Local News

  • Historical Society seeks nominations for 2016 LA history award

    Nominations are now open for the 2016 Los Alamos History Award, an annual prize recognizing significant contributions to preserving the world-changing history of the Los Alamos community.
    Nominations are due by Aug. 19, and the award winner will be announced at the Los Alamos Historical Society’s Annual Gala and Experience Auction on Sept. 10.
    Factors that weigh heavily in consideration for the award include depth and breadth of achievement over time, volunteer commitment, and a lasting impact. Both individuals and organizations are eligible.
    Posthumous awards are not made, and self-nominations are not allowed. Staff and board members are not eligible during the period of their active service. Awardees are selected through a rigorous, blind voting process by the Historical Society’s board of directors.
    Nomination forms are available online at the Los Alamos Historical Society’s website, losalamoshistory.org, or in the Los Alamos History Museum’s temporary space at 475 20th St., Suite C. They are due by at 5 p.m. Aug. 19, and can turned in at the temporary museum space or at the Historical Society’s administrative offices, upstairs in the north wing of Fuller Lodge.

  • Public input low for new wildfire protection plan

    Few people provided input to the county’s new wildfire protection plan, but officials in charge of the update are comfortable that what they did get was enough.
     Most of the information came from an online survey residents were asked to fill out, said Matt Piccarello, the county’s coordinator for the plan.
    Only 40 surveys were returned.
    “That was our primary method for getting public involvement, since sometimes it’s difficult to get people to show up for meetings,” he said. “They can fill out a survey on their own time.”
    Piccarello and his organization, The Forest Stewards Guild, distributed surveys to many Los Alamos-based organizations, such as the North Mesa Stable owners, The Los Alamos County Open Space and Trails Page, and the Los Alamos County Fire Department’s web page on the county website.
    Piccarello said he’s not surprised that after all that, they only got 40 back. He said that when it comes to planning meetings about plans, that’s usually what happens.
    “To be honest. It doesn’t surprise me. Any kind of community process is like that, unless it’s some very controversial issue,” Piccarello said. “To get people to try and show up for a planning meeting is a challenge.”

  • ScienceFest puts the fun in science

    Even those whose eyes glaze over when someone starts talking science could find something to love at the Los Alamos ScienceFest. Crowds flocking to last week’s event could play with robots, learn what produces the colors in their plasma TVs and challenge themselves on a drone obstacle course.
    ScienceFest, an event produced by Los Alamos MainStreet, has become the county’s signature event. A Los Alamos County Council proclamation declaring July 14-17 as “Los Alamos ScienceFest Weekend” states that “ScienceFest provides an opportunity for the community to take pride in its science heritage, to celebrate its unique relationship between science and creativity, to inspire the next generation to carry it forward, and to celebrate the evolution of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.”
    “It’s an outstanding event with a great organization led by Suzette Fox (MainStreet executive director) and others,” said council Chair Rick Reiss. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for visitors to become acquainted with our community, and for us to show off what a wonderful community we have. Local businesses enjoyed a steady stream of out-of-towners and the community will benefit from the dollars spent here.”

  • LA delegates join GOP Convention

    Two Los Alamos residents are among New Mexico’s contingent of delegates at this week’s Republican Convention. Lisa Shin is an elected delegate and Kelly Benner was chosen as an alternative delegate.
    Shin also has a three-minute speaking slot about midway through Thursday night’s program, which begins at 7 p.m. EDT.
    “I’m thrilled and honored, because I didn’t expect anything like that,” Shin said. “I thought there would be like elected officials. There’s so many people that they could choose from, and for me to be an outsider and unknown, just a layperson, it’s pretty incredible. So I’m pretty excited.”
    Shin has created a website called Korean Americans for (Donald) Trump (ka4trump.com). Shin is second generation Korean American. Her parents migrated to America about 40 years ago and became naturalized citizens.
    “That’s just something I started to try to get my message to Koreans, because I am Korean. And I want to give a positive message that Trump’s economic plan and proposals for job growth and better trade deals, I think these could really benefit the Korean community as well.”
    According to Shin, Asian Americans have historically had low voter turnout. One of her goals with the website is to get them more involved.

  • School renovations in peril

    Possible calculation errors made by the New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority may have knocked Barranca Mesa Elementary out of the running to receive construction funding from the state’s Public Schools Capital Outlay Commission.
    Earlier this year, the Los Alamos School Board chose the school as next in line for needed renovations.
    The school was selected because, according to the board, the district had a better than average chance of getting about $8 million in funding from the state commission. Barranca Mesa was numbered 17 on a list of about 100 schools that had major infrastructure problems.
    The school  has aging and faulty boilers, and leaking roofs. In 2013, the school’s gym roof was blown off by a strong gust of wind. It was later repaired, but it officials took it as a sign that the school needed a total structural overhaul.
    At a recent school board meeting, school officials expressed fears that a key part of the project’s funding might not come through because of the miscalculation. School administration officials learned this when they attended a New Mexico Public School Capital Outlay Council meeting in Santa Fe.

  • Today in history July 19
  • Spaceport authority director resigns

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The head of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority is resigning, saying she still believes in the commercial space industry and that Spaceport America has a role to play.

    Christine Anderson announced her resignation in a memo Tuesday to the authority's board and Gov. Susana Martinez. She said it was a difficult decision but she wants to pursue "other life adventures."

    Anderson took over as executive director five years ago as the spaceport was just getting off the ground.

    She has lauded successes in building a multimillion-dollar launch site and bringing new infrastructure to a remote stretch of desert in southern New Mexico, but delays by anchor tenant Virgin Galactic left the spaceport scrambling for revenue in recent years and the lack of activity helped to fueled lawmakers' skepticism of the venture.

    Anderson has repeatedly countered the criticisms of whether flights would ever get off the ground.

  • GOP kicks off convention with nod to 'troubling times'

    CLEVELAND (AP) — Braced for uncertainty and struggling for unity, Republicans opened their convention to nominate Donald Trump for president on Monday as dissident delegates pursued one last chance to deny him and the nation reeled from yet another outburst of violence.

    A day after a deadly ambush of police in Louisiana, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus welcomed delegates to the convention hall with a brief acknowledgement of the "troubling times" swirling outside. The chairman called for a moment of silence out of respect for "genuine heroes" in law enforcement.

    "Our nation grieves when we see these awful killings," he said.

    Weeks of racial tensions and violence are shadowing the Republicans' long-awaited showcase of their presidential pick and putting both participants and the convention city on alert.

    True to form, Trump himself provided the first curveball of the week, announcing he will make an unexpected swing to the convention hall Monday night to introduce his wife, Melania, on the first night of speeches.

    "I want to watch," Trump said on Fox News. "It is going to be very exciting."

  • Today in history July 18
  • Public meeting to address New Mexico's wild animal policy

    SANTA FE (AP) — Wildlife advocates and New Mexico lawmakers are planning to discuss outdoor safety and a state law that led to the death of a mother black bear in June following an attack on a marathon runner in the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

    The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening in Santa Fe.

    Participants will include several environmental groups, the New Mexico Game and Fish Department and Karen Williams, the marathon runner who was attacked June 18 in the Valles Caldera.

    The black bear was killed the next day for rabies testing.

    Williams wants to change state regulations that mandate the euthanization of any wild animal that attacks a human for rabies testing.

    Williams argues that the bear, which was acting in defense of its cubs, showed no signs of rabies.