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Local News

  • State short of money for general election costs

    SANTA FE (AP) — Unexpected general election costs have created a $1.4 million hole in the secretary of state’s budget, but the financial squeeze won’t prevent New Mexicans from casting ballots in November, according to New Mexico’s top elections official.
    Secretary of State Dianna Duran came up empty-handed Tuesday in asking the state Board of Finance for emergency funding for the $1.4 million costs of leased equipment that will print ballots at about 180 “voting convenience centers” in 15 counties. Those allow voters to go to a consolidated polling location most convenient to them rather than their traditional precinct-based voting site.
    Duran said after the meeting that she will ask the Legislature next year to cover the additional election costs and will negotiate with vendors, if necessary, to wait on their payments.
    A 2011 law allowed counties to establish the new voting locations but the state must pay for systems to print paper ballots on demand. Duran said Bernalillo County, which includes the city of Albuquerque, has agreed to share in the costs of equipment used there.

  • Prescribed burn at Valles Caldera next week

    The Valles Caldera Trust will implement a prescribed burn project that will begin Monday and possibly run through Wednesday if weather and associated conditions permit.
    The prescribed burn will be on the Valles Caldera National Preserve, south of N.M. 4 near mile marker 30.
    Because of the location and elevation, smoke from the burn will be visible from all directions coming into the Jemez Mountains area.
    The burn is the final stage of a project to reduce fire hazard and improve forest health. The area has been thinned and most of the wood by-products were removed or previously burned.
    This pretreatment will allow safe use of low intensity fire to clean up residual slash and remove ponderosa pine seedlings that sprouted since the thinning.
    The parameters for implementing a prescribed burn are based upon specific assessments, agency guidelines and safety protocols.
    Managers continuously monitor weather conditions during a burn including wind, temperature, and relative humidity. Fuel quantity and moisture are also measured.
    Smoke will be visible and is expected to have variable affects on neighboring communities including Ponderosa, La Cueva, Sierra Los Pinos, Jemez Pueblo and areas near N.M. 4. Communities along U.S. 550 including San Ysidro, Zia Pueblo, Bernalillo and Rio Rancho may also be affected.

  • ACT going strong

    Public Works Director Philo Shelton had some good news for the county council regarding Atomic City Transit (ACT).
    The Los Alamos County system was ranked number one out of 24 rural New Mexico transit systems in the 2012 New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) Transit and Rail Division annual review.
    Since the system was created in October 2007 it has had more than 2 million one-way passengers. ACT operates 12 fixed routes and is projected to have nearly 600,000 one-way trips by the end of the year, up 100,000 from last year.
    The Bandelier shuttle accounts for most of that bump. In the first three months of operation this year, the shuttle has provided nearly 70,000 one-way passengers.
    The county’s general fund accounts for only 30 percent of ACT’s budget. The North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD) Regional GRT provides 26 percent, 41 percent comes from grants and the Bandelier National Monument contribution toward the Bandelier shuttle is three percent of the overall budget.

  • Update 09-20-12

    County Council

    The Los Alamos County Council will hold a special session to discuss the Trinity Site at 7 p.m. Monday in council chambers.

    Court closed

    The Los Alamos Municipal Court Clerk’s Office will be closed Sept. 26-28 for staff to attend training. Payments due during this period may be mailed to Los Alamos Municipal Court, 2500 Trinity Dr., Ste. C, Los Alamos, N.M. 87544 or some payments may be paid online at citepayusa.com.

    No court

    The Los Alamos Magistrate Court will not have a Judge for the week of Sept. 17-21 due to the annual Magistrate Judge’s conference. The court hours will be 8 a.m.-3 p.m. that week.

    P&Z meeting

    The Los Alamos Planning and Zoning Commission will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers.

    ESB meeting

    The Environmental Sustainability Board will hold its regular monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m. today at the community building training room.

  • Bandelier looking for public input

    The National Park Service at Bandelier National Monument is developing a Transportation Plan/ Environmental Assessment to improve transportation conditions in Bandelier National Monument.
    The public and interested agencies are encouraged to attend one of two open house workshops on Monday or Tuesday to learn about the Plan/EA and comment early in the planning process. Attendees will learn about the current status of this effort, and park staff will be there to answer questions.
    The first will be from 5-7 p.m. Monday at the White Rock Town Hall, 139 Longview, with a second open house from noon-2 p.m. Tuesday at Fuller Lodge.
    The National Park Service is in the scoping phase of the project and needs and encourages public input during this initial comment period.  These comments are crucial to defining the issues and concerns to be addressed.
    The public will have a second opportunity to comment on the plan/EA after it is released, tentatively in the fall of 2013.

  • State House rivals talk Smart Grid

    House District 43 candidates Stephanie Garcia Richard (D) and Jim Hall (R) weighed in Tuesday on Monday’s Smart House project.

    The $53 million smart grid project was developed by scientists in New Mexico and Japan. Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization is working with Los Alamos County and Los Alamos National Laboratory on the project.

    It includes a solar photovoltaic array at the county’s capped landfill, a battery storage system, and a smart house and energy management system that will serve Los Alamos residents.

    “The Southwest has abundant sunlight and has the potential to generate enough power to meet the nation’s needs; however, storage and distribution are the key elements that will make this source viable,” Garcia Richard said. “Future development using the research capabilities of LANL, applied research demonstrated by the Japanese and production, manufacturing and construction will result in jobs for New Mexicans. We have seen the cost of PV dramatically reduced.

    Now using the information gained from the NEDO project New Mexico could lead the nation in solar energy production, storage and ‘smart grid’ design. The opportunities are enormous. Is the state up to the task?”

  • Staff promotes pilot project

    Transit staff asked the Los Alamos County Council for feedback on two proposals during Tuesday’s work session.

    Transit Manager Mike Davis explained how a proposed Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) System could improve efficiencies and customer experience. CAD would connect computers on transit buses to a computerized system in the dispatch center.

    The system would expedite scheduling shift assignments and daily adjustments to the schedule. It would also facilitate vehicle assignment by tracking which size bus is needed for each route, which vehicles are available, which are undergoing maintenance and also which are due for maintenance.

    Drivers would sign in on the system, so dispatchers would know immediately if someone had not arrived for their shift.

    Drivers would also enter safety inspection results electronically. Inspections are conducted at the beginning and end of each shift and each time a vehicle changes hands. Drivers currently turn in handwritten reports, which other staff  then enters into the computer.

  • 2012 Sample Election Ballots Released -- Check Attachments

    The Los Alamos County Clerk released the sample ballots for the 2012 General Elections. Check out the following attachments.

  • Close Call: Quick-Thinking Officers Dodge Crash
  • Today in History for September 20th