Local News

  • Pile burns continue Saturday

    Officials from Los Alamos Fire Department and Santa Fe National Forest said they plan to resume pile burning in Los Alamos County this weekend.
    Prescribed pile burns will start Saturday and continue through Sunday, if weather and other conditions permit. This continues a project fire officials started last month.
    This weekend’s burns will be on Los Alamos County open space land in Bayo Canyon or Gonzales Canyon. SFNF said the area would be dependent on wind conditions.
    The burns will consist of dead forest fuel set in approximately 4-foot by 4-foot piles around the canyons. LAFD said it would treat the piles each day of the burn to attempt to decrease the daily smoke volume.
    Fire crews plan to monitor the smoke to so that New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are being met. LAFD warned area residents that smoke will likely be visible from Española, Santa Fe and the nearby pueblos.
    Officials said smoke-sensitive individuals should take precautionary measures.
    Other information concerning the prescribed burns can be obtained by calling LAFD at 662-8304 or 695-6729.

  • Facts About Measles

    • Measles is highly contagious. If one infected person has it, 9 out of 10 exposed people who are not immune will become infected.

    • Measles spreads through the air when infected persons cough and sneeze. It can live for up to two hours in an airspace and on surfaces.

    • Infected people can spread measles to others who are not protected from 4 days before to 4 days after the measles rash appears. Measles symptoms usually appear about 7 to 14 days after a person is infected.

    • Early symptoms are high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. The rash usually begins 3 to 5 days after symptoms start. When the rash appears, fever can reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

    • As many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children.

    • For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it.

    • Vaccination is the most important strategy to prevent measles. Two doses of the MMR vaccine are more than 99 percent effective in preventing measles.

  • LA is 2nd in vaccine exemptions

    The recent outbreak of measles resulting from an exposure at Disneyland has raised alarms about the rising number of unvaccinated children in the United States.
    Many people were shocked at recent stories in the Santa Fe New Mexican reporting that Los Alamos ranks second in the state for the number of vaccination exemptions, at 3.1 percent of children ages 4 to 18, sandwiched between Taos at 3.2 percent and Santa Fe at 2.6 percent. Exemption rates drop off rapidly in other counties, with Bernalillo at 1.0, San Miguel at 0.3, Sandoval at 0.1 and Rio Arriba at 0.0.
    According to Dr. Mike Landen, state epidemiologist for the New Mexico Department of Health, that is cause for concern.
    “One of the issues is that vaccination exemptions aren’t spread evenly throughout school kids. There are pockets,” Landen said. “And what we’re concerned about with this outbreak of measles is if a measles case has contact with a school that has a very high exemption rate, then measles transmissions could be sustained, and that those that are more vulnerable to measles, might get the disease, particularly those that are unvaccinated.”
    The high percentage of exemptions in the county raised questions for Los Alamos County Councilor David Izraelevitz.

  • Today in history Feb. 6
  • President condemns those who try to 'hijack religion'

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Thursday condemned those who seek to use religion as a rationale for carrying out violence around the world. “No god condones terror,” he said.
    “We are summoned to push back against those who would distort our religion for their nihilistic ends,” Obama said at the National Prayer Breakfast.
    He singled out the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, calling the militants a “death cult,” as well as those responsible for last month’s attacks in Paris and deadly assault on a school in Pakistan.
    Obama offered a special welcome to a “good friend,” the Dalai Lama, seated at a table in front of the dais among the audience of 3,600. Earlier Obama, from the head table, pressed his hands together in a prayer-like position and bowed his head toward the Dalai Lama, then gave him a wave and a broad smile.
    It was the first time the president and the Tibetan Buddhist leader attended the same public event.
    China objects to foreign leaders meeting with the Dalai Lama because of his quest for greater Tibetan autonomy from Beijing. Obama’s three previous meetings with the Dalai Lama have been private.

  • Lab creates measles website

    Los Alamos National Laboratory has developed a website designed to help public health officials in their fight against measles and other infectious diseases.
    KOAT-TV reports lab scientists recently compiled information into what’s called the Biosurveillance Gateway.
    Gateway project director Alina Deshpande says the website will offer “credible information” and will be the most comprehensive place online for the latest research.
    California health officials say a measles outbreak originating at Disneyland has grown to 99 cases in the state.
    The California Department of Public Health says two-thirds were infected when they visited Disney theme parks last month or had contact with a sick person who went there.
    While the U.S. has not seen homegrown measles in years, outbreaks still occur when people travel overseas.

  • Update 2-5-15

    Public hearing

    Los Alamos County Council will hold a hearing Feb. 17 in council chambers. The topic of the hearing is to decide whether to adopt a proposed electric rate increase that was approved by the Board of Public Utilities last month. Comments can be made prior to the hearing on the county’s website, losalamosnm.us,

    Kiwanis Club

    Eric Boehn, manager of Smith’s Marketplace in Los Alamos, will be the speaker at the Kiwanis Club meeting Tuesday. The meeting will be from noon-1 p.m. at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church.

    County Council

    The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Los Alamos County Council is Friday. It will be a noon session at the council chambers.

    'Uncommon Valor'

    Mesa Public Library will screen the documentary “Uncommon Valor,” about the battle of Iwo Jima, at 7 p.m. Feb. 21.

    Bake sale

    The Los Alamos Hilltalkers Speech and Debate team will be having a bake sale fundraiser from 3-6 p.m. Friday in the lobby of the Los Alamos National Bank. Proceeds will fund trip to a tournament later this month.

  • Lawmakers jockey to change NCLB law

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Outnumbered by Republicans, Democratic lawmakers are jockeying to get their views heard as Congress moves ahead on revising the much-maligned No Child Left Behind education law.
    With votes anticipated in the House and Senate, House Democrats crowded into a small Capitol Hill hearing room Thursday for their own forum on changes in protest of Republicans’ handling of the issue.
    Annual testing requirements, Common Core standards and school choice are all hot-button issues in the debate. Both sides heartily agree that the landmark law needs to be fixed, but tension centers on the level of federal involvement in classifying and fixing schools.
    Complicating the issue, allegiances don’t clearly fall along party lines. Among Republicans, for example, some members want to essentially eliminate the federal role in education, but GOP-friendly business groups side with civil rights groups in support of a strong federal role. Teachers’ unions, historically aligned with Democrats, have criticized the Obama administration’s handling of education policy as having too much of an emphasis on testing.

  • LWV: schools can improve communication

    The League of Women Voters of Los Alamos recently completed a study that may prove most valuable to the Los Alamos Public Schools.
    A few months ago, a subcommittee within the LWVLA headed by Project Leader Susan O’Leary conducted a study on how LAPS could best serve its population of students, from kindergarten all the way through high school.
    LWVLA’s conclusion: stronger ties need to exist between LAPS and the community.
    “The League of Women Voters of Los Alamos believes that a strong, collaborative relationship between K-12 education leaders and citizens must exist in order for the school district to successfully deliver education services meeting community standards. This belief is consistent with the League of Women Voters expectations for the relationship between citizens and all government entities,” the LWVLA’s board of directors said in a five paragraph statement about the conclusions it drew from the study.
    The LWVLA, especially when it came to strategic planning and funding decisions, urged the LAPS to “actively solicit and weigh heavily community input” when it came to “strategic and funding decisions.”

  • Bandelier still seeking comments

    The public has a little more than a week to comment on new fees proposed for Bandelier National Monument.
    The park is accepting comments until Feb. 15.
    “We are committed to providing all park visitors the best possible experience, while keeping costs reasonable and affordable” said Bandelier National Monument Superintendent Jason Lott.
    Lott noted that the national monument has not increased its fees since 2006.
    The proposed increases will bump fees up from $12 to $20 per private vehicle, $6 to $10 for a person on foot or bicycle and from $12 to $15 for a motorcycle.All those allow seven-day access.
    Annual Bandelier passes would increase from $30 to $40.
    The National Park Service (NPS) is not proposing changes for the $80 annual interagency pass, which grants access to all federal lands. Children under 16, active duty military with ID and those with disabilities eligible for an Access Pass are still free.
    A lifetime pass for seniors over 62 remains at $10. Volunteers who contribute 250 hours to the park receive a one-year Bandelier pass.