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Letter to the Editor: Welcome to New Mexico, Land of Enfrackment

on March 11, 2014 - 7:27am

“Welcome to New Mexico, Land of Enfrackment”—a reputation no state wants to have.

New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, is full of beauty; from the wildlife it has to the people that live in it. Despite this allurement, oil and gas companies are already fracking within New Mexico, and now they have their eyes set on fracking outside precious national parks like Chaco Canyon.

Chaco Canyon has historical and cultural meaning to many New Mexicans and has also been recognized by the United Nations as a World Heritage Site.


Letter to the Editor: School Board Not Proper Venue For Setting Public Policy On Firearms

on March 10, 2014 - 10:05am
Los Alamos

Although the front page story in the Sunday, March 9 LA Monitor indicates a proper level of skepticism by the School Board to Mr. Langenbrunner's broad anti-gun proposals, I would like to state that as a taxpayer and voter, I do not think that the School Board is the proper venue for setting public policy that goes far beyond the school board's legitimate areas of expertise or governance, i.e., the controls on and accessibility to firearms within our schools.

The proper place for a discussion about gun control, including ideas on background checks and the role of


Letter to the Editor: Community Should Consider Superintendent Matter Done

on March 9, 2014 - 12:23pm
Los Alamos

For a community of purportedly intelligent people, the demands for the School Board to say more about the circumstances leading up to Dr. Schmidt's resignation as superintendent are depressingly repetitive in their overlooking of the simple truth that as a personnel matter, Dr. Schmidt and his performance are not subject to public discussion by the board. 

There is exactly one person who can reveal what happened in the closed sessions and that is Dr. Schmidt himself.

Letter to the Editor: Displeased With School Board? Run in Next Election!

on March 8, 2014 - 9:54am
Los Alamos

I was surprised by the uproar over Superintendant Schmidt’s resignation and the implication that the School Board is “hiding behind a law purposefully designed to give them political cover” as quoted by the Los Alamos Monitor publisher Ben Carlson. In fact, Mr. Carlson noted that the School Board can not publically discuss personnel matters and, in fact the law was specifically designed to provide protection for the employee. However, nothing is preventing Dr. Schmidt from sharing this information if he so desires.

Having spent 24 years as a teacher in the

Letter to the Editor: Support Request For School Board Explanation

on March 7, 2014 - 11:15am
Los Alamos

I write in support of Morrie Pongratz’s request at Tuesday night’s (March 4) School Board meeting for some explanation by the Board of its reasons for not renewing Dr. Schmidt’s contract.

I recall that when Dr. Schmidt became District Superintendent five years ago, Los Alamos schools had major issues regarding funding and maintaining our schools. He immediately held open strategic planning sessions with input from teachers, students and the public to chart a course for our schools.

On his watch major recapitalization of the high school and middle school was

Letter to the Editor: UNM-LA Rezoning Request

on March 6, 2014 - 8:18pm

UNM-LA Advisory Board
and long-time Los Alamos resident

I would like to thank George and Chris Chandler for their letter to the editor. It's vitally important in this community to ensure open and honest communications, to get facts and issues in front of citizens, and to work towards a shared vision and future for a better Los Alamos.

It's a small town and we're all in this together. Many facts regarding the UNM-LA re-zoning request are accurate: the current zone allows only 41 units however there are currently 64 units on the 1.88 acre site. 

The site is

Letter to the Editor: School Board Ravings Of How Great Schmidt Is Don't Jive

on March 6, 2014 - 12:38pm
Los Alamos

Sounds like Los Alamos School Board President Judy Bjarke-McKenzie has a personal agenda per her statement that "there were some things from previous evaluations that he has not done ... It is a personnel matter." Is this - 'a personnel matter' - one(s) that would stand up in court or personal agendas of some of the board members?

Actually, who deserves termination? Schmidt or the school board? Who is doing the best for Los Alamos?

Decisions behind closed doors: "when a 'vote' is not a vote!"

How many 'voted' against Schmidt?

Letter to the Editor: The School Board Has Blundered

on March 5, 2014 - 11:45am
Los Alamos

The School Board has blundered. This is a poor way to run a school district.

If the School Board wants to see changes and a smooth transition to a new superintendent then they need to make a one-year agreement with Dr. Schmidt and initiate a broad search for a new superintendent with a year to plan the transition.

If in this confusion they can not do that then they need to bring back someone formerly on the admin team to serve as an interim superintendent while they do a careful search for a new superintendent.


Letter to the Editor: School Board Urged To Extend Superintendent's Contract

on March 5, 2014 - 9:25am
Los Alamos

I find the circumstances of the resignation of Dr. Schmidt and comment by the LAPS Board members to be disconcerting.

Dr. Schmidt has guided LAPS through rather stormy seas these past five years with astute understanding, skill, and reasoned balance -- surely qualities of leadership that have been, are, and remain essential.

Beyond this, he has been a "hands on" and participatory superintendent -- he doesn't simply sit in his office giving direction, he is in the schools with the teachers and, most importantly, the kids.

Letter to the Editor: Comment on Recent News Reports

on March 4, 2014 - 5:42pm

Comment on Recent News Reports

President of LAPS Board

The following comments represent my opinion, as the president of the Los Alamos School Board, and are not an official statement of the Los Alamos Public School Board (the Board).

It is important to emphasize two important points in light of recent news reports. First, the LAPS Board does not vote nor does it take any action in executive session. All votes are in open session and on items on the agenda. There has not been any vote on Dr. Schmidt’s contract.

Letter to the Editor: Elections For All But Los Alamos

on March 4, 2014 - 7:58am

Elections For All But Los Alamos

Los Alamos Governmental Review Initiative

Ahhh!  Hints of spring are in the air. The Sandhill Cranes are flying north, the days are longer, and communities all over New Mexico are alive and vibrant with talk and debate surrounding the issues and candidates to be voted on in the municipal elections.

In New Mexico, most municipal elections are held on the first Tuesday in March (March 4 this year) including surrounding towns of Santa Fe, Espanola, Jemez Springs and Taos: and in all the farthest reaches of

Letter to the Editor: Missing Footnote to R-3-H-40 (Very High Density) Zoning

on March 2, 2014 - 8:22am

Former Member and Chair
Los Alamos County Planning and Zoning Commission

The R-3-H-40 Multiple-Family (Very High Density) zone was established 30 some years ago to accommodate senior citizen housing where the Aspen Ridge Lodge now stands. 

The R-3-H-40 description in the County Development Code was footnoted to the effect that this zone was created for senior housing, many residents of which were presumed not to own motor vehicles. In time, as the Development Code went through reprintings, the footnote was edited out.


Letter to the Editor: Explaining Position on Pending Rezoning of UNM-LA Apartments

on March 1, 2014 - 10:11am
Los Alamos

We believe it is appropriate to explain our position on the pending rezoning of the apartments owned by UNM-LA on 9th Street.

There are 64 units in two buildings located on a parcel of land that is 1.88 acres. This land is zoned R3H, which allows for residential housing at a density of 21.8 du per acre, 20 feet front and 15 feet rear setbacks, and a maximum height of 35 feet.


Letter to the Editor: Taxpayer Happy With LA Golf Course Building

on February 27, 2014 - 11:17am
Los Alamos

As a taxpayer, I am very happy with the new golf course building, which is getting more and more interesting and striking in appearance. 

Thank you County of Los Alamos!

Letter to the Editor: Consider Used Bookstore in New White Rock Library Plan

on February 24, 2014 - 9:46pm
Los Alamos

We would like to thank everyone involved with Public Forums and Meetings regarding the building of the new White Rock Library.  

The preferred building site on the corner of State 4 and Sherwood Boulevard would seem to be the best location for the Library. We would like to encourage the building committee to consider having a used bookstore included in the White Rock plan similar to the one we have uptown.

There have been some comments made about not having enough volunteers to run such an endeavor.


Letter to the Editor: Clarification of UNM-LA Rezoning Request and An Invitation to A Community Meeting

on February 23, 2014 - 10:01pm

Executive Director UNM-LA

UNM-Los Alamos has been working for the last six years (since I became the executive director) on a solution to the challenges of our student housing complex.

All renovation options have been exhausted or too expensive. Our decision to engage a highly qualified developer has been difficult. In fact, the County’s experience in securing a developer for the Trinity site demonstrated just how challenging redevelopment in Los Alamos can be for something so vital to the future of our community.

The UNM-LA redevelopment will address both student housing

Letter to the Editor: Don't Just Count The Beans

on February 23, 2014 - 2:24pm

Los Alamos

Back in the early nineties, before the Los Alamos Mesa Public Library moved over from Central Avenue, next to the Post Office, into its current location one of the big noises being made by people in favor of the move was the lack of space for books in the old spot. The move was made, and two or three years ago thousands of non-fiction books were chucked off of the library’s shelves..... many, many rows worth, about six feet high.

A lot of these were fantastic books. So much for more space! The White Rock branch was similarly diminished.


Letter to the Editor: Thank You For Supporting Valentines For Vets Event

on February 23, 2014 - 11:13am

By Roger Anaya, Post Commander
John D Gamble Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8874
Los Alamos

Members of 10 different VFW Posts visited the Albuquerque Veterans Hospital Feb. 16 along with their Ladies Auxiliaries, the Military Order of the Cooties and their Auxiliaries, the Patriot Guard Riders, the Albuquerque Chapter of the American Legion Riders, the Espanola Chapter of the Blue Star Moms, the Bataan Military Academy Cadets, First Fruits Ministry, and Sangre de Cristo Chaplain Services. 

As part of the Valentines for Vets program, we distributed Valentine’s Day Cards, toiletries, writing


Education 101: The 2015 New Mexico State Budget, After Fight, Benefits K-12 Education

on February 23, 2014 - 10:10am
Education 101:
The 2015 New Mexico State Budget, After Fight, Benefits K-12 Education
By Save Our Schools Los Alamos

The New Mexico State Legislature ended its 30-day legislative session this week, sending its 2015 budget recommendation to Gov. Susana Martinez just a day before the session ended. The Governor has until March 12 to consider it and has the right to a line item veto should she choose to use it. So while the fight over education funding isn’t over yet, it's looking pretty good for K-12 education.

From our perch in Los Alamos, we think it's fair to say that so far this year,

Letter to the Editor: Objection to UNM-LA's Rezoning Waiver Request

on February 23, 2014 - 8:50am
Los Alamos
UNM-LA has requested rezoning the two block “student housing” property on 9th Street from “high density” to “very high density” so they can build a four-story apartment building (50 feet tall, two blocks long) from Iris to Myrtle streets. To accomplish this, they are asking Los Alamos County to waive the requirement for the minimum lot size for “very high density” zoning.
The new apartments will no longer be for student housing. The building will be built and managed by an out of state company.

Letter to the Editor: NM Air Goes Above & Beyond!

on February 23, 2014 - 7:27am
Frances Meier
Los Alamos 

I am writing this letter to tell everyone I can about New Mexico Air. They are outstanding!

Every time I have flown with them, they have shown exemplary service. They are prompt, efficient, courteous and competent. That alone is enough to want to keep them here in business.

NM Air does more than that, though. They go above and beyond to meet the needs of their customers. I have two stories. Last November, our daughter was scheduled to fly up here from Albuquerque on NM Air’s last flight of the day. Her incoming flight from Chicago was delayed, but she called NM


Catch and Release: The Saga of Judge Raphaelson, Aaron Nguyen, and Public Safety

on February 22, 2014 - 10:01am
Los Alamos

Somewhat incomprehensibly, District Court Judge Sheri Raphaelson has once again given convicted burglar Aaron Nguyen a get out of jail free pass. This is in spite of her telling him at his initial sentencing hearing, on multiple felonies, that if he violated any of the terms of his probation, he would go to jail for the full term of his sentence.

Mr. Nguyen promptly violated those terms and it would seem he called Her Honor's bluff. Indeed, Judge Raphaelson is now saying "A prison sentence for a 100-pound, 19-year-old boy is grossly inappropriate ... I do

Letter to the Editor: There is Still Hope for Humanity

on February 21, 2014 - 9:18am
Los Alamos

Took my family to The Manhattan Project (formerly Dixie Girl) last night for dinner and managed to lose my wallet. I looked all over for it but could not find it so I went back to the Project and asked if they had found it.

I am Proud and happy to say that they had found it and had it locked up in the back office! I am now with a renewed hope that there are still honest people in this community and I now have a new favorite place to eat!

To all the people who work at The Manhattan Project I SALUTE!


Letter to the Editor: AT&T Service Not Available in Los Alamos But Sold Here Anyway

on February 21, 2014 - 8:39am
Los Alamos

AT&T Service Not Available in Los Alamos But Sold Here Anyway

There is no AT&T service available in Los Alamos, but that won’t stop them from selling you service. I found this out the hard way and wanted to prevent my fellow Los Alamos folks from falling into the same trap.

I had been with AT&T since moving here in 2008 so I thought nothing of upgrading to a 4G smartphone in October. At this time, I began to experience multiple problems with my phone.


Letter to the Editor: Making a Joyful Noise...

on February 21, 2014 - 8:00am
Los Alamos

Making a Joyful Noise: White Rock United Methodist Church Needs an Accompanist

One of the greatest physicists in the modern time, Einstein, said “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”   

Others have said music is a prayer and a universal language.    

Nothing soothes the mind or makes the heart soar more than music. For the congregation at White Rock United Methodist Church, the choir, led by Kelsey Cline inspires us and leaves us with a sense of joy.