Local News

  • New high-level nuclear waste facility application OK'd in southeast NM

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted a nuclear power plant part manufacturer’s proposal Wednesday to build a high-level, underground nuclear waste facility in southeast New Mexico.

    Holtec International plans to initially store up to 8,680 metric tons of waste at the site.

    The 1,045-acre facility, if approved, would be located in Lea County, 12 miles away from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad. Los Alamos National Laboratory stores its transuranic waste at WIPP.

    Waste stored at the proposed facility would originate at nuclear reactors across the country, and would be in the form of spent nuclear fuel rods – high-level radioactive waste – and reactor-related waste greater than class c waste, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    The facility would be named the Hi-Store Consolidation Interim Storage Facility.

    Holtec also applied for a 40-year waste storage license.

    The facility would be built on 1,045 acres of unoccupied land that is mainly used for cattle grazing, according to Holtec’s application. The land is owned by Eddy Lea Energy Alliance, a company created by Lea and Eddy Counties, Holtec and the cities of Carlsbad and Hobbs for the purpose of building the facility.

  • Putin: Russia has nuclear weapons impossible to intercept

    By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press

    MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin says Russia has developed a range of new nuclear weapons that he claims can't be intercepted by an enemy.

    Speaking Thursday in a nationally televised address, Putin said the new weapons represent a quantum leap in military technology and will render NATO's U.S.-led missile defense system useless.

    Here's a look at the weapons he announced.


    Russia has been working for years to develop a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to replace the Soviet-designed Voyevoda, the world's heaviest ICBM known as "Satan" in the West that carries 10 nuclear warheads. Putin announced that the new missile, called Sarmat, is undergoing tests and a video shown during his speech featured its test launch.

    Putin said Sarmat weighs 200 metric tons (220 tons) and has a higher range than Satan, allowing it to fly over the North or the South Poles and strike targets anywhere in the world. He added that Sarmat also carries a bigger number of nuclear warheads, which are more powerful than the ones on Satan.

  • New Mexico governor rejects pet food fee for sterilizations

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has rejected a bill that would have expanded dog and cat sterilizations by collecting a new fee from pet food manufacturers.

    Martinez on Thursday announced her veto of the bill. She said the proposal amounted to tax increase and that local governments are better positioned to promote the spaying and neutering of pets.

    The bill would have imposed a $100 fee on each pet food label for manufacturers doing business in New Mexico, raising an estimated $1.3 million each year.

    Supporters of the measure said it would have a small financial impact on pet owners, while reducing the mounting expenses and hardships of euthanizing unwanted pets at locally run animal shelters and pounds.

  • Meeting today discuss road improvements

    The Public Works Department invites the public to attend a meeting today to discuss the next phase of an upcoming road improvement project within the Cumbres Del Sol Subdivision. 

    The meeting will be held in conjunction with the Transportation Board’s regular monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m. today in the Boards and Commissions Room 110 of the Municipal Building at 1000 Central Ave.

    Proposed improvements include roadway reconstruction of the following streets:

    • Camino Manzana (from Camino Durasnilla to Camino Uva)

    • Camino Mora (from Camino Cereza to Camino Uva)

    • Camino Cereza (from Camino Uva to the Cul-de-Sac)

    The proposed work involves removal and replacement of asphalt surfacing and limited concrete replacement. 

    For information, call Public Works Department at 662-8150 or send an email to lacpw@lacnm.us.

  • Today in History March 1
  • Putin boasts of new Russian nuclear weapons

    By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press

    MOSCOW (AP) — An underwater drone armed with a nuclear warhead powerful enough to sweep away coastal facilities and aircraft carriers.

    A hypersonic vehicle impossible to intercept as it flies in a cloud of plasma "like a meteorite."

    President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Russia has these new strategic weapons and many more, declaring: "No one has listened to us. You listen to us now."

    Putin unveiled the stunning catalog of doomsday machines in his annual state-of-the-nation speech, saying that Russia had to build them to counter the potential threat posed by the U.S. missile defense system.
    And in a touch of dark humor, he invited Russians to join a Defense Ministry contest to name some of the weapons.

    It wasn't immediately possible to assess whether the weapons could do what Putin said or how ready they are for deployment, but they would represent a major technological breakthrough that could dramatically bolster Russia's military capability, boost its global position and trigger a new arms race.

    The White House said Putin confirmed what the U.S. has already known: that Russia has been developing "destabilizing weapons systems for over a decade in direct violations of its treaty obligations."

  • Today in History Feb. 28
  • US awards $73M contract for border wall work in New Mexico

    By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. government has awarded a Montana-based company a contract worth more than $73 million to design and build replacement fencing along 20 miles (32 kilometers) of the U.S.-Mexico border in southern New Mexico, officials confirmed Wednesday.

    Existing vehicle barriers west of the Santa Teresa port of entry will be replaced with taller bollard-style barriers under the contract awarded in January to Barnard Construction Co. Inc. Bollard walls typically consist of sturdy, vertical posts that are spaced to provide visibility to the other side but are difficult to walk through.

    Regional Customs and Border Protection officials said there was no timeline for when work might start, and the construction company did not respond to email and phone requests inquiring about project details.

    News of the contract came after a federal judge in California sided this week with President Donald Trump on a challenge to building his promised border wall. The court rejected arguments that the administration overreached by waiving laws requiring environmental and other reviews before construction could begin.

  • Izraelevitz announces bid for 2nd term

    When David Izraelevitz was first appointed to the council in July 2011 Smith’s Marketplace was just a plan. He ran and won a seat in 2014, and now, he wants to continue to see how far he and the rest of council can go.

    Izraelevitz said Monday the council, as a group, has managed to maintain a certain path for the county to follow, and he would like to see that continue.

    “We’ve accomplished a lot in the last seven years, and I’d like to continue moving our community forward,” Izraelevitz said. “It’s been a great privilege, and actually a lot of fun.”

    Speaking just for himself, Izraelevitz said whatever path the council sets for itself after the next election, the Los Alamos National Laboratory must be a priority in any plans the council makes.

    “It is, and always will be, the economic engine that drives the community,” Izraelevitz said.

    He also said it’s important that the community and the Los Alamos National Laboratory find ways to continue to support each other and grow the relationship. When that happens, he says, everybody wins.

    “We need to make sure the community is an asset for the laboratory and not a liability, as far as recruitment is concerned,” Izraelevitz said.

  • PEEC raising funds for projector

    The Pajarito Environmental Education Center and a group of expert astronomers are raising funds for a new $80,000 projector for the planetarium that would double the brightness and resolution.

    Opening in 2005, the quality of planetarium shows has been hampered by the limitations of the planetarium projector, according to Sandra West, spokeswoman for PEEC.

    “During star shows, astronomers are unable to show the audience the different colors of the stars or their relative brightness, as the projector’s resolution is too poor. Films often appear dull, or washed out, their colors pale and uninspiring,” West said in a release late Tuesday.

    A group of expert astronomers who volunteer in the planetarium decided to do something about this.

    They are raising $80,000 for the new Digitarium Lambda Plus projector and plan to have the projector installed by Earth Day 2018, just in time for the opening of the award-winning National Parks Adventure film narrated by Robert Redford.

    As of Tuesday night, nearly $39,000 was raised. The new projector will give people a WOW experience – the kind that inspires children to pursue a career in astronomy or other sciences, West said in the release.