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Today's News

  • NJROTC Unarmed Drill takes third place

    The Los Alamos High School NJROTC Unarmed Drill team opened up the season this year by taking third place at the Early Bird Invitational last week at Valley High School in Albuquerque. Eighteen schools competed at this event from across the state and included JROTC units from every military branch.
    The Los Alamos High School team consisted of nine girls including cadets: Rachel Barthell, Kayla Benson, Karina Bequet-Stidham, Casandra Brewer-Houlton, Tristan Graham, Victoria Hypes, Gianna Maggiore, Mikyla Smith and Jodi Thomas. Analicia Ronquillo, whose command voice earned the title “Best Unarmed Commander” in the Commanders Cup division, commanded the nine girls. The armed team and three color guards finished with an average of fourth place, with the unit as whole finishing third. The next test for all of the teams takes place  Oct. 26 and 27, when they travel to the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell.

  • Be There 10-03-12

    Today
    Girls in grades K-12, who are interested in Girl Scouts are invited to an information session and registration event from 4-5:30 p.m. at the Bradbury Science Museum.

    The Los Alamos High School Band Boosters will host a “No Cook Noodle Night” from 5-7 p.m. at Trinity on the Hill’s Kelly Hall. For more information or to purchase tickets in advance, call Maire O’Neill at 412-8739.

    Glass recycling is finally here and Tom Nagawiecki will present the county’s plans for the recycled glass at 7 p.m. in the upstairs meeting rooms of Mesa Public Library during the Sierra Club meeting.
    Thursday
    Join the Parent Raising Teen Club from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Church, 1738 N. Sage Loop. For more information, call Elizabeth Grant at 660-5796.

    The Reel Deal Theater will bring back “The Big Year” for a one-time showing at 6 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children at the door. Proceeds benefit PEEC. For more information, visit PajaritoEEC.org, call 662-0460 or send email to Programs@PajaritoEEC.org.

    The Mesa Public Library Free Film Series presents “Hugo,” at 6:30 p.m.

  • LAFD rescues passengers from LANL elevator

    A group of passengers on an elevator in one of the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s buildings had a thrilling end to a long day Monday when the elevator they were riding in started malfunctioning.
    In a report released by the Los Alamos Fire Department, the elevator went from the first floor to the third floor and repeated the action without stopping.
    It took about 20 minutes before the LAFD and LANL personnel took control of the situation by cutting the power to the malfunctioning elevator. That action turned on the elevator’s emergency automatic override, which made the elevator stop at a floor and open the doors. According to Fire Deputy Chief Justin Grider, no one was hurt in the incident.
    “They were able to exit unharmed, and everyone that was on the elevator left the building before we could interview them about what happened,” Grider said.
    The LAFD then turned the scene over to LANL’s security personnel.

  • Retired LANL physicist earns national honor

    The National Audubon Society has selected retired Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist Tom Jervis of Santa Fe as the 2012 Volunteer Charles H. Callison Award winner. The award was announced Sept. 28 at the National Audubon Society Board Meeting in Tucson, Ariz.

    Now in its 18th year, Audubon’s Callison Awards recognize one volunteer and one staff member, nominated by their peers, who have made remarkable contributions to conservation through coalition-building, creative thinking and perseverance.

    During the awards ceremony, Jervis was recognized for his, “dedicated service and major contributions to the goals of Audubon; his unflagging dedication as a volunteer and supporter at the chapter, center, council and state levels; his decades’ long work to protect New Mexico’s most threatened wildlife and to preserve critical habitats; and his passionate commitment to the cause of conservation locally and throughout the hemisphere.”

    An Audubon member for 40 years, Jervis is currently serving in his fourth term as president of the Sangre de Cristo Audubon Society, a local chapter of the National Audubon Society. Also a leader of the state Audubon efforts, he served three terms as president of the New Mexico Audubon council.

  • Local Courts: On the Docket 10-03-12

    Sept. 27

    John Arthur Ross was found guilty in magistrate court of driving while under the influence of liquor and/or drugs with a .08 blood alcohol level.
    Ross paid a court fee of $241 and was assigned supervised probation for one year.
    Conditions of probation includes obeying all laws and not be arrested during probation period; defendant must comply with all court ordered conditions of probation; defendant must enter and complete DWI school within 90 days; defendant must enter and participated in a drug and alcohol treatment session with at least six sessions; must obtain an ignition interlock license and have an interlock ignition switch installed in all vehicles defendant uses; defendant must not possess or consume alcohol during probation period; defendant shall pay all cost associated with having and installing an interlock ignition switch; shall not possess a destructive device or deadly weapon and must meet with probation officer within seven days and maintain contact as instructed.

    Donaven B. Vanwijkweijer was found guilty in magistrate court of criminal trespass.
    Vanwijkweijer was ordered to pay a court fee of $73.

    Douglas W. Mefford was found guilty in magistrate court of driving while under the influence of liquor and/or drugs with a .08 blood alcohol level.

  • Update 10-03-12

    Night in Italy

    Tickets are available for “A Night in Italy” fundraiser for Assets in Action. The event takes place Oct. 20 at the Hilltop House Hotel. Tickets are $40 each and proceeds benefit youth development programs. Additional information is available by calling 661-4846 or by email at AssetsInAction.info.

    Parks and Rec

    The Parks and Recreation Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center. The board meets monthly. More information can be obtained by calling 662-8173.

    Elk Festival

    The Valles Caldera will hold its annual event Oct. 6-14 with the headquarters at the Visitor Center. Daily festival activities will include elk viewing, elk education booths and various demonstration booths. This event is free and open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

    Candidate forums

    The League of Women Voters will have a candidates’ forum for the county council and county clerk candidates as well as the Charter amendments on Thursday. The forum will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Fuller Lodge, with refreshments at 6:30.

    Bulk item pickup

  • DOE awards Regional Coalition $100K

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s Los Alamos Site Office has awarded the State of New Mexico funding for the

    Regional Coalition of Los Alamos National Laboratory Communities to help address environmental and other related issues at LANL that affect the Regional Coalition’s members.

    Under the $100,000 grant funding, one of the key roles of the Regional Coalition will be to understand and help address the various issues regarding the cleanup and longterm management of LANL, and to provide a forum to foster discussions among DOE, the regulatory agencies, and site contractors. The Regional Coalition will work to educate and perform public outreach to DOE, Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) and the State on LANL environmental issues.

    “We are very pleased that local elected leaders can work with DOE to help promote clean up at Los Alamos as well as realize the job creation opportunities for our constituencies related to this environmental effort,” said Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, chair of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities.

  • County to self-insure

    Faced with a potential rate hike of 14.4 percent, the Los Alamos County council voted to adopt a self-funded insurance plan instead.

    The county’s contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield is renegotiated yearly. BCBS had originally proposed a 16.4 rate hike for next year. The county’s benefits consultant, Gallagher Benefit Services (GBS), entered into negotiations with BCBS to secure the lower rate. The county’s budget allowed for a 12-percent increase.

    The rate increase would significantly increase premiums for both the county (which pays 80 percent for full-time employees) and employees. Employees would also have higher out-of-pocket expenses.

    Staff identified eight options to reduce the rate hike, but seven of those had only minimal impact. Self-funding would increase rates by only 3.5 percent, without a change in benefits for the first year.

    County Administrator Harry Burgess said that if the self-funded plan was adopted, the county could take several steps to stabilize or reduce rates in upcoming years. These include:

    Forming an employee advisory committee composed of staff with a range of job titles and pay grades to evaluate what the insurance needs are and to formulate options for reducing costs.

  • A view on charter items

    Our community has seen a lot of press recently about the four charter amendment ballot questions.  Citizens should vote NO on all four for three reasons: they embody logrolling, further disenfranchisement of voters and more petition exclusions.
    REASON 1: LOGROLLING.  The county has bundled 21 ordinances into four ballot questions, arguing that 1) there wasn’t space on the ballot to list them separately, and 2) they were all related within each question, such that none could stand on its own without affecting all the others in the bundle.
    LAGRI pointed out to council “limited space on the ballot” was not grounds for preventing the citizens from voting intelligently on individual and disparate issues; there was no haste to bring these proposals to the voters; and that these proposals could be presented in the special election being planned in the spring for the other charter amendment proposals (e.g. utilities, clerk).  It was also pointed out that a regularly scheduled separate municipal election, as practiced in every other New Mexico municipality, would reduce overload such as this on the general election ballot.

  • Exorcising the voter fraud phantoms

    One of the few issues to be laid to rest this campaign season is voter fraud. Fears, mostly on the right, that noncitizens might be voting, manifested in voter identification bills here and across the nation.
    Bearing the voter-fraud torch was Secretary of State Dianna Duran, who proceeded to botch the effort from beginning to end. She announced early last year that New Mexico had a “culture of corruption,” a charge repeated in national media. (Just what we need.) Later she referred 64,000 possibly fraudulent voter records to the State Police. That number plummeted a year ago to 104 voters who were illegally registered to vote and 19 who actually voted illegally.
    In her report, Duran stuck her jaw out and accused her critics of being partisan while insisting that her office was “simply not in that game,” and that even though 19 didn’t sound like much, any instance of vote fraud was significant. Democrats returned fire.
    More telling was the response of the nonpartisan Common Cause New Mexico. The group applauded Duran’s effort to clean up the state’s voter records but charged that Duran was “deliberately undermining public trust in New Mexico elections purely to promote policies, such as voter photo ID, which are designed to prevent qualified New Mexicans from casting a ballot.”