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Today's News

  • Pet of the Week 11-19-17

    Wilbur can teach humans a thing or two about optimism and having an indomitable spirit. Wilbur, a 6-year-old Boston Terrier mix, was a stray living on the streets of Albuquerque was hit by a car Oct. 12.

    Wilbur lost an eye in the accident and his tail is forever crooked, but thanks to eye surgery funded by the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter Allies, Wilbur is back to his old self.

    He’s 23 pounds, and has a tan-and-black coat. He arrived at the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter Nov. 7, and loves to greet every person that comes through the door with a wagging tail and a leash-tugging enthusiasm that makes everyone want to pet him and call him a good boy.

    Though he’s been through a lot, Wilbur now has a clean bill of health and needs no further medication. Volunteers say he loves all types of people, including kids. Though he loves to be the center of attention, Wilbur also does well with other dogs and cats and doesn’t mind sharing the spotlight.

    He also has a thing for squeaky toys, walks and hikes. Wilbur is also crate-trained and sterilized. He has also been vaccinated and has a microchip.

  • CROP Hunger Walk Set for Sunday

    The Los Alamos CROP Hunger Walk and Turkey Trot will leave the Los Alamos Middle School starting line at 2 p.m. Sunday.

    At that moment, local participants will be joining hundreds of communities across the U.S., putting their best foot forward in this national effort to eradicate global hunger and malnutrition. In so doing, event participants are continuing a local tradition, raising money for long-term sustainable approaches to significantly reduce or eliminate hunger around the world.

    Los Alamos residents got involved in 2001 when Ted Williams and the late Aaron Goldman combined the Atomic City Road Runners’ annual Turkey Trot with a CROP Hunger Walk. Concerned citizens of this town have been raising money for hunger relief with this fun, annual community event ever since.

    On Sunday, runners and walkers will gather in the Middle School Cafeteria (on North Mesa) after 1 p.m. to register and get a t-shirt, turn in any money they have been able to raise from friends and supporters, and head out to the starting line.

  • Sparks fly with discussion of charter school

    A Los Alamos Schools board member who urged the district’s superintendent to support a charter school initiative during a private meeting drew criticism from fellow board members on Tuesday.

    Board chair Jenny McCumber and other board members told board member Bill Hargraves that his activities with a committee organizing to establish Polaris Public Charter School – including a meeting with Superintendent Kent Steinhaus – could appear as a conflict of interest.

    The board met Tuesday night for a regularly scheduled meeting, and nearly 90 minutes of the four-hour meeting was taken up with discussion regarding Hargraves’ interactions with Steinhaus.

    Hargraves defended his actions, saying that his presence on the charter school’s organizing committee was as a private citizen.

    He added that he had been a long-time supporter of allowing “student families” to have option in Los Alamos.
    However, fellow board members tried to convince him that as a publicly elected member of a board overseeing Steinhaus, and his employment, he shouldn’t be meeting privately with the superintendent regarding a matter of his personal preference.

  • Welcome Back, George
  • Young Hilltopper basketball team ready to roll

    This season, the Los Alamos High School girls’ basketball team is out to prove that the phrase “practice makes perfect” really is true.

    After finishing with a disappointing 6-21 record last year under first-year head coach Josh Archuleta, the team instituted an entirely new offseason training regimen.

    It was aimed at improving the chemistry of the team and bringing out all of the players’ best qualities on the court.

    Archuleta believes that goal was accomplished.

    “The strengths on this roster have been proven throughout the summer,” Archuleta said. “We played more than 30 games during the summer, and never stopped working preseason.”

    Archuleta believes that the team has a stronger sense of cohesion than last year, and that the results of that have shown on the court in practice this month.

    “We are the type of basketball team that is very unselfish,” Archuleta said. “We aren’t prideful in terms of individual pride. We are prideful in terms of team pride. If the team wins, we all win.”

    The players seem to share that sentiment, with several of them saying they have a different feeling about this season than in previous years.

  • Nuclear oversight included in defense spending bill

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A measure aimed to bolstering oversight of the nation's nuclear weapons complex has been passed by Congress as part of a $700 billion defense spending plan.
    U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico say their amendment to the massive military budget bill addresses the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. The independent panel oversees two national laboratories in the state and the federal government's only underground nuclear waste repository.
    The measure requires board members to report to Congress each year about whether the White House's budget request for the board is enough to fund reviews deemed necessary to ensure safe operations at the U.S. Energy Department sites.
    Supporters say the board's role is critical given a series of safety lapses at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a planned uptick in nuclear weapons work.

  • Ex-New Mexico state senator is convicted in corruption trial

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A former New Mexico state senator was convicted Thursday on five counts in a corruption trial over accusations he used his position as a lawmaker to profit from the sale of a state-owned building.
    Prosecutors accused Phil Griego of using his elected position and acumen as a real estate broker to guide the sale of the building in downtown Santa Fe through approvals by a state agency, the Legislature and a public buildings commission without properly disclosing his financial interest.
    Griego, 69, resigned from the Legislature in 2015 at the close of a Senate ethics investigation.
    He said he did nothing wrong in earning a $50,000 commission from buyers of the property.
    Defense attorneys emphasized that many high-ranking state government officials backed the transaction — some with knowledge of Griego's involvement.
    Several lawmakers testified that they were left in the dark or mislead by Griego on the matter.
    Prosecutors with the office of Democratic Attorney General Hector Balderas pursued Griego on six felony counts and two misdemeanors.
    Jurors found Griego, a Democrat, guilty of violating ethical principles of public service, bribery and fraud against the state and unlawful interest in a public contract.
    He was acquitted of three charges — defrauding business partner, perjury and violating financial disclosure act.

  • UC Board of Regents approves LANL bid submission

    The University of California regents Thursday approved a plan for the 10-campus system to bid on the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s management and operations contract.
    Board of Regents member and former U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher and UC Vice President for National Laboratories Kimberly Budil, submitted a joint statement on the board’s vote shortly after it was taken.
    “Today’s action by the UC Board of Regents authorizing the University to submit a bid for the management and operating contract of Los Alamos National Laboratory is further evidence of UC’s ongoing commitment to the stewardship of this great scientific and technological enterprise,” they said.
    UC has been involved in the managing the lab for 75 years. Since 2005, it’s latest role is being a partner with Bechtel, BWXT Government Group Inc., and URS.
    The partnership is known as Los Alamos National Security LLC. In 2015, the Department of Energy decided not to extend LANS’ contract, citing several lapses in safety. UC has until Dec. 11 to submit a bid. LANS’ contract expires Sept. 30 of next year.
    According to the National Nuclear Security Administration’s website, 39 other potential contractors may be interested in submitting a bid.
    UC officials made sure to include UC’s management experience with the lab as a selling point in its bid.

  • Jury deliberates in New Mexico corruption trial

    SANTA FE (AP) — A jury in New Mexico is weighing whether to convict a former state senator on corruption charges for his role in the sale of a state-owned building.
    Jury deliberations began Thursday at a state district court in Santa Fe in the trial against ex-Sen. Phil Griego.
    State prosecutors say Griego used his position as a Senator to help authorize the 2014 sale of a State Parks building in downtown Santa Fe without properly disclosing his business relationship with the buyer. Griego earned a $50,000 commission on the sale as a real estate agent for the owners of a luxury inn.
    Griego says he broke no laws. Testifying in court, he expressed regret for not announcing his personal financial involvement in the sale. Prosecutors say he pressured witnesses during the trial.

  • National lab scientists complete critical plutonium experiment at test site

    The first of 10 critical experiments using plutonium was successfully completed at the Nevada Test Site this year by researchers from Las Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories, LLNL announced this week.

    This was the first successful criticality experiment in 40 years. Another nine total configurations are planned at the site before March 2018, according to Nolan O’Brien, a public information officer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

    “The series is ongoing,” O’Brien said Thursday. “We will continue to test new configurations and bring them to critical.”

    For the test, researchers layered stacks of plutonium and brought them to "critical," the point at which fissile material can sustain a nuclear chain reaction.

    “We were right at critical, and we kept it together for an hour,” Catherine Percher, a nuclear engineer at LLNL who is leading the experimental series, said. “It was amazing to see the constant, slow increase in the neutron population. If we had too much mass, we would have to correct for that in our models. But we achieved a near-perfect benchmark.”

    The experiment was one in a series that aims to help ensure plutonium operations continue to be conducted safely, according to O’Brien.