Today's News

  • Groups oppose geothermal proposal

    Santa Fe National Forest is nearing completion of an Environmental Impact Statement on the potential effects of geothermal energy development on 195,000 acres of land within SFNF boundaries located west and north of Valles Caldera National Preserve.
    The designated public comment period on the draft EIS (DEIS) ends today, although comment is accepted until a final determination is reached. According to Larry Gore, a SFNF geologist leading the process, the majority of the feedback received to date is opposed to opening the area to geothermal leasing.
    The EIS process began in response to an Expression of Interest from Nevada-based Ormat Technologies to lease 46,000 acres.
    Rather than repeat the EIS process in the future, SFNF evaluated all lands in the area that might be suitable for geothermal leasing.
    SFNF’s proposed alternative, Alternative 2, would allocate approximately 136,650 acres of NFS lands as open to geothermal leasing, “subject to existing laws, regulations, formal orders, and stipulations attached to the lease form, and the terms and conditions of the standard lease form.”
    Approximately 30,000 acres, including the Jemez National Recreation Area and the East Fork of the Jemez River, which has been designated a federal Wild and Scenic River, are closed to leasing by statute.

  • Council funds 10-mile ‘flow’ trail

    The Los Alamos County Council approved a budget revision Tuesday that earmarks $50,000 for a 10-mile “flow” trail from the roundabout on the south side of Bayo Canyon to the Family YMCA.
    Brad Nyenhuis, who co-owns Fusion Multisport with his wife Rose, presented the argument for transferring funds to this project from the $500,000 in Capital Improvements Projects (CIP) funding earmarked for building mountain bike trails in the Pajarito Mountain ski area.
    Council approved funding for the Pajarito trails during budget hearings earlier this year as a means of incentivizing the Pajarito Recreation Group (PRG) to create mountain bike trails. Council views expanding high altitude sporting opportunities – especially biking –as an economic development initiative.
    The Pajarito project has been delayed due to land transfer issues, so the Los Alamos Tuff Riders and Fusion Multisport approached the county about using part of that money for a flow trail pilot project. According to Nyenhuis, advocates consulted a professional trail builder about the feasibility and cost of this pilot project.
    According to County Administrator Harry Burgess, Pajarito Recreation is supportive of the concept, since having additional “desirable” trails would attract mountain bikers by offering “a full experience.”

  • 9 cats, 2 dogs removed from apartment after owners evicted

    Los Alamos animal control officials responding to a complaint removed nine cats and two dogs last week from an apartment on Alabama Avenue after they discovered the animals living in their own waste and with hardly any food and water.
    The owners had recently been evicted.
    Nine of the cats were discovered in an upstairs bedroom, but two cats ran out through an open window when officers approached them. A trap was later set for the cats officials were unable to catch.
    Animal control was eventually able to round up five cats and four kittens at the scene. All but one of the animals recovered at the scene are in stable condition.
    A dog recovered from the backyard of the residence, named “Pinky,” may have to be euthanized because he has a tumor on its left rear leg.
    The owner of the two dogs, Mary Frances Wood, has not yet made a decision to let doctors operate on Pinky or euthanize the animal, according to the police report.
    According to a witness at the scene, Pinky was seen at the Valley Veterinary Clinic on Oct. 11 but the owners didn’t act on the clinic’s recommendations, which was surgery or euthanasia.
    “Neither of the two recommendations were performed or scheduled with this veterinary clinic,” Public Service Aide Alysha Lenderman said in her report.

  • Scaring up Halloween fun
  • NM Game & Fish gets bear resistant dumpsters for LA

    A routine call from the Los Alamos Medical Center resulted in the purchase of 13 bear-resistant dumpsters to be placed at 10 locations throughout the city.
    The medical center initially contacted the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish about a problem with bears visiting dumpsters at the facility. Following a site visit, Game and Fish personnel contacted Los Alamos County regarding similar issues.
    “The bears had become regular visitors and we were concerned about the bears and potential issues with people,” said Carlos Branch, director of plant operations at the medical center. “We anticipate the new dumpsters will minimize interactions with bears and other animals that climb into the containers and pull out trash. This will dramatically reduce litter and risk.”
    Angelica Gurule, environmental services manager for the county, said locations were identified around Los Alamos that involved a lot of food waste.
    “The community is happy about getting these dumpsters in place,” she said. “We’ve had issues with bears dragging trash into the canyons and making a mess.”
    Dangerous encounters are possible when bears become habituated to humans.

  • Cold War Patriots to host Day of Remembrance event in LA Monday

    The Cold War Patriots, an advocacy group for those who helped national laboratories build nuclear weapons, will host a “Day of Remembrance” event in Los Alamos Monday.
    Cold War Patriots’ actual Day of Remembrance is Oct. 30, the day that marks the day in 2000 Congress passed the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act.
    Cold War Patriots has held Day of Remembrance events throughout the week at different sites in the country. The Los Alamos event is one of 10 across the country on various days.
    The Day of Remembrance was first celebrated by a founding member of the group who worked at the Oak Ridge nuclear facility, one of the government sites that helped with the Manhattan Project.
    “She had the concept along with many of her coworkers to have some kind of a day to honor the human legacy to honor the 700,000 men and women that created our nuclear defense complex that kept the peace for the last 70 years,” Cold War Patriots Chairman Tim Lerew said. This will be the eighth Day of Remembrance the Patriots have held. The event also coincides with the founding of the organization.
    Through the years, attendance to the Day of Remembrances has grown.

  • LA native, author uses Trump, Clinton to teach youth life lessons

    Los Alamos native Adam Bruckner’s new children’s book that depicts characters based on Donald Trump as a bully and Hillary Clinton as a liar is meant to help children understand this year’s election and promote informed voting.

    The book has also changed the way some people think about the presidential candidates, he said.

    Called “Bully Back,” the book follows the twists and turns of an elementary school election, where candidates “Ronald Triumph” and “Beverly Linton” are running neck-in-neck for school president. 

    Throughout the book, Bruckner dissects the assumptions students have made about the two candidates and turns them into lessons about bullying and how to stop being a bully. 

    “It’s personalized the candidates in a way that kids can understand,” said Bruckner, who now lives and works in Philadelphia. 

     “Bully Back” is the second book by Bruckner based on bullying. His first book was called “Better Bullying.” In that book he focused on understanding the bully. 

  • Comp plan moves into final stages

    The Los Alamos County Council gave staff the heads up on Tuesday to draft the final version of the revised comprehensive plan. 

    Los Alamos County Principal Planner Tamara Baer and consultants Stephen Burstein, principal planner for Architectural Resources Consultants (ARC) and Tim Karpoff, independent planner and facilitator from Karpoff & Associates, presented the plan to council at a work session. 

    For the most part, council’s reaction to the draft plan was positive. 

    “There is so much information in here that is going to help me do my job and help us understand what our citizens want,” Vice Chair Susan O’Leary said. “I think the public outreach was fantastic, and it was necessary in order to make this a credible document.”

    Karpoff and Burstein described the public outreach they had conducted and the results it yielded. Baer gave and overview of the plan’s purpose. 

  • Clerk candidates respond to voters

     Voters posed questions to Republican Naomi Maestas and Democrat Amy Woods, the two candidates for Los Alamos County Clerk, at the Oct. 13 League of Women Voters of Los Alamos candidate forum.

    One person asked what distinguished the county clerk’s role from that of the staff in the clerk’s office.

    “As somebody who has a very limited experience in the clerk’s office, I do know that the probate judge is supported by us in terms of recordkeeping and by customer service,” Woods responded. “And to that extent, the clerk is responsible for all of the records, not just the probate judge but the marriage licenses and the recording of deeds and the transfers.”

    Maestas, who serves as senior deputy clerk in that office, noted that the clerk’s involvement is likely to change when the position becomes full time in January. She called the current part-time position “more of a figurehead” and more involved with management duties such as oversight and the budget. She expected the position to become more hands on in January. 

  • Comment period on geothermal leasing in Jemez ends Friday

    Santa Fe National Forest is accepting comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the potential effects of geothermal energy development on 195,000 acres of land within SFNF boundaries, located west and north of Valles Caldera. The EIS process was initiated in response to an Expression of Interest from Nevada-based Ormat Technologies. The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance and the All Pueblo Council have both come out against the project. Find information on the project at http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=46886. For best consideration, submit feedback before the formal comment period ends Friday. Send comments to comments-southwestern-santafe@fs.fed.us, fax to 505-438-5390 or mail to Comments, Santa Fe National Forest Headquarters, 11 Forest Lane, Santa Fe, NM 87508. Read Friday’s Los Alamos Monitor for the full story.