Today's News

  • Business as usual at the lab

    Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan reiterated it will be business as usual as automatic budget cuts to planned spending increases are expected to take effect.

    McMillan has said previously that the actions the lab took in 2012 to control spending has given it some flexibility to deal with budget uncertainties in 2013.

    Here is the text of McMillan’s memo that was sent to employees Thursday.

    “We are now hours away from March 1, the day federal budget cuts are scheduled to take effect in an action called “sequestration,” and I wanted to keep you posted on where things stand here at Los Alamos.

    “We will be in business as usual here tomorrow and next week. I will be at work and you should plan to be as well. What remains uncertain is the final budget reduction numbers to each NNSA site. Once those numbers are shared with us, we will know which one or combination of options will make the most sense for the laboratory.

    “I remain convinced that a reduction of the permanent workforce here is not viable. However, further reductions in purchasing and subcontracts, use of carryover funds, and — as a last resort — short-term furloughs remain on the table.

  • Remembering the Raid on Waco, 20 Years Later

    20 years later, three ATF agents reflect upon the day "that changed law enforcement;" the tragic raid on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas. Four agents died along with 6 Davidians and a deadly 51-day standoff ensued.

  • Official: 'Strange Spike' in Baby Dolphin Deaths
  • DWI bill passes State House

    The House has unanimously approved a proposal Wednesday toughening penalties against drunken driving in New Mexico.

    The legislation will establish new standards for drunken drivers to meet before they can get their licenses fully restored and stop using an ignition interlock, which are intended to prevent vehicles from operating if the driver has been drinking.

    Drivers must blow into the devices before starting their vehicles and then randomly after that.

    Another provision allows judges to require drunken drivers sentenced to house arrest to use a breath alcohol analyzing device in their home to determine whether they remain sober.

    The measure also will add mandatory prison time to the basic sentence of drunken driving offenders with previous felonies.

    The legislation cleared the House on Wednesday and goes to the Senate for consideration.

    The vote was 63-0 and the bill was sponsored by Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson (D-Bernalillo), Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos, Sandoval, Rio Arriba and Santa Fe) and Tim Lewis (R-Sandoval) and the House Judiciary Committee to consolidate their three separate bills into one comprehensive package.

  • Real estate firms merge

    Zia Realty Group Broker/Owner James Chrobocinski, center, poses with his new associates, brokers Pearl White and David Horpedahl. Zia Realty Group acquired the real estate sales branch of Real Estate Associates PVW, LLC in January. White retained  ownership of Real Estate Associates PVW, LLC as a Property Management brokerage. Horpedahl's agency, Los Alamos Properties, will be acquired by Chrobocinski this Friday, at which point Zia Realty Group will grow to 19 Realtors. “When a business closes, everyone thinks the worse,” Horpedahl said. “We’re not closing, we’re merging to give better services, which is hopefully a win-win-win for the community as well as for us.”

  • Update 02-28-13

    Brisket night

    The LAHS NJROTC will host its monthly brisket night at 5:30 p.m. today at the Posse Lodge. The menu includes brisket, potato salad, baked beans, roll, cookie and drink for $10.

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    There will be a charity benefit for Cindy Geoffrion from 5-9 p.m. Saturday at De Colores. $5 donation at the door, music by Jemez’s Train Wreck Blues Band. A cash bar will be available.

    Authors Speak

    The Authors Speak Series presents Slim Randles, veteran newspaperman and outdoorsman, at 7 p.m. today in the upstairs rotunda.

    Photo show

    The Los Alamos Photography Club (LAPC) will be hosting its annual photography show for 2013 at the Mesa Public Library from March 4 through March 29. 

  • Commission approves Smith's Marketplace site plan

    Bret Wahlen, president of Great Basin Engineering, and Smith’s Vice President of Corporate Development Steve Sorensen, answer the Planning and Zoning commission’s questions concerning the site plan for the Trinity Site. P and Z approved the site plan by a 6-1 vote, with Avivah Smith-Nelson voting no. Commissioner Catherine Mockler — who is one of the owners of Pajarito Brew Pub and therefore potentially affected by the project — recused herself. Smith’s/Kroger hopes to have construction drawings submitted for County approval by mid-March. If all goes as planned, construction will begin this summer and the new Smith’s Marketplace will open in November 2014. 

  • Sequestration may have lasting effects

    The White House released a report last week detailing the possible effects of sequestration including how it would affect New Mexico.

    President Barack Obama will meet Friday with the top leaders in the House and Senate to discuss what to do about automatic cuts to the federal budget, White House and congressional leaders said.

    The meeting is set to take place hours after the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts will have officially kicked in. This suggests both sides are operating under the assumption a deal won’t be reached to avert the cuts ahead of the March 1 deadline.

    The top congressional Republicans, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the top Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, will attend the White House meeting.

    McConnell said the meeting will focus on ways to reduce government spending, but indicated he’s not backing down on his opposition to any new tax increases.

  • Judge vacates fines for protesters

    Each side got its share of justice recently when a group of anti-nuclear activists learned the final outcome of a petition they filed with the Los Alamos Municipal Court.

    Shortly after they were sentenced in January for blocking the road and disobeying a police officer during a demonstration on the corner of Diamond Drive and East Jemez Road in August of last year, the six demonstrators petitioned the court to drop their fines in favor of performing community service. In February, Judge Alan Kirk informed them that the court vacated their fines in exchange for community service hours. That ruling has freed the protesters to work for an organization of their choosing.

    Jeffrey Haas, the attorney for the group dubbed the “LANL Six,” welcomed the change in heart. 

    “It was a result of the defendants’ strong principles that Judge Kirk allowed them to convert their fines to community service with organizations with whom they had political agreement in their own communities.  A good precedent.”

  • A rundown of other Bandelier cutbacks

    • The visitor center will maintain winter hours year-round, closing at 4:30 p.m.

    • Placing a ranger at the White Rock Visitor Center to provide information for visitors waiting for the shuttle cannot be implemented.

    • The number of ranger-led tours will be reduced.

    • Las Conchas fire recovery efforts will be impacted, especially trail repair. “We’re not going to have the trail crews here this summer to work on the trail recovery,” Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott said.

    • Maintenance staff faces furloughs, reducing custodial hours. Lott is channeling their efforts to the visitor center, but restrooms will be cleaned once daily and not touched up during the day. Administrative staff will also be cleaning their offices in addition to their regular duties.

    • Lott may move Night Walks from Wednesday and to Friday, replacing one of the campfire programs that usually occur on Friday and Saturday.

    •As a last resort, campgrounds may have to be closed due to lack of staff to maintain them.

    •Replacing a tower and repairing an antiquated radio system is also on hold.

    • An archival film project will be postponed.