Today's News

  • Road trip on tap for NASA's Mars rover in new year

    PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Since captivating the world with its acrobatic landing, the Mars rover Curiosity has fallen into a rhythm: Drive, snap pictures, zap at boulders, scoop up dirt. Repeat.

    Topping its to-do list in the new year: Set off toward a Martian mountain — a trek that will take up a good chunk of the year.

    The original itinerary called for starting the drive before the Times Square ball drop, but Curiosity lingered longer than planned at a pit stop, delaying the trip.

    Curiosity will now head for Mount Sharp in mid-February after it drills into its first rock.

    "We'll probably be ready to hit the pedal to the metal and give the keys back to the rover drivers," mission chief scientist John Grotzinger said in a recent interview at his office on the sprawling NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory campus 15 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

  • Youth hockey festival hits the ice in LA
  • Police Beat 01-01-13

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.
    Dec. 20

    12:03 p.m. — Connie Lemon-Sandoval, 67, of Los Alamos was arrested on a charge of driving on a suspended license, driving without insurance, and having no tail lamps at 38th Street.
    (No time given) — Police arrested a 17-year-old Los Alamos teen for possession of a controlled substance in the 1300 block of Diamond Drive. He was then referred to juvenile authorities and released to his parents.
    11:48 p.m. — Raynard Frank, 41 of Blackfoot was arrested for aggravated driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (refusal to submit to chemical testing),  and failure to stay in his lane on N.M. 4.
    Dec. 21

    10:06 a.m. — A 50-year-old female reported to police her house had been burglarized in the 800 block of Scott Way.
    Dec. 22

  • A note from the Los Alamos Monitor's publisher

    From all of us at the Los Alamos Monitor to all of our readers and advertisers, we want to wish each of you a very happy and prosperous 2013!

    As this new year dawns, 2013 is a significant one for the Los Alamos Monitor because it will mark the news operation’s 50th anniversary. Fifty years is a milestone in a person’s life, in the life of a relationship and in the life of a business, as well.

    The Los Alamos Monitor published its first edition Thursday, March 7, 1963. As the newspaper has chronicled the life of this community over the course of the last 50 years, one constant has remained steadfast throughout that time: change.
    As we turn the page today and begin looking ahead to the next 50 years, the Los Alamos Monitor has grown and evolved right along with the community it serves. Now, more than just a newspaper, the Los Alamos Monitor and its online counterpart, LAMonitor.com, have converged to become a multimedia news and information organization with the ability to reach out and touch audiences around the globe. During 2012, LAMonitor.com hosted more than 232,000 unique visitors, who came to the site nearly a million times and generated more than 2.2 million pageviews.

  • LANL rounds out top five science stories

    Second of a two-part series

    DOE, NASA team demonstrates simple fission reactor prototype (DUFF)

    A team of researchers recently demonstrated the first use of a heat pipe to cool a small nuclear reactor and power a Stirling engine at the Nevada National Security Site’s Device Assembly Facility near Las Vegas. The Demonstration Using Flattop Fissions experiment produced 24 watts of electricity. Engineers from Los Alamos, the NASA Glenn Research Center and National Security Technologies LLC conducted the experiment.

    Heat-pipe technology — a sealed tube with an internal fluid that can efficiently transfer heat produced by a reactor with no moving parts — was invented at Los Alamos in 1963. Using heat pipes in tandem with the simple, closed-loop technology of Stirling engines allowed for creation of a reliable electric power supply that can be adapted for space applications.

  • Voices of the Manhattan Project echo into history

    The proposed Manhattan Project National Historical Park still has some Congressional hurdles to overcome, but its supporters are doing what they can to make that history more accessible now.

    To that end, the Atomic Heritage Foundation and the Los Alamos Historical Society partnered to create “Voices of the Manhattan Project,” a public archive of oral histories collected from Manhattan Project veterans and their families.
    A collection of 71 videotaped oral histories recorded between 1991 and 1992 forms the foundation of the Los Alamos contribution. That project was underwritten by the Los Alamos Historical Society with grants from the New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities and the Los Alamos Lodgers Tax Board.

    Historical Society staff, led by Theresa Strottman, conducted the interviews with the help of Dohn Chapman, who was director of PAC-8 at the time.

    Strottman has since moved to Silver City, but project volunteer Yvonne Delamater, who managed scheduling and conducted several of the interviews, remembers the project vividly.

    “It was a very important project, to get their memories of what it was like in Los Alamos before they passed on. And many of them have passed on,” Delamater said.

  • Top county stories of the year -- Part 2

    Second of a series

    CIP Projects on hold

    During the May budget hearings, council approved appropriations for Ashley Pond Park improvements ($2,226,471), golf course improvements ($11,283,800 phased in over four years), a teen center ($4,000,000), ice rink improvements ($1,500,000), a new nature center ($4,300,000), an Eastern Area sound wall ($655,000), extending the Canyon Rim Trail ($500,000) and the White Rock Civic Center ($8,400,000).

    Construction is due to begin on Ashley Pond Park in February. The design that council approved after numerous public hearings includes a stage extending over the northeast corner of the pond. A small group of residents who had not participated in conceptual design meetings protested that element of the design.

    The Eastern Area sound wall was delayed while the New Mexico Department of Transportation performed a speed study, since reducing speeds was cited as the key element in reducing noise levels in the area. NMDOT has since lowered speeds on N.M. 502.

    The county will assess the new sound levels to determine the most effective design for the wall. Public Works Director Philo Shelton anticipates the sound wall will be completed by the end of the 2013 construction season.

  • LANL top science news of year

    First of a series

    During 2012, Los Alamos National Laboratory made its scientific mark in a variety of areas, and the stories that caught the public’s attention and that of the science community reflect the lab’s broad capabilities.

    Top science stories for the year traveled from the canyons of Mars to the high desert forests of New Mexico, from cosmic particles to the structure of proteins and enzymes. Computer models of wildfires and nuclear magnetic resonance signatures of plutonium, and it was fascinating for those following Los Alamos’ science news.

    Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and ChemCam

    Los Alamos played a role in the success of the Mars Science Laboratory mission and its six-wheeled wonder, the Curiosity rover. The international team of space explorers involved with the mission is relying in part on an instrument originally developed at Los Alamos called ChemCam, which fires an extremely powerful laser pulse to briefly focus the energy of a million light bulbs onto a pinhead-sized area on targets up to 23-feet away from the rover. ChemCam reads the resultant flash of light to determine the composition of the target, and is part of a suite of 10 instruments aboard the SUV-sized mobile laboratory that is determining the Red Planet habitability.

  • N.M. 502, Trinity lead county news

    First of a series
    N.M. 502 takes another turn

    More than a year ago, council decided to table plans to redesign the entire length of Trinity Drive and focus on a small portion of N.M. 502 already approved for federal funding in FY2014.

    A Technical Advisory Committee comprised of staff and citizen stakeholders was charged with evaluating various plans and presenting a recommendation to the transportation board.

    In February, the transportation board and council both approved a plan to redesign a section between DP Road and Airport road.

    The plan changed again in December when it failed to meet NMDOT and FHWA approval, risking $3.8 million in State Transportation Improvement Program funds earmarked for the project.

    The February proposal called for two lanes with left turn medians through the Eastern Area.  NMDOT and FHWA advised the county it must widen the highway to four lanes between Central Avenue and an area just east of Canyon Road to meet level of service for side streets in the area.

  • Church fire tops the list

    Here is a look at some of the top police, fire and rescue stories of 2012.

    It took close to three hours but the Los Alamos Fire Department extinguished a major fire at New Beginnings Fellowship Assembly of God Church at 112 East Road on July 4.

    Deputy Fire Chief Justin Grider confirmed the fire was out around 1 p.m. It looked as if the fire was out earlier but LAFD was contending with hotspots in the rafters of the chapel.

    Grider said the chapel was a total loss and the main church received smoke damage.

    After a lengthy investigation, it was later determined that the fire’s cause was electrical.

    Paint truck skids off N.M. 4

    The forest was awash in white and yellow paint.

    A white 1998 International flatbed truck, carrying 1,000 gallons of yellow and white road striping paint, was heading eastbound on N.M. 4 near mile marker 49, when it exited the roadway and fell approximately 200 feet before coming to rest in the forest Sept. 18.

    The vehicle driven by Francisco Maes, 51, of Willard, unleashed its colorful cargo on the way down the embankment. Maes suffered injuries that were reported to be serious and was flown by helicopter to Christus St. Vincent in Santa Fe. 

    He later said his brakes went out.