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Today's News

  • 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).

  • LA defense torched by Kayla Herrera in loss

    SANTA FE — A big win by the Santa Fe Demons looked like a foregone conclusion midway through the fourth quarter against the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team.
    But a late rally by the Hilltoppers put them back into the game. The Hilltoppers trimmed a 19-point lead by the Demons down to just 8 with under 3:30 remaining in the quarter.
    Unfortunately, a late 10-1 surge by Santa Fe gave it the win in a critical District 2-4A contest Wednesday at Toby Roybal Memorial Gymnasium.
    Spearheaded by a nearly unstoppable offensive performance from sophomore Kayla Herrera, the Demons rolled to a 74-57 victory.
    Herrera, one of the most dynamic young players in Class 4A, rolled up a whopping 38 points against Los Alamos. Herrera, who misfired just twice in 11 attempts in the first half, sliced right through the middle of the lane virtually at-will Wednesday, setting herself up with numerous layup attempts.
    On the rare occasion when Los Alamos was able to get a body on her, Herrera hit some very tough shots underneath the basket or pulled back and connected from mid-range.
    Herrera’s point total was more than Los Alamos has allowed by seven teams this season and her first half total of 23 nearly equaled the total offensive output of the Hilltoppers, who had 26 points.

  • Be There 02-14-13

    Today
    Wax poetic on Valentine’s Day, at the Poetry Gathering at 6:30 p.m. in the upstairs rotunda of Mesa Public Library. 

  • Thank You 02-14-13

    CROP Hunger Walk/Turkey Trot thank you
    The 2012 Los Alamos CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) Hunger Walk and Turkey Trot was a great success thanks to the many individuals, businesses, churches and organizations that contributed funds, time, and talents.  
    We had approximately 220 walkers/runners participating in the event and raised $13,055, an increase of more than $4,000 from 2011, and were yet again one of the top CROP Hunger Walk fundraisers in New Mexico (second to Albuquerque).
    2012 was the first year we attempted a logo contest, with Sarah Worley being our young artist with a very creative design.  Thanks to Sarah and the many other third through sixth graders who submitted wonderful logos, and to the many youth in town who participated in hunger banquets to raise awareness of national and global hunger issues.
    The money raised is used at the grassroots level for worldwide relief efforts, with 25 percent of the funds locally disbursed to LA Cares and the remainder to Church World Service (CWS).
    LA Cares provides services to those in Los Alamos County at risk of being homeless via monthly food distributions that support an increasing number of Los Alamos County residents.

  • Get a Taste of Rio Rancho March 9

    Taste what Rio Rancho restaurants have to offer at the Third Annual Taste of Rio Rancho, at 4 p.m. March 9. More than 25 local restaurants will take part in this year’s event, which will provide attendees with free samples of their signature foods while supplies last.  
    Due to the response to the first two years of the event, the restaurants will be moved off of the concourse and onto the main floor of the Santa Ana Star Center, creating Rio Rancho restaurant village in a spacious layout.
    In addition to sampling food, attendees will be treated to live music from Point Blank, CRB, as well as Al Hurricane and Al Hurricane Jr.
    “I invite residents to join us for this celebration of restaurants to discover and re-discover the great diversity of eateries in our city,” said Rio Rancho Mayor Tom Swisstack.
    “Eating in Rio Rancho is just one way that residents can ‘Think Rio Rancho First,” in order to support their local community and economy.”
     This year’s participants will showcase a sampling of the diversity of Rio Rancho eateries.

  • This Week on PAC-8, Feb. 15-21

    Views expressed on programs shown on PAC8 do not necessarily reflect the views of the manager, staff, or board.

    Friday, February 15, 2013
    06:00 AM Democracy Now! – Live
    10:00 AM Democracy Now!
    11:00 AM County Council Replay (2-12-13)
    01:00 PM The Power of NO/W
    03:00 PM Future Talk
    03:30 PM European Journal
    04:00 PM Al Jazeera DC Bureau
    05:00 PM 2012 Revere Sand Sculpting Competition
    06:00 PM Democracy Now!
    07:00 PM Los Alamos Historical Society – “Jews in Theory”
    08:00 PM Clear Heart, Clear Mind
    09:00 PM FSTV

    Saturday, February 16, 2013
    FSTV

    Sunday, February 17, 2013
    06:00 AM FSTV
    05:30 PM Key to the Kingdom
    06:00 PM Drawing Men to Christ
    07:00 PM United Church
    08:00 PM That Which Is
    09:00 PM Trinity on the Hill
    12:00 PM Free Speech TV