Arts in Public Places to Discuss Art for White Rock Visitor Center

County News:

A meeting of the Arts in Public Places Advisory Board is set for 4:30-6 p.m. Wednesday at Mesa Public Library.

Members will discuss potential art for the White Rock Visitor Center.

Among other items on the agenda is an update of information regarding the re-location of “Strange Trio,” a brief update on the “Call for Artists” for the Animal Shelter and a discussion of the remaining work needed to develop a 5-Year Strategic Plan.

The public is invited to attend the meeting.

The mission of the Arts in Public Places Advisory Board is to encourage the integration of art into the architecture of municipal structures, increase the general public awareness of art, to visually enhance the community, to capture a part of local history for future generations, to promote the establishment of a collection of art, with the works of artists who live or work, or who have lived or worked in Los Alamos County having a high priority.

 

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Skylar Wants to be Adopted

Los Alamos County Animal Shelter News:

Skylar is hoping for a good home. Courtesy Photo

Skylar is about 14 months old and a terrier/lab mix waiting for a good home to call his own.

He is residing at the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter and is reportedly good with adults, gentle children, cats and dogs.

Skylar is submissive and likes the safety of a nearby crate while he figures out what is expected.

He is housebroken and leash trained and enjoys attention and going for walks with shelter volunteers.

Skylar is neutered and up-to-date with his routine shots.

His primary color is black with a short coat length.

There are six dogs and nine cats at the Animal Shelter waiting for adoption.

For more information, contact the Animal Shelter at 662-8179.

Hours of Operation:

    • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
    • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

A Public Safety Aide is on duty at the shelter and responds to calls during office hours or by appointment. Call 662-8222 or 662-8179.

Shelter Fees:

The Animal Shelter accepts cash, checks (payable to Los Alamos County) and VISA and MasterCard.

Newly Formed ‘Regional Coalition of LANL Communities’ Travels to DC Regarding LANL and WIPP Funding

Members of the Regional Coalition pause for a photo during their busy trip to Washington, D.C. this week. From left, Elmer Torres, Pueblo de San Ildefonso; Commissioner Danny Mayfield, Santa Fe County; Commissioner Jack Volpato, Eddy County; County Council Chairwoman Sharon Stover, Los Alamos County; County Administrator Harry Burgess, Los Alamos County; Board of Commissioners Vice-Chair Andrew Chavez, Taos County; Mayor David Coss, City of Santa Fe; Mayor Alice Lucero, City of Espanola; Rep. Jim Hall, New Mexico State Legislature; Secretary F. David Martin, New Mexico Environment Department; Seth Kirshenberg, Kutak-Rock; Energy Development Coordinator John Heaton, City of Carlsbad. Courtesy Photo

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The delegation from Northern and Southern New Mexico communities are unified in their desire to see Congress fund clean up of environmental waste sites at Los Alamos – that was the clear message when they traveled to Washington, D.C. earlier this week. 
The newly formed Regional Coalition of LANL Communities (Coalition) along with representatives of the State of New Mexico, the San Ildefonso Pueblo and Southern New Mexico communities, made their inaugural visit to the nation’s capitol and expressed strong support for increased cleanup funding during an unprecedented series of meetings.
In just two days, they took their message to the New Mexico Congressional Delegation, Department of Energy (DOE) officials and congressional staff members to discuss the need for adequate cleanup funding for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). 
It was the first time this diverse group of Northern and Southern New Mexico local, Pueblo, and state government officials had traveled together to Washington, D.C. to deliver a unified message of support for cleanup to Congress and DOE.
 
“Federal dollars are critical to the clean-up of legacy waste at LANL,” said New Mexico Environment Department Secretary F. David Martin. “The people of New Mexico deserve to have immediate environmental objectives met regarding the clean-up, such as safely removing above-ground transuranic waste and protecting ground water, surface water, and drinking water for the surrounding communities.”
 
“It meant a great deal to see these individuals from across New Mexico standing here united today in DC with a common goal: we need Congress to fund and support cleanup activities. The last time I saw this united effort was after the Cerro Grande Fire in 2000, when the LANL contract was up for bid,” said Sharon Stover, Chair of the Los Alamos County Council.
 
In addition to Stover and Martin, the Coalition members on the trip included Mayor David Coss, City of Santa Fe; Elmer Torres, Pueblo de San Ildefonso; County Administrator Harry Burgess, Los Alamos County; Mayor Alice Lucero, City of Española; Commissioner Danny Mayfield, Santa Fe County; Commissioner Jack Volpato, Eddy County; Board of Commissioners Vice Chair Andrew Chavez, Taos County; Rep. Jim Hall, New Mexico State Legislature; and Energy Development Coordinator John Heaton, City of Carlsbad. 
The group met with Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall; Representatives Ben Ray Luján, Martin Heinrich and Steve Pearce; NNSA Administrator Tom D’Agostino; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Environmental Management Tracy Mustin; Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Pete Lyons; the Senate and House Armed Services Committee Staff Members; Senate Appropriations Committee Staff Members and other DOE and Washington officials. 
 
Members of the Coalition were emphatic in stressing during their visit that clean up should continue, as several of them expressed in comments made after the meetings. Mayor Coss stressed that  clean up is a key component that should not be overlooked when Congress considers funding LANL programs and supporting their mission.
 
“Continued progress on cleanup of legacy containments is essential to protect our communities’ water and lands.  Doing a good job on cleanup provides jobs and allows all of us in New Mexico to focus on a positive future with LANL,” he said.
 
Elmer Torres, traveling to DC to represent San Ildefonso Pueblo, and Commissioner Danny Mayfield from Santa Fe County agreed with Coss.
 
“LANL’s continued effort for cleanup is important and impacts all cultural and traditional aspects. Without an overall clean environment, traditional activities cannot and will not be carried out. With the support of additional funding for cleanup and removal of waste, this will reduce the chance of any future contamination,” said Torres.
 
“These were very important meetings to have as a united bipartisan group focusing on the environmental needs of our communities to cleanup all the waste at the Laboratory to ensure protection for the region,” Mayfield added.
 
During discussions on Monday and Tuesday, the group emphasized the importance of moving transuranic (TRU) waste currently stored at Area G at LANL to WIPP.
Secretary Martin led the discussions, reiterating the need for LANL and WIPP to be fully funded in order meet the goals and milestones in the newly developed Framework Agreement. 
In addition to getting TRU waste moved to the WIPP facility, the Coalition discussed the importance of ensuring that groundwater is safe and stormwater is not contaminated. 
Secretary Martin urged DOE and the Delegation to push for a cleanup budget of $255 million for LANL and $229 million for WIPP. Secretary Martin also stated that the State is not interested in amending the existing Consent Order unless there is adequate funding and demonstrated progress to move forward with the Framework Agreement. 
 
In meetings with Senators Bingaman and Udall and Representatives Luján, Heinrich and Pearce, the entire New Mexico Congressional Delegation expressed support for cleanup at LANL and said they would work to make sure there is adequate funding. 
Senators Bingaman and Udall, as well as Representative Lujan,  told the delegation today that they are planning to meet with Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and NNSA Administrator Tom D’Agostino and Gov. Susana Martinez’ representative Brian Moore later this week to discuss cleanup issues.
  
“Clearly, the members of the Coalition were very interested in asking questions during our meetings about NNSA priorities- top projects that, in our opinion, appear to have changed in prioritization over these last few months,” Stover said. “For example,  CMRR was not funded recently, and yet we had been told it was the number one defense issue for NNSA just three months ago. We were seeking answers to find out what happened. While we didn’t get any direct answers from NNSA, we were all glad to hear that the delegation was meeting with Secretary Chu this week. We feel that they heard our concerns and are going to be assertive in getting us some specific answers.”
 
John Heaton, representing the City of Carlsbad, echoed those sentiments, and said the lack of funding has consequences that are far reaching for both northern and southern New Mexico.
 
“The characterization budget of WIPP was cut $15 million, which is the function that gets the TRU waste on the road from the sites.  Without adequate characterization money and additional maintenance money to keep WIPP safe, it will be impossible for DOE to meet its commitments to remove the TRU waste from Los Alamos,” he said.
 
Eddy County Commissioner Jack Volpato agreed with Heaton.
 
“Removing the waste from Los Alamos is important. We have the capability of accomplishing the task in two years if it’s adequately funded,” he said. 
 
At the conclusion of Tuesday’s meetings, other members of the Coalition said they felt they had made their points well-known, and that the delegation was listening.
 
Mayor Alice Lucero said she supports the Coalition to represent the City of Española, which has thousands of residents who commute to work at LANL every day.
She said the community is very interested in seeing clean up continue in Los Alamos, but also wants to see the economy remain strong, too, since LANL is a major employer for Northern New Mexico communities such as hers.
 
“It is essential that LANL gets adequate funding for cleanup, since the quality of water is important to us; however, the elimination of jobs at LANL has had an adverse impact on the economy in the Española Valley,” she said.
 
Andrew Chavez, Vice Chair of the Taos County Commission, said that to him, the economic impacts coming from recent cuts to Lab funding were about more than just the immediate future of Los Alamos, and that was one of the messages he wanted to convey to the delegation during the trip.
 
“We need to keep LANL healthy to continue to provide career opportunities for our children and economic stability for Northern New Mexico now and into the future,” he said.
 
Rep. Jim Hall said he felt the Coalition drove home their points with the delegation, and that they were empathetic, responsive and willing to take action on behalf of New Mexico.
 
“After hard work by NNSA officials, the New Mexico Environment Department and LANL staff, we have reached an agreement on an aggressive schedule for moving above ground TRU waste to WIPP. Unfortunately, this agreement came about late in the President’s budget process, so a lack of funding for the project threatens timely completion. The LANL coalition has come together and visited Washington to advocate for full funding for cleanup and has all of our support,” Hall said. 
 
“The fact that we had a coalition of communities from across the state, all carrying a common message, appeared to be influential in each of the meetings we attended. This trip was an important first step for the Regional Coalition, and hopefully the investments made by each participating community will result in an increased budget — and therefore accelerated cleanup — to the benefit of both the environment and economy of New Mexico,” said Los Alamos County Administrator Harry Burgess.
 
Stover said that the delegation have committed to following up with the Coalition after their meeting with Chu this week, and that they intend to keep meeting on a monthly basis to discuss items of interest and concern at LANL.
 
“This wasn’t just a one-time trip,” she said. “This is a great group of individuals who are about their communities – who realize the importance of funding these kinds of activities for LANL and WIPP to the benefit of all of New Mexico. We are committed to carrying this forward to the next step, and continuing to be fully engaged with our representatives at the state and national level.”

Council Approves MainStreet Request with a Caveat

Councilor Mike Wismer reads the motion that passed 5-1 during Tuesday night's work session at WhiteRock Fire Station 3. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Council passed the sole item on the agenda at its work session at White Rock Station 3 Tuesday night.

In a 5-1 vote, with Councilor Vincent Chiravalle opposed and Chair Sharon Stover in Washington, D.C., councilors approved  a resolution of support by Los Alamos County of a Biennial Memorandum of Understanding and as partner with Los Alamos MainStreet in a community economic development downtown revitalization program.

The Los Alamos MainStreet program submitted a proposal for a $200,000 grant in capital outlay funding from the New Mexico Economic Development Department, with $50,000 in matching funds coming from the county, to develop a major segment of the Los Alamos Canyon Rim Trail within the Trinity Place Development.

Council added a caveat to the motion it passed Tuesday to address a clause in the County’s agreement with Trinity Place developer North American Development Group. The clause requires NADG to invest up to $50,000 in that segment of the trail. The motion for the County to provide the $50,000 in matching funds to the MainStreet program hinges on NADG paying the County.

Some of the councilors initially did not agree with that caveat.

“We welcome private and third party funding but this is a community asset that the county should see through … its completion shouldn’t be dependent upon third party funding,” Councilor Geoff Rodgers said.

Acting County Attorney Brian James advised the councilors against voting to give the $50,000 matching funds to MainStreet and recuperating that money at a future date from NADG. He explained that because that topic was not listed on the agenda, taking action would be in violation of the open meetings act.

Although a little disappointed in the NADG caveat, LACDC Executive Director Kevin Holsapple said he was pleased with Tuesday’s motion.

“It moves us ahead and it’s something the council feels comfortable with,” Holsapple said.

The council is expected to address funding the $50,000 itself and taking final action on the issue at its March 27 meeting.

 

Council Vice Chair Ron Selvage, second from right, points out a document detail to Councilor David Izraelevitz. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Councilor Vincent Chiravalle discusses the MainStreet matching fund issue. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

From left, MainStreet Manager Suzette Fox, LACDC Executive Director Kevin Holsapple and County Economic/Marketing Coordinator Kelly Stewart address the council. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

County Economic/Marketing Coordinator Kelly Stewart and Acting County Attorney Brian James share a lighter moment at Tuesday's council work session. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

KRSN Owner David Sutton broadcasts tonight's meeting live on the radio from White Rock Fire Station 3. The County's David Griggs provides technical support for the meeting. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

N.M. 4 Construction Work Zone Safety Alert!

The Public Works Department is requesting public compliance with two important safety issues on the N.M. 4 Improvement Project in White Rock between Rover Boulevard and Pajarito Road.

  • The speed limit through the construction zone has been reduced to 30 MPH to enhance both motorist and construction worker safety; please observe the lower speed; and,
  • Motorists traveling west on N.M. 4 planning to turn right onto Pajarito Road must now stop at the Grand Canyon/Pajarito Road intersection if the traffic signal is red. The free right turn (green arrow) from N.M. 4 onto Pajarito Road no longer exists with the current construction work zone.

Questions or concerns? You are invited to join County staff at a weekly open discussion every Tuesday, 11 a.m. to noon, at Time Out Pizzeria to chat with a Public Works project representative.

Concerns may also be directed to the Los Alamos County Public Works Department at 662-8150 or lacpw@lacnm.us.

The County thanks you for your continued patience and cooperation!

Local Leaders Among 12 New Mexico Officials in Washington Seeking Funds for TRU Waste Mission

The legacy waste in these large, fiberglass-reinforced boxes was reclassified as mixed low-level waste, helping accelerate removal of TRU waste from Area G. Courtesy/LANL

By Carol A. Clark

A 12-person contingent from New Mexico including three people from Los Alamos flew to Washington, D.C. Sunday in preparation for two days of high-level meetings.

“One of the primary areas of focus is to gather support for funding for legacy clean up at LANL,” said Assistant County Administrator Steven Lynne of the impetus for the trip.

Today’s schedule included meetings with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, meetings with the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces and with Sen. Tom Udall.

The first meeting set in the morning is with NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino followed by meetings with Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Rep. Steve Pearce, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan and Rep. Martin Heinrich. A meeting also is scheduled with Frank Marcinouski and Mark Gilbertson of Environmental Management.

On Wednesday, some members of the group will spend time at a New Mexico Association of Counties conference in Washington before flying home that evening.

‘Our schedule is flexible because all the people we are seeing are very busy and things come up,” said Rep. Jim Hall during a telephone interview this afternoon.

Hall explained that the contingent is staying tightly focused.

“The focus of this trip is trying to get money for the legacy clean up,” he said. “DOE, LANL and the environmental department made an agreement to take above ground TRU (transuranic) waste off the hill and they agreed it’s got to be the first priority – unfortunately the president’s budget doesn’t quite cover it.”

Hall said in order to ensure there is enough money to complete the mission, the contingent is talking to Washington leaders about providing between $15-$20 million to LANL’s budget to move the above ground transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad. The group also is talking about a similar amount being added to the WIPP budget.

“I think we’re doing an excellent job of coming across as being united – focused on the clean up – and it’s a matter of finding the money,” Hall said. “We keep hearing that the budget is really constrained now.”

Hall said the contingent on this particular trip is not bringing up the voluntary reduction in force program underway at LANL.

Joining Hall in Washington are Los Alamos County Council Chair Sharon Stover and County Administrator Harry Burgess, Cabinet Secretary David Martin of the New Mexico Environment Department, Espanola Mayor Alice Lucero, Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, Taos County Commissioner Andrew Chavez, Carlsbad Energy Development Coordinator John Heaton, Santa Fe County Commissioner Daniel Mayfield, San Ildefonso Pueblo Official Elmer Torres and Rio Arriba Commissioner Alfredo L. Montoya.

Governor Susana Martinez’ Washington, D.C. Office Director Brian Moore also is part of the contingent.

Los Alamos County is paying the expenses for Hall, Stover and Burgess. The rest of the group is responsible for covering their own expenses.

“When you look at the collection of folks with diverse needs and view points all understanding the importance of this issue – it’s very gratifying,” said Assistant to the Los Alamos County Administrator Brian Bosshardt.

The New Mexico Contingent:

Harry Burgess

Jim Hall

Sharon Stover

Alice Lucero

David Coss

David Martin

Alfredo Montoya

Daniel Mayfield

Andrew Chavez

John Heaton

Brian Moore

Elmer Torres

Performing Arts Center Undergoing Renovations

Renovation work continues to the roof and exterior of the Los Alamos Performing Arts Center/Los Alamos Little Theatre on Nectar Street. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

The Performing Arts Center (PAC), operated by the Los Alamos Little Theatre since 1971, is undergoing a major refurbishment, courtesy of Los Alamos County.

Among the renovations are a new roof, new siding, insulation, installation of gutters and downspouts and repair of the skirting.

The County owns the PAC and LALT leases and administers the space.

The primary purpose of the renovation is to invest in its upkeep to preserve the historic building as part of the town’s Manhattan Project heritage.

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) reviewed the project and concurs with the work.

The renovations will give the building a brighter look, and will emphasize its historical significance to Los Alamos. The siding and roofing were selected to approximate the building’s original appearance, when it was a dining hall and then recreation hall.

Last October, county council approved award of Bid Number IFB 2012-05 to Delgado Exterior Coatings for $372,000 for the roof and siding replacement and established a total project budget of $515,043.

The Los Alamos Little Theater Board had expressed its appreciation to the County for helping to preserve the facility and reduce its energy costs.

Library Board Meets Monday in White Rock

The Los Alamos County Library Board will hold a regular meeting at 5:30 p.m., Monday in the White Rock Branch Library, 133 Longview Dr.

AGENDA:

1.     Call to order

2.     Public comment/correspondence (for items not on the agenda)

3.     Board Business

A.   Review and approval of the minutes of Feb. 6

4.    Chair and Board Members’ Reports

A.   Chair’s Report

i.     Upcoming Board vacancies

B.    Friends of Mesa Public Library Liaison Report Activities

C.    WR Plan Implementation Committee Liaison Report

D.   Fuller Lodge Historic Districts Advisory Board Liaison Report

5.     Board/Staff Communications

  • A.   Manager’s Report
    • i.     Overdrive implementation plan
    • ii.     2012 GO Bond
    • iii.   Update on CIP projects
    • iv.   County Budget request
    • v.     Community Services Director recruitment
    • vi.   Library Monthly Statistics

6.     Q & A with Council Liaison

7.     Public Comment

8.     Informational items (time and date of next meeting)

9.     Adjournment

Public Invited to Monday’s CRC Meeting Focusing on Logrolling and Elections

County News

The Charter Review Committee (CRC) will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 5 in the Training Room of the Community Building.

The only item on the agenda is to discuss a question recently posed to them by the County Attorney’s Office regarding logrolling and elections.

The public is welcome to attend this meeting.

Interested citizens can read the final report containing other recommended charter changes on the CRC’s project webpage, at the 311 Customer Care Center or at the Reference Desks of the two public libraries.

The 53-page report can be downloaded at www.losalamosnm.us under the Projects/Charter Review Committee link.

The County Council will discuss the Committee’s report and how to proceed with an election for some of the recommended charter changes at their Council meeting on March 20, which has been moved from White Rock to Los Alamos in Council Chambers so that it can be broadcast live on PAC 8.

This will also be a regular business meeting instead of a work session, as the Council plans to take action on the recommendations in order to proceed with an election this fall.

The public is welcome to review the report and give the Council comments either before the March 20 meeting, or, by attending the meeting.

The council meetings will also be streamed at www.pac8.org

Charter changes must be approved by voters. No date has been set for any future action or elections.