Local News

  • Hydro plant gets some big upgrades

    The El Vado Generating Station has been silent for two years, ever since an inspection revealed some potentially dangerous deterioration in the generating unit.
    But the $2,683,629 El Vado Hydroelectric Plant Generator Rewind Project is nearing completion and the hydroelectric plant should be running like new by the end of the year.
    El Vado is one of two hydro plants owned by Los Alamos County, along with the Abiquiu Generating Station.
    The average lifespan for a hydropower generating unit is 25 to 30 years, and this plant went into operation in 1987.
    A 2013 condition assessment indicated a “deteriorated and failed condition.” An independent contractor confirmed the finding and recommended the generator not be placed back in service until it had at least been cleaned.
    Oil and carbon dust film had accumulated on the unit as the result of an oil leak in the 1990s.
    The winding insulation that protects the electrical apparatus had also started to degrade.
    “When you’re making electricity at that high a voltage, you don’t mess around with it,” said Hydroelectric Plant Engineer Adam Cooper. “As soon as it tests bad, you take it down and you do something about it.”

  • Company suggest four more straplines

    Los Alamos residents will be able to choose their top two choices from a list of five brand straplines presented by branding consultant Atlas Advertising out of Denver, Los Alamos County announced Friday.
    A strapline — also referred to as a “tagline” — is one element of a place brand. It is typically a 3-5 word formal line of copy frequently placed below a logo.
    Los Alamos County is hoping the strapline will summarize the unique aspects of the community, evoke emotion and last the life of the brand.
    As prescribed in the county’s contract amendment — AGR15-4150-A1 — for Strapline Development and Selection Services approved by the county council earlier this year, Atlas Advertising is on the hook to present two straplines with logo concepts plus one logo concept with no strapline.
    This is another attempt the county is making to find a strapline. In December, the council considered the line “Live Exponentially,” which was introduced by North Star Destination Strategies.
    The community had an overwhelmingly negative reaction to “Live Exponentially,” in the form of councilor emails, letters to the editor and on social media.

  • Young pilot completes his first solo flight

    In his young life, Hudson Davenhall hasn’t been one to shy away from anything that looked interesting.
    Davenhall, a recent graduate of Los Alamos High School, made a name for himself in two sports and academics. Now he’s decided to tackle a new challenge: flight.
    Inspired by an impromptu plane ride a couple of years ago, Davenhall recently went on his first solo flight in an older model Cessna 172 N – which he refers to as the Volkswagen Beetle of airplanes — successfully taking off and touching down.
    He now wants to do more with that newfound interest of his.
    “The feeling of being able to go anywhere at anytime, it’s super-cool,” he said.
    Flying, of course, is a serious business and Davenhall said he’s unsure exactly of where he wants to go now that he’s taken his first step to becoming a pilot. He said he may join the Coast Guard at some point.
    For now, he will attend the University of New Mexico and work on a mechanical engineering degree, which he may use to study airplanes and their construction to learn more about what it takes to be a full-time pilot.
    Davenhall said his first introduction to the piloting world came from a bi-plane. Specifically, a stunt bi-plane.

  • Art Center shows student work

    There will be a Summer Art Camp Showcase at the Fuller Lodge Art Center Wednesday.
    This year’s art campers at the Art Center will have their work displayed from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The campers varied in age from 4-16.
    This summer, there were seven weeks of art camp for youth.
    There is no charge for admission to the showcase. For more information, call 662-1635, or email info@fullerlodgeartcenter.com.

  • Michalske earns business award

    AIKEN, S.C. — Savannah River National Laboratory’s Terry Michalske has been selected as National Laboratory Director of the Year by the Department of Energy’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU).
    According to the DOE, the award was given to Michalske for his work encouraging and promoting small businesses at SRNL, which is EM’s national laboratory.
    “I’ve had the opportunity to work with Terry, and I appreciate his hands-on leadership in SRNL’s support of small businesses,” said OSDBU Director John Hale III. “He uses collaborative approaches to engage small businesses so they can help the laboratory perfect its technologies and processes in the nuclear environment.”
    Hale, who introduced the laboratory director award as a new category this year in OSDBU’s Small Business Program, chose Michalske for the honor.
    According to the DOE, the award recognizes successful directors who display leadership and commitment to maximizing small business utilization through policies, procedures, outreach and the creation of an atmosphere of “small business first” in their organizations.

  • LANL projects named as award finalists

    A group of Los Alamos National Laboratory projects have been selected as finalists for the 2015 R&D 100 awards, which honor the top 100 proven technological advances of the past year as determined by a panel selected by R&D Magazine.
    The Los Alamos finalists include LARS: Lab-scale Asynchronous Radiographic System, PipeLIBS: A Self-Contained Elemental Analysis Tool for the Oil Industry, MDHIM: Multidimensional Hashed Indexed Middleware and SHMTools: Structural Health Monitoring Software for Aerospace, Civil, and Mechanical Infrastructure.
    “The ingenuity of Los Alamos scientists and engineers is remarkable, and it is exciting to have their potential for impact recognized in this way,” said Carol Burns, the deputy principal associate director of the Science, Technology and Engineering directorate, in a press release announcing the selections. “These finalists show the depth of scientific and technical capabilities that the laboratory offers, with the potential to provide game-changing solutions.”
    The winners will be announced at the R&D 100 Awards & Technology Conference Nov. 12-13, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
    Here is a look at the projects:


  • An LA Original: First Rodeo Queen will lead this year’s County Fair Parade

    Barbara Jean Wilson has been associated with the Los Alamos County Rodeo for about as long as there has been a county rodeo.
    Wilson is the Grand Marshal of this year’s parade, which will be Aug. 8, was the very first Rodeo Queen of Los Alamos County. She won her title in 1955, and she still has the silver belt buckle to prove it.
    Unfortunately, the crown is another story.
    While she was living in California, a no-goodnik broke into her house and stole the rodeo queen’s crown, made partially out of leather.
    “I can’t imagine why anyone would want to steal something like that,” Wilson said.
    The stealing of the crown was an unfortunate sidebar in a long story of her time as the first Rodeo Queen.
    Wilson, whose maiden name in 1955 was Hillhouse, was one of nine girls vying for the title that year, along with one of her friends, Polly Richardson. Wilson said it was an interesting mix of candidates, including one young woman who knew virtually nothing about rodeo or being around horses — she attended the event in a skirt and struggled to ride a horse.

  • 2015 County Fair Schedule

    Thursday, Aug. 6
    Exhibits check-in
    Mesa Public Library,
    2-6 p.m.
    Friday, Aug. 7
    Pool Tournament
    Betty Ehart Senior Center, 8 a.m.

    Fair Exhibits
    Mesa Public Library, Handicapped viewing, 4-5 p.m.;
    General public viewing, 5-8 p.m.

    Gordon’s Summer Concert Series
    The Derailers
    Ashley Pond,
    7-10 p.m.
    Saturday, Aug. 8
    Festival and Fair
    Ashley Pond, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

    Arts and crafts fair
    Fuller Lodge,
    9 a.m.-4 p.m.

    County Fair parade
    Central Avenue,
    10 a.m.

    Fair Exhibits
    Mesa Public Library,
    10 a.m.-3 p.m.

    4-H Livestock Exhibit
    Mesa Public Library parking lot,
    10 a.m.-noon

    Brewer Arena,
    2-5 p.m.

    Cowboy Dinner and Dance
    Posse Lodge,
    5 p.m.
    Sunday, Aug. 9

    Brewer Arena, 1-3 p.m.

  • Art and Crafts returns to Fuller Lodge

    One of the main attractions of the Los Alamos County Fair is the Arts and Crafts Fair.
    The Arts and Crafts Fair is an all-day event scheduled for Saturday. It’s held on the lawn at Fuller Lodge.
    Numerous tents are set up for artists to display their wares on the lawn where artists from all throughout northern New Mexico and even further will be showing off their latest creations.
    According to the Fuller Lodge Art Center, nearly 100 artists are scheduled to have work on display.
    Among those are local artists MaryAnn Somers of Moon Eyes Designs, Kathy Hjeresen of Kathy’s Natural Designs and Michael Harvey of Mike’s Glass Art.
    Numerous other artists from Santa Fe and the Albuquerque area are also scheduled to have creations on hand.
    One of the more popular displays with the younger crowd are the sock monkeys that are from Sandra Frentzel’s Cotton Alley Crafts.
    For the older — and more skeptical — crowd, there is also Cindy Boe’s creations, entitled “Sweet and Snarky,” a collection of greeting cards with vintage images and not-so-vintage slogans, such as “My inner child thinks that you are a great big poopy head.”
    About two-thirds of the artists that are scheduled to participate this year also took part last year.

  • Plenty for the Cowpokes

    The Los Alamos County Fair was practically designed for cowboys.
    A big part of the fair this year, as it is every year, is the Los Alamos Rodeo. The rodeo is spread over two days, Saturday and Sunday, at Brewer Arena, located behind the county’s horse stables on North Mesa.
    The rodeo is part of the Bad Bull Series and is operated by the Wiseman Rodeo Company, which provides the livestock used.
    The Los Alamos Rodeo is an open event, meaning anyone wishing to can participate. There are several different events to choose from and different divisions from novice on up.
    There are fees charged per event — a fee schedule can be found on Page B2. Fees are cash only. Those wishing to participate should call this week to pre-register and all pre-registered participants will get complimentary entry to the rodeo.
    Saturday’s rodeo starts at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s events start at 1 p.m.
    Following Saturday’s rodeo, there will be a Cowboy Dinner and Dance at the Los Alamos Posse Lodge. The dinner and dance is presented by the county’s sheriff’s department.
    The Posse Lodge is located at 650 North Mesa Road. Dinner starts at 5 p.m.
    Price for participation is $15 for the dinner and the dance or $10 for just the dance, with couples and combos discounted.