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Today's News

  • Airport open house scheduled for Friday

    The Los Alamos County Airport is hosting an open house from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday and featuring tours of the Cessna Caravan, a nine-seat turboprop aircraft —one of New Mexico Airlines’ fleet that will be providing commercial air service between Los Alamos and Albuquerque beginning Monday.
    “Once people see the plane and gain an understanding of how reliable it is, they will not be able to resist choosing a $49, 20-minute flight to the Sunport over a two-hour drive and parking fees,” says Airport Manager Peter Soderquist.
    The Open House starts at 9 a.m. with brief remarks from Soderquist and New Mexico Airlines’ Chief Pilot Dave Jones. At 9:15 a.m. and then again, at 9:45 a.m., Jones will take two groups of passengers on 15-minute complimentary flights over the Rio Grande and northern Los Alamos (pending favorable weather).
    Flights are available to media and elected officials. Any unassigned seats will be available to the public on a first come, first served basis. Send your reservation request, including name as well as best daytime and nighttime contact information—by 5 p.m., Thursday to kelly.stewart@lacnm.us. All requesters will receive a communication Thursday evening regarding their reservation status.

  • Managers wary of Rio Grande low flow

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Officials with the Middle Rio Grande Irrigation District say the river is running considerably lower than normal for this time of year.
    The district is warning farmers in central New Mexico that diversions have already started along the river but there’s barely enough water to meet current irrigation demands. The district is responsible for delivering water to about 70,000 acres of cropland in the Middle Rio Grande Valley. The district is updating flows at the diversion points along the river on its website so farmers will know where and how much water is being channeled through the system.

  • Labs recognize small businesses

    Ten New Mexico small businesses participating in projects using the technical expertise and assistance of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories were recognized at the 12th annual Innovation Celebration Thursday at Technology Venture Corporation’s Deal Stream Summit at the Tamaya Resort in Bernalillo.
    The New Mexico Small Business Assistance (NMSBA) program was created in 2000 by the New Mexico State Legislature to bring national laboratory technology and expertise to small businesses in New Mexico and promote economic development with an emphasis on rural areas. The program, which started at Sandia, was joined by Los Alamos in 2007. In 2012, Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories through NMSBA assisted 347 small businesses in 27 counties across the state.
    The businesses and individuals being recognized include:
    • Members of the Coalition of Renewable Energy Landowner Associations (CRELA) in eastern New Mexico, which asked NMSBA for help exploring the renewable energy potential of their land. Loren Toole of LANL and Craig White of UNM offered a five-course class through NMSBA covering wind-data evaluation, wind-turbine siting, power sales markets and pricing, and other factors affecting wind-energy development.

  • Update 04-04-13

    Dedication

    At 3 p.m. Friday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center, the family of former Manhattan Project leader General Leslie Groves will present his official military portrait to the Los Alamos Historical Society.

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    County Council

    The Los Alamos County Council will hold budget hearings beginning at 7 p.m. April 15 in council chambers.

    County web page

    As part of the upcoming move to the new Municipal Building, the County’s Information Management staff will be bringing down the server that hosts the County’s losalamosnm.us webpage. The server will be down at 5 p.m. on Friday and the webpage will be temporarily unavailable for a few hours while the server is physically moved to its new location in the new building.

  • Next DOE chief faces dilemmas

    YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Underground tanks that hold a stew of toxic, radioactive waste at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site pose a possible risk of explosion, a nuclear safety board said in advance of confirmation hearings for the next leader of the Energy Department.
    State and federal officials have long known that hydrogen gas could build up inside the tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, leading to an explosion that would release radioactive material. The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board recommended additional monitoring and ventilation of the tanks last fall, and federal officials were working to develop a plan to implement the recommendation.
    The board expressed those concerns again Monday to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and had sought the board’s perspective about cleanup at Hanford.
    The federal government created Hanford in the 1940s as part of the secret Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. It spends billions of dollars to clean up the 586-square-mile site neighboring the Columbia River, the southern border between Washington and Oregon and the Pacific Northwest’s largest waterway.

  • New nurse aims for healthy community

    Los Alamos County’s new community health nurse has been looking for this job for several years.

    “I think public health has always been in my heart since learning about it in college,” Felicia Branch said. “I have a little bit of education in community health, and I just love the fact that we get to work so much with the community and the public health nurse gets to play a really important role in the community. So it drew me in immediately. I always knew that this was something I wanted to do.”

    Branch took 12 hours of community health classes while pursuing her B.S. in nursing from the University of New Mexico. After graduating, Branch took a job in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Presbyterian Hospital in Santa Fe.

    A little over three years ago she accepted a position in the Intensive Care Unit at the Los Alamos Medical Center, later transferring to LAMC’s Endoscopy Center.

    But Branch kept her radar out for a community health-related position.

    “I’ve always had my eye out for this,” Branch said. “And I really got lucky, because it’s a small office. The opportunity opened up and I jumped, I really did.”

    Branch started on Dec. 31. Much of her first three months was devoted to training.

  • Valles Caldera unveils report

    The Valles Caldera Trust 2012 State of the Preserve Report details the journey of an overused, exhausted landscape to its improved condition and provides a peek at the road ahead.
    The report, released Thursday, is required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) procedures unique to the trust, and provides baseline data, which aids the strategic management of the preserve. However, the report also points out that some of the resources Congress believed would contribute to financial self-sufficiency were either overestimated or emerged as liabilities for the “Experiment in Public Land Management”.
    “The land was over grazed, heavily logged and the streams were severely compromised when we took over in 2002,” notes Valles Caldera Trust Executive Director, Dennis Trujillo. “The preserve was incapable of supporting the livestock numbers and timber production it did under private ownership. We had to adapt, and adapt quickly.”
    The 2012 report recounts how the trust employed science-based adaptive management from 2002-2012 to restore the landscape, establish land use policies and expand opportunities for public access and revenue generation. Adaptive management allows the trust to institute a new program, monitor the implemented changes, and adjust the program, based on the assessment data.

  • Fire season right around the corner

    At the “Wildfire 2013” event held at Fuller Lodge last Saturday, videos of the Cerro Grande and Las Conchas fires played on TV screens. They served as a visible reminder to everyone attending the event that knowledge is power when these unpredictable and deadly acts of nature come calling.

    Luckily, there was plenty of information for Los Alamos residents to go around at the event, as representatives from the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Valles Caldera National Preserve, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos County Emergency Management, National Weather Service all showed up to pass out pamphlets, toys and general advice to inquiring residents.

    The event is organized every year through the “Interagency Wildfire Management Team,” which is mainly comprised of representatives from Los Alamos County, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Bandelier National Monument, Santa Fe National Forest, State of New Mexico, and others.

    Gary Kemp, fire management officer for Bandelier National Monument, was on hand with Bandelier National Monument Ranger Chris Judson to answer resident’s questions.

  • The wonder of Rio Grande del Norte

    Almost 30 million years ago, in what is now Northern New Mexico, two of our planet’s ever-shifting plates, the North American and the Pacific, crunched up against one another, causing a dramatic separation in the earth’s crust through which in time a great river would flow.
    Today that separation in the earth’s crust remains spectacular, and we know it as the Rio Grande Gorge, named for the river that runs through it, sometimes ferociously, sometimes serenely.
    To drive through that canyon is to drive through one of this continent’s beautiful and breathtaking wonders.
    Last week President Barack Obama used the powers vested in him by the Antiquities Act of 1906 to make it the “Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.”
    Corks were popping and hands were clapping from Taos to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., as the President signed a proclamation adding some 240,000 acres of Northern New Mexico, all the way up to Ute Mountain near the Colorado border, to the roster of national monuments.
    It was an especially poignant moment for New Mexico’s recently retired U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who was present for the White House signing ceremony.
    Bingaman has long championed national park or monument status for the area. “This is a great day for New Mexico,” the former senator said.

  • Dawn nears for smart regulation

    Regulation, government-style, begs for modern methods of limiting bad side effects.
    Yet a new concept cannot spread far unless it has a name. To urge change, this column introduces the new terms “integral regulation,” “built-in inspection” and “smart regulation.”
    Of necessity, regulation and civilization grew up together. Early societies expanded slowly, from isolated bands to tribes to city-states. Methods of regulating evolved as slowly as civilization.
    Regulation began with simple peer pressure, which evolved to tribal traditions and later into early religious themes.
    As time crept on, the need for regulation led to governments and politically-set rules.
    Technology enters the story. Technologies first were used as they came. The unwanted side effects is that a technology can have become more evident to more people as the technology gains more usage in more places.
    In our time, the side effects have come to be examined and judged in a set forum, such as an agency hearing with lawyers, technologists, interested spokesmen of all kinds and the government that is in office.
    By such means, a regulation is shaped to limit the harmful side effects. Meanwhile, the pace of technical innovation quickens. Quicker tools emerge quicker.