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Today's News

  • Nuclear groups challenge pit program expansion

    Three environmental and nuclear safety watchdog groups demanded last week the National Nuclear Security Administration temporarily halt its plutonium pit production expansion plans.

    Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Savannah River Site Watch and Tri-Valley CAREs wrote a letter to NNSA Undersecretary and Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty Wednesday, saying the NNSA was in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

    Earlier this year, the NNSA announced plans that the Los Alamos National Laboratory would produce 30 plutonium pits for nuclear weapons each year and the Savannah River Site produce 50 pits a year by 2030.

    “NEPA clearly requires that proposed major federal actions be subject to public environmental review,” a statement in the letter from the three organizations said. “Further, NNSA has a legal duty to apply NEPA early in the process.

    Moreover, until NNSA issues a formal Record of Decision at the end of a NEPA process, it maynot take actions that will

    ‘Limit the choice of reasonable alternatives’ or ‘prejudice the ultimate decision on the program’ before it directs ‘irreversible and irretrievable resources’ toward that end.”

  • County to seek payback of RCLC funds

    Los Alamos County Council Tuesday directed county staff to recoup all expenses made by county staff and county representatives associated with the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities that weren’t consistent with the county’s travel and reimbursement policy.

    The directive, put forth by Councilor Susan O’Leary, instructed the staff to go all the way back to the coalition’s founding in 2011.

    If inconsistent reimbursements are found, County Manager Harry Burgess will contact any employee or official who received an improper reimbursement and seek to recover the money, according to the directive. 

    The motion also instructs the county manager to provide the county council with monthly status reports  with the individual’s names and the amounts due until all the funds have been recovered.

    The motion passed 5-2 with the understanding that the coalition will also conduct its own investigation into members of the coalition not from Los Alamos County once the coalition’s accounting team is in place.

    Last month, the coalition voted to hire an independent accounting firm and an auditor to help it avoid the financial mistakes that triggered an investigation by the state auditor’s office and Los Alamos County in February.

  • Democrats rally Los Alamos

    The Los Alamos County Democrats brought out State Rep. candidates Christine Chandler, gubernatorial candidate Michelle Luján Grisham, 
    Congressman Ben Ray Luján and U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich to rally supporters Sunday for Tuesday's election.
    Chandler excited the crowd by telling them of what she thinks will be a "blue wave" on Tuesday before introducting local County Council Candidates Sara Scott, James Robinson, Randall Ryti, David Izraelevitz, Municipal Judge Candidate Elizabeth Allen and Magistrate Judge Pat Casados. She also introduced Lujan as "a person who cares about this district, cares about the people" and as someone who has a "very good sense on how to interact 
    with a person on an individual level."
    Lujan joked with Chandler about keeping him motivated knocking on doors in Los Alamos and thanked Los Alamos Democratic Party Chairman Robin Schultz for her leadership.
    "That is real leadership, someone who inspires us everyday, and each and 
    everyone of our candidates. We're doing this together," Luján said.
    Luján Grisham thanked the crowd for their "energy" throughout the 
    campaign.

  • LAHS soccer teams prepare for state tournaments

    As has become a yearly occurrence at Los Alamos High School, both soccer teams have made the state soccer tournament. The Hilltopper girls earned the No. 4 seed and the boys earned the No. 5 seed, as both teams were rewarded for highly successful seasons. 

    By earning the No. 4 seed, the LAHS girls have a bye to the quarterfinals, which will be played Nov. 7 at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex. The Hilltoppers went 14-5 in the regular season, including impressive wins against St. Michael’s, Farmington and Aztec. 

    In district play, the Hilltoppers dominated, going 6-0 and outscoring opponents 48-1. 

    Oct. 28’s 5-0 home win against Aztec proved to be key for the Hilltoppers, as LAHS and Aztec entered the game ranked No. 4 and No. 5 in the state, respectively. 

    With the win, LAHS wrapped up the No. 4 seed, while Aztec will have to play a first round home game this weekend against Santa Teresa. 

    The winner of that game will face off against LAHS in the quarterfinals. 

    Also receiving a bye to the quarterfinals are No. 1 seed Albuquerque Academy, No. 2 seed St. Pius and No. 3 seed Hope Christian.

    Academy and Pius have both defeated the Hilltoppers this season.

  • Volleyball sweeps Taos on Senior Night

    Despite a few shaky moments in the first two sets, the Los Alamos High School volleyball was able to win on its Senior Night 3-0 over Taos, continuing its late-season surge. 

    Since Sept. 15, the Hilltoppers have been one of the most dominant teams in the state, going 8-1, with five of the wins requiring the minimum three sets. Unlike some of the other matches, though, Tuesday night’s win over the Tigers proved to be difficult and required some outstanding play from LAHS’ top players. 

    Led by star player Faith Powell, Taos came out strong in the first set and did not allow the Hilltoppers to gain any sort of an edge. LAHS appeared to be out of sync for much of the first set, and relied on errors by the Tigers to pick up quite a few points. Powell made an impact for the Tigers at the service line and on the front line, as she proved to be hard to defend. 

    Though the Hilltoppers struggled throughout much of the set, Natalie Gallegos, Sophia Salazar and Elodie Thelliez stepped up when it mattered most and closed out the first set with a 25-23 win for LAHS to put the team up 1-0 in the match. 

  • No Christmas Trees at Valles Caldera this year

    Christmas Trees will not be available at the Valles Caldera National Preserve this year through Los Amigos de Valles Caldera, the preserve announced Thursday.

    Los Amigos volunteers helped thin forests on the preserves the past five years to help reduce fuel for forest fires.

    This year, the group has not been able to find enough trees around the preserve to offer them to the public.

    “They’ve done such a wonderful job,” said Valles Caldera Spokeswoman Kimberly DeVall. “Now it’s actually harder for them to go out and find trees to cut.”

    The preserve received about three inches of snow from Wednesday’s storm and it takes a bit more effort to get around to the areas to get the trees, DeVall said.

    The Santa Fe National Forest and other units will still offer the permits to the public to obtain trees from public lands, but the preserve will not have available trees, DeVall said.

    Los Amigos Chairwoman Peggy Gautier thanked everyone who donated to the group in the past.

    “We would like to thank all of the people who drove to Valles Caldera to choose their Christmas trees,” said Peggy Gautier, chairwoman for Los Amigos. “Their donations raised over $26,000 to support the work of Los Amigos on the preserve.”

  • Historic artifacts found at Jemez archaeological excavation

    Jemez Historic Site hosted its first major archaeological excavation in over 50 years this summer.

    “Dig Giusewa” was part of New Mexico Historic Sites award-winning Public Archaeology Program.

    The project was undertaken to address long-held questions about the Jemez people involving their origins and how their lives changed after the arrival of the Spanish, according to project officials.

    Over an eight-week period, New Mexico Historic Site staff, University of New Mexico students, Friends of Coronado Historic Site and Jemez Pueblo Tribal Members excavated a large room just north of the Visitor Center in Giusewa – or San Jose – Pueblo.

    According to Matthew J. Barbour, regional manager for the Coronado and Jemez Historic Sites, after removing debris and rubble, excavators uncovered a large room that measured about 16 feet north-south by 9 feet east-west.

    The room appeared to be on the first floor and was part of a much larger multi-story room block, or apartment-like complex, according to Barbour.

    Walls were constructed of stone and adobe and were plastered with gypsum to form a black and white banded design.

    A small doorway along the east wall was the only access to the room, which they said may have served as storage.

  • Voters can still apply for absentee ballots at clerk’s office today

    Voters can still request an absentee ballot for the general election by submitting an application directly with the county clerk through today.

    “Voting absentee is a convenient way for New Mexicans to vote and it’s great to see that almost 50,000 voters have already returned their absentee ballots for this election,” said Sec. Maggie Toulouse Oliver. “But if voters are still thinking about requesting an absentee ballot, or have not yet returned their absentee ballot, they should be aware that the deadlines for doing so are coming up quick.”

    Voters can request an absentee ballot for the 2018 general election by submitting an application directly to their county clerk through Friday.

    Requests must be made by this deadline in order for the requested absentee ballot to be mailed by the appropriate county clerk in time for the voter to receive, complete and return it by Tuesday’s deadline.

    Voters who have completed their absentee ballot can return it through the end of early voting on Saturday only to the appropriate county clerk’s office and cannot drop it off at an early voting polling site.

  • Council approves creation of special district

    Los Alamos County Council approved a resolution Tuesday that would allow a developer to pump an extra $4 million into a 161-house development project in White Rock.

    The resolution allows the developer to set up a public improvement district around the project, which allows the developer to fund the project through bonds.

    The $4 million would appear as a levy to homeowners living in the district. Homeowners with the biggest lots would pay $2,550 a year; homeowners with the second biggest lots would be taxed $2,130 a year; third biggest, $1,830 a year, $1,143 per year per multi-family dwelling unit and $500 per year per 100 per square feet for commercial properties.

    The average price of the homes are expected to be $375,00, according to Adam Thornton, of Site A-19-A-1 Acquisition Group LLC.

    The vote passed 4-3.

    The housing development is located on NM4, next to the Visitor’s Center, and about one mile from Area G, the staging area for radiated waste from the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    The development is one component of the White Rock Master Plan. The county originally envisioned a housing development that would cater to new affordable housing for the local workforce. Other new housing in the master plan included townhomes, condos and senior-oriented residences.

  • Triad takes the helm

    Los Alamos National Laboratory marked a new era Thursday as Triad National Security, LLC, took the helm as its new management and operations contractor, as the new leadership team touted its goal of putting safety and performance first.

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration awarded Triad the management and operations on June 8.

    The lab’s former contractor, Los Alamos National Security struggled in recent years with safety and operational issues, prompting the turnover.

    “The new leadership team at Los Alamos is determined to strike the right balance between mission delivery for the nation and safe, operational excellence across the entire Laboratory,” said Laboratory Director and Triad CEO Thom Mason said in a release Thursday. “We are committed to partnering with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) as an integral part of the National Security Enterprise.”

    Los Alamos County Manager Steven Lynn welcomed Triad to the community through a written statement.
    “Los Alamos National Laboratory is a key employer for our community and Northern New Mexico. We look forward to working with Director Mason and his Triad team, and we wish them every success in operating the Lab,” Lynn said.