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Today's News

  • Board addresses saftey concerns at LANL

    As the Los Alamos National Laboratory prepares to ramp up production of plutonium pits at its PF-4 facility, an oversight board created by Congress held a public hearing in Santa Fe Wednesday to gather information about whether the lab was capable of reaching its manufacturing goals in a timely and safe manner.

    Board members asked lab and National Nuclear Security Administration officials several questions during the six-hour hearing about LANL’s continual non-compliance with its Nuclear Criticality Safety Program.

    Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board member Joyce Connery noted at the hearing how the LANL Director Charlie McMillan paused operations in 2013 at the site after deficiencies were found in the lab’s Nuclear Criticality Safety Program.

    Connery also said that in 2016, LANL’s criticality program, a program designed to stop nuclear and radiation accidents, was still showing non-compliance.

    NNSA Associate Administrator for Safety Infrastructure and Operations James McConnell explained to the board the reasons behind the pause in 2013 and the non-compliance.

    “There are three main reasons we had to do that. McConnell was one of the officials who reported that LANL was non-compliant during that timeframe.

  • New Mexico Public Education Secretary Skandera to step down

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera is stepping down after seven years on a job where she tried to reform an education system in one of the nation's poorest states amid constant criticism from Democrats and teachers union over proposed reforms.
    Public Education Department spokeswoman Lida Alikhani confirmed Thursday that Skandera will resign on June 20 – surprising critics and supporters.
    "It has been such a privilege to be part of Gov. Martinez's team in the fight to lift up our students and schools," Skandera said in a statement. "The results we're seeing in New Mexico show what can happen when we choose to embrace reform and put kids first.
    It was not immediately clear if Skandera was resigning to take another job or why she was resigning with more than a year left on her tenure.
    Deputy Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski will serve as acting cabinet secretary, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez said.
    Martinez said the state's students and schools are better because of Skandera's leadership and commended her for taking on teachers unions and "other entrenched special interests."

  • Sportsmen's club preps for Range Days

    The Los Alamos Sportmen’s Club will be hosting its first ever Open Range Days this weekend, giving the public a unique look at what the club has to offer.

    The event will include a gun show, along with demonstration classes, open gun and archery ranges and a barbeque lunch on both days.

    In years past, the sportsmen’s club has hosted a gun show somewhere in the community each year.

    This year, however, they felt it would be a better idea to combine all of the events they sponsor into a larger happening.

    “We want to invite the public down to see what we have to offer,” club member Steve Porter said. “We want to increase public awareness of what we do and what we’re about, and hopefully increase membership.”

    The Open Range Days will take place Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

    As part of the event, the Sportsmen’s Club will have an archery range open, as well as three pistol ranges and two shotgun ranges.

    One of the things the club is most excited to be offering is the opportunity to let the public test out machine guns at the event.

  • Smith’s collection is tops in state

    Smith’s Food and Drugstores have made the Los Alamos community and New Mexico proud with their recent fundraising efforts, to benefit the UNM Children’s Hospital.
    A variety of events took place to for the Children’s Hospital culminating is a silent auction and Frito pie lunch. “We would like to thank all of the people who donated to the silent auction and also the customers that bought the items,” said Smith’s Associate and Community Specialist Kathryn Fulton.
    The local Smith’s stores raised $16,294, making them first in the state of New Mexico. The store was also second in the Smith’s Division, which includes Nevada, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.

  • Iyer named Distinguished Student of Service

    Los Alamos High School junior Radhika Iyer was honored recently by the Rotary Club of Los Alamos as a Distinguished Student of Service. Iyer is the daughter of Rashia and Srinivas Iyer.    
    Each school year, the Rotary Club of Los Alamos selects nine high school juniors to honor as a Distinguished Student of Service. Juniors are recognized in hopes of inspiring their interest in Rotary programs that fall during the summer following junior year.  Students are nominated by their teachers and chosen on the basis of their academic achievement, extra-curricular activities, and, in particular, their service to the community.

  • Black holes featured at planetarium

    Want to learn more about the mysterious objects whizzing through space?
    Dr. Rick Wallace will reveal the secrets of gravitational waves and quasars after presenting the full-dome film “Black Holes” June 16. This special show takes place at 7 p.m. in the Los Alamos Nature Center planetarium.
    “Exploding Universe,” a film that uncovers cosmic events that shaped the Universe, will play in the planetarium at 2 p.m. June 17 and 18, The film explores a world where supernovas erupt, massive materials collide, and protons give birth to life as we know it.
    The Los Alamos Nature Center will be open regular hours this month: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday as well as 1-4 p.m. Sunday. The nature center is open late on Tuesdays until 8 p.m., closed Thursdays for regular maintenance.
    For more information about these and future planetarium shows, please visit peecnature.org/planetarium. To reserve tickets, call 662-0460.

  • Assets in Action: Doing something in honor of dads

    This week I am writing about Father’s Day. The relationship is so important and even if there isn’t a father in your family, chances are there wonderful men in your life.

    I hope you take note of those that don’t have that person in their life. A kind word, an acknowledgment of the good things they accomplish, or the hard work they put forward, may feel like water on their soul in a time they need it most.

    To dads I say, I hope there is something you do with your children that is yours alone.

    It doesn’t matter if it is simple or extravagant or changes over time, just that you have something that bonds you, that binds you to a small tradition of each other.

    When kids are young, perhaps you collect rocks from travels near and far. You can keep them in jars, line them on windowsills or build a path through the garden.

    Maybe it is camping, hiking, target shooting or simply watching your favorite teams together. The benefit of the latter is that it is a bond you can still enjoy no matter how many miles may come in between you.

    I hope you’ll take the time this weekend, if your kids are close to do something together. If they are little, maybe it is the zoo, if they are older a movie together, perhaps one mom would never see.

  • Prepare for major life expenses with tax- advantaged accounts

    BY NATHANIEL SILLIN
    Practical Money Matters

    College tuition, a new pair of glasses and retirement may seem unrelated, but the tax law says otherwise. By knowing how and where to save your money, you could pay for each of these expenses with tax-advantaged – or in some cases income-tax-free – money.

    Individual Retirement Agreements (IRAs) and 401(k)s are perhaps the two most well-known examples of these types of accounts. But they’re not alone. With educational and medical expenses in mind, consider the following types of accounts and how you might be able to use one to help yourself or your family.

    Invest your college fund in a 529 plan. State-sponsored 549 plans come in two forms. Prepaid tuition plans let you lock in today’s rate for in-state public schools and 529 college savings plans allow you to invest your savings based on your goals and risk tolerance. Contributions aren’t a federal tax write-off, but if you invest in your state’s plan, there might be a state income tax write-off.

  • PED’s teacher evaluations stumble on transparency

    Late last year, we saw some light in the education wars with proposals to revamp the state’s teacher evaluation system. Various legislation would have altered the weight of testing in the evaluation or allowed teachers more sick days. At least two aimed for a complete rewrite.

    The Public Education Department in 2012 handed down the evaluation system by administrative order, and it’s been controversial ever since. Teachers and their unions have complained that it relies too heavily on standardized test scores and that it’s unfair, punitive and demoralizing.

    Teachers explain again and again that not all students are the product of a stable home life and that kids come to school with issues beyond what a teacher can fix during the school day. That’s why they preferred evaluations based on classroom observations.

    During the regular legislative session, several of the evaluation bills rocked along with bipartisan support. The “teachers are human too bill,” with two Republican sponsors, would have let teachers use all ten of their allowed sick days without penalty. After passing both houses nearly unanimously, it was felled by a veto; the Senate voted to override but not the House.

  • LA CAP incubator for military careers, professional pilots

    This time around, the Los Alamos Civil Air Patrol, Composite Squadron granted not one, but two, Billy Mitchell Awards Monday night. As family and friends applauded, Cadets Zachary Lang, 18, and John Fox, 15, got their officer epaulets pinned to their shoulders by their parents. They also received a uniform pin and a plaque.

    “It’s been a long road and  a long hard challenge, but it pays off in the end, said Fox of his achievement
    Lang remarked that besides discipline, duty and service, sibling rivalry had a little to do with his achievement. He said he really became interested in getting the award when his brother Eric received his not too long ago. 

    “It’s long overdue,” Lang said. 

    Fox joined the Los Alamos CAP in October 2013.

    “Of course we’re very proud, he’s been working hard since he joined in the sixth grade,” Fox’s father John said. “Of all the things he does this is the thing he loves the most. Ever since he was little he’s always had a propensity for flight.”  
    Fox is looking to join the Air Force and then go onto college. Lang will be going into the Navy.