Local News

  • LA airport incoming flight schedules to be changed

    Los Alamos County Airport Manager Peter Soderquist is reporting steady growth for bookings on the new air service with New Mexico Airlines. Air passenger flights between Los Alamos and Albuquerque began April 8.
    “It has grown every week since we’ve been here,” Soderquist said. “I personally wish we had more traffic, but people I’ve talked to are happy to see the service that we have.”
    Soderquist and the airlines have been analyzing the data collected so far and listening to feedback from travelers. Based on what they have learned, new schedules for flights from Albuquerque to Los Alamos are being implemented next month. Flights leaving Los Alamos will remain unchanged.
    All three flights leaving the Albuquerque Sunport will have later departure times. The goal is to increase passenger counts by including more “banks” of arrivals. A bank is a period when a concentration of flights arrives at an airport.

  • Funding error snags school districts

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A problem with a computer form’s alphabetical listing caused dozens of New Mexico school districts and charter schools to get too much state funding and others not enough.
    Television station KRQE reports that the state Public Education Department acknowledged its error resulted in 25 districts and charters being shorted a total of roughly $830,000 while 26 others got more than $2.5 million too much. The error occurred when the West Las Vegas district was mistakenly listed as “Las Vegas West.” The result was that funding amounts for districts and charters in the bottom half of the alphabet were off by one line.

  • Tornado damage could top $2 billion

     MOORE, Okla. (AP) — The cost of a massive tornado that battered an Oklahoma City suburb could be more than $2 billion, according to a preliminary official estimate announced Wednesday. State authorities meanwhile said two infants were among the 24 people who perished in the twister.
    Oklahoma Insurance Department spokeswoman Calley Herth told The Associated Press that the early damage tally is based on visual assessments of the extensive disaster zone that stretches more than 17 miles and the fact that Monday’s tornado was on the ground for 40 minutes.
    The financial cost of the tornado in Moore could be greater than the $2 billion in damage from the 2011 tornado that killed 158 people in Joplin, Mo., Herth said, adding that the Joplin twister left a smaller trail of destruction.
    Authorities have yet to say how many homes were damaged or destroyed, but an aerial view of the site shows whole neighborhoods obliterated, with gouged earth littered with splintered wood and pulverized cars.
    Dan Ramsey, president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma, said a damage estimate in the low billions is “not surprising.”

  • Update 05-22-13

    Author Series

    Steve Sheinkin, who recently wrote “Bomb: The Race to Build – and Steal – the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon,” will be at Mesa Library from 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday.

    Have a news tip?

    Send press releases, photos and videos to laeditor@lamonitor.com or contact the newsroom at 662-4185.

    County Council

    Los Alamos County Council will meet in a regular session at 7 p.m. June 4 in council chambers.

    Arts board

    The Arts in Public Places Board has just discovered technical difficulties with the email address associated with its “Open Call for Art.” (ArtProposals@lacnm.us). All proposals must be resent and the deadline has been extended to June 7.

    Trash pickup

    In observance of Memorial Day there will be no trash or recycling collection on Monday. Put roll carts out on Wednesday.

    BPU meeting

    The Board of Public Utilities will hold a special meeting at the White Rock Town Hall at 5 p.m. Thursday.

  • Trinity Site extension approved

    Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved an amendment to Kroger’s/Smith’s ground lease agreement on the Trinity Site Tuesday night.

    The amendment allows Smith’s two additional 30-day extensions of the feasibility period and adds provisions for Kroger’s to perform additional site work and utilities construction.

    Deputy County Administrator Steven Lynne explained the reasons for the amendments during the council’s meeting.

    “What’s been occurring since we assigned that lease is that Kroger’s/Smith’s have been doing their due diligence. They’ve actually been very busy, very active. They’ve submitted their site plan. It’s been through Planning and Zoning and been approved. They have done all of their construction drawings; and they’ve submitted a full building permit application. That’s currently in the review process. They have done full design and put this out to bid.

    “So unlike previous developers, they have actually been working this and they are expecting this to move ahead.

    “One thing that has slowed them down a little — although I’m very confident that we’re moving toward a good resolution here — has been working with the state on access off of N.M. 502/Trinity Drive.”

  • Raw: New Video of Deadly Oklahoma Tornado
  • Today in History May 22
  • Senate panel approves immigration bill

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Far-reaching legislation to grant a chance at citizenship to millions of illegal aliens living in the United States cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on a solid bipartisan vote Tuesday night after supporters somberly sidestepped a controversy over the rights of gay spouses.

    The 13-5 vote cleared the way for an epic showdown on the Senate floor on the measure, which is one of President Barack Obama's top domestic priorities yet also gives the Republican Party a chance to recast itself as more appealing to minorities.

    The committee's action sparked rejoicing from immigration activists who crowded into a Senate committee room to witness the proceedings. "Yes, we can!" they shouted as they clapped rhythmically to show their pleasure.

    In addition to creating a pathway to citizenship for 11.5 million illegal aliens, the legislation creates a new program for low-skilled foreign labor and would permit highly skilled workers into the country at far higher levels than is currently the case.

    At the same time, it requires the government to take costly new steps to guard against future illegal immigration.

  • Power of Moore tornado dwarfs Hiroshima bomb

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Everything had to come together just perfectly to create the killer tornado in Moore, Okla.: wind speed, moisture in the air, temperature and timing. And when they did, the awesome energy released over that city dwarfed the power of the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima.

    On Tuesday, the National Weather Service gave it the top-of-the-scale rating of EF5 for wind speed and breadth, and severity of damage. Wind speeds were estimated at between 200 and 210 mph. The death count is 24 so far, including at least nine children. The United States averages about one EF5 a year, but this was the first in nearly two years.

    To get such an uncommon storm to form is "a bit of a Goldilocks problem," said Pennsylvania State University meteorology professor Paul Markowski. "Everything has to be just right."

    For example, there must be humidity for a tornado to form, but too much can cut the storm off. The same goes with the cold air in a downdraft: Too much can be a storm-killer.

    But when the ideal conditions do occur, watch out. The power of nature beats out anything man can create.

  • McMillan speaks out on cyber security

    Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan told a gathering of energy executives Tuesday that securing the electrical grid is a major concern now and it’s only becoming more serious.

    “If you look back at the last year, there were several hundred attacks on critical infrastructure,” McMillan said, addressing attendees at the Deloitte Energy Conference near Washington, D.C. “More than 40 percent of those attacks were on the energy sector.”

    Resilience and reliability of the electrical grid have become key energy security concerns at the Laboratory and are important focus areas in global security. Experience with massive amounts of data, complex systems and security technology involved in nuclear weapons research are now providing insights for grid security, McMillan said.

    “In the time it takes me to say this sentence, the external firewalls of Los Alamos will be challenged hundreds of times by adversaries. Our systems, and yours, are very attractive.” McMillan said. “But encrypting control signals on the grid is particularly challenging because any encryption scheme must be able to meet competing standards for very rapid response and high security.”