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Local News

  • Federal hiring freeze does not effect LANL

    President Donald Trump’s federal hiring freeze will not have any effect on the management, operations or hiring practices at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    Speaking on background, officials with the National Nuclear Security Administration and the LANL said that’s because operations and management of the lab are done through a private contractor, they are exempt from the federal hiring freeze.
    The order, released Monday, does not include contracted employees.
    Lab officials said that unless the hiring restrictions specifically call out contract employees, they do not apply to Los Alamos National Security LLC employees. Trump’s order does not apply to military personnel, or employees who are engaged in matters of national security or public safety.
    “The head of any executive department or agency may exempt from the hiring freeze any positions that it deems necessary to meet national security or public safety responsibilities,” Trump’s order said. “In addition, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) may grant exemptions from this freeze where those exemptions are otherwise necessary.”  
    The hiring freeze is part of Trump’s directive to reduce the size of the federal government.

  • Council decides on new strategic goals

    The Los Alamos County Council spent Tuesday evening reevaluating and updating their Strategic Leadership Plan. Although they chose to retain the majority of last year’s goals, council decided on three new strategic goals and rearranged their priorities.
    Housing was top on everyone’s list.
    “While we have housing on this list, I think it’s become much more of a priority,” Councilor James Chrobocinski said. “It’s become more of a crisis that we’re in right now. So perhaps we should give that a little more emphasis.”
    Housing was last year’s top priority under “quality of life.” That particular goal read, “Promote the maintenance and enhancement of housing stock quality while utilizing available infill opportunities as appropriate.”
    On Tuesday, that was reduced to  “Promote housing infill opportunities as appropriate” and moved to the bottom of the housing list.
    Two other goals from the 2016 list were elevated to priorities. Those are “Promote the creation of a variety of housing options for all segments of the Los Alamos community and “Support development of affordable workforce housing.”

  • School bond, mill levy pass

    Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus and University of New Mexico-Los Alamos CEO Cindy Rooney gave each other a big hug Tuesday night, shortly after they learned residents voted in favor of the one-mill levy increase to help support UNM-LA and to support the reconstruction of Barranca Mesa Elementary School with $13 million in general obligation bonds.
    Education officials who gathered at the County Municipal Building to hear the vote were also glad to hear the news.
    “We are very grateful to the voters of Los Alamos County for this wonderful result,” Los Alamos  School Board Vice President Jenny McCumber said.
    “As a member of the LAPS School Bond Committee, I am delighted with the decisive elections results for both the School Bond and the UNM-LA mil levy,” Ellen Ben-Naim said. “I feel great pride to be part of a community that is willing to commit hard earned dollars to support education at all levels.”
    In early January, residents received a ballot by mail asking them to vote for both the school bond and the mill levy.  

  • LA Network expands broadband service

    Los Alamos residents and businesses eager for high speed internet may now have one more option open to them. Los Alamos Network has just announced that wireless antennas it installed on the KRSN radio tower in November have been Beta tested and are operational.
    KRSN owners David and Gillian Sutton allowed LA Network to mount enough antennas to provide 360-degree coverage of the Los Alamos town site.
    The technology LA Network is using can provide bandwidths in excess of 1 Gbps over distances greater that 100 km. The company’s owner, Allan Saenz, calls it “air fiber.”
    “With air fiber we can provide service to areas where before it was impossible for us,” Saenz said. “With this new technology, we’re providing now the speeds that are comparable to fiber to more areas in Los Alamos.”
    Although the infrastructure is powerful enough to provide wireless broadband to the entire Los Alamos town site, it is limited by the need for line-of-site between the tower and the home satellite dish.

  • Traffic crash at Oppenheimer Drive and Trinity Drive

    UPDATE: Roads are clear

    The crash happened around 8 a.m. this morning. Vehicles involved include a small passenger car and a semi truck. Truck driver cited for an improper turn. Westbound lane is open through the turn lane. Police are urging drivers use caution.

  • Today in history Jan. 26
  • Trump moves to build border wall, cut sanctuary city funds

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump moved aggressively to tighten the nation's immigration controls Wednesday, signing executive actions to jumpstart construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall and block federal grants from immigrant-protecting "sanctuary cities."

    "Beginning today the United States of America gets back control of its borders," Trump declared during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security. "We are going to save lives on both sides of the border."

    Trump cast his actions as fulfillment of a campaign pledge to enact hard-line immigration measures, including construction of a wall paid for by Mexico. With the families of Americans killed by people living in the U.S. illegally sitting in the audience, Trump said, "When it comes to public safety, there is no place for politics."

    Funding for the border wall project is murky. While Trump has repeatedly promised that Mexico will pay for it, U.S. taxpayers are expected to cover the initial costs and the new administration has said nothing about how it will compel Mexico to reimburse the money. One of the executive actions Trump signed Wednesday appears to signal that he could restrict aid to Mexico.

  • Fuller Lodge Art Center blooms with activity

    This year is a special year for the Fuller Lodge Art Center. This year, the center celebrates its 40th anniversary and everybody in Los Alamos is invited to celebrate with them.
    On top of their own festivities, the Art Center will be celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the Los Alamos Arts Council and the 100th anniversary of the Ranch School. Within these milestones, the Art Center also acknowledge several other anniversaries through scheduled shows.
    The first show of the year is Class Reunion where the center invites everybody who’s taken an art class, joined them on a field trip, or has been part of an ongoing art group at the Fuller Lodge Art Center, to display their work in the gallery.
    Some works are listed for sale while others will go home with the artists at the end of the show.
    There are only a couple of days left to see what our students have created, so be sure to stop in this week. The public is invited to an artist’s reception from 1-3 p.m. Saturday to meet the artists before the show comes down.
    Anyone can become involved in one of the annual class exhibits by signing up for one of the many art courses. Go to the classes tab on the website to view the full list at fullerlodgeartcenter.com, or stop in at the center anytime to pick up a schedule.

  • Candidates talk money, mental health, start times

    Candidates running for seats on the Los Alamos School Board shared their views with the public Wednesday night during a forum organized by the League of Women Voters of Los Alamos.
    The question and answer session was held in the library of Piñon Elementary School.
    The three candidates that were present want to represent Districts 1 and 2 in White Rock.
    Ellen Ben-Naim is running against incumbent Jim Hall for District 1 (Piñon Elementary School) and Darryl Sugar and Stephen Boerigter are vying to represent District 2 (Chamisa Elementary School.)  Stephen Boerigter was traveling and could not attend.
    Subjects discussed at the meeting included partnerships with Los Alamos County, high school start times and mental health.
    The first issue discussed was how the schools could benefit with stronger county relationships.
    Ben-Naim wants to explore making school grounds more open to the community, similar to the relationship the county has with the school district’s Duane W. Smith Auditorium. The schools own the auditorium, but its maintenance and operation is funded in part by the county, since many community groups also use the auditorium.

  • Study compares energy portfolio options

    With the county’s power supply facing several challenges in upcoming years, the Los Alamos Board of Public Utilities is weighing what the county’s electric portfolio should look like in the future.
    To assist that decision, Pace Global was hired to develop an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The IRP will compare various generation resources available to meet the county’s needs on a levelized cost of energy basis. The study will evaluate each option for potential risks and benefits, reliability and economic feasibility.
    On Jan. 18, Pace Consulting Director Fengrong Li reported to the board on the first steps of that project and the questions their modeling will try to answer.
    BPU’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2040 formed the underlying directive for all the potential portfolios Pace planned to evaluate. However, board members Andrew Fraser and Stephen McLin asked Li to add a lowest cost scenario that was not necessarily carbon neutral in order to make it easier to weigh the cost/benefits of reaching that goal.
    One major factor Pace will consider is the plan to exit the county’s ownership share in the San Juan Generating Station when the contract expires in 2025.Based on the county’s current energy needs, that resource would have to be replaced with another baseload power source.