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Today's News

  • Moniz to visit WIPP

    CARLSBAD (AP) — Members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation have announced that U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will visit Carlsbad on Aug. 12 to discuss the government’s underground nuclear waste dump.
    The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has been indefinitely shuttered in the wake of a Feb. 14 reaction that sent radioactive particles into the air above the repository and contaminated 22 workers with low levels of radiation. The release is still under investigation.
    Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Rep. Steve Pearce last month invited Moniz to visit the facility. They want to talk with him about recovery funding, how the money would be spent and why it’s needed.
    The facility is the nation’s only permanent repository for plutonium-contaminated gloves, tools and clothing from the federal government’s nuclear facilities.
    “We believe that the recovery is now at a stage where it would be important for you to observe the efforts directly,” the lawmakers wrote Moniz in June. “The workers and the community would also appreciate hearing firsthand the Department’s plans for returning WIPP to full operation. We look forward to hosting you in Carlsbad.”
     

  • Lab to close 'Y' parking lot next week

    Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Environmental Programs will close the east side of the parking lot at the “Y” at the interchange of N.M. 4 and N.M. 502 from Monday to Aug. 4.
    The closure is part of resumption of work necessary for crews to safely close three formerly used monitoring wells, part of a multi-year program to properly plug and abandon characterization boreholes and wells.
    Plugging and abandoning boreholes and wells that are no longer needed keeps the remaining holes from turning into pathways to groundwater.
    “We appreciate everyone’s patience as we complete this important work,” said Corrective Actions Program Director Dave McInroy.
    “It is as important to close wells safely as it is to construct them in a way that is protective of the environment.”
     

  • Acoustics to be featured in Frontiers in Science series

    Dipen Sinha of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Materials Synthesis and Integrated Devices group will discuss acoustics and its applications, including how it is possible to use sound to solve problems in health, national security and for industry, in a series of Frontiers in Science Lectures beginning July 29 at Crossroads Bible Church in Los Alamos.
    “I take advantage of the nature of sound waves and often manipulate these waves to solve technically challenging problems related to energy and national security,” Sinha said. “How an object vibrates also tells a lot about it. Sound can exert force on objects. By carefully manipulating acoustic forces it is possible to create novel structures and even unique materials that are otherwise not possible with conventional fabrication processes.”
    People are immersed in a universe filled with sound and experience it daily through hearing and vibration, according to Sinha. Sound is created by vibration and travels as waves through any medium in a number of ways. Observing how these waves interact with any medium can help researchers identify the medium even if it is hidden inside sealed containers, he added.
    All Frontiers in Science lectures begin at 7 p.m. at the following locations:
    • Tuesday at the Crossroads Bible Church, 97 East Road, Los Alamos

  • Update 07-25-14

    Pet Adoption

    Mobile pet adoption sponsored by Friends of the Shelter. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday in front of the new Smith’s Marketplace.

    Clarification

    Police chief Dino Sgambellone said that commander Preston Ballew has been disciplined after his case was resolved last week. It was reported Thursday that Ballew had not been disciplined.

    Beer Fiesta

    The Los Alamos Beer Co-op presents the Second Annual Beer Fiesta. Noon-6 p.m. Saturday at Pajarito Mountain. Hiking, biking, beer and live music from Felix y Los Gatos. $10. Shuttles from Sullivan Field every half until 7 p.m. For more information, visit losalamosbeer.coop.

    Spotlight

    Scientists in the Spotlight. 5-7:30 p.m.today at the Bradbury Science Museum. Meet the scientists from the Los Alamos Scientist Ambassador Academy program, who will offer up informal demonstrations and conversations covering topics like sea ice melting, static electricity and space travel that are appropriate for any age.

    Concert

    Gordon’s Summer Concert Series presents Ray Wylie Hubbard, with opening act the Bill Hearne Trio. The concert will be at 7 p.m. at Ashley Pond.  

  • Regional Coalition elects officers

    The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities held a business-oriented meeting on Thursday that included the election of officers.
    City of Española Mayor Alice Lucero was reelected chair of the coalition. Town of Taos Councilor Andrew Gonzales was elected vice chair. Gonzales has been serving as secretary/treasurer. Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales was elected secretary/treasurer by a 4-2 vote over Taos County Commissioner Tom Blankenhorn.
    Lucero announced that the Pueblo of Jemez has decided to join the coalition. The agreement is currently being finalized.
    The board approved both a work plan and a budget. Both can be viewed in the July 24 agenda packet at regionalcoalition.org.
    Los Alamos County Councilor Frances Berting and Deputy County Administrator Brian Bosshardt will join Lucero and coalition Executive Director Darien Cabral in Las Vegas, Nev., July 30-Aug. 1 for the Energy Alliance Communities Peer Exchange. The focus of the conference is nuclear energy and includes a tour the National Nuclear Security Site.

  • Hazmat Challenge set for next week

    Fourteen hazardous materials response teams from New Mexico, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma will test their skills at the 18th annual Hazmat Challenge July 29 through Aug. 1 at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    “The challenge provides hazardous materials responders the opportunity to test their skills, share best practices with other response agencies, and learn new techniques through realistic hazardous materials release scenarios in a safe, non-hazardous environment,” said Chris Rittner of the laboratory’s Security and Emergency Operations Division.
    Held at Los Alamos’ Technical Area 49, the event requires participants to respond to simulated hazardous materials emergencies involving a rail car, a clandestine laboratory, various modes of transportation, industrial piping scenarios, a simulated radiological release and a confined space event.
    The finale of the Hazmat Challenge is a skills-based obstacle course; teams are graded and earn points based on their ability to perform response skills through a 10-station obstacle course while using fully encapsulating personal protective equipment.

  • Driving on the range

    Sam Fisher, 13, practices his golf swing at the Los Alamos Golf Course earlier this week.

  • Auditorium gets makeover

    Those attending the 44th Annual Oppenheimer Lecture on Monday will also be the first to take in the sights of sounds of a different experience — the newly-renovated, Los Alamos High School’s Duane E. Smith Auditorium.
    Theater Manager Ross Mason and his crew of contractors and student techs have been working on renovating the theater’s interior since June.
    The aged structure was due for a massive overhaul, the seats themselves were last replaced in 1980.
    Those familiar with the theater’s operation said little piles of the aged foam from the chairs would have to occasionally be swept out from underneath the chairs — that’s how old and broken down the chairs were. “They should last another 40 years, if the kids take care of them,” Mason said.
    The cost of the chairs was defrayed somewhat through a special donor campaign, where donors could pay $250 for a plaque to be placed on a chair in the 52-seat center section. While all the new chairs are roomy and comfortable, the donor chairs are slightly wider and bigger in the seat. The armrests also fold up. According to Mason, the bid for the chair project was about $159,000.
    Mason said now with the new chairs, people will be able to worry about the show and not their comfort.

  • Pet Talk: Be aware of benign tumors in dogs

    The discovery of a fatty tumor underneath your pet’s skin can be disconcerting to any pet owner. Luckily, the most common fatty tumors, lipomas, are benign and usually not cause for concern.
    “Lipomas are common tumors of dogs, and although the gross appearance and texture of these tumors is characteristic, they are benign tumors in most cases,” said Dr. Rita Ho, veterinary intern instructor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
    Most lipomas feel fairly soft and movable under the skin and do not usually typically make pets uncomfortable unless they are in a location where normal movement is disrupted. Once your pet develops a lipoma, it is common for additional tumors to appear. If this does occur, each tumor should be checked individually.
    “Dogs can form lipomas under any conditions, even if the dog is in good body condition,” said Dr. Ho. “It is not related to any known cause or environmental factor.”

  • We are rut, so fight we musth

    Musth is a period in which adult elephants experience “testosterone overload,” inducing extreme levels of agitation, violent tendencies and rogue behavior. During musth, elephants discharge a thick tar-like substance called temporin, a warning sign that the elephant may charge in a dangerous frenzy with no apparent provocation at all.
    For male moose and elk, this testo-explosion is called “rut,” during which the animals fight with each other.
    And that urge to fight is simply uncontrollable. Elephants will charge almost anyone or anything in a seemingly mindless state of enraged fury. Moose in rut go head-to-head with each other (literally) in an attempt to demonstrate who is the superior male.
    It’s a macho-fest of the animal world, where “kill or be killed” is replaced with “kill and impress the girls!”
    The etymology of musth is very apropos. The word derives from the Persian “mast” meaning “intoxicated.” When raging in a manic killing craze, an animal exhibits the same level of judgment one might expect from someone who has ingested a dozen glasses of rum and coke (minus the coke).