Today's News

  • Los Alamos Canyon Reservoir expected to open this week

    The Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities is close to reopening the Los Alamos Canyon Reservoir after improvements to water lines at the location.

    Clay Moseley, an engineering project manager with the department, said the reservoir should open this week, but acknowledged that some individuals have already been making their way up the road to the reservoir.

    “We finished the last big construction work up there Thursday and there is still equipment up there,” he said Friday. “We have seen people coming in and out of there and that’s OK.”

    Moseley said the county is asking that visitors to the reservoir walk up to it instead of trying to drive or access the area with off-road vehicles. Currently a locked gate is in place in an effort to keep vehicles off the road.

    “The road to the reservoir will not be open to vehicular traffic,” he said. “It’s not that kind of a road. And we still have some work left to do up there, like some soil stabilization and reseeding. So there’s still some construction activity planned and people trying to drive up there will only hamper that work.”

    Moseley also said people should be aware of where they can and cannot park before heading up to the reservoir.

  • Report on problems at DOE facilities released

    For the first time, the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency produced a report Wednesday documenting challenges facing federal agencies.

    The extensive report contains 61 Top Management and Performance Challenge reports, including a report on the Department of Energy.

    The Department of Energy’s report points out issues with the stockpile stewardship infrastructure, the primary mission of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. This report highlighted problems with the infrastructure.

    “The nuclear weapons stockpile is aging and contains many obsolete technologies that must be replaced as the service lives of the weapons are extended,” a statement in the report said. “Further, NNSA’s mission depends on the facilities, infrastructure, and equipment for success. Yet the current demands of the stockpile stewardship program have placed increasing loads on an aging National Nuclear Security Administration infrastructure.”

  • New Mexico nuke repository defends plant safety plans

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A U.S. Department of Energy official says new procedures in place would have detected a drum filled with radioactive materials that ruptured earlier this month at Idaho's Radioactive Waste Management Complex

    The Albuquerque Journal reports Todd Shrader, manager of Waste Isolation Pilot Plant's Department of Energy field office in Carlsbad, said last week that detection would have happened before the drum left the facility for emplacement at the deep geologic repository in southeast New Mexico.

    He says the drum that ruptured due to an exothermic event "not that dissimilar from the one we had here" was in the very beginning stages of characterization.

    The U.S. Department of Energy says the 55-gallon barrel ruptured earlier this month at the 890-square-mile  site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory, one of the nation's top federal nuclear research labs.

  • Such a Goose
  • New Mexico's 'warm line' launches texting option

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico's "warm line," a peer-to-peer call line that helps residents struggling with substance abuse, grief, and suicidal thoughts, has introduced a texting option.

    The state's Peer-to-Peer Warmline launched its texting feature two years after the New Mexico Crisis Access Line started the warm line, KUNM-FM in Albuquerque reports .

    The warm line is staffed specialists who are specially trained to use their own experiences to offer support to those dealing with addiction or mental health issues. The state began the warm lines in 2015 as an expansion of the professional counselor-staffed crisis line.

    New Mexico Crisis Access Line Program Manager Wendy Linebrink-Allison said texting gives people a better sense of control over the conversation.

    She says texting could make the line more appealing to people who have anxiety or a busy day.

    "Maybe they feel more comfortable writing it out, and thinking about what they're saying before they have a conversation with somebody," she said.

    According to the New Mexico Crisis Access Line, the warm lines handles around 1,000 calls a month and each lasts around 15 minutes. Officials say some residents choose the warm line over the crisis lines to speak to someone "who has been there" and lived through the same experiences.

  • Police Beat 4-22-18

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    April 11
    2:36 p.m. — Melinda M. Madrid, 36, of Hernandez was arrested and then released  for driving with a suspended license and having two magistrate court bench warrants totaling $1200.
    4:59 p.m. — Los Alamos police issued a summons to an individual for being in possession of a controlled substance.

    April 12
    11:30 a.m. — Los Alamos police responded to a medical call.
    1:45 p.m. – Los Alamos police investigated a larceny involving stolen door mats. Investigation is inactive.

    April 13
    10:55 a.m. — Los Alamos Police investigated an incident of vandalism.

    April 14
    8:34 p.m. — Los Alamos police investigated a possible act of vehicle tampering. Investigation is inactive.

    April 16
    Midnight — Los Alamos police investigated a dog bite case.

  • Community invited to opening of Duane Smith Auditorium

    The community is invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially re-open the Duane W. Smith Auditorium at 6 pm. Thursday.

    The short ceremony will be followed by light refreshments.

    The Duane Smith Auditorium, originally called the Civic Auditorium, was built in 1950. It stood as the main facility in which local organizations could host plays and performances due to its spacious stage and seating area.

    Even today, it serves the Los Alamos schools and the community, from Los Alamos National Laboratory to Los Alamos Concert Association.

    Since then, upkeep and renovations have been ongoing.

    About eight years ago, the school district replaced the main curtain and the rigging in Duane Smith and repainted the main hall. Four years ago, the district also replaced all the seating.

  • Bulging drum did not contain radiological waste

    A drum with a bulging lid hazardous material remediation crews responded to at the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Sigma complex Monday contained no radioactive materials, said a lab spokesman Thursday.

    “The material in a plastic waste drum was a combination of water, mineral oil and metal powder. The bulge in the plastic lid was likely caused by a small amount of water reacting with the metal powder,” a spokesman for the lab said. “The metal powders were composed of typical alloys such as stainless steel, titanium alloys, and aluminum alloys.”

    A waste management coordinator was performing a routine inspection when the inspector saw the bulging lid.

    The lab spokesman said there was very low risk of an explosion and the barrel was disposed of.

    “A small cut was made in the plastic using a robot. The pressure was relieved through the slit. The barrel has since been packed into a 55 gallon metal drum with a pressure relief device for disposal,” the lab spokesman said.

    On Monday at 2:30 p.m., a partial evacuation took place at the Los Alamos National Laboratory when the bulge in the drum was discovered. No workers were harmed during the incident, and the area where the drum was stored was rendered safe a few hours after the incident.

  • After brief relief, forecasts indicate drought will continue

    By KELLY P. KISSEL, Associated Press

    Dry weather will prolong the wildfire threat through summer in the southwestern United States, even though weekend showers temporarily relieved drought conditions in parts of the area, forecasters said Monday.

    The drought is rooted in a dry spell that began in October and is considered "extreme" from southern California to central Kansas. Conditions are even worse in the Four Corners region and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, warranting their description as "exceptional."

    "The proverbial spigot shut off," said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. "Drought isn't necessarily a signal for wildfires, but it can exacerbate the conditions that do take place."

    Climatologists consider the months from October to April to be a "recharge" period, with showers and snow replenishing water supplies in the Southern Plains. However, the most recent significant rain in the area came in early October.

  • Records: Ex-candidate was paid by rival before exiting race

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A former candidate for New Mexico governor was paid $14,000 by a Democratic rival a day before announcing his exit from the race, according to campaign finance records.

    Candidate Peter DeBenedittis told the Albuquerque Journal on Thursday that rival Jeff Apodaca had paid him for an email list and to be a campaign spokesman after he had decided to drop out of the race. He said he wasn't paid to leave.

    Apodaca's campaign finance reports show the $4,000 and $10,000 payments to "Peter D and Company" of Santa Fe on March 13.

    DeBenedittis announced his departure the next day. He sent a formal letter to the Secretary of State's Office to withdraw his candidacy on March 15.

    DeBenedittis said he decided to endorse Apodaca after speaking with all the candidates about the issues.

    Being unemployed at the time, DeBenedittis said Apodaca offered him the position so he took it.

    "To me, I'm trying to leverage the assets in my campaign into assets I can survive off of," DeBenedittis said.
    Through running his own campaign, he said he had gained expertise and compiled a valuable list of Democratic contacts.

    "For the amount of work I'm doing vs. any other campaign consultant, I'm getting paid peanuts," DeBenedittis said.