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Today's News

  • Mountain bike races coming to LA

    Over the next two weekends, Los Alamos will be New Mexico’s hub for mountain bike racing.
    On Sunday, the New Mexico Off Road Series will come to town for the PyroClassic cross-country race.
    The following weekend, Aug. 8-9, the New Mexico Enduro Cup Series will bring racers to town for the Los Alamos Rock ‘n’ Roll EnduroFest.
    It will be both races second go round and the EnduroFest’s first year as part of New Mexico’s Enduro Cup.
    The PyroClassic, hosted by the Pajarito Mountain Bike Patrol, will take place at the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
    There will be three different distances that bikers will ride, winding through valley meadows and climbing over the flanks of the volcanic upheaval of the 11,000-foot Redondo Peak.
    Pros, Cat 1 and singlespeed racers will pedal 30 miles in a loop around Redondo Peak and Alamo Canyon. Climbing on the loop will be substantial with a total ascent of over 2,400 feet.
    Cat 2 riders will race on an 18-mile route while Cat 3 bikers will do a nine-mile loop.
    All races start and finish near the Valles Caldera Ranch headquarters.
    The last day to register online for the PyroClassic is Friday. There will be no race-day registration. Participants will also need a USAC license.

  • Council approves deal on San Juan plant

    On Tuesday, the Los Alamos County Council approved the San Juan Generating Station Settlement Agreement (actually a combination of five agreements) by a 5-2 vote, with councilors Pete Sheehey and Susan O’Leary opposed.
    Sheehey made a motion to approve the agreement with an amendment directing the Board of Public Utilities and staff to prepare a phased plan for replacing coal with renewable energy when the agreement expires in 2022.
    O’Leary added a friendly amendment directing BPU to provide council with a plan for soliciting public feedback on a post-2022 plan no later than February 2016.
    Other councilors agreed that council should address those issues, but as an agenda item at a later date.
    Councilor James Chrobocinski made a substitute motion to approve the agreements as written, which received the majority vote.
    Los Alamos was the last of the nine SJGS owners to approve the agreement.
    For details on the agreement, read “BPU will review power agreement,” published in the Los Alamos Monitor July 12, or find the full agreement at secure.losalamosnm.us/utilities/Pages/Electricity.aspx.
    Council also voted to move the Aug. 4 work session to Aug. 18.
     

  • Future unsure for troubled New Mexico green chile production

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Green chile has defined New Mexico for generations, gaining fans and fame around the globe.
    However, as this year's harvest begins, labor shortages, shrinking acreage, drought and foreign competition have hurt production in the state.
    Farmers and producers say the problems reveal the need for changes in the industry.
    To rejuvenate production, investors and inventors are testing machines that would harvest and de-stem the crop.
    The delicate chile is now picked by hand, and problems with bruising and the removal of stems have made it difficult to make the transition to machines.
    "The labor force is getting older and not a lot of young people are getting into the business," said Ed Ogaz, owner of the Anthony-based chile wholesaler Seco Spice Co. "Something needs to happen."
    Ogaz prefers the old ways and believes farmers need more laborers to improve production as acreage dedicated to chile production has fallen to a 43-year low in the state.
    Chile has been a staple of New Mexico cuisine for centuries, and the Hatch region has become world famous for its flavorful hot peppers.
    Chile is also the state vegetable and the basis of the official state question, "red or green?"

  • Update 7-29-15

    Farmers Market

    The Los Alamos Farmers Market will be from 7 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Thursday. It takes place at the Mesa Public Library parking lot.

    Exhibits

    Check-in for the Los Alamos County Fair exhibits will start at 2 p.m. Aug. 6. The check-ins will be done at Mesa Public Library. The county Fair and Rodeo will be from Aug. 7-9.

    Swing Dance

    There will be a swing dance at the Los Alamos Posse Lodge starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, hosted by Atomic City Swing. There is a beginner’s lesson at 7 p.m., followed by social dancing. Price is $3 for dancers, $5 for those taking the lesson. Email atomiccityswing@gmail.com for information.

    Grand Opening

    The White Rock Library and Youth Center grand opening is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at their new location at Sherwood Boulevard and N.M. 4. The public is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served.

    County Council

    Los Alamos County Council will hold a work session at 7 p.m. Aug. 4. The work session will take place at Fire Station No. 3 in White Rock.

    Warm Water
    There will be a Warm Water Weekend at the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center Aug. 8-9. Water temperature is turned up in the main pool for Warm Water Weekends. It will go from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 8 and 1-5 p.m. Aug. 9. For more information, call 662-8170.

  • Council approves air service agreement

    By a narrow 4-3 margin, Los Alamos County Council voted Tuesday to approve an agreement with Boutique Air to bring air service back to Los Alamos.
    Boutique Air currently offers scheduled air service in New Mexico from Clovis to Dallas-Fort Worth, from Silver City to Albuquerque and from Carlsbad to both Dallas-Fort Worth and Albuquerque. 
    The airline flies the Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, a single engine, turboprop, pressurized aircraft originally designed for executive travel. Councilor James Chrobocinski compared the aircraft to the Cessna Caravan flown by New Mexico Airlines, the company which provided service from April 2013 to January 2015.
    “The last plane would have been a ’79 VW bus and this is a brand new Cadillac,” Chrobocinski said.
    The planes travel 100 mph faster than the Caravans. The higher speed combined with the increased comfort of a pressurized cabin — Caravans are not pressurized — opens the option for flights to Denver.
    Boutique requires that all pilots be qualified to fly in Instrument Meteorological Conditions, which means they can fly in reduced visibility conditions. Many of New Mexico Airlines’ cancellations were due to pilots who were not IMC qualified.

  • Draft of agreement for park is released

    The National Park Service and the Department of Energy are looking for public feedback on a drafted proposal on how to manage the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
    Public comment is open on the proposal from now until Aug. 28.
    The two entities will jointly manage the MPNHP, which was established late last year as part of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, passed by both congressional houses and signed by President Obama.
    The park will include parts of three national laboratories, including Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    One of the main goals of the current draft, according to the two agencies, is “to identify the facilities and areas under the DOE’s administrative jurisdiction that will initially be included,” in the MPNHP.
    The current draft of the proposal doesn’t deal with the management of the park, nor does it identify where the park’s headquarters might be located, a subject that’s been a sticking point. Los Alamos residents have identified possible site for the park’s headquarters around the county, while Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which is also involved, has a letter-writing campaign directed at lawmakers to try to persuade them that it is the best choice for the headquarters.

  • Hotel interior gets vandalized

    The Hilltop House Hotel, closed since March 2013, was broken into and vandalized to the tune of more than $75,000 in damages to the property recently.
    Los Alamos police believe the damage was done by groups of teens repeatedly breaking into the building, starting possibly as early as this past spring.
    Police were alerted to the situation when realtors from Zia Realty filed a complaint with the Los Alamos Police Department last month.
    Wildlife and video cameras were set up in various parts of the building and police were able to identify and arrest 14 suspects damaging and vandalizing the inside of the building. The suspects’ ages are between 12 and 14.
    According to police, the teenagers even destroyed a rooftop lighting assembly worth $10,000.
    During interviews with the suspects, many of the kids confessed to doing even more damage to the property, which included throwing televisions down staircases, destroying microwave ovens, breaking chairs, shattering mirrors and spray painting graffiti on the interior walls. Other kids admitted to smashing glass doors and scattering key cards all over the floor of the lobby, as well as expelling the contents of the building’s fire extinguishers in the rooms and halls of the building.

  • Be There calendar 7-29-15

    Today
    Green Hour Hikes with PEEC. Meet at local trailheads for meandering hikes where kids set the pace and decide the activities. Some days you’ll hike far, others you’ll stop and play at an interesting spot. 9:30 a.m. Free. All ages. Check PEEC’s website for trailhead meeting points. For more information, losalamosnature.org.

    The local chapter of TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets every Wednesday at the White Rock Presbyterian Church, 310 Rover Blvd. Confidential weight in begins at 9 a.m. The meeting starts at 9:45 a.m. The first visit is free. Membership is open to people at least 7 years old. For more information, contact whiterocktops@gmail.com.

    Game Night: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Wednesday at the Mesa Public Library in the Upstairs Rotunda.

    Summer Family Evenings: Treasure! Sponsored by Del Norte Credit Union. Follow treasure maps and learn to geocache! The Family YMCA’s Youth Earth Service Corps lead this fun wrap-up to Summer Family Evenings. $5 per family/free for member families. 6:30 p.m. at the Nature Center. All ages. More information at losalamosnature.org.

    (This) Ability: Trisha Ebbert. Through Aug. 1 at the Portal Gallery.
    Thursday
    Los Alamos Farmers Market. 7 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Mesa Public Library parking lot.

  • End of an era for Bear Camp

    After more than a 20 year run, Bear Camp is saying farewell following the 2015 season. The reason is the program has experienced declining numbers for the last five years, according to Dianne Marquez, recreation programs manager with the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Division.
    “It’s been a great run of over 20 years of Bear Camp at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink, but 2015 is the last summer this wonderful program will be offered by the county,” a recent press release stated, which Marquez said disappointed some parents and kids, but for the most part the closing was understood. “When we started this program back in the 1990s, we were the only game in town,” Marquez said. With the addition of many other camps in the region over the years, the county reviewed the program and decided it was no longer cost effective to continue.
    It began with a purpose to fill a gap in summer childcare services, but now many other camps have come to Los Alamos and there are several more summer camp activities to choose from.
    Marquez has been there from the beginning along with her predecessor Annie Pyburn, whom she worked with for many years.

  • 10 ways to become financially independent

    After the 2008 economic crisis, many people assumed they would never be able to reach true financial independence — the ability to live comfortably off one’s savings and investments with no debt whatsoever.
    However, individuals willing to use their time horizon to plan and adjust their spending, savings and investment behaviors might just find financial independence is possible. Here are 10 ideas to get started.
    1. Visualize first, then plan. Start by considering what your vision of financial independence actually looks like — and then get a reality check. Qualified financial experts can examine your current financial circumstances, listen to what financial independence means to you and help you craft a plan. The path to financial independence may be considerably different at age 20 than it is at age 50. The more time you have to save and invest generally produces a better outcome. But at any age, start with a realistic picture of your options.
    2. Budget. Budgeting — the process of tracking income, subtracting expenses and deciding how to divert the difference to your goals each month — is the essential first task of personal finance. If you haven’t learned to budget, you need to do so.