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Today's News

  • Treatment plant options discussed

    The Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities held an informational meeting on a replacement for the White Rock wastewater treatment plant on Dec. 7. Only two people attended that meeting, but residents have until Jan. 1 to review the reports and weigh in on the options. 

    The design for the new treatment plant – called the White Rock Water Resource Recovery Facility – is slated to begin in early 2017, with project completion in 2019.

    The original train of the current treatment plant was built in 1966, with an additional train added in the 1970s. Service life for wastewater treatment plants is typically 20 to 30 years. 

    “We’re well beyond the service life of that facility, and it speaks very highly of the operators who are keeping up that infrastructure that has continued to operate and produce compliant effluent,” said Clayton Ten Eyck, consultant Molzen Corbin’s vice president for water resources, who presented the preliminary engineering report (PER) on the project. 

  • First look at nuclear power project

    The Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU) hosted a presentation Dec. 1 on NuScale Power’s small modular reactors. 

    The Board of Public Utilities directed DPU to explore whether to add a next-generation nuclear power facility to the county’s energy generation portfolio to meet its goal to be carbon neutral by 2040.  

    DPU is a member of the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), making it eligible to buy into UAMPS Carbon Free Power Project, which uses NuScale’s small modular reactor technology.

    Speakers included NuScale’s Chief Commercial Officer Mike McGough, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Director of the Office of Civilian Nuclear Programs DV Rao, and Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) Chief Executive Officer Doug Hunter. 

    The meeting opened with a video of Franklin Orr, Department of Energy (DOE) undersecretary for science and energy, addressing a UAMPS informational meeting. 

  • Candidates declare for boards in Feb. 7 vote

    A number of residents have come forward to fill seats on the UNM-LA Advisory Board and the Los Alamos School Board. 

    Both of the school board’s White Rock seats, districts one and two, are up for contention, as District Two Board Member Matt Williams announced earlier he will be stepping down to pursue prior commitments. Former UNM-LA Advisory Board Chairman Steven Boerigter said he will be running for William’s vacant seat. Also running is Darryl Sugar, a retired physician. Sugar decided to run after talking with his family and residents in White Rock. He is also impressed with Chamisa Elementary School, the school that resides within his district. 

    “It seems the teachers really enjoy what they do and they have a unique, community school,” Sugar said. “They certainly want to keep their school, and that sounds like a reasonable thing.”

    Sugar also heard about how some students are having a hard time coping with pressures of school, and he would like to help with that, too. 

     If elected, Boerigter wants to help guide the school district through the last school renovation projects and further strengthen the partnership the Los Alamos Public Schools and UNM-LA have enjoyed through the years.  

  • Veteran’s group wreaths every soldier’s grave

    The Los Alamos American Legion Riders accomplished a milestone Saturday with their visit to honor fallen veterans interred at Guaje Pines Cemetery. 

    With help from the community and other organizations, they were able to lay a wreath on each of the 350 veterans’ graves at Guaje Pines. 

    The Los Alamos event was part of a larger, national effort organized by “Wreaths Across America,” an organization whose goal is to place a wreath on every veteran’s gravesite annually on one day in December. 

    “It’s a national ceremony to honor all of our veterans that have passed,” American Legion Rider Linda Fox said. 

    The American Legion Riders managed to raise $5,250 through fundraisers and donations to get the job done. 

    Though the temperature was in the 20s, about 100 veterans and their families took part in a remembrance ceremony Saturday morning before the group took the wreaths out to the graves. 

  • Program helps over 80 families

    Over 80 families applied for assistance this past holiday season. The Los Alamos Adopt A Family Program was able to match every single family with a generous local sponsor family.

    “We decided to do a trip this year and not presents for us, but it was a good excuse to still shop for someone who needs it more than us,” mom Talia Keller said.  Alpha Zeta set up gifting headquarters at the Christian Church on East Road.

    The Adopt-a-Family program was founded many years ago and has assisted many Los Alamos and surrounding area residents. In 2003, Margie Gillespie, longtime program coordinator, had to step down and the Los Alamos Alpha Zeta chapter of Beta Sigma Phi took on the challenge of coordinating the program.

    “It’s one of our missions, to help people and pass it on to others.  We love getting things for families in need to make them happy at Christmas,” mom Judy Nekimken said. 

    Nekimken brought in a bike and other goodies for a family in need.

    The applying families come into the program through the Los Alamos Public Schools, which means one or more children in the family attend a local school.

  • Robinson leads efforts to support rehabilitation and education

    Environmental Sustainability Board member James Robinson has taken on making Los Alamos “a bear-friendly town” as his special project on the Environmental Sustainability Board (ESB), due to his longtime connection with and love for bears. That started when he was in seventh grade, when he reconnected with his preschool friend, Ty Horak.

    Horak’s mother is Dr. Kathleen Ramsay, who runs Cottonwood Rehab (CWR). The facility’s work took center stage this summer when it rehabilitated two black bear cubs orphaned when their mother was euthanized after attacking a marathon runner at Valles Caldera National Preserve.

    “One day I was down at Ty’s place and his mom comes in, and she puts us to work unloading a bear she’s going to rehab. And that’s when I fell in love with bears,” Robinson said. “Just hanging out with Doctor Ramsay, I get to help rehab them. Through them, I got to learn about and appreciate bears.”

    That passion for bears has grown so strong that Robinson helped found the Land of Enchantment Wildlife Foundation, which funds wildlife rehabilitation efforts, particularly for bears. It costs approximately $6,000 to rehab a bear. 

  • Board looks for ways to make LA more bear friendly

    Environmental Sustainability Board member James Robinson updated the board on efforts to make Los Alamos a bear-friendly city at Thursday’s meeting.

    The most recent news is that six of the 13 bear resistant commercial dumpsters purchased through a collaborative partnership between the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), Los Alamos Medical Center (LAMC) and Los Alamos County have arrived. NMDGF paid 65 percent of the costs for 10 dumpsters, with the county paying the remaining 35 percent. LAMC purchased three dumpsters with its own funds. 

    That effort was initiated after a female bear charged two workers trying to take out trash at LAMC in November. Game and Fish euthanized the bear after that event, identifying it as one spotted rummaging through trash and approaching film crews at Pajarito Ski Area in July.

    “I was looking at the bear they got. It was a tannish bear, which I believe had learned the art of breaking into residential roll carts early in the spring, and when it was big enough, it got into dumpsters,” Robinson said. 

  • Board looks for ways to make LA more bear friendly

    Environmental Sustainability Board member James Robinson updated the board on efforts to make Los Alamos a bear-friendly city at Thursday’s meeting.

    The most recent news is that six of the 13 bear resistant commercial dumpsters purchased through a collaborative partnership between the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), Los Alamos Medical Center (LAMC) and Los Alamos County have arrived. NMDGF paid 65 percent of the costs for 10 dumpsters, with the county paying the remaining 35 percent. LAMC purchased three dumpsters with its own funds. 

    That effort was initiated after a female bear charged two workers trying to take out trash at LAMC in November. Game and Fish euthanized the bear after that event, identifying it as one spotted rummaging through trash and approaching film crews at Pajarito Ski Area in July.

    “I was looking at the bear they got. It was a tannish bear, which I believe had learned the art of breaking into residential roll carts early in the spring, and when it was big enough, it got into dumpsters,” Robinson said. 

  • LAPS faces up to $1M in budget cuts

    The Los Alamos Public Schools’ $26.8 million budget could take a hit of up to $1 million this fiscal year as the state prepares to make up for a projected $675 million budget shortfall.
    LAPS is already looking at a $660,000 reduction after cuts the legislature made in November. That figure could grow to $1 million once the legislative session gets under way in January.
    Cuts to teacher positions and pay is off the table, said Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus at Tuesday’s school board meeting.  
    “I want to make sure there’s no confusion with regards to what’s being presented,” Steinhaus said. “The district office is not proposing to the board any teacher cuts at this point, there’s no proposing that.”  
    The budget cuts would be seen in reduced payouts to the district from the State Equalization Guarantee fund and “sweeps” by the New Mexico Public Education Department to the transportation fund and instructional materials fund from now until June 30.
    “They are contemplating cash sweeps,” said LAPS CFO Lisa Montoya. “Anything we hold in reserve over the 3 to 5 percent they (NMPED) suggest we save, they will take out of our accounts.”

  • LA hockey sweeps Odessa

    After dropping a tough 6-4 decision on Friday against NM Ice U-16, the Los Alamos hockey team came back with a 12-0 victory on Saturday and a 7-2 win on Sunday against Odessa. The Hilltoppers are back in action on Jan. 4, when they’ll host Santa Fe at 5:30 p.m. at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink.  JOHN MCHALE/Monitor