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Today's News

  • 7 Earth-size worlds found orbiting star; could hold life

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — For the first time, astronomers have discovered seven Earth-size planets orbiting a single nearby star — and these new worlds could hold life.

    This cluster of planets is less than 40 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius, according to NASA and the Belgian-led research team who announced the discovery Wednesday.

    The planets circle tightly around a dim dwarf star called Trappist-1, barely the size of Jupiter. Three are in the so-called habitable zone, the area around a star where water and, possibly life, might exist. The others are right on the doorstep.

    Scientists said they need to study the atmospheres before determining whether these rocky, terrestrial planets could support some sort of life. But it already shows just how many Earth-size planets could be out there — especially in a star's sweet spot, ripe for extraterrestrial life. The more planets like this, the greater the potential of finding one that's truly habitable. Until now, only two or three Earth-size planets had been spotted around a star.

    "We've made a crucial step toward finding if there is life out there," said the University of Cambridge's Amaury Triaud, one of the researchers.

  • Bill to ban traps on public lands stalls

    BY ANDREW OXFORD
    The New Mexican

  • LAHS Science Bowl team advances to nationals

    Last weekend, a team of science students from Los Alamos High School beat out 23 other teams from across the region to earn a spot in the annual National Science Bowl Competition.
    Principal Brad Parker was proud of his students and their team coaches.
    “To me this speaks to the hard work that team coaches Kathy and Stephen Boerigter, the students and their parents have put out. As usual, our science bowl kids have brought great credit upon Los Alamos High School.  Can’t wait to see how they will do at nationals!” Parker said.
    In the last rounds of the regional competition, LAHS dominated the top two slots.
    LAHS Science Bowl Team One advanced to the top of the regional competition by beating out their fellow teammates on Team Two.
    LAHS has won the regional competition seven times out of the past eight years.
    The winning team will now go on to the national competition in Washington, D.C., which takes place April 27 through May 1.
    The regional competition was held this weekend at Albuquerque’s Highland High School. Team One was coached by Kathy Boerigter and Team Two was coached by her husband Stephen Boerigter. Kathy teaches science at LAHS and Stephen is employed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

  • Fiddle fundraiser a success

    The Fancy Fiddle Fundraiser Saturday at Fuller Lodge drew more than 120 people, according to organizers.
    All of the more than 40 decorated violins, violas, cellos and basses were won, according to Joanna Gillespie, executive director of the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation.
    Proceeds from Saturday’s auction will benefit the Los Alamos Public Schools orchestra program. The instruments were older instruments that were used by the school and painted by local artists.
    The foundation will total the final amount donated from the auction today.

  • Fire treatment planned for Jemez district

    Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest are planning to conduct a prescribed burn on the Joaquin fuelwood unit on the Jemez Ranger District. Ignitions could begin as early as Friday, if conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts, are favorable.  
    Members of the public have helped clean up the 80-acre unit to prepare it for treatment. The Joaquin fuelwood unit is at the intersection of Forest Roads (FRs) 376 and 488 for approximately one mile to the north.
    The Joaquin fuelwood unit prescribed burn is designed to remove dead forest fuels, provide community protection and promote forest health.  Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
    Smoke from the Joaquin fuelwood unit prescribed burn may be visible from NM State Highway 4, US Route 550, the Pueblos of Jemez and Zia, and the communities of San Ysidro and Gilman.
    Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems are encouraged to take precautionary measures.  Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at nmtracking.org/fire.

  • Los Alamos Ice Rink to close for season today

    The warm and sunny weather has caused the Los Alamos County Ice Rink to close early for the season. The rink will officially today at 5 p.m. today.  

    Public skating will run until 5 p.m. and then the 2016-2017 Ice Rink season is over.

    Staff will continue working at the rink over the next couple of weeks, removing the ice and preparing the facility for spring and summer activities.  For questions, call the PROS administrative offices at 662-8170.

  • New county logo strikes ‘balance’

    The new county logo is called “Balance,” and residents and visitors alike will be seeing more of the combined atom and leaf designs  around Los Alamos this year.
    At the March 7 county council meeting, the county will hold discussions about how to get the new logos out into the public through grassroots campaigns and partnerships with local businesses.
    The two logos that will be presented carry the same message, that Los Alamos is a place of not only science but of nature. One is horizontal, and the other is more circular. The logos have been in development for several years.
    Since 2014, a total of $137,000 was spent on branding efforts. Besides the 17,000 for the strapline and logo concept, $50,000 for a brandprint study, $35,000 for the creation of a brand identity, identity style guide and brand marketing plan, $20,000 for the brand action plan and $15,000 for promotion, ads and items leading up to the community launch and outreach, according to county spokeswoman Julie Habiger.
    The horizontal logo is of the name “Los Alamos,” with the tagline “Where discoveries are made” beneath it. In the “o” of “Los” there is the image of an atom and in the “o” of “Alamos” there is the image of a leaf.  

  • Today in history Feb. 21
  • Dems: Popular vote should determine presidential winner

    By Milan Simonich

    The New Mexican

    New Mexico's five electoral college votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who received the most popular votes nationally, under a bill that state senators approved Monday in a party-line decision.

    All 26 Democratic senators voted for the measure and all 16 Republicans opposed it, perhaps a predictable outcome three months after Republican Donald Trump lost the popular vote but handily won the presidency in the electoral college.

    The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, said the electoral college allows presidential candidates to ignore most voters because it largely functions as a winner-take-all system in individual states.

    "Candidates have no reason to pay attention to states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind," Stewart said.

    In addition, she said, minority-party voters in heavily Republican or overwhelmingly Democratic states believe that their votes don't matter because the electoral college takes precedence over the popular vote.

  • Democrats push tax, budget plans to House floor

    By Bruce Krasnow

    The New Mexican

    An effort that had broad support to bring in more money to New Mexico government by taxing all internet sales has mushroomed into a measure to raise additional money from hospitals, trucking companies, nonprofit organizations and car buyers.

    Democrats say the amendments to House Bill 202, originally an effort to raise $30 million by expanding the gross receipts tax to out-of-state internet transactions, are necessary to restore cash reserves and put the state on better financial footing to avoid further cuts to school districts and another credit downgrade.

    With the changes, the bill is now expected to bring in $265 million in ongoing revenue. Some $1 million a year would come from the legislative retirement fund.

    A sponsor of the tax bill, Rep. Carl Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, said lawmakers have cut spending, both during the 2016 session and again in an October special session. "We've swept up under every rock" to find the dollars needed to pay for public services, Trujillo said.

    What's left are tax increases. "This is a difficult thing to do, but I believe it's the responsible thing to do," he said.