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Today's News

  • LANL road construction set to start Thursday

    The first of three phases of road improvements to and from Los Alamos National Laboratory is scheduled to start Thursday.

    The road improvements are part of a $34.5 million Supplemental Environmental Projects settlement agreement between the New Mexico Environment Department and the U.S. Department of Energy, following the February 2014 drum breach incident at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.

    Albuquerque Asphalt, Inc., will perform the road work under a $7 million contract awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers through an interagency agreement with the National Nuclear Security Administration.

    Construction activities will include sections of road extending from Omega Bridge in Los Alamos to the Totavi gas station east of Los Alamos. 

    These sections include portions of East Jemez Road, N.M. 4, and N.M. 502. Improvements will include milling and replacing the top layer of asphalt. 

  • Report: Chrobocinski violated 3 sections in code of conduct

    Former County Councilor James Chrobocinski was found to be in violation of three sections of the Code of Conduct based on a 74-page report prepared by Albuquerque attorney Debra J. Moulton for Los Alamos County.

    The report, dated May 24, was prompted by a complaint filed Feb. 15 against Chrobocinski by Los Alamos County Fire Marshal Jeff Wetteland and Chief Building Official Michael Arellano. It claims the areas of the Code of Conduct violated by Chrobocinski include the section addressing the standard of conduct for public officials; the section pertaining to disclosure of conflicts of interest, recusal and disqualification; and the section addressing misuse of a public official’s position.

    Among those interviewed by Moulton for her report were Wetteland, Arellano and Chrobocinski, as well as County Manager Harry Burgess and Fire Chief Troy Hughes. She also interviewed LAFD Senior Fire and Life Safety Coordinator Stephen Rinaldi and Community Development Department (CDD) Director Paul Andrus as well as CDD employees Adrienne Lovato and Lee Brammeier.

    There were about 70 documents reviewed by Moulton, including emails, social media posts, newspaper articles and voicemails.

  • DOE faults NNSA field office for lab’s safety issues

    A May report from the Department of Energy’s Office of Enterprise Assessments gave the Los Alamos National Laboratory high marks for increasing its safety staffing and implementing “adequate” safety training, qualifications and procedures. 

    However, the same report also noted that the National Nuclear Security Administration Los Alamos Field Office personnel and LANL officials aren’t consistently seeing eye to eye on the interpretation of safety requirements, even after LANL and the NNSA made moves to better communicate following some well-publicized safety breaches. 

    “Overall, although LANS has implemented many elements of its improvement plan, the persistent differences between LANS and NA-LA on their understanding of safety basis requirements continues to delay safety basis document development and maintenance,” a statement in the report said. 

    The office of Enterprise Assessments identified the source of the delays coming from the NNSA-Los Alamos Field Office.

  • 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.

  • Bikers for cancer stop in LA

    BY ISAAC FASON
    lanews@lamonitor.com

    Some members of the Texas 4000 For Cancer spent a day getting to know Los Alamos Monday as they continued their 70-day biking journey from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska.

    Texas 4000 For Cancer is an organization from the University of Texas that annually bikes over 4,000 miles from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska while trying to share hope, knowledge and charity as part of the fight against cancer.

    The group’s time spent in Los Alamos included a visit to the Bradbury Science Museum and a dinner at the UnQuarked Wine Room.

    At UnQuarked several of the riders stood up and shared their message.

    “Raise your hand if you know someone who has passed away from cancer,” one rider said as nearly every hand in the room slowly rose. “As you can see cancer affects a lot of us, and the only really positive thing that comes out of it is all the fight to end cancer, such as our journey.”

    Texas 4000 has three central pillars-hope, knowledge and charity. “We raise at least $4,500 for cancer research each, and in total we’ve raised over $8 million,” another rider said.

  • Young basketball players gain experience at Jr. Topper camp

    By Isaac Fason

    The Jr. Topper Basketball Summer Camp returned to Los Alamos this week and continues June 12 through June 14. The camp is sponsored by the Hilltopper Basketball Academy and the Alex Kirk foundation.

    The camp is offered to three different age groups; the Mini Toppers (Kindergarten through third grade), the Mid Toppers (fourth grade through sixth grade), and the Advanced Toppers (seventh grade and eighth grade).

    Registration for the camp costs $75 per camper and includes an Alex Kirk Foundation basketball, water bottle and t-shirt.

    Head coach of the Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball team Mike Kluk has been running the Jr. Topper summer camps for the past several years with the assistance of current Hilltoppers and returning alumni. 

    One alumni helping run the camp this year is former Hilltopper Isaiah Espinosa.

    ”A lot of the kids there don’t go to get better, but they go to have fun,” Espinosa said. On his reason for helping with the camp, Espinosa said, “I found basketball was a good release growing up. I feel like if I can find a way to help kids then I am doing my job, and it’s great to put a smile on a kids face.”

  • Atomic City Update: Title IX violations a bad start to an important summer for UNM

    More than any year before, this summer will determine the future of University of New Mexico athletics, for better or worse. Due to a mountain of debt accumulated under the previous school and athletic administrations, drastic measures will be taken, including the elimination of one or more sports, to be announced July 1 or earlier. 

    The first step in that process was a Title IX assessment of the school’s athletic department, released last week. The assessment showed a variety of serious problems that need to be addressed, something that won’t be easy at all with the financial troubles facing the school.

    Among the top problems are the disparity between athletic opportunities for men and women and the difference in locker rooms and training facilities between men and women’s sports. 

    To me, the most disturbing thing to come out of the Title IX assessment was the description of how the softball locker room differs from the baseball locker room, as well as the conditions that the volleyball teams are forced to endure. 

  • Camps available all summer long for young athletes

    Coaches and student athletes from Los Alamos High School are hosting a variety of sports camps over the summer, so be sure to register for a spot. Below is information about a few of the camps available. For more information about registration, dates, times, etc., please visit lahstoppers.com and select the desired sport.

    Volleyball

    Los Alamos High School volleyball coaches and players are offering volleyball camps for elementary and middle school aged students who are interested in learning about the fundamentals of volleyball in a fun and positive environment. Here, students will be able to develop and improve serving, passing, hitting, setting and defensive skills.

    The elementary camp is open to all children entering grades 1st-5th in fall 2018, and the middle school camp is open to students entering 6th-8th grade. The camps will be in held in Griffith Gym from Monday-Thursday, June 18-21, and June 25-28. 

    Camps are facilitated by the experienced high school coaches and players, and are individually tailored to the experience level of each player. Campers are required to have parental authorization to participate in camp activities and can sign up the day of the event.

  • Aquatomics find success at Cactus Classic

    The strong start to the long course season continued for the Los Alamos Aquatomics at the Cactus Classic in Scottsdale, Arizona, as many swimmers came home with personal victories and personalbest times. 

    This was the first long trip of the season for the Aquatomics, and the first with the team for head coach Mark Scott, who said, “we travel well, had a lot of fun and swam fast.”

    Though the team posted strong performances consistently, it had to battle extremely hot temperatures all weekend as the temperature on the deck reached a sweltering 112 degrees on Sunday afternoon. 

    Despite the heat, Scott said the swimmers “adapted well and fast.”

    One of the Aquatomics’ most impressive swimmers at the meet was Allison Amrani, who posted five top-10 finishes. In the 10-and-under 400-freestyle, she finished in third place with a time of 6:04.19, a 41-second improvement over her previous personal best. That time was good enough to earn her another Western Zone qualifying time, a meet she will compete in at the end of the season. 

    Orion Henderson had a great meet, finishing in the top-10 in all of his events, including a second-place finish in the 200-backstroke.