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Local News

  • Managers report rock fall at underground nuclear waste dump

    CARLSBAD (AP) — Managers at the federal government's nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico have reported a rock fall in an area of the underground facility that is off-limits to employees.

    The U.S. Energy Department says the fall happened Wednesday evening. Workers heard a loud thud while doing inspections underground so they left the area and all work was stopped.

    Officials said there were no injuries.

    Rock falls are not uncommon in areas where crews have been unable to perform regular maintenance to shore up the walls and ceilings of the salt caverns that have been excavated for disposal of radioactive waste.

    This week's rock fall happened in a disposal room that does not contain any waste.

    A team is planning an inspection before operations resume at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

  • Council mulls nixing panhandling ordinance

    Los Alamos County was the latest government entity targeted by the American Civil Liberties Union in New Mexico in its quest to ban all panhandling laws across the state.

    ACLU New Mexico approached Los Alamos County in August, claiming that the law was unconstitutional.

    The council took up the matter Tuesday at its regular council meeting. A decision to keep or repeal the county ordinance was made after press time. The Los Alamos Monitor will have an update on the decision in the Friday edition.

    The county law was passed in October 2015 in an effort to “protect the county’s residents and public from abusive solicitation and panhandling practices with the imposition of reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on solicitation and panhandling.”

    If County Council doesn’t appeal the law, Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU New Mexico, said they might pursue further legal action.

    “Our organization has a long track record of using legal action to ensure that the constitutional rights of our citizens are protected,” Simonson said. “That would be something we’d look pretty seriously at.”

  • The kilogram is getting an update

    SEVRES, France (AP) — The kilogram is getting an update.

    No, your bathroom scales won’t suddenly become kinder and a kilo of fruit will still weigh a kilo. But the way scientists define the exact mass of a kilogram is about to change.

    Until now, its mass has been defined by the granddaddy of all kilos: a golf ball-sized metal cylinder locked in a vault in France. For more than a century, it has been the one true kilogram upon which all others were based.

    No longer.

    Gathering in Versailles, west of Paris, governments are expected on Friday to approve plans to instead use a scientific formulation to define the exact mass of a kilo. The change is expected to have practical applications in industries and sciences that require ultra-precise measurements of mass.

    And it will mean redundancy for the so-called Grand K, the kilo that has towered above them all since 1889.

    Made of a corrosion-resistant alloy of 90 percent platinum and 10 percent iridium, the international prototype kilo has rarely seen the light of day. Yet its role has been crucial, as the foundation for the globally accepted system for measuring mass upon which things like international trade depend.

  • Veterans honor fallen comrades

    Vietnam veterans Sunday took the lead in remembering the fallen in every war and conflict, making sure no one was left behind.

    The Veterans Day ceremonies were  hosted by the Los Alamos American Legion Post 90.

    “The bottom line is veterans are those who survived. Therefore, we who survived keep honor to others, and that is our fallen comrades,” invocation speaker Jim Ritchie said at the event.

    Ritchie also brought up something all veterans had in common, the DD-214 form, the one-page form that all veterans had that shows their entire career history, and discharge status.

    Ritchie also said the form tracked their awards and citations, which gave them the right to wear them on their uniforms.

    “Those of us that wear awards, we do not wear them for ourselves. We are really only stewards for those that never came back,” Ritchie said. “We wear these awards for the dead and wounded who died besides us in battle.”

    Ritchie served a year in Vietnam as a chaplain attached to an infantry unit. He received Bronze Star while in the service.

  • LAHS labs get $37k boost

    The Los Alamos School Public Schools recently spent $37,000 on science equipment that will take the guesswork out of the Los Alamos High School student experiments.

    The purchase was made exclusively through the Vernier lab equipment company. It included over 300 sensors and probes, 20 interfaces to help students document their experiments through their Chrome Books, six charging stations and seven lab manuals.

    The equipment will help physics, chemistry, biology, anatomy, physiology and forensics students, including Advanced Placement students.

    The price also included one day of training for teachers.

    According to high school physics teacher Deborah Grothaus, the ability to see and understand first hand what’s happening with her students’ physics experiments puts the high school’s physics program more in alignment with the state’s Next Generation Science Standards curriculum, which emphasizes hands on experience over theory and assumption. Grothaus said the new equipment will help support this new way of learning.

    “NGSS is more about doing science than learning science, so this is what they are going to do with this, it’s doing science. It makes it a lot more real for them. Because they can see what’s happening,” Grothaus said.

  • Republican who lost US House race seeks to impound ballots

    By RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A New Mexico Republican who lost her bid for a U.S. House seat is seeking to impound absentee ballots in a key county that decided the race for the Democrat, according to court documents filed late Tuesday.

    In court documents filed in the 3rd Judicial District Court in southern New Mexico, Yvette Herrell asked a Dona Ana County judge to impound the absentee ballots so her campaign could inspect them.

    Herrell's lawyers cited "chain-of-custody issues and other improprieties" but didn't give details of allegations of irregularities. In addition, the court documents claim Herrell was declared the winner of New Mexico open 2nd congressional district by some New Mexico media outlets on election night.

    Some media outlets reported that Herrell was projected to win the race but rescinded that projection after Democrat Xochitl Torres Small began to close the gap and took the lead thanks to outstanding absentee ballots in Dona Ana County — a traditional Democratic stronghold.

    Herrell, 54, had declared victory on election night with early returns showing her in the lead and despite the high number of outstanding ballots in Dona Ana County.

  • Republican not conceding US House race as results certified

    By RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press
    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A key county certified results Tuesday of a closely watched U.S. House race in southern New Mexico showing Democrat Xochitl Torres Small defeating Republican Yvette Herrell.

    But Herrell is refusing to concede and is alleging voting irregularities without providing evidence.

    The Dona Ana County Canvassing Board voted unanimously to certify the results between Torres Small and Herrell following the last counting of provisional ballots. The Associated Press called the race for Torres Small after the absentee ballots tallied Wednesday put her over the top.

    Herrell, 54, had declared victory on election night with early returns showing her in the lead and despite the high number of outstanding ballots in Dona Ana County — a Democratic stronghold.

    On Saturday, Herrell told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro there were "over 100 documented complaints" about voting irregularities in the race.

    She didn't provide evidence and her spokesman has not returned repeated voicemails, text messages and emails.

    Herrell also complained about the untallied absentee ballots from Dona Ana County and suggested some fraud was involved.

  • Democratic state gains may mean tighter gun, looser pot laws

    By DAVID A. LIEB and GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press

    From New York to New Mexico, residents in a number of states can expect a leftward push for expanded health care coverage, gun control, education funding and legalized recreational marijuana as Democrats who gained new or stronger powers in the midterm elections seek to put their stamp on public policy.

    While Republicans remain in charge in more states, Democrats nearly doubled the number of places where they will wield a trifecta of power over the governor's office and both chambers of the state legislature. Democrats also broke up several Republican strongholds, forcing GOP lawmakers who have been cutting taxes and curbing union powers to deal with a new reality of a Democratic governor.

    All told, Democrats gained seats in 62 of the 99 state legislative chambers, according to data provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures (Nebraska is the lone state with a single legislature). Democrats also added seven new governorships.

    In New York, where a new Democratic-run Senate will provide the missing link in liberals' political power, the expansive agenda could go beyond guns, pot and health care to also include more protections for abortion rights and higher taxes on millionaires.

  • Police Beat 11-11-18

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    Oct. 31
    12:21 p.m. – Los Alamos police gave a warning in a disorderly conduct incident.
    5:34 – Los Alamos police investigated a criminal damage to property. Investigation is inactive.

    Nov. 1
    12:49 p.m. – Los Alamos police are actively investigating a case of child abuse.
    4:23 p.m. – Los Alamos police investigated a case of indecent exposure. Case is no longer active.
    5:41 p.m. – Joel Andrew Martin, 31, of Albuquerque, was arrested by Los Alamos police on a district court warrant. Suspect was later released.

    Nov. 2
    10 a.m. – Los Alamos police investigated a criminal damage incident where fireworks damaged the bathroom floor of a Rover Park bathroom.
    6:58 p.m. – Los Alamos police cited a group of juveniles for being in possession of marijuana and paraphernalia during a traffic stop.
    7:53 p.m. – Los Alamos police investigated a report of a damaged mailbox.

  • A place for rejuvenating the spirit

    For the stressed out, the new parents, parents-to-be, the elderly, meet Debra Dalton. Dalton is a massage therapist who has opened up a new practice in town.

    She’s been employing her services between two offices in downtown Los Alamos since May.

    She specializes in prenatal and postnatal care. She’s also certified to teach parents her techniques and benefits for massaging newborns to age 5.

    Dalton said there’s a method to the magic of massage therapy for infants.

    “I perform the pre and postnatal messages, but once it gets to the infant, you teach the parents how to do the work because of the bonding experience they receive,” Dalton said. “I actually take my little doll and do the strokes on the doll, and they learn the strokes for their child.”

    According to Dalton, prenatal and natal massage can strengthen bonding between parent and child, and it can help in the soothing of their infant, especially those who are colicky or teething. For moms, it can help with post partum depression.

    Dalton received her license in May from the Santa Fe School of Massage.

    Dalton, a longtime resident of Los Alamos, has worked as a receptionist around town for various medical practices, raised a family and had been a caregiver.