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Today's News

  • What goes into a budget?

    On April 20, the county council will begin their dialogue and discussions about the proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 16 budget.
    My fellow councilor Susan O’ Leary is spearheading a discussion on additional ways to communicate with the public. With this theme in mind, I would like to use this first column to “set the stage” for these upcoming budget hearings by giving our citizens some background about the budget process and responsibilities.
    It takes several months to develop and adopt a budget. The process begins late winter. The council holds discussions in their regular sessions with the county manager to talk about strategic goals, short term and long-term financial policies, expected or emerging trends on a state or national level that may impact the county, along with forecasted revenues and expenses.
    The result of those discussions is adopted by council as a “budget guidance” document.
    Using that guideline, the county departments begin working on their new FY budgets. They concentrate on finding ways to meet the county’s goals, while providing operating funds and services for existing items.

  • Comics are frightening but children are reading

    “The Great Gatsby.” “To Kill a Mockingbird.” “Deliverance.” “Moby Dick.” “Lord of the Flies.”
    Every high school English class student knows these titles. The list of classic novels is long and each book conjures up images of intense classroom discussions on the need for conformance and the value of individuality, the responsibilities and dangers of social judgment, the merits of courage and the price of self-sacrifice.
    The characters in these novels put life itself on trial and allow us to levy verdict on what does and what does not define our world.
    Yes, very poetic.
    One might even think I’ve read those stories. Well, if seeing the movies counts, then sure, I’ve read them.
    Myself, I was a comic book reader. I marveled (no pun intended) at the heroics of my favorite red-white-and-blue patriot, Captain America.
    I played ‘detective’ (pun intended) while reading Batman’s investigation of some super-villain’s latest attempt to thwart justice.
    I found myself wondering if I put on a pair of glasses, would no one recognize me?  Seriously, Lois Lane had to be the dumbest person on the Planet (yeah, pun definitely intended).

  • New report critical of LANS, LAFO in accident

    Phase II of the report detailing the accident at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant was harshly critical of the procedure at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    The accident that caused the shutdown of WIPP in February 2014 was a preventable one. Moreover, the follow-up report, released Thursday, placed much of the blame on LANL and its parent company.
    Thursday’s report was released by the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management.
    In the new report, the Accident Investigation Board was tasked by DOE to determine the cause of the TRU waste container failure.
    The board stated in the report that “if LANL had adequately developed and implemented repackaging and treatment procedures that incorporated suitable hazard controls and included a rigorous review and approval process, the release would have been preventable.”
    The March Phase I report, detailing the accident, concluded that an incompatible mix of materials in the now-infamous Drum 68660, which was shipped to the WIPP site near Carlsbad from Los Alamos, was the culprit of the leak.
    Since the accident over a year ago, normal operations at the WIPP site have been stopped. No plans have been announced as to when the facility might be operating again.

  • NFL reinstates Adrian Peterson from suspension

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Adrian Peterson has been cleared to return to the NFL. Now all that remains to be settled is where he will play next season.
    Commissioner Roger Goodell sent the Minnesota Vikings star a letter on Thursday advising him of his reinstatement. Peterson missed most of last season while facing child abuse charges in Texas.
    Goodell wrote that Peterson will have to fulfill all the obligations of his plea deal that reduced a felony charge to a misdemeanor.
    Goodell also told Peterson he would have to continue attending counseling while adhering to the league's new personal conduct policy to avoid further discipline.
    "Any further violation of the personal conduct policy by Peterson would result in additional discipline, which could include suspension without pay or banishment from the NFL," the league said.
    Peterson's agent has said the star running back wants to play elsewhere next season. But the Vikings say they have no plans to trade him.
    "We look forward to Adrian re-joining the Vikings," the team said in a statement issued after the announcement.

  • Sports Briefs 4-17-15

    Run For Her Life
    The fifth annual Run For Her Life 5k and 10k races will be held at East Park on East Road (N.M. 502) at 9 a.m. this Saturday in Los Alamos.
    All proceeds from the race will be donated to breast cancer research.
    The registration form is available at atomicrunners.com.
    People can also call 672-1639 for more information.

    Pace race season here
    The Atomic City Road Runners club will meet on Tuesdays at various locations throughout Los Alamos County through early October.
    This week’s race will be held at 6 p.m. on North Mesa — by the horse stable area on the north end of the Brewer Rodeo Area.
    One and 3-mile courses will be available.
    For more information call 672-1639 or visit atomicrunners.com.

  • Isotopes drop finale 3-1 in 11 innings, but take series

    The Albuquerque Isotopes ran out of gas Thursday afternoon in the series finale against the Tacoma Rainiers (3-5), dropping a 3-1 decision in 11 innings.
    The Isotopes just missed the sweep, taking the first three games of the four-game series, and conclude the eight-game homestand with a 5-3 record.
    The Isotopes had a chance for their fourth walk-off win in seven games in the bottom of the ninth and 10th but couldn’t find a way to pull it out.
    Ben Paulsen led off the inning with a double but was gunned down at third after an attempted sacrifice bunt. A 4-6-3 double play ended the inning.
    In the bottom of the 10th, catcher Ryan Casteel reached to lead off the frame courtesy of an error but was left stranded after a popup and back-to-back strikeouts.
    Albuquerque has won a pair of 10-inning games this season in addition to two more last at-bat wins.
    Sunday’s 11-inning affair was the longest for the Isotopes this season. In the top of the 11th, a leadoff double got Tacoma’s offense rolling.
    An errant throw on a bunt attempt allowed a run to score and put another runner on third with no outs. After a sacrifice fly, the Rainiers led 3-1. The Isotopes couldn’t muster any offense in the home half of the 11th with Tacoma retiring the side in order.

  • Today in history April 17
  • Report: Safety lapses, management at fault in WIPP leak

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A radiation leak that forced the indefinite closure of the federal government's only underground nuclear waste repository could have been prevented, a team of investigators said Thursday.

    A combination of poor management, lapses in safety and a lack of proper procedures were outlined in a final report released by the U.S. Department of Energy's Accident Investigation Board. Officials planned to review the findings Thursday night during a community meeting in Carlsbad.

    The investigators spent more than a year looking into the cause of the radiation release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico.

    Like a separate team of technical experts, they too found that a chemical reaction inside a drum of waste that had been packaged at Los Alamos National Laboratory forced the lid open, allowing radiation to escape. The contents included nitrate salt residues and organic cat litter that was used to soak up moisture in the waste.

  • Swap meet benefits LAHS literary magazine

    The Los Alamos High School “Pegasus” literary magazine will have its annual swap meet from 8 a.m.-noon Saturday at the Duane Smith Auditorium parking lot.

    In inclement weather, the swap meet will be held in the lower commons of Los Alamos High School. A variety of furniture, clothing, toys, and knick-knacks will be available for purchase. Funds from the rental of space for the swap meet will support the publication of “Pegasus,” the Los Alamos High School literary magazine.

    Starting at 7:45-9 a.m., “Pegasus” will also welcome donations from the community for resale. Community members are invited to bring unwanted clothing, furniture or other items (in good condition) to the Pegasus tables.  Space rental/donationg is $20. Sellers may begin set up at 7:30 a.m..  Shopping will begin at 8 a.m.

    A 50-year tradition, “Pegasus” needs funds to publish student writing and art. Additional funds raised will be donated to either the Thurston or Fabry Memorial Funds.

    The Los Alamos High School Hilltalkers Speech and Debate Team will host a table at the resale to raise money to send 10 qualifiers to the National Speech and Debate Tournament this June to Dallas.

  • DOE issues WIPP report

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (EM) released the Accident Investigation Board (AIB) Phase II Report related to the Feb. 14, 2014, radiological event at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad.
    The AIB completed an exhaustive investigation at WIPP and Los Alamos National Laboratory to examine the cause of the radiological release at WIPP and identify managerial controls and safety measures necessary to prevent or minimize the probability or severity of a recurrence of this type of accident. Based on post-event chemical, radiological, and fire forensic analyses, the AIB concluded that the release was caused by an exothermic reaction involving the mixture of organic materials and nitrate salts in one drum that was processed at LANL in December 2013. The Board also concluded that an underground salt haul truck fire that occurred at WIPP on Feb. 5, 2014, did not cause or contribute to the radiological release event. The AIB’s findings identify shortcomings within both contractor and federal processes at LANL, WIPP, EM, and the National Nuclear Security Administration.