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Local News

  • APP board seeks comments

    The Art in Public Places Board announced recently it is seeking comment on its proposal to place a series of pottery replicas along the N.M. 4 corridor in White Rock.
    The APPB is accepting comment through Aug. 3 for the proposal, which includes placing six large Native American pottery replicas along the area, a similar display to one that adorns the road going toward the Albuquerque Sunport.
    According to an announcement by the board, the proposed project was first suggested by the White Rock Master Plan Implementation Committee, that proposal coming when the new Visitor Center was still under construction.
    The concept, now developed, involves a historical progression of pottery styles associated with San Ildefonso Pueblo, from prehistoric to contemporary.
    The pottery forms, which would be made out of concrete, would be produced by the same firm that made the Sunport display, while a group of San Ildefonso artists, descendants of the original inhabitants of the Pajarito Plateau, would select authentic ancestral designs and paint them on the replicas.
    The pieces would range in size from 4 feet tall to an 8-foot diameter plate in the style of Maria Martinez, and would be distributed along both sides of the road.

  • Bandelier warns of possible flash floods

    Although it has been a rainy summer so far, there haven’t yet been any large flash floods in Bandelier National Monument.
    However, Bandelier officials warn that floods are certainly possible and the park has announced that the annual closure of all canyon bottom camping zones is in effect through Sept. 15.
    According to an announcement released by the National Park Service, hikers are still welcome to go out on the trails and backpackers can get Wilderness permits to camp in zones on mesa tops.
    Juniper Campground also remains open.
    However, Bandelier staff is also reminding visitors to take precautions to avoid flash floods during the rainy season.
    Since the 2011 Las Conchas Fire burned through the watersheds of canyons across the plateau, heavy monsoon rains can cause flash floods in any of the canyons, just depending on where storms are heavy.
    Flash floods can be dangerous if hikers are unprepared.
    According to information from Bandelier, efore going out for a day or overnight hike, hikers should check weather forecasts and keep an eye on the horizons throughout the day. If a device that can pick up radar maps is available, that should also be used to keep track of potential storms.

  • Stacking Shelves

    From left, Branch Manager Veronica Encinas, Library Manager Steven Thomas and Library Specialist Monique Archbold place periodicals on shelves at the new White Rock Branch Library in anticipation of its opening. There will be a grand opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday at the new location.

  • Indoor elevator may be feasible

    Wayne Kohlrust, project manager for the Fuller Lodge Phases 2-4 Remodel Project, has literally done the groundwork: maneuvering through crawl spaces under the floor to determine whether two proposed locations for an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) elevator are feasible.
    The good news is that both spaces are challenging but workable, eliminating the need to place an elevator outside the historic building.
    The project’s design team from Mullen Heller Architecture, P.C. created considerable controversy when they proposed building a glass and steel elevator near the entrance.
    Michele Mullen, architect/co-owner of Mullen Heller, joined Kohlrust in explaining the pros and cons of the two new options.
    The indoor options have a greater impact on the building than an outside option, but will be less intrusive visually.
    Both will require adding columns to hold up the first and second floor framing around the elevator space. Option 1 requires the additional step of removing two steel support beams that run from the sublevel to the roof.

  • Today in history July 30
  • 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.