Today's News

  • Today in History for December 16th
  • U.S. must recognize how A-Bomb changed world

    SANTA FE — Our federal government has neglected to address many issues over the years. Two of them really stand out.
    The issues involve officially recognizing our nation’s development of a weapon that has changed the world and recognizing the New Mexicans who served as guinea pigs for studying the effects of an A-bomb explosion.
    Bills have been introduced to correct both. A measure to create a Manhattan Project National Park based in Los Alamos; Oak Ridge, Tennessee and Hanford, Washington passed the U.S. House in September but without the two-thirds vote necessary for the rules under which the bill was considered.
    Objections included cost, opposition to nuclear energy, opposition to the National Park Service and an attitude that either we would be celebrating our action or apologizing for our action.
    Sponsors of the bills in both houses of Congress hope to get the measure moving again before the current lame duck session is over. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who is retiring at the end of the month, is the chief Senate sponsor. The cause will move forward without him but his clout helps.
    Proponents have come up with some new arguments and tactics. Many of the buildings at the three locations still are usable as museum sites. The cost of demolishing them is much greater than the cost of improvements and maintenance.

  • Dashing through the snow with pets

    The weather is extremely unpredictable. One day it’s 60 degrees and raining, the next it’s 80 degrees with sunshine. Winters can be even worse with unexpected cold fronts. With extremely cold temperatures, hypothermia is a possibility for dogs.
    Hypothermia, occurring in both humans and pets, is a condition characterized by abnormally low body temperatures. There are three phases of hypothermia: mild, classified as a body temperature of 90-99 degrees Fahrenheit; moderate, classified as a body temperature of 82-90 degrees Fahrenheit; and severe, classified as a body temperature of less than 82 degrees Fahrenheit. With hypothermia, the dog is no longer able to control a normal body temperature resulting in an abnormal heartbeat and difficulties breathing.
    Generally, hypothermia results from spending too much time outside in the cold. Although there is not a specific time limit for a given temperature a dog should be left outside, Dr. Stacy Eckman, lecturer at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said time spent outside in the cold should be restricted.

  • Former worker settles suit against county

    Los Alamos County settled with former Parks and Recreation employee Melody Cross for $175,000 after Cross filed two lawsuits in the First Judicial District Court with the complaint for infliction of emotional distress, prima facie tort, battery and punitive damages.

    According to court documents, Cross was employed as a senior office specialist with the parks division. Defendants Los Alamos County, Richard McIntyre and Randy Lucero denied all of the allegations in the suit.

    But the county still paid up.

    Cross and James Sullivan, an attorney representing Los Alamos County signed an out-of-court release and settlement agreement Aug. 16.

    County Administrator Harry Burgess, who was hired a year ago in November, said Thursday, “It was a settlement negotiated by our insurance carrier. It was not during a normal settlement conference. We were informed of the settlement after the fact.”

    Burgess said there was no ruling on the accusations leveled by Cross against McIntyre, parks division manager for the county and Lucero who was acting parks superintendent at the time.

    “We don’t believe them to be true. That is the county’s position. The accusations were not valid. I can’t say anything specific about the case because it’s a personnel issue.”

  • Trails rise from the ashes

    Hikers and cyclists who have ventured onto national forest trails surrounding Los Alamos have been pleasantly surprised.

    County Open Space Specialist Craig Martin recounted a typical story.

    “When we were working on the Water Canyon trail in September, two residents of White Rock walked up and said, ‘We thought we were just going to have to fight through everything to get to this point here. We got here and it was a trail. We were amazed.”

    “So I think it’s just a matter of awareness. A lot of people don’t realize how much we’ve brought back over the summer, so they’re reluctant to go up there,” Martin said.

    Española Ranger District Recreation Team Leader Lynn Bjorklund credits volunteers and Martin himself for approximately 18 miles of trail that have been rebuilt and repaired.

    “He’s been super lead volunteer of the volunteers,” Bjorklund said. “He’s led 800-plus hours of volunteer work. And that’s been able to pay for contract work on the farther away trails.”

    Funding for the contract work requires a 50 percent match in volunteer hours. Those 800 hours translated into $20,000 worth of work, bringing in an additional $40,000 in contract work.

  • With local closings, timing is everything

    It’s not easy calling a snow day, even in a small town like Los Alamos.

    According to officials involved in determining how and when things get canceled or postponed due to adverse weather conditions, there’s a lot of coordination and timing involved. Just ask Patricia Wolff, spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

    “It’s a decision that has to made first by the county administrator,” she said. “He starts assessing a variety of reports as soon as he’s contacted.”

    Reports from public works, road crews, police, fire, emergency rescue, all come across his desk, where he then weighs the options.

    “He would then consult with those department heads and examine weather reports, and then start contacting officials at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the school system” Wolff said.

    LANL has just more than 10,000 employees and Los Alamos Public Schools has about 3,500 students, Guiding the decisions of the decision makers is safety and timing.

    “People need to appreciate how many conversations happen in a short amount of time between all the stakeholders,” LAPS Superintendent Gene Schmidt said.

  • NM contingent gets assignments

    U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) will begin serving on the Senate Committee on Appropriations in the New Year, his office reported this week.

    “A seat on the Appropriations Committee is very meaningful for New Mexico,” Udall said. “From the labs, to the military bases and our public lands, we have a large federal presence in our state. I have no illusions about the difficult economic times and budgetary constraints our nation is facing, and I am eager to do my best and defend New Mexico through the appropriations process.”

    Udall was an appropriator in the House of Representatives from 2006-2008 before being elected to the Senate.
    In addition to Appropriations, he will continue serving on the committees on Foreign Relations Environment and Public Works, Indian Affairs and Rules and Administration.

    U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich will serve on the Energy and Natural Resources, Intelligence, and Joint Economic committees when he moves to the senate in the 113th Congress. Heinrich, who replaces retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-New Mexico, issued the following statement regarding his committee assignments:

  • Update 12-16-12

    Swearing in

    The public is invited to attend the official swearing in ceremony for newly elected officials at 10 a.m. Dec. 21. in the Municipal Courtroom of the Justice Center. A reception with light refreshments will follow in the lobby of the Justice Center.

    BPU meeting

    The Board of Public Utilities will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the DPU Conference Room at 170 Central Park Square.

    ESB meeting

    The Environmental Sustainability Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Community Building Training Room.

    Asset Awards

    Monday is the final day to turn in nominations for the Community Asset Awards. That can be done online at AssetsInAction.info or by phone at 661-4846. The Community Asset Awards is sponsored by the JJAB.

    Have a news tip?

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

  • Registering to vote

    Robert Van Lysell celebrated his 18th birthday Thursday by registering to vote, with help from his friend, Sebastian Garcia and the League of Women Voters. The League was helping students at Los Alamos High School register in time to vote on the school bond. Eligible voters are those who will be 18 on or before Jan. 29, 2013. Any other student at LAHS who would like to register can go to the office and request that someone come to the school or they can go to the county clerk’s portable (suite D) by the Justice Center to register.

  • Medical Examiner: School Victims Shot by Rifle