Local News

  • LAHS students present survey data to school board

    At the most recent Los Alamos Public School board meeting, a presentation was given by four Los Alamos High School students representing a leadership group involved with Risk and Resiliency Assessment Project for Students, also known as RAPS.

    RAPS was developed to include youth voice in interpreting the data from the New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, or the YRRS.

    Every two years, high school and middle school students from all over New Mexico provide information about their health behaviors.

    RAPS gives the students the opportunity to analyze the most recent data from their school or community, present those data to community members and advocate on behalf of their peers and communities.

    “The ultimate goal of RAPS is for young people to make positive change in New Mexico schools and communities,” states RAPS’ website.

    Topic areas for the YRRS include risk behaviors related to alcohol and drug use, unintentional injury, violence, suicidal ideation and attempts, tobacco use, sexual activity, physical activity and nutrition.

    On March 18, 15 students from Los Alamos High School reviewed the results of their school’s 2015 YRRS data.

  • Friends of Shelter break ties with county shelter

    Los Alamos Friends of the Shelter has dissolved its partnership with the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter, walking away from a 18-year relationship.

    “We’ve tried to work with the shelter, but we felt there just seemed to be too many obstacles to getting volunteers in there, a lot of requirements for training and other things that made it really, really difficult to work with them,” Friends President Wendee Brunish said. “We wanted to partner with them, we wanted to help them out, but we just didn’t feel like we were really treated as a valued partner, so we decided to focus our efforts elsewhere.”

    The Friends have been partners with the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter since 1999. Service the Friends provided the shelter included paying for medical care, supplies, foster services and adoption promotion.

    The Los Alamos Friends of the Shelter provided the list of the potential adoptees that appeared in the Los Alamos Monitor every Sunday.

    “We’ve been discussing it for quite a while. We felt our time had come to work on other things,” Brunish said. “Our mission is to help animals and to save animals, and if all your efforts go toward overhead for your volunteer program… we felt we could focus our efforts better elsewhere.”

  • 2 more plague cases reported in New Mexico's Santa Fe County

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico Department of Health on Monday confirmed two more human cases of plague.
    The recent cases involve a 52-year-old woman and a 62-year-old woman. The first case this year was reported in early June in a 63-year-old man.

    All three patients, who live in Santa Fe County, were hospitalized but there have been no deaths.

    State public health veterinarian Paul Ettestad said plague can be present in fleas that infest wild rodents in Santa Fe County, including within the city limits of Santa Fe and in other locations around New Mexico.

    "Pets that are allowed to roam and hunt can bring infected fleas from dead rodents back into the home, putting you and your children at risk," he said.

    Health workers are conducted environmental investigations around the homes of the three patients to look for ongoing risk and to ensure the safety of the immediate family members and neighbors.

    Plague generally is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas but can be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals including rodents and pets. Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache and weakness.

  • Feds investigate after lab improperly ships nuclear material

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Federal regulators are launching an investigation into the improper shipment of nuclear material from Los Alamos National Laboratory to other federal labs this week.

    The National Nuclear Security Administration said Friday it was informed by the lab that procedures weren't followed when shipping what was only described as "special nuclear material" to facilities in California and South Carolina.

    The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are investigating, according a spokesman for the NNSA Los Alamos field office.

    The material had been packaged for ground transport. But instead it was shipped aboard an air cargo service, which isn't allowed by federal regulations.

    Officials say that once the investigation is complete, any responsible parties will be held accountable.

    This marks just the latest gaffe by Los Alamos, the lab that created the atomic bomb. Criticism has been intensifying over the lab's history of safety lapses as work ramps up to produce key components for the nation's nuclear weapons cache.

    Los Alamos Monitor staff writer Tris DeRoma contributed to this report.

  • LANL defends plutonium facility after critical report

    Los Alamos National Laboratory is fighting back this week in the wake of a critical report on safety issues at its plutonium production facility.

    The report by the Center of Public Integrity was published beginning Sunday and describes a safety review shutdown in 2013 that has slowed work on the manufacture and testing of new and existing plutonium pits at LANL.

    An internal LANL memo obtained by the Los Alamos Monitor sent to employees Monday at the facility assured PF-4 employees that the facility is safe and ready to expand its plutonium pit manufacturing program.

    “Since 2013, PF-4 programmatic operations and safety management programs have successfully completed seventeen independent external assessments – nine Contractor Readiness Assessments and eight Federal Readiness Assessments,” said LANL Principal Associate Director of Operations and Business Craig Leasure in the memo.

    Leasure also assured workers that PF-4 has the full support of the Department of Energy in its efforts to ramp up plutonium pit production.

    The facility is currently manufacturing three to four plutonium pits a year, but at a recent Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board meeting in Santa Fe earlier this month, LANL officials indicated their plan to ramp up production to 80 pits by 2027.

  • Bird rescued behind DP Road

    Dusty Webb of Bad Ass Critters, an animal rescue organization, saved a bird that was found injured behind a business on DP Road Thursday.

    Webb said he believes the bird was a baby that had fallen out of his nest. Since it was first seen injured Monday, the bird had a pair of protectors that would become loud if a person got too close to it. Webb said he believes the two birds are his parents.

    He plans to attempt to help the bird recover, believing it has a severely injured wing from a fall, and possible other injuries.

    Although he is not sure if the bird will ever fully recover, the hope is to get it to a point where it can be released back into the wild.

    “Hopefully someday, maybe we will be able to release this crow,” Webb said. “We can come back here and we can let this crow go, and he will go back to his family.”

    If any sort of animal needs to be helped or rescued, Bad Ass Critters can be reached at 505-603-3997 or on Facebook at Bad Ass Critters, LLC.

    Webb said, “If you call, just ask for Dusty and I’ll help however I can.”

  • Man threatens woman with a flowerpot

    On June 6, at about 8 p.m., Los Alamos Police Department officer Robert Larson was dispatched to East Jemez to investigate a report of domestic violence, which reportedly involved a flowerpot.

    “I arrived on scene and was met in the front yard by a male later identified as David Byron Lawrence,” Larson said.
    When approached, Lawrence reportedly said, “It was all me, I am stupid and drunk.”

    Larson had Lawrence sit down on the curb to apparently calm down. LAPD Sgt. Andrew Goldie arrived on scene and watched Lawrence while Larson went up to the house.

    Sitting on the front porch were two women smoking cigarettes. One of the females stated she had been the one Lawrence threatened with a flowerpot and then smashed it on the kitchen floor.

    The victim, who wished to remain anonymous, stated, “Larry had been drinking, got crazy. I told him to calm down and he went after me with a pot and broke my glasses and I called for police help and he tore up the house.”

    The witness at the scene echoed this sentiment.

  • Fireworks show still on despite restrictions

    As Los Alamos County struggles through its first heat wave of the summer, the county is taking no chances when it comes to fire hazards. The county issued stage 2 fire restrictions Thursday, urging all county residents to use care when smoking and cooking outdoors.

    The only exception the county has made was to the Los Alamos Kiwanis Club and its annual July 4 Fireworks Show in Overlook Park.

    The Kiwanis have a state permit to have fireworks at the show. The Kiwanis also have a long association with the Los Alamos Fire Department in planning the show, according to Kiwanis Club members involved with the fireworks show.
    The fire department also performed cleanup operations and evaluation of the area for fire hazards at Overlook Park earlier this month.

    “We sent our recruits down there and already mitigated the area,” Los Alamos County Fire Marshal Jeff Wetteland said. “The recruits cleaned up garbage and cleared the area of dead foliage that would easily catch.”

    The Kiwanis have a strong relationship with the LAFD as a result of planning past shows.

  • LA community gathers to remember Undersheriff John Horne

    Los Alamos Undersheriff John N. Horne was honored Wednesday morning at his home church of Calvary Chapel Los Alamos. It was a somber but heartfelt event with many community members in attendance to remember him and celebrate Horne’s life.

    Horne was born Feb. 15, 1963, and passed away June 15, according to his obituary. He died in his home in Los Alamos.
    As people stepped forward to view Horne one last time, his father, John, and family sat in the front row receiving hugs and offers of condolences.

    Pat Kestell, the Senior Pastor at Calvary Chapel, opened the service by welcoming the packed church and said, “Clearly there were many lives that were changed because of John.”

    The pastor and many others wore tropical print in honor of Horne because, according to Kestell, “When he wasn’t wearing his uniform, he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt.”

    Horne’s sister, Debbie Barnes, talked a little bit about Horne’s career and the hobbies he enjoyed. Horne grew up in Los Alamos and worked for the Los Alamos National Lab.

    “My brother had a really creative mind. He envisioned and built many mechanical projects with precision that many wouldn’t even imagine,” Barnes said.

  • Feds: $2.7M in grants available for New Mexico businesses

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Small businesses in New Mexico working on new innovations that could help the U.S. Energy Department will be getting a boost thanks to $2.7 million in federal grant funding.

    The agency announced the grants this week. In all, officials say $116 million in grants will be awarded nationwide for research and development through a technology transfer program aimed at helping small businesses.

    The projects in New Mexico range from the development of a special membrane to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions to research on soil, fuel cells, particle accelerators and high-energy physics.