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Today's News

  • Sheriff investigate corruption? Makes no sense

    Corruption: dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people (such as government officials or police officers) (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

    My fellow councilor Pete Sheehey has proposed a council resolution to more expansively define the roles and responsibilities of the Los Alamos County Sheriff’s Office. The last paragraph of his resolution is very troubling, as it would give the Sheriff the power to perform a criminal investigation should the police department be deemed, in the sheriff’s “reasonable” opinion, to be compromised. I see this expansive power as a fatal flaw in his proposal. To understand my objections, let’s dig deeper into the implications of this role.

  • A word in praise of drilling rigs

    I like drilling rigs. They’re noisy, dirty and dangerous, which appeals to the teenage boy in me. And I’ve always felt the big flag on the derrick is a nice touch. As a combination of hard work, technical savvy and high-stakes optimism, oil and gas drilling is the quintessential American enterprise.

    As with so much of the modern world, we invented it. Years ago, I met an oilman who had a photo of the famous Spindletop Geyser on his office wall, and he was happy to share the story. On Jan. 10, 1901, Lucas No. 1 in southeast Texas struck “black gold” at just 1,020 feet down. The gusher spewed a fountain of crude 150 feet in the air, blowing nearly a million barrels of oil over the landscape before settling down to pump a steady 10,000 barrels a day. As hundreds of derricks sprouted around that lone well on Spindletop Dome the price of oil dropped from $2 a barrel to less than a nickel and the American Century was underway.

  • 2017 Sectional Duplicate bridge tourney set for July 28-30 in LA

    The 56th annual Los Alamos Sectional Duplicate bridge tournament will be July 28-30 at the Betty Ehart Senior Center.

    Last year’s tournament attracted more than 150 bridge players from within New Mexico and from surrounding states. More than 100 players were from outside Los Alamos County.

    The tournament starts at 2 p.m. on July 28, with stratified and 499er pair games. Another stratified pair game is scheduled for 7 p.m. that day.

    Saturday, July 29, the schedule will include stratified and 499er pair games at 9 a.m., as well as a compact knockout team game. The 2 p.m. schedule on that day is the same.

    On Sunday, July 30, the tournament will host a stratified Swiss team and a 499er stratified Swiss team event starting at 9:30 a.m.

    Lynn Yokel from Seattle will serve as the tournament director in charge and Jerry Fleming will be the local tournament chairman.

    Duplicate bridge is a competitive but friendly bridge game where several foursomes play the same hands. Their scores are determined by how well they did compared to others who held the same hands.

  • Jobless rates fall below 4 pct. in nearly half of US states

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Hiring rose last month in 14 U.S. states in June, and the unemployment rate fell to record lows in two states, evidence that the job market is getting tighter across much of the country.
    New Mexico’s unemployment rate dropped slightly by .2 percent to 6.4 percent. The state ranked second highest for unemployment in the country.

    The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates fell in 10 states and rose in only two. Rates were stable in the other 38 states.

    After five years of steady hiring, unemployment rates have fallen below 4 percent in 23 states. Unemployment that low suggests that those states are at “full employment,” when nearly everyone who wants a job has one and the unemployment rate reflects the normal churn of hiring and firing.

    Alaska had the highest jobless rate at 6.8 percent, followed by New Mexico at 6.4 percent.

    Colorado and North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rates in June at 2.3 percent each. The rates in North Dakota, at 2.3 percent, and Tennessee, at 3.6 percent, set new lows.

    The rate has fallen below 3 percent in five states: Colorado, Hawaii, Nebraska, New Hampshire and North Dakota.

  • Smith’s pharmacist for national service award

    Sometimes the people doing the most incredible things can be found right in the neighborhood grocery store. One such person is Smith’s pharmacist, Katie Fry.

    Fry was nominated for a national level, Smith’s Community Service Award by Diane Ogborn, Phar.D, RPH. Ogborn is a clinical pharmacist and diabetes instructor for the pharmacist diabetes certification course provided by Smith’s.

    When Ogborn overheard Fry talking during a break at the training session, the pair spent their whole lunch hour talking about her work in Haiti and viewing pictures on Fry’s phone.

    Fry first went to Haiti with the Friends of the Children of Haiti (FOTCOH) in July of 2012, and this September will make her fifth trip in six years.

    “I love seeing how Friends of the Children of Haiti makes a difference in the lives of the people of Cyvadier and the surrounding communities,” said Fry. “The simple treatment of scabies and worms to make a child or adult more comfortable, to provide lifesaving antibiotics to treat severe infections and to see a malnourished child become a healthy weight and start to develop as expected in ways we take for granted here.”

  • Voices of LA to meet Monday

    Voices of Los Alamos invites the community to attend their upcoming meeting on Monday from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Church.

    Voices of Los Alamos is a political action group affiliated with the Indivisible Movement that focuses on fueling a progressive grassroots network.

    This action group was created as a way for Los Alamos residents to voice their concerns over the current political events, both at the state and federal level, and give people a space to come together, discuss and come up with an action plan.

    Every month covers a different topic, ranging from the environment, the 2018 elections, immigration and health care in order to gather ideas and opinions.

    Co-organizers Elena Giorgi and Cristina Olds spoke with the LA Monitor about what the meeting will cover and why they think LA residents should attend.

    First on the agenda for Monday’s meeting includes updates on the Michelle Lujan Grisham fundraiser in Los Alamos, the Sheriff’s Office debate and the Council on immigrant resolution.

    On July 15, U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham attended a fundraiser at LA resident Kyle Wheeler’s house. Lujan Grisham was born in Los Alamos and is running for Governor in the 2018 election. Olds will review her notes from that fundraiser and apprise attendees of Lujan’s goals.

  • Waste water plant failure imminent

    Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities officials recommended to the Los Alamos Board of Public Utilities Wednesday to make plans to replace the White Rock Waste Water Treatment Plant as soon as possible.

    “It’s clear, with the risk assessment, the financial analysis, the cost benefit and the lowest impact to our ratepayers long term is to build a new plant as fast as we can,” said Deputy Utilities Manager James Alarid.

    During a presentation on the status of the plant Alarid explained that a major component at the plant has failed at the 50-year-old plant this July.

    Alarid proposed to the board they start designing a new plant in fiscal year 2020 and start building the plant in fiscal year 2021.

    Funding for project is expected to come through an 8-percent water rate increase the board recently approved but the

    Los Alamos County Council has yet to pass. The council is expected to take a vote on the increase Aug. 8.

    “Of course, the wildcard in all of this is it’s dependent on multiple year rate increases,” Alarid said. “...It’s pretty much necessary for any path forward.”

  • Senate committee OK’s funds for key LANL programs

    The Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation Tuesday that, if passed by the House and Senate intact this fall, would bring $38.4 billion in funding to New Mexico – much of that going to the state’s national laboratories.

    The funds would also go to support the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the nuclear waste treatment plant in Carlsbad, and various federal water restoration projects within the state.

    Los Alamos National Laboratory programs funded by the committee include the B61 nuclear weapon life extension program at $788.5 million, $200 million for plutonium pit manufacturing and $161 million for the supercomputer development program.

    Sandia and Los Alamos National laboratories are working on ways to extend the B61 program’s life by at least 20 years.

    Sandia is working on adding a guidance system to the tail and LANL’s role is to update the weapon’s other components.

    The first completed B61 unit is due in March of 2020. The project’s estimated cost is $8.1 billion. The life extension program is being managed by the National Nuclear Safety Administration.

    The appropriations committee also added millions in funding to help bolster the laboratory’s aging infrastructure.

  • Los Alamos aims to become ‘bicycle friendly’

    For nearly three years, Los Alamos County’s Public Works Department has been taking steps to make the county a Bicycle Friendly Community. By the end of this year, it may be a reality.

    Each year, the League of American Bicyclists accepts applications from communities around the country and determines whether they qualify as “bicycle friendly.”

    According to its official website, the League “represents bicyclists in the movement to create safer roads, stronger communities and a bicycle-friendly America.”

    Currently, 416 communities around the country are recognized as bike friendly, and more than 100 communities have earned honorable mention status. There are multiple tiers included within the label of bicycle friendly, ranging from bronze status to platinum.

    In New Mexico, Santa Fe is recognized in the silver tier, while Albuquerque and Las Cruces are in the bronze tier.

    In 2016, Los Alamos County submitted an application for consideration, and was given an honorable mention recognition, with guidelines on how they could earn medal status in the future.

    Eric Martinez, the county engineer for Los Alamos County, said that the county looked at all of the recommendations the League of American Bicyclists gave to them, and began working toward accomplishing them.

  • 19-year-old died rock climbing in White Rock

    A local teen tragically fell to his death Sunday after losing his footing in the White Rock Canyon. News of the heartbreaking death has not only pained the community, but also had people questioning the safety of that area.

    County officials confirmed Monday that 19-year-old hiker as Trevor Matuszak, of Los Alamos, died from his injuries.

    Matuszak was hiking with two friends in the area known as Hell’s Hole, a treacherous cave located on the side White Rock Canyon.

    According to the accompanying hikers, Matuszak lost his footing in a steep portion of Hell’s Hole and fell into the canyon. The area was too perilous for the hikers to climb down in order to reach Matuszak, so they called 911 for help.

    Los Alamos Fire Department and Los Alamos Police Department officers were dispatched to the canyon at about 5:30 p.m. Emergency response crews trained in rock climbing under hazardous conditions were able to rappel to the scene of the accident, with assistance from LAPD.

    Rescue crews were able to reach Matuszak, but determined that he had apparently died of his injuries in the fall. Crews were able to retrieve his body from the canyon just before nightfall.

    LAFD and LAPD crews safely rescued the other two hikers accompanying Matuszak out of the canyon.