Today's News

  • Lab building evacuated Monday as hazmat crews remediate bulging drum

    Los Alamos National Laboratory partially evacuated workers from the Sigma Building around Monday as hazmat workers responded to the building.

    “At 2:30, p.m. today Laboratory personnel and the Los Alamos Fire Department responded to a report of a bulging drum at the Sigma facility,” according to a laboratory spokesman. “The drum has been rendered safe. The area has been isolated and access control established. There is no threat to workers or the public.”

    All workers in the building were safe from the incident, and the area where the evacuation took place was confirmed safe, according to the spokesman.

    The Sigma building develops materials and components using engineering and metallurgical science in support of national security, according to the LANL website. This science includes a scope that spans alloys, ceramics and compounds from uranium to hydrogen, the website said.

  • Lacrosse wins second straight home game

    The Los Alamos High School girls’ lacrosse team is officially on a roll. For the second consecutive home game, the Hilltoppers came away victorious, defeating Santa Fe Prep 6-5 at Dara Jones Field Thursday night. 

    Elena Culin played well in goal for the Hilltoppers, keeping Santa Fe Prep from putting too many goals on the board. 

    On offense, Allina Bergemann was the star for the Hilltoppers, scoring four goals during the game to lead the team to victory. 

    Also scoring two goals was Marie Lee, who has consistently gotten better throughout the season. 

    This is the second home game in a row that the Hilltoppers have won. The team is finding success in its first year as a team, led by head coach Whitney Pryce, who has done a good job of helping the team improve every game. 

    After a game on the road Thursday in Rio Rancho, the Hilltoppers will return to action Saturday at home against Santa Fe Prep at 10 a.m. This is the final scheduled home game of the season for the team, as the playoffs begin on May 1. 

  • Atomic City Update: High school baseball and softball need fewer doubleheaders

    As high school baseball and softball season moves along this spring, I have found great joy in watching the kids play games they love on a daily basis. It is obvious how much fun they are having on the field, and it is great to see the teams at Los Alamos High School find success late in the schedule. 

    However, the one negative I have found about the schedule are the number of doubleheaders the teams are forced to play. From a scheduling standpoint, I absolutely understand the need for doubleheaders. The teams all have to play a certain amount of games, and they want the kids to miss as little school as possible. 

    But I can’t see many other positives to the doubleheaders. First of all, playing two games back-to-back, which can take more than six hours, is physically draining for the players. Baseball is a game of lots of starts and stops. It requires laser-sharp focus and attention while in the field and in the batter’s box. 

    By the end of a second game, it is possible that a player would have played 14 innings in the field, and taken eight or more at-bats. I can’t believe that a player is as sharp after playing that much as he would have been hours earlier, at the beginning of the first game. 

  • Council OK’s power project

    The Los Alamos County Council voted by a 4-3 margin to enter into a contract with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems for the purpose of initiating the Carbon Free Power Project in a special session held Tuesday night.

    Voting in favor of Resolution No. 18-09 were James Chrobocinski, Rick Reiss, David Izraelevitz and Pete Sheehey. Casting votes in opposition were Christine Chandler, Antonio Maggiore and Susan O’Leary.

    The vote enters the county into the initial licensing phase of the project. The maximum cost exposure for the county, if it chooses to exit the project at the next decision point, which would be at the end of March of 2019, is $80,000.

    If the county decides to continue in the project the fiscal impact would increase with a total share currently estimated to be approximately $56 million through construction completion.

    That cost would be financed by the project and the county would be repaying it as part of the purchase price of the power generated by the project.

    Before the vote on the resolution took place, Councilor Christine Chandler proposed a substitute motion with the purpose of amending the contract with regard to the modules that would be produced, the first of which would go online in 2026.

  • GOP candidates make big showing in LA

    It was all handshakes, smiles and introductions Thursday night as 19 local and state Republican candidates or their representatives showed up at Jeanette Wallace Hall at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos to tell the public what they’re all about.

    Senate candidate Mick Rich wasted no words, saying to the audience that Martin Heinrich no longer has New Mexico’s best interests in mind. As a contractor who has worked with many federal contractors through the years, Rich told the audience that he knows how to work with Washington.

    “I can be successful in Washington,” Rich said. “I looked around and I said, ‘Who’s not doing their job?’ and it’s Martin Heinrich. I’m not alone. This guy’s vulnerable and New Mexicans are figuring out this guy isn’t our friend.”

    Rich later said he has a campaign chairman in every county of the state and the fact that the first vice chair of the New Mexico Republican Party, Rick Lopez, had joined his campaign as state chairman means he’s serious about toppling Heinrich.

    In his tour across the state he said many people wanted know how he was going to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the state and how to bring the federal education department back to basics and put a stop to so much testing.

  • Schneider to retire after 17 years

    Pauline Schneider said it was just the right time. As someone who now has aging parents back home in Canada, it was time to move back.

    After 17 years, Schneider announced Friday that she is leaving her post as executive director of the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization. Her last day will be sometime in June.

    As she sat at her desk in her office at the Betty Ehart Center in Los Alamos, she said she was glad for the help she was able to give to two retirement centers her organization oversees and the people in them.

    The ironic thing is that when she first started working with seniors in Los Alamos, those Los Alamos seniors first came to her when she was working in Santa Fe. Schneider was working at a Santa Fe retirement organization, then named

    Rosemont, when the facility opened its doors to the seniors evacuating from Los Alamos during the 2000 Cerro Grande fire.

    When she made the move to the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization in 2001 she was already involved in helping those same seniors rebuild their lives by helping the volunteers at the two senior centers try to recover computer equipment and other things the seniors lost to the fire.  

    “Our volunteers were amazing,” Schneider said. “Just watching them interact with the seniors was amazing.”

  • Garden center transition comes at right time

    A torch was passed earlier this month from Dave Fox of Pajarito Greenhouse in White Rock to Laural Hardin and Mike Petree of Petree Garden Center in Los Alamos.

    And with the opening of the latter comes the closing of the former.

    “For 19 years we had a nursery called Pajarito Greenhouse in Pajarito Acres, which is way too far away from the bulk of the population of Los Alamos,” said Fox. “But it was very successful for 19 years. I’m going to turn 80 (on April 8), and so this is perfect timing as far as I’m concerned. And my MRI says that’s true, too.”

    When Fox moved to New Mexico from St. Louis, Mo., he brought with him a love of gardening and a conduit of advice from a friend back in the Show Me State.

    “When we came here from St. Louis I left behind a terrific azalea garden,” he said. “I had a friend who owned the largest nursery in St. Louis, so at the then-current AT&T land line rates he mentored me in opening a pretty much full-scale greenhouse. That got us started.”

    Fox and his family purchased a house in White Rock’s Pajarito Acres that already had a greenhouse on the premises.

  • Explosions rock Syrian capital as Trump announces strikes

    By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press

    BEIRUT (AP) — Loud explosions rocked Syria's capital and filled the sky with heavy smoke early Saturday after U.S. President Donald Trump announced airstrikes in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons. Syrian television reported that air defenses responded to the attack.

    Associated Press reporters saw smoke rising from east Damascus and the sky turned orange. A huge fire could be seen from a distance to the east. Syrian television reported that a scientific research center had been hit.

    Syrian media reported that air defenses hit 13 rockets south of Damascus. After the attack ceased and the early morning skies went dark once more, vehicles with loudspeakers roamed the streets of Damascus blaring nationalist songs.

    "Good souls will not be humiliated," Syria's presidency tweeted after airstrikes began.

    Trump announced Friday night that the three allies had launched military strikes to punish President Bashar Assad for the alleged chemical weapons use and to prevent him from doing it again.

  • Nominating petitions: Outdated path to the ballot

    New Mexico House of Representatives, Dist.  8

    The pathway to the ballot in New Mexico starts with a nominating petition.  Every other year in the late fall and winter, voters are approached by well-meaning volunteers armed with clipboards asking, “Excuse me ma’am, are you registered to vote?” and “Are you a Democrat or Republican?” in the hope of collecting enough valid signatures to qualify their candidate for the election.

    All candidates must submit these forms, including incumbents. It never fails that a potential candidate or two will have minor technical issues with their forms. Sometimes it is a missed middle initial. Or perhaps the district number was left off of a page.

    Cue the lawsuits! Partisan interests rush to district court to file complaints for the removal of the opposition from the ballot with the goal of clearing the field for their preferred candidate.

    This legal gambit can create an easy path to office for the remaining candidate, but is this how we want elections to be decided? Is this how our democratic process should work?

  • #MeToo complicates workplace interactions with men and women

    In my husband’s workplace, years ago, a woman who was clueless about appropriate professional attire showed up day after day in tube tops. Men in the office begged female co-workers to take her aside and ask her to stop wearing the clingy apparel because it was distracting. Maybe for the wearer, that was the point. Nobody worked up the courage to speak, so her daily display continued.

    (Laugh if you want at Hillary’s pantsuits, but for women of a certain age, the pantsuit solved a lot of problems.)

    The tube top episode shows that most men in the workplace are decent people, and men and women work together just fine as long as everybody observes common sense codes of behavior. It’s something to remember as we navigate the turbulent waters of #MeToo.

    After taking down some big players in entertainment, politics and media, the MeToo movement has paused. I’m hearing two parallel debates. A few brave feminists are starting to question the treatment of men in some of these cases – not all piggish behavior is equal – and some men, especially older men, are feeling uncomfortable and unsure of themselves in workplace interactions.