Today's News

  • ‘Journey of a lifetime’

    Marcel Remillieux waited 15 years for this moment, the moment went he would walk into Fuller Lodge as a citizen of France and come out as a citizen of the U.S.

    On Saturday, he and 17 others lifted their right hands to take the Oath of Allegiance and were welcomed their new home during a naturalization ceremony at Fuller Lodge.

    Many had waited years for this event, not knowing if the contributions they’ve already made to America would be for nothing.

    “It feels like the end of a 15-year journey, and the start of a new one,” Remillieux said. “I first came to the U.S. in 2003 as an exchange student, not expecting to stay here and become a citizen, so it’s been quite an impressive journey.”

    Joining him was his wife, Stephanie, and their three children, 11-month-old Appoline, five-year-old Alex and three-year-old Charlotte. Remillieux is a Los Alamos National Laboratory employee and co-owner of the Fleur de Lys Bistro and Bakery.

    After everyone took the Oath of Allegiance, families of the newly-minted citizens gathered to take pictures, give hugs and congratulate each other.

    Also among the recent citizens were husband and wife Flaviano Prosperine and Elena Guardincerri.

  • Lab worker files suit after plutonium shipping led to firing

    SANTA FE (AP) — A former worker at a national laboratory who was fired for shipping weapons-grade plutonium by air instead of ground alleges in a lawsuit that he was made a scapegoat for problems at the New Mexico facility.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the legal action by Juan Montoya cited "root cause systemic failures in processes, procedures, supervision, resources (and) training" at Los Alamos National Security LLC.

    Lab spokesman Matt Nerzig denies Montoya was singled out over the incident.

    "Los Alamos National Security held accountable those involved from the individual contributor level up the management chain through actions that included terminations, suspensions and compensation consequences," Nerzig said in an email.

    The incident followed a series of safety problems at the lab, including a fire in the plutonium facility that was linked to an unlabeled container and the shipment of mislabeled hazardous waste to a facility near Denver.

    Montoya worked at the lab for 15 years before he was fired last summer from Los Alamos National Laboratory. Federal regulations require the shipping of plutonium by ground.

  • First phase cleanup set for Tech Area 21

    N3B, the contractor charged with cleaning up and disposing of legacy waste will soon have a subcontractor start cleaning up legacy waste at Tech Area 21, located at the end of DP Road.

    The first phase of cleanup is scheduled to start in early November.

    On Tuesday, N3B announced it awarded Los Alamos-based subcontractor TerranearPMC and Montana-based sub contractor Environcon the contract.

    “The TerranearPMC/Envirocon team is a welcome partner in the restart of cleanup work at TA-21,” N3B Environmental Remediation program manager Joe Legare said. “The safe and disciplined remediation of TA-21 is an important priority for the entire Los Alamos community.”

    According to N3B Communications Director Todd Nelson, businesses along DP Road should feel little impact from the cleanup operations.

    “We would expect to see a little bit of increased traffic along the roads, but not a lot,” Nelson said.

    The first phase of the cleanup will include the disposal of a old equipment, utility poles and lines, and hundreds of tons of rebar.

    The cleanup will also include the decontamination infrastructure at the site, including tow mobile enclosures and six excavators for reuse.

  • Light snow touches down in Los Alamos County

    Winter made its entrance Monday with a light snow in Los Alamos County.

    Schools and the Los Alamos National Laboratory start times were not delayed. Los Alamos Public Schools follows a procedure during inclement weather to let media, students and parents know if the weather will effect start times.

    Announcements are usually made by 5:30 a.m. and will be sent to the media, district web page, LAPS School Messenger and information lines, according to school officials.

    Parents can call their schools for information: Aspen Elementary, 663-2277; Barranca Mesa Elementary, 663-2732; Chamisa Elementary 663-2472; Mountain Elementary, 663-2327; Piñon Elementary, 663-2682; Los Alamos Middle School, 663-2375; Topper Freshman Academy, 663-2512 and the Los Alamos High School, 663-2512.

    Parents can also call the district office at 663-2230. In general, if the Los Alamos National Laboratory is on a delay, schools will be delayed.

    If LANL is closed due to weather, the schools will be closed. When school is dismissed early or cancelled for the day, all afterschool programs including athletics (both home and away contests) and activities are cancelled. With a two-hour delayed start, buses will arrive at bus stops two hours later than the usual pickup time.

  • Hiker injured in fall at Bandelier

    A hiker in the Bandelier National Monument who was either climbing up or down a ladder to one of the monument’s cave sites fell 15 feet and hit his head Wednesday, according to Bandelier officials. 

    The incident happened around 2:30 p.m. He was evacuated by helicopter to a nearby hospital. There is no available information on what hospital he was flown to or what condition he was in.

    According to the Los Alamos Fire Department report on the incident, a landing zone was established so Classic Air Medical could come in and fly the injured hiker out.

    “What I know is he sustained a head injury, and working with LAFD we were able evacuate him out of the area,” Bandelier Superintendant Jason Lott said.

  • Valles Caldera plans burns this month

    JEMEZ SPRINGS —Valles Caldera National Preserve is looking for opportunities to implement prescribed burning, consisting of broadcast and/or pile burning, starting as early as Oct. 22 and as late as mid-December. 

    The prescribed burns will target up to 622-acres in the Banco Bonito area with broadcast burning, up to 112-acres in the Seco area via broadcast burning, and up to 308-acres via pile burning also in the Seco area. The burns may impact upcoming elk hunts by closing small sections of the preserve to hunters.

    The parameters for implementing a prescribed burn are based upon specific assessments, agency guidelines, and safety protocols. Managers continuously monitor weather conditions during a burn including wind, temperature and relative humidity. Fuel quantity and moisture are also measured. The project will not begin unless all conditions support the burn and associated resources are available. If conditions are not right, the burn may be postponed.

    Smoke/Air Quality: Information on air quality and protecting your health by using the 5-3-1 visibility method can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at nmtracking.org/fire.

  • Bids show RCLC contractor was not lowest bidder

    Bids for the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities show the winning bidder originally came in $48,147.96 higher than the lowest bidder, before the coalition board negotiated the costs down.

    Three entities submitted bids this year for the contract to manage the regional coalition. A contract was signed earlier this year with Chicanos Por La Causa, selecting Eric Vasquez as the new executive director.

    A company called Aspen Consulting, of Santa Fe, came in with a bid that was $128,619 a year to manage and operate the coalition. The winning bidder, Chicanos Por La Causa of New Mexico, based in Santa Fe, was $176,766.96 a year.  

    The third bidder, Akuthota Group LLC, submitted a bid for $192,000 a year.

  • Democrats are dominating early voting in New Mexico

    SANTA FE (AP) — Democrats are dominating early voting across New Mexico, including the state's two largest metropolitan areas.

    Voting statistics from the Secretary of State's Office on Sunday showed that Democrats account for 56 percent of early ballots, though they make up 46 percent of registered voters.

    Absentee and walk-in voting at county clerks' offices started Oct. 9 to elect the state's next governor, a senator, three members of Congress, and a long list of statewide and judicial office holders. The election concludes Nov. 6.

    In Bernalillo County, which includes the city of Albuquerque, Democrats comprised 71 percent of the early vote and Republicans cast 16 percent of ballots.

    In Doña Ana County, including Las Cruces, Democrats cast 57 percent of ballots, while Republicans cast 30 percent.

  • White Rock breaks 3 max temps in September

    Special to the Monitor

    Thunderstorm activity during the first week brought cooler temperatures and much needed precipitation to the Los Alamos County region in September, but the remainder of the month had mostly above-average temperatures resulting in about three degrees above average temperatures in Los Alamos and White Rock.

    White Rock broke three maximum temperature records on Sept. 15, 17 and 18.

    The month started with promising rains as Los Alamos measured average precipitation within the first week, but the rain became relatively scarce for the remainder of the month.

    The amount of rain measured was enough to result in September as the first month this year to have above-average precipitation.

    But Los Alamos has recorded only 55 percent of normal precipitation for the year.

    The Climate Prediction Center is predicting above-average temperatures and above-average precipitation from October to December.

    The center continues to predict the onset of El Niño this fall, which would provide Los Alamos favorable conditions for a wet winter.

    Atmospheric conditions associated with El Niño will favor a wet winter as a matter of probability, but a wet winter is not a certainty.

  • Sheriff candidate fined $600 for missed report deadline

    The New Mexico Secretary of State’s office levied a fine against the Los Alamos County Republican’s candidate for sheriff, James Whitehead for  $600. The fine was for missing a Sept. 10 deadline filing for his first election campaign finance report.

    According to SOS Communications Director Alex Curtas, Whitehead was fined for missing the Sept. 10 deadline by 11 days.

    According to SOS policy, when a campaign finance report is due to the SOS office, a letter is sent out the day after the missed deadline informing him they missed the deadline. A 10-day grace period is assigned where the candidate is not fined.

    However, on the 11th day, if the report still isn’t completed, another letter from the SOS is sent to the candidate informing them that they still need the report, and that there will now be a fine assessed starting from the first late notification.

    “He is paid up now, “ Curtas said.

    When reached for comment Thursday, Whitehead referred all calls to his campaign manager, Todd Hawthorne. He said it was clerical errors that made them late.