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Today's News

  • Local Briefs 12-16-16

    Bandelier Offers Walks on Winter Solstice

    For Ancestral Pueblo farmers, keeping track of the changing of the seasons was crucial for knowing when to plant and harvest. This year, Bandelier National Monument will offer ranger-guided walks to observe possible solstice markers among the Ancestral Pueblo dwellings in Frijoles Canyon. 
    On Wednesday, winter solstice, the Sunrise Walk will meet at 7:15 a.m. in front of the Visitor Center, and the Sunset Walk at 1:30 p.m.
    These times may sound strange, but the 400-foot canyon walls make a big difference in the first and last times of the day that the sun appears as seen from the canyon bottom. The walks will be postponed to the following day if the sky is overcast.
    The shuttles have finished for this year, so participants can drive down to the Visitor Center area, and no signups are required. Participants are encouraged to dress warmly in layers.  Both walks are about 400 yards each way on a level paved trail. The area along the trail, like most of Bandelier National Monument, is habitat for many kinds of native wildlife, so dogs and other pets are not permitted.

  • Community Calendar 12-16-16

    TODAY
    Astronomy Show: Exoplanet Update for 7 p.m. at the Nature Center.
    How many exoplanets have we found this year? Which ones do we think are similar to Earth? Cost is $6 for adults, $4 for children. More information at peecnature.org.
    SATURDAY
    Christmas Bird Count at 6:30 a.m. at the Nature Center. Participate in the longest running citizen science project in the world, the National Audubon Society’s 117th Annual Christmas Bird Count. Free. More information at peecnature.org.

    Feature Film: “We are Stars” at 2 p.m. at the Nature Center. This exciting, family-friendly film connects us to the evolution of the Universe and explores the secrets of our cosmic chemistry. Cost is $6 for adults, $4 for children. More information at peecnature.org.

    First United Methodist Church will host a dinner to recognize firefighters and police of Los Alamos County at 5:30 p.m. at the church, 715 Diamond Drive. For questions, call 662-6277.

    The Pajarito Lodge 66, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of New Mexico invite the community to attend an installation ceremony at 4:30 p.m. at the lodge, 1400 North Sage Loop. Refreshments will be served. Anyone interested about Freemasonry or what happens in a lodge is encouraged to attend the event.
    SUNDAY

  • Karen Wray Gallery moves to new location

    Why do artists love light from the Northern sky?
    “Northern lighting is ideal,” said Karen Wray, owner of Karen Wray Gallery. “It’s a cool blue light and it doesn’t change like the southern sky.”
    This week, the Karen Wray Gallery moves to a new location at 1247 Central Ave., Suite D-2, right next to Boomerang and Warm Hearts Yarn.
    For the past six months Wray has prepared for the move by doing everything she can to make sure the light in her gallery showcases the art in the best conditions.
    “North light is what artists love,” she said. “Halogen light also brings out the best colors in oil paints.”
    To let natural light flood into her gallery’s 2,000 foot space, Wray installed four floor-to-ceiling windows. She also put in a track lighting system of halogen lights, and removed several walls so art lovers have enough room to stand the optimum distance from the paintings.
    The investment in time and money was worth it, because Wray has a passion for local art.
    Her gallery has moved locations four times, but one thing always remains the same.
    The gallery is completely focused on showing art of Los Alamos and northern New Mexico.

  • NM Legislature opens doors to pre-filed bills

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are getting their first opportunity to file bills for consideration ahead of next year’s regular legislative session.
    The Legislature began accepting “pre-filed” bills on Thursday in advance of a 60 day session.
    Lawmakers convene on Jan. 17 to resolve a budget deficit linked a downturn in the oil and natural gas industry and consider a wide variety of policy initiatives. Lawmakers are honing proposals to crack down on reckless driving, increase funding for childhood education and shore up state finances by legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana, to name just a few anticipated initiatives.
    Democrats will outnumber Republicans 26-16 in the Senate and 38-32 in the House of Representatives.

  • Community stakes high with levy vote

    The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos will ask residents in January to vote for a 1-mill increase in property taxes. The vote will be through a mail-in ballot that’s in resident’s mailboxes in early January.
    UNM-LA is hoping the increase in funds the levy increase will bring will help make up for the steady decline in state funding the school has seen since 2008.
    “At UNM-LA, we have positive momentum, but we are running on very limited resources,” said UNM-LA Campus CEO Cindy Rooney. “We need additional operational funds to be able to restore, continue, and expand strategic programs.”
    Since fiscal year 2008, funding for the Los Alamos campus has declined by 32 percent, or $855,625.
    Between that time, the campus has taken steps to try and offset the decline. The campus has increased tuition by 6 percent every year since 2008 to try and offset the balance. Revenue from contracts and grants has increased from 12 percent to 19 percent during that time period.
    If voters approve the increase, the levy increases property taxes by $33.33 per $100,000 of market assessed property value, $66.67 per $200,000 of market assessed property value and $100 per $300,000 of market assessed property value, etc.

  • McD’s prepares to open
  • Legislative challenge will be budget

    At a Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce breakfast Wednesday, New Mexico Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Dist. 43) called the state’s budget, “the most pressing issue we’ll be facing.”
    According to Garcia Richard, the estimated shortfall for the coming year is at minimum $150 million dollar. She stressed that filling that gap would only maintain solvency, with no additional money designated to shore up the state’s reserve funds.
    The predicted deficit piles on this year’s $500 million dollar shortage, which the legislature addressed during a special session in September.
    Garcia Richard expects legislators to vote for a tax increase, but noted that Gov. Susana Martinez has said she would not sign such a bill.
    She also stressed the limits of that solution.
    “We cannot balance a budget on raised taxes alone. It’s like the people who say, you cut until you can’t cut anymore,” Garcia Richard said. “It’s the same way with raising taxes. You can’t raise taxes to balance your budget.”
    Garcia Richard also anticipates efforts to close tax loopholes, but she sees such actions as short-term solutions. For her, the real solution is diversifying the state’s economy.

  • New Fly Santa Fe offers non-stop flights to Phoenix

    Northern New Mexico residents can now catch a nonstop flight to Phoenix from the Santa Fe Municipal Airport.
    Fly Santa Fe – an initiative of the Northern New Mexico Air Alliance – had its inaugural flight on Thursday. The alliance is a non-profit group of businesses, cities, counties and attractions that sees Fly Santa Fe as the first step to opening northern New Mexico to new economic opportunities.
    “We’d like to have all of Northern New Mexico using Santa Fe Airport as their hub to connect to the rest of the world,” said Simon Brackley, president and CEO of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, one of the partner organizations.
    “If you fly locally, that keeps the money locally, it generates jobs locally and it makes it easier for people to come here and spend money, whether it’s on skiing or real estate or art or technology.”
    Brackley sympathized with Los Alamos’ struggles to initiate air service, emphasizing that Fly Santa Fe is a regional effort.

  • Feds award $2.6B contract to manage Sandia National Labs

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Federal officials have awarded a $2.6 billion contract to manage Sandia National Laboratories to a subsidiary of Honeywell International.

    The U.S. Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration said Friday the winning bidder was National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia.

    Bidding began earlier this year, marking the first time in years that there was any competition for the lucrative contract. Lockheed Martin has operated the Albuquerque-based weapons and research lab for the past two decades.

    The current contract expires April 30. There will be a four-month transition period that officials say will provide stability for employees and operations.

    Federal officials say the bid generated unprecedented interest from the across the country. Other bidders were Lockheed Martin and Boeing as well as a team that including the University of New Mexico, the University of Texas, Texas A&M University.

     

  • LA girls hoops fall at Hope

    A matchup between the state’s No. 1 and No. 83 teams was only going to end one way.
    The Los Alamos girls basketball team had the tough task of following a weekend tournament by facing top-ranked (maxpreps.com) Hope Christian on Tuesday in Albuquerque. The Huskies, who are ranked 21st nationally, defeated the Hilltoppers 65-31.
    Los Alamos fell to 3-8 on the season, while Hope Christian remained unbeaten at 7-0. The Huskies also played and won the same tournament Los Alamos participated in last weekend.
    Seniors Elena Abeyta and Sienna Ahlers led Los Alamos with eight points apiece. Shannon Irwin and Isabell Larribas added four points each.
    Hanna Valencia paced the Huskies with a game-high 15 points.
    It was the sixth straight loss for the Hilltoppers, who faced St. Pius on Thursday after the Los Alamos Monitor’s Friday deadline.