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Local News

  • Police explain yesterday’s traffic foul up

    While yesterday’s 5 p.m. traffic snarl may have sent commuter tempers soaring, there was a good  explanation for the tie up, police said. It may not be one that commuters caught up in the mess want to hear, however, as it involved a driver who allegedly made a bad error in judgement.

    Apparently, a truck driver, who was hauling a mobile home, tried to turn around on State Route 4 by attempting a U-turn. The driver took a wrong turn toward White Rock while heading south on NM 4, and was attempting to correct his mistake. When the truck made the west shoulder of N.M. 4, two of the truck’s axles broke, as well as the truck's trailer hitch due to the grade of the roadway.

    Unfortunately, according to Commander Oliver Morris of the Los Alamos Police Department, the position of the stuck truck and mobile home left only a narrow way for cars traveling N.M. 4 to get through.

  • Court is divided on subsidies

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court was sharply divided Wednesday in the latest challenge to President Barack Obama’s health overhaul, this time over the tax subsidies that make insurance affordable for millions of Americans.
    The justices aggressively questioned lawyers on both sides of what Justice Elena Kagan called “this never-ending saga,” the latest politically charged fight over the Affordable Care Act.
    Chief Justice John Roberts said almost nothing in nearly 90 minutes of back-and-forth, and Justice Anthony Kennedy’s questions did not make clear how he will come out. Roberts was the decisive vote to uphold the law in 2012.
    Otherwise, the same liberal-conservative divide that characterized the earlier case was evident.
    Opponents of the law say that only residents of states that set up their own insurance markets can get federal subsidies to help pay their premiums. The administration says the law provides for subsidies in all 50 states.
    The liberal justices peppered lawyer Michael Carvin almost from the outset of his argument to limit the subsidies.
    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the law set up flexibility for states to either set up their own markets or rely on the federal healthcare.gov.

  • McDonald's to use chickens raised without antibiotics

    NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald’s says it plans to start using chicken raised without antibiotics commonly used in humans, and milk from cows that are not treated with an artificial growth hormone.
    The company says the chicken change will take place within the next two years. It says suppliers will still be able to use a type of antibiotic called ionophores that keep chickens healthy and aren’t used in humans. The milk change will take place later this year.
    Many cattle, hog and poultry producers give their livestock antibiotics to make them grow faster and ensure they are healthy. The practice has become a public health issue, with officials saying it can lead to germs becoming resistant to drugs so that they’re no longer effective in treating a particular illness in humans.
    Chipotle and Panera already say they serve chicken raised without antibiotics, but the announcement by McDonald’s is notable because of its size; the company has more than 14,000 U.S. locations. Chipotle has nearly 1,800 locations, while Panera has almost 1,900 locations.

  • Update 3-4-15

    Public Schools

    Los Alamos Public Schools will hold a forum at 7 p.m. today for the public to hear from superintendent candidate Kurt Steinhaus.The forum will be at Los Alamos High School’s speech theater.

    School board

    The Los Alamos School Board will go into closed executive session Thursday at 5 p.m. Following the session a motion may be made to present a job to one of the two finalist candidates. It will be at the Public Schools administration building.

    Construction

    The project manager overseeing Western Area Phase 3 construction will speak at a meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. March 11.

    'Mister Roberts'

    The Los Alamos Elks Lodge will host a promotional event for Los Alamos Little Theatre’s production of “Mister Roberts” at 6 p.m. Thursday.

    Free Film Series

    The Free Film Series will feature the movie “Of Gods and Men” at the Mesa Public Library upstairs meeting rooms. Showtime is 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

    P & Z meeting
    Planning and zoning will meet at 5:30 p.m. March 11 at the Municipal Building.

  • Vaccination resolution passes

    The Los Alamos County Council unanimously passed a resolution urging parents to vaccinate their children Tuesday night.
    Councilor David Izraelevitz introduced the resolution due to concern about the high number of vaccination exemptions in the county.
    Requests for exemptions have been rising statewide, going from 2,845 in 2012 to 3,335 in 2014.
    Although the county’s overall immunization rate is at 93 percent, with the highest rate in the state for adult immunization, the data is less encouraging for children.
    Los Alamos is second in the state for the number of vaccine exemptions, with 30.6 exemptions per 1,000, or 3 percent, for children 4-18 years.
    Los Alamos Public Schools physician Dr. Mike Nichols, who is also a physician at the Los Alamos Children’s Clinic, believes that number may be even higher among homeschooled children.
    “Given that Los Alamos is an employment center, with a lot of people commuting from all over Northern New Mexico, we have a fairly high number of out-of-district kids that travel out of the county and for business and pleasure there’s a high rate of international travel, it seemed appropriate to consider this in Los Alamos because this risk would be magnified and spread once it reached us,” Izraelevitz said.

  • Today in history March 4
  • Chilean volcano erupts, thousands flee

    PUCON, Chile (AP) — One of South America’s most active volcanoes erupted in southern Chile, spewing heavy smoke into the air as lava surged down its slopes, prompting authorities to evacuate thousands of people.
    The Villarrica volcano erupted around 3 a.m. local time, according to the National Emergency Office, which issued a red alert and ordered evacuations. Local media showed images of the volcano bursting at the top, glowing in the dark amid heavy smoke and rivers of lava. Authorities worried that mudslides caused by melting snow could endanger nearby communities.
    The 9,000 foot volcano in Chile’s central valley, 400 miles (670 kilometers) south of Santiago, sits above the small city of Pucon, which has a population of about 22,000 people.
    “It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen,” 29-year-old Australian tourist Travis Armstrong said in a telephone interview from Pucon. “I’ve never seen a volcano erupt and it was spewing lava and ash hundreds of meters into the air. Lightning was striking down at the volcano from the ash cloud that formed from the eruption.”

  • Update 3-3-15

    County Council

    A Los Alamos County Council meeting is 7 p.m. today in council chambers. On the agenda is contract for the Pajarito Environmental Education Center to manage the new Nature Center.

    Fuller Lodge

    A regular meeting of the Fuller Lodge Historic Districts Advisory Board is scheduled for Wednesday at the Municipal Building. Meeting time is 5:30 p.m.

    Public Schools

    Los Alamos Public Schools will hold a forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday for the public to hear from superintendent candidate Kurt Steinhaus.The forum will be at Los Alamos High School’s speech theater.

    School board

    The Los Alamos School Board will go into closed executive session Thursday at 5 p.m. Following the session a motion may be made to present a job to one of the two finalist candidates. The meeting will be at the Los Alamos Public Schools administration building.

    P & Z meeting

    Planning and zoning will meet at 5:30 p.m. March 11. The meeting will be at the Municipal Building.

  • Students around the state stage walkouts

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New assessment tests that have angered parents and teachers across the nation prompted walkouts Monday by hundreds of high school students in New Mexico who had been set to take the exams.
    The backlash came as millions of U.S. students started taking the rigorous tests aligned with Common Core standards that outline math and language skills that should be mastered in each grade.
    New Mexico is among a dozen states debuting the tests this year.
    Opponents say the exams distract from real learning, put added stress on students and staff members, and waste resources, especially in poor districts.
    Parents and students in Colorado, Pennsylvania and New York have already opted out of the exams. Others are lobbying lawmakers and education officials for change.
    In Florida last week, Gov. Rick Scott suspended spring testing for 11th graders.
    In New Mexico, a few hundred students at Albuquerque High School joined the walkout despite warnings from administrators that they could face discipline. About 100 other students at nearby Highland High School also left class as testing began.
    Students at both schools took to the sidewalks with signs and chanted as supporters honked their horns.

  • RECA award total is over $2 billion

    The United States Department of Justice announced Monday that it has now awarded more than $2 billion in “compassionate compensation” to claimants under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA).
    The RECA stems from 1990. It was started as a non-adversarial alternative to litigation for individuals who contracted certain illnesses following exposure to radiation as a result of the United States’ atmospheric nuclear testing program and uranium ore processing operations during the Cold War.
    In 2000, Congress changed the act its present form, which allows for lump-sum compensation payments to individuals who contracted specified diseases in three defined populations: uranium miners, millers and ore transporters, who are eligible for $100,000 per claim, participants in atmospheric nuclear weapons tests who are eligible for $75,000 per claim and individuals who lived downwind of the Nevada Test Site, who are eligible for $50,000 per claim.
    Compensation has been awarded to individuals residing in all 50 states.
    According to the Justice Department, nearly 43,000 claims have been filed and 32,000 claims have been approved since 1990.