Today's News

  • Honor educators during the month of May

    I normally write this column on Monday night, but this week is a busy one, so I left a note to myself, “My Coffee Pot Ponderings,” so I could make lunches and hit the ground running today.
    I knew the column would be easy because I had the topic in mind, but at about 3 a.m., there was a song in my head that just wouldn’t go away.
    “It’s the final countdown,” by the rock band Europe.
    I feel compelled once again to warn the class of 2015 that not only will the next month fly, but to remind everyone that at the end of this week, it is May.
    May — that ridiculous, nutty time of year when there’s so much to get done and sometimes it doesn’t happen.
    So remember patience is a virtue, tell the family to cut everyone some slack, give constant, tactful reminders to get all homework in, especially the missing ones that will still be accepted and hang on for a bumpy ride.
    As we begin the month of May, I also want to remind you that May 4-8 is staff and teacher appreciation week.
    I miss those elementary days when it just felt like something everyone did, to recognize the folks that work so hard for our kids.

  • Proposed Los Alamos bag ban bad for environment and freedom

    Los Alamos County Commission is now considering banning plastic grocery bags.
    More than 200 municipalities in the United States, including two in New Mexico — Santa Fe and Silver City — have banned the distribution of lightweight plastic shopping bags.
    Proponents of bag bans, specifically the Sierra Club, claim they will reduce litter and protect the marine environment, diminish our consumption of resources and emissions of greenhouse gases, reduce waste and save taxpayers’ money.
    Unfortunately, the supposed environmental benefits of banning plastic bags evaporate upon closer examination.
    For starters, authoritative studies show that plastic bags constitute less than 1 percent of visible litter in U.S. cities.
    Litter is never a good thing, but the right way to reduce it is to through education — not to simply ban plastic bags.
    Members of some pressure groups claim that plastic bags kill large numbers of marine animals. Even for bags distributed in coastal cities, that claim is simply false.
    As David Santillo, a senior biologist with Greenpeace, told The Times of London: “It’s very unlikely that many animals are killed by plastic bags. The evidence shows just the opposite … on a global basis, plastic bags aren’t an issue.”

  • Sierra Club talking points get debunked

    Here are how some Sierra Club talking points being debunked:
    Talking Point: Plastic bags last forever in the landfills.
    Debunking: Everything lasts forever in the landfills we use. They are designed to keep what’s put there as stable as possible to reduce the chance of nasty stuff oozing into the environment.
    TP: Re-usable bags are friendlier to the environment.
    D: If you consider the entire lifecycle of these bags, the re-usable bags are worse for the environment. Most of them are made in China with dirtier energy and no restrictions on what waste products are allowed back into the environment. Most of the plastic shopping bags currently offered at checkout are made in the U.S.A. with much cleaner energy and high standards for waste product disposal. Banning plastic shopping bags eliminates more United States jobs and contributes toward polluting the environment.
    TP: Paper bags are better because they’re recyclable and biodegradable.

  • State Briefs 4-28-15

    12-acre parcel added to Rio Grande Valley park

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — An Albuquerque-area state park has grown by 12 acres.
    The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District’s board has designated a parcel known locally as “Dog Biscuit Hill” as part of Rio Grande Valley State Park.
    The parcel is a popular access point to the Bosque and it’s been designated the Patrick J. Baca Open Space Unit.
    The new unit of the state park will be retained and owned by the conservancy district.
    It will be maintained and managed for conservation, education, and recreation by the city of Albuquerque under policies of the Rio Grande Valley State Park Management Plan and Joint Powers Agreement.

    A dozen facing drug trafficking charges
    in Texas, New Mexico

  • LAPS is recognized by quality board

    Los Alamos Public Schools was given Pinion Recognition earlier this month at an event hosted by Quality New Mexico.
    LAPS submitted an application to Quality New Mexico’s external review team and the team visited LAPS late in 2014. The team then submitted a feedback report to help LAPS find “a pathway to improve overall performance,” that according to a press release from the schools.
    The recognition was awaarded to outgoing superintendent at LAPS, Gene Schmidt, by the state’s Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez.
    The event was hosted by Isleta Resort and Casino near Albuquerque.
    Other local groups honored at the event included the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities, the Nuclear Material Control and Accountability Group at LANL and LANL’s Quality & Performance Assurance Division.

  • Local Briefs 4-28-15

    Santa Fe National Forest selling permits for fuelwood

    Fuelwood permits for dead and downed timber are currently available for purchase at Santa Fe National Forest headquarters and most Ranger District offices around the state.
    The nonrefundable permits are for personal use only.
    Price for the permits are $20 for five cords. There is a maximum of 10 cords that can be gathered per household. Permit purchasers will receive load tags, a fuelwood cutting map and guidelines for harvesting the wood.
    The permits will be on sale at the SFNF offices from 8 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. weekdays.
    SFNF officials, however, said that the Española Ranger District office wouldn’t be selling the fuelwood permits until May 4.

    Donations being accepted at Smith’s

  • Bobcat Bonanza is coming back

    Those who want to get the first crack at dunking new Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus will have their chance Friday.
    Steinhaus will be in the dunk tank during the Bobcat Bonanza at Barranca Mesa Elementary School. The bonanza is scheduled for 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the school.
    In addition to the dunk tank, the event will feature food, carnival games, entertainment and more. All ages are invited to participate.
    This is the second year of the Bobcat Bonanza. Last year’s fundraiser generated $7,000 that helped support school programs such as the science fair, field trips and teacher stipends for classroom materials.
    For more information about the Bobcat Bonanza, call 662-8903.

  • Update 4-28-15

    Bighorn sheep

    A talk on bighorn sheep is scheduled for today. The talk will be at 7 p.m. at the Nature Center. The event is free and no preregistration is required.

    Future Energy

    A meeting of the Future Energy Resources Committee is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the municipal building.

    Possible quorums

    The White Rock Master Plan Implementation Committee and the Lodgers’ Tax Advisory board announced they would have possible quorums at the Golf Course Community Building ribbon-cutting event Thursday. The ribbon-cutting will be at 3:30 p.m. Neither group will conduct business at the event.


    A discourse on human trafficking in New Mexico will be presented 7 p.m. Thursday at Mesa Public Library. Speakers will include Maria Sanchez-Gagne, director of New Mexico Border Violence, and Lynn Sanchez, director of the Human Trafficking Aftercare Program. The event is free.

    Parents meeting

    The Parents Raising Teens Group will meet Wednesday at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos. The meetings focus on communication, setting and enforcing boundaries and similar topics. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Building 2.

  • California condor is spotted in county

    A Los Alamos man who is also an avid birder says he spotted a California condor that was last seen in Colorado.
    Joe Fitzgibbon told the Santa Fe New Mexican that he was "flabbergasted" to see the bird in his backyard on Friday.
    Fitzgibbon says saw a large radio transmitter "N8" tag on its wing.
    Fitzgibbon contacted the nonprofit The Peregrine Fund, which is monitoring 70 condors in Arizona and southern Utah.
    The group says N8 is a 2-year-old male released in the Grand Canyon. The bird was listed as "missing and feared dead" in February until a ranger saw it near Cortez, Colorado.
    Bob Parmenter, a scientist at the Valles Caldera National Preserve, says it is likely the first condor sighting in New Mexico since before recorded history.

  • State lobbies to be site of high-level waste facility

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico is touting a rural area in the southeastern part of the state as an interim storage site for the country’s high-level nuclear waste, according to a letter issued by Gov. Susana Martinez earlier this month.
    The governor reached out to the Obama administration in a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. In the April 10 letter, which was obtained by the Santa Fe New Mexican, Martinez urged officials to consider a 1,000-acre parcel as a place for storing spent radioactive fuel rods from power plants. Martinez also praised southeastern New Mexico residents for being able to “carve out a niche in the nuclear industry.”
    “Time and time again, the citizens of southeastern New Mexico have impressed me with their hard work ethic and willingness to tackle national problems that many others consider to be unsolvable,” Martinez wrote.
    Officials in Lea and Eddy counties are involved in the proposal. The site is about a mile north of US 62/180, halfway between Carlsbad and Hobbs. The Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance, a consortium of city and county governments, said the potential disposal ground could bring jobs and economic growth.