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Today's News

  • 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.

  • Council OK's waste fee hike

    Los Alamos County Council voted six to one Tuesday night to increase waste disposal and recycling fees by an average of $3 for some of the services the county offers.

    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.

    The fee increase will go into effect immediately.

    The increase will close a chronic $300,000 average deficit in the Environmental Services budget, which Environmental Services officials said is due to escalating disposal and recycling costs. The fee increase will total $326,000.

    Read Friday’s Los Alamos Monitor for more on this story.

     

  • Jemez Pueblo ready for Bear Paw Quilt Show

    The Jemez Mountains Bear Paw Quilt Guild invites the community to their annual Quilt Show.
    Come see a dazzling display of quilts, including the Patriotic Fallen Warrior Quilts given to New Mexico families that have lost a soldier in the Middle East.
    A selection of quilts and handmade items will also be available for sale (cash only).
    Admission is free. The event takes place July 21-23. Friday and Saturday the show will run 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. On Sunday, the show will run 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. It takes place at the Walatowa Visitor Center, 7413 Hwy 4.
     

  • PEEC offers drawing class with local artist Lisa Coddington

    Artist and instructor Lisa Coddington is returning to teach a one-day workshop on drawing using botanical and natural subjects at the Los Alamos Nature Center on July 20. This class, made possible by Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC), is great for all skill levels. The workshop will run from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Register to learn techniques for creating realistic, still life, and nature-inspired art.

    Participants will explore pencil techniques that portray plants and animals. With easy to understand demonstrations and master artist examples, Lisa will work to reinforce confidence in creating dimensional, summer-themed subjects. Her next class will take place on July 27th and will feature painting and watercolor techniques.

    Coddington earned her Master of Art in Illustration at Syracuse University. She has illustrated a children’s book and has received commissions by regional and national firms for her artwork and art instruction. Her whimsical characters have been licensed for ornaments and are also featured on greeting cards.

  • LA Farmers Market
  • Fun in the mud

    Los Alamos County Parks and Recreation hosted its Mud Fest Volleyball Tournament last weekend at North Mesa Park.

    A total of 10 teams made up of at least three male and three female participants took to the mud pits for games that followed the general rules of normal volleyball with one major exception.

    “You’re in super thick, knee-high mud that you have to jump in, dive in and slide around in,” said Justin Ramsey, the captain of the Urbanites team, which he organized.

    Ramsey said that although it can be quite difficult to move around in the thick mud, he enjoys being able to dive around all over the court without the risk of injury.

    “You definitely get pretty dirty out there,” Ramsey said. He has now participated in two of these tournaments, though this was his first year as a captain.

    Movement was so difficult in the mud pits, in fact, that participants were encouraged to wrap duct tape around their shoes so there wouldn’t be a risk of losing them in the mud during matches.  

    Although the tournament was set up as a double-elimination, round-robin format leading up to a championship round, Mother Nature had other ideas.