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Today's News

  • LANL coalition seeks to eliminate tax-exempt status

    The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities asked the State Legislative Finance Committee today to consider eliminating tax-exempt status for possible, future nonprofit contractors of Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories.
    The coalition is seeking to ensure that the roughly $200 million in gross receipts tax the state annually receives from the laboratories continues, even if the laboratories acquire nonprofit management and operations contractors.
    Of that $200 million, Los Alamos County receives about $30-$40 million.
    Sandia and LANL are in the process of acquiring new contractors.
    The coalition will appear before the committee today to hopefully provide a more complete picture of what the loss would be to the state.
    “The finance committee has this on their radar. They’ve been thinking about the possibility of legislation to keep that from happening,” State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-4) said. “The committee is looking for more expert testimony to see what the impacts would be.”
    Garcia Richard, who is sponsoring the bill, is also looking for support and sponsorship from other legislators.

  • Defense Secty Carter to visit LANL, Sandia

    Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will be wrapping up his two-day visit to New Mexico today after a whirlwind tour of Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque and the state’s two national laboratories, Sandia and Los Alamos.
    The purpose of Carter’s stop in New Mexico was to greet and thank the personnel at the base “for their work to ensure the readiness of the nuclear force,” according to the Defense Department.
    His tour of the two laboratories was also to thank them for their work in the “development, assessment and security of the nuclear triad.”
    The tour of the laboratory was closed to the press and the public.
    During his visit, U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich asked Carter to open a “Defense Innovation Unit Experimental” office in the state.
    Udall and Heinrich, in a joint statement, said they told Carter New Mexico would be a natural place to have such an office, because of the support it would get from the state’s two laboratories.
    DIUx offices are staffed by a mix of civilian, active duty reserve and contractor, and they are part of the U.S. military’s strategy to stay militarily and technologically relevant.  

  • Council eyes three economic projects

    When Dekker/Perich/Sabatini presented the results of several months of scoping and public input on proposed Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) to the Los Alamos County Council Sept. 20, they pointed out that three proposed economic development projects seemed to have community support. Council, for the most part, echoed that sentiment.
    Dekker/Perich/Sabatini Principal/Urban Planner Will Gleason and Craig Bouck, president and CEO at Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, who made the presentation, provided options and probable costs for Deacon Street improvements, 20th Street expansion and DP Road improvements.
    The economic development projects would not be part of the proposed $20 million recreation CIP bond. Council allocated $4 million toward the three projects in March. The consultants’ “opinion of probable costs,” which represents “our best calculation at this point based on a number of assumptions about the project,” totaled $6.7 million.
    The probable costs for those projects are:
    • Deacon Street improvements: $1.2 million to $2.1 million depending on the chosen design. Improvements include pedestrian-scaled lighting, landscaping, reconfigured parking and pedestrian linkages to Central Avenue.

  • Trinity Site ranch house faces restoration

    ALAMOGORDO (AP) — A ranch house where Los Alamos scientists assembled the world's first atomic bomb is being restored.

    The McDonald/Schmidt Ranch House at the Trinity Site is facing exterior renovations thanks to a cooperative agreement with White Sand Missile Range Cultural Resources Program.

    Improvements will focus on the exterior stucco, gutters and drainage and interior restoration.

    On July 16, 1945, scientists from the then-secret city of Los Alamos successfully exploded the first atomic bomb at the Trinity Site, near Tularosa.

    The ranch house was located two miles away from the explosion, and its windows were blown out. The house was no significantly damaged but over the years fell into disrepair. It has gone through other restoration.

    The bomb later was dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  • Flying like an Eagle
  • Residents welcome to view county info

    Residents are invited to stop by the Municipal Building lobby from 1-3 p.m.  Oct. 5 to view a variety of information about county services, programs and events.
    The county is hosting the event as part of its “customer service week” activities from Oct. 3-7. The week is sponsored by the Department of Public Utilities’ Customer Care Center.
    Refreshments will be served and county staff will be on hand to answer questions.

  • LANL recognized for diversity efforts

    Los Alamos National Laboratory was recognized for its diversity efforts by STEM Workforce Diversity Magazine, in its newest issue. The magazine named LANL a 2016 top 20 government employer, the only national laboratory to achieve this recognition.
    Rankings were based on an annual survey of randomly-selected readers of the publication, according to Tamara Flaum-Dreyfuss, president and publisher of Equal Opportunity Publications, Inc., which publishes the trade publication.
    Readers selected the top 20 government employers as those “they would most prefer to work for or believe would provide a positive working environment for STEM professionals who are members of minority groups,” said Flaum-Dreyfuss.

  • State Briefs 9-28-16

    Health officials: 3 more West Nile virus cases in N.M.

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico Department of Health has announced three more cases of West Nile virus around the state.
    During the past month, health officials say a 53-year-old Bernalillo County man, a 57-year-old Dona Ana County man and a 40-year-old McKinley County man have been diagnosed with the virus transmitted by a mosquito bite.
    All three men were hospitalized.
    Health officials say the three newest West Nile cases doubles the total of human cases identified in New Mexico so far this year.
    The three previous cases were reported in Rio Arriba and Valencia counties.
    Health officials say New Mexico typically sees most of its West Nile virus cases in August and September, but may potentially see case through October this year because of late-season rains.

    Lawsuit over Gov. Martinez’s
    campaign emails dismissed

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A 2-year-old civil lawsuit over emails released from Gov. Susana Martinez’s hijacked email account has been dismissed.
    The Albuquerque Journal reports on Monday, court filings showed that both parties have agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning it can’t be refiled.
    Attorneys in the case declined to comment.

  • County Clerk’s office offers election registrar agent training

    With the Nov. 8 general election fast approaching, the Los Alamos County Clerk’s Office is gearing up voter registration efforts. Towards that end, Clerk Sharon Stover and Elections Manager Gloria Maestas conducted an election registrar agent training on Sept. 14.
    Seven women attended the training, where they learned about the dos and don’ts of registering voters in New Mexico.
    “This is really an important part you are playing, of getting people registered,” Stover said. “Whatever we can do to assist that, we want to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to vote.”
    A significant part of the presentation was a training video produced by Los Alamos Chief Deputy Clerk Adrianna Ortiz and New Mexico State Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-District 15), who is executive director of NM Clerks, LLC, an organization representing all 33 county clerks. Ivey-Soto was at one time state election director in the Secretary of State’s office.
    The Los Alamos County Clerk’s Office initiated the idea of creating a video, which is now being used by several clerk’s offices throughout the state.

  • Duane W. Smith project moves ahead

    Los Alamos’ Duane W. Smith Auditorium, the second largest entertainment venue north of Albuquerque, is about to get a  $1.2 million facelift.
    Representatives from fbt architects met with the public Tuesday in the lobby of the 66-year-old auditorium to discuss how to modernize the building’s exterior.
    The other purpose of the meeting was to gather everyone’s ideas, comments and feedback before moving on to the building phase, which is scheduled for May 2017.
    The main goal of the architects firm’s plans is to make the lobby more functional, bigger and more open.
    The firm’s other goal was to visually integrate the 956-seat auditorium into the Los Alamos High School campus. When the school was redesigned several years ago by fbt architects, the auditorium, which was built in 1950, was not included in the redesign.
    The new plans feature 3,600 square feet of new construction to the front of the building.
    “We are essentially taking this lobby down and building a new lobby that is almost twice the size,” said fbt architect Sanjay Engineer.
    The facade will feature paneling on the windows that will mimic the facade of the high school, which is located behind the theater.