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Local News

  • Today in history Aug. 16
  • Water restored on Orange, Nickel

    About 50 residents on Orange and Nickel Streets were temporarily without water this morning as the county carried out part of a planned pipe connection to Los Alamos High School from 36th Street. Water was restored around 11 a.m. this morning. 

  • DOE responds to new WIPP leak theory

    The Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office of the Department of Energy responded this week to a former Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist’s alternate theory about what caused a 2014 radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.
    The DOE is standing by its initial analysis of what happened to cause the rupture of a barrel of transuranic waste Feb. 14, 2014.
    “The overarching conclusion of the technical assessment team was that specific chemical contents inside one particular drum, in combination with physical configuration of the materials led to a chemical reaction that breached the drum,” said Steve Horak, a communications specialist with the DOE Environmental Management Field Office in Los Alamos.  “A separate DOE board of experts and an independent expert board confirmed these results and we see no reason to question them now.”
    The DOE concluded that the barrel was packed with an organic kitty litter, that when combined with the contents inside the barrel, set off a reaction that eventually blew the lid of the barrel and spread the waste throughout the room, an underground, salt-lined chamber. The chamber has since been closed off and shut down along with the rest of the plant.

  • Rep. Lujan visits Los Alamos

    U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-Dist. 3) spent Friday afternoon touring the Los Alamos Nature Center, the Los Alamos Teen Center and visiting National Park Service representatives at Manhattan Project National Historical Park visitor center.
    Lujan spent most of his time listening and asking questions of Pajarito Environmental Education Center Executive Director Katy Watson, teen center Director Sylvan Sierra Argo and MPNHP Interim Director Charles Strickfaden.
    Lujan had a difficult time tearing himself away from the nature center. He was fascinated by the 3-D topo map and accompanying Los Alamos Trails App, which helps visitors navigate local trails. He approached the terrariums and aquarium holding native species of fauna and fish with the enthusiasm of a youngster.
    “I love what you’ve done here. What a great vision to have when you were putting this all together,” Lujan told Watson.
    Lujan lingered in the observation room, watching birds feeding in the wildlife area outside the window and pouring over photos of bears and other wildlife caught on camera at night.
    “You could just come and sit here for days,” Lujan said.

  • Lynn starts as new principal at Chamisa Elementary

    If the new principal at Chamisa Elementary School looks familiar, there’s a reason. Suzanne Lynn, a Los Alamos resident, spent many years as a teacher and a reading coach with the Los Alamos Public Schools.
    Two years ago, Lynn left to become principal of the La Tierra Montessori School of the Arts and Sciences. The school, a state charter school, is located on the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo in Española.
    Lynn said that job really prepared her for her new job as the principal of Chamisa Elementary.
    She said what was most interesting about the job was the many hats she had to wear.
    Not only was she the principal of the Montessori school, she was also the human resources director, special education director, the bilingual coordinator, the transportation director and the facilities manager for the school.
    “You get this experience you couldn’t get at a regular district school… it was wreally great,” Lynn said.
    Though the school year hasn’t officially started, many of the teachers have stopped by to wish her well and catch up. To Lynn, it’s a lot like coming home.

  • County Fair starts today

    The annual Los Alamos County Fair & Rodeo kicks off this evening, but Mesa Public Library was bustling on Thursday as residents dropped of their handmade arts and crafts for display and judging.
    Volunteers helped register entries in youth and adults categories for clothing, knitting, crochet, needlework, quilts, baked goods, preserved foods, hobbies and crafts, fine arts, photography, horticulture and 4-H projects.
    “It’s not a competition to me,” said Amy Anderson, who brought a machine-appliqued child’s wall hanging. “It’s having someone who’s an expert look at it to let you know the quality of the piece. How did I do in my category?”
    This is Anderson’s third year entering. The brightly colored quilt looked as though it could have stepped out of a child’s picture book.
    “I love making children’s quilts, because the fabric is so cute. It’s just fun fabric,” Anderson said.
    “So that’s all I make. I make child’s quilts or wall hangings for donations, and I give them to Project Linus or Hope Pregnancy (Center). I gave one that I did like this to the UNM Children’s Hospital, and they have it hanging in one of their departments.”

  • Chile roasting season begins around New Mexico

    LAS CRUCES — It’s that time of year again when the smell of fresh roasted green chile permeates the air in New Mexico.
    The roasting has begun in Las Cruces and is expected to continue through mid-October as the green peppers are harvested. Those left hanging will become red chile.
    There has been a noted uptick in recent weeks of activities outside grocery stores as large chile roasters have appeared, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported Thursday. Stores in the Albuquerque area also are setting up for the annual tradition.
    Chile is one of New Mexico’s most famous crops, with annual production being valued around $40 million. This year, farmers in Dona Ana County started the harvest a bit early thanks to transplanted plants that had a head start over those grown from seed.
    Las Cruces resident Diana Muñiz waited Wednesday to have 8 pounds of chile put through the roaster.
    “The smell of it roasting just kind of makes you feel better inside,” she said. “It (chile roasting) is so much a part of who we are, so much of a part of our culture here in Las Cruces.”
    Brazito resident Charlene Tyler, shopping in a nearby store, said she intends to roast chile by herself. Her mother taught her how to roast and peel it years ago and she’s been doing it almost every year.

  • School board focuses on bond

    August and September will be crucial months in the future of Barranca Mesa Elementary School, and quite possibly the other schools on the district’s list to be renovated.
    Since 2009, the Los Alamos Public Schools has relied on voter approved bond sales to fund the renovation of the district’s seven schools. The construction was also helped by additional matching funds from the Public School Capital Outlay Council.
    In July, the Los Alamos School Board learned that the Council, due to budget restraints and a reprioritization of needs, will not be granting about $7 million in funds to the district to help fund the rebuilding of Barranca Mesa Elementary School.
    The board planned to use those funds in combination with a future, voter-approved bond sale of general obligation bonds valued at about $11 million.
    At Tuesday’s meeting, the Los Alamos School Board had a lengthy discussion about what to do next. The board either needs to pick another school that requires less money to renovate, or find a way to renovate Barranca Mesa without additional funds from the state.

  • Council approves language for sheriff ballot question

    The Los Alamos County Council voted 5–2 on Tuesday to approve language for a ballot question that asks voters whether to “consolidate all remaining powers and duties of the office of the sheriff to the police department and to abolish the office of the sheriff as an elective office effective Jan. 1, 2019?”
    County Manager Harry Burgess drew councilor’s attention to a statement in the staff report that read, “Should council fail to adopt the resolution, it would be acting in violation of its ordinance to allow voters to decide the question in the November general election.”
    “You did adopt an ordinance to pursue this, and this is just a subsequent act to determine the actual question that would be on the ballot,” Burgess said.
    Sheriff Marco Lucero attended the meeting with several others who have spoken against the ordinance in the past, but none of them spoke during public comment.
    Councilors Pete Sheehey and James Chrobocinski voted against the ordinance.

  • US government won't reclassify marijuana, allows research

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has decided marijuana will remain on the list of most-dangerous drugs, fully rebuffing growing support across the country for broad legalization, but said it will allow more research into its medical uses.

    The decision to expand research into marijuana's medical potential could pave the way for the drug to be moved to a lesser category. Heroin, peyote and marijuana, among others, are considered Schedule I drugs because they have no medical application; cocaine and opiates, for example, have medical uses and, while still illegal for recreational use, are designated Schedule II drugs.

    The Drug Enforcement Administration said the agency's decision came after a lengthy review and consultation with the Health and Human Services Department, which said marijuana "has a high potential for abuse" and "no accepted medical use." The decision means that pot will remain illegal for any purpose under federal law, despite laws in 25 states and District of Columbia that have legalized pot for either medicinal or recreational use.

    Advocates have long pushed for the federal government to follow suit.