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Today's News

  • Students get Tools for School

    Self-Help Inc. has been the sponsor of Tools for School for 15 years and once again has completed another program. With money from United Way, other grants and donations from the community, $27,000 worth of paper, pencils, scissors and other supplies have been purchased, unloaded at the Masonic Temple in Los Alamos and then sorted and distributed to children in need throughout the Los Alamos, Española and Pojoaque school districts.
    Joyce Nickols has been the Tools for School coordinator for the last three years. Helping with Tools for School has been an annual project for the middle school and high school youth groups at the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos.  
    Nickols, youth director De Anna Hoyle and the youth group had a pizza picnic and then worked several hours recently unloading a truck, donated by Remax of Los Alamos, that was filled to capacity with boxes of supplies.

  • 'Women for Heather' has LA county chair

    Heather Wilson, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, announced today that Los Alamos resident Francine J. Mendoza will lead Women for Heather in Los Alamos County.
    She joins the statewide grassroots team and will lead the county’s efforts to elect the first female senator from New Mexico.
    “This year we have a special opportunity to elect Heather Wilson as New Mexico’s first woman U.S. Senator,” Mendoza said.
    “Heather is the only pro-life candidate running for the U.S. Senate, and I know she will reflect my values when she is elected.
    She will also fight to create jobs here in New Mexico. And that is why I’m supporting Heather Wilson to be our next U.S. senator.”
    “I’m happy that Francine has joined our campaign to elect the first woman senator from New Mexico,” Wilson said.
    “The extreme policies coming out of Washington have made things harder and more expensive for New Mexico women. Too many of us are getting by, but not getting on. It’s time to change direction.”
    Mendoza has a degree in secondary education and social studies. She served as a teacher in Tallahassee, Fla., while raising her three children.

  • Update 08-15-12

    No CIP Thursday

    The CIP Evaluation and Oversight Committee will not meet Thursday. They plan to meet with County Administrator Harry Burgess in a special committee meeting at 5:15 p.m. Aug. 23 in Council Chambers. This will be the only agenda item for the meeting. The public is welcome to attend.

    Triathlon time

    The Los Alamos County Triathlon will take place at 7 a.m. Saturday, beginning at the Aquatic Center.

    Groundbreaking

    The public is invited to join the county council for the groundbreaking event for the new Golf Course Community Building at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 24, at the building site. Refreshments will be served.

    Regional coalition

    The Regional Coalition Business meeting will be at 9 a.m. Friday at the Rio Arriba County Courthouse.

    Board meeting

    The Environmental Sustainability Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the Community Building Training Room.

  • Sign code change inches closer

    Attempts to update and simplify the county’s sign code began in 2005. After years of contention and delays, Community and Economic Development Department (CEDD) Principal Planner Gary Leikness is optimistic about the possibility of having a new code by the end of the year.

    Leikness presented his draft revision to a group of business and retail owners Monday night and to the Los Alamos County Council at Tuesday’s work session. The county attorney’s office is also reviewing the draft. Although specific elements of the code were debated, reaction overall was positive.

    Two core changes to the code garnered support.

    “The heart of it is a matrix that explains what’s allowed and what’s not. In the current code it’s broken out into three or four different tables, and it gets confusing,” Leikness said.  “What we’re shooting for there is to dramatically simplify the permitting process. I think this draft will help staff understand the code better when they apply it and, hopefully, it will be easier for the general public and the property owner when they apply for a sign permit.”

  • Last-minute moves cause concerns

    For many parents that have kids attending the middle school this year, it was worry enough knowing their kids were going to be getting an education in a virtual construction zone as the middle school undergoes a multi-million dollar, year-long renovation.

    As the summer wore on and the first day of school loomed closer and closer, worry turned to frustration as the portable classrooms meant for the middle school students just sat in a lot outside Los Alamos High School, with no plans to move them in sight.

    Add to that the decision to move the portable classrooms was delayed by two more weeks due to a complaint from one of the project’s losing bidders. The uncertainty and delays brought many parents to their breaking point.

    Even School Board President Kevin Honnell was frustrated.

    “There was a lot of concern about this. I had to watch, like the rest of the residents driving back and forth on Diamond Drive, the calendar days peel by with nothing being done,” Honnell said.

    But at Tuesday’s  Los Alamos Public Schools Board of Education meeting, he and others finally got their answers from McCarthy spokesman David Wharram.

  • First day of school

    Wednesday marked the first day of school for Los Alamos Public School students.

  • Secret thoughts from the jury

    Forty people shuffle into the courtroom. They take assigned seats, which correspond to their names on a diagram. They look serious and a little intimidated.
    Voir dire begins – the question-and-answer process by which the biases and beliefs of these potential jurors will be disclosed, and a jury of 12 members and two alternates will be selected to decide the fate of another human being.
    The judge introduces himself, the attorneys, and the defendant. This is a criminal trial, he says. The defendant is accused of possession of heroin.
    The defendant is a small, middle-aged man whose blank facial expression does not change. He looks slightly shabby in nondescript slacks and a flannel shirt.  
    The judge asks questions first.  Do any of you know the defendant, he says, or me, or any of the attorneys, or the District Attorney for whom the prosecuting attorneys work?
     I’m the first to raise a hand. I know someone with the District Attorney, not well. Well enough to influence my decision?
    No, Your Honor. The judge asks about the jurors’ schedules and potential time conflicts.
    The prosecutor asks questions. How do you feel about the drug laws? Are they too strict or not strict enough? Marijuana should be legalized, someone says. Another says the drug laws should be stricter.

  • Depreciation prevents expense spikes

    The Internal Revenue Service stipulates that businesses must capitalize expenditures for big-ticket items and recover that cost over several years – a practice known as depreciation – to avoid dramatic changes in the financial statements of a business from one year to the next. Knowing when to depreciate and when to claim a special one-time expense deduction is critical for entrepreneurs.
    Capital expenditures offer businesses an opportunity to expand operations — to modernize and grow — by buying the equipment and capital they need and deducting these costs on their income tax return. This fuels economic expansion.
    Depreciation makes sense when a business makes a major capital investment that offers long-term benefits, but is purchased upfront or over the short-term. Typical candidates for depreciation include vehicles, buildings, furniture, equipment, and computer systems. Rather than frighten investors by recording the whole impact of a purchase in one financial period, where it can create a loss, a company can spread it out over many financial periods effectively matching the deduction to the period of benefit. It matters not how the loan is repaid; what matters is how long the investment is expected to provide an economic benefit.

  • Tree trimming begins Monday in LA, WR

     Preventing power outages and unsafe fire hazards by trimming trees too close to power lines is a safety and reliability priority for the Los Alamos Dept. of Public Utilities (DPU). The DPU has engaged Allied Tree Service to trim around the overhead power lines in White Rock and Los Alamos starting Monday.

    The tree trimming project is anticipated to last 2‐3 months with work beginning at the Ski Hill, then moving to White Rock, then the Los Alamos town site. The tree trimming is necessary to prevent trees from coming into contact with power lines and touching un‐insulated wires which can lead to power outages.

    The DPU will make every attempt to notify nearby affected residents and businesses one week in advance of tree trimming work in their area. Trimming will occur within designated utility easements and the DPU asks the public to allow the trimming crews to access these areas.

     For more information contact Deputy Utility Manager for Electric Distribution Rafael De La Torre (rafael.delatorre@lacnm.us) or Michael Salazar (Michael.salazar@lacnm.us) or call the 311 Customer Care Center at 662‐8333.    

  • Topes Notes 08-15-12

    Colorado Springs wins series opener