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Today's News

  • Maple wood from the Old Griffith Gym floor available

    Summertime in Los Alamos includes professional development for teachers and major school building repairs to prepare for the upcoming school year.

    The first day of school for students is Aug.17. 

    LAPS projects for this summer include the Smith Auditorium Lobby, design of the Barranca Mesa Elementary School major remodel, Mountain Elementary School Gym floor, HVAC systems at Chamisa and Piñon Elementary Schools, technology upgrades, and a safety shelter and field house at Sullivan Stadium. 

    All of this work is made possible by Los Alamos people and businesses.

    One project at the high school this summer is replacement of the 50-year-old floor in Griffith Gymnasium. Workers have removed the old maple wood gym floor and are now putting the wood-slats puzzle back together for a beautiful new floor.

    Anyone who would like a piece of history or maple wood for a home project, the old wood slats are free for the taking.
    Some of the slats even have Topper green paint.

    People are cautioned to be careful in collecting the old wood slats as they are filed with nails and splinters.

    The trash bin with maple wood is located in front of Griffith Gym and will be there until this Friday.

  • Crews continue to monitor Cajete Fire

    The Santa Fe National Forest Service gave its final update on the Cajete Fire this week. The fire from June 15 started from an abandoned campfire and reached up to a total of 1,412 acres, although no structures were damaged in the flames.

    According to Santa Fe National Forest Acting Public Affairs Officer Julie Anne Overton, the fire is now 96 percent contained. She said she thinks it will take the remainder of the monsoon season to completely consider the fire out.

    According to Overton, there are about 10 to 15 personnel on the ground and one helicopter doing aerial surveillance.
    Crews and overhead personnel have been demobilized and reassigned to other incidents as the command of the Cajete Fire was transitioned to a type 4 organization on Tuesday.

    There are limited personnel on the ground as the local team is now on more of a monitor status of hot spots. “They are continuing mop up and making sure that fire lines are secure,” Overton said.

    Isolated smoke may be visible as concentrations of heavy fuels smolder within the fire perimeter, though no further fire growth is anticipated.

    Hot and dry conditions persist, with a chance of rain and thunderstorm activity possible for the fire area.

  • LANL shipment investigation draws reactions

    The announcement of an investigation by a government oversight agency over Los Alamos National Laboratory’s latest waste shipment violation has some people questioning what it may mean for the future of the laboratory and its weapons programs.

    “They hardly ever do that,” Los Alamos Study Group Executive Director Greg Mello said of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s response to LANL’s violation.

    The NNSA oversees LANL and the other government facilities responsible for country’s nuclear arsenal.

    “The NNSA said it was serious, and the fact that they put out a press release at all means they do think that,” Mello said. “They’re tired of screw-ups at Los Alamos.”

    NNSA’s investigation is about why LANL failed to follow proper procedures when shipping “special nuclear material” to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Savannah River National Laboratory.

    Instead of shipping the material by commercial ground transportation, the lab instead violated safety protocols by transporting the material, reported to be a small amount, by a commercial shipping company instead.

    In the release, NNSA Administrator Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz called the violation “unacceptable.”

  • Los Alamos County to receive PILT funding

    Counties across New Mexico will receive more than $38.5 million through the 2017 Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, New Mexico congressional representatives announced Tuesday.

    Los Alamos County will receive $88,786 for schools, roads, local police, fire protection and other services.

    Funding for this year's PILT program was provided in the bipartisan budget agreement to fund the government through September, as part of the Interior Department's Fiscal Year 2017 budget.

    PILT provides federal payments to local governments because of nontaxable federal land within their boundaries, such as Bureau of Land Management land, national parks and forests.

    Local governments use PILT funding to help pay for police and fire protection, emergency response, schools, road maintenance, and other crucial services to residents. New Mexico is the third-highest recipient of PILT payments in the country.

  • LANL contract officially up for bid

    The National Nuclear Security Administration announced its intention to start the bidding process for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s multibillion-dollar management and operations contract Tuesday.

    Los Alamos National Security LLC was awarded the contract in 2006. The Department of Energy announced late in 2015 it would go out to bid for a new contract, after LANS failed to meet performance goals set by the DOE.

    This will be the third contract since the laboratory was created to make the world’s first nuclear weapons.
    LANS’ $2.2 billion management and operations contract will end in 2018. LANS LLC is made up of a consortium of private and public companies, including Bechtel National, INC., BWXT Government Group, Inc., the University of California and URS.

    The lab has been under scrutiny recently for several incidents involving safety and violations of safety protocol.
    Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan released a statement to the Los Alamos Monitor Tuesday, saying lab employees must be held accountable for mistakes now and in the future.

  • Health insurers propose rate increases in New Mexico

    SANTA FE (AP) — Insurance providers for New Mexico's health exchange have proposed rate increases ranging from about 20 percent to 85 percent starting in 2018, though the requests are likely to be rewritten in coming weeks as Senate Republicans seek out health care reforms.

    Details of the rate proposals were made available Tuesday on the website of the New Mexico Office of the Superintendent of Insurance, the agency that evaluates whether premiums are justified and checks that plans provide essential health benefits.

    Private insurers on the federally subsidized exchange have been left guessing about key regulations that support the New Mexico marketplace, as Senate Republicans delayed voting until at least next week on a bill to scrap President Barack Obama's health care law.

    "Those rates really don't mean anything because we're all submitting a second round," said Martin Hickey, CEO of New Mexico Health Connections, which submitted the 85 percent rate increase proposal. "It could be really dramatically different."

  • Eastern New Mexico University president retiring

    PORTALES (AP) — The longtime president of Eastern New Mexico University says he is retiring on July 1.

    Steven Gamble has presided over the small school for 16 years and has seen its enrollment grow by nearly 70 percent to a little over 6,000 students since 2001.

    Gamble will be replaced by Jeff Elwell of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Elwell is currently the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences there.

    The school says Gamble will still work quarter-time at the school in some capacity.

  • Governor orders flags at half-staff for fallen firefighter

    NARA VISA (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez has ordered flags to fly at half-staff Tuesday in honor of a volunteer firefighter who died from injuries suffered while battling a brush fire in eastern New Mexico.

    The executive order issued Monday said the community of Nara Visa could have been put in jeopardy had John Cammack and his fellow firefighters not stopped the blaze late last week.

    The 74-year-old Cammack was a career veterinarian and served as a volunteer firefighter for nearly 30 years.

    Nara Visa Fire Chief Gary Girard tells The Eastern New Mexico News (http://bit.ly/2tP5amr) that Cammack was severely burned after falling from a fire engine after the winds shifted and the flames changed direction.

    It took three local fire departments more than 10 hours to corral the flames.

  • New Mexico set to announce more record-breaking tourism

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is expected next week to announce record-breaking tourism numbers for the southwestern state.
    The Republican governor is scheduled to unveil the state's latest tourism figures on July 5 at the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum.
    Last year, Martinez said around 700,000 more trips were taken in New Mexico in 2015.
    Martinez said half a million more people visited New Mexico in 2014 than in 2013 and credited the state's New Mexico True campaign. That campaign features the state's famous outdoor locations and New Mexico celebrities.
    New Mexico True advertisements have been spotted in airports around the country.
    Martinez is scheduled next month to visit Ruidoso, Roswell and White Sands National Monument as part of her tour to announce tourism numbers.
     

  • Contract competition to begin for LANL

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The competition for a multibillion-dollar contract to manage the troubled Los Alamos National Laboratory is beginning after a week in which the northern New Mexico facility was hit with criticism for its record of safety lapses.
    The National Nuclear Security Administration on Tuesday posted online its intent to conduct a competition for the management and operation contract. The agency is expected to release more details about the request for proposals in the coming weeks.
    The current $2.2 billion contract for Los Alamos National Security LLC to manage the lab ends in 2018. Some critics have said the bidding process will offer an opportunity to make changes at Los Alamos.
    Just last week, federal officials announced an investigation into the improper shipment of nuclear material from the lab. This follows other reports about the mishandling of plutonium and radioactive waste.