Today's News

  • Sniper in high-rise hotel kills at least 58 in Las Vegas

    By SALLY HO and REGINA GARCIA CANO, Associated Press

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — A gunman on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel-casino rained heavy fire down on a crowd of over 22,000 at an outdoor country music festival, turning the expanse into a killing field from which there was little escape. At least 58 people died.

    It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. At least 515 people were injured.

    The FBI discounted the possibility of international terrorism, even after the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. But beyond that, the motive remained a mystery, with Sheriff Joseph Lombardo saying: "I can't get into the mind of a psychopath at this point."

    Concertgoers screamed and ran for their lives Sunday night outside the 44-story Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino after hearing what at first sounded like firecrackers but turned out to be dozens of bullets in rapid-fire bursts, perhaps from an automatic weapon.

    SWAT teams using explosives stormed the gunman's hotel room in the gold-colored glass skyscraper and found he had killed himself. The attacker, Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64-year-old retiree from Mesquite, Nevada, had as many as 10 guns with him, including rifles.

  • LANL engineer looks for partners for cheap space flight

    Joseph Archer wants to start a company to take ordinary citizens into space.

    With all the millions of dollars spent on space tourism today, the Los Alamos National Laboratory radiological safety employee has a plan to do it more efficiently, and cheaper.

    His first step is to get a group of investors together who are genuinely enthusiastic and interested in the idea.

    “If I were to go out and say ‘invest in this idea’… I don’t generally subscribe to that. You should invest in things you have a say in,” Archer said.

    Archer, of Hernandez, New Mexico, is hoping that lab retirees and others who have harbored the same dream he’s had all these years will invest in his idea.

    He is looking for10 to 20 investors who will also serve on a board. All members will have equal say.

  • WIPP officials expect rock fall within a month

    Waste Isolation Pilot Plant officials assured the public Thursday that they’ve planned accordingly for a rock fall event in one of the facility’s underground storage rooms. The fall is expected in Room 6 in Panel 7.

    According to equipment monitoring the situation, the rock fall should come from the ceiling, and could happen within four to six weeks. The room has been off limits for a year, and it only has radiologically contaminated equipment in it.

    “We have the geo techs and the engineers all looking at that, and we feel very comfortable that by having the brattice cloth and the chain link (at strategic locations) we shouldn’t have an issue,”  Nuclear Waste Partnership President Bruce Covert said. 

    Officials have also been talking with workers who work in panel 7 of what will happen when the fall occurs.

    “Now, we’ll probably will have a little spread of contamination coming, but again, we’re anticipating that and we’ve been reworking the operations plan to when we do have the rockfall, what will be the reentry plan,” Covert said.

    WIPP contains eight waste panels with seven rooms each. Each room is 300-feet long, 33-feet wide and 13-feet high. The pillars separating the rooms are about 100-feet thick.

  • 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.