Today's News

  • UNM’s Institute for Medieval Studies to host lecture series on Middle Ages

    The University of New Mexico’s Institute for Medieval Studies will host its 32nd Spring Lecture Series, “Medieval Animals,” April 24–27, popular with Los Alamos and other area residents, all of whom are welcome to attend.
    “Medieval Animals” will explore how humans and animals interacted on the historical level at key points during the Middle Ages. The topics will include how medieval authors – much like their modern counterparts, including George Orwell and Jorge Luis Borges – used animal characters to critique human behavior and underline human foibles.
    The lectures will also cover how legends grew up around animals both real and mythical in order to offer men and women moral examples that accorded with the medieval worldview, and how the extraordinarily rich representation of animals in medieval art played both a didactic and a decorative role in the culture of the Middle Ages.
    An underlying theme of the series will be to compare and contrast the treatment of animals within medieval Western and Islamic cultures.

  • Former LA resident pens well-reviewed book about Spanish

    Author Judy Hochberg lived in Los Alamos from 1989 to 2000 and recently published a book about Spanish with Bloomsbury Academic Press. Hochberg has a Ph.D. in linguistics from Stanford University and teaches Spanish at Fordham University, New York.
    Although she has not been back to Los Alamos since she moved, the delicious breakfast burritos from Chili Works have not been forgotten.
    Hochberg worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory as a research staff member with CCS-3 Information Sciences, working mostly on projects having to do with computers and language.
    The project she was hired for involved training a neural net, which is a computer model loosely based on the workings of the brain, to make an association between the acoustics of speech and the movement of the lips and tongue.
    Hochberg explained, “The idea was that this would sort of make speech visible and people who had hearing problems would be able to use this as a way to teach them how to articulate.”
    Another project at LANL that utilized her linguistic skills was developing a program that would automatically identify the writing system used in a document, whether it was printed or hand written. “Of all the papers I published at the lab, those are the ones that get most cited,” she recalled.

  • UNM-LA job fair attracts people looking for a piece of the American dream

    Over 100 people attended the annual University of New Mexico-Los Alamos job fair, an event that attracts more and more visitors each year.
    “It’s become an annual event and we were able to get our press to the media quickly this year,” UNM-LA Student Advisor Grace Willerton said.
    Willerton has been organizing the job fair for three to four years, but the job fair was actually started several years before that through a grant by another organizer. Willerton was happy to take up the mantle.
    “When I took over that program, I really felt like it was valuable to continue that just for our student’s experience just to understand how to approach employers before they graduate,” Willerton said.
    Isabella Stevens, 16, was one of those people. She came to the fair looking for something that would fit with her schedule.
    “I don’t know yet… maybe something with the county or something like that,” she said.
    The job fair is also one of the ways UNM-LA connects with the community while adding to its own value as a community member.
    “There’s a lot of people looking for part-time workers, student employees, this is a really nice way to bridge those,” Willerton said.

  • UNM officials react to governor’s budget vetoes

    University of New Mexico officials reacted Friday after Gov. Susana Martinez struck higher education funding from the proposed budget.
    “At this juncture, UNM hopes the governor and the Legislature will provide a higher education budget as soon as possible so we can continue to serve New Mexicans,” Acting UNM President Chaouki T. Abdallah said.
    Line-item vetoes eliminated $745 million for higher education institutions across New Mexico, setting up a budget cliff on June 30 at universities, colleges and specialty schools for the blind and deaf.
    Los Alamos is home to UNM’s Los Alamos campus. Campus officials contacted for reaction said they will do the best they can in light of the uncertainty the situation has caused with planning budgets, whether that is for UNM-LA or the entire UNM system.
    “We had been working on our budget for months, and we work with uncertain information, but we work with the best available information that we have at the time,” UNM-LA CEO Cindy Rooney said. “At the time we built our budget, we were looking at a 1 percent cut to our budget, in addition to the cuts we sustained last year. Now, it looks like there will be a  more significant cut, but the cut will be uncertain... in light of recent events we aren’t sure when we will know.”

  • Shipping resumes to only US underground nuclear waste dump

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The nation's only underground nuclear repository has received its first shipment of waste, more than three years after shipping was halted in response to a radiation release that contaminated part of the facility.
    The U.S. Energy Department said Monday that the shipment from a federal facility in Idaho marked a milestone for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and the government sites where waste left over from decades of nuclear weapons research and development has been stacking up.
    The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant was forced to close in February 2014 after an inappropriately packed drum of waste ruptured, hampering the government's multibillion-dollar cleanup program.
    Some operations at the repository resumed in December after an expensive recovery effort, but federal officials have acknowledged the resulting backlog.
    The facility hopes to receive four shipments a week by the end of 2017.

  • Group sees food insecurity grow in LA

    The moment LA Cares, a food charity based in Los Alamos was officially created in 1994, the charity faced an uphill battle.
    Back then, when the group was known as Homeless Services of Los Alamos, those who needed assistance had to go to Española.
    Many Los Alamos County residents then questioned the need for such a service. After all, Los Alamos County was and still is, known as one of the counties with the highest number of millionaires in the world.
    Homeless Services of Los Alamos started out with 12 clients.
    “In the beginning, we were always asked three questions,” LA Cares Secretary Linda Burns said at a recent talk about what LA Cares does in the community. “Do we really have a need up here? Are there really homeless people here? The answer was, there were and there are. We have delivered food to people living in cars, people living in tents, people living in motorhomes that didn’t look roadworthy.”
    They even delivered to a person living in a shed out behind someone’s house, according to Burns.
    “We never did know whether the people living in the house knew he was living in the shed,” Burns said. “The third question was ‘do you have to be homeless to benefit from LA Cares?’ And the answer was no.”

  • Gas leak shuts shopping center down

    UPDATE: The shopping center, located at 535 Central Avenue, is now open and all businesses affected earlier today are open.

    A gas leak shut down the old Smith's shopping center at around 11 a.m. Saturday morning. The shopping center is located at 535 Central Avenue. Stores and restaurants affected by the leak are Bealls Department Store, Auto Zone and Pajarito Brew Pub and Grill. The Fire Department and the Department of Public Utilities are on the scene now determining where the leak is and what caused it. No word yet on when the affected stores and restaurants will be open. Restaurants on the other side of the shopping center, which include Daniel's Cafe, Pyramid Cafe, and Thailand Thai Cuisine are still open. Fire and police have not blocked the shopping center off, just the lower half where all emergency activity is taking place. The shopping center, which contains the old Smith's grocery store that is now vacant, is located across from Smith's Marketplace at 751 Trinity Drive.

  • The Latest: Local election bill doomed by pocket veto

    SANTA FE (AP) — The Latest on New Mexico bills singed or vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez (all times local):

    2 p.m.

    There will be no reshaping of the political landscape for school boards, cities and other nonpartisan local governments in New Mexico through the consolidation of elections.

    Gov. Susana Martinez did not take action on the bill before Friday's signing deadline, resulting in an automatic veto.

    The measure would have allowed such local elections to be combined and put before voters in November every other year.

    Experts had suggested that doing so could boost turnout. Currently, such elections draw little attention, with some failing to garner a single ballot.

    Dona Ana County Clerk Scott Krahling says this marks the third time the legislation has failed. Krahling says democracies aren't successful if only a few people vote and consolidating elections would have been a step in the right direction.


    1:30 p.m.

    Some Senate leaders and behavioral health advocates are voicing frustration that Gov. Susana Martinez did not sign legislation that would have addressed the handling of fraud accusation leveled against providers.

  • The Latest: New Mexico governor vetoes tax increases

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has vetoed a $350 million package of tax and fee increases designed to shore up shaky state government finances.
    Martinez said Friday in a veto message that the Legislature ignored her repeated promises to veto tax increases. She says a proposal to raise taxes on gasoline and diesel sales would place an undue burden on families.
    She also objects to new taxes on the sale of vehicles and trucking permit fees approved by the Democrat-led Legislature.
    New Mexico's traditional streams of tax revenue have been eroded by relatively weak energy prices and a stagnant local economy, with reserves nearly depleted.
    Martinez says she will call a special session to resolve a $156 million budget shortfall, but has not specified when. She is urging lawmakers to support a tax-code overhaul designed to improve the state's business climate by eliminating hundreds of tax breaks, including long-standing exemptions for nonprofit organizations. The reforms would lower standard tax rates on sales and services.
    10:50 a.m.
    New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has vetoed major portions of a $6.1 billion spending bill for the coming fiscal year, including funding for higher education and the Legislature.

  • Special lecture-recital on Ladino Romanceros, Coplas and Kantigas Saturday at Unitarian Church

    The Unitarian Church of Los Alamos will host “Fractured Faiths: Spanish Judaism, The Inquisition & New World Identities,” a special lecture-recital on Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) Romanceros, Coplas and Kantigas at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

    This program was previously presented at the New Mexico History Museum’s Fractured Faiths Symposium, as part of their six-month special exhibit in the fall of 2016.

    The event features soprano Christina Martos and pianist Debra Ayers performing works by Ofer Ben-Amots, an Israeli-American composer and chair of the music department at Colorado College.

    Ben-Amots will lecture about his recreations of musical settings for songs dating to the era of the Jewish diaspora in Spain, a time that gave rise to the unique hybrid of Hebrew and Spanish known as Ladino.

    Los Alamos soprano Martos sang several seasons with Central City Opera in Colorado and the Washington National Opera, and most recently performed at the world premiere of Los Bufones by Santa Fe composer Ron Strauss at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.