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Local News

  • Living in lightning strike territory

    New Mexico is prone to violent thunderstorms and lightning strikes. The National Weather Service (NWS) is advising residents that a recent change in the weather may spur a rash of thunderstorms and lightning strikes.

    The NWS and the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (NMDHSEM) are telling New Mexicans that awareness of the danger posed in lightning strikes “just might save your life.”
    New Mexico averages 17 thunderstorm events per year and a statewide 1.1 percent chance of a fatality from those thunderstorms. New Mexico has at times been ranked number two in the nation for lightning strike deaths.

  • Subcommittee tackles initiative and referendum issues

    The Initiative and Referendum Subcommittee — one of several subcommittees of the Charter Review Committee — met Tuesday night for a final review of recommended changes to the Initiative, Referendum and Recall sections of the county charter.

    Petitioners had complained that the petition process was confusing and difficult. The subcommittee agreed and worked to address both substantive issues and to clean up confusing and inconsistent charter language.

  • Special night draws LA grads

    Senior Appreciation Night (SAN) drew some 300 graduating seniors and friends to downtown locations over the weekend. Family YMCA Sports Director William Hill and Joseph Harris from the county’s recreation division co-chaired the 27th annual event.

    “It was fantastic from the get go at Saturday’s barbecue at Fuller Lodge to see so many kids,” Hill said. “We put on a good show and the numbers were there to prove it.”

    The barbecue dinner included ice cream and a DJ and was followed by  soft toy activities on the Fuller Lodge lawn and the popular Tipsy Golf Carts event in the lower parking lot of Mesa Public Library.

  • Govt to lose $14B of auto bailout funds

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said Wednesday that the government will lose about $14 billion in taxpayer funds from the bailout of the U.S. auto industry.

    In a report from the president's National Economic Council, officials said that figure is down from the 60 percent the Treasury Department originally estimated the government would lose following its $80 billion bailout of Chrysler and General Motors in 2009.

  • Gay couples line up for Ill. civil union licenses

    BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — For Sarah Baldwin and Heather Sowell, receiving official recognition from Illinois that they are a couple after three years together was a long time coming. Yet they didn't mind standing in line for two hours early Wednesday to be the first same-sex couple in their county to get a license that allows them to legally unite.

    The pair from southwestern Illinois joined scores of other couples who flocked to courthouses across Illinois, giddy with history and pride on the first day that the state allowed gay and lesbian couples to obtain licenses for civil unions — and hail what they called a victory for civil rights.

  • IAEA: Japan underestimated tsunami risk to plants

    TOKYO (AP) — U.N. inspectors faulted Japan on Wednesday for underestimating the threat of a devastating tsunami on its crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant but praised its overall response to the crisis as exemplary.

    The preliminary report by a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency also said the tsunami hazard was underestimated at several other nuclear facilities in Japan, and called for experts worldwide to learn from the disaster to avert future accidents.

  • Next-to-last space shuttle flight lands on Earth--video extra

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Space shuttle Endeavour and its six astronauts returned to Earth early Wednesday, closing out the next-to-last mission in NASA's 30-year program with a safe middle-of-the-night landing.

    Endeavour glided down onto the runway one final time under the cover of darkness, just as Atlantis, the last shuttle bound for space, arrived at the launch pad for the grand finale in five weeks.

    Commander Mark Kelly — whose wife, wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, remained behind at her rehab center in Houston — brought Endeavour to a stop before hundreds of onlookers that included the four Atlantis astronauts who will take flight in July.

  • Japan wants businessmen to shed suits, save energy--video extra

    TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese government wants the country's suit-loving salarymen to be bold this summer. Ditch the stuffy jacket and tie. And for the good of a country facing a power crunch, go light and casual.

    Japan's "Super Cool Biz" campaign kicked off Wednesday with a government-sponsored fashion show featuring outfits appropriate for the office yet cool enough to endure the sweltering heat.

    This summer may be especially brutal. The loss of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, which was crippled by the March 11 tsunami, means electricity could be in short supply around the nation's capital, Tokyo, during especially hot days.

  • Annual report: Library patronage, support high

    Linda Anderman presented the Los Alamos County Library Board’s annual report to the county council last week. The statistics Anderman supplied would indicate that the library is fulfilling its mission of “enriching our community by ensuring easy and equal access to a variety of ideas, current information, and evolving services for all.”

    According to a 2011 Community Perception Survey:
    • 85 percent of citizens surveyed had used the library within the last six months.
    • 98 percent used the library rated the services as good to excellent.
    • 93 percent used the library rated availability of materials as good to excellent.

  • State Briefs 05-31-11

    Las Vegas to sell treated sewer water

    LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas is offering residents some relief for their parched, brown lawns.
    Seven weeks after banning the use of potable water for outdoor watering, the state has given the city permission to sell treated sewer water to city residents without the typical permitting requirements.
    City water customers can buy the treated wastewater for $1.25 per thousand gallons.
    City Utilities Director Ken Garcia told the Las Vegas Optic that the water restrictions in effect since April have been difficult for residents. He said providing effluent to customers to water their yards was a way to help ease that burden.