as we witnessed in the many meetings attended and correspondence submitted. We have been treated like second-class citizens," said Carlos Salazar, president of the ranchers' group.

    The ranchers are pushing for Trump to intervene, citing a long history in which they claim the federal government has ignored the property rights of Hispanic ranchers in the Southwest.