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Around the Area

  • 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.

  • Be There 3-12-13

     

    Today

    As part of its 2012-2013 lecture series, the Los Alamos Historical Society will offer “Hiroshima and Nagasaki 2010,” with speaker John A. Andersen, at 7:30 p.m. at Fuller Lodge. The lecture is free and open to the public.

     

    Thursday

    Los Alamos Winter Farmers Market, 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Fuller Lodge. For more information, visit lamainstreet.com/farmers-market.htm.

     

  • Historical Museum receives Groves' portrait

    A portrait of Gen. Leslie Groves is now hanging in the Los Alamos Historical Museum. The portrait was donated by Groves' son, the late Gen. Richard Groves, and Richard’s children. The family decided to donate the portrait to the museum after the sculptures of General Groves and Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer were dedicated in May 2011.

    The portrait was painted by Artist Albert Murray, who has been called “the greatest of all American portrait painters after John Singer Sargent.” Murray's work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Museum of American Art.

    The official unveiling will be part of Los Alamos National Laboratory's 70th anniversary celebration, 3 p.m. April 5 at the Betty Ehart Senior Center.

  • Forecasters look at white Christmas probability

    From Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" to Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," Christmas is portrayed as a snowy time. However, many areas of the U.S. do not necessarily have a high probability of a white Christmas*.

    Since many people may have a different idea of what constitutes a white Christmas, it is being defined in this story as a snow depth of an inch or more on Christmas Day.

    Normal December snowfall and temperatures are both critical factors that play a role in who gets a white Christmas. This is due to the fact that snow needs to fall and stay put on the ground to meet the definition.

    Based on data from 1981 to 2010, northern New England, the Upper Midwest, Rocky Mountains and Intermountain West have the highest chance, more than 75 percent, of a white Christmas.

    Minneapolis, Minn., Green Bay, Wis., Buffalo, N.Y., and Burlington, Vt., are among the cities in the U.S. that have the highest chance for a white Christmas.

    "It tends to stay colder across the northern tier during the day and night, so when snow falls, it's less likely to melt," AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

  • BPU endorses new sewer rates

    The Los Alamos Board of Public Utilities voted unanimously on Wednesday to endorse an increase in sewer rates proposed by the Department of Public Utilities.

    The hike is necessary to cover the costs of repairing and replacing the 50- to 60-year-old infrastructure. The proposed ordinance increases overall sewer rates but also simplifies residential customers’ bills to a restructured flat fee every month. It removes the variable rate that is based on the amount of potable water consumed during winter months. The ordinance also includes continuing annual rate increases of eight percent for the next four years beginning in June 2013 to meet the critical future capital expenses of the sewer collection and wastewater treatment systems.

    Commercial customers will continue to be charged a variable rate, but under the proposed ordinance these customers will pay the $7 customer fee in lieu of the previous fixed rate. The commercial variable rate will increase from $5.89 to $11.91 and will be based on the winter average of potable water consumed with a minimum 2000 gallons or other measuring period as determined appropriate by the DPU based on seasonal or other non-traditional water use patterns. Commercial customers’ rates will also rise by 8 percent a year through 2016.

  • SF man claims $1M Powerball prize

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe man has come forward to claim a $1 million prize in the multi-state Powerball game.

    New Mexico Lottery officials say Michael Vigil was one winning number away from taking the $40 million jackpot in last Saturday's drawing.

    Still, he's the state lottery's seventh millionaire so far this year.

    Vigil told lottery officials in Albuquerque that he plans to use his prize to pay bills, visit family out of state and travel abroad.

  • Police: Drunk NM man called police on himself

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say an Albuquerque man has been arrested for drunken driving — after he called police on himself.

    KRQE-TV reports that Antonio Candelaria recently was arrested when officers found him drunk in his driveway and lying on the ground with his foot stuck in his motorcycle.

    Police say the 50-year-old had called police for help after getting his foot stuck.

    According to police, Candelaria's breath test results came out above .16, which is twice the legal limit in New Mexico.

    Court records showed that Candelaria had a long list of DWI arrests and a handful of convictions.

    It was unclear if Candelaria had an attorney.

  • Hiking reopens on burned portion of Valles Caldera

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Part of the Valles Caldera National Preserve that was burned by a wildfire last year is again open to hikers and for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing this winter.

    The Valles Caldera Trust said Wednesday the public can access the preserve's Rabbit Mountain area through trails such as the Coyote Call trail and logging roads. Motorized vehicles are prohibited as well as overnight camping.

    New Mexico Route 4 borders Rabbit Mountain in the preserve, and the trust said access to the reopened area also is possible from Forest Roads 289, 268 and 36.

    The Las Conchas wildfire last year burned portions of the 89,000-acre preserve, which is near Los Alamos in northern New Mexico.