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Local News

  • On the Docket 4-3-16

    March 24
    Victoria T. Lovato was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court for headlamps on motor vehicles. Sentence deferred until April 25. Defendant must also pay $65 in court costs.
    Cuilan Yuan pled no contest in Los Alamos Municipal Court for speeding 11 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit. Sentence deferred until May 23. Defendant also sentenced to defensive driving school. Defendant must also pay $65 in court costs.

    March 25
    Jerry C. Dudley was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

    March 28
    Karen D. Miller was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of speeding 11 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $75 and must also pay $65 in court costs.
    Mark D. Ortega was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of speeding one to five miles an hour over the speed limit in a school zone. Defendant was fined $30 and must also pay $65 in court costs.
    Kathy Steck was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

  • 7 Earth-size worlds found orbiting star; could hold life

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — For the first time, astronomers have discovered seven Earth-size planets orbiting a single nearby star — and these new worlds could hold life.

    This cluster of planets is less than 40 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius, according to NASA and the Belgian-led research team who announced the discovery Wednesday.

    The planets circle tightly around a dim dwarf star called Trappist-1, barely the size of Jupiter. Three are in the so-called habitable zone, the area around a star where water and, possibly life, might exist. The others are right on the doorstep.

    Scientists said they need to study the atmospheres before determining whether these rocky, terrestrial planets could support some sort of life. But it already shows just how many Earth-size planets could be out there — especially in a star's sweet spot, ripe for extraterrestrial life. The more planets like this, the greater the potential of finding one that's truly habitable. Until now, only two or three Earth-size planets had been spotted around a star.

    "We've made a crucial step toward finding if there is life out there," said the University of Cambridge's Amaury Triaud, one of the researchers.

  • College Board to boost SAT security to combat cheating

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — The firm that owns the SAT college entrance exam is boosting security worldwide following test-stealing and other cheating in recent years.

    The College Board said it's reducing the number of international testing dates from six per year to four for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. It says the move will reduce opportunities for test content to be stolen.

    The New York-based college entrance exam provider announced Wednesday that it is taking steps to prevent past cheaters from retaking tests. In addition, it says it will alert law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad of companies and people it suspects of illegally obtaining test content.

    Other planned reforms include an increase in audits of test centers worldwide and steps to make it easier for students and educators to anonymously report suspected cheating.

    "We are unwavering in our commitment to SAT test security and we will continue to confront any efforts to undermine it, including the unauthorized disclosure of test questions and test forms," Peter Schwartz, the College Board's chief administrative officer and general counsel, said in a written statement.

  • Trump administration to lift transgender bathroom guidance

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration will revoke federal guidelines that tell public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity, the White House said Wednesday.

    The decision would be a reversal of an Obama-era directive advising public schools to grant bathroom access to students in line with their expressed gender identity and not necessarily the gender on their birth certificate.

    White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Wednesday that the previous administration's guidelines were confusing and hard to implement and that new directives would be issued later in the day. A government official with direct knowledge of the plans told The Associated Press that the Obama-era guidance would be rescinded, though anti-bullying safeguards would not be affected. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the plans and did so on condition of anonymity.

    Although the Obama guidance carried no force of law, transgender rights advocates say it was necessary to protect students from discrimination. Opponents argued it was overreach and said it violated the safety and privacy of all other students.

    Spicer said that the Departments of Justice and Education were working together on the new document.

  • Bill to ban traps on public lands stalls

    BY ANDREW OXFORD
    The New Mexican

  • Fiddle fundraiser a success

    The Fancy Fiddle Fundraiser Saturday at Fuller Lodge drew more than 120 people, according to organizers.
    All of the more than 40 decorated violins, violas, cellos and basses were won, according to Joanna Gillespie, executive director of the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation.
    Proceeds from Saturday’s auction will benefit the Los Alamos Public Schools orchestra program. The instruments were older instruments that were used by the school and painted by local artists.
    The foundation will total the final amount donated from the auction today.

  • SpaceX aborts approach to space station, delivery delayed

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A navigation error forced SpaceX to delay its shipment to the International Space Station on Wednesday, following an otherwise smooth flight from NASA's historic moon pad.
    SpaceX's supply ship, the Dragon, was less than a mile from the orbiting outpost when a problem cropped up in the GPS system. The approach was aborted, and the Dragon backed away. NASA said neither the station nor its six-person crew was in any danger, and another attempt would be made Thursday.
    "As a pilot it is sometimes better to accelerate and circle around than attempt a difficult landing," French astronaut Thomas Pesquet said in a tweet from the space station. "Same in space — we'll be ready tomorrow!"
    Just a few hours earlier, Russia successfully launched a cargo ship from Kazakhstan, its first since a failed launch in December.
    SpaceX launched the Dragon capsule Sunday from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A, out of action since NASA's space shuttle program ended in 2011. It's the same spot where astronauts flew to the moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. SpaceX has a 20-year lease with NASA for 39A; besides launching station cargo from there, the company hopes to send up astronauts as early as next year.

  • Chandler joins LANL coalition

    Los Alamos County Council member Chris Chandler will be the county’s representative on the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities.
    Chandler replaces former Council representative Kristin Henderson, who served on the board for about a year.
    The coalition is currently in Washington D.C. with several other commission members attending the Energy Communities Alliance meeting to discuss issues concerning the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    Those issues include the upcoming management and operations contract switch for LANL and ongoing environmental cleanup efforts of certain LANL sites.
    “I think it’s a very important thing to work with our fellow communities who have a relationship with the lab,” Chandler said. “Obviously, Rio Arriba County, Española, Santa Fe, all have issues associated with the lab, as does Los Alamos. When we can find common ground, I think we are a stronger force when we’re dealing with the Department of Energy and the laboratory.”

  • Regional Coalition in DC to meet with officials

    By the time the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities returns from its Washington, D.C. fact-finding trip Friday, members hope to have some answers from New Mexico’s Congressional representatives about the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    Tops on its list will be to find out how much progress has been made in LANL’s transition to a new management and operations contract.
    The coalition will also seek clarity on a variety of other issues, such as Los Alamos County’s portion of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
    Congress approved the creation of the park last year. RCLC Executive Director Andrea Romero is hoping Congress approves funding to help strengthen communication and collaboration with the national park’s three separate parts. The park also includes sites in Hanford, Washington and Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
    “We are looking at appropriated funds for the development process and the collaboration process,” Romero said. “Cohesion between the three sites is what we’re looking for.”  
    The coalition would also like to find out more information about how the park will be ultimately funded.

  • DPU eyes utility rate hikes

    The Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities plans to ask the Board of Public Utilities for an 8 percent increase in the water rate and an 8 percent increase in the sewer rate at the March 15 meeting.
    If the board approves the request, then the request will go to the county council to be introduced, and then a public hearing on the issue will be scheduled for a future meeting, according to Julie Williams-Hill, DPU spokeswoman.  
    The funds raised by the increase would help pay for the rebuild of the White Rock Water Resource Recovery Facility, Williams-Hill said.
    The BPU meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. March 15.
    The DPU supplies drinking water to more than 7,000 customers in White Rock, Los Alamos, Bandelier National Monument and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.