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Around the Area

  • Deadlines loom for Open Enrollment for healthcare coverage

    Deadlines to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act are looming.

    Saturday is the deadline for coverage to start on April 1.

    Open enrollment for 2014 ends March 31. Those not enrolled by that date face penalties of $95 or one percent of adjusted gross income, whichever is higher. Penalties increase in successive years.

    Those enrolled by March 31 should be covered by the end of April.

    Sign up at bewellnm.com or call 1-855-99-NMHIX.

  • Mari Mac construction starts next week

    According to the Department of Utilities, construction for the new entrance into the Mari Mac Shopping Center could start as soon as next week. Both of the Trinity Drive entrances and three rows of parking will be closed for approximately five weeks.

    The shopping center will be accessible from Central Avenue and all businesses will remain open.

    Once the new entrance is complete and a traffic signal installed, construction on Trinity Drive will begin and continue until July.

  • Los Alamos author, historian passes

    The Los Alamos Monitor has just received news that noted Los Alamos author and historian Dorothy Hoard passed away on March 3. Read Wednesday's Monitor for more on Hoard’s contributions to the Los Alamos community.

  • Time-lapse Perseids with fading meteors

    A view of the night sky of August 12-13, 2013, from Los Alamos, New Mexico. I had the camera take 20-second exposures every 21 seconds. It snapped away from 11:50 until the battery ran out at 4:52 (the timestamps on the images are Pacific time...add an hour for the local time).

    I stacked the images with the current image at full intensity and the previous images progressively fading out. As a result, the stars get little, fading tails and the meteors appear then fade.

  • Breakfast in Quemazon

    These two deer were seen catching Sunday brunch about mid-morning near the entrane to the Quemazon neighborhood. Wildlife sightings in Los Alamos are not uncommon, and this pair did not appear to be camera shy in the least.

    Share your photos and videos with more than 30,000 readers on LAMonitor.com... Click here to upload.

  • Permit denied for NM horse slaughter company

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico company's hard-fought attempts to convert its cattle plant to a horse slaughterhouse was dealt a series of new blows Monday, with the state denying its wastewater permit and actor Robert Redford, former Gov. Bill Richardson and the state attorney general announcing plans to intervene in a lawsuit seeking to block a return to domestic horse slaughter.

    The New Mexico Environment Department told Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, which has a lapsed discharge permit, that it won't renew the permit without a public hearing because of extensive comments already received.

    Valley Meat Co. attorney Blair Dunn said the lack of permit would not prevent the plant from opening as planned Aug. 5, but it would increase the cost of doing business because the plant would have to haul its waste.

    Dunn accused the state of unfairly targeting a small, family-owned business. He noted that many dairies are operating around the state with lapsed permits.

    He said the state ignored Valley's request for a renewal until the horse slaughter debate became so divisive and Gov. Susana Martinez announced her strong opposition.

  • San Ildefonso Day School holds first Cultural Day celebration

    San Ildefonso Day School hosted family and community members for a Cultural Day celebration last Thursday. The children not only presented their skills in the Tewa language and traditional dances, they shared bread, cookies and fruit pies they had cooked in an horno (adobe oven) the day before at a traditional luncheon for community members.

    "This is a day of celebration for our youth and young adults here at the school," said Tewa language instructor and tribal council member Tim Martinez. "This is something that we teach our young children. It's about our way of life, the songs and the dance that we do here."

    The celebration is an outgrowth of a Tewa language program instituted in the fall of 2012.

    The pueblo's Learning Center sought grants from the tribal council, the Administration for Native Americans, the Chamisa Foundation and some smaller funding sources. The goal is to revitalize San Ildefonso's language, culture and our heritage.

    Martinez and Rose Sanchez teach the program three mornings a week. In addition to teaching the K–6 grade students the pueblo's traditional Tewa language, Martinez and Sanchez arrange special projects such as learning the dances or making moccasins, take the children on field trips and bring in guest speakers.

  • Council adopts FY2014 budget

    After more than four hours of discussion, the Los Alamos County council adopted a budget for FY2014.

    During the evening's discussions, council added $378,565 to the $185.9 million proposed by staff.          

    The additions included $93,000 for community services. Council took out proposed reductions to Senior Center services, Youth Activity Center operations and the summer concert series. They also voted to fund Bear Camp at the current level and added $40,000 to the budget for Cooperative Extension Services in order to fund the home economics position at a three quarter time level.

    Council also transferred $300,000 from the general fund to the FY2014 indigent healthcare fund budget in order to maintain basic services. A more in depth discussion on how to address reduced revenues and increased demand on the indigent fund is scheduled for April 30.

    The only reduction to the proposed budget was  $15,000 from the county council's budget for contractual services.

    After considerable discussion, council voted to adopt proposed budgets for Progress through Partnering, transit and the lodger's tax fund without alterations.

    Look for more details in Thursday's Los Alamos Monitor.

  • 'I love mysteries,' says man claiming hidden gold

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — For more than a decade, he packed and repacked his treasure chest, sprinkling in gold dust and adding hundreds of rare gold coins and gold nuggets. Pre-Columbian animal figures went in, along with prehistoric "mirrors" of hammered gold, ancient Chinese faces carved from jade and antique jewelry with rubies and emeralds.

    Forrest Fenn was creating a bounty, and the art and antiquities dealer says his goal was to make sure it was "valuable enough to entice searchers and desirable enough visibly to strike awe."

    Occasionally, he would test that premise, pulling out the chest and asking his friends to open the lid.

    "Mostly, when they took the first look," he says, "they started laughing," hardly able the grasp his amazing plan.

    Was Fenn really going to give this glistening treasure trove away?

  • Preparing for Pilgrims

    New Mexico highway crews set up floodlights along NM502 in preparation for pilgrims walking to Chimayo. Although the greatest number of pilgrims walk on Good Friday, pilgrimages take place year round, particularly during Lent. A large number of pilgrims walk at night on Holy Thursday. Law enforcement stops drivers at this spot a mile down NM502 to remind them to watch for walkers and to keep an eye out for impaired drivers.