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Local News

  • LA man infected with tularemia

    Mary Haynes, of Pajarito Acres, suspected a disease might be lurking when she noticed several dead rabbits on and around her property.
    She had suspected a noxious disease that is known to affect rabbits, tularemia, was killing the rabbits.
    “My whole yard is contaminated,” Haynes said. “Every time I see a new rabbit, the next time I see it, it’s dead.”
    Whether it’s that disease that is, in fact, the culprit at the Haynes’ residence hasn’t been determined, the New Mexico Department of Health announced Monday that the disease is in the area.
    Department of Health officials announced a confirmed case of tularemia in a 51-year-old man from Los Alamos County. The announcement from the state said the case was confirmed at the health department’s scientific laboratory division.
    According to the state, the man had been hospitalized and treated, but has since recovered and gone home. It is the first reported human case of the disease in 2015.
    There have been 33 cases of tularemia this year in pets in the Los Alamos, Taos, Santa Fe and Bernalillo county areas. The East Mountain area near Albuquerque, according to news reports, had been hit particularly hard.

  • Classic 1985 film will be played for festival

    One of the top science fiction films of the 1980s will be featured as part of the Movies In the Park Wednesday.
    The 1985 classic, “Back to the Future,” will be screened at Ashley Pond. The movie will start at sundown.
    The film was chosen as part of this week’s ScienceFest event, which gets going Wednesday morning.
    Along with the film, a DeLorean, the stainless steel vehicle that is featured in the movie, is scheduled to make an appearance. However, Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation marketing manager Ryn Hermann said if there is rain Wednesday — which, unfortunately, is predicted — the DeLorean may be a no-show.
    “Back to the Future,” the first of a high-grossing sci-fi trilogy, centers around Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), who works for an eccentric scientist (Christopher Lloyd) who has built a time machine. Marty is accidentally transported to the year 1955 and, due to an accident, may have prevented his own parents from falling in love, threatening his own existence.
    The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump,” “Contact”) and produced by iconic mogul Steven Spielberg.
    Movies in the Park is a summer program sponsored by Los Alamos County’s Parks and Recreation Department. All movies are free.

  • Public involvement for Comp Plan under review

    On Julyp 8, the Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed two options for garnering public input on updating the Comprehensive plan.
    Option 1 proposes hiring a consultant to conduct four to six months of public outreach, which would include outreach to participants of past plan efforts, schools, Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation entities, local service groups and county boards, commissions and committees.
    The consultant would conduct 16 meetings, averaging one P and Z meeting and one open public meeting per month, and analyze all the data received.
    The plan also calls for a dedicated website, mailings to households and providing email updates.
    “While this was going on, staff could be preparing certain documents, consolidating and extrapolating from documents that have already been approved,” Acting Principal Planner Tamara Baer said.
    Phase 2, which would involve crafting the plan and obtaining more public input, is estimated to take six to eight months — with one caveat. According to the staff report, “This one year-process does not include generating specific area or master plans or filling identified ‘gaps’ in the information included in already adopted plans if it requires a significant effort.”
    Option 2 would require more than a year and a $100,000 budget.

  • Utilities' drop box vandalized

    Los Alamos County officials said Tuesday its drop box for Department of Public Utilities payments was vandalized over the weekend and payments were stolen.
    The drop box, which is near the main entrance of the municipal building, was broken into sometime after 3 p.m. Friday. Customers affected are those who made payments using the drop box Friday afternoon.
    DPU is advising those customers to take precautions, including calling their banks to stop payment on checks that may haven been stolen from the box.
    DPU also requests those customers notify the 311 Customer Care Center at 662-8333 if they believe their payment was stolen.
    The county said Los Alamos’ police department is investigating the theft. Anyone with information about the theft should call 662-8222.

  • Aeby took iconic photo of explosion

    On July 16, 1945, a key event in the course of human history came to pass.
    That was the day the first nuclear weapon was tested at White Sands near Alamogordo.
    One of the most famous images of that day, and of World War II, was captured on film by Jack Aeby.
    Aeby died at his home in La Mesilla June 19, only about a month before the 70th anniversary of that test, a moment that will be remembered at this week’s ScienceFest.
    Beth Aeby, his daughter who lives in the area, as well, said that, although his famous photo is on display at the Historical Museum, her father expressed disappointment that he hadn’t been invited to attend the festival.
    “For him to say he was disappointed, that’s really wrenching,” she said, noting that her father rarely complained about anything.
    Jack Aeby came to Los Alamos as a civilian worker during World War II. Among the many duties he performed, Aeby was a driver, picking up people at the Lamy train station and driving them to the Manhattan Project site.
    Among those he picked up during his runs to the train station was Enrico Fermi, one of the most famous scientists of the 20th century.

  • Today in history July 14
  • Human tularemia case confirmed in LA county

    The New Mexico Department of Health announced a confirmed case of tularemia in a 51-year-old man from Los Alamos County.
    The announcement from the state said the case was confirmed at the health department’s scientific laboratory division.
    According to the state, the man had been hospitalized and treated, but has since recovered and gone home.
    There have been 33 cases of tularemia this year in pets in the Los Alamos, Taos, Santa Fe and Bernalillo county areas.
    Tularemia is caused by a bacteria found in animals, especially rodents, rabbits and hares. Tularemia can also make dogs and cats sick and they can give the disease to people.
    Other possible, but much less likely, exposures are through contact with infected soil or water or by inhaling the bacteria.
    Symptoms are similar to plague infection including sudden fever, chills, headaches, diarrhea, muscles aches and joint pain.
    Other symptoms of tularemia depend on how a person was exposed to the tularemia bacteria and can include pneumonia and chest pain, ulcers on the skin or mouth, swollen and painful lymph glands, swollen and painful eyes and a sore throat.
     

  • Today in history July 12
  • 2015 ScienceFest Schedule

    Wednesday

    9 a.m.-3 p.m. — Oppenheimer’s Desk Chair on display at the Los Alamos Visitor’s Center

    9:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. — Remembering Jack Aeby exhibit at Historical Museum

    6 p.m. — Science Trivia Night at Bathtub Row Brewery
    8:30 p.m. – Movie in the Park at Ashley Pond, “Back to the Future” with hover board and a DeLorean

    Thursday

    4:30 a.m. — Trinity Site 70th Anniversary Program of at Hans Bethe House a commemoration of the Trinity Test with coffee and donuts, video of the Trinity test and live tweet from log book of the actual event

    9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. – Remembering Jack Aeby exhibit at Historical Museum

    Noon-5 p.m. — Oppenheimer’s Desk Chair on display at the Los Alamos Visitor’s Center

    10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. – Historic Walking Tours at Historical Museum, $10 guided tours of historic Fuller Lodge and surrounding area

    5:30 pm — Science On Tap at UnQuarked Wine Bar, “From Trinity to Artificial Joints,” LANL scientist Nathaniel Morgan discusses computational mathematics

    7 p.m. — The Science of Brewing, Bathtub Row Brewery

    Friday

  • BPU will review power agreement

    An agreement more than a year in the making for restructuring the San Juan Generating Station (SJGS) comes before the Los Alamos Board of Public Utilities for approval Wednesday. If the board votes in favor of the agreement, the Los Alamos County Council will be asked to approve it at its July 28 meeting.
    Los Alamos County owns a 7.2 percent share of the SJGP’s Unit 4, which provides approximately 50 percent of the county’s electricity requirements.
    The San Juan Generating Station Settlement Agreement provides the mechanism for implementing the New Mexico State Implementation Plan (SIP) for reducing nitric oxide emissions at the plant.
    The SIP itself is a compromise with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA originally issued an order requiring the plant to install Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology on all four units at a cost of approximately $750 million.
    A negotiated settlement with the EPA, approved in May 2014, requires the installation of less expensive selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) technology on Units 1 and 4 by Jan. 31, 2016 and the shutdown of Units 2 and 3 by Dec. 31, 2017, at a cost of approximately 20 percent of the original estimate.