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Local News

  • Council approves deal on San Juan plant

    On Tuesday, the Los Alamos County Council approved the San Juan Generating Station Settlement Agreement (actually a combination of five agreements) by a 5-2 vote, with councilors Pete Sheehey and Susan O’Leary opposed.
    Sheehey made a motion to approve the agreement with an amendment directing the Board of Public Utilities and staff to prepare a phased plan for replacing coal with renewable energy when the agreement expires in 2022.
    O’Leary added a friendly amendment directing BPU to provide council with a plan for soliciting public feedback on a post-2022 plan no later than February 2016.
    Other councilors agreed that council should address those issues, but as an agenda item at a later date.
    Councilor James Chrobocinski made a substitute motion to approve the agreements as written, which received the majority vote.
    Los Alamos was the last of the nine SJGS owners to approve the agreement.
    For details on the agreement, read “BPU will review power agreement,” published in the Los Alamos Monitor July 12, or find the full agreement at secure.losalamosnm.us/utilities/Pages/Electricity.aspx.
    Council also voted to move the Aug. 4 work session to Aug. 18.
     

  • Future unsure for troubled New Mexico green chile production

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Green chile has defined New Mexico for generations, gaining fans and fame around the globe.
    However, as this year's harvest begins, labor shortages, shrinking acreage, drought and foreign competition have hurt production in the state.
    Farmers and producers say the problems reveal the need for changes in the industry.
    To rejuvenate production, investors and inventors are testing machines that would harvest and de-stem the crop.
    The delicate chile is now picked by hand, and problems with bruising and the removal of stems have made it difficult to make the transition to machines.
    "The labor force is getting older and not a lot of young people are getting into the business," said Ed Ogaz, owner of the Anthony-based chile wholesaler Seco Spice Co. "Something needs to happen."
    Ogaz prefers the old ways and believes farmers need more laborers to improve production as acreage dedicated to chile production has fallen to a 43-year low in the state.
    Chile has been a staple of New Mexico cuisine for centuries, and the Hatch region has become world famous for its flavorful hot peppers.
    Chile is also the state vegetable and the basis of the official state question, "red or green?"

  • Update 7-29-15

    Farmers Market

    The Los Alamos Farmers Market will be from 7 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Thursday. It takes place at the Mesa Public Library parking lot.

    Exhibits

    Check-in for the Los Alamos County Fair exhibits will start at 2 p.m. Aug. 6. The check-ins will be done at Mesa Public Library. The county Fair and Rodeo will be from Aug. 7-9.

    Swing Dance

    There will be a swing dance at the Los Alamos Posse Lodge starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, hosted by Atomic City Swing. There is a beginner’s lesson at 7 p.m., followed by social dancing. Price is $3 for dancers, $5 for those taking the lesson. Email atomiccityswing@gmail.com for information.

    Grand Opening

    The White Rock Library and Youth Center grand opening is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at their new location at Sherwood Boulevard and N.M. 4. The public is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served.

    County Council

    Los Alamos County Council will hold a work session at 7 p.m. Aug. 4. The work session will take place at Fire Station No. 3 in White Rock.

    Warm Water
    There will be a Warm Water Weekend at the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center Aug. 8-9. Water temperature is turned up in the main pool for Warm Water Weekends. It will go from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 8 and 1-5 p.m. Aug. 9. For more information, call 662-8170.

  • Council approves air service agreement

    By a narrow 4-3 margin, Los Alamos County Council voted Tuesday to approve an agreement with Boutique Air to bring air service back to Los Alamos.
    Boutique Air currently offers scheduled air service in New Mexico from Clovis to Dallas-Fort Worth, from Silver City to Albuquerque and from Carlsbad to both Dallas-Fort Worth and Albuquerque. 
    The airline flies the Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, a single engine, turboprop, pressurized aircraft originally designed for executive travel. Councilor James Chrobocinski compared the aircraft to the Cessna Caravan flown by New Mexico Airlines, the company which provided service from April 2013 to January 2015.
    “The last plane would have been a ’79 VW bus and this is a brand new Cadillac,” Chrobocinski said.
    The planes travel 100 mph faster than the Caravans. The higher speed combined with the increased comfort of a pressurized cabin — Caravans are not pressurized — opens the option for flights to Denver.
    Boutique requires that all pilots be qualified to fly in Instrument Meteorological Conditions, which means they can fly in reduced visibility conditions. Many of New Mexico Airlines’ cancellations were due to pilots who were not IMC qualified.

  • Draft of agreement for park is released

    The National Park Service and the Department of Energy are looking for public feedback on a drafted proposal on how to manage the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
    Public comment is open on the proposal from now until Aug. 28.
    The two entities will jointly manage the MPNHP, which was established late last year as part of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, passed by both congressional houses and signed by President Obama.
    The park will include parts of three national laboratories, including Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    One of the main goals of the current draft, according to the two agencies, is “to identify the facilities and areas under the DOE’s administrative jurisdiction that will initially be included,” in the MPNHP.
    The current draft of the proposal doesn’t deal with the management of the park, nor does it identify where the park’s headquarters might be located, a subject that’s been a sticking point. Los Alamos residents have identified possible site for the park’s headquarters around the county, while Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which is also involved, has a letter-writing campaign directed at lawmakers to try to persuade them that it is the best choice for the headquarters.

  • Today in history July 29
  • Machines may help with chile crop

    LAS CRUCES (AP) — A group of investors and inventors are set to launch a test run they believe could save New Mexico chile.
    The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the group this week plans scaled-up trial runs of mechanized harvesting and de-stemming of green chile.
    Experts and farmers say mechanization is the best way to halt, and even reverse, a long-term trend of declining chile acreage in New Mexico.
    Federal numbers showed overall chile acreage harvested across New Mexico fell in 2014 to a 43-year low.
    The trial runs involve harvesting machines made in the U.S., as well as an Israeli company.

  • Update 7-28-15

    County Council

    Los Alamos County Council will have a regular meeting Tuesday in council chambers. Meeting time is 7 p.m.

    Nature Center

    A presentation, “Art, Wind and Fire,” will be given at Los Alamos Nature Center starting at 7 p.m. today
    The event is free.

    Football practice

    The official opening of preseason football for Los Alamos High School is Aug. 3. Anyone in grades 9-12 may play. Interested players must have completed a physical examination before being eligible to participate. For more information, contact Garett Williams at ga.williams@laschools.net.

    Brewing

    Bathtub Row Brewing will host its “Full House Party” starting at 3 p.m. Friday at its location in Central Park Square. Local beers and several local bands are scheduled to play Friday and Saturday. For information, call 500-8381.

    Grand Opening

    The White Rock Library and Youth Center grand opening is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at their new location at Sherwood Boulevard and N.M. 4. The public is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served.

    Flight rally

  • PBS to air 'The Bomb'

    Albuquerque PBS affiliate channel 5, KNME, will air a documentary on the atomic bomb tonight.
    The documentary, “The Bomb,” is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. The two-hour documentary will highlight the path humans took to harness the power of atomic energy.
    According to PBS, “The Bomb” will feature newly restored footage of nuclear weaponry that was only recently released by the government. Also included will be rarely seen footage from bomb tests through the 1950s and 1960s.
    Of course, much of the primary research work for the construction of the atomic bomb, which was a key instrument in ending World War II in Japan, was done in Los Alamos.
    “The arc of this story is filled with fascinating breakthroughs, agonizing human dilemmas, and unintended consequences,” said Bill Margol, senior director of Programming and Development for PBS. “‘The Bomb’ provides a comprehensive look at the nuclear age and offers a chance for current generations to understand the indelible impact this discovery and invention had, and continues to have, on all of us.”
    On Wednesday, there will be a presentation on NOVA, the long-running PBS series, entitled “Nuclear Meltdown Disaster,” about the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan.

  • Black Hole building vandalized

    In the course of just two weeks, a group of teenagers have completely destroyed what was left inside of an iconic Los Alamos business.
    Damages inside The Black Hole, located on Arkansas Avenue, included the building’s many windows and two highly prized pieces of sculpture, one reported to worth between $8,000 and $10,000, according to police reports.
    The Black Hole was part government surplus depot, part art museum, and was known throughout the world.
    When it was fully operational, customers could purchase technology and equipment once owned by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, as well as art created by the store’s owner, Ed Grothus.
    Grothus was also a peace activist and artist who also once worked at the lab as a machinist and technician. Grothus created works of art to display and sell at The Black Hole, two of which were destroyed by the teens last month.
    A few years after his death in 2009, The Black Hole closed its doors, but the sculptures and other items remained behind as Grothus’ family worked to settle his estate and dispose of what was left.
    On June 8, the manager of the property filed a report with police about a June 7 incident where kids threw one of Grothus’ sculptures off the roof the building, destroying it.