Local News

  • Retired LANL physicist earns national honor

    The National Audubon Society has selected retired Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist Tom Jervis of Santa Fe as the 2012 Volunteer Charles H. Callison Award winner. The award was announced Sept. 28 at the National Audubon Society Board Meeting in Tucson, Ariz.

    Now in its 18th year, Audubon’s Callison Awards recognize one volunteer and one staff member, nominated by their peers, who have made remarkable contributions to conservation through coalition-building, creative thinking and perseverance.

    During the awards ceremony, Jervis was recognized for his, “dedicated service and major contributions to the goals of Audubon; his unflagging dedication as a volunteer and supporter at the chapter, center, council and state levels; his decades’ long work to protect New Mexico’s most threatened wildlife and to preserve critical habitats; and his passionate commitment to the cause of conservation locally and throughout the hemisphere.”

    An Audubon member for 40 years, Jervis is currently serving in his fourth term as president of the Sangre de Cristo Audubon Society, a local chapter of the National Audubon Society. Also a leader of the state Audubon efforts, he served three terms as president of the New Mexico Audubon council.

  • Update 10-03-12

    Night in Italy

    Tickets are available for “A Night in Italy” fundraiser for Assets in Action. The event takes place Oct. 20 at the Hilltop House Hotel. Tickets are $40 each and proceeds benefit youth development programs. Additional information is available by calling 661-4846 or by email at AssetsInAction.info.

    Parks and Rec

    The Parks and Recreation Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center. The board meets monthly. More information can be obtained by calling 662-8173.

    Elk Festival

    The Valles Caldera will hold its annual event Oct. 6-14 with the headquarters at the Visitor Center. Daily festival activities will include elk viewing, elk education booths and various demonstration booths. This event is free and open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

    Candidate forums

    The League of Women Voters will have a candidates’ forum for the county council and county clerk candidates as well as the Charter amendments on Thursday. The forum will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Fuller Lodge, with refreshments at 6:30.

    Bulk item pickup

  • County to self-insure

    Faced with a potential rate hike of 14.4 percent, the Los Alamos County council voted to adopt a self-funded insurance plan instead.

    The county’s contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield is renegotiated yearly. BCBS had originally proposed a 16.4 rate hike for next year. The county’s benefits consultant, Gallagher Benefit Services (GBS), entered into negotiations with BCBS to secure the lower rate. The county’s budget allowed for a 12-percent increase.

    The rate increase would significantly increase premiums for both the county (which pays 80 percent for full-time employees) and employees. Employees would also have higher out-of-pocket expenses.

    Staff identified eight options to reduce the rate hike, but seven of those had only minimal impact. Self-funding would increase rates by only 3.5 percent, without a change in benefits for the first year.

    County Administrator Harry Burgess said that if the self-funded plan was adopted, the county could take several steps to stabilize or reduce rates in upcoming years. These include:

    Forming an employee advisory committee composed of staff with a range of job titles and pay grades to evaluate what the insurance needs are and to formulate options for reducing costs.

  • Today in History for October 3rd
  • 10 things to know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday:


    Special ops forces are at U.S. embassies throughout the region, officials reveal, but the strategy was too new to avert the killing of the ambassador in Libya.


    Two CIA officers were wounded in what may have been a targeted assassination attempt orchestrated by a drug cartel.


    The president will share the stage with Romney, rather than the first lady, at 9 p.m. Wednesday. But at least she'll be close by in the audience.


  • Man rescued from burning car--Updated

    A man was pulled from a burning vehicle on N.M. 4 near the White Rock split just before the Silver Ford Edge he was driving became engulfed in flames Tuesday afternoon.

    How he was rescued was a story in itself.

    According to the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department, the man was identified as B.R. Sanders, 84, of Los Alamos. Maj. Ken Johnson of the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department said Sanders apparently dozed off while driving and ran off the road. The weeds underneath the car caught on fire and as a result, the vehicle caught fire as well. Johnson added drugs and alcohol were not a factor in the cause of the crash.

    Steve Yanicak and Don Carlson, who work for the Department of Energy NMED Oversight Bureau, were driving a government vehicle heading westbound on N.M. 4 after collecting storm water samples.

    They noticed a white car about 70 yards off the road with orange flames coming out of it.

    They pulled over and were instrumental along with three other people in pulling a man from the burning vehicle.

    “We noticed there were people in the white car and one of them was trying to yank somebody out of the silver car,” Yanicak said. “Obviously, the car was on fire. We abruptly stopped. It happened so fast.”
    Carlson was in the passenger seat of the government vehicle.

  • Border Patrol agent shot, killed on patrol in Ariz

    BISBEE, Ariz. (AP) — A Border Patrol agent was shot to death Tuesday in Arizona near the U.S.-Mexico line, the first fatal shooting of an agent since a deadly 2010 firefight with Mexican bandits that spawned congressional probes of a botched government gun-smuggling investigation.

    The agent, Nicolas Ivie, 30, and a colleague were on patrol in the desert near Naco, Ariz., about 100 miles from Tucson, when shooting broke out shortly before 2 a.m., the Border Patrol said. The second agent was shot in the ankle and buttocks, and was airlifted to a hospital.

    Authorities have not identified the agents, nor did they say whether any weapons were seized at the site of the shooting.

    The last Border Patrol agent fatally shot on duty was Brian Terry, who died in a shootout with bandits near the border in December 2010. The Border Patrol station in Naco, where the two agents shot Tuesday were stationed, was recently named after Terry.

  • 5 Things to Watch for in 1st Presidential Debate
  • Can science unravel civics?

    “Complex” comes from the Latin “complecti” meaning to weave or entwine. In a broad sense, complexity occurs in systems that comprise a wide array of related parts and their individual dynamics. 

    Examples of complex systems are the global economy, a brain, a computer, the electric grid, a city, and an ecosystem, whether working in nature or in human societies. A growing and far-reaching science seeks to find consistent patterns, if they exist, that occur in complex systems evolved by nature and by civilization. 

    These are days when all news runs to elections. Elections, as in far-off Greece or this fall in the U.S., have ties to the study of complexity. A pencil sketch of affairs is a good start.  

  • It's all about checks and balances

    “Checks and balances” is the phrase that describes the web of interactions among the branches of a government that provides for limiting governmental excess by the separation of powers into legislative, executive, and judicial sectors.  For example in the first instance, the federal government, the legislature passes laws but those laws can only be enforced by the executive and interpreted by the judicial, the legislature can remove judges or presidents and controls their budgets but is itself greatly constrained by being bifurcated.  And so on.  In the extreme these checks and balances can and do produce gridlock so moderation is necessary.