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Today's News

  • Battle of the Badges Blood Drive Aug. 3

    Los Alamos residents are encouraged to “Find the hero in you” by joining in the Second Annual Battle of the Badges community blood drive on Aug.3 from noon-6 p.m. and Aug. 4 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at First Baptist Church hall, 2200 Diamond Dr.

    Los Alamos’ first responders, firefighters, policemen and sheriffs are challenging all New Mexicans to donate blood and help save lives.  

    The first responders will be at the drives to recruit blood donors and donate themselves, as well as competing for participants’ votes.  

    It takes 300 blood donations every day to meet the needs of area patients and to be ready for emergencies.

    Blood donated in the community helps save the lives of patients in 47 different hospitals throughout New Mexico and the Four Corners Region.

    Donators will receive a commemorative t-shirt just for donating and will also get the chance to vote for their favorite first responder team.

    Volunteer blood donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health to donate blood.

    Additional height/weight requirements apply to donors 23 and younger, and donors who are 16 and 17 must have signed UBS form/permission from a parent or guardian.

  • New Mexico considers rules for dark-money groups in politics

    SANTA FE — A proposal requiring more-detailed financial disclosures from nonprofit advocacy organizations that attempt to influence elections and ballot measures in New Mexico earned both praise and criticism at a public comment hearing Thursday at the state Capitol.

    The campaign finance rules drafted by the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office take aim at so-called dark money groups that can spend unlimited amounts to influence elections and ballot measures when acting independently of campaigns and candidates.

    Affected advocacy groups that spend more than $1,000 on political advertising would have to provide the name and address of each person who made contributions of more than $200 to fund independent political expenditures.

    The rules include similar provisions to a bill with bipartisan support vetoed in April by GOP Gov. Susana Martinez, who argued it would hamper charities and discourage charitable donations. About 50 people attended the first of three public hearings on the rules, developed by Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

    Several conservative-backed groups with a statewide and national presence warned that the measures would have a chilling effect on free speech and may drive away donors to political causes who value their privacy and worry about intimidation.

  • Man arrested for DUI on Independence Day

    Phillip Swazo, 28, of Santa Fe was arrested in White Rock on July 4 for driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, driving on a suspended license, carrying an open container of alcohol and displaying an invalid registration plate.

    On July 4, at about 10:10 p.m., Los Alamos Police Department Cpl. Jaime Gonzales was conducting patrols on Meadow Lane after the fireworks show when he spotted a driver holding a bottle of whiskey.

    “The driver brought a large bottle of Crown Royal up to his face as if he was going to take a drink,” said Gonzales in his statement of probable cause.

    The LAPD officer conducted a traffic stop and approached the vehicle, making contact with the driver who was identified as Swazo.

    When Gonzales asked the passengers to hand over the alcohol in the car, they gave an opened bottle of tequila and said the Crown Royal was thrown in the back. “While speaking with the driver, I could smell an odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from the vehicle.”

    Gonzales learned from dispatch that Swazo’s license had been revoked, so he asked Swazo to step out of the car.

    “He stated that he had nothing to drink inside the vehicle but he did drink alcohol at the park during the festivities.”

  • Council OK’s waste fee hike

    Los Alamos County Council voted six to one Tuesday to increase waste disposal and recycling fees by an average of $3.

    The vote was 6-1, with Counselor James Chrobocinski voting against the increase.

    For residents and businesses, the monthly $22 fee will increase to $25. Dumpster collection service will increase from $121.22 to $125.

    The new fee structure was based on recommendations from Environmental Services staff and the Environmental Sustainability Board.

    These fee increase will go into effect immediately.

    The increase will close a projected  $300,000 deficit in the Environmental Services budget, which Environmental Services officials said is mostly due to escalating costs in disposal.

    Another cause is the declining value of oil, which impact the price the county gets for its recyclables.

    The fee increase will bring in $326,000 annually.

    Los Alamos County Council Vice Chair Susan O’Leary approved of the increases, along with five of her colleagues.

  • New exhibit ‘Secret Pass’ opens today

    The Bradbury Science Museum will open three new exhibits and a video as part of a new 360-degree, multisensory experience called “Manhattan on the Mesa.”

    The exhibits will be dedicated at a public opening today from 4-6 p.m.

    The new exhibits focus on the Manhattan Project National Historical Park properties in Los Alamos that are “behind the fence,” or in secure areas that are off-limits to the general public, according to Museum Director Linda Deck.

    This exhibit, which was funded by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, is a way to experience the historic Technical Areas without actually visiting each one.

    For example, the Gun Site, located in TA-8, was used to conduct tests on the gun-assembled weapon designs known as Little Boy and Thin Man.

    V-Site, located in TA-16, supported the first assembly work related to the Fat Man weapon design. It was also used to assemble the high-explosive sphere for the Trinity device, known as the “Gadget.”

    Battleship Bunker, in TA-18, supported implosion diagnostic tests for Fat Man. These historical sites and more will be explored in depth within Manhattan on the Mesa.

  • Residents near Trinity Test Site to hold anniversary vigil

    TULAROSA (AP) — New Mexico residents living near the site of the first atomic bomb test 72 years ago are planning a vigil to remember loved ones who have died from cancer.
    Tularosa Basin Downwinders have scheduled a candlelight vigil Saturday to honor those advocates say died from diseases related to the atomic explosion.
    The group says the Trinity Test on July 16, 1945, irreparably altered the gene pools of residents in surrounding communities such as the historic Hispanic village of Tularosa.
    The Downwinders are currently lobbying for compensation and apologies from the U.S. government.
    The Trinity Test took place as part of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret World War II nuclear development program run out of the then-secret city of Los Alamos, New Mexico.
     

  • NNSA releases draft RFP for LANL contract

    A draft request for proposals released by the National Nuclear Security Thursday shows the government has lowered the performance fee for prospective bidders to 1 percent of approximately $2 billion contract to operate Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    The lower fee could be a turn-off for some for-profit companies and could mean less money for Los Alamos County, in terms of gross-receipts taxes.

    Regional Coalition of LANL Communities Executive Director Andrea Romeo remarked that the 1 percent performance fee is a marked change from the current management and operations contract, held by Los Alamos National Security, of 3 percent of the contract.

    “With a smaller fee the GRT (gross receipts tax) could be greatly affected based on any tax they pay on any fee,” Romero said.

    Romero noted that would be a 2 percent decrease in GRT on what is generally an annual $2 billion contract.

    Since the fee threshold is smaller, Romero said this could also impact how many for-profit companies apply for the contract.

    If a non-profit is awarded the contract, it could spell even more trouble for Los Alamos County and other counties in the region, since non-profits are exempt from paying gross receipts tax in New Mexico.

  • 2nd hantavirus death this year reported in New Mexico

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico Department of Health officials have reported the second hantavirus death this year in the state.
    They say a 53-year-old woman from McKinley County died while a 35-year-old woman in Lincoln County was hospitalized with hantavirus but has recovered.
    State health officials say there have been five lab-confirmed cases of hantavirus in New Mexico this year.
    In 2016, there were eight cases in the state with five fatalities.
    Hantavirus is a severe respiratory disease in humans.
    It is passed to humans by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva and can be fatal.
    People can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus.
    Authorities say the deer mouse is the main carrier of the hantavirus strain found in New Mexico.
     

  • County expands free public wifi to downtown area

    Los Alamos County has expanded its free public wifi system in time for this weekend’s ScienceFest.

    Residents and visitors can now access free wifi at Ashley Pond Park, Fuller Lodge, including the eastern Fuller Lodge Lawn area, and the library overflow lot, used by the weekly Farmers Market on Thursdays.

    “As we begin to enhance the visitor experience with more digital technology or apps for our historic district, having free WiFi was given a high priority in our immediate goals to promote the new park,” said Linda Matteson, assistant to the county manager and project manager for the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park. “By using this public WiFi and the Los Alamos: Secret City of the Manhattan Project app, visitors should be able to take a virtual tour of this area in downtown Los Alamos that will allow them to step back in time and experience Los Alamos as it appeared during the days of the Manhattan Project.”

    The permanent service will remain in place after ScienceFest, and is an expansion of the county-provided wifi service at the library and Municipal Building.

    The cost to design and install the service was about $150,000 and was approved by County Council in May 2016 as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 budget.

  • NNSA releases LANL contract bid details

    The National Nuclear Security Administration released a draft request for proposals late Wednesday for the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s management and operations contract.

    Main criteria includes past performance, the resumes of key personnel and small business participation.

    "The contractor shall, with the highest degree of vision, quality, integrity, efficiency, and technical excellence, maintain a strong, multi-disciplinary scientific and engineering capability and technical depth that is responsive to scientific issues of national importance in addition to national security responsibilities, including broadly based programs in such areas as the environment, national infrastructure, health, energy, economic and industrial competitiveness, and science education to achieve the mission,”  a statement in the RFP said.

    Los Alamos National Security, the group that currently manages the lab, has a $2.2 billion management and operations contract that ends in 2018. LANS LLC is made up of a consortium of private and public companies, including Bechtel National, INC., BWXT Government Group, Inc., the University of California and URS.

    The Department of Energy decided in 2015 to put the contract out to bid after LANS failed to meet performance goals set by the DOE.