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Local News

  • Beer, music, skiing in play at Skiesta

    This past Saturday was the annual Skiesta festival that took place on Pajarito Mountain. This long-standing spring tradition dates back to 1948 and includes slalom competitions, costume contests and plenty of beer to enjoy under the New Mexico sun.
    The weather was mid-60s and sunny, which drew a sizable crowd and also created soft snow for participants on the mountain.
    In addition to the various competitions, a fundraiser called “The Pajarito Pump Track” was organized to raise money for the Pajarito Freeride Team to go to Nationals.
    Breweries represented at the event included Taos Mesa Brewing, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Second Street Brewery, Santa Fe Brewing and Bathtub Row Brewing. All tents seemed to have a steady stream of eager customers.
    After grabbing a beer, Second Street Brewery told me that they have sold at Skiesta multiple times. One of the brewers warmly commented that Pajarito Mountain is their “favorite ski resort.” Second Street tries to come out to all events at Pajarito. The most popular of the brews on tap Saturday were the stout and porter.

  • A Look Back

    BY WREN PROPP
    Special to the Monitor

  • Xcel plans $1.6 billion wind farms in New Mexico, West Texas

    PORTALES (AP) — Xcel Energy has announced plans to invest $1.6 billion to build wind farms in eastern New Mexico and West Texas.
    The energy company announced Tuesday that it has filed proposals with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and the Public Utility Commission of Texas to construct and operate two facilities and to purchase wind under a third transaction.
    David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy of New Mexico and Texas, said the wind initiative is part of his company's larger strategy to lower the cost of energy production.
    "These new wind facilities will cost $1.6 billion to build," Hudson said, "but will allow us to produce wind energy at a cost lower than energy produced at our coal and natural gas-fueled plants."
    Xcel plans to build a 522-megawatt wind facility about 20 miles south of Portales. The new wind farm will be the state's largest, far surpassing the state's current largest windfarm, a 250-watt holding in Roosevelt County owned by Xcel subsidiary Southwest Public Service Co.
    The company also plans to build a 478-megawatt farm in Hale County, Texas, just north of Lubbock.
    Xcel also plans to purchase another 230 megawatts of wind energy under a long-term power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy resources.

  • Los Alamos County debuts a revamped website

    Los Alamos County debuted a revamped website today that it hopes will be more user-friendly.

    The website’s main feature is better communication through the use of interactive forms.

    County officials also said the website, at losalamosnm.us, features:

    • Better navigation tools,

    • Redesigned sub-sites for departments or services,

    • Improved search engine capabilities,

    • Easy access through home page “quick links” for the most popular links,

    • Enhanced photo and video hosting capability,

    • An integrated calendar of events with filter options,

    • Responsive design for viewing on smart phones and tablets.

    Also included in the site is software designed for easier public access to information on county boards and commissions. With the new software, the public will be able to review a board’s or a commission’s work plan and find out what the board does.

    The software also allows for those interested to check on vacancy statuses and reapplying for openings.

  • Heinrich, Udall seek to dedicate nuclear-powered sub ‘USS Los Alamos’ in honor of LANL’s 75th anniversary

    U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall introduced a resolution Tuesday urging the Secretary of the Navy to name the next nuclear-powered submarine of the U.S. Navy “USS Los Alamos” to honor and recognize Los Alamos residents contributions to the Navy.

    “Los Alamos National Laboratory employs some of the best and brightest minds in the country and, for nearly 75 years, has been indispensable to our national security and global stability,” said Heinrich, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Naming the next nuclear-powered submarine USS Los Alamos will recognize and continue to forge the longstanding relationship between the Navy and the entire Los Alamos community.”

  • Police arrest 7 in drug bust operation

    Los Alamos Police, New Mexico State Police, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and New Mexico Department of Corrections officials conducted an early morning drug bust in Los Alamos County Monday.

    DOC and DEA agents provided helicopter and K-9 support. The raids began at 7 a.m.

    LAPD Investigators recovered various amounts of methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, acid, mushrooms, prescription pills, drug paraphernalia and cash, according to an LAPD spokesman.

    “Future arrests linked to this operation are likely as this investigation continues,” LAPD Spokesman Commander Preston Ballew said.

    At least a few of the arrests occurred on San Ildefonso Road, according to witnesses who informed the Monitor.

    Nichole Marsh, 36, of Los Alamos was arrested and charged with one count of trafficking in a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

    Nicholas Conner, 35, of Los Alamos was arrested and charged with four counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.

    Amanda Osborne, 32, of Los Alamos was arrested and charged with two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

    Anthony Knief, 32, of Los Alamos was arrested and charged with two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.

  • Vintage US nuclear test films published online

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — From the deserts of southern New Mexico and Nevada to islands in the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. government conducted dozens of nuclear weapons tests from the 1940s until the early 1960s.
    Vintage rolls of film collected from high-security vaults across the country show some of the blasts sending incredible mushroom clouds into the sky and massive fireballs across the landscape. Others start with blinding flashes of light followed by rising columns of smoke in the distance.
    A team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory this week published more than five dozen films salvaged from government installations where they had sat idle for years.
    Lab physicist Greg Spriggs said the decades-old films were in danger of decomposing and being lost to history. He called them a big part of the nation’s history and an important tool for providing better data to modern scientists who now use computer codes to help certify that the U.S. nuclear stockpile remains safe and effective.
    “We don’t have any experimental data for modern weapons in the atmosphere. The only data that we have are the old tests,” he said, noting that the manual methods used in the 1950s to analyze the blasts weren’t that accurate.

  • Losing it for a good cause

    Twenty three people showed up at Fuller Lodge to get their heads shaved for a good cause Friday morning – to help the Los Alamos Fire Department raise funds for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
    The foundation helps fund cancer research for children, mostly through community “cutathons,” where people can pledge money to the foundation  and then get their heads shaved.
    This is the fifth year the LAFD has hosted the event in Los Alamos. Fire Capt. Micah Brittelle organized the charity event from the beginning.
    “It seemed to me like a really great cause,” Brittelle said. “I just thought it would be nice to have an event like this here in Los Alamos.”  
    The St. Baldrick’s Los Alamos County Fire Department donation page shows the department has so far raised more than $1,300 for the one day event, and that number will continue to grow as donations continue to come in.  
    Last year, the fire department raised $7,500 for St. Baldrick’s. The department is hoping to match or exceed the same goal this year.
    Residents who want to help the fire department reach  this year’s goal can go to stbaldricks.org web page, find “Los Alamos Fire Department” and donate. The page will be up all year.

  • LANL interns face housing shortage

    Students arriving this summer for internships at the Los Alamos National Laboratory will face a tough challenge trying to find a place to stay in Los Alamos County.
    With a shortage of rooms and student housing running up against the lab’s intentions to expand its workforce by the thousands in the next several years, interns will be left with few options for housing.
    In 2016, LANL hired over 1,000 summer interns.
    Every year, stories emerge of students camping out in the Jemez or getting an apartment in Santa Fe to help them through the summer. Their stay times can last a week, a season, or only a month, making it hard to fit them into an apartment lease or some other structured rent situation in Los Alamos County, even though they may have the money to pay.   
    “Those of us who are in the business of knowing about lab students and their summer housing situation, we know it can be a near-desperate attempt to find housing for students,” said resident Stephen Boerigter, who is also the chairman of the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Advisory Board and a member of the Los Alamos Public School District board.
    During intern season in Los Alamos, rent can range between $700 and $900. If an intern starts looking in January, they may be able to get a room for $500 for the length of their stay.

  • Music instructor looks back on 12 years of teaching

    Gregory Schneider has taught  Music Together in Los Alamos for 12 years and a new spring session is about to begin.
     “I enjoy being the first music teacher that most of my students – and sometimes their families, have ever had,” Schneider said. “It’s rewarding getting children and their families hooked on actively making music, not just passively listening to it.”
    Some of his very first students would have been in the under age 5 category with his youngest every being just 3 weeks old. Today they may very well be walking the halls of the local middle or high school and still have a love for music.
    “Even newborns respond to music in an age appropriate manner and the music they hear at that early age does imprint upon their brain even long before they can speak or sing,” Schneider said.
    Schneider explained that the Music Together curriculum is founded upon the work of researchers like Harvard Educational Psychologist Howard Gardner. Schneider explained how musical learning can make children more receptive to learning in other areas due to brain stimulation.
    Classes are taught locally on Wednesdays from 5:30-6:15 p.m. in Sherrill Hall at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church.