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Today's News

  • LAFD quickly responds to structure fire

    Call it a Valentine’s Day card for White Rock.

    Fire Department crews responded in short order Thursday to a structure fire in White Rock, putting the fire out within minutes.

    According to Deputy Chief Justin Grider of the Los Alamos Fire Department, crews responded to the fire at around 4:30 p.m. and put out the fire within four minutes.

  • Golf course to open Friday

     Los Alamos Golf Course announced Thursday afternoon that it would be open for play Friday morning.

    Course professional Donnie Torres said hours of operation for LAGC will be 10 a.m.-5 p.m. through the end of the month, weather permitting. Play will start at 11 a.m.

    More information about the course opening can be obtained by calling the LAGC pro shop at 662-8139.

  • Education conference set for Santa Fe

    Up to 300 students from middle and high schools in Northern New Mexico will explore science and math through hands-on experiments and presentations at the 34th annual Expanding Your Horizons Conference, from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. March 2 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, Marcy Street, Santa Fe.
    LANL partners with the New Mexico Network for Women in Science and Engineering, Los Alamos Women in Science, Los Alamos National Security, LLC, the LANL Foundation, Santa Fe Institute and Flow Science Inc., in Santa Fe, for EYH to increase awareness of, and interest in science, technology, engineering and math activities and careers. The Santa Fe City Council also is a co-sponsor.
    Early registration for this year’s conference ends Friday, but additional registrations will be accepted up to Feb. 25 as space is available. Walk-in registrations may be taken on the day of the event, but contact the registrar first by writing to eyh-registrar@lanl.gov by email.
    For more information, send an email to eyh13@lanl.gov by email or go to the EYH web page at nmnwse.org.

  • Update 02-14-13

    Trash service

    In observation of Presidents’ Day there will be no trash or recycling collection on Monday.  If Monday is your normal pickup day, place your trash and recycling out by 8 a.m. Wednesday for collection.

    Dance

    Cathy Faber’s Swingin’ Country Band will play from 7-11 p.m. Saturday at the Sheriff’s Posse Lodge. Cost is $15 per person, $25 per couple. For more information, call Carey at 412-7845.

    Parks and Rec

    The Parks and Recreation Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. today at the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center.

    Have a news tip?

    Send press releases, photos and videos to laeditor@lamonitor.com or contact the newsroom at 662-4185.

    Kiwanis

    Kiwanis meets each Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m., at the Masonic Temple on Sage, near the intersection of 15th and Canyon. Feb. 19: Los Alamos County Utilities Manager John Arrowsmith, a member of Kiwanis, will update the club on the solar project at the landfill. 

  • House OKs gun-buyer background checks

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers waded into the national debate over gun violence Wednesday as the House approved legislation to require criminal background checks of more people who buy firearms at gun shows.
    If the measure becomes law, which is far from certain, New Mexico will join at least six other states in having background checks for all firearms purchased at gun shows from private sellers, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
    Federal law requires those checks for sales by licensed dealers in their stores or at gun shows, but it doesn’t cover private gun sales regardless of the location of the transaction.
    Supporters of the legislation said it was a step in trying to reduce gun violence.
    “Something needs to get done. We are at a point now where we are seeing these horrible things. And if this bill helps address the problems and I believe it will in a very significant way, then I am willing to support it,” said Rep. Nate Gentry, an Albuquerque Republican.
    The measure cleared the House on a 43-26 vote, with eight Republicans joining 35 Democrats in support. Only three Democrats opposed the bill.

  • Manhattan Project Park still possible

    All hope was not lost as bills to create the Manhattan Project National Historic Park stalled in Congress last session.
    The legislation appears to have a new lease on life and supporters are optimistic about the chances of seeing a new national park by the end of the current session.

    The proposed park would encompass historical sites in Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Hanford, Wash., and together they tell the story of the secret project to build the first atomic weapons during World War II.

    New Mexico’s recently retired Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D) sponsored the bill in the Senate last session. Bingaman was chair of the Senate Committee for Energy and Natural Resources, where bills regarding public lands receive a first hearing.

    The committee’s new chair, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), has expressed support for the proposed park in the past.

    Supporters were also excited to learn that newly elected Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who voted for the bill as a member of the House last session, was named to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

  • Chamisa returns to normal

    Wednesday was a moving day for part of the staff at Chamisa Elementary, as teachers and staff helped put their classrooms back together again after flooding damage three weeks ago sent water down through the ceiling and walls of the some parts of the school, damaging several classrooms.

    The damage was caused by a “perfect storm” of snow melt followed by freezing cold. The school’s main drainage pipes became blocked with ice, backing up snow melt from the roof, which caused water to enter through the ceiling.

    This week, students and teachers started moving everything back into the classrooms located in the school’s “primary pod,” which bore the brunt of the damage.

    “Most of the kids have done pretty well. For some it was a little challenging,” second grade teacher Megan Lee said.

    Lee shared the library with another second grade teacher until repairs were completed.

    “The library was a great place to be, because then the kids could just pick up a book after they were done working,” Lee said.

    Chamisa Principal Debbie Smith said the school will be put back together soon.

  • McMillan: Workforce reduction not viable

    Sequestration impact scenarios continue to dominate the news.

    Sequestration was enacted in the 2011 debt ceiling negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

    The debt ceiling was raised in 2011 in exchange for $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, which were to be determined by a bipartisan group of senators and representatives, known as a “super committee.”

    If no deal is reached by the committee, automatic, across the board cuts of 10 percent will go into effect.

    The next deadline is fast approaching March 1.

    Meanwhile, there has been quite a bit of speculation as to how sequestration may impact the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    In a memo to employees Wednesday, Lab Director Charlie McMillan said workforce reduction was not a viable option in dealing with sequestration impacts.

    “In the coming days and weeks you will likely see media reports about possible budget reduction scenarios and their impacts to the laboratory, McMillan wrote.

  • Jumpstarting the economy and Dumbo's feather

    Minimum wage debates this year may eliminate the need to heat the state capitol.
    Albuquerque voters just voted to increase the minimum wage despite a vigorous campaign against it, and the minimum in Santa Fe is above $10.
    There Republicans count businesses that have closed or departed and Democrats count increased job creation.
    Before I put on my hip waders, let me first admit that I always have mixed feelings on the minimum wage.
    On one hand, in a battered economy, I wonder what mythical pot of gold these new wages are supposed to come from.
    On the other hand, there are moms and dads working two jobs to pay the rent, and their paltry wages make possible the low prices we enjoy in stores and restaurants.
    Personally, I’d rather pay more for my burger and know that the server is herself served.
    Let’s also recognize that an increased minimum doesn’t have a universal impact. Astute business people already pay better wages to hang on to their good employees.
    The law falls on others who for various reasons don’t. We have this fight with each increase, state or national.
    Proponents and opponents draw their pistols and fire data at one another, and eventually the new minimum is accepted.

  • The county budget: A balanced approach

    It became clear in December 2012 that our net county tax revenues for fiscal year (FY) 2013 would be about $9 million less than initially projected.
    We can make up half of that shortfall by economizing on county operations.
    The county has maintained reserves of 25% of yearly revenues, about $15 million, to deal with such problems.
    So why not go ahead with our original spending plans, and just dip into reserves for the other half of the shortage?
    The answer is that this is potentially not a single-year budget problem.
    Estimated revenues for the next few years are at best flat, so a substantial part of this year’s shortage is likely to continue.
    Going farther into reserves in coming years would put us at a serious disadvantage if revenues drop still further.
    Federal sequestration cuts, or a federal deficit-reduction deal that involves unknown spending cuts, are quite possible.
    The national security and science roles of LANL will not disappear, but we can’t assume that the Lab will be immune to the budget pressures on all parts of government.
    Some re-evaluation of our county’s spending priorities is clearly in order.
    In 2012, the county council made plans to spend $33 million over the next four years on eight new Capital Improvement Projects (CIPs).