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Today's News

  • Celebrate winter with PEEC

    The Pajarito Environmental Education Center and the Reel Deal Theater will team up once again for the annual showing of the Backcountry Film Festival, from 7-8:30 p.m. Jan. 10.
    Celebrate winter with these backcountry films of the year. As a special addition this year, the Pajarito Brewpub and Grill will sell wine and beer during the showing.
    Winter is here and once again, the Winter Wildlands Alliance’s Backcountry Film Festival is sure to live up to its reputation.
    Wax those skis, tune those boards and gather your friends. The film festival celebrates winter, telling stories of the season’s action and play through seven films.
    They come from filmmakers who search backcountry corners across the globe to submit their best work, and from grassroots filmmakers who take a video camera out on their weekend excursions and submit their best film short.
    A panel of judges picks the best films, which are assembled into this 90-minute program.
    This year’s Backcountry Film Festival event will serve up a raffle, ice-cold brews and mountains of winter inspiration.
    Raffle prizes will include outdoor gear, coupons and gift certificates from places like Mountain Khakis, Sierra Trading Post, REI, Pajarito Mountain and more.  

  • NNSA does more than $290 million in contracts

    In recognition of its commitment to working with small businesses, the National Nuclear Security Administration announced that it provided more than $290 million in small business obligations for federal prime contracts in fiscal year 2012.

    Almost 80 percent of new federal award actions went to small businesses. NNSA’s Management and Operating contractors provided an additional $1.65 billion to small businesses in FY 2012, equal to 49 percent of all money subcontracted by the M and Os.

    “Small businesses are the heart of the American economy, and we’re proud of the strong partnerships we’ve forged as we work to implement the President’s nuclear security agenda,” said NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino. “Our small business partners are an integral part of our efforts to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars and we would not be able to execute our mission without them.”

    NNSA’s use of small business companies has led to more efficient use of taxpayer dollars, reduced overhead and operating costs, and opportunities for small businesses to gain exposure within the nuclear security enterprise throughout the nation.

  • N.M. officers watching for drunken drivers

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Law enforcement officers around New Mexico will be out in full force watching for drunken drivers through the holiday season.

    The increased patrols, DWI checkpoints and constant pleas from elected officials to celebrate responsibility have become part of New Mexico’s fabric as the state continues to fight the pervasive problem of drunken driving.

    “Too often we hear about the pain and heartache caused by a DWI fatality around this time of year,” Gov. Susana Martinez said in a statement. “Law enforcement is on the lookout for intoxicated drivers so I hope all New Mexicans will do the right thing by not drinking and driving.”

    New Mexico was once among the worst states in the nation for DWI-related deaths. Efforts to toughen the laws began to get serious traction following a Christmas Eve crash in 1992 in which a wrong-way drunken driver smashed head-on into a family on their way home from midnight Mass. Melanie Cravens and her three young daughters were killed, and her husband was seriously injured.

    The Cravens case changed the way people in New Mexico thought about drinking and driving, and her family members were instrumental in leading the crusade to change things.

  • County offers tips on winter weather

    Winter weather is here, county officials offer residents some safety considerations for motorists to take in order to make their travel as safe as possible.
    Motorists are encour­aged to equip their vehi­cles with chains and/or snow tires and carry a con­tainer of sand and a shovel in their vehicle. Barrels of sand for public use are placed at locations that historically become icy and slick during storms, including:
    • San Ildefonso South at both ends of the guardrail
    • North Mesa Road east of the roundabout
    • Near the end of 37th Street off of Diamond Drive
    • At the dead end of Gold Street/Arroyo Lane
    • Near the intersection of N.M. 4 and Rover in White Rock
    • Near the intersection of North Road and Quemazon
    • Other locations within Quemazon
    Streets may be snow-packed and slippery dur­ing winter storms. Road condition updates will be broadcast on several popular regional TV and radio stations when streets become so hazardous that motorists might encounter delays.
    It is the responsibility of every motorist to have their vehicle properly equipped and serviced to handle such condi­tions, and to drive their vehicle carefully and courteously during adverse conditions.  

  • Henderson sees tough choices ahead

    Second of a series

    Municipal Judge Alan Kirk swore in new Councilors Steve Girrens, Kristin Henderson  and Pete Sheehey, along with new County Clerk Sharon Stover last week.

    The priorities each of the new councilors has established as they prepare to take up the reins may cause some alliances to shift and also shed some light on how they will govern the next four years.

    Kristin Henderson

    “I think we need with every decision to try to evolve the town and to try to take into account the families who want to see the town evolve a little bit, to see some progress,” Henderson said.

    “I think we’re going to have to make some tough choices coming up, not having they level of funds that we thought we were going to have. And that’s okay. I think we need to prioritize. And that can be a good thing.

    “But my goal will always be to keep the families in mind when we make these decisions. Let’s not have that be the overlooked contingent.”

    Henderson plans to measure the CIP projects under review with that yardstick.

  • LA Research Park: a success story that could be replicated

    One argument for the Los Alamos County Council’s decision last week to appoint Councilor David Izraelevitz and County Administrator Harry Burgess to the Las Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation board was the success of the Los Alamos Research Park. The development was presented as an example of what can be accomplished through mutual cooperation.

    In a letter supporting more active county participation in the LACDC, Board Chair David Horpedahl wrote, “The LACDC believes the Research Park project to be the most significant and most successful economic development project that has been undertaken by Los Alamos County to date.”

    “It was the lab and county working together, in this case led by our organization, to try to create something that had never really existed in this town, and that was high quality, commercially operated space for science and technology activities,” LACDC Executive Director Kevin Holsapple said.

    The Los Alamos Research Park was the first large-scale economic development project supported by the county. Council awarded the project $800,000 in grant money, plus additional debt financing.

    The LACDC leveraged that money to assemble more than $17 million in additional investment from outside the county, a 21:1 ratio.

  • Project endures 'Tuff' battle

    A construction contractor in charge of renovating the Los Alamos Middle School is currently wrapping up dealing with an 11-foot layer of “tuff” (pronounced “toof”) that was not apparent in preliminary drilling surveys.

    In clearing ground for a building at the site, the contractor McCarthy Construction, came across a layer of pumice-like material, wrecking a few drill bits as well as racking up a tab of roughly $300,000 to take it out.

    “We have the best intentions when we start into a project; then there are unknowns,” said Bob Gorrell, director of New Mexico’s Public School Finance Authority. “This is one that is really tough, because it’s expensive.”

    Gorrell gave the news to the Los Alamos Board of Education during a recent progress report on the matter. The PSFA partners with school districts in funding and managing school construction projects.

    “There may have been less expensive ways to excavate it in my opinion, like blasting, because that is what you do with a material like that when you’re trying to cut costs,” Gorrell said. “But that probably would not have worked in that neighborhood,” he said.

    Fortunately, the PSFA is going to assume most of those costs, according to Gorrell.

  • LANL assesses nukes

    The Annual Assessment process of the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Stockpile is the authoritative method for the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration to evaluate the safety, reliability, performance and military effectiveness of the nuclear weapons stockpile, and it is a principal factor in the country’s ability to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent without nuclear explosive testing.

    In 1995, President Clinton established an annual reporting and certification requirement that ensures the nation’s nuclear weapons remain safe and reliable without underground nuclear explosive testing. Subsequently, Congress enacted into law the requirement for annual stockpile assessments in Section 3141 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003.

    The Directors of the three DOE nuclear weapons laboratories — Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories  — are required to complete annual assessments of the safety, reliability and performance of each weapon type in the nuclear weapons stockpile.

    LANL spokesman Fred DeSousa said the assessments are categorized as classified information.

  • Santa Fe to get new bowling alley

    SANTA FE (AP) — A plan to a build lounge-style venue with a video-game arcade and eight-lane bowling facility on the top floor of a building in the Santa Fe Railyard would return the sport to the state capital for the first time since 2008.
    Railyard developer Allen Branch says the new 20,000-square-foot entertainment business also will feature food reminiscent of what was served at the Estrada Room, a dark, smoky annex to the old Coronado Lanes bowling alley. Coronado Lanes was a hot spot for decades before closing in the 1980s.
    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the owners of the Holiday Bowl and Leisure Bowl in Albuquerque will run Ringside Bowl Bar and Grub as their third venue.
    Branch said he’s excited that bowling will return to Santa Fe, saying he frequented the old Coronado lanes as a boy.
    “It was a big hangout,” said Branch, who recalled going with his mother to league bowling events, as well as meeting with friends to play Donkey Kong in Coronado’s heyday.
    “And now bowling is coming back,” he said. “They are called bowling lounges. It’s not bowling alleys anymore. There are not 100 lanes. There are eight lanes. The food is upscale. It’s really a different vibe.”

  • Manning, Peterson make the Pro Bowl

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson want to cap their sensational comebacks with Super Bowl appearances. For now, they can be proud of Pro Bowl spots.
    So can Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, one of two rookies chosen Wednesday for the Jan. 27 NFL all-star game.
    Manning missed all of the 2011 season with neck and back problems that required several operations. He then signed with Denver as a free agent and has led the Broncos on a 10-game winning streak to take the AFC West.
    ‘’I know there’s great players out there in the NFL, but there’s some great players on this team this year that deserve to go,’’ said Manning, whose 12th Pro Bowl is a record for quarterbacks. He ranks fourth in league passing this year, has thrown 34 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
    Four other Broncos made the AFC roster: DE Elvis Dumervil, linebacker Von Miller, CB Champ Bailey and tackle Ryan Clady. Bailey’s 12th appearance is a record for defensive backs.
    ‘’My goal has always been to go out and help the team win and play at a high level,’’ Manning added. ‘’Anything that comes along with that, like being honored as a Pro Bowl selection, is very humbling.’’