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Today's News

  • Forest Service spends record $2B battling forest fires

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Forest Service has spent more than $2 billion battling forest fires around the country — a record as wildfires blacken the American West in one of the nation's worst fire seasons.

    Wildfires have ravaged the West this summer with 64 large fires burning across 10 states as of Thursday, including 21 fires in Montana and 18 in Oregon. In all, 48,607 wildfires have burned nearly 13,000 square miles (33,586 square kilometers).

    The fires have stretched firefighting resources, destroyed more than 500 homes and triggered health alerts as choking smoke drifted into major Western cities.

    The Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is the nation's primary firefighting agency.

    Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the severe fire season means officials "end up having to hoard all of the money that is intended for fire prevention, because we're afraid we're going to need it to actually fight fires."

    The emphasis on firefighting means that money for prescribed burns, insect control and other prevention efforts is diverted to putting out fires in what Perdue called a self-defeating cycle. The end result is that small trees and vegetation remain in the forest for future fires to feed on.

  • LA, local leaders meet with D.C. officials

    Government officials from Los Alamos and regional leaders are in Washington, D.C. this week to meet with congressional lawmakers to voice their concerns about the National Nuclear Safety Administration’s draft request for proposals for the next management and operations contract for the Los Alamos National Laboratory. 

    “Our community has had some real challenges in communicating our interests, and just meeting and communicating with the potential bidders,” said Andrea Romero, the executive director of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities.

    Two weeks ago, The National Nuclear Security Administration, the government agency overseeing the bidding process, allowed Romero a 24-hour notice to put together a meeting between potential contractors and regional leaders. 

    The contractors visited Los Alamos to tour the lab Aug. 24. 

    Though the meeting was successful in helping regional and county representatives get their point across about how important the lab’s financial support to the community was, only two potential contractors showed up to the meeting.  

  • LA Garden Club celebrates 70 years

     The Los Alamos Garden Club celebrated its 70th anniversary Saturday in the Memorial Rose Garden next to Fuller Lodge. It was a bright, sunny day, but plenty of shade covered the seats to create a pleasant afternoon of festivities. Delicious refreshments were served with the beautiful backdrop of roses from the garden.  

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    “Our club was founded on Jan. 19, 1947, two years before I was born,” Club President Joyce Zaugg mentioned as everyone chuckled, “and we have been flourishing ever since.”

    The Los Alamos Garden Club has a long-standing reputation in the community that began in 1947 after 11 local residents gathered together with the goal to create a more beautiful natural environment following the end of World War II and the newly privatized town. 

  • Saturday events to mark Ranch School anniversary

    History will repeat itself Saturday when Boy Scout Troop 22 will host a formation ride and perform a flag ceremony to Fuller Lodge to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Los Alamos Ranch School. 

    Fuller Lodge was an original part of the school. The event will also kick off the Los Alamos Historical Society’s annual gala. 

    A committee planning the event for the past year came up with the Boy Scout ride in. 

    “Everybody at the table got really excited about that idea,” Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director Heather McClenahan said. 

    The scouts have been training for the event. 

    To help with the equestrian grand entrance, the gala enlisted the help of horse owners like Lisa Reader with the training. The troop was already being trained and reconnected with its horse riding past before the gala committee called about the ride in. The ride in will be similar to ones that occurred at Ranch School graduations in the early days of the school’s existence.

  • Household income finally tops 1999 peak

    WASHINGTON — In a stark reminder of the damage done by the Great Recession and of the modest recovery that followed, the median American household only last year finally earned more than it did in 1999.

    Incomes for a typical U.S. household, adjusted for inflation, rose 3.2 percent from 2015 to 2016 to $59,039, the Census Bureau said. The median is the point at which half the households fall below and half are above.

    Last year’s figure is slightly above the previous peak of $58,665, reached in 1999. It is also the first time since the recession ended in 2009 that the typical household earned more than it did in 2007, when the recession began.

    Trudi Renwick, the bureau’s assistant division chief, cautioned that the census in 2013 changed how it asks households about income, making historical comparisons less than precise.

    Still, the Census data is closely watched because of its comprehensive nature. It is based on interviews with 70,000 households and includes detailed data on incomes and poverty across a range of demographic groups.

  • FEMA estimates 25 percent of Florida Keys homes gone

     LOWER MATECUMBE KEY, Fla. (AP) — With 25 percent of the homes in the Florida Keys feared destroyed, emergency workers Tuesday rushed to find Hurricane Irma’s victims – dead or alive – and deliver food and water to the stricken island chain.

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    As crews labored to repair the lone highway connecting the Keys, residents of some of the islands closest to Florida’s mainland were allowed to return and get their first look at the devastation.

    “It’s going to be pretty hard for those coming home,” said Petrona Hernandez, whose concrete home on Plantation Key with 35-foot walls was unscathed, unlike others a few blocks away. “It’s going to be devastating to them.”

    But because of disrupted phone service and other damage, the full extent of the destruction was still a question mark, more than two days after Irma roared into the Keys with 130 mph winds.

  • Public meeting to review the county wildfire mitigation  

    The Los Alamos County Fire Department, in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is requesting public input on a proposed Wildfire Mitigation Project in Los Alamos County.

    The public is invited to a meeting to discuss the project at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Los Alamos Fire Department Administration Building in the Training Room, located at 999 Central Ave. 

    The proposed Wildfire Mitigation Project would include vegetation thinning on approximately 114 acres of county open space lands and home assessments on adjacent private lands to minimize fire hazard risk throughout the county. 

     

    More information about this project, including a map of the proposed treatment areas, is available online at LACwildfireproject.us or by contacting the Project Manager Chief Kelly Sterna at kelly.sterna@lacnm.us or 662-8301.

  • MOWW to meet Tuesday

     This month’s meeting of the Military Order of World Wars will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Los Alamos Research Park the second floor conference room.

    The speaker will be Marla Brooks, the emergency operations manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Emergency Operations Center. She will talk about operation at the center. September is National Emergency Management Month.

    The Los Alamos Research building is located west of the South Mesa Fire Station. Parking is available east of the fire station (accessible from southbound lane of the Los Alamos Canyon Bridge) or east of the Research Park building (access is through the LANL control stations to West Jemez road.) Entrance to the Research Park main conference is from the ground level elevator on the east side of the building to the second level.

  • McMillan talks housing, LANL’s future, community

    Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charles McMillan gave two similar yet different talks in Los Alamos last month, each one focusing on housing and jobs.

    At Los Alamos County Council’s Aug. 29 meeting, McMillan emphasized the lab’s employment strategies and how that figures into the council’s plans to create more housing opportunities.

    “We continue to bring new talent to the laboratory. As what  many organizations are experiencing today, we’re seeing retirements from the baby boom generation and, recognizing that was the case several years ago, we started working with the laboratory statisticians in the HR (human resources) organization, developing staffing plans that would address the future needs of the laboratory workforce, taking into account the projected retirements,” McMillan said. “Those projections are running very close to what we’ve expected and the consequences of that is that we hired over a thousand people last year at the laboratory, and this year, we are on track to hire almost another thousand.”

    McMillan said he and his staff were able to accomplish this goal with a five-year plan that is reviewed yearly. He also gave county council a breakdown of where the workforce lives.

  • Accident on Diamond Drive Tuesday causes traffic delays

    Traffic was delayed Tuesday about 5 p.m. following a two-car accident on Diamond Drive.

    A blue BMW sedan driven by a 17-year-old girl was headed northbound on Diamond Drive about 5 p.m. Tuesday when her car collided with red Volkswagen SUV driven by a 72-year-old woman who was driving south on Diamond Drive. The 72-year-old woman was attempting to make a left turn onto Orange Street.

    No injuries were reported, no citations were issued at the scene, according to Los Alamos Police.