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Today's News

  • NORAD to track Santa's journey

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Volunteers at the North American Aerospace Defense Command are monitoring Santa Claus as he makes his storybook Christmas Eve flight.
    Technology and social media have become an important part of the U.S. and Canadian military tradition, and NORAD Tracks Santa has already attracted a record 1.5 million Facebook “likes.” The volunteers will spend Christmas Eve answering phone calls and emails from children wondering when Santa Claus is comin’ to town.
    The helpers also post updates on the fabled journey to Facebook, Twitter and NORADSanta.org.
    The 59-year-old program now has a control center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, and it generates enough statistics, anecdotes and stories to fill a sleigh:
    • HOW IT STARTED: A December 1955 newspaper ad invited kids to call Santa, but the phone number it listed was for the Continental Aerospace Defense Command, the predecessor to the North American Aerospace Defense Command. The officers on duty played along and began passing along reports on Santa’s progress.

  • Newest council members train up

    The Los Alamos County Council adds two new members to its ranks in January to replace Geoff Rodgers and Frances Berting.
    James Chrobocinski and Susan O’Leary have been training for their new roles and spoke with the Los Alamos Monitor about what they have been learning.
    The first stage was attending the New Mexico Association of Counties’ New Mexico EDGE (Education Designed to Generate Excellence in the Public Sector) program for county commissioners and councilors. The program, offered through the New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service, provides training on the role of the commissioner/councilor, as well as ethics, finance, human resources/employment law and general governance issues.
    “It was a great confirmation of my understanding of the role of the county councilor,” O’Leary said. “The county council is essentially the board of directors. And there are three main roles for the council. It’s to set policy and high level strategy, to approve resources in order to achieve those policies and then to evaluate and improve the management and effectiveness of the county government.”

  • One million Curies found

    Los Alamos National Laboratory expertise helped the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (DNN) Radiological Material Removal Program’s Off-Site Source Recovery Project (OSRP) recover more than 1 million curies of radioactive sources since 1999.
    The accomplishment represents a major milestone in protecting our nation and the world from material that could be used in “dirty bombs” by terrorists.
    “Taking disused, unwanted and, in limited cases, abandoned nuclear materials out of harm’s reach supports the laboratory’s mission of reducing global nuclear danger,” said Terry Wallace, principal associate director for global security at Los Alamos. “This milestone represents tremendous progress in removing a potentially deadly hazard from all corners of the globe. Los Alamos helped usher in the nuclear age, so it’s quite appropriate that this laboratory continues to use its nuclear expertise to assist the DOE in stewardship of nuclear materials.”
    Off-Site Source Recovery Project personnel recovered several high-activity sealed radioactive sources from a Maryland facility in November, which pushed the total recovered radioactivity above 1 million Curies.

  • Spirit of the (Basketball) Season

    Members of the ’Topper Mascots adorned Santa hats as they went out to warm up before the start of Saturday night’s girls basketball game at Griffith Gymnasium. The ’Topper Mascots, made up of younger prospective basketballers, are a regular sight at the Hilltopper games.

  • Update 12-24-14

    State of the County

    County Manager Harry Burgess delivering the State of the County address at the Chamber of Commerce Breakfast meeting Jan. 15. Tickets are $15. Register on the Chamber website events page.

    County Council

    The next scheduled Los Alamos County Council meeting is 7 p.m. Jan. 6 in council chambers.

    Transportation

    A regular meeting of Los Alamos County’s transportation board is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 8 in council chambers.

    Trash collection

    Los Alamos County will pick up curbside trash Dec. 31 for those customers whose regularly scheduled collection day is Jan. 1

    WR Master Plan

    A meeting of the White Rock Master Plan Implementation Committee is set for Jan. 12. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the White Rock Visitors Center.

    Ken Burns film

    Mesa Public Library will present “The Dust Bowl,” a film by Ken Burns, Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

  • Shopping has been sluggish for the season

    NEW YORK (AP) — Despite an early start, sales data provided to The Associated Press show that stores may once again have to rely on procrastinators to save the holiday shopping season.
    Sales rose 1.8 percent from Nov. 1 through Monday compared with the same period a year ago, according to payment technology company First Data Corp.
    The numbers are modest considering that the National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, expects sales for the entire season — November and December — to rise 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion.
    The slow growth also comes at a time when retailers tried to do a number of things to jumpstart the season and encourage shoppers to spend. Some offered “holiday” discounts as early as Halloween instead of waiting until the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday. And more stores opened on Thanksgiving Day itself to offer people early enticements to spend.
    But the incentives seem to have backfired. Shoppers took advantage of the earlier sales and hours, but that had the effect of syphoning away sales from Black Friday, which is typically the biggest sales day of the year.

  • Watch and Listen

    One of the biggest lighting attractions of the holiday season is at 334 Garver Lane. Drivers can come by in their cars and tune their radios to 93.7 FM to hear music played in sync with the house’s lights.

  • Today in history Dec. 24
  • Machine will extract gases at Eco Station

    People driving down East Jemez Road past the Los Alamos County Eco Station may notice an odd piece of tech near the landfill — a tripod-like structure with a smokestack sticking out of it.
    According to county officials, the device, known as a “methane extraction system,” will probably be here for a few months.
    According to Angelica Gurule, environmental services manager for Los Alamos County’s Environmental Services Division, works like a vacuum sucking methane gas out of the landfill through a network of pipes connected to the stations methane monitoring wells. The goal, according to a consultant with SCS Engineers, is to contain and gradually reduce the amount of methane that has built up within the 40-acre landfill.
    “It’s not really a reduction, it’s keeping it from leaving the landfill on its perimeter,” said SCS Engineers Consultant Marcia Pincus.
    Gurule said the extractor will be here for about six months, or until they start seeing satisfactory results. According to a press release from the Los Alamos County Public Information Office, detected levels have ranged from zero to 41 percent of gas in the air, by volume.

  • Today in history Dec. 25