Today's News

  • Hawaii volcano could spew boulders the size of refrigerators

    By SOPHIA YAN and SETH BORENSTEIN, Associated Press

    PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) — If Hawaii's Kilauea volcano blows its top in the coming days or weeks, as experts fear, it could hurl ash and boulders the size of refrigerators miles into the air, shutting down airline traffic and endangering lives in all directions, scientists said Thursday.

    "If it goes up, it will come down," said Charles Mandeville, volcano hazards coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey. "You don't want to be underneath anything that weighs 10 tons when it's coming out at 120 mph."

    The volcano, which has been spitting and sputtering lava for a week, has destroyed more than two dozen homes and threatened a geothermal plant. The added threat of an explosive eruption could ground planes at one of the Big Island's two major airports and pose other dangers. The national park around the volcano announced that it would close because of the risks.

    "We know the volcano is capable of doing this," Mandeville said, citing similar explosions at Kilauea in 1925, 1790 and four other times in the last few thousand years. "We know it is a distinct possibility."

  • Results unclear as federal money flows to New Mexico schools

    SANTA FE (AP) — Federal financial support for New Mexico public schools is on the rise, but isn't necessarily boosting student academic performance, according to an evaluation released Thursday at the state Legislature's nonpartisan budget committee.

    The report from the Legislative Finance Committee provides an exhaustive catalog of more than a half-billion dollars in annual federal funding that supports about 6 percent of the state's public school teachers.

    Major channels of federal education funding have increased for the current fiscal year that runs through the end of June, including money for schools with high numbers or percentages of children from low-income families.

    Federal support varies by school district, and the evaluation found little evidence of a correlation between school performance and per-pupil federal funding. Much of the federal funding for New Mexico schools goes toward discounted or free school meals.

    "There was a weak relationship between per-student federal funding and low-income student proficiency in English and math," the evaluation stated.

  • House bill would revive mothballed Nevada nuclear waste dump

    House bill would revive mothballed Nevada nuclear waste dump

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The House on Thursday approved an election-year bill to revive the mothballed nuclear waste dump at Nevada's Yucca Mountain despite opposition from home-state lawmakers.

    Supporters say the bill would help solve a nuclear-waste storage problem that has festered for more than three decades. More than 80,000 metric tons of spent fuel from commercial nuclear power plants sit idle in 121 communities across 39 states.

    The bill would direct the Energy Department to continue a licensing process for Yucca Mountain while also moving forward with a separate plan for a temporary storage site in New Mexico or Texas.

    The House approved the bill, 340-72, sending the measure to the Senate, where Nevada's two senators have vowed to block it.

    "The House can vote all they want to revive #YuccaMountain, but let's be clear - any bill that would turn Nevadans' backyards into a nuclear waste dump is dead on arrival," Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto tweeted. "Yucca will never be anything more than a hole in the ground."

  • Girls track wins, boys finish second at 2-5A championships

    It appears that having the home field advantage at the District 2-5A Championships worked out well for the Los Alamos High School track and field teams. At the end of the two-day competition, the girls walked away as the champions and the boys finished in second place. 

    For the girls, Los Alamos won the district championship, earning 167 points across the 19 events. Albuquerque Academy finished in second place with 148 points. Del Norte was third with 71 points, Capital finished fourth with 39 points and Española Valley earned nine points. 

    As has been the case most of the season, Becca Green was a star for the Hilltoppers in the throwing events. In the shot put, she threw 41 feet-4 inches, more than 9 feet further than the second place finisher. In the discus, she threw 130 feet, 35 feet farther than anyone else in the competition. 

    LAHS also dominated in the high jump, as Jazmine Tuning finished in first place and Bailey Yost finished right behind her in second place. 

    The podium of the 300-meter hurdles was full of Hilltoppers, as Preslie Coffey finished first, Yost came in second and Bailee Nasise finished in third place. 

  • Softball hopes to flip the script at state

    For four years in a row, it has been the same story for the Los Alamos High School softball team. Every year since 2014, the Hilltoppers have done enough to get into the state championship playoffs, but have been beaten by double digits in the first round. 

    This year, as the No. 10 seed, LAHS has a chance to reverse that curse as it takes on No. 7 seed Aztec High School on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals. 

    This is the highest the Hilltoppers have been seeded in the tournament in recent memory, after earning the No. 11 seed each of the past two years. 

    All of the games at the 2018 State Softball Championships will be played at a neutral site, beginning at Cleveland High School for the first two rounds. 

    The top four seeds at the tournament receive a bye to the second round, and will play the winners of the four play-in games in the quarterfinals. 

    All of the first round games will be played at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, and the quarterfinals will follow at 12:30 p.m. 

  • Air Force: Use of training device started Kirtland wildfire

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The Air Force says an investigation has determined that use of a military training devise that simulates the noise and visual flash of ordnance explosions started a March wildfire on a Kirtland Air Force Base range.

    Base officials say training procedures have been changed so that ground burst simulators aren't used or are replaced by non-hazardous equipment during periods of high fire hazard.

    Also, when ground burst simulators or similar devices are used, Air Force personnel must have fire prevention and containment equipment on hand.

    The fire occurred March 4-5 it burned over 100 acres.

  • University of New Mexico announce new health system CEO

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The University of New Mexico has chosen a new CEO for its Level 1 trauma center and academic medical center.

    The university announced Tuesday that Kate Becker will serve as the new CEO for the university health system.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports Becker is a lawyer-turned-hospital administrator and currently serves as the president of SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital, an academic hospital and Level 1 trauma center serving eastern Missouri and southern Illinois.

    Becker is replacing Steve McKernan, who retired last fall after 21 years in the role.

    She will take over as CEO starting July 15.

    She will earn $620,000 annually and can make up to 25 percent more in incentive pay.

  • State of Education set for Monday at LAHS

    The public is invited to a State of Education speech at Los Alamos Public Schools Monday.

    The presentation is hosted by the District Parent Council and will be from 5:30-7 p.m.

    The LAPS School Board and Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus will speak at the Los Alamos High School Speech Theater.

    This event is open to all parents, staff, students and interested community members. The evening will include special presentations by the High School Bel Canto Choir, a slide show of student artwork and a video of LAPS students.

    Light snacks prepared by parents and LAHS students will be available, along with water and tea.

  • Council seeks letters of interest to fill vacancy

    The Los Alamos County Council is accepting letters of interest from residents to fill the unexpired term of Councilor James Chrobocinski, who resigned last week. His term will expire Dec. 31.

    Applicants must be a registered voter and resident of Los Alamos County, and cannot be employed by the county.

    Those interested need to submit a letter of interest explaining their background, experience and why they are interested in the position. Letters of interest must be received no later than May 31 at 5 p.m.

    The letter should be submitted to Harry Burgess, county manager, 1000 Central Ave., Suite 350, Los Alamos, NM 87544.

    The letter can also be e-mailed by the deadline to lacmanager@lacnm.us.

    Any person submitting a letter must attend a special council meeting at 6 p.m. June 11 in Council Chambers, and be prepared to respond to questions from councilors. The council expects to interview applicants and then make their selection that day.

  • New details emerge in April 29 brush fire

    According to a witness at the scene, a brush fire that broke out near the Ponderosa Pines Apartments April 29 could have been a lot worse.

    Though the Los Alamos County Fire Department was fast to respond, there were two people already at the scene using a garden hose, a shovel and whatever other tools they had available to put the fire out.

    The second witness to arrive was leaving the Mesa Public Library when he saw the smoke.

    “I looked down and saw a lot of smoke and thought ‘that isn’t right,’” he said.

    The second witness and another person arrived at about the same time and proceeded to try to put the fire out.

    While the other person had a shovel, the second grabbed a bucket to find some water. Finding none, he used the bucket’s bottom to help stamp out the fire.

    According to the second witness, they had it about 80 to 90 percent controlled by the time the fire department arrived.

    “If we wouldn’t have been there, that place would’ve probably went up,” he said.

    It was still tough going, though.

    “The more we would stamp, the more it would start up someplace else,” the witness said.