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Today's News

  • Deadline looms for county response to IPRA complaint

    Los Alamos County has until Monday to turn over emails to Patrick Brenner and Lisa Brenner, who are suing the county for alleged violations of the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act.

    The suit was filed by Attorney A. Blair Dunn on June 2 in Los Alamos Magistrate Court. The complaint accuses the county of withholding emails that were sent by council members on May 15. According to Blair, the county had until May 31 to supply all the emails requested.

    Patrick Brenner and Jennifer Brenner are suing members of Los Alamos County Council and Custodian of Records Barb Ricci after they were not supplied with emails requested in an IPRA request filed June 2. 

    According to Dunn, state law says the county has until Monday to supply the requested emails. As of Thursday, Dunn said he has had no communication with the county.

    “They have not responded to the complaint in court yet, and I haven’t heard anything from them either,” Dunn said.
    If the county does not file a response, Dunn said the Brenners would win their suit by default.

    “We are then entitled to a default judgment, where we get an order from the court telling them to produce the documents we’ve asked for and they have to pay for attorney’s fees,” Dunn said.

  • Fourth of July celebration awes thousands

    The Fourth of July was celebrated with a bang on Tuesday evening at Overlook Park. The Los Alamos Kiwanis Club and Los Alamos County put on their annual Independence Day festivities where fireworks, food, bouncy houses, great music, and a whole lot more entertained the estimated 8,000 people that attended.

    Many vendors provided great food, like Smokin’ Bear Barbecue, North Shore Shaved Ice Company and Houdini’s Kettle Corn.

    This is the fourth year Houdini’s Kettle Corn has participated the event and it has been a success every time.

    According to employee Shannon Steinfadt, the lines for kettle corn are unstoppable once the evening cools off at these outdoor events.

    Chaz’s Marshmallow Shooters has sold three years in a row at the Fourth of July celebration. Chuck Hill, who manned the booth, said that it was a good event and a “good crowd from Los Alamos.”

    The marshmallow shooters are especially popular with the youngsters in the park.

    A few sports teams held fundraisers like Corrina Hughes’ rugby team and the Los Alamos Youth Football League.

    Every year, the Kiwanis Club sponsors the special Fourth of July celebration and Steve Boerigter is the chairman for that specific committee.

  • FUMC to host Maker Fun Factory

    A summer kids’ event called Maker Fun Factory VBS will be hosted at First United Methodist Church of Los Alamos from July 24 to July 28.

    At Maker Fun Factory, kids discover that God made them – and for a purpose! Kids participate in memorable Bible-learning activities, sing catchy songs, play teamwork-building games, make and devour yummy treats, experience one-of-a-kind Bible adventures, collect Bible Memory Buddies to remind them of God’s love, and test out Sciency-Fun Gizmos they’ll take home and play with all summer long.

    Plus, kids will learn to look for evidence of God all around them through something called God Sightings. Each day concludes with the Funshop Finale that gets everyone involved in living what they’ve learned. Family members and friends are encouraged to join in daily for this special time at 11:45 a.m.

    Kids at Maker Fun Factory VBS will join a missions effort to fund the digging of effective clean water wells for remote villages in Peru.

    Maker Fun Factory is for kids from 3 to 12 years old and will run from 8:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. each day.
    For more information, call 662-6277 or visit FirstInYourHeart.org.

  • Secretary of State’s power grab on nonprofit privacy

    We all know how a bill becomes a law, right? A lawmaker writes a bill, the legislature passes it, and then the governor signs it.

    At least, that’s what New Mexico’s Constitution says. Unfortunately, losers in the legislative process are increasingly willing to ignore that process, and a rulemaking currently underway in Santa Fe shows how.

    This spring, the New Mexico Legislature considered imposing new donor disclosure rules on nonprofit organizations. The measure was vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez over privacy concerns. Now Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver is attempting to impose those rules by bureaucratic fiat, using a regulation to enact what couldn’t be done through the normal lawmaking process.

    Bureaucratic rulemakings can serve an important function. They help to implement and clarify laws that are passed by the Legislature.

    But here, instead of implementing the law, the Secretary of State’s office is enacting rules that were rejected in the constitutional lawmaking process. Although pitched as “political disclosure,” as Gov. Martinez wrote in her veto message in April, “the broad language in the bill could lead to unintended consequences that would force groups like charities to disclose the names and addresses of their contributors in certain circumstances.”

  • Babies produce gains, almost 21,000 leave Farmington

    In the population game here, what counts is domestic migration, the movement of people to and from the state and our 33 counties from other places in the United States.

    Domestic migrants are important because they are at the margin, responding to opportunity in New Mexico, or, if they leave, to opportunity elsewhere. Migrants are dynamic. They are betting the family fortune, financial and otherwise, on moving, an activity that is a royal pain.

    Metropolitan Farmington, which is San Juan County, is the big domestic migration story since the 2010 census, but not in a good way. Farmington saw 20,955 people depart for other states, according to Census Bureau data from April 2010 to July 2016. That’s a net figure; some move in, others leave. In Farmington leavers beat arrivers every year since 2010.

    In Farmington’s “vital events” column, other new arrives – 11,561 babies – outnumbered the people who died by 5,650 for a natural increase gain offsetting about a quarter of the migrant departures. That left Farmington’s six-year population loss at 14,966, or 11.5 percent of the 2010 population of 130,045.

  • LANL to hire 2,400 in next few years

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory is working to replace an expected upcoming wave of 2,400 vacancies with recent graduates from northern New Mexico.  

    The lab is working with colleges and universities in the region to achieve this goal and has hired 1,000 workers since July 2016.

    “The Laboratory continues to use an integrated budget and attrition model to guide our five-year staffing strategy, which was completed in 2016. That strategy envisions around 2,400 vacancies being created and filled between 2016 and 2020,” LANL’s Human Resources Director Susan Harris said. “We continue to refine our budget and attrition models, so actual numbers may change slightly. To date, our hiring has kept pace with attrition.”

    The lab expects to be hiring across the board.

    “It hasn’t really hit one area more than the other. We’re seeing it across the laboratory,” LANL Community Partnership Office Director Kathy Keith said of the lab’s needs.

    LANL has already started meeting with the presidents of several northern New Mexico colleges and universities about how the students’ and the laboratory’s needs could be met.

  • 5K delivers fun on Independence Day

    A record 207 people participated in this year’s Firecracker 5K Fun Run, organized by the YMCA.

    The annual Independence Day event brought people – and dogs – of all ages and sizes together for an event that YMCA Sports and Adventure Director Jeremy Smith described as a “great way to kick of the holiday for everyone.”

    Joshua Strevell was the overall top finisher, with a time of 18:46.8. He ran the race with his dog Branson.

    Strevell, who will be a senior at Los Alamos High School this year, said he always enjoys participating in these types of events.

    “I thought it was a great chance to come out and celebrate the Fourth of July,” Strevell said. “Praise God for everything

    I’ve been able to do and accomplish in my life and for our independence.”

    Strevell said that Branson has been running since he was just a puppy, and that he enjoys racing more than anything else.

    “He always insists to be out in the front and be the leader of the race, even when he’s probably not in shape for it,” Strevell said.

    Smith said that it’s always fun to see something unique happen, like a dog finishing at the top of the leader board.

    “That’s pretty fun, that’s great,” Smith said.

  • Trinity Drive closed to traffic through Tuesday

    According to the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities, Trinity Drive will remain closed between 4th Street & DP Road in both directions through Tuesday, July 11, 2017.

    This emergency closure is due to a sewer line break.

    East Bound traffic is being diverted to Knecht.

    West Bound traffic is being diverted to Central Ave.

    Local business access to DP Road is open via eastbound Trinity Drive

    No interruption in sewer services is anticipated.

  • Keller to lead monthly wildflower walks

    The recent rains have brought out a variety of different flowers, transitioning our landscape into the colors of summer. Pajarito Environmental Education Center’s Jemez Mountain Herbarium curator Chick Keller will lead this year’s Wildflower Walks. These monthly outings will be easy walks to identify some of the wildflower beauties found in and around Los Alamos. Each time Keller will pick a different trail, depending on what is blooming at the time. The walks are free and there is no advance registration required.
    The Wildflower Walks will take place one Monday a month for the season. Since he wasn’t able to lead a walk in June, there will be one more walk in July on July 24.
    Wildflower Walks will meet on Aug. 14 and then again on Sept. 11. Participants will receive a plant list and that, along with instruction from Keller, will help them learn how to identify wildflowers currently blooming in Los Alamos. The group will meet each month at 5:30 p.m. at the Los Alamos Nature Center, at 2600 Canyon Road, to carpool to the trailhead.  
    For more information, visitpeecnature.org, email programs@peecnature.org or call 662-0460.
     

  • Tent caterpillars once again munching on the aspens

    Visitors and locals driving up NM 475 (the road to the Santa Fe Ski Basin) may notice something happening with aspen groves that create one of the most popular vistas on the Santa Fe National Forest.

    To the casual observer, the aspens may appear to be dying. But those bare branches signal the return of the western tent caterpillars, native defoliators whose larvae feed on a variety of hardwood trees species. At least here in New Mexico, they seem to be particularly fond of aspen.

    The caterpillar gets its name from the conspicuous “tent” it builds on branches and twigs. The silken shelter protects the larvae during molting. As they mature, the larvae disperse and continue feeding on leaves until it’s time to retreat into cocoons for their transformation into moths. The process takes a couple months after which the adults mate and the female moths lay the eggs that become next year’s caterpillars.