Today's News

  • TA-55 project resumes

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory announced on its website that it has resumed the troubled Nuclear Material Safeguards and Security Upgrade Project at Technical Area 55 and it is shooting for a completion date in September.

    Workers from the laboratory and four subcontractors will complete construction and commissioning of the critical security project in the September timeframe, managers said.

    “We’ve mobilized the subcontractors and will have two phases of construction,” said project manager Ty Troutman. “The first starts in February, and it involves things that are not impacted by the weather. I expect a full restart in the late March timeframe.”

    Originally, the system was supposed to cost $213 million, but cost overruns increased the project to $254 million, according to a memo written by Lab Director Charlie McMillan to employees. The revised cost is now $244 million, according to lab spokesman Fred DeSousa.

    According to officials, the lab discovered and reported to the NNSA a construction defect from the 2010 timeframe, and a pair of separate technical issues, resulting in a completion delay for the TA-55 Plutonium Facility security perimeter upgrade project.

    The lab sought legal counsel to help deal with the original botched construction of the project.

  • Empty Bowls set for March 16

    The FAN Club Wednesday night was actually a prelude to an event happening on March 16, the Empty Bowls fundraising project, happening at the Betty Ehart Senior Center.
    The event benefits Self-Help Inc., a not-for-profit organization that helps New Mexico residents through programs that promote self-reliance.
    For $15, attendees to the March event can pick out a hand-made bowl created by Self-Help Inc. and enjoy a soup lunch, courtesy of participating local restaurants. There will be a silent auction sponsored by KRSN.
    Donations of bread and cookies are needed. If you are interested in helping out, you can call KRSN at 663-1490 and ask for Gillian. If you want to know more about Self Help, log onto selfhelpla.org.
    Wednesday’s event featured a variety of empty bowls that will be given away at the March event. 

  • NM Citizens Advisory Board OKs recommendations

    The Northern New Mexico Citizens’ Advisory Board approved three of four draft recommendations at its meeting last week in Pojoaque.
    According to NNMCAB spokesman William Alexander, recommendations that passed were:
    • Evaluation of storage options for legacy waste that could result from expansion of the WIPP disposal mission;
    • Budget that is related to technology research and development for site clean-up; and
    • EM-SAAB recommendation that DOE place more emphasis and priority on evaluation of technologies that could make recycling excess materials cost effective.
    The NNMCAB also drafted and approved a recommendation regarding the 33 Shafts that are located at LANL, requesting that DOE address the permanent disposition of the 33 Shafts at Material Disposal Area G.
    During the public comment period, the NNMCAB heard comments from Jeanne Green on the PF-4 facility, Green provided the board with a memo from the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board from Nov. 23, 2012. Green asked that the board look into providing a recommendation on the PF-4 Facility.

  • More Science Fair Results

    Aaron Robinson, Chamisa Elementary, NNMASME Chamber Check $10, Los Alamos Schools Credit Union $10

    Robert Zhu, Los Alamos Middle School, NNMASME Chamber Check $10, Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos $25

    Malcolm Carr, Mountain Elementary, LANL Participation Award $10

    Cade Cummins, Mountain Elementary, Los Alamos Schools Credit Union $10

    Engineering: Electrical/Mechanical
    Senior Division
    First place
    Cade Mallett, AMS International/Los Alamos Chapter $50, NNMASME Chamber Check $10, Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos $25
    Second place
    Adrian Abeyta, Los Alamos High School, Superintendent’s Choice Award, Haagen Dazs Certificate, NNMASME Chamber Check $10

    Engineering: Materials and Bio Engineering
    Junior Division
    First place
    Maia Menefee, Los Alamos Middle School, AMS International/Los Alamos Chapter $40, NNMASME Chamber Check $10
    Second place
    Theresa Torres, Chamisa Elementary, LANL Participation Award $10
    Third place
    Sebastian Torrez, Mountain Elementary, LANL Participation Award $10

    Engineering: Materials and Bio Engineering
    Senior Division
    First place
    Holly Erickson, Los Alamos High School, Superintendent’s Choice Award, CB Fox certificate $10, NNMASME Chamber Check $10

  • Music marathon set for Sunday

    The third annual music marathon for UNM-LA scholarships will be from 2-8 p.m. Sunday in Building 2. The public is invited to listen all day, until the last performer. There will be a basket for contributions.
    Co-chairs are Juanita Madland and Rheta Moazzami. Here is the schedule of performers:
    2 p.m.: Katie and Lee Weinland; Katie sings for the Isotopes and is a student at UNM-LA.
    Karin Ebey, Sopahn Kellogg, Troy Makela, Gala Nelson, Nikolai Nelson, Irene Abfalterer, Fayrouz Moural, Andrey Pavlenko, Phillip Ionkov, Injie Mourad, Leo Abfalterer, Konstantin Nelson, Jennie Gao, Jeanine Fassbender, Quinn Abfalterer, Kristin Fassbender, are students of Janna Warren and  Juanita Madland.
    3 p.m.: Bach’s Goldberg Variations will be played by: Judy Gursky, Beth West, Bonnie Kiang, Marie Andrew, Phyllis Slattery, Claudia Hilko, Colleen LaPorte, Rheta Moazzami,  Robin Gurule, Susan Mendel, J. Madland
    3:50 p.m.: Marie Andrew will play Liszt’s “Consolation 3.” Hilko and Madland will play a Rachmaninoff duet.
    4 p.m.: Viol players Lyle York from Santa Fe and David Hanson from White Rock will perform.
    4:15 p.m.: Living Treasure Stephanie Sydoriak will read from her latest book.
    4:30 p.m.: Violinist Michelle Yang will join pianist Cindy Little.

  • 9-year-old Gives Birth, Father Sought
  • What the maple trade conveys

     Maple sugar season straddles six weeks in sugaring states when winter turns to spring. The business supplies ample food for thought.
     Harvest traditions evoke homey scenes: the crusty New Englander ... rock-ribbed, spare, silent ... tending his maple woods by one-horse sled. The sap is gathered by the pailful and hauled in vats to the sugar house, where steam rises from the maple sap boiling pans.
    Practiced eyes keep watch as the water boils off to turn some 40 gallons of sap into one gallon of the golden brown syrup. Fresh sap is up to 98% water.
    To sell to wider markets, the business has a few new twists.
    What has grown most is the extent of maple trade, not the annual production. The steps in producing and processing sap are the same as before. And the same as were learned from the Indians ages before that.
     Markets now are more diverse, which requires more knowledge and specification of the steps. Technology has evolved, but not the scale of technology.  
    Collection methods have progressed from catching drips in a pail to pulling sap with high-vacuum to tanks through networks of plastic tubing. More sap is collected with less tending.  
    Water removal designs have added reverse osmosis and heat recovery schemes. Water is removed using less fuel.

  • Maybe rainy day funds be used for education

    SANTA FE — The more things change, the more they stay the same. I was about to write that same introduction for my previous column about simplifying the state’s tax structure because it was a repeat of something I had tried to do 20 years earlier.
    This time the subject is a piece of the land grant permanent fund a group wants to use to improve New Mexico’s education system.
    Many of you remember that little ditty that took place soon after Gov. Bill Richardson took office.
    It was 10 years ago and Gov. Richardson had a huge amount of political capital. He had a big, bold legislative initiative and nearly all of it passed – much even on a bipartisan basis.
    Two of those items were constitutional amendments, which required a public vote at the next November’s election
    One of the bills was to take money out of the permanent to assist in improving public education. The other was to bring the state Department under the governor. It seemed logical since education is about half the state’s budget. And thus, the governor should have control of it.
    Gov. Richardson barnstormed the state campaigning for the two items. The transfer of the state Board of Education passed easily. Voters weren’t accustomed to spending their permanent fund monies. But with Richardson’s help. It passed too.

  • Lobos cruise to a win over Air Force

    Alex Kirk was among three University of New Mexico Lobos to drop in a team-high 14 points in a Mountain West Conference win Wednesday.
    Kirk, Cameron Bairstow and Tony Snell each finished with 14 points as the Lobos earned a decisive win in The Pit.
    The Lobos (20-3 overall, 7-1 in Mountain West) only trailed briefly in the first half, but outscored the Air Force Falcons 42-29 in the first 20 minutes and cruised to an 81-58 win. The Falcons (14-7, 5-3) actually had a chance going into the game to earn a share of the Mountain West lead, but the Lobos’ balanced offensive attack was too much for them to handle.
    The Lobos had five players post double-figures Wednesday. Hugh Greenwood and Kendall Williams combined for 24 points on the night as UNM shot 48.1 percent from the floor.
    Lobo coach Steve Alford, whose team is ranked No. 15 in the nation, said he likes what he’s seen out of the Lobos but knows there is still a lot of basketball left to play.

  • LA to host Sanchez Invite Saturday

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling team will play host to its biggest event of the season Saturday.
    Los Alamos will take on 10 other teams in the Bryan Sanchez Memorial Invitational. The tournament is scheduled to include some solid teams from around the area.
    Included among those teams are at least three of the Hilltoppers’ District 2-4A opponents, Española Valley, Capital and Bernalillo, something that gives this tournament added importance as it could affect seeding for next week’s district championship tournament.
    “I’d like to see us get a few more head-to-head tiebreakers over our district opponents,” Los Alamos head coach Bob Geyer said.
    Saturday’s tournament is the finale of the Hilltoppers’ regular season. The Hilltoppers are the defending 2-4A champions, but were neck-and-neck with Capital in the teams’ only meeting Jan. 16.
    Los Alamos relies heavily on its middleweights and light-heavyweights for its success. Its lineup between 152-195 pounds of Lane Saunders, Cory Geyer, Arnoldo Ortiz, Brian Geyer and Diego Madrid is among the toughest in the state in that band.