Local News

  • Lab officials report progress on chromium plume cleanup

    LOS ALAMOS (AP) — Officials at Los Alamos National Laboratory say they're seeing positive results from efforts to contain and control a plume of chromium contamination located in two canyons at the northern New Mexico complex.

    A system that extracts tainted groundwater and then re-injects treated water into the ground has been operating for the past year near the lab's boundary with San Ildefonso Pueblo.

    Officials said Tuesday that sampling in May from a monitoring well near that boundary showed a drop in concentrations of hexavalent chromium to levels just above state standards.

    Cheryl Rodriguez is with the U.S. Energy Department's Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office. She says the interim measure is helping to reduce the plume's footprint.

    Officials say the contamination has not affected any drinking water wells in the area.

  • New Mexico warns of blister-causing livestock virus

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico officials are warning horse owners to take precautions to keep their animals from contracting a virus that causes blister-like sores on the mouths of infected animals.

    The state livestock board says vesicular stomatitis cases have been confirmed in Valencia, Sandoval, Los Alamos and Santa Fe counties.

    State Veterinarian Ralph Zimmerman says officials aren't ordering the cancellation of any events at this point, but they're circulating a list of recommendations for fair and rodeo organizers and individual owners.

    That includes checking for sores, using fly spray and not sharing grooming equipment.

    The virus primarily affects horses and cattle, and occasionally swine, sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas. In rare events, humans can also become infected when exposed.

    There's no specific treatment and there are no licensed vaccines for the virus.

  • Nuclear weapons waste compacted, shipped out of Idaho

    By KEITH RIDLER Associated Press

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Radioactive waste shipped to Idaho from a Midwestern nuclear weapons facility during the Cold War has been compacted and sent out of state for permanent disposal.

    A U.S. Department of Energy contractor on Wednesday said nearly 26,000 cubic yards (20,000 cubic meters) of waste contaminated with plutonium-238 has been sent to a storage facility in New Mexico.

    The waste was produced at a Department of Energy facility in Mound, Ohio, and sent to the Energy Department's 890-square-mile (2,305-square-kilometer) site west of the city of Idaho Falls that includes the Idaho National Laboratory.

    Workers in Idaho placed the waste in barrels that were compacted into the size of hockey pucks.

    The Energy Department has been cleaning up the Idaho site following legal battles that led to a settlement agreement with state officials in the 1990s.

  • LANL dir. updates RCLC on econ. development

    When someone at the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities meeting Friday jokingly apologized to Triad National Security CEO and Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Thom Mason for taking him away from his “day job,” Mason simply replied, “This is my job.” 

    So started Mason’s introductory meeting to the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities. Ever since Mason assumed his responsibilities at LANL nearly a year ago, he has met with the community leaders and organizations to, in part, explain what the lab’s mission is, and also to learn more about regional organizations. 

    “I think it’s good to have a forum where surrounding communities that have an interest in what goes on at the lab can learn about us, ask questions,” Mason said after the meeting. 

    “...It’s part of making sure that the surrounding communities understand what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and what’s a good forum to address any of the concerns, like some of the questions that were asked today.” he said. 

  • District to institute safe space program

    Los Alamos Public Schools’ Healthy Schools Initiative is hosting a community event to learn more about GLSEN’s Safe Space Initiative. 

    GLSEN, which stands for the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization working to create safe schools for all students. 

    The event will be held  from 5:30-7 p.m. July 29 at UNM-LA Building 6, Room 631. 

    GLSEN strives to ensure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

    Havens Levitt, GLSEN Albuquerque chair, Nationally Certified GLSEN trainer and retired high school teacher, will lead the presentation. 

    Havens began teaching in 1982 and advocated for LGBTQ+ students during her career. She started the first Albuquerque Public School lesbian/gay student support group and is a founding member of GLSEN Albuquerque. 

  • Discovery Day puts science on display

    Los Alamos County put its full scientific awesomeness on display on Discovery Day Saturday.

    Crowds of visitors played with robots and self-inflating balloons, expressed themselves through art, and gazed at the universe and at the Earth through virtual-reality goggles.

    Discovery day was the biggest day of ScienceFest, a week-long celebration of science and discovery.  

    Over at the National Park Service booth, park volunteers John and Dana Pratt were busy alerting people that a nuclear chain reaction was about to go off soon and not to miss it. 

    Of course, it wasn’t a real nuclear reaction, but it was definitely fun to watch. The volunteers, along with Ranger JT Stark, carefully propped rubber balls inside a carefully arranged, large number of mousetraps arranged on a tray with rows.

  • U.S., Mexico to hold joint exercise on southern border

    North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command will participate with Mexico’s National Defense Forces in AMALGAM EAGLE 19, a joint live-fly exercise to be conducted through Friday.

    The exercise will consist of flights along the U.S. and Mexico border by aircraft capable of detection and interception. 

    Planning for the exercise was conducted with full respect for the sovereignty of each country, according to the release.

    Representatives from NORAD, USNORTHCOM, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Air and Marine Operations Center and the Transportation Security Administration will participate in the exercise, while participants from Mexico will include members of their Air Force, Civil Aviation Authority and Air Traffic Control Agency. 

    The exercise will focus on improving operations and communications between NORAD AND USNORTHCOM, AND SEDENA. They also hope to provide a common operational picture.

    They also expect to conduct detection, identification and interception operations of simulated illicit or threatening air targets through the exchange of information.

  • LAPD to stop emailing ICE after complaint

    Los Alamos Police Chief Dino Sgambellone said Tuesday his department will reevaluate whether the department will include Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on a weekly email list that includes jail reports. 

    The list is sent to law enforcement and court officials every Monday.

    The chain email became an issue Monday when criminal defense attorney Jennifer Burrill publicly called out the Los Alamos Police Department for routinely sending its booking report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. 

    Burrill, a Santa Fe public defender in the First judicial District, who is also the vice president of the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said the department’s collaboration with ICE interfered with the state’s court system. 

  • Feds: Moving land agency will save money, improve decisions

    By DAN ELLIOTT and BRADY McCOMBS Associated Press

    DENVER (AP) — The Trump administration said Tuesday that it can save taxpayers millions of dollars, make better decisions and trim a "top heavy" office in Washington by moving the headquarters of the nation's biggest land agency to Colorado and dispersing scores of jobs across 11 states in the U.S. West.

    Interior Department officials said they hope to open the new Bureau of Land Management headquarters in the western Colorado town of Grand Junction and complete most of the job shifts by September 2020.

    Moving the bureau, which is part of the Interior Department, out of Washington is a long-cherished goal of Western state politicians who cite the preponderance of public lands in their part of the country.

    The bureau oversees nearly 388,000 square miles (1 million square kilometers) of public land — 99% of it in 12 Western states — and balances competing demands from oil and gas drilling, mining, ranching, outdoor recreation and environmental protection.

    Energy and ranching interests praised the move as an overdue step to give them better access to officials who have considerable power over their businesses. Environmental groups say it will make the bureau a less important part of President Donald Trump's administration.

  • Border-state Senate candidate wants to scrap ICE

    SANTA FE (AP) — A candidate seeking the Democratic nomination to an open Senate seat wants to disband U.S.

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement and turn its responsibilities over to the FBI and others.

    New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said Tuesday in a statement that she wants to "abolish ICE" and accused the agency of undermining community safety and stability.

    She is competing with U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján in the 2020 election to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Udall.

    ICE activities are in the spotlight as the Trump administration says the agency will sweep 10 major cities for families who are in the country illegally and have been ordered to leave.

    Toulouse Oliver says ICE has strayed from its core mission of preventing terrorist acts and removing dangerous people.