Today's News

  • A note from the Los Alamos Monitor's publisher

    From all of us at the Los Alamos Monitor to all of our readers and advertisers, we want to wish each of you a very happy and prosperous 2013!

    As this new year dawns, 2013 is a significant one for the Los Alamos Monitor because it will mark the news operation’s 50th anniversary. Fifty years is a milestone in a person’s life, in the life of a relationship and in the life of a business, as well.

    The Los Alamos Monitor published its first edition Thursday, March 7, 1963. As the newspaper has chronicled the life of this community over the course of the last 50 years, one constant has remained steadfast throughout that time: change.
    As we turn the page today and begin looking ahead to the next 50 years, the Los Alamos Monitor has grown and evolved right along with the community it serves. Now, more than just a newspaper, the Los Alamos Monitor and its online counterpart, LAMonitor.com, have converged to become a multimedia news and information organization with the ability to reach out and touch audiences around the globe. During 2012, LAMonitor.com hosted more than 232,000 unique visitors, who came to the site nearly a million times and generated more than 2.2 million pageviews.

  • LANL rounds out top five science stories

    Second of a two-part series

    DOE, NASA team demonstrates simple fission reactor prototype (DUFF)

    A team of researchers 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. Engineers from Los Alamos, the NASA Glenn Research Center and National Security Technologies LLC conducted the experiment.

    Heat-pipe technology — a sealed tube with an internal fluid that can efficiently transfer heat produced by a reactor with no moving parts — was invented at Los Alamos in 1963. Using heat pipes in tandem with the simple, closed-loop technology of Stirling engines allowed for creation of a reliable electric power supply that can be adapted for space applications.

  • Voices of the Manhattan Project echo into history

    The proposed Manhattan Project National Historical Park still has some Congressional hurdles to overcome, but its supporters are doing what they can to make that history more accessible now.

    To that end, the Atomic Heritage Foundation and the Los Alamos Historical Society partnered to create “Voices of the Manhattan Project,” a public archive of oral histories collected from Manhattan Project veterans and their families.
    A collection of 71 videotaped oral histories recorded between 1991 and 1992 forms the foundation of the Los Alamos contribution. That project was underwritten by the Los Alamos Historical Society with grants from the New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities and the Los Alamos Lodgers Tax Board.

    Historical Society staff, led by Theresa Strottman, conducted the interviews with the help of Dohn Chapman, who was director of PAC-8 at the time.

    Strottman has since moved to Silver City, but project volunteer Yvonne Delamater, who managed scheduling and conducted several of the interviews, remembers the project vividly.

    “It was a very important project, to get their memories of what it was like in Los Alamos before they passed on. And many of them have passed on,” Delamater said.

  • Top county stories of the year -- Part 2

    Second of a series

    CIP Projects on hold

    During the May budget hearings, council approved appropriations for Ashley Pond Park improvements ($2,226,471), golf course improvements ($11,283,800 phased in over four years), a teen center ($4,000,000), ice rink improvements ($1,500,000), a new nature center ($4,300,000), an Eastern Area sound wall ($655,000), extending the Canyon Rim Trail ($500,000) and the White Rock Civic Center ($8,400,000).

    Construction is due to begin on Ashley Pond Park in February. The design that council approved after numerous public hearings includes a stage extending over the northeast corner of the pond. A small group of residents who had not participated in conceptual design meetings protested that element of the design.

    The Eastern Area sound wall was delayed while the New Mexico Department of Transportation performed a speed study, since reducing speeds was cited as the key element in reducing noise levels in the area. NMDOT has since lowered speeds on N.M. 502.

    The county will assess the new sound levels to determine the most effective design for the wall. Public Works Director Philo Shelton anticipates the sound wall will be completed by the end of the 2013 construction season.

  • LANL top science news of year

    First of a series

    During 2012, Los Alamos National Laboratory made its scientific mark in a variety of areas, and the stories that caught the public’s attention and that of the science community reflect the lab’s broad capabilities.

    Top science stories for the year traveled from the canyons of Mars to the high desert forests of New Mexico, from cosmic particles to the structure of proteins and enzymes. Computer models of wildfires and nuclear magnetic resonance signatures of plutonium, and it was fascinating for those following Los Alamos’ science news.

    Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and ChemCam

    Los Alamos played a role in the success of the Mars Science Laboratory mission and its six-wheeled wonder, the Curiosity rover. The international team of space explorers involved with the mission is relying in part on an instrument originally developed at Los Alamos called ChemCam, which fires an extremely powerful laser pulse to briefly focus the energy of a million light bulbs onto a pinhead-sized area on targets up to 23-feet away from the rover. ChemCam reads the resultant flash of light to determine the composition of the target, and is part of a suite of 10 instruments aboard the SUV-sized mobile laboratory that is determining the Red Planet habitability.

  • N.M. 502, Trinity lead county news

    First of a series
    N.M. 502 takes another turn

    More than a year ago, council decided to table plans to redesign the entire length of Trinity Drive and focus on a small portion of N.M. 502 already approved for federal funding in FY2014.

    A Technical Advisory Committee comprised of staff and citizen stakeholders was charged with evaluating various plans and presenting a recommendation to the transportation board.

    In February, the transportation board and council both approved a plan to redesign a section between DP Road and Airport road.

    The plan changed again in December when it failed to meet NMDOT and FHWA approval, risking $3.8 million in State Transportation Improvement Program funds earmarked for the project.

    The February proposal called for two lanes with left turn medians through the Eastern Area.  NMDOT and FHWA advised the county it must widen the highway to four lanes between Central Avenue and an area just east of Canyon Road to meet level of service for side streets in the area.

  • Church fire tops the list

    Here is a look at some of the top police, fire and rescue stories of 2012.

    It took close to three hours but the Los Alamos Fire Department extinguished a major fire at New Beginnings Fellowship Assembly of God Church at 112 East Road on July 4.

    Deputy Fire Chief Justin Grider confirmed the fire was out around 1 p.m. It looked as if the fire was out earlier but LAFD was contending with hotspots in the rafters of the chapel.

    Grider said the chapel was a total loss and the main church received smoke damage.

    After a lengthy investigation, it was later determined that the fire’s cause was electrical.

    Paint truck skids off N.M. 4

    The forest was awash in white and yellow paint.

    A white 1998 International flatbed truck, carrying 1,000 gallons of yellow and white road striping paint, was heading eastbound on N.M. 4 near mile marker 49, when it exited the roadway and fell approximately 200 feet before coming to rest in the forest Sept. 18.

    The vehicle driven by Francisco Maes, 51, of Willard, unleashed its colorful cargo on the way down the embankment. Maes suffered injuries that were reported to be serious and was flown by helicopter to Christus St. Vincent in Santa Fe. 

    He later said his brakes went out.

  • PF-4 a top concern of DNFSB

    On the day before Christmas, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board took on the role of Scrooge as it made its report to Congress on the status of significant unresolved issues with the Department of Energy’s Design and Construction Projects.

    The report cited a couple of projects taking place at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    In a letter from DNFSB’s Peter Winokur to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the seismic safety issue at the Plutonium Facility took center stage.

    Here are the highlights of Winokur’s report about PF-4.

    • On Oct. 26, 2009, the DNFSB issued a recommendation, which addressed the need to reduce the potential consequences to the public from a seismic event at PF-4, as analyzed in a Documented Safety Analysis. In October 2011, the National Nuclear Security Administration approved a revision to the PF-4 DSA. The revision included a refined accident analysis for seismically-induced events and asserted that all postulated accident scenarios have mitigated dose consequences to the public that are below the Evaluation Guideline of 25 rem Total Effective Dose The mitigated dose consequence is a key driver for the seismic upgrades planned at PF-4, because it indicates whether additional seismically qualified controls are required to protect the public.

  • The best games from 2012

    If you’re a fan of fall sports, the month of October 2012 was your month.
    More than any other, October featured the top contests of the year for the Hilltoppers.
    Of the Los Alamos’ top 10 events of the calendar year, October features more entries, three, than any other month — although February just missed out matching that total by a few days. But with fall sports getting to their nitty-gritty in October, it’s easy to see why.
    That particular month, the Hilltoppers had to duke it out with the Capital Jaguars, the Española Valley Sundevils and a team from the Midwestern United States.
    As always, the Los Alamos Monitor takes a look back at the most exciting Hilltopper sporting events of the past 12 months. This list is, of course, completely subjective, but does take into account postseason implications, competitiveness and the all-important “gasp” factor. Only events attended by a Los Alamos Monitor representative were considered for this list.
    Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Hilltopper Contests of 2012:

    10. Softball: St. Pius X at Los Alamos, May 5

    The playoffs haven’t been kind in recent years to the Hilltopper softball team, so getting out of a late-inning jam was somewhat unexpected.

  • 01-01-13 Be There



    The Fuller Lodge Art Center is seeking art for its first thematic exhibit of the New Year titled, “Behind the Scenes.” There’s a story behind every piece of artwork; something magical in the process of its creation. Create and collaborate to help tell the whole story — and document all steps. Download an application for the show at library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1103899759177-507/CFA_Behind-the-Scenes-form.pdf.

    Jan. 7

    The Pajarito Chapter of the Embroiders Guild of America will meet at 7 p.m. at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Signs at the door will direct you to the meeting location. After a short business meeting, the program will be needle felting. For more information call Marilyn at 672-9404.