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Today's News

  • District takes first step to move sixth graders to middle school

    The Los Alamos School Board voted Thursday to apply for $3 million in public school funding to create staff housing and to move the district’s sixth-graders to the Los Alamos Middle School.

    The school administration will apply for $2 million for staff housing and $1 million to add a wing onto the middle school.

    The request will go to the New Mexico Public School Capital Outlay Council by the Friday deadline. The administration expected to know in October if it is awarded the funding.

    The board and the administration agreed that moving the school district’s sixth-grade classes to a new wing at the Los Alamos Middle School was the first priority.

    The school district board has not yet held a public hearing about moving the sixth-graders to the middle school.

    Superintendant Kurt Steinhaus told the board that, of course, there would be time to talk to the public about the changes if the district should be awarded the funding, but they need to apply now to beat the Sept. 6 deadline.

    “I think it’s important first to talk about it as soon as we know about it, and if we’re going to do something in this area, we need time to talk to our community of Los Alamos our teachers, our principals our parents about what this might mean in Los Alamos,” Steinhaus said.

  • 9 LANL waste containers denied shipment to WIPP

    Nine containers full of transuranic waste are stuck at the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Plutonium Facility after the Carlsbad Waste Isolation Pilot Plant refused to take them in back in July.

    The containers, which hold waste items such as gloves, tools and other items that have come into contact with radiological materials, were scheduled to be shipped to WIPP during the week of July 26.

    The Department of Energy’s contractor N3B that operates WIPP inspected the drums at LANL prior to the shipping date and determined that the drums contained materials that could combust.

    N3B Spokesman Todd Nelson said that there was never a chance the containers would have made it to WIPP in the condition they were in.

    “N3B evaluates all containers prior to shipment, and if necessary, remediates them to meet the WIPP waste acceptance criteria,” Nelson said.

    Nelson said N3B took prior steps to ensure compliance.

    Seven of the containers are owned by N3B, two of them are owned by Triad National Security, the lab’s management and operations contractor.

  • More West Nile Virus cases being seen throughout Southwest

    By ANITA SNOW Associated Press

    PHOENIX — West Nile Virus is increasingly being detected around the U.S. Southwest following a rainier winter, with a record number of cases in Arizona's Maricopa County and seven deaths statewide this year, the latest public health data showed Friday.

    Numbers from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show Arizona has the most cases of any state this year.

    Arizona's updated public health statistics this week list Maricopa with more cases of infected people than any county, with 135 of 138 confirmed and probable cases statewide.

    It said seven people had died. The department cautioned on its chart that the numbers are subject to change.Southern Nevada has also emerged as part of the "hot zone" for the virus, with 28 cases reported in the area around Las Vegas as of last week. A scattering of cases was also reported in other states including California and Utah.

    Dr. Cara M. Crist, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said on her blog that about 20 West Nile Virus cases are usually reported statewide by this time. Crist said the agency "is working closely with local health departments, vector control agencies and the CDC to increase our surveillance of these mosquito-borne diseases."

  • Letter to friends, neighbors, constituents about plan to run for reelection

    BY SEN. CARLOS CISNEROS
    New Mexico State Senator, Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Taos

    To all my friends, neighbors and constituents.

    First and foremost let me remind you of the extraordinary work I’ve been able to accomplish over the course of the last 34 years. I was able to secure millions of dollars for our communities surrounding the counties of Taos, Los Alamos, Rio Arriba and Santa Fe.

    I was the primary sponsor of Capital Outlay legislation to our community. I carried the GO bonds that provided funding for universities, colleges, libraries and senior facilities across the state.

    I take a great deal of pride in sponsoring needed legislation for our acequias. During the course of my tenure in office, I’ve been instrumental in carrying legislation necessary to advance and protect our acequias across the state.

    I’m also proud for securing funding for our Taos County veterans. Today we have sufficient monies to complete the Taos County Veterans Cemetery.

    There are those who would advocate that seniority is not important to our district. I will remind you the legislature is set up on the principle of seniority and a member is assigned to the best committees, both standing committees as well as interim committees.

  • EPA moves to revoke rules on oil industry methane leaks

    BY ELLEN KNICK-MEYER and CATHY BUSSEWITZ
    The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration moved Thursday to revoke regulations on methane leaks from oil facilities, a proposal environmental advocates said would renounce key federal authority to regulate the climate-damaging gas.

    The proposed rule follows President Donald Trump’s directions to remove “unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens from the oil and gas industry,” Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.

    Exxon Mobil and some other oil giants — wary of blowback from growing public concern over global warming — joined environmental groups in urging the Trump administration to drop the rollback on methane controls, although several state-level and national industry groups welcomed the easing.

    The step would be the latest in a series unwinding the Obama administration’s efforts to cut climate-changing emissions from the oil, gas and coal industries, including a 2016 rule regulating oil-industry methane leaks as a pollutant under the federal Clean Air Act.

  • DOE Report: LANL’s Beryllium program needs improvement

    According to a report from a Department of Energy agency, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s management needs to make more improvements in the way beryllium is stored and handled at the laboratory.

    The latest report was from a follow up inspection performed in April by the Office of Enterprise Assessments. The report, which was produced by the Office of Enterprise Assessments, was released Aug. 22.

    One of the findings of the report found that the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Los Alamos field office “is not conducting effective oversight of the chronic beryllium disease prevention program, or of other safety and health programs at LANL,” according to a statement in the report.

    However, the Office of Enterprise Assessments also said the lab’s Chronic Beryllium Disease Prevention Program has improved since an inspection in February 2018 done by the Office of the Inspector General.
    But problems remain. The Enterprise Assessments office said in the August report that “issues persist in the areas of beryllium inventory records and hazard assessments, sampling plans, beryllium postings and the release and repurposing of former beryllium areas.”

  • Cisneros confirms run for reelection, says Martinez probably will also

    State Sen. Carlos Cisneros (D-Los Alamos Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Taos) said in a letter Thursday that he is officially seeking reelection.

    In a 523-page letter, Cisneros talked about how he has secured millions of dollars for his communities during his 34 years in office and fought for a fair share of the water rights.

    “I take a great deal of pride in sponsoring needed legislation for our acequias. During the course of my tenure in office, I’ve been instrumental in carrying legislation necessary to advance and protect our acequias across the state,” Cisneros said.

    In his letter, Cisneros also talked about how his ranking in the State Senate matters.

    “Many of you may know I am the currently the vice chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, a powerful committee able to secure funding for our needed communities. We do not want to lose that, “ Cisneros said, adding

    “I am the chairman of the revenue stabilization and tax policy committee, a committee interested in ensuring stability in our revenues as well as developing tax initiatives across New Mexico. Let’s not give that away.”

  • Council to reconsider $1.8M donation for hotel

    The Los Alamos County Council agreed Tuesday to reexamine a $1.8 million donation of county land by the county to a Marriott franchisee looking to build an extended-stay hotel and conference center on six lots on 20th Street. Council agreed to meet again Oct. 1 to discuss the proposal and perhaps make some changes to it after seeking more public comment.

    The council was set to vote on the donation Tuesday, but encountered heavy opposition from the public opposed to the idea.

    Businessman and owner of the Pajarito Brewpub and Grill, Patrick Mockler-Wood, told the council that no one helped him or his associates with a land grant.

    “I did it all with blood, sweat and tears from working hard, both with my family and other families. We have brought a lot to this community, “ Mockler-Wood told the council, adding that his restaurant, the golf course restaurant, which also included the conference center, and the North Road Inn were created without any donations from the county.

    “We have done it without being handed $1.8 million in free money,” Mockler-Wood said. “If you guys choose to have a hotel and convention center, that part I have no problem with, but giving away the land is the wrong answer.”

  • ‘Toppers sweep St. Michael’s in season’s first home match

    BY DAVID VASQUEZ
    lasports@lamonitor.com

  • Girls soccer begins with win over Socorro

    BY DAVID VASQUEZ
    lasports@lamonitor.com