Today's News

  • County to look at major changes

    The Los Alamos County Council will consider a resolution Tuesday evening to adopt a reorganization of two key county departments: Community & Economic Development and Public Works.
    The changes were announced by County Manager Harry Burgess, in conjunction with the publication of the agenda for Tuesday’s regular council meeting (7 p.m. in Council Chambers). Burgess commented on the proposed re-organization and highlighted his reasons for the change in a memo to county employees and statement to local residents.
    “Given the recent resignation of our Community and Economic Development Department Director Anne Laurent, I felt it was an appropriate time to reflect upon our current structure and consider whether or not changes are warranted,” Burgess said. “Any recommended changes are not a reflection upon the past director, however the county organizational structure should be periodically considered and altered as new challenges and projects require. I had the opportunity to review our organization in light of the goals adopted by the council to move Los Alamos toward its 20-year vision, which was an important consideration ahead of beginning the recruitment for a replacement director for CEDD.”

  • Review of Manhattan: Tough to know what Nazis knew

    Editor’s note: The Monitor is publishing discussion via the Los Alamos Historical Society about the TV series and how it relates to historical fact. The show is on WGN America at 7 p.m. Tuesdays.

    Episode 3
    What did the Nazis know?
    Information about espionage is difficult to find and can be unreliable, so it is difficult to find a definitive answer.
    Sources indicate that the Nazis did not know much about the Allied atomic bomb effort. Eight Nazi agents did try to sabotage generating power plants that supplied power to labs in Oak Ridge, Tenn., but were caught.
    It seems to be that Germany tried to establish a large network of spies in the United States, but failed to do so as many spies were quickly discovered. None of these spies were apparently able to penetrate the Manhattan Project, if they even knew it existed. It seems while Manhattan Project secrecy was not well kept from the Soviet Union, Manhattan Project officials did succeed in keeping the Nazis from important information.
    What did we know
    about the Nazis?

  • Audit: Most New Mexico districts adding to testing time

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal officials are praising New Mexico for helping reduce the time students use to take standardized tests.

    But New Mexico Public Education Department says more than 60 percent of school districts unnecessarily are duplicating assessments in at least one area on districts' tests.

    Officials say that's hurting state efforts to reduce the testing time statewide.

    The "New Mexico Assessment Inventory" released Friday showed that state-mandated testing time had declined between 2010 and 2015 by around 2.5 hours for across all grades. And state officials expect to see further reduction in testing time by 90 minutes next year.

    New Mexico Education Secretary Hanna Skandera says districts duplicating work should look to those such as Aztec and Las Cruces where testing times have been reduced.

    Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus released the following statement Friday about the PARCC test results:

    PARCC test results for elementary and middle schools in New Mexico were released today.  PARCC stands for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

  • New Mexico denied REAL ID deadline extension

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The federal government has denied New Mexico an extension from tougher federal requirements for state driver's licenses and ID cards.

    The decision means New Mexico driver's licenses will no longer be accepted at federal facilities like Kirtland Air Force Base starting Jan. 10. And eventually, state IDs won't be allowed to board commercial flights.

    The letter from the Department of Homeland Security, obtained by The Associated Press, was sent last week to the state Department of Taxation officials about the decision.

    REAL ID Act requirements require proof of legal U.S. residency for holders who want to use them to access certain areas of federal buildings.

    New Mexico state law allows immigrants suspected of being in the country illegal to obtain driver's licenses.

    Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has tried to get the state law repealed.

  • Trash to gas a topic in LA

    As part of its ongoing exploration into greener options for processing trash, the Los Alamos County Environmental Sustainability Board heard a presentation by Oswaldo Galarza of Alternative Industry Resources Global on technology for turning trash into natural gas or electricity.
    According to Galarza, several countries around the world are converting 100 percent of their waste into energy. His presentation highlighted operations of an A.I.R. Global facility in Aruba, which uses three reactors to provide 100 percent green energy to the country. Aruba has ordered three more turbines to process more waste.
    “When I say waste, that’s anything that comes into a landfill − tires, paper, cardboard, plastics − everything that has a BTU value can be processed for an energy source,” Galarza said.
    Metal, glass and construction materials are the exceptions. Those are sorted out before the trash begins its journey on conveyor belts through the system.
    The trash is shredded, then sent to drying units, which remove moisture so it can gasify more efficiently. Excess heat from the gasification process is diverted to the driers for that purpose. The waste is then compressed to achieve even greater efficiency.

  • Halloween festivities set for downtown

    With just days before Trick or Treat on Main Street, kids and parents – along with adults – no doubt are putting final touches on Halloween costumes.
    Trick or Treat on Main Street is from 4-6:30 p.m. Friday in downtown Los Alamos. Thousands are expected to bring their children to trick or treat. About 4,000 attended last year’s event.
    A Halloween Night Hike is planned as a pre-Halloween adventure in the woods behind the nature center.
    Local trails will be traversed under the cover of darkness. Participants may bring a light or buy one at the gift shop.
    The event is free for adults, $5 for children. Register at peecnature.org. For more information, go to peecnature.org.
    Also downtown as part of Friday’s festivities, visitors can stop by the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Bradbury Science Museum’s annual High Tech Halloween  from 4-6:30 p.m.
    High Tech Halloween is held in conjunction with Trick-or-Trick on Main Street downtown.
    Attendees can observe demonstrations of a vacuum chamber, a simulated chain reaction and a show involving lights and optics. There’s also creepy, crawly things in Critter Alley, a pumpkin glow and scary music.
    There is no cost to attend High Tech Halloween. The museum is at 15th Street and Central Avenue.

  • Attorney contend utilities’ negligence led to wildfire

    BERNALILLO, (AP) — Two electric utility companies did nothing to prevent one of the largest fires in New Mexico recorded history and later showed no remorse, an attorney for more than 300 plaintiffs told jurors Tuesday.
    In closing arguments, plaintiffs’ attorney Tom Tosdal said the Las Conchas Fire could have been averted had Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative Inc. responded to potential dangers by doing inspections and managing potentially hazardous vegetation along its power lines.
    The Las Conchas Fire started in 2011 when an aspen tree fell onto a power line that stretched through national forest land in the Jemez Mountains.
    Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative operated and maintained the line. Tri-State Generation and Transmission Inc. provides the cooperative with electricity and is also named as a defendant.
    “The only thing Jemez Mountains Electric and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association have done is avoid responsibility,” Tosdal said.
    During the trial, defense attorney Al Green pointed to numerous photographs of the aspen tree, saying it would have been difficult for utility linemen and contract workers to spot it as a hazard given that it still had green leaves and was on private land outside of the right of way.

  • Group challenges restoration plan in Jemez Mountains

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A plan to restore about 170 square miles of overgrown forest in northern New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains is drawing criticism from one environmental group.
    WildEarth Guardians has filed a formal objection to the plan by the Santa Fe National Forest. The group contends some of the activities would cause more harm than good.
    The group pointed to the construction and reconstruction of 120 miles of road to access timber, saying soil and water quality would be affected.
    WildEarth Guardians also claims the project violates federal environmental laws, regulations and policies.
    Forest officials say the Southwest Jemez Mountains Landscape Restoration aims to make forest more resilient to wildfire and other large-scale disturbances. The long-term project calls for a mix of logging, prescribed fire and other activities.

  • Police Beat 10-28-15

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    Oct. 18
    9:30 a.m. — Ezekiel Jaramillo, 18 of Los Alamos was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of drug paraphernalia at Diamond Drive in Los Alamos.   
    5:51 p.m. — Report of shoplifting of $250 to $2,500 at Trinity Drive in Los Alamos.
    8:38 p.m. — Angel Vigil, 24, of Medanales, was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting between $250 and $2,500 in merchandise at the 750 block of Trinity Drive in Los Alamos.
    8:42 p.m. — Jesse Gallegos, 23, of Medanales, was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting $250 to $2,500 in merchandise at the 750 block of Trinity Drive in Los Alamos.
    8:45 p.m. — Deanna Moya, 25, of Rio Chama, was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting of $250 to $2,500 at the 750 block of Trinity Drive in Los Alamos.
    8:25 p.m. — A 32-year-old female was a victim of a non-injury accident at East Jemez Road on State Highway 4 in Los Alamos.

    Oct. 19

  • Feds probe thefts at labs

    The Associated Press

    Federal officials say workers have stolen radioactive materials from Los Alamos National Laboratory multiple times this year.
    Items were taken from an area that stores contaminated materials before they’re shipped elsewhere. A federal court filing says there have been 76 thefts by Los Alamos personnel in 2015.
    An affidavit says lab officials contacted federal investigators on Sept. 30 to say a subcontractor’s employee had stolen items.
    The Los Alamos Police Department had responded to a larceny call the previous day at another technical area, TA-18, where a witness had seen a man throwing items from the trunk of his car into bushes along the roadside. Los Alamos police found a bandsaw, garden hose, Truefit gloves, screwdriver set and conduit, some of them marked “TA-54.”
    The Los Alamos officer immediately notified radioactive control technicians to survey for contamination. Both the individuals and items found were positive for alpha-emitting isotopes, and two individuals at the spot where the items were discovered were taken to the lab’s occupational health clinic for decontamination.
    One individual who was interviewed said some contaminated gloves left in a LANL vehicle the week before had gone missing.