Today's News

  • LAPS takes lead in proposed new state science standards

    Los Alamos School District representatives have been asked to take the lead against new science standards proposed by the state Public Education Department, members of the school board heard Thursday.

    Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus said he met with superintendents and principals from other northern New Mexico schools in Santa Fe recently, where they asked about Los Alamos Schools’ view of the proposals.

    The proposed standards – which are rules – have drawn fire for dropping or replacing language from a national model of science standards regarding climate change, evolution and the age of the planet.

    “They wanted to know what Los Alamos schools would be doing,” Steinhaus said.

    Representatives from other school districts asked for copies of the board’s resolution – adopted Thursday – which calls for the state to adopt a national model, developed in 2013, called Next Generation Science Standards. The board’s resolution asks for modifications recognizing New Mexico’s ecology, natural phenomenon, and its multitude of energy resources.

    “The original draft (from PED) was weighted heavily on the oil and gas industry. We’ve added alternative energy,” Steinhaus said.

  • Union for 430 Sandia Labs employees authorizes a strike

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The union that represents 430 Sandia National Laboratories employees has voted to authorize them to go on strike.
    A lab spokeswoman tells the Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/2fHGzOj ) that the Metal Trades Council rejected Sandia's "last, best and final offer" during contract negotiations Friday night.
    However, a strike authorization doesn't mean a strike is imminent and the union hasn't notified the labs that its members will go on strike.
    Sandia officials say the final version of the three-year contract offered general wage increases and lump sum payments.
    The Journal reports that Metal Trades Council went on strike in August 1999 for 13 days over pensions, job classification and pay issues.

  • Caribbean culture gave rise to the zombie

    Fans of the popular television show “The Walking Dead” know that the show follows a group of people trying to survive a postapocalyptic world dominated by reanimated dead humans who feed on the flesh of other living creatures. While they’re referred to as “walkers” by everyone on the show, viewers are led to believe these creatures are “zombies.”
    Zombies have long been a subject of horror movies, video games and scary tales. Zombies are believed to be corpses without souls who have been reanimated through supernatural means. Unbeknownst to many, the lumbering undead on the search for fresh brains that makes up the contemporary zombie characterization actually trace their roots to the Caribbean.
    Some speculate the word “zombie” was derived from West African languages. The Oxford English Dictionary says “zombie” is a word that was first recorded in English in 1819. It is related to words zumbi, meaning “fetish,” and nzambi meaning, “a god.”

  • Working together to enhance our community

    Los Alamos County Council Chair

    This is part three of a three-part series.

    In part one of my editorial on code enforcement, I covered the “why” behind the program, and in part two, I addressed the “how” of the process that is involved. Today in part three, I would like to talk more philosophically about code enforcement and what the county and the community can do to assist with resources. 

    Let me address the “government-encroachment” argument first which I have heard a few times. I can understand that some, and probably most individuals feel an initial gut feeling of government overreach when an ordinance is passed that imposes additional personal responsibilities for property maintenance. However, *any* new law, by definition, imposes new constraints on our freedoms.

    After that initial reaction, we need to then look at the fundamental issue that this new ordinance is addressing, and whether it is the right approach or not. If no one drove dangerously, we would not need speeding limits. If everyone was attentive to their property, we wouldn’t need property maintenance standards either. We do have a property maintenance problem in town, and I don’t see a practical alternative to some kind of code and its enforcement.

  • Gov. candidate Cervantes brings experience, results

    Joe Cervantes’ office is an old house a half block from the New Mexico State University campus in Las Cruces. His car (truck, really), a black GMC Yukon, tucks into an alcove under a tree next to the door. He doesn’t know the age of the house, though he notes that the thick walls certify that the house is old.

    Cervantes, a state senator and a Democrat, is running for governor (joe4nm.com). The day we talk, a hot mid-September Wednesday, his attire is business casual, sleeves rolled up.

    For those seriously undertaking a task as complex, difficult and expensive as running for governor – and Cervantes is very serious about this – all sorts of reasons appear. He is clear about what is not a motivation. “I am not running for governor to ascend” to a higher political position, he says.

    Cervantes doesn’t name names, but the reference certainly is both to Bill Richardson, who became governor as a platform for running for president, and Susana Martinez, formerly touted for higher posts.

    Results are Cervantes’ focus. “There’s a lot to be said” about having a governor knowing the process. Bruce King was the most recent to come from the Legislature. His final term ended in 1994.

  • Local composer ready to start new session

    Local composer, Dr. Greg Schneider, who has students from 7 weeks to 70 years old, is ready to start another session of Music Together, in addition to his private guitar lessons.
    “Music literacy is not really very difficult to learn, especially if you do so gradually as you are acquiring knowledge and technique on your instrument,” said Schneider. “I can get students reading music at an initial level within five minutes and comfortable reading music at a basic level within a few lessons.
    His students study a variety of areas including; electric rock, jazz, finger style steel string, and classical.
    His other passion for Music Together teaches that all children are musical, that unprompted by adults, children will engage in musical play through songs, rhythmic chants, or dance.
    “The Music Together classes are meant to tap into that innate desire for music and promote and nurture it,” said Schneider. “I want my students to make music a part of their lives for the rest of their lives.  Making music at all levels is important, whether that’s being a professional musician, playing with family and friends, or simply playing for your own enjoyment.”

  • Family Strengths Network to host Birth Talk Monday

    October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Approximately one in four women will lose a pregnancy at some point in their lives, and in the U.S., about five in 1,000 infants are stillborn or do not live more than a month.

    Loss is a difficult and often taboo subject, but it is an important conversation to have. The experience of loss, as defined by the person experiencing it, is unique to that person. We believe that each person’s experience deserves to be honored.

    Birth Talk Los Alamos will hold space in a circle Monday at the Family Strengths Network with and for those who have suffered pregnancy and infant loss. The Birth Talk event will be at 6:30 p.m. at FSN, 3540 Orange St, Los Alamos.
    Facilitators from the local MISS Foundation support group will join the group. As part of the special talk, the group will hold a brief ceremony of remembrance. Everyone, including babies not yet crawling, is welcome to attend. 

  • WIPP reports increased ground instability

    Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad reported Thursday increased ground instability that could cause potential rock fall.

    Highly-sensitive ground monitoring instruments in Panel 7, Room 6, of the WIPP underground has indicated increasing ground movement rates, according to a release issued by WIPP Thursday.

    This area has been prohibited to personnel access for more than a year.

    “The increased rates of movement are a sign of ground (rock) instability and indicate a possible rock fall will occur,” according to the release issued by the Carlsbad Office of Environmental Management.

    Based on current instrumentation readings and experiences from Panel 7, Room 4, last year, the likelihood of a rock fall in Room 6 is increasing.

    Rock falls are not uncommon in prohibited areas of the WIPP underground, where ground control activities are not being performed, according to the release.

    Salt movement is expected in the WIPP underground and is one reason salt was selected as a disposal medium, officials said. All underground openings at WIPP are closely monitored on a regular basis, and closure rates throughout the underground are tracked and recorded.

  • Texas firm awarded $19M for storing nuclear waste

    LOS ALAMOS (AP) — A Texas firm is being awarded a contract worth more than $19 million to continue storing radioactive waste from a federal laboratory that was initially intended to be disposed of at an underground government site in southern New Mexico.

    The U.S. Energy Department had the containers sent to Waste Control Specialists in Andrews County, Texas, after a 2014 radiation release forced a nearly three-year closure of the government’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

    The repository resumed operations earlier this year, but the two-year storage order allows for the waste to remain in Texas until shipments to the repository ramp up.

    Los Alamos National Laboratory initially sent 582 barrels of waste to Texas, including 113 containers similar to one that caused the radiation leak at the repository.

  • Caregivers seminar Thursday

    A seminar for caregivers of cancer patients is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 5 at First Baptist Church, 2200 Diamond Drive in Los Alamos. The free community seminar is sponsored by the Los Alamos Council on Cancer.

    Joyce Rubinfeld, R.N., B.S.N., and counselor, and Rhona Levine, a licensed marriage and family therapist, will be the featured speakers at the event. Nurses and allied professionals will be awarded 1.5 CE contact hours for attending. Los Alamos Medical Center is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing for 1.5 Contact Hours.

    The seminar will help caregivers by providing them with information about recognizing signs and symptoms of caregiver stress. The speakers will describe the patient’s multiple roles within the family and community.

    Attendees should obtain knowledge of stress-relieving techniques and be able to identify stress-relieving resources and understand the process of defining “family” for each patient.

    Speakers will also provide attendees with an understanding of the caregiver’s role within the medical community and help them understand cultural awareness and how cultural norms may have an impact on a patient and family with a cancer diagnosis.