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Today's News

  • SOC investigation wraps up--Video Extra

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory is expected to conclude its investigation in the next week or so concerning the termination of five SOC employees who allowed visitors to operate weapons at the lab’s shooting range.

    The lab confirmed Friday there were four unauthorized visitors on the range located at Technical Area 72. Three of them were LANL employees. Officials have not released information concerning what, if any, disciplinary action may be taken against the lab employees.

    The trade publication Nuclear Materials Monitor reported that they fired weapons including the Dillon M-134 mini-gun.

    The participants also allegedly took photos of their time on the range and posted them on Facebook. Those photos have since been taken down from the social networking site.

    “Our inquiry has determined that photographs were taken with a personal camera, against laboratory policy,” spokesman Fred DeSousa said. “In general, photography with personal cameras is prohibited on lab property without a media escort and/or other approvals.”

  • Faulty dishwasher sparks fire

    Fire officials said it all started when duplex owner Maria Mojica heard a “popping sound” downstairs.

    “She went down to investigate and she saw smoke and flames coming from the side of the dishwasher,” said Los Alamos Fire Department Capt. Jason Lopez.

    Los Alamos Fire Department crews were dispatched around 1 p.m. Friday to respond to a call in the 3000 block of Orange Street.

    “We made entry into the house at about 1:12 p.m.,” said Battalion Chief Justin Cassel.

    No one was hurt during the fire, though the kitchen sustained heavy fire damage. The entire house also received a lot of smoke damage.

    “The whole house was full of smoke when we arrived and flames were rolling out of the kitchen by the time we made entry,” Lopez said.

    Deputy Chief Justin Grider said the situation was under control by 1:20 p.m.

    Grider said the heavy smoke affected two families and the homeowner was the one who made the 911 call. Mojica was outside the duplex when fire crews arrived on the scene, and no one was injured in the fire.

    Lopez said electrical fires are pretty rare.

  • Administration vows to veto CMRR funding

    The White House released a statement of administrative policy regarding the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013.

    The administration made 18 objections to the defense bill proposed by the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement facility project is listed seventh on the list.

    The SASC, despite the administration decision to defer the LANL project for five years, put in $150 million in funding.

    The administration said it agrees with numerous provisions of the act, but if it makes its way to the president in its present form, the bill would get vetoed.

    The statement read: “the Administration strongly objects to section 3111, which would require construction of the CMRR facility to begin in 2013. The Departments of Defense and Energy agree that, in light of today’s fiscal environment, CMRR can be deferred for at least five years, and funds reallocated to support higher priority nuclear weapons goals.

  • Garcia Richard gears up for legislative session

    Those who drafted the New Mexico State Constitution decided not to create a year-round governing body, but rather what is known as a “citizen legislature.” That idea strikes a chord with newly-elected Democratic Dist. 43 State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard.

    “I always go back to that, because that defines our legislature as drawing folks from all backgrounds and all walks of life,” Garcia Richard said.”And it occurred to me that my voice as a working person, as a person who has kids currently in the school district and as a person who is currently in the classroom was maybe not a voice that was very strongly heard in that body. That’s the reason that I decided to run, to bring that perspective.”

    Being a citizen legislator with those types of commitments presents some challenges. But Garcia Richard is drawing on her experience during the 1990s, working as a member of the House Majority Analysts, to plan in advance and meet the challenges.

    Garcia Richard is a third grade teacher at Pablo Roybal Elementary School in Pojoaque. When she decided to run, Garcia Richard worked with school administrators and the superintendent to arrange a long-term leave if elected. She answered questions about her leave for the Pojoaque school board last week.

  • Seedlings go on sale

    More than 80,000 tree and shrub seedlings are available for public purchase through the New Mexico State Forestry Division’s 2013 Spring Conservation Seedling Program. Sixty different tree and shrub species will be available, according to Conservation Seedling Forester Carol Bada. Seedling sales will begin Monday.
     “The careful planting of tree and shrub species is vital to promoting healthy forests and watersheds in New Mexico,” Bada said. “Not only will tree seedlings help rehabilitate areas affected by fires, but they will also help protect crops, promote energy conservation and improve aesthetics on both private and public lands.” 
     Seedlings are available to landowners who own at least one acre of land in New Mexico and who agree to use the trees for conservation purposes including erosion control, wildlife habitat, reforestation, riparian restoration, windbreak establishment, tree plantations and other conservation needs. Seedlings are available on-line at nmforestry.com and by mail-in order form. All proceeds are re-invested into the program.
     Tree and shrub species available include: ponderosa pine, shrubby cinquefoil, chokecherry, native plum, piñon, fernbush and approximately 60 others.

  • Police close in on vehicle burglars

    Police said they are close to finding out who is behind a rash of car break-ins that occurred earlier this month.

    The method has been to commit eight or more car break-ins within an hour, then disappear for a week.

    The latest round of break-ins occurred a couple of weeks ago, where the would-be thieves hit four or five cars on Nov. 15, then did the same thing Nov. 20.

    The Nov. 20 break-ins occurred within a three-block area of Oppenheimer Drive, and the Nov. 15 break-ins occurred within a three-block area of Camino Medio.

    Both crime sprees occurred within a one-hour time period.

    Acting Deputy Chief Randy Foster thinks these latest sprees are connected to the ones that happened earlier in the month.

    “We’ve been following up on some leads and we’re hoping to make some arrests real soon,” Foster said. “We believe these are all being committed by the same people.”

    If you have any information, call the Los Alamos Police Department at 662-8226. Anonymity will be respected.

     

  • Raw: Inauguration in Mexico Sparks Violence

    Violence broke out in Mexico City on Saturday as protesters took to the streets to oppose the inauguration of incoming president Enrique Pena Nieto and the return of his Institutional Revolutionary Party.

  • Update 12-02-12

    Book Sale

    Scholastic books are for sale at The Family YMCA from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily through Dec. 6. The public is welcome to come to the Y and shop. Partial proceeds will benefit the Y’s annual campaign that supports scholarships for those needing financial assistance.

    Kiwanis meeting

    Kiwanis meets each Tuesday, noon to 1 p.m., at the Masonic Temple, on Sage, near the intersection of 15th and Canyon. On Tuesday, Linda Deck, director of the Bradbury Science Museum, will speak on the current displays at the museum.

    Sponsor a family

    The Family YMCA is sponsoring four families for the holidays and welcomes the community to participate by taking part in the Giving Tree. For more information call the Y at 662-3100.

    DWI council

    The Los Alamos County DWI Planning Council will meet at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 11 at the Los Alamos Police Department Training Room, 2500 Trinity Dr., Suite A.

    Have a news tip?

    Send press releases, photos and videos to laeditor@lamonitor.com or contact the newsroom at 662-4185.

     

  • State tops on death spiral list

    The most recent economic ranking to wander through here paints New Mexico harshly. Certainly the words are blunter than usual. We lead a group of eleven states called “death spiral states” by Forbes.com. http://forbes.com/sites/baldwin/2012/11/25/do-you-live-in-a-death-spiral...
    “Death spiral” is harsh. So is the “taker/maker” distinction employed in the post by staffer William Baldwin, who says, “A taker is someone who draws money from (state or local) government, as an employee, pensioner or welfare recipient. A maker is someone gainfully employed in the private sector.” To make the spiral list, a state needs more takers than makers and to be in the lower half of a credit analysis by Conning & Co., a money manager that measures risk in insurance company portfolios.
    New Mexico has the highest taker / maker ratio at 1.53. Mississippi is second. There it is. We’re in excusive company. California, New York and Illinois are among the eleven. The future is “a rising tax burden, deteriorating state finances and an exodus of employers,” Baldwin says.

  • The quest for perfection

    New Mexico businesses that want help becoming more efficient frequently call on the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership — a nonprofit agency of the U.S. Commerce Department that helps small and mid-sized U.S. businesses create and preserve jobs, become more profitable and save time and money. In New Mexico, where most businesses are small, MEP services are used by doctors’ offices, machine shops, small farms and agricultural operations, and businesses that serve the oil and gas industry.
    MEP uses multiple techniques to help businesses increase profits by standardizing production and administration to provide continuous improvement that eliminates waste and strives for perfection.
    Lean manufacturing theory recognizes that there will always be some degree of product variation but it seeks to minimize aberrations that result in added expenses when products must be discarded or returned to the production line for repair or reassembly. Motorola, in its drive toward perfection in 1986, introduced an idea called Six Sigma based on the letter in the Greek alphabet used to measure mathematical variations from a standard. Motorola aspired to refine its manufacturing process to a sigma rating of six, meaning that 99.99966 percent of its products would have zero defects.