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Local News

  • Despite bear concerns, race still on, say wildlife officials

    Environmentalists are criticizing the decision to run a backcountry trail race after a long-distance runner was attacked by a bear last year at a National Park Service preserve in northern New Mexico During a similar event.
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility last week said the National Park Service is downplaying the threat of interactions between wildlife and participants in a 50-mile race on Saturday at the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
    “If you read the documents, they probably shouldn’t have approved it,” PEER Director Jeff Ruch said. “They’ve improperly approved it. Some of the activity is not appropriate, it’s a preserve, not space for road races.”
    PEER has released documents on its website it obtained through the Freedom of Information Act that claim to show the runners will be going through an areas that will disrupt the bears’ calving season.
    A mother bear with three cubs was euthanized last year by state wildlife officials after attacking and injuring a marathon runner as she raced through the Valles Caldera.
    A National Park Service evaluation of this year’s race describes a continued threat of human interaction with bears and bear cubs, while noting a positive influence on recreation and public relations at the preserve.

  • Art in the Afternoon
  • Council weighs next move in GRT legislation

    A bill that would have ensured that Los Alamos County continued to receive  gross receipts tax from the laboratory in the event the lab went nonprofit was killed in this year’s Legislative session, as was the bill that eclipsed it.
    County Lobbyist Scott Scanland provided Los Alamos County Council a blow by blow account May 2 on what happened with the key tax bills the county was particularly interested.  
    The gross receipts tax bill, House Bill 332, sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Dist. 43, was popular enough that it garnered the support from the area, Scanland said.
    “We had lots of good support from regional partners from throughout this area, then the bill went over to the house tax committee, and it stayed there,” Scanland said. “We had one good hearing and those regional partners again came in and said how important the bill was to this entire area in case there were some management changes at the lab.”
    But then, Sandland said,  another bill the county had its eye on, a large 350-page, tax reform bill, House Bill 412, eclipsed it and essentially killed it.

  • Tunnel collapse renews safety concerns about nuclear sites

    RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — The collapse of a tunnel containing radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear weapons complex underscored what critics have long been saying: that the toxic remnants of the Cold War are being stored in haphazard and unsafe conditions, and time is running out to deal with the problem.
    "Unfortunately, the crisis at Hanford is far from an isolated incident," said Kevin Kamps of the anti-nuclear group Beyond Nuclear.
    For instance, at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, which opened in the 1950s and produced plutonium and tritium, the government is laboring to clean up groundwater contamination along with 40 million gallons of radioactive liquid waste stored in tanks that are decades past their projected lifespan. The job is likely to take decades.
    At Hanford, in addition to the tunnel collapse discovered on Tuesday, dozens of underground storage tanks, some dating to World War II, are leaking highly radioactive materials.
    The problem is that the U.S. government rushed to build nuclear weapons during the Cold War with little thought given to how to permanently dispose of the resulting waste.

  • U.S. Energy Secretary Perry visits LANL

    U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry visited Los Alamos National Laboratory's plutonium facility Wednesday, met with employees and toured the lab’s ordnance range.

    This was Perry’s first visit to the lab following his appointment as secretary of the U.S. Energy Department in March.

    “How honored I am to get to be part of this team. Not just Los Alamos but the 16 other national labs. They truly are an amazing resource for this country,” Perry said during a press conference.

    As for Los Alamos, Perry was very impressed.

    “I would suggest that every country in the world would like to have one that’s like Los Alamos. We’re blessed to have them. I’m excited to continue to be a hopefully potent spokesperson for what they do and a defender for what they do,” Perry said.

    Perry came to Los Alamos at the invitation of Lab Director Charlie McMillan to get to know the men and women who are behind helping to maintain the nation’s nuclear stockpile, LANL’s central mission.

  • Energy Sec. Perry to visit LANL Wednesday

    U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry will visit Los Alamos National Laboratory Wednesday to receive briefings on the lab’s capabilities in support of national security, nuclear deterrence, stockpile stewardship and nuclear non-proliferation, LANL announced late Tuesday.
    During the visit, Perry will also tour LANL’s nuclear weapons and global security facilities and meet with the Director Charles McMillan, and experts on the ground. As part of the tour, Perry will speak to lab employees.

  • Tunnel with nuclear waste collapses in Washington state

    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A portion of an underground tunnel containing rail cars full of radioactive waste collapsed Tuesday at a sprawling storage facility in a remote area of Washington state, forcing an evacuation of some workers at the site that made plutonium for nuclear weapons for decades after World War II.
    Officials detected no release of radiation at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and no workers were injured, said Randy Bradbury, a spokesman for the Washington state Department of Ecology.
    No workers were inside the tunnel when it collapsed, causing soil on the surface above to sink two to four feet (half to 1.2 meters) over a 400 square foot (37.1 square meters) area, officials said.
    The tunnels are hundreds of feet long, with about eight feet (2.4 meters) of soil covering them, the U.S. Department of Energy said.
    The cause of the collapse was not immediately known. It  was discovered during a routine inspection and occurred during a massive cleanup that has been under way since the 1980s and costs more than $2 billion a year. The work is expected to take until 2060 and cost more than $100 billion.

  • Police respond to medical call at DMV

     Los Alamos Police Department officers responded to a medical emergency at about 4 p.m. Monday at the Los Alamos Department of Motor Vehicles parking lot on Central Avenue. The person was pronounced dead at the scene. Police withheld details of the deceased person's age or gender out of respect for the person's family. "It was just a sad, unfortunate situation," Police Spokesman Cmdr. Preston Ballew said.

  • Today in history 5-8-17
  • Charges dismissed against man accused of stealing mom's posolé

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A New Mexico man arrested for breaking into his mom's house to steal her traditional New Mexican stew won't face charges after all.
    Last week, a state district judge dismissed charges against Jonathan Carlos Ray, who was charged in 2015 for the theft of his mother's posolé. The judge says the only witnesses to the alleged crime were Ray and his mother.
    Police say Ray was arrested after he ignored his mother's orders to stay away from her posolé and ran off with the holiday dish.
    According to a criminal complaint, Ray sent his mom a text message saying he wanted some of her posolé. She told him no.
    The complaint says the mother later found her gate and garage broken and a pot of the posole missing.
    Posolé, a hominy, is a traditional soup or stew made with pork or chicken popular in Mexico and the American Southwest.