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Today's News

  • Raw: Troops Celebrate Christmas in Afghanistan

    International troops in Afghanistan celebrated Christmas day with a traditional Christmas meal at Kabul International Airport in a dining hall packed with soldiers from the United States, France and Germany.

  • Douglas named female athlete of year

    When Gabby Douglas allowed herself to dream of being the Olympic champion, she imagined having a nice little dinner with family and friends to celebrate. Maybe she'd make an appearance here and there.

    "I didn't think it was going to be crazy," Douglas said, laughing. "I love it. But I realized my perspective was going to have to change."

    Just a bit.

    The teenager has become a worldwide star since winning the Olympic all-around title in London, the first African-American gymnast to claim gymnastics' biggest prize. And now she has earned another honor. Douglas was selected The Associated Press' female athlete of the year, edging out swimmer Missy Franklin in a vote by U.S. editors and news directors that was announced Friday.

    "I didn't realize how much of an impact I made," said Douglas, who turns 17 on Dec. 31. "My mom and everyone said, 'You really won't know the full impact until you're 30 or 40 years old.' But it's starting to sink in."

  • ´Topper boys, girls head to tourneys

    Members of the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys and girls basketball teams will have to unwrap their presents and gobble down their Christmas meals post-haste to make it to games.
    Los Alamos’ teams will travel to Roswell to take part in a pair of tournaments. The Hilltopper girls will take part in the Goddard Holiday Classic which begins Wednesday, while Los Alamos’ boys will be in the Poe Corn Invitational, also in Roswell, starting Thursday.
    For Los Alamos’ girls, they will face Portales in the first round of the Goddard tournament.
    Portales has been solid early in the season, posting a 6-2 record and just getting nipped in the second round of the Moriarty Invitational by the Class 5A Las Cruces Bulldogs, 46-45, Dec. 14.
    The winner of Wednesday’s game will face the winner between Goddard and Capital.
    Thursday is the start of the long-running Poe Corn Invitational tournament. This tournament, which has been around since the 1950s, has in recent years tried to become a more Class 4A-centered tournament.
    This year, it’s just that. All eight participants are Class 4A schools.
    Roswell’s Coyotes, who host the tournament, are the top-ranked team in the state heading into this week.

  • LA girls ranked 12th in first hoops poll

    The Roswell Coyotes and the Santa Fe Demons are the top teams in Class 4A, according to the first MaxPrep.com poll rankings of the 2012-13 season.
    The statewide rankings for boys and girls teams were released last Thursday. Rankings are recalculated twice a week but results from the first poll of this week were not available as of press time.
    The MaxPrep rankings are based on a mathematical equation factoring in wins, strength of schedule and historical results.
    The undefeated Coyotes and Demons, with their nucleus of returners, have been in the conversation of possible state title contenders since the preseason and are both off to impressive starts.
    If the early 4A rankings are any indication, the Hilltopper boys and girls will have their work cut out for them.
    In the boys rankings, Los Alamos is dead last among the 26 competing 4A teams. Los Alamos, at 0-8 heading into this week’s play, is the only team without a win in Class 3A, 4A or 5A and is the 112th-ranked prep team in the state out of a total of 117 teams.
    Roswell, heading into this weekend, was averaging nearly 78 points per game, including a 93-point performance in its season opener against Ruidoso.

  • A dash of absurd, class

    The final days of any passing year are traditionally a time to reflect upon the jumble of people and events that shaped the preceding twelve months – the absurd and the laudable.
    The dysfunctional U. S. House of Representatives notwithstanding, my own nominee for the “Notably Absurd Award” would be the New Mexico Finance Authority, whose former officials managed to make it a top scandal in 2012.
     It began when news broke that NMFA controller Greg Campbell had submitted a phony (and late) audit on the agency’s 2011 financial affairs to the State Auditor, as required by law.
    Let it be noted that connoisseurs of the absurd routinely caution that it is always unwise to promulgate phony audits, but that it is downright dumb to submit phony audits late, if only because tardiness calls attention to itself.
    Campbell pled guilty to forgery and securities fraud and was sentenced to five years probation.
    In recent days State Auditor Hector Balderas released a PricewaterhouseCoopers investigation into l’affaire NMFA.
    That investigation cost New Mexico taxpayers $1 million-plus and prompted Balderas to note that Campbell’s supervisors, including CEO Rick May, bear “significant responsibility” for the environment that allowed Campbell to contrive his phony and belated audit.

  • Utilities squeeze out extra dollars

    A new technical whizbang called E-911 was being introduced by the phone company. It was baloney, the senator told me. E-911 was going to be a new way for emergency responders to know exactly where a phone call was coming from. When a call came to a 911 call center, a message would pop up automatically showing the phone number, which could then be linked to an address.
    This was 1991 or so. The phone company, US West in those days, was asking the state for approval to add 50 cents to everyone’s phone bill to cover the cost. The senator told me the technology had been developed anyway, and the 50 cents was pure profit to the phone company.  The increase was approved.
    Caller-ID was introduced shortly afterwards, making the same technology available to everyone (for a much heftier price than 50 cents), demonstrating that the senator was probably right. The technology was there. But E-911 succeeded in squeezing more money out of you and me.

  • Community, lab talk security

    Officials whose job it is to oversee security in the community, the schools and at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, met to discuss security measures in wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

    Meant to be the first in a series of meetings, the main topic of the meeting was assessing what successful security measures the Los Alamos Public School system is doing now and how it might be improved.

    The first part of the meeting was a review of the district-wide plan by LAPS Superintendent Dr. Gene Schmidt. The plan, which is not available to the public, details how law enforcement and the schools should deal with a “shooter” type scenario, as well as all other kinds of emergency and disaster scenarios. However, Schmidt urged decision makers at the meeting to concentrate on the shooter scenario.

    “The real intent of this is to have you tell us should we be thinking about this or that as part of your own safety plan,”

    Schmidt said to the school principals and other school officials who attended the meeting.

    The review also included a live feed of a security camera system from one of the elementary schools and how it works, as well as how police would react to an “active shooter.”

  • Program has waiting list

    Even with support from the LANL Foundation and New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department, the Los Alamos First Born® program has 11 parents on its waiting list. The local program has launched a campaign to raise $20,000 by March.

    Contributions can be made to the Los Alamos Medical Center Auxiliary, attention First Born®, 3917 West Road, Los Alamos, 87544. For more information, contact director Patty Worth at 661-9224.

     

  • Residents rate county services

    The 2012 Los Alamos Community Survey indicates an overall satisfaction with county services and the quality of life in Los Alamos remains high, with only a few areas of relative dissatisfaction.

    The average rating for quality of life was 3.3 on a four point scale, with 87.3 percent of those responding rating it either “excellent” (37.3 percent) or “good” (53.0 percent). Overall rating for county services was also a 3.3.

    The survey, which had 420 respondents, is conducted every two years. The overall data for the entire sample is accurate to plus or minus 4.7 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

    One significant change this year is that CRC and Associates, LLC, which conducted the survey, was able to reach more of the younger demographic.

    “We were able to capture a very well balanced demographic to population figures, which tended to give us more information from younger populations,” CRC President Chris Cordova said. “In my business, it’s been harder and harder over the years to get younger people to do surveys. So this year we used a mixed methodology that included phone surveys, but it also included Internet surveys so that we could get a younger demographic and make sure our survey was balanced.”

  • APS awards fellowships to LANL scientists

    Ten scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are being inducted into the ranks of fellowship in the American Physical Society for 2012.

    The criterion for election as an APS Fellow involves exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise; such as performing outstanding physics research, important applications of physics, leadership in or service to physics, or significant contributions to physics education.

    Fellowship is an honor signifying recognition by professional peers. APS represents more than 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States and throughout the world.

    “In our fields, the respect of one’s peers is a most valuable reward,” Los Alamos Director Charlie McMillan said. “I congratulate this year’s inductees. They again show the depth of talent here at the laboratory and we’re proud to call them colleagues.”