Today's News

  • Israel and Hamas agree to Gaza cease-fire

    CAIRO (AP) — Israel and the Hamas militant group reached a cease-fire agreement Wednesday to end the fiercest round of fighting in nearly four years, promising to halt attacks on each other and ease an Israeli blockade constricting the Gaza Strip.

    Egypt's foreign minister, Mohammed Kamel Amr, said the deal was set to take effect at 9 p.m. local time. (2 p.m. EDT), capping days of intense efforts that drew the world's top diplomats into the fray. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stood next to Amr as he announced the breakthrough at a news conference in Cairo.

    The agreement will "improve conditions for the people of Gaza and provide security for the people of Israel," Clinton said. In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said he agreed to the cease-fire after consulting with President Barack Obama.

    Israel launched the fierce Israeli offensive in Gaza last week to stop months of intensifying rocket attacks. Even after the deal was announced, an air-raid siren signaled a rocket attack in southern Israel, while an airstrike could be heard in Gaza.

  • N.M. MainStreet: Shop local

    The New Mexico Economic Development Department and New Mexico MainStreet Program encourage holiday shoppers to shop local first this holiday season.
    New Mexico MainStreet Communities have launched a shop local campaign this holiday season to encourage citizens to shop downtown at their local main street businesses.
    “Local small businesses in MainStreet districts are the heart of so many New Mexico communities,” Economic Development Secretary John Barela said. “It takes risk and a lot hard work to open a business and by supporting these businesses this holiday season we will see the benefits all year long by having these local retailers locate in our downtowns.”
    Buying local benefits local communities by:
    • Retaining money in the community — each time that money is spent at locally owned businesses, more money is available to support other local businesses like retail stores, movie theaters, auto repair shops, restaurants, health services, etc., and more local jobs are created
    • Local businesses generate local jobs — income to those businesses is returned in the form of salaries, which are spent locally as well. And don’t forget all those youth team sponsorships, raffle items, high school scholarships and other investments in our community that are made by local merchants.

  • Venture Fund makes awards

    Two local biotech start-ups, a water and power company and a hardware inventor are the latest recipients of $165,000 in Venture Acceleration Fund awards from Los Alamos National Security, LLC.
    Mustomo, Inc., IX Power, Synfolia and Tape-Ease will receive funding to take their products and services to the next development level. Three of the four companies are commercializing technology and intellectual property developed by New Mexico’s national laboratories and educational institutions.
    “Although the program was originally intended to commercialize lab technologies, VAF frequently funds companies with no tie to LANL or research institutions,” said David Pesiri, the laboratory’s Technology Transfer Division leader. “This round of VAF funding represents a special opportunity to push national lab and research institution technology into the marketplace and to build upon other tech transfer efforts such as Labstart.”

  • Tips for a safe Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving is all about food and family — turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and family time. However, preparing holiday goodies can lead to disaster — the kitchen is the setting of more fires than any other room in the house and cooking is the leading cause of fires in the home. The American Red Cross has safety steps to use while preparing the Thanksgiving feast.
    “We want folks to have a safe holiday,” said Rahim Balsara, interim CEO of the American Red Cross in New Mexico “We have steps they can follow to avoid ruining their holiday with a cooking fire.”
    The cooks should start by not wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. Never leave cooking food unattended — stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If someone must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, they should turn off the stove.
    Other safety steps include:
    • Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
    • Keep the kids away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.

  • Udall presents five medals to vet

    It’s been more than six decades, but New Mexico veteran Wilson Halona is being recognized for his service during World War II.
    Halona, a native of Tohatchi, received five military medals Tuesday from U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, during a ceremony at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque.
    More than 50 members of Halona’s family watched as he was presented with the World War II Victory Medal, the Silver Service Star and the other medals.
    Halona’s battalion defeated German bunkers at Utah Beach in 1944 and guarded Adolf Hitler’s top generals in Stuttgart. Halona personally guarded one of the highest-ranking generals before returning to Nuremberg to celebrate the end of the war.
    Halona’s family contacted Udall’s office in October to verify his medal eligibility.

  • Update 11-21-12

    Special Section

    Look for “The Spirit of Giving” special section in Thursday’s Los Alamos Monitor. The publication will be packed with information to help you shop smarter, not harder.

    Eco Station closed

    The Eco Station, also known as the county landfill, will be closed on Thursday and Friday in observance of Thanksgiving.

    Office closed

    The Los Alamos Monitor office will be closed in observance of Thanksgiving Day, Thursday. Normal office hours will resume Friday.

    County Council

    The Los Alamos County Council will meet at 7 p.m. Nov. 27  in council chambers.

    Library Board

    The Los Alamos County Library Board holds regular meetings the first Monday of each month (excluding holidays) at 5:30 p.m. in the Mesa Public Library Board Room or at White Rock Branch Library. The next meeting is Dec. 3.

  • Thwaits looks to serve her community

    Los Alamos’ new assistant county attorney Kathryn Thwaits has wanted to work for the county since she moved here six years ago.

    Thwaits worked as an intern for the City of San Diego, Calif. and as a law clerk for San Diego County, as she was pursuing her law degree at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law (completed in 2006) and discovered she really enjoyed working for local government.

    “I live in Los Alamos and my husband James Thwaits, works for the Los Alamos Fire Department,” she said. “So my first goal was to get in with the county. And six years later, I did.”

    After moving to New Mexico, Thwaits was hired as deputy district attorney for the First Judicial District Attorney’s office, serving Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Rio Arriba counties. There, she managed the Española/Rio Arriba office, including all personnel and the office caseload. Thwaits also managed a personal caseload averaging 175 felony cases at any given time.

    While serving in that position, she volunteered with the Rio Arriba DWI program, the DWI Planning Council and the DWI Task Force. She helped develop and launch Española’s first inaugural post-prom party.

  • LANL names 2012 Fellows

    Three members of the Los Alamos National Laboratory scientific staff are being honored with appointment as Laboratory Fellows for 2012.

    The new Los Alamos Fellows include Charles Farrar,  Steven Elliott and Mikhail Shashkov.

    The committee ranked a collection of nominations on the basis of:
    •  Sustained, high-level achievements in programs of importance to the laboratory;
    • A fundamental or important discovery that has led to widespread use;
    • Having become a recognized authority in the field, including outside recognition and an outstanding record of publications.

    “Chuck, Steven and Mikhail have made exceptional contributions in their fields and to national security,” Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan said. “To be honored by their peers is a testament to their work. I congratulate the 2012 Laboratory Fellows and thank them for their service.”

    Farrar, of the Los Alamos National Security Education Center, is one of the preeminent structural health monitoring pioneers in the world.

  • Paint truck removed from Bandelier

    Sometime last Friday, San Bar Construction, the owner of a truck hauling traffic paint that ran off a cliff in late September, sent a contractor to N.M. 4 in the Jemez Mountains to retrieve the truck and clean up the damage.

    According to Bandelier National Monument Ranger Scott Ryan, a contractor took most of the day to remove the truck, bringing it down in pieces, instead of trying to bring it all down at once.

    The contractor, Southwest Structural Services Inc., of Santa Fe., used some innovative techniques to remove the 1998 International flatbed truck from the mountainside.

    “The way we planned it, I’d say removing the truck went about 99.9 percent to plan,” said company president Steven Duran.

    What his company did was mostly use a system of cables and sleds to remove the two-ton truck and the rest of the debris. Duran said the most difficult maneuver was to remove the trailer, which had a forklift on the back of it.

    “By means of the cable, we literally flipped it,” Duran said. “We flipped it 90 degrees to point down the mountain, then we flipped the forklift back on its tires and things went pretty well from there.”

    Southwest then went about moving the actual truck very carefully.

  • Five SOC employees fired

    Five members of the Los Alamos National Laboratory security force were terminated last week for the improper use of the live fire shooting range located at Technical Area 72, according to a statement released by the lab Wednesday.

    The lab security force is called Securing Our Country or SOC.

    The statement went on to say, “After a swift but preliminary inquiry, it was concluded that inappropriate behavior warranted the termination of five protective force firing range personnel. The laboratory will continue to determine involvement by others, including laboratory personnel.

    “Although the inquiry concluded this was not a safety or security risk, the laboratory takes this kind of inappropriate behavior very seriously.

    “The laboratory does not tolerate unauthorized use of our facilities or equipment. We hold ourselves and our contractors to the highest possible standards of behavior.”

    Lab officials declined to discuss what the nature of the behavior was that resulted in the terminations.