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Today's News

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • 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.

  • County Council to mull backing state socialized health plan

    Los Alamos County Councilor Pete Sheehey will ask Tuesday for the county council to agree to join other governments across the state that are backing a socialized state health plan to be introduced in the next legislative session.

    Sheehey is asking the council to approve a resolution in favor of the New Mexico Health Security Plan.

    The Health Security Plan was created by the Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign, a coalition of ranchers, small business owners, non-profits and others who are looking for a way to provide health care coverage for all New Mexicans.

    Sheehey’s resolution said the plan would work like a cooperative.

    Public and private dollars would be pooled into one fund. Funding sources include federal and state money spent on health care, including Medicaid and Medicare, plus individual premiums based on income with caps and employer contributions.

    An independent non-governmental commission with 15 geographically representative commissioners would oversee the plan, according to the website. Ten commissioners would represent consumer and employer interests and five would represent provider and health facility interests.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • ‘Music She Wrote’ celebrates women

    SUBMITTED TO THE MONITOR

    Women have been composing music for centuries, but even today the voices of women composers are seldom heard.
    The chamber singers of Coro de Cámara will give audiences a chance to experience some of this wonderful music in their upcoming program “Music She Wrote: Celebrating Women Composers.”

    Concerts will be presented in two different formats at three venues.

    The first is at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 in collaboration with Los Alamos High School choirs Schola Cantorum and Bel Canto in the Smith Auditorium, 1300 Diamond Drive.

    The second performance will be at 4 p.m. Nov. 17 at the United Church of Santa Fe, 1804 Arroya Chamisa Road, Santa Fe. This concert is for Coro de Camara alone in concert with a pre-concert lecture by Dr. Nelly Case at 3:30 p.m.

    The third performance is 4 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos, 1738 North Sage St. Coro de Camara will perform alone with a pre-concert lecture by Case at 3:30 p.m.