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Today's News

  • Ingenuity is our best hope for the future

    “Cardboard” is a versatile concept. A “cardboard” person is thoroughly unattractive—flat, stiff, dull and banal. By contrast, real cardboard is a marvel – efficient, sturdy, useful and adaptable.
    “Cardboard box” is a generic name for boxes of all uses and sizes made from paper-like materials. Think of cereal boxes, juice boxes, a box of candy, brown boxes that store archives, shipping boxes and the “shoebox,” that cache of humble treasures.
    It is no small truth that kids take to the empty box as eagerly as they play with the grand toy that came in the box. What else makes so fine a fort, a lion house and a big bass drum? So strong is the cardboard box’s appeal as a child’s plaything that in 2005 a cardboard box was added to the National Toy Hall of Fame. It is true.
    The cardboard box drove us to reuse stuff long before it was a strategy. Cardboard was well suited for recycling long before recycling was thought about. The gods of yore may have helped more than we know.
    In the 1870s, corrugated cardboard hit the market and began to replace wooden shipping crates. The term “tree hugger” was used in India as long ago as 1730. The term was reborn in the 1960s and is popular today as an honor or an insult in natural resource conflicts.  

  • Home Renewal Program funds 10 applications

    Ten applications totaling $195,200 were approved for home improvement as part of the Home Renewal program, Los Alamos County announced Friday.
    Home Renewal Program Project Manager Steve Brugger of the Los Alamos Housing Partnership made the announcement that the program’s loan review committee and County Manager Harry Burgess approved the funds.
    The Los Alamos Housing Partnership has agreed to fund one additional application that had not met the county’s income-based qualification criteria, bringing the total number of applications funded to 10 out of the 13 that applied.
    One application is on hold pending further information from the applicant.
    “This is great news for these 10 residents who will be receiving funds from this first cycle of applications, and we are excited to begin working with them to hire the contractors who will begin making the improvements they need over the next few months,” Brugger said in a statement.
    LAHP is under contract to the county to administer the program, which provides deferred payment subsidy loans to residents meeting income qualifications and project eligibility criteria who require financial assistance to make repairs or improvements to their home. It was approved and funded by the county council last fall.

  • New bus schedule starts Monday

    In response to ridership complaints about a new bus schedule launched in January, Atomic City Transit (ACT) will implement revisions to Route 2M and Route 3 beginning Monday.
    Route 2M will now extend to the transit center and loop counterclockwise through White Rock via Grand Canyon Drive and Meadow Lane.
    Route 2T will provide bi-directional White Rock service every hour, and the inbound trip to the transit center will extend through Aztec Avenue and Sherwood Boulevard.
    The 2M and 2T routs combined will provide 30-minute service to White Rock.
    Route 3 is shortened in order to provide a 30-minute round trip schedule. The route will no longer travel through East Drive or to East Gate Drive. Route 1 will maintain service to the airport and East Drive, and East Gate pickup and drop off is available by request to the Pajarito Cliffs Site parking lot. The new scheduling will eliminate long layovers.
    The route changes were arrived at through a public involvement process that included a community survey and focus group meetings with residents and bus operators to identify how the transit system could best serve passengers who use these routes. Ninety-one percent of survey responses preferred the new White Rock schedule to other options and 57.9 percent requested 30-minute service on Route 3.

  • Scoping begins for rec bond projects

    As the county gears up for placing a recreation project bond before voters for approval in 2017, work is underway to scope potential projects.
    Dekker Perich Sabatini (DPS) has been contracted to conduct the initial pre-conceptual design phase (Phase 1), with analysis of potential site selection and feasibility, cost estimates and basic program schematics for the 11 projects under consideration.
    They are also tasked with soliciting public input on those projects.
    DPS kicked off that process on July 14 with an entire day of stakeholder meetings followed by an update to the Parks and Recreation Board that evening.
    Although the county issued e-mail invitations to approximately 300 people and organizations that had provided input during a series of listening session in March, most of the July 14 meetings were poorly attended.
    The five stakeholder meetings conducted that day covered golf course renovations/open space, ball fields/tennis courts, ice rinks/recreation programs, leisure pool/splash pads and an indoor multiuse recreation center.
    According to DPS Principal/Urban Planner Will Gleason and his team, certain themes emerged throughout the day.

  • LA Super School team waits for news

    The “XQ Institute” will notify 50 finalists soon whether they were one of the top five who won a $10 million grant that will be used to reform high school education. The original date of Aug. 5 was moved.
    The Los Alamos group, “The LAPS Odyssey Academy Team,” is one of the finalists.
    “A public announcement is planned for a later date and we are legally bound to disclose no information at this time,” the team said Friday in a statement.
    In January, the team, made up of teachers, business people, health professionals and parents from the community, entered a contest sponsored by the XQ Institute. The institute is a consortium of private and public organizations looking to remake how high school is taught in the U.S. Their aim is to move away from a system dependant on traditional rote methods to a system that fully challenges a student’s spectrum of talents and abilities.
    For their entry, the Odyssey High School Team submitted a proposal that stressed the mental well being of students through a challenge-based curriculum not based solely on grades.
    The high school would exist along Los Alamos High School and would be considered a “fourth option” in the district’s offerings for secondary education.

  • Former LANL scientist: WIPP leak caused by expanding gasses

    A former employee with the Los Alamos National Laboratory has an alternate theory about what caused a leak of radioactive gases from a barrel at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad in 2014.
    Former LANL physicist Charles Bowman said Friday his findings show expanding gasses already present inside the barrel may have been responsible for the release.
    In February of 2014, a barrel containing transuranic waste shipped from the Los Alamos National Laboratory was blamed for the leak that caused the closure of WIPP. Some radiation was released but not at levels that would cause harm.   
    LANL came under fire by state and federal environmental regulators following the event. Lab officials said the barrel breach was possibly caused by a mix of waste and other materials in the barrel, including organic kitty litter not used before, and a nuclear worker’s glove.
    The prevailing theory was that the leak was caused after workers packed the barrel incorrectly, and the materials inside mixed with gasses already in the room, which caused the explosion.
    Bowman said the explosion would have happened regardless. His findings show the explosion may have been caused by gasses present in the storage room that mixed with gasses produced by the LANL barrel.

  • New Mexico tax holiday underway as school year approaches

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico's annual tax holiday is underway as the start of a new school year approaches.

    The start of the tax-free weekend started Friday, and will last through Sunday.

    The annual gross receipts tax holiday runs Friday through Sunday, with the state lifting its 5.1 percent sales taxes on items that include clothing and shoes, some outdoor and athletic supplies, computers, and pens and pencils.

    Gov. Susana Martinez says "getting ready to go back to school can be expensive" for families, and the tax-free weekend aims to ease the cost.

    Clothing and footwear must be $100 or less, and computers must cost $1,000 or less to be sales tax-free. The cap on other classroom necessities is $30.

  • 10 Tips for Becoming a Knowledgeable Renter  

    On the hunt for a new apartment? A move can be an exciting opportunity to explore a new area or meet new people. However, competitive rental markets can make it difficult to find a desirable place on a budget.
    Keep these ten tips in mind to manage the process like a pro. They’ll help you stand out from the crowd, get a good deal, enjoy the neighborhood and manage your rights and responsibilities as a renter.
    1. Talk to Other Tenants. Speak with current or past renters to get a sense for the building and landlord. Ask about the neighborhood, noise, timeliness with repairs and any other pressing questions. Consider looking for online reviews of the landlord as well, and research the neighborhood.
    2. Upgrade Your Application. Go beyond the basic application requirements and include pictures, references, credit reports and a short bio about yourself and whoever else may be moving in. Try to catch the landlord’s eye and show that you’ll take care of the property. You can order a free credit report from each bureau (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) once every 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.com.  

  • Pot will get us through times of no money

    I’ve seen dozens of economic development schemes over the years. Some were visionary, others simply delusional. Almost all involved tapping the taxpayers to benefit a handful of politically savvy lobbyists and their clients.
    I can count the number of winners on one hand. New Mexico wine, which scarcely existed 30 years ago, is now a $60 million business expanding at 10 to 15 percent a year. Beer has grown from 25 craft breweries five years ago to 45 today with an estimated $340 million in economic impact.
    Both succeeded without government subsidies and in the teeth of Prohibition-era laws and bureaucratic inertia. Real businesses flourish not by rent-seeking in Santa Fe or Washington to get the government to underwrite their costs and mandate customers to purchase their product, but by producing something consumers actually want to buy.
    If the Drug War has taught us anything over the past 40 years, it’s that people want to buy marijuana.
    Since Colorado’s first pot shop opened two years ago, that state’s legal recreational market has grown from zero to nearly $600 million last year and may top $1 billion this year. The state rakes in more than a quarter of that with a hefty 27.9 percent levy on sales.

  • Education tops list for Garcia Richard

    In her bid for reelection, New Mexico State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D–Dist. 43, Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval and Santa Fe) stresses her ability to get things done and to work across the aisle.