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Today's News

  • Police Beat 6-17-18

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    June 6
    8:20 a.m. – Los Alamos police investigated an auto burglary. Investigation is currently inactive.

    10 a.m. – Los Alamos police investigated the larceny of a wheel and a tire in White Rock.

    1:10 p.m. – Los Alamos police investigated damage to property. The investigation is inactive. 

    June 6
    2:17 p.m. – Los Alamos police responded to a call where syringes were found in a patient’s room at the Los Alamos Medical Center.

    4:32 p.m. – Los Alamos police responded to a report of a stolen mailbox statue, investigation is inactive.

    June 10
    8:46 a.m. – Los Alamos police responded to a report of stolen mailbox statue. Investigation is inactive.

    9:24 a.m. – Los Alamos police responded to a report of a stolen motorcycle helmet. Investigation inactive.
     
    June 11

  • LA hosts first Pride Fest

    Los Alamos’ first Pride Festival drew a crowd Friday afternoon at Fuller Lodge.

    While a karaoke party was in full swing inside the lodge, outside, people from all over the region came to take part in help build a float, blow bubbles and learn to live together in peace and harmony.

    The festivals featured many booths, including Voices of Los Alamos, the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and a booth where people could write what they wanted and let the world know they were “coming out” on a t-shirt. The idea came from

    Quinn Fontaine, the Santa Fe Pride King, and author of a biography about his journey about transitioning from female to male.

    “My work is about being transparent and helping people to be who they are,” Fontaine said at the event.

    “The fact that this is the first is huge. I have chills talking to you right now,” Fontaine said. “It’s so important. Some of these kids I’ve overheard here thinking they were alone, and here they are at this t-shirt booth thinking about starting their own support group.”

    The Pride Fest also sponsored the Red Elvises Concert at Ashley Pond Park later that night.

  • County seeks $20,000 more for Regional LANL Coalition ethics investigation

    Los Alamos County Council was asked to consider spending an additional $20,000 on an ethics investigation into the county’s role in a funding controversy regarding the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities Tuesday.

    The county has already spent $30,000 since March to look into whether councilors were involved in a questionable expenses of coalition funds during a trip to Washington, D.C.

    In February, allegations surfaced that former Executive Director Andrea Romero made between $1,800-$2,000 in unauthorized travel expenses while coalition members and councilor Rick Reiss were on a business trip in Washington, D.C., in September 2017 to talk to LANL officials and New Mexico’s congressional representatives about the community’s interests.

    Romero acted as host to coalition and government officials during meetings with government officials.

    “One of the most important priorities we have as councilors is to make sure tax dollars are spent appropriately,” said Councilor Susan O’Leary Tuesday.

    O’Leary accused the vice chair and chair of the county council Tuesday of not telling county officials or the council about financial mismanagement problems with the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities that surfaced in February.

  • Youth corps to work on trails this summer

    Members of the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps made an impression Jun. 5, walking single file from the Mari-Mac parking lot on Central Avenue, all the way to Ashley Pond Park.

    Their destination was a tool trailer in the parking lot of the Los Alamos Justice Center, where they would learn about the tools inside and sharpen them.

    The Youth Conservation Corps will be busy this summer.

    “We’re going to be working on a lot of trails this summer. A lot of them will be near Guaje Canyon,” Crew Leader Peter Watson said.

    The crew also plans to finish the connection between Los Alamos Canyon and Quemazon Trail, do some work on Canyon Rim Trail and other trails throughout the county.

    Though the entire county is under strict restrictions they do have permission from Santa Fe National Forest officials to work on trails in the forest, permission from the county is on a day-to-day basis.

    Crew Trainer Jess Morgan said the restriction doesn’t necessarily mean they will have less work to do.

    “We have fewer trails to work on this year and that is partly because of grants,” Morgan said. “We will be paying more attention to the trails we’re on. So I guess we’ll be busier in that regard.”

  • Panel cites more safety issues at New Mexico nuclear lab

    Reports from an independent safety panel show radioactive contamination was found on a worker's hands and other places at a nuclear weapons lab in New Mexico — the latest safety lapse at the facility as it ramps up work with nuclear material.

    All pipefitting work was paused after a crew had to be stripped and decontaminated on May 16 because of the discovery at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, according to weekly briefings from the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

    Contamination also was found on the crew's protective clothing and in a work area, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

    The briefings also show members of another crew placed plutonium salts in a prohibited area.

    The lapses are the latest in a series of radiation releases and operational mistakes at Los Alamos, which was recently tasked with building at least 30 plutonium cores a year, which are used to trigger nuclear weapons.

    Lab spokesman Matt Nerzig said Monday the workers were thoroughly decontaminated — mostly by washing off the contamination with water. None received any measurable dose of radiation, he said.

    Nerzig also said the incident with the plutonium salts did not result in a significant safety risk to workers or the public.

  • Library preparing for August closing

    Summer has begun at the Mesa Public Library, and even though the staff is busy managing its many programs, it’s also prepping for the shutdown scheduled for August.

    The library will be closed beginning Aug. 20 through the end of November for repairs to its HVAC system as well as some window and elevator work.

    “We won’t have access to the book stacks,” said library manager Eileen Sullivan, “but there will be one small area in the lower level, what we call the Teen Zone, where the youth activity area is, that’s on a different heating and cooling system. Staff will be based out of that area.”

    Sullivan said patrons will be able to place items on reserve and can do that online if they have access to a computer.

    “We’ll pull those items and they can come in and pick them up in the Zone,” she said. “If they don’t have computer access they can come in to the Zone and we will help them place reserves on items.”

    Crews will be replacing lighting in the library, making it more energy efficient and greener.

    “It will also make the building more comfortable for patrons,” she said. “I know that some of the areas in the stacks can sometimes be difficult to see, so the new lighting will help with visibility.”

  • LANL designates restricted airspace where unauthorized drone flights prohibited, including additional ‘No Drone Zone’

    Los Alamos National Laboratory has deployed a system to counter all unauthorized unmanned aircraft systems over its restricted airspace and an additional Federal Aviation Administration-designated “No Drone Zone.”

    The system is government-authorized and is in a testing phase.

    “All airspace over the laboratory is protected right now against unauthorized drone or UAS flights,” said Michael Lansing, head of the laboratory’s security operations. “We can detect and track a UAS and if it poses a threat we have the ability to disrupt control of the system, seize or exercise control, confiscate, or use reasonable force to disable, damage or destroy the UAS.”

    LANL worked in collaboration with the National Nuclear Security Administration and FAA to implement the system.

    With legal authority granted by Congress through the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the NNSA has the enhanced ability to protect its facilities from any UAS that may pose a threat to the safety or security of assets and personnel, according to LANL.

    The Counter-UAS program at Los Alamos will be the blueprint for future programs at three other NNSA sites.

    Systems are planned for the Pantex Plant in Texas, the Y-12 facility in Tennessee, and the National Nuclear Security Site in Nevada.

  • San Antonio Fire burns in Valles Caldera

    The San Antonio Fire in the Valles Caldera National Preserve has grown to more than 426 acres, officials reported at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

    Officials have classified the incident as a Type 3 fire, meaning responders expect an extended response to the fire, and Type 3 fire crews have been ordered, according to Kimberly DeVall, spokeswoman with the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

    The lightning-caused fire is traveling in a northwesterly direction, away from Los Alamos and is not growing rapidly, Devall said.

    The fire broke out at about noon Thursday in the Jemez in the northwest quadrant of the Valles Caldera, about 20 miles from Los Alamos.

    The fire was named San Antonio Fire, because it is near the San Antonio Mountain, according to Los Alamos County spokeswoman Julie Habiger.

    The Valles Caldera National Preserve near the visitors center and headquarters remains open.

    U.S. Forest Service officials said three engines, one hotshot crew, one helicopter and one tanker have been sent to battle the fire in full suppression mode. The fire is located in the backcountry.

  • Work begins to boost airflow at US nuclear repository

    CARLSBAD (AP) — Work has started on a new ventilation system that will clear the way for more radioactive waste to be hauled underground and disposed of at the U.S. government's nuclear repository in southern New Mexico.

    U.S. Energy Department officials celebrated with a groundbreaking event Thursday, saying the system is key for ramping up work at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

    The repository restarted operations in 2017 following a nearly three-year shutdown that resulted from a radiation release from an inappropriately packaged drum of waste that was shipped from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    After the 2014 release, limited ventilation underground due to contamination issues slowed disposal operations as well as mining and maintenance work.

    The new system is expected to cost more than a quarter-billion dollars and take until 2021 to complete.
     

  • New Mexico weekend weather to produce risk of flash floods

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The National Weather Service says parts of New Mexico may see heavy rain late Friday through late Saturday, creating a risk of flash floods, particularly in terrain recently scarred by wildfires.

    Forecasters say "a deep surge of moisture" from a tropical storm will move northward and eastward into and across the state, producing showers and thunderstorms.

    According to the weather service, storms are expected to be widespread and have "near-record to record moisture values."

    The weather service says as little as a quarter-inch (.64 centimeter) of rainfall in 15 minutes on a burn scar can produce a significant flash flood or debris flow with little or no advance notice.