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Local News

  • County modifies bus routes

    Public Works Director Philo Shelton rolled out a modified Atomic City Transit schedule at Wednesday’s Transportation Board meeting. The revised routes and schedules allow for greater utilization of grant money, while officials hope to provide better service for riders.

    Budget reductions prompted an evaluation of the system and revealed several avenues for improvement. Once council approves a new budget in April, transit staff plans to move quickly to implement the changes, which should go into effect by the end of May.

    “One of the things we looked at was grant eligibility for various routes, and we found that for route 2, which is partnered with the NCRTD (North Central Regional Transit District), we were not able to be fully reimbursed for that grant given the hours of operation and how it connected,” Shelton said.

    The new schedule combines routes 2 and 5, eliminating the Pajarito Acres segment of route 5. The Pajarito route averages only six people per day. Eliminating that and combining the two routes increases frequency to every 30 minutes throughout the day and every 15 minutes during peak periods. Riders in Pajarito Acres may utilize Dial-a-Ride service or catch the route 2 bus at the White Rock Visitor Center.

  • First phase of Aspen school construction begins in May

    A $1.3 million utilities project marks the first phase of a $12.4 million renovation of Aspen Elementary School.

    The Los Alamos Board of Education recently approved the opening stage designed to get the construction started. The project will include permanent installation of water lines as well as sewer, gas and electric lines. The new utilities will first be used for the incoming portable classrooms, which will be located on the school’s soccer field.

    The project is set to begin this May, according to school officials.

    Probably the most complex part of the construction will be the installation of the water lines. According to Los Alamos Fire Marshal Brian Nickerson and other county officials who had input on the project, the lines are mainly needed to bring Aspen up to current fire code.

    One line will come in from the south, the other the north. The southern one is designed to feed the school’s new fire suppression system as well as a new fire hydrant that will be located in back of the gym. Officials said that line will not come through neighbor’s property, as it will come through a wooded area before hitting school property.

  • Today in History April 5
  • NM warns treasure hunters: Finders are not keepers

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A collection of gold and jewels that a retired Santa Fe art dealer says he stashed in the mountains north of Santa Fe has generated so much interest from amateur treasure hunters that some have put their lives in jeopardy or been cited for illegally digging on public lands.

    But authorities are warning people about more than being careful and following the law. They also note finders may not be keepers.

    "If this treasure is buried, you would need to dig for it. And you can't dig anywhere in a national forest without a permit," said Bruce Hill, spokesman for the Santa Fe National Forest. "Even if it is not buried and it is just placed somewhere it becomes public domain."

    Ditto for state lands, according to Department of Game and Fish spokesman Dan Williams.

    Forrest Fenn was asked if he had considered land rights before hiding the chest. He said in an email that much has been written about land laws.

    "I'm staying out of those discussions, except to say it may be fun to redefine some of the terms," Fenn said in the email.

  • Clarification 04-04-13

    Jess Cullinan is a member of the Art in Public Places board. She was referred to as Jessie in a caption on page 3 of Tuesday’s Los Alamos Monitor due to a source error.

    Bernadette Lauritzen wrote the story about the Buffalo Thunder DWI walk on page 5 Wednesday.
     

  • Airport open house scheduled for Friday

    The Los Alamos County Airport is hosting an open house from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday and featuring tours of the Cessna Caravan, a nine-seat turboprop aircraft —one of New Mexico Airlines’ fleet that will be providing commercial air service between Los Alamos and Albuquerque beginning Monday.
    “Once people see the plane and gain an understanding of how reliable it is, they will not be able to resist choosing a $49, 20-minute flight to the Sunport over a two-hour drive and parking fees,” says Airport Manager Peter Soderquist.
    The Open House starts at 9 a.m. with brief remarks from Soderquist and New Mexico Airlines’ Chief Pilot Dave Jones. At 9:15 a.m. and then again, at 9:45 a.m., Jones will take two groups of passengers on 15-minute complimentary flights over the Rio Grande and northern Los Alamos (pending favorable weather).
    Flights are available to media and elected officials. Any unassigned seats will be available to the public on a first come, first served basis. Send your reservation request, including name as well as best daytime and nighttime contact information—by 5 p.m., Thursday to kelly.stewart@lacnm.us. All requesters will receive a communication Thursday evening regarding their reservation status.

  • Managers wary of Rio Grande low flow

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Officials with the Middle Rio Grande Irrigation District say the river is running considerably lower than normal for this time of year.
    The district is warning farmers in central New Mexico that diversions have already started along the river but there’s barely enough water to meet current irrigation demands. The district is responsible for delivering water to about 70,000 acres of cropland in the Middle Rio Grande Valley. The district is updating flows at the diversion points along the river on its website so farmers will know where and how much water is being channeled through the system.

  • Update 04-04-13

    Dedication

    At 3 p.m. Friday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center, the family of former Manhattan Project leader General Leslie Groves will present his official military portrait to the Los Alamos Historical Society.

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    County Council

    The Los Alamos County Council will hold budget hearings beginning at 7 p.m. April 15 in council chambers.

    County web page

    As part of the upcoming move to the new Municipal Building, the County’s Information Management staff will be bringing down the server that hosts the County’s losalamosnm.us webpage. The server will be down at 5 p.m. on Friday and the webpage will be temporarily unavailable for a few hours while the server is physically moved to its new location in the new building.

  • Next DOE chief faces dilemmas

    YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Underground tanks that hold a stew of toxic, radioactive waste at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site pose a possible risk of explosion, a nuclear safety board said in advance of confirmation hearings for the next leader of the Energy Department.
    State and federal officials have long known that hydrogen gas could build up inside the tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, leading to an explosion that would release radioactive material. The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board recommended additional monitoring and ventilation of the tanks last fall, and federal officials were working to develop a plan to implement the recommendation.
    The board expressed those concerns again Monday to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and had sought the board’s perspective about cleanup at Hanford.
    The federal government created Hanford in the 1940s as part of the secret Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. It spends billions of dollars to clean up the 586-square-mile site neighboring the Columbia River, the southern border between Washington and Oregon and the Pacific Northwest’s largest waterway.

  • New nurse aims for healthy community

    Los Alamos County’s new community health nurse has been looking for this job for several years.

    “I think public health has always been in my heart since learning about it in college,” Felicia Branch said. “I have a little bit of education in community health, and I just love the fact that we get to work so much with the community and the public health nurse gets to play a really important role in the community. So it drew me in immediately. I always knew that this was something I wanted to do.”

    Branch took 12 hours of community health classes while pursuing her B.S. in nursing from the University of New Mexico. After graduating, Branch took a job in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Presbyterian Hospital in Santa Fe.

    A little over three years ago she accepted a position in the Intensive Care Unit at the Los Alamos Medical Center, later transferring to LAMC’s Endoscopy Center.

    But Branch kept her radar out for a community health-related position.

    “I’ve always had my eye out for this,” Branch said. “And I really got lucky, because it’s a small office. The opportunity opened up and I jumped, I really did.”

    Branch started on Dec. 31. Much of her first three months was devoted to training.