Today's News

  • Hilltoppers win district opener over Knights

    Thanks to an outstanding pitching performance by Arthur Steinkmap and Antonio Gonzales, and production throughout the lineup, the Los Alamos High School baseball dominated its district opener, taking down Del Norte High School 15-5. 

    There was a slight delay at the beginning of Thursday’s game, as the Knights’ bus broke down on the way to Bomber Field. The game was originally scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., but Del Norte did not arrive until 3:55 p.m. 

    After an abbreviated warm-up period, the game got underway at 4:25 p.m. 

    Steinkamp mowed through the Knights’ order for the first three innings, allowing only one base runner while striking out four batters. 

    On offense, LAHS remained patient, while facing a pitcher who was dealing with control issues. 

    The Hilltoppers drew four walks in the first inning and scored 2 runs, and then repeated it in the second inning, drawing three walks and scoring 2 more runs to make the score 4-0 Hilltoppers. 

    LAHS busted the game open in the third inning, scoring 5 runs. 

  • Fishing season begins in New Mexico, new licenses required

    SANTA FE (AP) — Fishing season started Sunday in New Mexico and state wildlife managers are reminding anglers they'll need to purchase a new license.

    The season runs from April 1 to March 31, 2019.

    Fishing licenses cost $25 for state residents, and most anglers are required to purchase a $4 state habitat management and access validation stamp as well.

    Those who plan to fish on Bureau of Land Management or national forest lands will need a $5 federal habitat stamp.

    Children under the age of 12 don't need a license, and anglers age 70 and older qualify for a free license. Resident active and military veterans qualify for free or discounted licenses.

    Licenses can be purchased online or at Game and Fish Department offices and license vendors statewide.

  • Carbon Free Power Project to be discussed by BPU, Council April 10

    Utilities Manager, Department of Public Utilities

    On April 10, the Board of Public Utilities and the County Council will convene to consider approval of a Power Sales Contract (PSC) with the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) organization, to continue our participation in the Carbon Free Power Project. This will be the world’s first small modular nuclear reactor power generation plant.

    Located in Idaho, this 600MW facility is scheduled to be operational by 2027. Over the past four years, a fatal flaw analysis was conducted and the project was discussed at numerous meetings with the public, BPU and County Council.

    Now is the time to decide if we continue in the project or withdraw, prior to the development of a combined operating licensing application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  

    Why is the county interested in this nuclear generating plant project, and why now?  

  • Regulation was a tug-of-war before the dawn of history

    The battle of regulation – pitting powers outside ourselves against desires inside ourselves – began with the first glimmer of society. Railing against regulation continues to be popular. Today, patterned gripes are printed on tee shirts and sold online. The Babel of regulation grows from there and clutters the news.

    All humans are born with a dislike for regulation, which stays with us. The need for regulation is no less persistent, as is clear in history’s timeline of regulation.

    An early form of regulating was sticks and stones. In due course, this beginning evolved into peer pressure within small groups and hence to tribal customs among clans.

    The world grew more crowded and regulatory themes began to spread among the tendrils of religion. Religious teachings have long sought to restrict damaging deeds, using a potent mixture of fire and brimstone to promote self-responsibility. The Pilgrims enlisted religion as a regulatory aid to succeed in their Plymouth ventures. Laxity is perilous.

    In today’s crowds that have little else in common, people mostly look to a government to be the chief enforcer. This choice is expensive in many ways. It starts bureaucracy, which inspires catchy gripes that sell well on tee shirts.

  • County plans for flat budget for FY2019

    The county released a budget guide for its proposed fiscal year 2019 budget Friday, a budget characterized by flat budgets in many categories. In it, the county has projected smaller increases over last year’s fiscal year 2018 budget.

    The county proposes $188 million in expenditures for fiscal year 2019, a decrease in expenditures from the adopted 2018 budget’s $200.9 million in expenditures.

    According to the county’s budget guide, revenues for the fiscal year 2019 General Fund are expected to increase by $1.27 million, for a projected $61.1 million fiscal year 2019 General Fund.  

    Increases in the gross receipts tax, grants and other factors are the main drivers behind the general fund increase, according to the county’s budget guide.

    The county has taken a conservative approach to the proposed fiscal year 2019 budget, because the Los Alamos National Laboratory this year may soon be operated by a non-profit contractor.

    New Mexico tax statutes exempt non-profits from the state’s gross receipts tax, which means the millions of dollars in revenue the county annually receives from the gross receipts tax derived from activities at the Los Alamos National Laboratory may no longer be collected.

  • Drought expands across SW US

    Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE — Drought is tightening its grip across a wide swath of the American Southwest as farmers, ranchers and water managers throughout the region brace for what’s expected to be more warm and dry weather through the spring.

    A federal drought map released Thursday shows dry conditions intensifying across northern New Mexico and into southwestern Arizona. Every square mile of Nevada and Utah also are affected by at least some level of dryness.

    On the southern high plains, Oklahoma is ground zero for the worst drought conditions in the United States.

    The exceptional drought in the Panhandle — an area dominated by agriculture — has more than doubled in size. Many farmers rely on precipitation to help water their crops as pumping groundwater is the only other option.

    “We’re in the irrigation period and it really would be fantastic to get some precipitation out in those areas,” said Cole Perryman of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.

    Crop conditions around the region are declining as extreme drought spans from Kansas and Oklahoma to California. In New Mexico, about three-quarters of the winter wheat crop is in poor to very poor condition as meaningful moisture has been scarce since last fall.

  • Barranca Mesa construction expected to begin in June

    Construction on Barranca Mesa Elementary School is scheduled to begin June 4 whether the state’s Public School Capital Outlay Council decides to give the Los Alamos Public School any additional funding or not.

    District representatives traveled to Santa Fe on March 15 to make an out-of-cycle request for an award of funds to help finance the construction. Even though their request was turned down, the PSCOC apparently left the door open for an award during its April meeting.

    “We got on the agenda, they read our letter and the council is not looking to award an out-of-cycle request at this time,” said LAPS Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Lisa Montoya, who was among those attending the PSCOC meeting in Santa Fe. “But they did encourage us to apply for the funding in the regular cycle. The PSCOC indicated they may come alongside us and fund us in tandem.”

    Later this month the PSCOC will set funding eligibility for the disbursement of the $82.3 million it will be awarding in November to districts in the state.

    LAPS isn’t waiting to see if it will receive any financial help for this project.

  • IN THE LAB: Overcoming the ‘space factor’

    With Erin Quinn, Los Alamos National Laboratory

    Whenever an instrument is sent into space, worries abound. As if the launch were not risky enough (with the threat of explosion on the launch pad or the extreme vibrations shaking parts loose), a host of other threats emerge once the spacecraft safely reaches orbit. Extreme temperatures and high radiation levels can easily damage parts and result in malfunction. Then there is the satellite’s great distance from Earth. If there is a problem, it cannot be recalled for a quick fix. So, it is critical that everything work properly before it makes its dramatic ascension into space.

    That is where software developers like Erin Quinn come in. Quinn works in Space Data Science and Systems group on the ground support equipment for the Space and Atmospheric Burst Reporting System (SABRS), one of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s satellite-borne treaty-monitoring payloads. More than 50 years ago, Los Alamos and the forerunner to the Department of Energy supported the first satellites to detect nuclear explosions in the atmosphere or space. This early capability was an essential element in the first treaty that regulated nuclear weapons tests. The first SABRS payload was launched in 2012 and SABRS-2 was successfully launched after that.

  • LAFD preps for fire season

    An above average performance in any field is a good thing, unless it’s in the field of fire season.
    In that case it is most definitely cause for extra concern.

    “Due to the severe lack of moisture, according to what we normally get, and just the early fire season we’ve seen here in New Mexico it’s shaping up to be a pretty above-average season for us,” said Los Alamos Fire Department Wildland

    Deputy Chief Kelly Sterna. “Last year we were one of the few regions in the country that burned normal averages, which are based on 10-year averages.”

    Sterna said the fire season typically rides in on the winds of April, which dry up anything that’s not dry already.
    “Usually you get a lot of rain and snow in March and April and that greens everything up,” he said. “Then the winds come and dry it all out and cures it, which basically makes it more easy to burn.”

    Humans generally start fires early in the season while lightening strikes are responsible for most late-season fires

  • Officials set April date for New Mexico border wall work

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials are hoping to break ground on a project replacing 20 miles of border wall in Santa Teresa, New Mexico in early April.

    That's according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald D. Vitiello.

    Vitiello briefed reporters Friday on how the administration plans to spend the $1.6 billion Congress authorized for border wall construction this year.

    It's much less than the $25 billion Trump wanted. But officials are eager to show they're nonetheless making progress.

    Vitiello says the money will provide for about 100 miles of new and replacement wall, including replacing 14 miles of steel landing mat in densely populated San Diego with a bollard-style wall.

    Barriers currently blanket 654 miles of the 1,954-mile southern Mexico.