Today's News

  • Victim of falling tree identified

    Officials of Bandelier National Monument released the identity Thursday of a female park visitor killed by a tree Oct. 3.
    Beverly Modlin, 81, was visiting from Wheeling, Illinois, was struck by the falling tree, according to Bandelier National Monument Superintendent Jason Lott.
    Lott did not say why park official withheld the information from the public.
    Modlin was with her children Susan Hines and Robert Modlin when the accident occurred, according to an obituary that ran in the Chicago Suburban Daily Herald Oct. 7.
    Modlin was returning to her car in the Frey Trailhead parking lot when she was struck by the tree, a live Ponderosa, that reportedly snapped in half.
    Park officials did not want to comment on details of the investigation, pending the conclusion of an ongoing investigation into the incident, Lott said.
    According to Modlin’s obituary, she was an active member of her community and her church. She loved music and was described as a “gifted pianist and organist” who  “taught hundreds of piano students in the northwest suburbs the entirety of her years here.” Modlin lived in Wheeling for 44 years.

  • Prescription drug take back day Saturday

    The Los Alamos Police Department is sponsoring a prescription drug take back day Saturday. LAPD officers will be at Smith's Marketplace and the White Rock Visitor Center parking lots from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to collect the items. Residents are reminded not to flush prescription drugs down the drain or toss them into the trash and to take this opportunity to safely dispose of them.

  • NMED allows SF, Pueblos to test LANL’s stormwater

    Neighboring governments, Pueblos and entities that receive stormwater runoff from Los Alamos National Laboratory will be able to their own monitoring.
    The New Mexico Environment Department made the announcement during a biannual update to the public about LANL’s stormwater permit.  
    “We also wanted to have the ability to share skills, knowledge and technology about stormwater sampling with interstate agencies in and around the (Pajarito) Plateau,” Acting Point Source Regulation Section Manager Sarah Holcomb said.
    Four Pueblos that receive runoff include Cochiti, Jemez, Santa Clara and San Ildefonso. Santa Fe, Santa Fe County and the New Mexico Department of Transportation are also included in the plan.
    The communities and agencies will receive hands-on and classroom training with stormwater monitoring, sampling and data analysis. The Pueblos will also get special test equipment.
    The programs are scheduled to be in place by December 2018.
    “Our hope with that technology transfer is that those parties will move forward with their own stormwater monitoring programs and have their own data,” Holcomb said.  

  • US internet repeatedly disrupted by cyberattacks on key firm

    LONDON (AP) — Cyberattacks on a key internet firm repeatedly disrupted the availability of popular websites across the United States Friday, according to analysts and company officials. The White House described the disruption as malicious.

    Manchester, New Hampshire-based Dyn Inc. said its server infrastructure was hit by distributed denial-of-service attacks, which work by overwhelming targeted machines with junk data traffic. The attack had knock-on effects for users trying to access popular websites from across America and even in Europe. Among the sites apparently affected were Twitter, Netflix, and Sony's PlayStation Network.

    The level of disruption was difficult to gauge, but Dyn provides internet traffic management and optimization services to some of the biggest names on the web, including Twitter, Netflix and Visa. Critically, Dyn provides domain name services, which translate the human-readable addresses such as "twitter.com" into an online route for browsers and applications.

  • Photos show European Mars probe crashed, may have exploded

    BERLIN (AP) — Europe's experimental Mars probe hit the right spot — but at the wrong speed — and may have ended up in a fiery ball of rocket fuel when it struck the surface, scientists said Friday.

    Pictures taken by a NASA satellite show a black spot in the area where the Schiaparelli lander was meant to touch down Wednesday, the European Space Agency said. The images end two days of speculation following the probe's unexpected radio silence less than a minute before the planned landing.

    "Estimates are that Schiaparelli dropped from a height of between 2 and 4 kilometers (1.4-2.4 miles), therefore impacting at a considerable speed, greater than 300 kilometers per hour (186 mph)," the agency said.

    It said the large disturbance captured in the NASA photographs may have been caused by the probe's steep crash-landing, which would have sprayed matter around like a blast site on Earth.

    "It is also possible that the lander exploded on impact, as its thruster propellant tanks were likely still full," the agency said.

  • LANL Trails Working Group honors Montoya

    Bryan Montoya, longtime member of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Trails Working Group’s, died unexpectedly a month ago at the age of 47. To honor his memory, the trails group dedicated their biannual hike to Montoya on Thursday.
    Montoya, who worked in San Ildefonso’s Department of Environmental and Cultural Preservation, had represented the Pueblo on the working group for 12 or 13 years.
    The group, which serves as a steering committee for LANL, is comprised of both LANL employees and representatives from Los Alamos County, the National Forest Service, the National Park Service and interested trail users. It facilitates the lab’s goal of allowing public access on its trails while protecting cultural and bio-resources.
    According to Trails Working Group Chair Dan Pava, members works very synergistically and often resolves trails issues just through the relationships they have built.
    Pava spoke about Montoya’s patience and sense of humor, as well as his contributions to the trails group, before presenting a gift from LANL’s Environmental Protection and Compliance Group to his widow, Clarice, who was there with two of her four children.

  • County truck takes out light
  • League forum spotlights council candidates

    Citizens posed questions to Los Alamos County Council candidates at the Oct. 13 League of Women Voters of Los Alamos (LWVLA) candidate forum.
    Republican candidates Patrick Brenner, Jaret McDonald and Steve Girrens and Democratic candidates Pete Sheehey, Chris Chandler and Antonio Maggiore all participated.
    The first question was whether candidates supported the transition to clean energy. McDonald, Sheehey, Chandler and Maggiore all gave an unqualified “yes.”
    McDonald said that to make the transition, council would have to work together and look at the economic impact.
    Sheehey suggested that the NuScale small modular nuclear reactor the Department of Public Utilities is currently considering could be an option, but that there are many uncertainties regarding cost. He also advocated for incorporating more solar into the county’s power mix.
    “If towns in Texas can be generating 30 to 50 percent of their energy with renewables, we can too,” Sheehey said.
    Chandler advocated for withdrawing from the San Juan Generating Station agreement as soon as possible and opposed replacing that with more coal generation. She supported DPU’s investigation of the NuScale project and said she would support it if it were economically feasible.

  • Author seeks help with photo mystery

    Non-fiction author John Bisney is on the trail of a real-life mystery.
    During the writing of his latest book, “The Space Age Presidency of John Kennedy,” there are photos he wants to use for his book that show Los Alamos National Laboratory workers he can’t identify.
    He is hoping that people in Los Alamos who see the photos will be able to identify them. The picture series involves a trip Kennedy made to LANL in 1962.
    “Although I have identified the politicians and top-level officials, the photos show a number of staff people and project scientists who I would love to identify,” he said. “Unfortunately, I have so far only run up against dead ends. I have tried the Los Alamos Historical Society, the lab’s alumni group, a NMSU (New Mexico State University) history professor, Facebook, etc.”
    Bisney, a former Capitol Hill correspondent for the Cable News Network (CNN), has been working with space photo archivist J.L. Pickering to produce books of photographs of America’s space program. Previous collaborations include “Spaceshots and Snapshots of Projects Mercury and Gemini: A Rare Photographic History and “Moonshots and Snapshots of Project Apollo : A Rare Photographic History.”  All of their books are available on Amazon.com.

  • DOE completes legacy waste cleanup at 4 sites in LA Canyon

    Four toxic waste sites located on the south rim of Los Alamos Canyon have been cleaned of toxic waste, according to the Department of Energy and the Environmental Management Field Office.
    The sites, located on the south-facing side of the canyon, contained surface deposits of waste leftover from the Manhattan Project.
    “Removing contaminated soil from these four sites represents an important step in our cleanup efforts around the Los Alamos Townsite,” EM-LA Manager Doug Hintze said.
    The DOE reported Oct. 6 it had removed about 133 cubic yards of soil from the site, where it was screened and packaged it for transport to a waste disposal site in Utah.
    The waste was located adjacent to DOE property, and was accessed through private land located along the north rim of the canyon.
    The cleanup began in June and was carried out by private subcontractor TerranearPMC.
    The project was part of the 2016 Compliance Order of Consent that was recently finalized by the DOE, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s management contractor, Los Alamos National Security LLC, and the New Mexico Environment Department.
    The DOE is planning to clean the last sites on the south rim in 2017. The DOE reported the project was done “under budget and ahead of schedule.”