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Local News

  • Carollas crash on Central Avenue
  • LAPS students take first in Supercomputing Challenge

    Andy Corliss, Phillip Ionkov, Ming Lo of Aspen Elementary, and Max Corliss of Los Alamos Middle School won first place for their project, “Solving the Rubik’s Cube 2.0,” last week at at the 26th New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    The “Aspen Supercomputers” created a three-dimensional simulation of a Rubik’s cube, a national favorite brain-bending puzzle, as well as an implementation of a cube-solving algorithm. They also won the Most Professional Presentation award for their efforts.
    “The goal of the yearlong event is to teach student teams how to use powerful computers to analyze, model and solve real-world problems,” said David Kratzer of Los Alamos’ High Performance Computer Systems group, and executive director of the Supercomputing Challenge. “Participating students improve their understanding of technology by developing skills in scientific inquiry, modeling, computing, communications and teamwork.”

  • Advocating for independent media

    Award-winning journalist Amy Goodman made an appearance in Los Alamos Tuesday, joined by Denis Moynihan, one of the coauthors (along with her brother, David Goodman) of her latest book, “Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America.”
    Goodman’s appearance – part of her 100 City Tour – was a fundraiser for PAC 8, the local public access television station.
    The tour marks the 20th anniversary of Goodman’s radio and television broadcast, “Democracy Now!,” which began in 1996 on Pacifica Radio. It broadcast on nine stations, the only daily election show in public broadcasting. The creators planned to move on to other projects when the election ended, but found there was more demand after the elections than beforehand. So the show continued, slowly expanding to other markets.
    “Democracy Now!’s” nationwide growth spurt began with the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. The show had just launched its first television broadcast that week from a media center housed in a 100-year-old firehouse in downtown Manhattan. As the closest broadcast to Ground Zero, stations around the country asked to rebroadcast the program.
    The show now airs on more than 1,400 radio and television stations around the world, with more added every week.

  • Barranca Elementary plan moves forward

    The Los Alamos Public School District’s $22 million plan to renovate and redesign Barranca Mesa Elementary School passed a crucial step last Friday when the Public School Capital Outlay Council voted to consider the district’s plan.
    The Public School Capital Outlay Commission is a state commission that approves state funding for school construction projects. The commission provides a 43 percent match for school buildings that meet the criteria.
    That would be about $9 million in funding for a project the administration estimates will cost $21 to $22 million. The district plans to provide the rest of the funding through a general bond election in 2017, with some leftover bond funds from the Aspen Elementary School renovation, which was completed in 2014.
    The school district is in the middle of updating the district’s seven schools, some of which haven’t received a major overhaul since the 1950s. It is doing so through general bond elections, where the district asks the public to vote to release a certain number of general obligation bonds to pay for the project.
    So far, Los Alamos High School, Los Alamos Middle School and Aspen Elementary School have received funding since the overhaul began in 2009.

  • State seeks input on LANL’s hazardous waste

    New Mexico Environment Department officials from the department’s Hazardous Waste Bureau met with the public Thursday about waste cleanup at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    The 2005 Compliance Order of Consent defines how hazardous waste areas at LANL are conducted. It was agreed to by the New Mexico Environment Department, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Regents of the University of California and LANL and is now under review.
    NMED and other partners agree that through data gathered during the initial stages of the cleanup, changes could be made to make hazardous waste cleanup safer and more efficient.
    NMED is in the process of gathering public comments about those changes, according to NMED Secretary Ryan Flynn.
    “What we’re trying to do here is to take the consent order, which has been effective in certain areas, and try to make it more effective, building upon a decade of experience that we now have,” Flynn said. “Time changes, technology evolves, and you learn more as a regulator how to more effectively control pollution at a facility.”
    The original 2005 order predicted that the entire cleanup would be completed by 2005, but that was before the underground chromium plume was detected on LANL property and other complications developed.

  • Today in history May 2
  • LAPS to get new website

    By next school year Los Alamos Public Schools’ website is going to have a new look to it. It will also have features that will make it easy for the school to share information with the public.
    According to the district’s website coordinator, Pierce Jones, the new website will be up and running sometime this summer. The website was designed by a committee comprised of teachers, staff, administration and members of the business community.
    Jones said there were three things the schools and the committee wished to accomplish with the new website: semantics, engagement and relatedness.
    As far as semantics is concerned, Jones said it was important that they use words that are more descriptive so people will want to click on the link. That means words and titles for menu items such as “home” or “basic facts” will be replaced with phrases like “Discover LAPS” and other call-to-action phrases. There will also be a section for prospective residents where they will be able to see all the stats that show off all the good things about the district, like average grade scores, number of scholarship winners, or athletic championships.
    “It will highlight an important story, something great that has happened that’s happened in our district,” Jones said.

  • ‘Spamalot’ in the running for Popejoy Awards

    The cast of Los Alamos High School’s production of Monty Python’s “Spamalot” was ecstatic when they learned this week that they had been nominated in several categories for the inaugural Popejoy Awards.
    The Popejoy Awards website (popejoyawards.org) states that “Our goal is to inspire and honor excellence in high school musical theater, and to recognize the importance of musical theater and arts education. We will use a competitive adjudication process to find the highest caliber of high school musical theater talent in New Mexico.”
    Winners in the May 8 competition will compete for scholarships at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA) in New York City.
    “Spamalot” was nominated for Best Production, Best Director (LAHS drama teacher David Daniel) and Best Ensemble. Devon McCleskey (King Arthur), Max Herrmann (Lancelot) and Camille Rousculp (Patsy) received Best Actor and Best Actress nominations.

  • Rising IT costs raise questions

    The Los Alamos County Council approved the $7,525,176 Administrative Services budget plus $208,000 in optional items by a 4–3 vote on Monday, with councilors James Chrobocinski, Steve Girrens and Pete Sheehey opposing the motion.
    The optional items were $69,080 for IT network replacements, $106,920 for routine desktop hardware and software replacements and $32,000 for an investment advisor.
    The Information Management Division’s (IM) budget received especially close scrutiny. Chair Rick Reiss in particular questioned the county’s IT costs.
    Reiss asked if the division repurposed older equipment.
    IM Division Manager John Roig affirmed that they did, but added, “The problem with it is that the vendors themselves, after a certain amount of time, won’t support the equipment any more.
    “So your maintenance becomes that you have one or two extras laying around, so that when this one fails you pull another one off the shelf and plug it in, but it’s still unsupported by the vendor.”
    Roig also pointed out that when something such as a new phone system is installed, older equipment may not support that technology and have to be replaced.

  • O’Leary challenges county fleet replacement

    The Los Alamos County Council this week tentatively approved the remaining departmental budgets, but tabled discussion on parking lot items and adoption of a fiscal year 2017 budget.
    Council tentatively approved the Los Alamos Police Department budget of $7,952,256, plus  $262,077 in optional budget items, plus budgets for Public Works, the Department of Public Utilities and Administrative Services.
    The $30,132,463 Public Works budget and four of the five proposed options received tentative thumbs up. Those are:
    • $160,000 to replace the Mesa Public Library HVAC unit.
    • $53,000 to restore funding for pavement preservation and facilities maintenance contractual services.
    • $105,000 for an industrial tractor with boom mower to maintain county right of ways and reduce hand labor.  
    • $48,000 to implement a Recycle Bank points program to promote recycling and help to reduce waste generation.
    A $325,000 option for constructing new hangars at the airport was not approved on the grounds that the county should explore options for private investment first.
    Vice Chair Susan O’Leary asked how staff determined when fleet vehicles needed to be replaced.