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Today's News

  • San Antonio Fire holding at 500 acres

    The San Antonio Fire in the Valles Caldera Preserve is holding at 500 acres Monday as crews work around the effects of a Saturday night thunderstorm, which made access roads slippery and muddy over the weekend.

    Preserve officials said the rain has not slowed the fire.

    “With an increase in temperature and lowering of humidity, roads and vegetation are drying, which may contribute to higher fire activity. Yesterday's reconnaissance flight indicated multiple spot fires on the northwest perimeter of the fire,” said Valles Caldera Preserve Spokesperson Kimberly DeVall.

    “The Albuquerque Zone Incident Management Type 3 Team spent (Saturday) planning a course of action to tackle the areas of the fire that are in steep, rough terrain and accessible only by foot,” DeVall said.

    According to DeVall, inclement weather and steep, rough terrain has slowed efforts to fight the fire, located in the northwest area of the preserve.

    “Part of the issue is that it takes a lot of time for the crew to travel out to the site. We have rough roads, and then there’s the steep terrain and some spotting in some areas,” DeVall said. “So it’s a little harder to combat all those little individual areas.”

    A Saturday thunderstorm hindered efforts. The fire remains uncontained.

    Crews are setting up containment lines around the fire, and will continue to do so Monday.

  • LA hosts first Pride Fest

    Los Alamos’ first Pride Festival drew a crowd Friday afternoon at Fuller Lodge.

    While a karaoke party was in full swing inside the lodge, outside, people from all over the region came to take part in help build a float, blow bubbles and learn to live together in peace and harmony.

    The festivals featured many booths, including Voices of Los Alamos, the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and a booth where people could write what they wanted and let the world know they were “coming out” on a t-shirt. The idea came from

    Quinn Fontaine, the Santa Fe Pride King, and author of a biography about his journey about transitioning from female to male.

    “My work is about being transparent and helping people to be who they are,” Fontaine said at the event.

    “The fact that this is the first is huge. I have chills talking to you right now,” Fontaine said. “It’s so important. Some of these kids I’ve overheard here thinking they were alone, and here they are at this t-shirt booth thinking about starting their own support group.”

    The Pride Fest also sponsored the Red Elvises Concert at Ashley Pond Park later that night.

  • Police Beat 6-17-18

    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.

    June 6
    8:20 a.m. – Los Alamos police investigated an auto burglary. Investigation is currently inactive.

    10 a.m. – Los Alamos police investigated the larceny of a wheel and a tire in White Rock.

    1:10 p.m. – Los Alamos police investigated damage to property. The investigation is inactive. 

    June 6
    2:17 p.m. – Los Alamos police responded to a call where syringes were found in a patient’s room at the Los Alamos Medical Center.

    4:32 p.m. – Los Alamos police responded to a report of a stolen mailbox statue, investigation is inactive.

    June 10
    8:46 a.m. – Los Alamos police responded to a report of stolen mailbox statue. Investigation is inactive.

    9:24 a.m. – Los Alamos police responded to a report of a stolen motorcycle helmet. Investigation inactive.
     
    June 11

  • Kiddie pool decision postponed

    Los Alamos County Council decided to postpone consideration of a $500,000 contract to design a kiddie pool for the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center.

    The council decided Tuesday to delay approval until it knows more about the new management and operations contract that was awarded to the Los Alamos National Laboratory on June 8.

    The council decided to delay the project until they county knows one way or the other whether the new lab contractor,

    Triad National Security LLC, will file for New Mexico’s gross receipts tax exemption.

    County officials say the corporation appears to be organized as a non-profit and it can file with the state to pay gross receipts taxes under New Mexico’s non-profit tax laws.

    Los Alamos County receives about $21 million annually from proceeds from the gross receipts tax on some of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s activities.

    “I would like feedback from my fellow councilors, but I think we should table this until we have an outcome on the taxable status of the lab,” Councilor Antonio Maggiore said after a presentation on the design contract given by Los

    Alamos County Public Works Department officials.

    Maggiore said it was “painful” to postpone the decision.

  • Panel cites more safety issues at New Mexico nuclear lab

    Reports from an independent safety panel show radioactive contamination was found on a worker's hands and other places at a nuclear weapons lab in New Mexico — the latest safety lapse at the facility as it ramps up work with nuclear material.

    All pipefitting work was paused after a crew had to be stripped and decontaminated on May 16 because of the discovery at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, according to weekly briefings from the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

    Contamination also was found on the crew's protective clothing and in a work area, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

    The briefings also show members of another crew placed plutonium salts in a prohibited area.

    The lapses are the latest in a series of radiation releases and operational mistakes at Los Alamos, which was recently tasked with building at least 30 plutonium cores a year, which are used to trigger nuclear weapons.

    Lab spokesman Matt Nerzig said Monday the workers were thoroughly decontaminated — mostly by washing off the contamination with water. None received any measurable dose of radiation, he said.

    Nerzig also said the incident with the plutonium salts did not result in a significant safety risk to workers or the public.

  • SFNF says no to geothermal drilling

    BY SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN
    Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE — Underground pockets of boiling water and steam that could have been tapped to produce electricity are now off limits as one national forest in northern New Mexico has said no to the prospect of geothermal development.

    The decision by the Santa Fe National Forest follows years of study and public testimony after a Nevada-based company and others had shown interest in leasing areas with geothermal resources within the Jemez Mountains – a tourist draw that includes a national preserve and a neighboring monument.

    Santa Fe National Forest wrote in a decision made public Thursday that the area also includes places held sacred by Native American tribes.

    Forest Supervisor James Melonas’ decision covers more than 300 square miles of the mountainous terrain even though the companies had interest in only a fraction of that.

    Melonas said geothermal energy development could have potential effects on forest resources, recreational opportunities and tribal cultural and spiritual interests. His office consulted with more than 30 tribes from around the American Southwest and held two listening sessions with tribal leaders.

  • Tariff on newsprint hits newspapers hard

    The Post and Courier of Charleston published this editorial June 13.

    The trade war with Canada over steel, aluminum and milk understandably grabs the headlines. But flying under the radar is the battle over Canadian newsprint, a skirmish that’s hurting businesses and costing jobs.

    In January, the U.S. Commerce Department, responding to a complaint from a New York private equity firm that bought a Washington state mill, imposed a 6.2 percent tariff on imports of Canadian newsprint, then added another 22 percent in March. And U.S. newspapers, to put it mildly, are suffering mightily.

    That’s why a group of newspaper executives will travel to Washington, D.C., this week to try to persuade lawmakers to get the Commerce Department to back off. The tariff already has prompted layoffs – newsprint is typically a newspaper’s biggest operating cost behind labor – and caused some newspapers to reduce their number of pages.

    Thousands of U.S. newspaper jobs are hanging in the balance.

    The Washington state paper mill employs fewer than 300 people. Like some other recent tariffs, the cure is worse than the disease.

  • LeDoux on the Hill: Books speak volumes about today’s DC climate

    Living in Washington in 2018 has almost felt like living in a book club. The fascination around Donald Trump’s presidency has overtaken the city and has a lot of residents asking how did we get here? From the lines at Starbucks, conversations on the metro, or the halls of George Washington University. There isn’t a place in the DMV where this topic isn’t being discussed. Heck, even on a tour of an apartment I did, I got sucked into a two-hour conversation about Trump just because I discussed what I did for a living. To answer these questions many in the beltway have turned to books, on the Metro, I’d see book covers with titles that attack the president.

    The two gossipy books about Trump that I still see on the subway every now and then, and by the cash register at the CVS, are, of course, Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” and James Comey’s “A Higher Loyalty.”

    Apart from the Harry Potter books from my childhood and the Bibles in church, I have never seen more people in the wild reading the same book as these two books in the Washington Metro area. Even I bought into the hype, and the Wolff book lives in my kindle to this very day.

  • Trade tariffs might hurt, not help, blue-collar Americans

    The Wall Street Journal published this editorial June 12.

    More than a few conservative intellectuals have warmed to Donald Trump’s trade protectionism because it supposedly helps blue-collar Americans. But what if his tariffs do the opposite?

    Erica York at the Tax Foundation crunched some numbers recently showing that Mr. Trump’s proposal for a 25 percent tariff on imported cars, trucks and parts could eliminate half of the income gains from tax reform for millions of Americans. Those in the lowest income quintile could lose 49 percent of their tax gains. Say for ease of calculation that these folks received a $100 after-tax bonus from changes like the doubled standard deduction. After auto tariffs that would be whittled down to $51, Ms. York notes.

    The tariffs shave gains in all income brackets, but no one is hurt more than the poor and middle class. Take the fourth income quintile, or a household making at most about $70,000 a year in adjusted gross income. The Tax Foundation says auto tariffs could erase nearly 30 percent of that family’s after-tax income bump. Ditto for the third quintile, or a family earning no more than $43,000 a year.

  • Election system favors political extremes, discourages moderates

    If you’re a political moderate and feel your choices in the coming election are pretty darn limited, a lot of people feel your pain.

    The recent primaries bestowed victories on women. (Hurray!) They also blessed progressives and conservatives and left moderates in the dust.

    In the much-watched Congressional District 1 race, progressive Deb Haaland trounced Damon Martinez, a moderate and former U. S. Attorney.

    For State Land Commissioner, Stephanie Garcia Richard, another progressive, surged ahead of her opponents. George Muñoz, a businessman and moderate Democrat from Gallup, ran third, but the good news is he’ll still be in the state Senate.

    In Northern New Mexico, Rep. Debbie Rodella, a moderate who served 25 years, lost to a progressive newcomer, Susan Herrera. Rodella, chair of the Business and Industry Committee, had campaign money; Herrera had volunteers and shoe leather.

    On the Public Regulation Commission, moderate Dem Sandy Jones lost to progressive Steve Fischmann, a former Las Cruces legislator. And Lynda Lovejoy lost to Theresa Becenti-Aguilar, who previously held the seat. These two races were affected in part by a backlash against an industry super PAC donations to both.