News Highlights 2019

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Wednesday January 23, 2019
Jan. 22-27 is National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, a national health observance linking teens to science-based facts to SHATTER THE MYTHS® about drugs.
In today’s society, it’s easy for teens to learn about drugs and alcohol from a variety of sources: the internet, social media, TV, movies, music or from friends. National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® offers the scientific facts to counteract the myths.
Research on the effects drugs have on the brain is used to develop prevention and recovery programs that are essential in helping individuals break from addiction. According to Merriam-Webster, addiction is broadly defined as the “persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.” Addiction is considered a brain disorder because it adversely changes the functioning of important brain circuits; these changes can even linger after an individual has stopped taking drugs. Addiction is similar to other diseases in that it can disrupt the normal, healthy functioning of an organ in the body, it can have serious harmful effects, and most importantly, it is preventable and treatable.
Los Alamos Public Schools is focused on the well-being of our students and the Healthy Schools Initiative is using this scientific evidence to help educate teens and parents about the dangers of substance misuse. In order to dispel the myths, LAPS will tackle commonly misused substances like alcohol, prescription drugs, marijuana and vaping. Check out LAPS on Facebook and Instagram (@discoverlaps) each day this week for more information on these topics.

Tuesday January 22, 2019
—Los Alamos National Laboratory’s average annual total impact on economic output across New Mexico from 2015 to 2017 was $3.1 billion, according to preliminary independent research from the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
More than 55 percent of the $756 million the Laboratory spent on goods and services in the 2018 fiscal year went to New Mexico businesses, up from 45 percent in 2017.
To further boost procurement to regional businesses, the Laboratory is doubling from 5 percent to 10 percent the local price preference given to contract bids from businesses based in the seven counties surrounding the Lab -- with an additional preference for qualifying pueblo businesses.
In addition, the Laboratory is establishing a new Office of Partnerships and Pipeline to stimulate new industry partnerships and high tech start-ups and to engage the workforce of the future.
Economic impact statistics:
Of the more than $756 million in goods and services procured by the Laboratory in the 2018 fiscal year, 55 percent went to New Mexico businesses.
The contracts awarded to New Mexico small businesses in FY2018 totaled $269 million—up from $262 million in 2017.
The Laboratory employed 11,743 people in 2018—up 660 from 2017. Forty-five percent of the workforce

Monday January 21, 2019
It is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  No Live Shows.

Friday January 18, 2019
Los Alamos County Traffic & Streets division staff would like to remind motorists to be on the look out for potholes that are developing in the days following several back to back winter storms. As snow begins to melt off of roadways, the potholes are exposed in the pavement.
“Until the hot mix plant re-opens this Spring, and we see much warmer temperatures return that are needed for the hot mix to be an effective patch, we are going to continue to be in a reactive mode to fix only the worst potholes with a temporary solution,” said Dan Erickson, Traffic and Streets Division Manager.
If tomorrow’s snow forecast falls short in the volume of snow that is expected to be received, alleviating the need for the entire focus to be on snow removal, crews expect to be out patching the worst of the holes on Trinity and Diamond Drive with a bagged patching mix that is a temporary substitute until hot mix is available.
Erickson said the difficulty in making any kind of fix to the potholes is that wet, cold conditions make it difficult for the mix to “stick” to the hole and may not be effective. Shallow potholes are not a good candidate for the mix because it typically will not adhere to shallow surfaces.
Erickson encouraged drivers to be careful and try to avoid potholes, as it may still be several weeks before all of them can be addressed. Work will occur on the busiest thoroughfares and only as a lower priority to snow removal, he said.

Thursday January 17, 2019
New Mexico Speaker of the House Brian Egolf announced the committee assignments for all 17 standing and procedural committees in the New Mexico House of Representatives. Representative Christine Chandler has been assigned the House Judiciary Committee, the House Taxation and Revenue Committee and Enrolling and Engrossing Committee.

Wednesday January 16, 2019
The Los Alamos County Council is seeking Letters of Interest from those interested in filling the unexpired term of Councilor Christine Chandler, who ended her term with Council upon election as the House District 43 representative. Her term will expire December 31, 2020.
Applicants must be a registered voter and resident of Los Alamos County, and cannot be employed by the County. They should submit a letter of interest explaining their background, experience and why they are interested in the position. Letters of interest must be received no later than Thursday, January 24th at 5:00 p.m. The letter should be submitted to Harry Burgess, County Manager, 1000 Central Ave, Suite 350, Los Alamos, NM 87544. It can also be e-mailed by the deadline to
Any individual submitting a Letter of Interest must attend the Council meeting on Tuesday, January 29th at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers, and be prepared to respond to questions from Councilors. The Council expects to interview applicants and then make their selection that evening.

Tuesday January 15, 2019
New Mexico State Parks is offering free day use to furloughed federal workers during the government shutdown. Statewide, there are 34 parks which provide great recreational opportunities and educational programs and events for visitors and families. Furloughed federal workers will need to provide federal identification to State Park staff for free day use admission.

Monday January 14, 2019
UNM-LA is on a 2 hour delay due to the snow.
Due to weather conditions, Los Alamos National Laboratory will be on a delayed start today. Employees should report to work between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
Betty Ehart Senior Center in Los Alamos will be on a two hour delay opening at 10:00 on Monday due to weather conditions.
The Los Alamos Public Schools are on a two-hour delay for Monday January 14, 2019.
• School buses will arrive two hours later than the usual pickup time, depending upon road conditions.
• School start times:
o High School - 9:50 am
o Mid School - 10:00 am
o Elementary schools - 10:20 am

Friday January 11, 2019
Zia Credit Union has activated their member assistance programs for members impacted by the government shutdown.
While most of our members in the local area are not impacted by the shutdown, we do have some members who work for departments that are affected such as the National Parks and Forest Service.
Zia CU is prepared to help members who are not receiving their normal payroll during the government shutdown with the following assistance programs. 60-day loan payment due date extensions, waiver of early withdrawal penalties on withdrawals up to $10,000 from a Certificate of Deposit, low-rate signature loan for members who have a current direct deposit of their affected government payroll.

Thursday January 10, 2019
The Los Alamos Public School’s Board met for a regular school board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 8; here are the highlights of what was discussed.
To begin, the board recognized teachers who received their National Board Certifications, including Rebecca Cabildo, Kate Hovey, Britt Williams and Janelle Maestas. Los Alamos High School Teacher Katie Lake helped support these staff through the writing process. The National Board Certification is designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools. It is the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education.
Next, the school board previewed a new all-employee resource center located in Suite O across from the LAPS Administration Building. The resource center, recently named “The SOURCE,” is a one-stop shop for all LAPS employees that offers tools for a variety of activities such as exercising, printing posters, hosting a meeting, viewing instructional materials and more.
Learning Systems Director Kathryn Vandenkieboom presented a proposal for the 2019 Summer Institute: professional development classes that staff can attend with a per diem incentive. Through these classes, teachers and staff are able to learn new skills and knowledge, and share experiences and insights. While external speakers are hired as needed, LAPS also draws upon local expertise to teach classes.

Wednesday January 9, 2019
EM’s legacy cleanup contractor at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) earned approximately 83 percent of the fee available during its five-month performance evaluation period in fiscal 2018, according to a recently released scorecard.
Newport News Nuclear BWXT-Los Alamos (N3B) received more than $2.4 million of the $2.9 million fee available for the period of April 30, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2018.
EM releases information relating to contractor fee payments — earned by completing the work called for in their contracts — to further transparency in its cleanup program.
N3B’s performance for the Los Alamos Legacy Cleanup Contract’s fiscal 2018 period was evaluated for quality, schedule, cost control, regulatory compliance, and management.
The contractor realized two significant accomplishments during the period — successfully restarting and operating the chromium interim measure and completing readiness for mobile loading at Technical Area 54’s (TA-54) Area G. The chromium interim measure involves pumping and injection to control the advancement and to shrink the footprint of a plume located beneath Sandia and Mortandad canyons at LANL.
TA-54 is LANL's waste management area. Area G is a site within TA-54 where LANL’s transuranic and low-level waste is stored, characterized, remediated, and shipped offsite. With mobile loading capabilities at Area G, N3B is able to ship waste to EM’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

Tuesday  January 8. 2019
Los Alamos County is continuing its snow and ice control efforts due to the past severe snow events. As a recap, when a snow event is greater than 6”, the top priority is to keep major arterials and collector streets plowed before moving on to residential streets as outlined in the Los Alamos County Snow & Ice Control Plan. The County has many narrow residential streets which makes plowing efforts difficult since there is physically no space to put the snow. This issue is exacerbated by the parking of vehicles on one or both sides of the street. Crews have made at least one pass on all residential streets; however, many requests have been received for additional plowing. Crews will widen streets as resources allow, but this effort will likely cause more windrows next to parked vehicles, driveways and parking spaces. With the previous in mind, County and contract crews are now focusing on removal operations on the narrower residential streets throughout the County using motor graders, loaders, snow blowers and dump trucks. It is anticipated that this effort will continue around the clock until snow has been removed or warmer temperatures allow for ample snow storage in place. At this time the County asks residents for their help by moving vehicles parked on the street when the snow removal operation commences in their neighborhood. It is also requested that residents exercise caution and patience around snow removal operations. This will help speed up the removal efforts and allow crews to service more streets.

Monday January 7, 2019

Guzman Construction Solutions, the contractor for the new homes being built for Mirador on Parcel A-19 just north of SR4 near the Visitor Center in White Rock, will begin work this afternoon for utility tie-ins for the subdivision. The work requires the closure of the west entrance leading into the White Rock Visitor Center overflow parking lot. Initial work involves potholing the area to locate existing utilities and to determine the quantity of rock excavation required in order to place the utility lines in the area. Work is being initiated at this point to avoid impacting the Visitor Center later this spring when tourism increases. The closure into the overflow lot will be in place through the end of February. The County will be coordinating with the contractor for safety and signage for travelers in this area along SR4.

Friday January 4, 2019
Christmas Tree Recycling:
Collection won’t start until next week. Environmental Services is asking residents not to put trees curbside before it begins Jan. 8 because if the community gets another storm Saturday and Sunday, the discarded tree may be frozen to the ground, making it tough for crews to collect them; the process is manual collection not automated.
Thursday January 3, 2019
Los Alamos National Laboratory is closed today. UNM-LA is closed today.
With the LANL announcement to remain closed tomorrow (Thursday) Atomic City Transit will not offer peak bus service tomorrow - but bus routes will be back up and running otherwise. This will allow ACT employees to continue shoveling out bus stops and shelters tomorrow.
Christmas Tree Recycling:
Collection won’t start until next week. Environmental Services is asking residents not to put trees curbside before it begins Jan. 8 because if the community gets another storm Saturday and Sunday, the discarded tree may be frozen to the ground, making it tough for crews to collect them; the process is manual collection not automated.

Wednesday January 2, 2019
In light yesterday’s heavy snowfall, County Manager Harry Burgess announced that non-essential County facilities will remain closed Wednesday, Jan. 2 in order to provide snow clearing crews the opportunity to continue to address main, collector and residential streets throughout the County.
County recreational facilities will be closed, including the Libraries, Ice Rink, Golf Course and Aquatic Center. Other County services inside the Municipal Building for the Customer Care Center/Dept. of Public Utilities, Clerk, Assessor, HR, Finance, Community Development and Community Services Administration are also going to be closed on Wednesday. Public safety and road crews will remain active tomorrow to respond to emergencies and continue snow removal.
Both Visitor Centers in White Rock and Los Alamos will be closed tomorrow. Residents are encouraged to visit other contractor websites for hours of operation for such amenities as the Nature Center, Fuller Lodge Art Center, and other offices throughout the County.
Burgess said the highest priority tomorrow will be for Traffic Division crews to clear and remove snow from roadways in anticipation of re-opening on Thursday, Jan. 3.
the County's public transit system, Atomic City Transit, will not run fixed routes, but Dial-A-Ride will be available by calling 661-RIDE. Trash/recycle services in Los Alamos are suspended on Wednesday in Los Alamos but expected to proceed for the White Rock Community. Please do not put your trash out in Los Alamos as it makes snow removal harder.