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Local News

  • Musicians prepare to pay the piper

    The Los Alamos Board of Education recently approved a measure that would allow the schools to charge a rental fee to outside musical groups looking to use instruments from the high school. 

    For $50 a semester, musicians from the Los Alamos Community Winds and the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra can rent the high school’s larger instruments for rehearsals, saving musicians the effort of moving their own instruments back and forth to their rehearsal space and other logistical problems. Instruments that fit the category include timpani, bass drums, gongs, xylophones, vibraphones and other percussion instruments.

    According to Kim Lettellier, the school system’s music staff team leader, one reason for the fee is to be fair to the students who are also renting instruments from the school. Students that rent from the district pay $100 during the school year and $50 for the summer. The money goes into a special fund set aside for repairs.

    “It didn’t seem quite fair to me that we expected the students to pay something, but we didn’t expect these outside groups to pay something,” Lettellier said.

  • Luján warns of fiscal cliff impact on labs

    Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District sent a letter to Congressional leaders Wednesday, urging them to resolve the fiscal cliff in a manner that prevents damaging funding cuts to the national laboratories, including Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories.

    In the letter, Luján highlights the important role these labs have played in providing cutting-edge research and innovation for applications ranging from national security to the Mars rover and renewable energy.  

    He expresses his concerns that deep budget cuts due to sequestration will threaten the vitality of the labs and their capability to fulfill their scientific and security missions.

    In addition, Luján announced that he has joined the new House Science and National Labs Caucus as a co-chair, partnering with Reps. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) and Alan Nunnelle (R-Miss.), who will also co-chair the bipartisan group.  

  • Reservoir reconstruction

     

    The Board of Public Utilities toured the Los Alamos Reservoir reconstruction on Wednesday. The estimated completion date for the project is mid-March, 2013. 


  • Revenue losses hit hard

    Like a one-two punch to the fiscal gut, county officials have been left reeling in efforts to shore up a budget that’s just been hammered.

    Los Alamos County Council’s mid-year budget review at the end of January will be anything but routine. Two unexpected revenue losses have staff scrambling to address both short-term and long-term implications. 

    Despite ongoing conversations with the lab and efforts to prepare for a downturn in federal spending, no one anticipated the news coming from Los Alamos National Laboratory in November. 

    LANL’s fiscal year ends in September. County Administrator Harry Burgess said that the largest expenditures traditionally come in that final month. But the report that posted Nov. 15 was shocking for county officials.

    “When we logged on the state’s reporting website, we learned that not only was it a decrease, but it was a significant decrease,” Burgess said. 

    “The spending for the lab was approximately $3 million less for the month of September this year than it was one year prior. There have been fluctuations over time, but this was a greater amount than we’d seen before.”

  • County survey results now available

    Los Alamos County’s bi-annual citizen survey results are now available for the public to review on the news page of the county’s website at losalamosnm.us and LAMonitor.com. In addition, copies for public review are available at the 311 Customer Care Center located at 150 Central Park Square or at the reference desk of either public library.

    The firm under contract to conduct the county’s survey was CRC & Associates, LLC.  They randomly selected approximately 400 county residents to participate in a 20-minute phone survey or street interview.

    The survey included a variety of questions about county programs and services, community needs, quality of life, media and information resources, openness and transparency of government, economic development and housing needs.

     The county has been regularly conducting citizen satisfaction surveys since 1996. County staff use the information gained from the survey to help guide the county’s goals for service and program improvements.     

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  • Most Googled in 2012: Whitney, PSY, Sandy

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The world's attention wavered between the tragic and the silly in 2012, and along the way, millions of people searched the Web to find out about a royal princess, the latest iPad, and a record-breaking skydiver.

    Whitney Houston was the "top trending" search of the year, according to Google Inc.'s year-end "zeitgeist" report. Google's 12th annual roundup is "an in-depth look at the spirit of the times as seen through the billions of searches on Google over the past year," the company said in a blog post Wednesday.

    People around the globe searched en masse for news about Houston's accidental drowning in a bathtub just before she was to perform at a pre-Grammy Awards party in February.

    Google defines topics as "trending" when they garner a high amount of traffic over a sustained period of time.

    Korean rapper PSY's "Gangnam Style" music video trotted into second spot, a testament to his self-deprecating giddy-up dance move. The video is approaching a billion views on YouTube.