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Local News

  • Lightning blows hole in runway

    A lightning strike hit the runway at Los Alamos County Airport – blowing two holes in its surface Saturday afternoon.
    Observers reported seeing flames rise briefly from the holes, which measured more than three inches deep.
    The ensuing explosion propelled debris across the highway on the southern side of the runway, said Los Alamos pilot Chuck Mansfield.
    “The lightning struck about 700 feet from the west end of the runway,” Mansfield said.
    No damage has been reported to any of the aircraft parked along side the runway.
    “For some unknown reason, the lightning hit the runway rather than something higher,” said Donna Brewer-Houlton, assistant to the airport manager Monday.

  • Volunteers throw their backs into trail repair

    Despite the threat of rain, a dozen volunteers showed up at the parking lot of the former Pajarito School Monday night to help alleviate damage that the Perimeter Trail incurred during the Las Conchas Fire.
    After Craig Martin (wearing his volunteer task force project manager hat) and Lynn Bjorklund, Española Ranger District recreation team leader, gave a short talk about safety, volunteers donned hard hats, grabbed shovels, McLoeds and Pulaskis and headed down the trail.
    One person created a shallow indent with a shovel, tossing loose dirt over the bar for someone with a McCloed to tamp down. When the team encountered caliche (rock hard soil) or stone, a volunteer with a Pulaski loosened the soil.

  • Las Conchas Fire fully contained

    After 36 days, firefighters have fully contained the Las Conchas Fire, the largest wildland fire in New Mexico’s recorded history.

    Ignited June 26, the Las Conchas Fire burned over 156,593 acres, primarily on the Santa Fe National Forest and parts of the Valles Caldera National Preserve, Bandelier National Monument, Pueblos of Jemez, Santa Clara, Cochiti and Santo Domingo, and private lands. Numerous communities were threatened during the incident.

  • School voucher bills flood GOP-led statehouses

    ATLANTA (AP) — More states than ever before have considered school vouchers this year, driven by resurgent Republicans who see the lagging economy as an opportunity for a fresh push on one of their most contentious education policies.

    As of mid-July, at least 30 states had introduced bills that would use taxpayer dollars to send children to private schools, most limited to poor or special needs children, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That's compared with nine voucher bills in 2010, just one of which passed — a special needs voucher program in Oklahoma.

  • Mullen: US troops must have legal immunity to stay in Iraq

    BAGHDAD (AP) — The top U.S. military officer said Tuesday that American troops must be given immunity from prosecution as part of any agreement to keep them in Iraq beyond the end of the year and that this protection must be approved by Iraq's parliament.

    The comments by Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Mike Mullen could make it more difficult for the troops to stay here.

    Mullen and other U.S. officials have been pushing Iraq to decide whether they would want additional American forces to stay in the country past their Dec. 31 departure date, and the immunity issue has been one of the key sticking points.

  • Senate likely to pass debt ceiling bill

    WASHINGTON (AP) — With just hours left before the national debt bumps against its ceiling, emergency bipartisan legislation to allow the government to borrow more faces one final test in the Senate. Expected passage there sends the bill to President Barack Obama, averting a potentially disastrous, first-ever government default and making a down payment toward taming out-of-control budget deficits.

    The legislation, which easily passed the House on Monday, is virtually assured to clear the Senate shortly after noon Tuesday by a bipartisan tally. The White House promises Obama will sign the measure into law.

  • Las Conchas burned area treatments begin

    Implementation of BAER treatments for the Las Conchas fire area within the Santa Fe National Forest has begun, Forest Service officials said Monday.

    Aerial seeding and mulching contracts have been posted for bids. Contracts for both treatments are expected to be awarded on August 2. The aerial seeding must be completed within seven days of contract award.

  • NASA’s Chem Cam gets final destination

    After months of analysis and discussion, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover team has picked a landing site on which the rover’s adventures can begin.
    Within Gale Crater, the target site for the rover is a 5-kilometer-high mound of sedimentary material inside a sort of Martian “Grand Canyon.”
     If the team is correct, the deep crater and its mounded materials could show a wet and potentially habitable history.

  • Council considers sewage rate increase

    On Tuesday, the Los Alamos County Council considers an ordinance that would raise sewage rates by 10 percent to cover increased maintenance costs and loan payments for the new wastewater treatment plant.

    Between 2007 and 2010, sewer revenues increased from $2.5 million to $3.5 million, a 40 percent increase, while expenses increased by 62 percent. The proposed rate increase will generate approximately $345,000 in additional revenue.

  • NM welcomes medal of honor winner

    SANTA FE — New Mexico gave a hero’s welcome and birthday greetings Friday to a native son awarded the Medal of Honor, Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry.
    Petry, who grew up in Santa Fe, celebrated his 32nd birthday as he returned to his hometown for the first time since receiving the nation’s highest military honor at a White House ceremony earlier this month.
    “It’s not my medal. It represents everyone in the uniformed services,” Petry told a crowd of more than 200 who gathered in the Capitol rotunda.