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Today's News

  • Be There 11-27-12

    Today
    Ward L. Hawkins, LANL program manager for Nuclear Testing Limitations, will speak on “CTBT On-Site Inspection: The Final Verification Measure.” The talk will be given at an open meeting of the Los Alamos Committee on Arms Control and International Security at 7 p.m. in Room 311 in the Education Building at the United Church, 2525 Canyon Road.
    Wednesday
    The Los Alamos Community of Atheists will host a discussion 6:30-8 p.m. in Meeting Room 1 of the Mesa Public Library. This month’s discussion will focus on the New Age movement and its role in society. For more information, contact them at losalamoscommunityofatheists@gmail.com. All are welcome.
    Thursday
    Idea Factory: Contribute your ideas about the Pajarito Plateau. Join PEEC as they discuss key messages and stories about the Pajarito Plateau. Your ideas will help them create a plan to strengthen people’s connection with the natural world. 6:30 p.m. Free. For more information or to register, visit PajaritoEEC.org, call 662-0460 or email Programs@PajaritoEEC.org.

  • Police Beat 11-27-12

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested; served a court summons, or issued a citation.
    Nov. 15

    7:06 a.m. — A Los Alamos resident, 43, reported they were the victim of larceny of less than $250 in the 300 block of Rover Boulevard.

    9:21 a.m. — A Los Alamos resident, 50, reported they were the victim of larceny of less than $250 in the 300 block of Shirlane Place.

    9:29 a.m. — A Los Alamos resident, 70, reported they were the victim of a burglary from a vehicle or other structure in the 100 block of Kendall Drive.

    12:52 p.m. — A Los Alamos resident, 47, reported they were the victim of a burglary from a vehicle or other structure in the 300 block of Valle Del Sol Road.

    2:11 p.m. — A Los Alamos resident, 50, reported they were the victim of a burglary from a vehicle or other structure in the 300 block of Rover Boulevard.

  • Update 11-27-12

    School board meets

    The Los Alamos Public Schools Board of Education will meet for a work session Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Aspen Elementary School.

    Call for entries

    Photo entries are being accepted until Dec. 9 for the 2013 edition of Los Alamos Life. The award-winning, full color glossy magazine features the best of photography done by local residents. Send your high resolution digital images to info@lamonitor.com.

    Calendar

    To kick off its 50th anniversary celebration next year, the Los Alamos Monitor will distribute a commemorative 2013 calendar Sunday Dec. 9. Look for it inside your newspaper.

    County Council

    The closed session of tonight’s county council meeting has been canceled. The regular session, however, is still on and will start at 7 p.m. in council chambers.

    Library Board

    The Los Alamos County Library Board holds regular meetings the first Monday of each month (excluding holidays) at 5:30 p.m. in the Mesa Public Library Board Room or at White Rock Branch Library. The next meeting is Dec. 3.

  • Cleanroom inventor dies at 92

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Willis Whitfield, an award-winning physicist known for inventing the modern-day cleanroom, has died. He was 92.

    Sandia National Laboratories, where Whitfield worked for three decades, announced Monday that Whitfield died in Albuquerque on Nov. 12.

    Lab President Paul Hommert says Whitfield’s concept for a new kind of cleanroom came at the right time during the early 1960s to usher in a new era of electronics, health care and scientific research.

    Dubbed Mr. Clean, Whitfield was born in Rosedale, Okla. He was the son of a cotton farmer.

    Whitfield had his initial drawings for the new cleanroom by the end of 1960. His solution for dealing with the turbulent airflow and particles found in cleanrooms of the day was to constantly flush out the room with highly filtered air.

  • Researchers test power system for space travel

    A team of researchers, including engineers from Los Alamos National Laboratory, has demonstrated a new concept for a reliable nuclear reactor that could be used on space flights.

    The research team recently demonstrated the first use of a heat pipe to cool a small nuclear reactor and power a Stirling engine at the Nevada National Security Site’s Device Assembly Facility near Las Vegas. The Demonstration Using Flattop Fissions experiment produced 24 watts of electricity. A team of engineers from Los Alamos, the NASA Glenn Research Center and National Security Technologies LLC conducted the experiment.

    Heat pipe technology was invented at Los Alamos in 1963. A heat pipe is a sealed tube with an internal fluid that can efficiently transfer heat produced by a reactor with no moving parts. A Stirling engine is a relatively simple closed-loop engine that converts heat energy into electrical power using a pressurized gas to move a piston. Using the two devices in tandem allowed for creation of a simple, reliable electric power supply that can be adapted for space applications.

  • Schools mourn student's passing

    The Los Alamos School District is doing what it can to help students and staff as people come to grips with the passing of freshman Nikolas Ventura-Arencon, who died last week in a head-on collision on N.M. 4.

    Another passenger in the car, Divine Fellers, 13, a Los Alamos Middle School student, remains at UNM Hospital in Albuquerque in stable condition recovering from injuries, according to Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department Captain Adan Mendoza.

    Drivers Jennifer Ventura-Trujillo, 41, of White Rock and Dennis Bernal, 43, of Santa Fe, were released from Los Alamos Medical Center and Santa Fe’s Christus St. Vincent Hospital, respectively the night of the Nov. 21 crash. Mendoza said this morning that a careless driving citation was issued to Bernal on the day of the crash. Bernal also submitted to a drug screen, Mendoza said.

    Mendoza said the investigation is ongoing.

    “We are still doing interviews and talking to witnesses as well as waiting on lab results,” Mendoza said. “The investigation should be done in a timely manner. After all the work is done in the investigation, we will see if other types of citations or charges are warranted.”

  • Unresolved costs at lab trouble Inspector General

    The Department of Energy Inspector General issued an audit report on costs incurred by the Los Alamos National Laboratory during Fiscal Year 2010 and the National Nuclear Security Administration management team agreed with it.

    Millions of dollars in questioned and unresolved costs at LANL have been under review for some time. The final IG report released this month does not point to any clear path for resolution in terms of how the millions in taxpayer money may have been expended at the national lab.

    The report stated, “We identified approximately $50,000 in questioned and unresolved costs claimed by Los Alamos during Fiscal Year 2010. We also identified nearly $24 million in subcontract costs requiring audit; nearly $1.4 million in unresolved questioned subcontract costs; and, approximately $10.7 million in unresolved costs pertaining to a potential Anti-Deficiency Act violation.

    “Finally, we identified more than $434 million in previously reported unresolved costs from prior years. The National Nuclear Security Administration’s management agreed with the findings and recommendations and provided proposed corrective actions.”

    As of July 2012, the contracting officer and NNSA’s Office of Field Financial Management were working with Los Alamos to resolve the questioned costs.

  • A small glimmer of hope

    A little bitty glimmer of light exists somewhere in the dark tunnel of the New Mexico economy. The tiny flicker is in construction, of all sectors. This word comes from economist Alison Felix of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    Felix tracks New Mexico from the KC Fed’s Denver office. She came to Albuquerque the day after the election as part of the occasional KC Fed economic outlook and update road show. The star was Felix’s overall boss, Esther George, KC Fed president and CEO since October 2011.
    Back in the tunnel, our economic situation remains ugly with a 1.3 percent drop in wage jobs from September 2011 to September 2012. That performance ranked 49th nationally with West Virginia taking Mississippi’s role and finishing last. Nationally, wage jobs grew 1.4 percent in the year from the second quarter of 2011 to 2012, Felix said.
    For real personal income growth, we place 48th with a 0.4 percent increase for the period. The anemic increase puts New Mexico’s personal income over the prerecession level of 2008.
    Felix discussed the entire state. See http://www.kc.frb.org/publicat/speeches/2012-Felix-NMEconForum-11-07.pdf.

  • Last-minute ways to trim your taxes

    From now until New Year’s is probably when you have the least amount of time to spare on mundane financial bookkeeping tasks. But if you can dedicate a few minutes to review your benefits and tax paperwork, you might be able to shave hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars off your 2012 taxes.
    Here are a few suggestions:
    If you haven’t already maxed out on contributions, ask your employer if you can make a catch-up contribution to your 401(k), 403(b) or 457 plan before year’s end. Most people can contribute up to $17,000 in 2012 (a $500 increase over 2011), plus an additional $5,500 if they’re over 50.
    If you contribute on a pretax basis, your taxable income is reduced, which in turn lowers your taxes. At a minimum, if your employer offers matching contributions (essentially, free money), be sure to contribute at least enough to take full advantage of the match.

  • State Notes 11-27-12

    Lobos crack top 25 rankings

    The University of New Mexico Lobo men’s basketball team got nods in both major college hoops polls Monday.
    The Lobos (6-0), on the strength of their win at the Paradise Jam tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands, earned a No. 23 ranking in the USA Today coaches poll and a No. 25 ranking in the Associated Press poll. The Lobos picked up 68 points in the USA Today poll — it had 16 the previous week — and had 141 points in the AP poll to crack the top 25.
    This is the third time in four seasons under head coach Steve Alford the Lobos have earned a spot in the two major national college polls. Prior to the 2009-10 season, the Lobos hadn’t been in the top 25 since the final poll of 1998-99.
    Indiana (6-0) sits atop both the USA Today and AP polls. Duke (6-0) is second in both polls and Michigan (5-0) is ranked third.
    UNM topped Portland 69-54 Sunday night in Albuquerque.
    In that game, former Los Alamos Hilltopper standout Alex Kirk had 14 points, leading all scorers. Kirk was 6 of 10 shooting from the floor and also grabbed 11 rebounds, who with teammate Cameron Bairstow also posted the game-high total.
    The Lobos led just 30-27 at the half of Sunday’s game, but started the second half on a 10-0 run to take control.