Local News

  • NM Game Commission votes again on Valles Caldera

    GRANTS, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Game Commission has voted again in opposition of federal legislation that calls for transferring management of the Valles Caldera National Preserve to the National Park Service.

    The commission voted unanimously Thursday after taking public comment during its meeting in Grants.

    Its initial vote in May was challenged by the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. The group accused the commission of violating New Mexico's open meeting law by not including the issue on the agenda.

    The commission chairman had said he believed the vote was an emergency under the meetings law.

    The commission is concerned the legislation could negatively affect wildlife management as well as hunting, fishing and trapping opportunities on the preserve.

    While Thursday's vote was legal, the Wildlife Federation contends the commission ignored available expertise by not inviting a Park Service representative to the meeting.

  • Failed nuke inspection casts harsh light on Air Force

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Another embarrassing stumble by the U.S. nuclear missile force, this time a safety and security inspection failure, is raising questions about the Air Force’s management of arguably the military’s most sensitive mission.
    The head of nuclear air forces, Lt. Gen. James M. Kowalski, revealed to The Associated Press on Tuesday that the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., had failed what the military calls a “surety” inspection — a formal check on the unit’s adherence to rules ensuring the safety, security and control of its nuclear weapons.
    The 341st is one of three units that operate the Air Force’s 450 Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs.
    Kowalski, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, said a team of “relatively low-ranking” airmen failed one exercise as part of a broader inspection, which began last week and ended Tuesday. He said that for security reasons he could not be specific about the team or the exercise, although he said the team did not include missile launch crew members.
    “This unit fumbled on this exercise,” Kowalski said by telephone from his headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., adding that this did not call into question the safety or control of nuclear weapons at Malmstrom.

  • Update 08-22-13

    Town Hall

    The League of Women Voters and UNM-LA invite the public to attend a Town Hall meeting 7-8 p.m., Aug. 29 at UNM-LA Lecture Hall, room 230. The Los Alamos High School Hilltalkers debate team will present pros and cons of the mil levy election question, followed by a presentation by Dr. Cindy Rooney, the new Dean of Instruction for UNM-LA.

    County Council

    The Los Alamos County Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers at the Municipal Building.


    The public is invited to a reception Friday wishing Police Chief Wayne Torpy farewell as he retires from county service. The reception will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Justice Center.

    Robot night

    Employees and the public can see and drive a variety of different robots at Robotics Night from 5 to 8 p.m., Friday, at the Bradbury Science Museum. Robots from the Laboratory’s Hazardous Devices Team, the FIRST Robotics Leagues, UNM-Los Alamos, the Los Alamos Police Department and other local enthusiasts will be at the museum.

  • Alcove House To Reopen

    Starting Monday, the Alcove House archeological site will re-open to the public.

    In April, the staff at Bandelier National Monument closed it when the reconstructed kiva inside became unstable and unsafe. The monument’s Vanishing Treasures crew has been working on the Ancestral Pueblo structure, and although the kiva itself will remain closed, visitors will once again be able to climb the long ladders and enjoy the view from 140 feet above the canyon floor.

    The repair crew has successfully removed the kiva’s buttressing wall, which had developed huge cracks, with tons of cement and stone threatening to come loose and fall. When this overlying layer was removed, the workers found surfaces that had not been seen in a hundred years, a combination of the original Ancestral Pueblo walls and work that was done in the first stabilization project back in 1910.

    The crew preserved what was there and re-mortared spaces where needed. Visitors will now see these walls, showing the current repairs as well as with mortar still in place from the 1400s. Additionally, the park’s Historic Preservation staff replaced the ladder at the bottom of the ascent; replacing each of the four ladders is a continuing process as time, weather, and use take their toll.

  • Gov: Voters should decide on gay marriage

    New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is reacting to a county clerk’s office issuing marriage licenses to dozens of same-sex couples by repeating her call for a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment.

    Martinez is an opponent of same-sex marriage and she says she continues to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports that a statement Martinez issued Wednesday says any change regarding marriage should be made by the people of New Mexico.

    The Doña Ana County Clerk’s office starting issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Wednesday and issued more than 40 before closing for the day.

    Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins said his office had provided 35 licenses to same-sex couples compared to four or five given on an average day to heterosexual couples.

    Jeff Williams, a public information officer in the county’s government and a reverend with Universal Life Church, said he was marrying same-sex couples all day long while wearing his rainbow-colored tie.

    Outside the courthouse, television reporters were busy interviewing the people getting married and there was no sign of any protesters.

  • BPU split on water rate

    When the Department of Public Utilities was developing its conservation plan, it conducted public hearings and online surveys. One question asked was what types of water saving measures would the public support.

    A tiered water rate received the highest response. DPU has been working on a proposal to implement such a rate.

    On Wednesday, Los Alamos Deputy Utilities Manager for Finance and Administration Robert Westervelt presented the Board of Public Utilities with options for a tiered water rate, a seasonal water rate and one that incorporated both. The proposal received a lukewarm reception.

    Historically, the water rate has consisted of a service charge broken down by water meter size and a water consumption charge. The same rate was charged for all classes (residential, commercial, multi-family, education, county).

    One element of the proposal would base fixed rates on meter size, which provides a good measure as to who is using the water. A two-inch meter runs eight times as much water as a one-inch meter.

    “We wanted to make the fixed charge for the service at least relational with the size of the meter,” Westervelt said. “An eight-inch meter carries 80 times as much water as a one-inch meter, but the fixed charge isn’t nearly as high as it should be.”

  • 'Super Agers' - an Elite Group of Seniors
  • Today in History August 22
  • NSA collected thousands of US communications

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Security Agency declassified three secret court opinions Wednesday showing how in one of its surveillance programs it scooped up as many as 56,000 emails and other communications by Americans not connected to terrorism annually over three years, revealed the error to the court — which ruled its actions unconstitutional — and then fixed the problem.

    Director of National Intelligence James Clapper authorized the release, part of which Obama administration officials acknowledged Wednesday was prodded by a 2011 lawsuit filed by an Internet civil liberties activist group.

    The court opinions show that when the NSA reported its inadvertent gathering of American-based Internet traffic to the court in September 2011, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ordered the agency to find ways to limit what it collects and how long it keeps it.

    In an 85-page declassified FISA court ruling from October 2011, U.S. District Judge James D. Bates rebuked government lawyers for repeatedly misrepresenting the operations of the NSA's surveillance programs.

  • Lightning causes power outages

    Lightning damaged two electric overhead wires at the intersection of Trinity and Diamond Drive late Tuesday afternoon. Approximately 700 Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities customers lost power when the two wires blew.
    Boundaries of the outage included the ski hill, Western Area, Denver Steels, and neighborhoods around the Los Alamos High School. Additionally, several small sporadic outages due to Tuesday’s storm were also reported on Chamisa, Andanada, Barranca and Urban streets.
    DPU’s electric line crews responded, made repairs, and restored power to the ski hill and Western Area by 4:46 p.m., Denver Steels area by 6:10 p.m., and all other neighborhoods by 7:20 p.m.