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Local News

  • Vintage US nuclear test films published online

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — From the deserts of southern New Mexico and Nevada to islands in the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. government conducted dozens of nuclear weapons tests from the 1940s until the early 1960s.
    Vintage rolls of film collected from high-security vaults across the country show some of the blasts sending incredible mushroom clouds into the sky and massive fireballs across the landscape. Others start with blinding flashes of light followed by rising columns of smoke in the distance.
    A team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory this week published more than five dozen films salvaged from government installations where they had sat idle for years.
    Lab physicist Greg Spriggs said the decades-old films were in danger of decomposing and being lost to history. He called them a big part of the nation’s history and an important tool for providing better data to modern scientists who now use computer codes to help certify that the U.S. nuclear stockpile remains safe and effective.
    “We don’t have any experimental data for modern weapons in the atmosphere. The only data that we have are the old tests,” he said, noting that the manual methods used in the 1950s to analyze the blasts weren’t that accurate.

  • Losing it for a good cause

    Twenty three people showed up at Fuller Lodge to get their heads shaved for a good cause Friday morning – to help the Los Alamos Fire Department raise funds for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
    The foundation helps fund cancer research for children, mostly through community “cutathons,” where people can pledge money to the foundation  and then get their heads shaved.
    This is the fifth year the LAFD has hosted the event in Los Alamos. Fire Capt. Micah Brittelle organized the charity event from the beginning.
    “It seemed to me like a really great cause,” Brittelle said. “I just thought it would be nice to have an event like this here in Los Alamos.”  
    The St. Baldrick’s Los Alamos County Fire Department donation page shows the department has so far raised more than $1,300 for the one day event, and that number will continue to grow as donations continue to come in.  
    Last year, the fire department raised $7,500 for St. Baldrick’s. The department is hoping to match or exceed the same goal this year.
    Residents who want to help the fire department reach  this year’s goal can go to stbaldricks.org web page, find “Los Alamos Fire Department” and donate. The page will be up all year.

  • LANL interns face housing shortage

    Students arriving this summer for internships at the Los Alamos National Laboratory will face a tough challenge trying to find a place to stay in Los Alamos County.
    With a shortage of rooms and student housing running up against the lab’s intentions to expand its workforce by the thousands in the next several years, interns will be left with few options for housing.
    In 2016, LANL hired over 1,000 summer interns.
    Every year, stories emerge of students camping out in the Jemez or getting an apartment in Santa Fe to help them through the summer. Their stay times can last a week, a season, or only a month, making it hard to fit them into an apartment lease or some other structured rent situation in Los Alamos County, even though they may have the money to pay.   
    “Those of us who are in the business of knowing about lab students and their summer housing situation, we know it can be a near-desperate attempt to find housing for students,” said resident Stephen Boerigter, who is also the chairman of the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Advisory Board and a member of the Los Alamos Public School District board.
    During intern season in Los Alamos, rent can range between $700 and $900. If an intern starts looking in January, they may be able to get a room for $500 for the length of their stay.

  • Music instructor looks back on 12 years of teaching

    Gregory Schneider has taught  Music Together in Los Alamos for 12 years and a new spring session is about to begin.
     “I enjoy being the first music teacher that most of my students – and sometimes their families, have ever had,” Schneider said. “It’s rewarding getting children and their families hooked on actively making music, not just passively listening to it.”
    Some of his very first students would have been in the under age 5 category with his youngest every being just 3 weeks old. Today they may very well be walking the halls of the local middle or high school and still have a love for music.
    “Even newborns respond to music in an age appropriate manner and the music they hear at that early age does imprint upon their brain even long before they can speak or sing,” Schneider said.
    Schneider explained that the Music Together curriculum is founded upon the work of researchers like Harvard Educational Psychologist Howard Gardner. Schneider explained how musical learning can make children more receptive to learning in other areas due to brain stimulation.
    Classes are taught locally on Wednesdays from 5:30-6:15 p.m. in Sherrill Hall at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church.

  • Martinez, lawmakers end session in bitter standoff over budget

    By Andrew Oxford

    The New Mexican

    A legislative session that began 60 days ago with calls for bipartisanship to balance the state's quavering budget ended Saturday with bitterness, acrimony and a promise by Gov. Susana Martinez to bring lawmakers back for a special session to craft a new budget without any tax increases.

    It would be the third year in a row that Martinez has called lawmakers into a special session to address budget shortfalls and other financial issues, illustrating the continuing discord between the Republican governor and Democrats in the Legislature. This session's disharmony was particularly notable because it included skirmishes between the governor and some lawmakers of her own party.

    "Many in the Legislature failed to do their jobs this session," Martinez told reporters shortly after lawmakers adjourned. "They actually squandered 60 days and cowed to special interest groups. It was reckless and it was irresponsible, and now we are staring down the path of a government shutdown."

    Martinez said her administration will consider closing nonessential state services, such as museums and parks, and might furlough government staff to save money until legislators send her a budget she can support.

  • AG: Email scammers use name of New Mexico's top judge

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — If you get an email asking for money from the chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, it's a scam.

    The New Mexico Attorney General's Office warned Friday about a new email seeking to extort money, suggesting that recipients need to appear in court or face arrest if they don't pay $750.

    The poorly worded email includes Justice Charles Daniels' name and photograph but incorrectly lists his title as court clerk.

    Authorities say there have been plenty of email scams in recent years that have impersonated local police, sheriffs and even state Attorney General Hector Balderas, but this appears to be the first in which a state Supreme Court justice's name has been tapped.

    Balderas' office and the high court are warning people not to respond to the email.

  • Bill aimed to keep guns away from domestic abusers heads to governor

    A bill that advocates say will keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers is headed to Gov. Susana Martinez.
    The state House of Representatives voted 43-22 on Wednesday to pass Senate Bill 259, which would require people under domestic violence restraining orders to relinquish their firearms.
    Groups such as New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence argued that the bill is a common-sense measure that will protect victims of domestic violence.
    But several Republicans on the House floor countered that the bill was flawed and would clog up state courts.
    The bill would only apply once a judge has issued a final order following a hearing. Not only would the measure require people under domestic violence restraining orders to turn over their guns. It also would prohibit them from buying new firearms while the order is in effect.
    Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have passed similar laws. The measure is also in line with federal law and recommendations from the state’s Intimate Partner Violence Death Review Team, which reviews homicides involving domestic violence.
    The Senate passed the bill earlier this month by a vote of 25-15.

  • After Senate override, veto unchallenged in House

    BY ANDREW OXFORD
    The New Mexican

  • Council may attach sunset clause to utility rates

    A discussion between members of the Los Alamos County Board of Public Utilities about gas rate changes and a county council liaison may lead to the council requiring sunset clauses on all rate changes the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities makes.
    County Council Liaison and Vice Council Chair Susan O’Leary told the board that the sunset clauses are necessary.
    By adding a sunset clause to a rate, it puts a set retirement date on the rate change.
    Board Chairman Jeff Johnson disagreed with O’Leary. Johnson said there are already mechanisms in place that allow council to review rate changes, therefore a sunset clause was not necessary.
    The points were made during a discussion about whether or not the board would consider adding a sunset clause to the most recent gas rate that was approved by county council on Sept. 27, 2016.
    The rate was passed without a sunset clause.
    DPU Manager Tim Glasco told the board the reason they rushed the last-minute council approval on Sept. 27 was because they were caught off guard.

  • Lecture features effects of bomb

    BY SAM LEDOUX
    Special to the Monitor