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Local News

  • Bill allowing open primaries clears House committee

    BY STEVE TERRELL
    The New Mexican

  • Gardeners get a start with seed exchange

    It was obvious from the number of people walking around town in short sleeved shirts during the early February “heat wave” that spring fever had set in. In some people, that brings on the urge to get their garden going.
    Although it is far too early for that, Master Gardener KokHeong McNaughton says it is the perfect time of year to start the seeds for that garden.
    “This is about the time of year to start seeds, right after Groundhog Day,” McNaughton said. “According to the agricultural calendar, this is when most farmers would start thinking about planting seeds.”
    To help facilitate that, the church’s gardening group began hosting the Community Seed Swap three years ago.
    The idea grew out of the local permaculture group’s annual seed exchange. The group meets for breakfast on the second Friday each month to talk about permaculture. Every year they gather to trade the seeds they saved the previous year for others.
    Since most of the group’s members belong to the Unitarian Church, they decided to turn their annual swap into a church project open to other members of the congregation.
    “And then we decided, why don’t we involve the community,” McNaughton said, and the Community Seed Swap was born.

  • LANL to resume shipments to WIPP in April

    STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

  • LAPS teachers do own survey for exit info

    Concerned by the fact that some of Los Alamos County’s better teachers were thinking of leaving the profession, teachers Megan Lee and Amy Bartlett-Gaunt decided to take a survey of the district’s teachers.
    They later presented the survey to the school board at a Jan. 26 work session at Chamisa Elementary School.
    “What if we did a survey, where we asked real questions to teachers, and collected data to show what the situation is?” Lee told the board at the work session.
    With the approval of Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus, they set to work, and came up with some interesting data. Lee said 193 out of the 247 teachers in the district participated.
    What the two teachers found was that about 67 percent of the teachers were seriously thinking about leaving the profession.
    “We think that this is a very sad but valuable piece of information as we go forward looking for a new evaluation system,” Bartlett-Gaunt said to the board.
    They also found that many of them thought the survey system the state uses to rate their effectiveness as teachers was seriously flawed, and was one of the main reasons teachers were thinking about quitting teaching.

  • Lab responds to critical report of safety practices

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory responded to an annual report the National Nuclear Security Administration sent to the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board Feb. 2. The report was critical of the lab’s design and manufacture of nuclear components.
    The report measures the lab’s nuclear criticality safety programs and how well LANL is doing in implementing safety measures in the manufacture and design of nuclear components.
    The purpose of the report is to prevent accidents that could lead to the discharge of radiation and other toxic materials related to the components and their manufacture into the environment.
    “Along with the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Laboratory continues its effort to improve in the area of criticality safety,” LANL Spokesman Kevin Roark said. “As noted in the metric report, compensatory measures are in place to ensure safe operations. The Laboratory has taken a series of actions that include: implementing new and rigorous criticality safety controls; providing enhanced training to management and staff; evaluating and improving operating procedures which implement criticality controls; validating procedures can be used exactly as written; ensuring criticality safety documents and procedures are readily available to operators and increasing staffing levels.”​

  • Gardeners get a start with seed exchange

    It was obvious from the number of people walking around town in short sleeved shirts during the early February “heat wave” that spring fever had set in. In some people, that brings on the urge to get their garden going.
    Although it is far too early for that, Master Gardener KokHeong McNaughton says it is the perfect time of year to start the seeds for that garden.
    “This is about the time of year to start seeds, right after Groundhog Day,” McNaughton said. “According to the agricultural calendar, this is when most farmers would start thinking about planting seeds.”
    To help facilitate that, the church’s gardening group began hosting the Community Seed Swap three years ago.
    The idea grew out of the local permaculture group’s annual seed exchange. The group meets for breakfast on the second Friday each month to talk about permaculture. Every year they gather to trade the seeds they saved the previous year for others.
    Since most of the group’s members belong to the Unitarian Church, they decided to turn their annual swap into a church project open to other members of the congregation.
    “And then we decided, why don’t we involve the community,” McNaughton said, and the Community Seed Swap was born.

  • Monitor co-founder Mark McMahon dies

    Howard Markley “Mark” McMahon, who founded the Los Alamos Monitor with his wife June, Dan Miles and John Barnett in 1963, died in Davis, California on Sunday.
    Markley was born Sept. 12, 1928, in Dallas, Texas. He began delivering newspaper for his father, Howard, who was publisher of the Abilene Reporter-News, at age 12.
    After attending college and serving in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, McMahon went to work for the San Angelo Standard-Times in San Angelo, Texas, in 1954, where he met June McDonald Hazlip, who was editor of the women’s page at that time. They were married Jan. 29, 1955.
    McMahon took a job at Albuquerque-based The Oil News. One day his work took him to Santa Fe.
    “And when he came back he was so excited he burst into the house and he said, ‘Guess what. Los Alamos doesn’t have a newspaper.’” June told the Los Alamos Monitor.
    “So three weeks later it did. We just started one right away. We were young. We didn’t know what we were doing.”
    They packed up their two sons, Steve and Brian (their daughter Susan was born in Los Alamos is 1965), sublet a small apartment from a lab employee on sabbatical, rented office space over a department store and got to work.

  • Shipments to nation's only nuclear dump will resume in April

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The U.S. Energy Department said Tuesday that shipments to the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository are expected to resume in April, more than three years after they were halted in response to a radiation release that contaminated part of the facility.
    Officials released plans for nearly 130 shipments from federal laboratories and other national defense sites over the next year. Those sites must demonstrate that they're ready to load the radioactive waste and that it meets new safety requirements.
    The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant was forced to close in February 2014 after an inappropriately packed drum of waste ruptured. Some operations resumed in December after an expensive recovery effort that has yet to be fully completed.
    Over the last three years, tons of waste left over from decades of nuclear weapons research and development has been stacking up at sites around the country, hampering the government's multibillion-dollar cleanup program.
    Todd Shrader, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Field Office, acknowledged that the suspension of disposal work posed challenges for the agency and the sites where waste has been building up.

  • New Mexico's only GOP congressman has no town halls slated

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The only Republican in New Mexico's congressional delegation has not scheduled any traditional town hall meetings amid anger and general fears about the Trump administration in some parts of the nation.
    Instead, Rep. Steve Pearce, R-Hobbs, is asking constituents to sign up for a "telephone town hall" on Wednesday.
    Pearce spokesman Keeley Christensen declined to say if the Republican would hold any traditional town halls in the future and whether tense gatherings elsewhere led him to hold the telephone town hall.
    Christensen said the telephone town hall had been scheduled for "around a month" because it would reach more constituents than any rural gathering. She declined to say why Pearce hasn't scheduled a traditional town hall meeting now that other Republican congress members are getting high attendance at theirs.
    A reporter was invited to attend the telephone town hall but told he couldn't ask Pearce any questions.
    Republicans who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act are facing angry pushback at constituent meetings in Utah, Michigan, Tennessee and elsewhere, even in some solidly Republican districts.

  • Police Beat 2-12-17

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, server a court summons, or issued a citation.
    Jan. 17
    Brian Arnink, 49, of Los Alamos was arrested by Española Police on a municipal warrant.
    Jan. 27
    7:30 a.m. — Police reported that a 37-year-old Santa Cruz woman was the victim of an accident with no injuries at the intersection of Trinity Drive and Oppenheimer Drive.

    2 p.m. — Police reported that a 14-year-old Los Alamos female was the victim of unlawful use of a telephone at Trinity Drive.

    5:48 p.m. — Abelardo Fernandez, 37, of Santa Fe was arrested on a magistrate court bench warrant at the Santa Fe Police Department. The original charge was shoplifting (less than $100) at Sherwood Boulevard.
    Jan. 28
    8:17 a.m. —  Ashley Fragua, 24, of Los Alamos was arrested for aggravated assault against a household member.
    Jan. 29