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Today's News

  • Council OK’s sewer, water rate hikes Tuesday

    The Los Alamos County Council approved an 8-percent rate increases for sewage rates and potable water rates Tuesday. The rates will take effect in the next billing cycle.

    The rates were already approved by the Board of Public Utilities in June.

    Motivation for both increases included the replacement of the White Rock Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is expected to cost between $13 and $14 million.

    The sewage rate increase will mean an average monthly payment of $47.46 a month, or $569.52 a year.

    For potable water, the rate hike will mean $471.60 a year, or $39.30 a month.

    Council approved the rates based on an agreement that the Department of Public Utilities and the BPU will meet with council throughout the year to discuss possible ways to keep rates from going up on a yearly basis.

    All of the projections DPU officials presented at the meeting showed yearly increases for both rates as the only way to pay for the new plant and to take care of aging infrastructure.

    During the hearing, council members questioned DPU officials on their reasoning behind the rate increases.

  • Judge: Bills vetoed by New Mexico governor should be law

    SANTA FE (AP) — A state district judge on Friday sided with Democratic lawmakers who asked that certain vetoes by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez during the last regular legislative session be invalidated, setting the stage for the proposals to become law.

    Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that the governor did not follow proper procedures when she nixed 10 bills without providing an explanation. The judge directed the Secretary of State's Office to enter the bills in question into their respective chapters of state law once final paperwork is submitted, a process that could take a few weeks.

    Martinez's lawyers plan to ask for a stay to keep the bills from becoming law while they appeal the ruling.

    "We're disappointed in this decision because there is no question the governor vetoed these bills," said Joe Cueto, a spokesman for the governor. "It's telling how some in the Legislature love running to the courts when they know they don't have the support to override a veto."

    Lawmakers had argued that issuing the vetoes without any explanation made it impossible to understand the governor's objections so that they could revise the bills for possible approval.

  • 2016 weather: Extreme and anything but normal

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Last year’s global weather was far more extreme or record breaking than anything approaching normal, according to a new report.

    The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday released its annual checkup of the Earth, highlighting numerous records including hottest year, highest sea level, and lowest sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctica.

    The 299-page report, written by scientists around the world and published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, shows that 2016 was “very extreme and it is a cause for concern,” said co-editor Jessica Blunden, a NOAA climate scientist.

    Researchers called it a clear signal of human-caused climate change. A record large El Nino, the warming of the central Pacific that changes weather worldwide, was also a big factor in last year’s wild weather.

    “2016 will be forever etched in my brain as the year we crossed a new threshold of climate change – one that gave us a grim glimpse into our future,” said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb, who had no role in the report.
    Scientists examined dozens of key climate measures and found:

  • APNewsBreak: Beyond bluster, US, NKorea in regular contact

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Beyond the bluster, the Trump administration has been quietly engaged in back channel diplomacy with North Korea for several months, addressing Americans imprisoned in the communist country and deteriorating relations between the long-time foes, The Associated Press has learned.

    It had been known the two sides had discussions to secure the June release of an American university student. But it wasn't known until now that the contacts have continued, or that they have broached matters other than U.S. detainees.

    People familiar with the contacts say the interactions have done nothing thus far to quell tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile advances, which are now fueling fears of military confrontation. But they say the behind-the-scenes discussions could still be a foundation for more serious negotiation, including on North Korea's nuclear weapons, should President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un put aside the bellicose rhetoric of recent days and endorse a dialogue.

  • LAPS reviews climate survey

    Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus and board members Tuesday reviewed the data from this year’s school climate survey, which measures people’s experiences of school life and reflects norms, goals, teaching practices and organizational structure.

    The data analysis was completed and presented by Erin Middleton, a Mountain Elementary parent and contracted statistician for the district, who gave a thorough look into what the results mean for LAPS.

    For the past three years, Dr. Hugh Prather of Prather Consulting has conducted a climate survey for each school site and the central office at LAPS. Many of the original questions have remained the same over the years in order to look at trends.

    Middleton began by presenting the district average scores across all sites in regards to the top five lowest scoring questions and then top five highest scoring questions over the past three years.

    The top five highest scoring questions include things like, “teachers and staff go the extra mile for students” and “teachers and the rest of the staff are committed to helping their students.” The overall sentiment is that teachers believe that they are there for the students, they work well together and students are the highest priority.

  • Bandelier rangers offer reward for information on elk poaching

    Bandelier National Monument is offering a reward of $3,000 for information leading to the prosecution of those responsible for the poaching of an elk within the park between the night of Aug. 3 and morning of Aug. 4.

    Park rangers collected at the scene and some parts of the poached elk were taken by the suspects, according to a release sent out by Bandelier Friday. 

    The incident happened along State Highway 4 near milepost 44 near Cerro Grande. The elk was found by rangers on the south side of the road. 

    Anyone who observed a vehicle stopped along the road on the night of Aug. 3 or morning hours Aug. 4 are asked to call Bandelier law enforcement rangers. Anyone with related information is asked to call 505-672-3861 extension 401 or 402. 

  • Open Space and Trails meeting Aug. 16

    The Los Alamos County Open Space and Trails division staff invites residents to meet with Eric Peterson, county Open Space Specialist, to discuss trails in and around the North Mesa Stables area. The meeting will be held on Aug. 16 from 5:30-7 p.m. Attendees are asked to meet at the parking lot across from the Posse Lodge (650 North Mesa Road).
    The focus of the meeting will be on trail issues around the North Mesa Stables area to gather public feedback. Residents with questions can contact Eric Peterson at 663-1776 or eric.peterson@lacnm.us

  • Los Alamos prepares for the annual Fair and Rodeo

    This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Los Alamos Ranch School, an important piece of Los Alamos history. It’s no surprise then that local events honor that piece of history and this year’s County Fair and Rodeo is no exception as its theme will be “Legends of the Ranch School.”

    In addition to the rodeo events happening at the Brewer Arena, there will many exciting activities for the whole family to enjoy over the course of the weekend, including bounce houses, a parade, arts and crafts fair, and much more.

    The Arts and Crafts Fair at Fuller Lodge begins Saturday morning immediately after the Fair and Rodeo Parade. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., crowds can stroll to the east lawn at Fuller Lodge to shop for all sorts of treasures that can only be discovered once a year at the Summer Fair.

    Amy Bjarke, Exhibit and Marketing Director at Fuller Lodge Art Center, stepped into the position of fair coordinator a little over a year ago and explained that the Arts and Crafts Fair consists of around 100 local, regional, and even national artists, all selling their handmade art.

    “There’s a wonderful variety of artwork to choose from including photography, fiber arts, jewelry, food, wood and so much more,” she said.

  • US Air Force test flights focus on off-the-shelf options

    (AP) Over a U.S. Air Force base in the New Mexico desert, pilots on Wednesday tested some off-the-shelf options as the military looks for its next light-attack aircraft.

    Test flights for the experiment known as the OA-X initiative are being conducted at Holloman Air Force Base. Air Force Secretary and former New Mexico congresswoman Heather Wilson was on hand along with other top officials as pilots put the planes through their paces.

    The scenarios are designed to emulate combat missions and other flights such as search and rescue and reconnaissance.

    The Air Force earlier this year invited the aviation and aerospace industry to put forth data on readily available planes that would meet the service’s needs for a small, low-cost aircraft that could support missions on the ground while being easily maintained. The top candidates were then invited to Holloman to show off their capabilities.

    U.S. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a supporter of the experiment, said Wednesday the event is aimed at helping the military procure the tools it needs more quickly, efficiently and affordably.

  • Trump say he'll expand US anti-missile programs

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he's planning to add billions of dollars to the nation's anti-missile programs.

    Trump tells reporters after a security briefing at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, "We are going to be increasing out budget by many billions of dollars."

    He says an announcement is planned soon.

    Trump also says the nation's nuclear arsenal is in "in tip-top shape" and getting stronger. And he insists his administration has "done a lot of modernization" and "a lot of renovation" already.

    Trump is also warning about the dangers of nuclear weapons, saying he'd like to "de-nuke the world." But he says that, until that happens, the U.S. "will be the most powerful nuclear nation on earth, by far."