Local News

  • Union for 430 Sandia Labs employees authorizes a strike

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The union that represents 430 Sandia National Laboratories employees has voted to authorize them to go on strike.
    A lab spokeswoman tells the Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/2fHGzOj ) that the Metal Trades Council rejected Sandia's "last, best and final offer" during contract negotiations Friday night.
    However, a strike authorization doesn't mean a strike is imminent and the union hasn't notified the labs that its members will go on strike.
    Sandia officials say the final version of the three-year contract offered general wage increases and lump sum payments.
    The Journal reports that Metal Trades Council went on strike in August 1999 for 13 days over pensions, job classification and pay issues.

  • Local composer ready to start new session

    Local composer, Dr. Greg Schneider, who has students from 7 weeks to 70 years old, is ready to start another session of Music Together, in addition to his private guitar lessons.
    “Music literacy is not really very difficult to learn, especially if you do so gradually as you are acquiring knowledge and technique on your instrument,” said Schneider. “I can get students reading music at an initial level within five minutes and comfortable reading music at a basic level within a few lessons.
    His students study a variety of areas including; electric rock, jazz, finger style steel string, and classical.
    His other passion for Music Together teaches that all children are musical, that unprompted by adults, children will engage in musical play through songs, rhythmic chants, or dance.
    “The Music Together classes are meant to tap into that innate desire for music and promote and nurture it,” said Schneider. “I want my students to make music a part of their lives for the rest of their lives.  Making music at all levels is important, whether that’s being a professional musician, playing with family and friends, or simply playing for your own enjoyment.”

  • Family Strengths Network to host Birth Talk Monday

    October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Approximately one in four women will lose a pregnancy at some point in their lives, and in the U.S., about five in 1,000 infants are stillborn or do not live more than a month.

    Loss is a difficult and often taboo subject, but it is an important conversation to have. The experience of loss, as defined by the person experiencing it, is unique to that person. We believe that each person’s experience deserves to be honored.

    Birth Talk Los Alamos will hold space in a circle Monday at the Family Strengths Network with and for those who have suffered pregnancy and infant loss. The Birth Talk event will be at 6:30 p.m. at FSN, 3540 Orange St, Los Alamos.
    Facilitators from the local MISS Foundation support group will join the group. As part of the special talk, the group will hold a brief ceremony of remembrance. Everyone, including babies not yet crawling, is welcome to attend. 

  • WIPP reports increased ground instability

    Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad reported Thursday increased ground instability that could cause potential rock fall.

    Highly-sensitive ground monitoring instruments in Panel 7, Room 6, of the WIPP underground has indicated increasing ground movement rates, according to a release issued by WIPP Thursday.

    This area has been prohibited to personnel access for more than a year.

    “The increased rates of movement are a sign of ground (rock) instability and indicate a possible rock fall will occur,” according to the release issued by the Carlsbad Office of Environmental Management.

    Based on current instrumentation readings and experiences from Panel 7, Room 4, last year, the likelihood of a rock fall in Room 6 is increasing.

    Rock falls are not uncommon in prohibited areas of the WIPP underground, where ground control activities are not being performed, according to the release.

    Salt movement is expected in the WIPP underground and is one reason salt was selected as a disposal medium, officials said. All underground openings at WIPP are closely monitored on a regular basis, and closure rates throughout the underground are tracked and recorded.

  • Texas firm awarded $19M for storing nuclear waste

    LOS ALAMOS (AP) — A Texas firm is being awarded a contract worth more than $19 million to continue storing radioactive waste from a federal laboratory that was initially intended to be disposed of at an underground government site in southern New Mexico.

    The U.S. Energy Department had the containers sent to Waste Control Specialists in Andrews County, Texas, after a 2014 radiation release forced a nearly three-year closure of the government’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

    The repository resumed operations earlier this year, but the two-year storage order allows for the waste to remain in Texas until shipments to the repository ramp up.

    Los Alamos National Laboratory initially sent 582 barrels of waste to Texas, including 113 containers similar to one that caused the radiation leak at the repository.

  • Caregivers seminar Thursday

    A seminar for caregivers of cancer patients is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 5 at First Baptist Church, 2200 Diamond Drive in Los Alamos. The free community seminar is sponsored by the Los Alamos Council on Cancer.

    Joyce Rubinfeld, R.N., B.S.N., and counselor, and Rhona Levine, a licensed marriage and family therapist, will be the featured speakers at the event. Nurses and allied professionals will be awarded 1.5 CE contact hours for attending. Los Alamos Medical Center is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing for 1.5 Contact Hours.

    The seminar will help caregivers by providing them with information about recognizing signs and symptoms of caregiver stress. The speakers will describe the patient’s multiple roles within the family and community.

    Attendees should obtain knowledge of stress-relieving techniques and be able to identify stress-relieving resources and understand the process of defining “family” for each patient.

    Speakers will also provide attendees with an understanding of the caregiver’s role within the medical community and help them understand cultural awareness and how cultural norms may have an impact on a patient and family with a cancer diagnosis.

  • Trinity Drive to see partial closures

    One lane of Trinity Drive and the sidewalk will be temporarily closed next week to allow crews to work on the 20th Street Extension Project.

    Construction crews will be connecting new water and gas lines to existing underground utilities on Trinity Drive at the intersection of 20th Street.

    This work requires temporary lane and sidewalk closures in the eastbound right lane on Trinity Drive near 20th Street, Monday through Friday, weather permitting.

    For more information or questions, contact the Public Works Department at 662-8150 or send an email to lacpw@lacnm.us.

  • County to evaluate roll carts in WR Friday

    Environmental Sustainability Board members and staff from the County Eco Station will be walking through neighborhoods in White Rock today to survey recycle roll carts at the curb. They will check the roll carts for the volume of recycling placed in them, to assist the county in evaluating options for route pick up and frequency of the future brush roll carts.

  • Council OK’s non- potable water rate hike

    Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved the Department of Public Utilities’ request Tuesday to raise non-potable water rates from $1.15 per thousand gallons to $2.50 per 1,000 gallons.

    DPU officials told the council that the rate raise was necessary because of more accurate accounting practices the DPU implemented three to four years ago.

    “We started the process of setting up a chartered account so we could track those costs separately, and we’ve been refining that over the last couple of years,” Deputy Utility Manager Robert Westervelt said.

    The rate increase will go into effect in the next billing cycle. Westervelt also said the rate may go up as the DPU continues to work on improving its tracking of non-potable water usage.

    The county is the biggest user of non-potable water, consuming about 95 percent of the total supply. The water comes from the DPU’s wastewater treatment plants.

    The county uses the water to irrigate county parks and the golf course.

    Other customers include the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area, according to DPU officials.

    Under the $1.15 rate, the county paid about $91,000 a year for usage. With the new $2.50 rate, the county will pay about $136,000.

  • Ohkay Owingeh seeks help to preserve its adobe homes

    Los Alamos Monitor

    Ohkay Owingeh resident Lourdes Little stood on the wooden floor of Fuller Lodge Wednesday, the rain patted against the glass and wood of the historic building and tears began to fill her eyes as the memories of her father’s words poured out.

    “I can still hear him talking about it. He used to say ‘You kids. This house was given to you by Mother Earth,’” Little began as she retold the story of her father’s words to her and her 11 brothers and sisters from many years ago.

    The house she described had one bedroom the children shared. They had one kitchen. Their mother and father lived in the other room of the small adobe house on the Pueblo.

    “I told my dad – we all did – ‘What do you mean Mother Earth made this home?’ and he said, ‘Well, think about it. You’ve seen us build our extra rooms if we need it. If we need extra rooms, where did we go? We went to the river, and we asked the Rio Grande River. Why? Because that’s where we got the rocks to start building the foundation,’” Little said.