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Local News

  • State briefs 4-23-15

    New WIPP boss headed to contaminated site

    CARLSBAD (AP) — The man appointed to lead the company that oversees the federal government’s troubled nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico previously ran a facility in Idaho where a radiation release contaminated workers in 2011.
    Philip Breidenbach was named president and project manager of the Nuclear Waste Partnership last week. The company manages the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, which has been closed since last year due to a radiation release.
    The Albuquerque Journal reports Breidenbach used to run a plutonium facility at Idaho National Laboratory, where a radiation accident contaminated 16 workers.
    The incident was blamed on a lack of safety precautions and worker training, much like the WIPP mishap.
    Despite the criticisms of watchdogs, Nuclear Waste Partnership says Breidenbach has a track record of turning around a troubled operation.

    Rodella must remain in prison while appealing

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A former Rio Arriba County Sheriff will remain in federal prison in Texas while awaiting his appeal charges of violating a person’s civil rights while using a handgun.

  • County’s unemployment rate under 4 percent

    Los Alamos County once again had the lowest level of unemployment in the state of New Mexico last month.
    For the month of March, Los Alamos had an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, which was a full percentage point lower than all other counties in the state but one, Eddy County.
    Los Alamos reported that 307 people were unemployed last month. That number was down slightly from February, but that drop may have been at least partially due to a dip in the county’s total labor force.
    In February, the county had a labor force of 8,400 people, but that number dropped to 8,364 in March. The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, which puts out the monthly labor numbers for the state, didn’t offer an explanation for the drop.
    Statewide, the department reported the 31st consecutive month of over-the-year job growth for nonfarm payroll employment.
    Compared to a year ago, employment rolls were up 1.6 percent, which represents a net gain of approximately 13,000 jobs.
    The overall gains in March were down slightly from February, which was the strongest month for the state in terms of job creation since 2006.
    In the past year, the state has seen the most growth in areas such as education and health services, while professional and business services were up by approximately 3,700 jobs from a year ago.

  • Local real estate broker now certified as luxury home specialist

    Kelly Myers, an associate broker at RE/MAX of Los Alamos, completed a luxury home training course. She is now a certified luxury home specialist, according to a press release sent out Wednesday.
    To become a certified luxury home specialist, brokers must demonstrate an understanding of the demographics of the affluent, lifestyle segmentation, trends and amenities in selling luxury homes creating marketing plans for luxury properties.
    “The training provided new insight about the upper-tier market, helped me polish my skills and provided valuable networking contacts with other agents across the country who specialize in luxury properties,” Myers said in the release.
    A luxury property is defined for the Los Alamos market as a property that has sold for $450,000 or more. The figure is based on the actual sales price of the top 10 percent of home sold in the market.
    Myers has been in real estate in Los Alamos since 2005. She is a Platinum Award-winning realtor and is among the local RE/MAX agency’s top sellers during her career.
    Myers specializes in real estate in the local area, including Los Alamos County, Española, Santa Fe and the Jemez.

  • Local briefs 4-23-15

    County branding to be discussed

    There is a public meeting scheduled for those wishing to give input into the new Los Alamos County branding initiative.
    The meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. May 5 at Fuller Lodge. Those interested can give their input to representatives from Atlas Advertising, which is continuing the logo development process.
    There will also be discussions about the county’s strapline options. An initial strapline “Live Exponentially,” was rejected by the public earlier this year.
    Other straplines given to Atlas Advertising for consideration include the following:
    • Where everything is elevated.
    • High intelligence in the high desert.
    • Think bigger, live brighter.
    • Great. Beyond.
    • Absolutely brilliant.
    • Get to a higher plane.
    The development selection and process is expected to be conducted through the summer and fall of this year, concluding with approval of the strapline and logo.
    For more information about the program, call 662-8087.

    Unitarian Church votes for new building

    The congregation of the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos voted Sunday to go forward with plans to construct a new building, officials announced Monday.

  • New MRI could aid wounded soldiers, Third World kids

    Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are developing an ultra-low-field Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system that could be low-power and lightweight enough for forward deployment on the battlefield and to field hospitals in the World’s poorest regions.
    “MRI technology is a powerful medical diagnostic tool,” said Michelle Espy, the Battlefield MRI (bMRI) project leader, “ideally suited for imaging soft-tissue injury, particularly to the brain.”
    But hospital-based MRI devices are big and expensive, and require considerable infrastructure, such as large quantities of cryogens like liquid nitrogen and helium, and they typically use a large amount of energy.
    “Standard MRI machines just can’t go everywhere,” Espy said. “Soldiers wounded in battle usually have to be flown to a large hospital and people in emerging nations just don’t have access to MRI at all.  We’ve been in contact with doctors who routinely work in the Third World and report that MRI would be extremely valuable in treating pediatric encephalopathy, and other serious diseases in children.”
    So the Los Alamos team started thinking about a way to make an MRI device that could be relatively easy to transport, set up, and use in an unconventional setting.

  • Nature center opens its doors

    Rain showers hovering over Los Alamos Wednesday could not dampen the spirits of the crowd waiting expectantly for the ribbon cutting for the Los Alamos nature center.
    The project has been five years in the making, since retired Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) board President Chick Keller saw an advertisement announcing that the county was accepting applications for capital improvement projects (CIP).
    “Immediately the whole weight of PEEC’s expertise had to come in and we just kept working and we hired a few more people,” Keller said. “And the volunteers — there has just been hundreds and hundreds of hours of planning going into all this. And I can’t name the number of people who have been involved.”
    Current board President Felicia Orth also stressed the collective efforts of not only founding and subsequent board members, but dozens of volunteers. Those supporters not only helped determine the design for the visually stunning structure but donated time, money and expertise to the developing exhibits inside and out.

  • Charter introduced for proposed environmental committee

    At the beginning of the year, Los Alamos resident Reid Priedhorsky got up at a school board meeting and asked why there were far fewer trees on the new Aspen Elementary School campus, theorizing that some died to construction-related causes.
    While administration officials acknowledged that some trees were indeed removed to make room for the new campus, others died from tree beetle attacks and lack of water.
    In any case, Priedhorsky succeeded in getting a dialogue going about how public oversight on environmental issues can be introduced into school construction projects.
    Priedhorksy and others proposed a committee be formed. At a recent school board meeting, a charter for the proposed committee, “The Los Alamos Public Schools Natural Resources Committee,” was discussed.
    While it seemed that Priedhorsky and others wanted a committee without district employees or members of the Los Alamos School Board on it, board member thought that wasn’t a good idea.
    “I think it’s very important for us to send a message back to the steering committee that ‘no, you work under the guidance of the board, you report back to the board,’ ” said board Vice President Matt Williams at the meeting.

  • Today in history April 23
  • Briefing will be streamed Thursday

    At 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the Department of Energy will host a town hall meeting in Los Alamos to discuss the Accident Investigation Board findings from the Feb. 14, 2014, drum breach at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
    Members of the Accident Investigation Board will present the findings and answer questions.
    The Los Alamos meeting will be broadcast live on radio stations KRSN 1490 AM and FM 107.1. It also will be audiostreamed live on KRSN's website, krsnam1490.com.

    Questions from listeners can be emailed to toni.chiri@nnsa.doe.gov

    A video of the meeting will be posted to YouTube on Friday under the title Los Alamos AIB Town Hall.

    The Los Alamos town hall is the second of two public meetings following the AIB’s release of its Phase II Report on the WIPP event.

  • Update 4-22-15

    GOP meeting

    The Republican Party of Los Alamos will host its biennial organization convention at 7 p.m. Thursday at UNM-Los Alamos. All registered Republicans are invited to attend. Call Robert Gibson at 662-3159 for more information.

    Docent training

    The Los Alamos Historical Society will host History Docent Training from 3-4 p.m. Thursday at the Hans Bethe house, 1350 Bathtub Row. Anyone interested in volunteering as a docent is invited to attend.

    Budget hearings

    The Los Alamos County budget hearings for FY16 will continue Monday in council chambers. Meeting time is scheduled for 6 p.m.

    School board

    The Los Alamos School Board will hold a board meeting and work session Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be at Chamisa Elementary School in White Rock.

    APP board

    The Arts In Public Places Board will meet at the municipal building Thursday. Meeting time is 5:30 p.m.

    Shred Day

    The Pajarito Environmental Education Center will host a “shred day” at the Reel Deal Theater Saturday. A shred truck will be parked in the theater parking lot for those wishing to destroy CDs, video tapes, microfiche and other types of fabrics and plastics. For more information, call Sandra West at 695-2579.