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Today's News

  • Art teachers find inspiration at national convention

    An important part of the strategic plan of the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation is to provide quality professional development opportunities for educators. Twice annually teachers can apply for professional development grants from the LAPS Foundation. Last fall, several art teachers applied for a grant to attend the 2018 National Art Education Association (NAEA) National Convention in Seattle through Thursday. The LAPS Foundation was able to fund 4 teachers to attend: Daisy Gorman-Nichols (Mountain), Libbi Lovejoy (LAHS), and Elizabeth Fisher and Laura Parkison (LAMS).

    Two additional teachers, Renee Mitsunaga (Chamisa) and Mary Grace (LAHS), were able to attend with separate funding.

    In the request to the LAPS Foundation, Mitsunaga, chair of the LAPS art department, stated “As we [art teachers] collaborate to research, share best practices, techniques, and projects with each other, we recognize the need to look nationally to be current with the new, exciting, and changing trends in art education.”

  • Blazing a New Trail: Driving friendly is safe, smart, fun

    There’s a sign I read every time I start to drive across Omega Bridge heading toward the lab.

    It’s not the largest, most prolific sign in Los Alamos County, just a simple sign, triangular in shape, black letters on a white background. Even though the sign’s message is simple, consisting of only two words, it may be the most powerful bit of signage we can be reading.

    All it says is: “Drive Friendly.”

    I like it. In fact, I like it a lot.

    I think each of us can benefit from a “friendly” little reminder every now and then, some maybe on a daily basis.
    Shortly after I moved here in February I found myself covering a story in which a driver actually pulled a gun on another driver and shot him in an apparent case of road rage.

    How could someone get so angry with another person that they think shooting them – while operating a motor vehicle, no less – is a proper way to solve the issue?

    I guess that could be said in response to a lot of issues involving anger these days.

    To be honest, I have in the past been know to holler at another driver after they’ve cut me off in traffic or done something that almost caused us to end up in an accident. Maybe even given them a dirty glance or sarcastic thumbs up.

  • Master garden tour set for June 2

    Those looking to start a garden, or perhaps improve what they already have, should mark June 2 on the calendar. That’s the date the Los Alamos Master Gardeners Association is opening up six member gardens to the public.

    Called the Master Gardeners Garden Tour, the free event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will feature six gardens, five maintained by residents, and one by the Pajarito Environmental Education Center. Residents are welcome to stop by each of the gardens between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., where the garden’s owners will give a tour and offer tips.

    “There will be people stationed at various places who will be able to answer questions,” former Los Alamos Master Gardener’s Association President Denise George said.

    Some of the gardens will have lists of plants that have been successful growing in Los Alamos County.

    The event is to show what’s possible in a mountain desert climate, for beginner gardeners and the advanced alike.

  • Startup success begins with team of top performers

    BY PAUL BUTLER
    Managing partner, Azrael Partners and former chief operating officer of Lumidigm, Inc.

    Building a startup or creating a new line of business is hard work, and statistics show the odds of success are long ones. Beating the numbers comes down to a combination of experience, expertise, and commitment.

    The last of these three traits is important, but experience and expertise can make or break your venture in three critical areas.

    Building a high-performance team: Behind every profitable venture is a team. You might have a compelling idea, an excellent offering with market fit, and a large market opportunity, but without a competent team, your business won’t make it.

    You need folks who excel at what they do, because they’re an order of magnitude more productive than average employees. They also know what not to do. By helping a business avoid unnecessary cycles of learning and poor decisions, they allow more of that productive power to be used efficiently.

    Employees with this level of skill are drawn to startups because they seek a challenge, expect the payoff to be significant and hate mediocrity and bureaucracy. They must believe in the offering and will do their own calculus on your venture’s probability of success before joining the team.

  • Money is rolling in, but budget makers are cautious

    During the 2018 legislative session, held in January and February, the Legislature passed a budget for the 2019 budget year that starts July 1.

    The news is not that the Legislature did its job of passing the budget, but that the task, straightforward if difficult, was done without headline-generating nastiness, a difference from previous years.

    Possibly the biggest difference was that some new money was available. Saying yes to proposals always makes elected officials happier. The task of no is difficult, involving choices and facing constituents convinced of the righteousness of their cause.

    In her cover letter to the Legislative Finance Committee’s annual Post-Session Review, LFC Chair Patricia Lundstrom said, “An economic rebound made the 2018 legislative session a very different experience from the session of a year ago.”

    One significant item adds $28.4 million to early childhood programs, continuing a years-long commitment from the Legislature and Gov. Susana Martinez.

    The additional money stands in the face of claims that raiding the permanent funds would somehow make something magic happen.

  • Drought on tap to intensify over US Southwest

    By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Rivers are drying up, popular mountain recreation spots are closing and water restrictions are in full swing as a persistent drought intensifies its grip on pockets of the American Southwest.

    Climatologists and other experts are scheduled Wednesday to provide an update on the situation in the Four Corners region — where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet.

    The area is dealing with exceptional drought — the worst category. That has left farmers, ranchers and water planners bracing for a much different situation than just a year ago when only a fraction of the region was experiencing low levels of dryness.

    With the region's water resources strained, a top federal official has resumed pressure on states in the Southwest to wrap up long-delayed emergency plans for potential shortages on the Colorado River, which serves 40 million people in the U.S. and Mexico.

    "We face an overwhelming risk on the system, and the time for action is now," Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner

    Brenda Burman said Tuesday. She spoke before the Imperial Irrigation District in Southern California, one of the biggest single users of the Colorado River.

  • Congress makes way for Holtec as meetings end

    The public still has time to comment on the Holtec project, a temporary nuclear waste storage facility planned for southeast New Mexico.

    If the Holtec project receives the necessary approvals from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the 1,045-acre nuclear waste storage facility will be built in Lea County, 32 miles east of Carlsbad and 34 miles west of Hobbs.

    The project is about 12 miles away from the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Facility, where Los Alamos National Laboratory ships some of its nuclear waste.

    Holtec International wants to also initially store up to 8,680 metric tons of waste underground at the site waste that will be transported to the site by rail from all over the country. The waste will be high-level radioactive waste mainly in the form of spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors.

    The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor May 10 of the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, an act that will allow for the Department of Energy to build temporary facilities to consolidate and store nuclear waste while a permanent facility is built. 

    In 1987, Congress set aside 147,000 acres in Nye County, Nevada, for a permanent facility at Yucca Mountain.

  • Game & Fish congratulates county on bear awareness campaign

    The New Mexico Game Commission recognized Los Alamos County’s efforts in keeping the bears away from people, and people away from people.

    Stewart Liley, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s Wildlife Management division chief, said at a meeting held in Los Alamos Tuesday, Los Alamos County has seen an increase in the area bear population over the last seven years.

    He noted the county has taken successful steps to keep the populations separated by controlling the bear’s exposure to trash generated by humans.

    “The biggest thing is trying to reduce that attractant, to reduce the attractant for bears coming into town,” Liley said.

    The Game and Fish Department did this by working with the county’s trash collection service and the Los Alamos Medical Center, one of the main places in the county that produces waste bears are attracted to.

    The department also helped the county’s trash collection service distribute bear-proof trash carts to residents, which Liley said has had the biggest impact on keeping bears out of county neighborhoods.

  • Kite Festival fans gather in White Rock

    Tell Carveth Kramer or Sam Pedregon to “go fly a kite” and they’ll happily say, “Sure!”

    And then they’ll disappear off to some wide-open field for a couple of days.

    For almost 20 years that wide-open field has been at Overlook Park in White Rock for the Los Alamos Arts Council’s Kite Festival.

    “We’ve been to every festival they’ve had, like 19 years,” said Carveth who, along with his wife, Luella, sell handmade banners in their hometown of Taos.

    The couple set up several of their banners, which are staked into the ground, on both Saturday and Sunday for the spectators to enjoy.

    They also fly big kites of various shapes, styles and colors before stepping back so the younger fliers can enjoy the airspace.

    “We get here early in the day, set up our banners and fly our big kites,” he said. “Then around noon we pull off the field and turn the field over to the kids because it’s their day.”

    Kramer, 74, credits Pedregon and his wife, Barbie, of Pueblo, Colo., for getting him started in the banner business.

  • Luján touches base with visit to Los Alamos

    Ben Ray Luján brought his campaign back to familiar territory on Sunday with stops in Los Alamos at the Sierra Club and the John F. Kennedy Dinner.

    Luján, the Democratic U.S. Representative for New Mexico’s 3rd congressional district, grew up in Nambé and said he is happy any time he can return to the area.

    “It’s always important to be home,” he said Sunday afternoon at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. “I take advantage of every opportunity I can to be here. We’re on a plane every week and when we’re in New Mexico I’m on the road. We’re honored to represent a district of about 47,000 square miles. It takes about eight and a half hours to drive across it. It’s a beautiful district, but because of the number of counties we represent we do our best to make sure we get into every county.”

    A member of the cross country and track teams in high school, Luján recalled many times when he competed against the Los Alamos Hilltoppers, some he calls friends to this day.

    “I had a lot of fun during those times,” he said. “We had an incredible coach, Alan Lockridge, and we had some great meets – several of them right here in Los Alamos. Back when we ran cross county the course was still in the canyon.”