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Today's News

  • Politicking enlists hocus-pocus

    “Hocus-pocus,” that stylish tool that pretends to do magic, also fits what the party we spurn tries to sell in election speeches. The comparison is not by chance. Politicking and sleight of hand have much in common.
    These words can be read as a cheap insult, yet their meaning is very real. Serious books these days explore the neuroscience behind magic tricks and find close ties to the ways in which illusions persuade people.
    The techniques work the same way in our brains whether the goal is to amuse with magic or to sell, persuade or gain votes. Brains work how they work.  
    In broad terms, magic methods work by distracting the viewers’ attention from the crucial spots at key times. The magic term is “sleight of hand.” When selling or politicking, the more refined term is “sleight of mind,” with the same meaning.
    The fun of magic is that we know what we see is impossible, whether we can spot the trick in it or not. The harm of politicking is we half-believe the impossible, because our minds do not work to spot the tricks.

  • Scott gets court date in murder case

    Former Los Alamos resident Stephen Scott, 40, will appear in a Denton County, Texas courtroom Dec. 5 to face charges for the murder of his parents.
    The date was set in the 362nd District Court, in Denton County.
    Stephen Scott, along with his brother Michael Scott and parents, Linda and Marion Scott, were longtime residents of Los Alamos. They lived in the county from the late 1970s until the early 2000s.
    Stephen Scott was arrested after his parents were stabbed to death in their Denton home Jan. 10. It was reported that he allegedly confessed to a 911 dispatcher that he committed the murders.
    A grand jury indicted Stephen Scott Jan. 21.
    Denton police charged Stephen Scott with two counts of capital felony murder.
    Stephen Scott is being held on $250,000 bail in the Denton County jail.
    While in jail, Stephen Scott has been hospitalized for an alleged, self-inflicted head wound.
    His trial is set to begin Dec. 5. The state of Texas has not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty in the case.  
    “We have not filed any kind of formal notice that we are, and that’s something that must happen before we can,” said Denton First District Attorney Jamie Beck told the local media.

  • Creating the ‘Secret City’ app

    When the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) team that developed the “Secret City” app heard I was stuck trying to get into 109 East Palace, they asked if they could meet with me to help me out.
    As Team Leader Travis Burkett and Lead Programmer Jeff Wauson coached me through the ins and outs of using the app, I learned how they went about developing this complex piece of programming.
    The two walked me through unlocking security clearances that let me access the Los Alamos town site, the tech area around Ashley Pond, V-Site and Gun Site and finally the Trinity Site itself. The tour is structured to give the user the experience of being a scientist recruited to the project.
    As Burkett and Wauson coached me through, I learned how they worked with historians at LANL and the Bradbury Science Museum to find photos and historical documents for the project, how they created images for the various sites and some of the challenges that went into the project.
    The app functions like a treasure hunt that leads the user through higher levels of clearance. Users can take either a first-person tour on the ground of go for an aerial view of the sites. They are presented with new objectives after each clearance is passed.
    “All these are just to outline the path we want users to take,” Wauson said.

  • Artists share stories at White Rock pot ceremony

    At Wednesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony for the large replicas of San Ildefonso pottery lining N.M. 4 in White Rock, many of the artists shared deep feelings about what the project meant to them.
    Former Arts in Public Places Board Chair Steve Foltyn, who oversaw the project from start to finish, acknowledged the significance of the project and the artists’ contributions.
    “It’s really only a small piece of the story to call this art. It is indeed art, but it’s art that celebrates other art that dates between 50 and more than 500 years ago…But even more than celebrating ancestral art is the story of the ancestors who are being celebrated, and those are the people who are the original inhabitants of this area.
    “Yet another layer of this story is that the descendants of those original potters played a major role in this project and the creation of these replicas. So there’s a lot more to it than just art.”
    All 10 artists who participated are from the Pueblo of San Ildefonso. They are Johnny Cruz, Karen Fred, Barbara Gonzales, Cavan Gonzales, Becky Martinez, Evone Snowflake Martinez, Frances Martinez, Marvin Martinez, N. Summer Martinez and Eva Moquino.

  • State gets $2.6M to fight opioid addiction

    Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-3) learned Wednesday that New Mexico will receive  $2.6 million in funding to help combat the abuse of legal and illegal opiates in New Mexico.
    “These resources for New Mexico’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic are welcome news, and every dollar is critical to our work to prevent more lives from being lost to this crisis,” Luján said.
    The $2.6 million in funding is part of a $53 million funding package from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services to combat opioid abuse in 44 states (including New Mexico), four tribes and the District of Columbia.
    For New Mexico, that means about $1 million will be available for the state’s Prevention of Opioid Overdose-Related Death Program, and about $371,000 will be available for the Strategic Prevention Framework for Prescription Drugs.
    Funding for those two programs are the result of grants from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. The Center for Disease Control provided $953,074 for New Mexico’s Prevention for States Supplement and $279,533 for the state’s Illicit Opioid Program.
    Counselors from Los Alamos drug treatment programs welcomed the funding, saying it will not only help Los Alamos County, but also the northern New Mexico region.

  • School children from kindergarten through eighth grade get free breakfast Wednesday at McDonald’s

    McDonald’s in Los Alamos, in partnership with Dairy MAX, Dairy Producers of New Mexico and Minute Maid, are inviting local students in kindergarten through eighth grades to enjoy a free breakfast from 6-9 a.m. Wednesday.

    The breakfast includes an Egg White Delight McMuffin or Egg McMuffin, apples slices and milk or Minute Maid orange juice or apple juice.

    “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and contributes to students’ learning success,” said Andres Zamora, New Mexico McDonald’s owner/operator.

    Studies have shown the strong connection between a wholesome breakfast and better focus and overall performance in school. Kindergarten-eighth grade students (15 years and under) who receive the free breakfast must be present and accompanied by a parent or guardian. There are no group redemption or substitutions, and the offer is good while supplies last. Guests are encouraged to come inside the restaurant as drive-thru participation is at the discretion of each owner/operator.

    This program is available at McDonald’s across the state except for restaurants in the Las Cruces and Clayton area.

    For nutrition and ingredient information, as well as McDonald’s full line of national menu choices, visit McDonalds.com.

    About McDonald's of New Mexico

  • Flash flood advisory until 3:45 p.m.

    The National Weather Service in Albuquerque has issued an arroyo and small stream flood advisory fornorthwestern Los Alamos County from 1:50 p.m. until 3:45 p.m.
    At 1:49 p.m. National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated heavy rain due to a thunderstorm moving east over Los Alamos. Rain amounts between one and two inches will be common with this storm, especially over northern and western portions of Los Alamos.
    Precautionary/preparedness actions: Excessive runoff will cause flooding of urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses as well as other poor drainage and low lying areas.

  • Former New Mexico official to lead oil industry group

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The former head of the New Mexico Environment Department has been appointed to lead an oil and gas industry group that represents producers around the state.

    The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association on Friday announced Ryan Flynn as its new executive director.

    Flynn replaces Steve Henke, who retired after six years with the association. Like Flynn, Henke also was a former government official, having worked in the Bureau of Land Management's field office in Farmington.

    The association's chairman, Cliff Brunson, says Flynn's background in legal and regulatory affairs will be a good fit for the industry as it navigates what he called challenging times.

    Environmental groups voiced concerns about a revolving door between government and industry, but association spokesman Wally Drangmeister said Flynn will honor an agreement that prohibits him from interacting with his former agency.

  • Governor: Police officer killed in Alamogordo

    ALAMOGORDO (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez says a police officer in Alamogordo has been killed in what marks the second on-duty death of an officer in the state in less than a month.

    In a statement, the governor says she was saddened by the officer's death and that violence against law enforcement in the state must end.

    The Alamogordo Daily News reports state and local authorities were investigating the shooting in Alamogordo on Friday that happened near a residential area around 8:30 a.m.

    Authorities have not identified the officer or a suspect, or released other details of their investigation.

    The officer's death comes three weeks after authorities say an Ohio fugitive gunned down Officer Jose Chavez during a traffic stop in the village of Hatch.

  • LAHS cross country opens season at UNM Saturday

    The quest to continue its rich dynasty begins Saturday for the Los Alamos Cross Country team.
    The Hilltoppers will travel to Albuquerque to partake in the annual Lobo Invitational, one of the season’s most competitive meets which is held at the University of New Mexico campus.
    Last Saturday, Los Alamos completed its annual scrimmage with La Cueva. The Hilltoppers had the top two finishers in the boy’s race and a third and fourth place finisher on the girl’s side.
    Rafael Sanchez and Kai Coblentz led the Hilltopper boys, while Lidia Appell and Marin Kelly were the top Los Alamos girls.    
    Last year, Los Alamos girl’s cross country returner Zoe Hemez ran a 20:54.96 and finished in 31st place to help the Hilltoppers win the Lobo Invitational. Kelly finished 32nd in last season’s meet.
    Elijah Velasquez ran a 17:49.84 and helped the Hilltopper boy’s place sixth at last year’s Lobo Invitational.
    Saturday will be a good test for Los Alamos, who will sport one of its youngest squads since coaches Kathy and Rob Hipwood took over the program 23 years ago.
    The Lobo Invitational will once again include some of the state’s best programs like Albuquerque Academy, La Cueva, Cleveland, Rio Rancho and Eldorado.