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Today's News

  • Councilors object to separate ordinances

    A number of Los Alamos County councilors objected  to having separate ordinances, since the CRC had urged that the changes be voted on as one ordinance.
    “I believe a single ballot question makes the most sense because we tried to balance the supermajority question with some of the additional clarification on the independence of both the utility manager and the utility board,” said Harry Ettinger, who chaired the subcommittee on utilities for the CRC.
     “I’m torn between the practicalities of what I think may pass and overall what I think is the best product,” councilor David Izraelevitz said. “I think overall the best product is the full set of recommendations the CRC has presented. We could break it up. My preference would be to present the entire packet to the public, because there are interactions, such as additional latitude given to the Board of Public Utilities.”
    Izraelevitz offered a substitute motion to that effect.
    Councilor Vincent Chiravalle said that all 10 changes should have separate ordinances.
    “If you do that, you could end up with a disjointed charter where the pieces did not fit together properly,” Rennick said.

  • Council approves more Charter amendments

    Despite continued opposition from the Board of Public Utilities, council voted 5-2 to approve the Charter Review Committee’s recommendations for amendments to the County Charter regarding utilities.
    The most contentious item was a provision that would allow council to remove one or more board members without cause by a 5-2 vote. The current charter only allows removal for specific violations of duty.
    The CRC was emphatic that this provision was not due to any past or present misconduct within DPU or the board, but to have procedures in place for future contingencies.
    “I want to make it clear that this is in no way a criticism of the Board of Public Utilities or the manager,” CRC Chair John Hopkins said. “We have the highest regard for their integrity and for their intelligence.
    “Our recommendations clearly support the semi-autonomous nature of the Board of Public utilities by explicitly spelling out the role of the BPU and council. But it also clearly spells out the role of council commensurate with their responsibilities.”
    Charles Rennick, who served as attorney to the CRC, reinforced that point during the lengthy debate.

  • LANL hosts annual LDRD day

    Los Alamos National Laboratory conducted its fourth annual Laboratory Directed Research and Development day at Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino Tuesday.
    Part of the activities involved attendees voting on best posters that are designed to explain LDRD work being done at the lab. By popular vote this year, the Best Poster Award went to Jennifer Hollingsworth and her team for “The Path to Nanoparticle Cancer Drugs.”
    “In contrast with small-particle chemotherapy drugs, nanoparticle-based therapies promise fewer side effects and improved performance. Traditional therapies attack both cancerous and healthy cells indiscriminately, which can lead to drug resistance and often force physicians to back off doses. Nanoparticles promise direct delivery of therapeutic agents to the cancer tumor. However, accurate targeting demands alternate, multifunctional nanoparticles. We aim to develop and test novel “inverted” nanoshell particles to provide the required combination of functionalities: imaging, so they can be tracked to the tumor, and selective therapy,” the LDRD program stated.
    Steven Brumby’s project, “Human-Like Computer Vision Using Deep, Sparse Models,” received the Poster of Exceptional Excellence award.

  • Two on board won't run

    School board members Melanie McKinley and Dawn Venhaus recently announced they will not be seeking re-election this year.

    Both members cited professional and personal reasons for why they won’t be seeking another term on the board.

    “Trying to balance teaching with raising four kids and serving on the school board, something had to give,” McKinley said. “It’s time for me to just step down for a while.”

    When McKinley’s term is up in February, she will have completed one four-year stint.  According to McKinley, she came on to the board during a very tough time, just when the school system was heading into some rough financial times.

    One of her proudest accomplishments she said was helping to guide the school system through that period.

    “I’m really proud of the fact that we weathered the storm and that we made it through without our education system suffering,” she said, adding that she and her fellow board members created a real legacy of sound fiscal management.

  • Rural areas plagued by poverty

    After World War II, national defense provided the biggest economic boost. But today, the rural areas farthest from the metro areas struggle under century-old burdens of limited educational opportunities and substandard infrastructure, among other challenges. Those rural counties near cities or with natural amenities have tended to hold their own.
    Rural counties are plagued by what the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls “persistent poverty.” Residents of rural areas “earn substantially less” than metro residents.
    Sound broadly familiar? It should.
    But if this summary of rural economic problems doesn’t quite sound like New Mexico, that’s because the description is of Florida, Georgia, Alabama and parts of three other states, the territory served by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. The description is in “Wanted: Jobs 2.0 in the Rural Southeast,” in the current issue of EconSouth, a publication of the Atlanta Fed (frbatlanta.org).
    For New Mexico the article provides a useful summary, the type of overview we seldom get. It is close enough, overall, to provide insight, allowing for differences. With our double dip recession in place, we should take insight where we can find it.

  • Off The Hill 10-25-12

    Art exhibits

    The fourth biennial Taos Art Glass Invitational and Walking on Glass Tour will be through Sunday. For more information, visit tiganm.org or call Delinda VanneBrightyn at 575-613-6484.
    Art openings

    The Harwood Museum in Taos open three new exhibits exploring the theme of “Machine Wilderness (In Zero Gravity)” to members Friday and to the public Saturday. “Machine Wilderness (In Zero Gravity)” is presented in collaboration with “ISEA2012 Albuquerque” the 18th International Symposium of Electronic Art. For more information, visit harwoodmuseum.org.

    Taos artist Maye Torres will exhibit “Maye Torres: Unbound,” at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos. Her one-person exhibit opens Saturday and remains on view through Jan. 27. For more information, visit harwoodmuseum.org or call 575-758-9826.

    “Chairs Gone Wild!” will open with a reception at 7 p.m. Sunday at Jemez Springs Fine Art Gallery, 17346 N.M. 4, Jemez Springs. This is a charity event with a portion of all sales benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. The exhibit will run through Nov. 9. For more information, call 575-829-3617.
    Dance

  • Make some bones to benefit project

    The Rising Moon Gallery will host a potluck and ceremony to honor the victims of genocide around the world from 5-7 p.m. Nov. 2.
    Bones made of clay, by adults and children of the Abiquiu community, will be laid out in a ceremony to honor the victims of genocide.
    The making of the bones is a community project that supports the national One Million Bones project.
    The One Million Bone project allows participants to showcase their creativity and join a global community working to end genocide by making a bone and/or sponsoring a bone for $5.  
    Proceeds are donated to direct service and advocacy organizations through the One Million Bones project headquartered in Albuquerque.
    Bones made at the Rising Moon Gallery and at the Abiquiu Elementary School and La Puerta School will be transported to Albuquerque to become part of a national installation in Washington, D.C. at the National Mall on June 8, 2013.
    One Million Bones is a fundraising art installation and education project designed to recognize the millions of victims killed or displaced by ongoing genocides.
    Its mission is to increase global awareness of the ongoing devastation of genocide, raise $5 million to protect and aid displaced victims and educate students about tolerance through art and social activism.

  • LACW wins award

    The Los Alamos Community Winds, a wind ensemble made up of members of the Los Alamos community, was recently awarded second place in The American Prize Competition.
    The group is comprises both amateur and professional musicians of all ages and backgrounds from middle and high school students to retirees.
    They perform four to five formal concerts each season with repertoire ranging from orchestral transcriptions to original band works, marches, film music and Broadway.
    They also perform at civic functions such as the 4th of July fireworks celebrations.
    The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit national competitions providing cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition for the best recorded performances of music by ensembles and individuals each year in the United States at the professional, college/university, church, community and secondary school levels. Administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Danbury, Conn., The American Prize was founded in 2009 and is awarded annually.
    The competitions of The American Prize are open to all U.S. citizens, whether living in this country or abroad and to others currently living, working and/or studying in the United States of America, its protectorates and territories.

  • PEEC and Reel Deal team up

    Pajarito Environmental Education Center and the Reel Deal Theater are teaming up at 6 p.m. Nov. 1 to show a new PBS documentary about the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
    “Valles Caldera: The Science” tells about scientific research currently being conducted on the Preserve. A question and answer session with the director and scientists involved with the film will be after the showing. Tickets will be $10 for adults and $5 for children at the door.
    “Valles Caldera: The Science” is the first in a planned three-part documentary for PBS. “Valles Caldera: The History and The Future” are still in development stage.  “The Science” explores the scientific research currently being conducted in the VCNP.  
    It covers three main topics: geologic history, current research and fire impacts. LANL scientists assisted with creating 3-D animations of eruptions to show the geologic forces that formed the Caldera and surrounding structures, and many Valle staff assisted with the filming process.
    During filming, the Las Conchas fire burned about 30 percent of the VCNP.  This event added a few new dimensions to the film, allowing the crew to obtain incredible comparative images and data from before and after fire.

  • LACA kicks off season Nov. 3 at Duane Smith

    The Los Alamos Concert Association continues its 2012-2013 season with the trio David Finckel, Wu Han and Philip Setzer.
    London’s Musical Opinion said of Finckel and Han’s Wigmore Hall debut: “They enthralled both myself and the audience with performances whose idiomatic command, technical mastery and unsullied integrity of vision made me think right back to the days of Schnabel and Fournier, Solomon and Piatigorsky.”
    Beyond the duo’s recital activities, Finckel also serves as cellist of the Emerson String Quartet.
    Finckel and Han have achieved universal renown for their commitment to nurturing the careers of countless young artists through a wide array of education initiatives.
    Violinist Setzer is a founding member (recently retired) of the Emerson String Quartet, which has received nine Grammy Awards, three Gramophone Awards and the Avery Fisher Prize.
    He has performed cycles of the complete Beethoven, Bartók and Shostakovich string quartets in the world’s musical capitals, from New York to Vienna.  
     In 1976, Setzer won a bronze medal at the Queen Elisabeth International Competition in Brussels.