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Today's News

  • Free farolito sand now available

    Free sand is now available for Los Alamos County residents who want to make holiday faolitos.
    Each year, the Los Alamos County Traffic and Streets Division provides free farolito sand as a courtesy to residents.

    Sand is now available at these locations:
    • Overlook Park, in south parking lot.

    • Urban Park, in the 42nd Street parking area.

    • Sullivan Field, in the west side of parking lot.

    • Barranca Mesa, at the end of Barranca Road at Navajo.

    • North Mesa, at the north end of the soccer field parking lot.

    Residents are asked to limit the amount of sand taken to the amount needed for their farolitos.
    For questions, call 662-8113, email lacpw@lacnm.us.

  • State certifies election results

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico State Canvassing Board certified election results Tuesday that return control of the state Legislature to Democrats, award a statewide victory to Hillary Clinton and provide Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson with his strongest showing in any state.
    Board members including Republican Gov. Susana Martinez also initiated automatic recounts in three state legislative races where the margin of victory was less than 1 percent. If results remain unchanged, Democrats would outnumber Republicans 26-16 in the Senate and 38-32 in the House of Representatives.
    In the presidential race, Clinton won 48.6 percent of the statewide vote to Donald Trump’s 40 percent. Gary Johnson took 9.3 percent of ballots, making it possible for the Libertarian Party to qualify as a major political party and take part in publicly funded primary elections alongside major party candidates.

  • The snake whisperer

    Snake Wrangler Dusty Webb does not call himself a snake whisperer, but others have. And listening to him describe what he does, it is hard not to see him that way.

    Webb’s company, Badass Critters, provides rattlesnake abatement, wrangling, handling and training. Webb has worked on numerous film, commercial and television shoots, providing his snakes for plot elements and capturing and relocating snakes from location. 

    Webb has been involved with the film industry for about 25 years, but his career as a rattlesnake wrangler started almost by accident. When he was working on the History Channel’s “Black Blizzard” series, they needed snakes. Webb caught one and the photo ended up on a film industry union website.

    That led to the role of snake wrangler for “Breaking Bad” for four seasons. Webb has also worked on “Magnificent Seven,” “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trial” and the television series “Longmire.” “Manhattan,” “The Preacher,” “Night Shift” and “Better Call Saul.” And those are only a few of his many credits. 

  • BPU studies, weighs value of solar

    At it’s Nov. 16 meeting, the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) heard a report on the “value of solar” from Utility Financial Solutions President Mark Beauchamp. UFS was contracted to conduct a study of how residential solar installations can impact the electrical grid and the local distribution network. 

    According to Beauchamp, Los Alamos has the second highest value for solar his firm has encountered, largely due to the impact of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Peak demand for LANL – the county’s largest customer – is in the afternoon, when solar is producing. 

    “So solar directly lines up with your production demands, so there’s a fairly high value,” Beauchamp said. 

    But according to Beauchamp, the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) is still under-recovering costs by offering net metering to rooftop photovoltaic (PV) customers. 

    He explained that rooftop PV helps reduce the system’s load profile by peaking when lab and other commercial usage peaks, but that residential peaks tend to occur around 7 or 8 p.m., when solar is not producing. 

  • New Mexico farmers brace for another dry year

    LAS CRUCES (AP) — Farmers in southern New Mexico are bracing for what could be another dry year.

    There’s not much water in Elephant Butte and other key reservoirs upstream, meaning any new water would have to come from snowmelt runoff next spring in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, The Las Cruces Sun-News reported.

    Snowmelt isn’t looking promising either, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts warm weather and low precipitation over the next 90 days in those areas.

    “It’s very dismal,” said Gary Esslinger, manager for the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, which delivers Rio Grande water in Dona Ana County. “Looking at the forecast, it’s not looking good. They’re saying warmer temperatures and less snowpack.”

    Esslinger said there has been light snowfall in southern Colorado but that there still needs to be more in southern cities. Snowfall in the mountains near Denver drains into basins other than the Rio Grande.

  • Trash steals the show at Fuller Lodge

    They came down the runway at Fuller Lodge Saturday sporting gowns made entirely of swim caps or shimmering with recycled CDs and pop tabs. Newspaper, egg cartons, old socks and even political junk mail were all transformed into whimsical creations by contestants in the Recycle Fashion Show.
    The annual show, sponsored by the Los Alamos Environmental Services Division, uses frivolity and fun to encourage recycling.
    Although most of the designs would be impractical for actual wear (try sitting encased in a box decorated with egg cartons or wearing a dress made of paper bags), they displayed an enormous amount of creativity and encouraged audience members to literally “think outside the box” when it comes to reusing materials.
    Contestants were required to use at least 75-percent recycled or reused materials that would have otherwise ended up in the trash or recycle bin. Outfits made strictly of vintage clothes or trash bags were not accepted.
    Joyce Haven emceed the show wearing a recycled jacket adorned with recycled ties. She also modeled the shirt she was wearing, made from a pair of recycled pants.
    The top prize in the child’s category went to Harper Barras for “Sparkle Swirl,” a dress made from panels of woven newspaper and other recycled paper and decorated with swirls and glitter.

  • New Mexico could be hard hit by gutting ACA

    Editor’s note: Second in a two-part series.

    According to Anne Sperling, president and CEO of Vanguard Resources, Inc., one goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – eliminating discrimination based on factors such as preexisting health conditions and gender – has one glaring flaw.
    Age discrimination is built into the premium structure, and it impacts both individuals and small businesses. That impact will only get worse if the so-called “Cadillac tax” goes into effect in 2020.
    Sperling pointed to the premium for a Blue Cross/Blue Shield bronze plan with a $6,000 deductible and a maximum out-of-pocket expense of $7,150. The premium for a 59-year-old is $820 a month. A 21-year-old pays $200 a month.
    Needless to say, the impact on individuals is tremendous. But small employers – defined as one to 50 employees in New Mexico and up to 100 employees in other states – also feel both the financial and administrative burden of those rates.
    Large employers receive composite rates, in which the age of the population is averaged. Rates for small employers are based on the age of each individual in the organization.

  • Teachers treated to special event

    With a live jazz band playing in the background and multiple prize giveaways happening every hour, it wasn’t a typical teachers event, and that suited the teachers just fine.
    Nov. 18 was “Teacher Appreciation Day,” a day when the community reached out to teachers of Los Alamos and collectively said “We care.”
    “The intent was pretty straightforward, to let teachers know they’re appreciated.” Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus said. “It was organized by the District Parent Council and the school board as a way to say thank you to our teachers. One of the things that’s hard to explain is how hard a teacher works.”
    Over 100 people attended the event, where 100 gift bags filled with certificates and items from local business were given away. And, over $1,500 in gift certificates were given away.
    While the school always has an annual teacher appreciation event, this one was different. This one featured more of a personal touch from the community, as prizes, gift certificates and direct praise from parents and students was included.
    Parent District Council member Suzette Fox described the event as a “big hug” from the community to the teachers that educate its children.

  • Council to review bond projects, water plan

    The Los Alamos County Council will hear an update on scoping for the 2017 recreation bond projects and a presentation on the revised long-range water supply plan at its regular meeting Tuesday.
    Also on the agenda is a citizens’ petition requesting the installation of two speed humps on North Road in front of Mountain Elementary School.
    For details on the recreational bonds projects, read “Weigh in on rec bond projects Thursday” in the Los Alamos Monitor’s Nov. 16 edition and “Residents look at Rec bond package,” published Nov. 21.
    See “County to hold meeting on water supply plan Tuesday,” published Nov. 14, and “Water supply plan weighed by public,” published Nov. 21, for more on the long-range water supply plan.
    For Tuesday’s complete agenda packet, go to losalamos.legistar.com.
    Tuesday’s meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.

  • San Ildefonso Road tunnel to close

    San Ildefonso Road Pedestrian tunnel at the Diamond Drive roundabout will be closed starting Monday for about three weeks as the tunnel undergoes rehabilitation.
    Crews from GM Emulsion will remove the existing concrete slab in the tunnel and construct a structural shotcrete lining around the tunnel.
    The rehabilitation work is necessary to remediate the corrosion of the existing corrugated steel plate around the perimeter of the tunnel. For questions about the work, call 662-8150 or email to lacpw@lacnm.us.